Tuesday, March 31, 2009

6.5 miles and a smile!

So I went for what I thought was a 6 mile run today. I didn't have time to map it out on Google like I normally do when I go on a run, but I thought I knew a path that would be a 6 mile run. I kept a pretty good pace and walked only once toward the beginning when my shins were hurting pretty badly. After walking the one time I decided that I was tired of this business of walking when they hurt (even though they hurt pretty badly) and that I just wanted to run. So the next time they started hurting I started mentally talking to myself about the trees, birds, cars, etc. that I saw as I was running - stuff I would say to my girls like, oh it's a white car. Did you see that bird? After a few minutes the pain seemed to go away.

I ran the entire rest of the way and just kept telling myself what a good job I was doing and how amazing I was, and remembered how I couldn't do nearly as far 2 months ago. Toward the end I thought to myself, well, I must have underestimated my distance for this loop because I feel really good right now - so I added a little extra loop. When I finished I had a big smile on my face because I though I ran 6 miles with only one small stretch of walking for my silly shins!

When I got home, I had a nice big glass of gatorade and looked at google maps a minute ago to see exactly how far I ran, and discovered that I ran 6.5 miles!!! I have never in my entire life run 6.5 miles, nor could I ever have imagined that I would have been able to run 6.5 miles and end with a big smile on my face!! And it's funny because this weekend, Coach Keith ran with me during my last 1/2 mile and as we were talking he asked me if I was at the point that I loved running. I told him no, but agreed when he asked if I was at least at the point that running didn't suck. After thinking it over and after today's run, while I'm not at the point where I can honestly say that I love running, I am at the point where I can say I like it. I especially liked today running past one of the neighbor's houses to discover they have a moose sculpture wearing big sunglasses and a flower garland in its antlers, and around it's feet were sprinkled a bunch of those plastic easter eggs. It was amazingly not tacky at all, but completely adorable. Plus, it gave me a good laugh as I was approaching 4.75 miles.

My swim last night was a good one too... we did 4x50 sprints followed by a 600, a 2nd 600, 4x50 sprints and then a 100. So a little bit over a mile. I have to admit I love being one of the very first people done with the swim. It's nice to be better than most at atleast one of the sports, even if it is the one that is used for the shortest distance in the triathlon. : ) Now, I just need to teach the girls to swim. They keep asking if they can swim the triathlon too... Ladybug called it her my triatmylon yesterday. It was so cute!

Monday, March 30, 2009

A Few Quick Things Angela Would Have Loved...

... or been completely appalled by.

A few things came across my computer screen today while lunching that I had to share because I've been writing about Angela, and these things made me think of her today. Perhaps she is helping me find things to be amused about today.

1. This blog: http://overheardlines.blogspot.com/ It consists completely of quotes that people overhear from others. Sort of like my re-creations of my girls' conversations, but funnier. Much much funnier. I can almost hear what her commentary would have been. I am now a follower of this blog.

2. A book that I saw on another blog today, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. For the huge Jane Austen fans that we are, Angela also liked the macabre. I can't decide exactly what she would have thought here. I'm of two minds about it myself. It's sacriledge on one level to such a great work, and yet something that is both disturbing and intriguing and you wonder where it will go. (Even more intriguing is that it has allegedly gotten good reviews.) I can't decide if she would be asking the gods to curse the author or signing up for his fan club. Visit http://tidingsofmagpies.blogspot.com/2009/03/im-telling-you-i-cant-make-this-stuff.html for an exerpt to form your own opinion.

3. That the first article of the day that I saw had to deal with triathlons... but not in a good way. Evidently you are twice as likely to die of heart attack while doing a triathlon than you are if you do a marathon. 15 in 1 million participants. Still a low probability but high in irony. When you think of triathletes you don't think coronary waiting to happen. Evidently it's the swim... cold water makes you have constricted blood vessels which can aggravate existing but unknown heart problems and well, you get the picture. She would have a laugh about it all and then warn me to be extra careful.

A Weekend of Peace and Other Things

In a way it sounds funny to say that I had a peaceful weekend, but I did. It's funny because on Saturday Ladybug was an absolute terror for a large part of the day and then ended the day with a huge fit because she was completely over tired (due to no nap despite 2 1/2 hours of trying to get them to nap) which ended with her falling asleep when I finally got her calmed down. Yet somewhere in the thick of it all (even in moments of frustration), I felt anchored as though I was right where I was supposed to be doing exactly what I was supposed to be doing. And it gave me a sense of peace... not to mention it somehow gave me some extra strength to keep my cool during it all. That's not to say I didn't yell once or twice, but it is to say it was only when it was completely warranted (like when they were supposed to be napping and I heard a giant crash 2 1/2 hours in and I run in to find them both jumping hurriedly into their beds while the glider chair and foot rest were completely upside down... I thought their dresser was pulled over on top of them due to the sonic boom sound emanating from their room).

Saturday was a bit rough on the potty training front, but Sunday was much better. Angelfish was the super pottier, keeping her underpants completely dry and poop free. Ladybug did great other than 2 poop mishaps. But the best part of Sunday was the girls' conversations with one another. One of them was when they were both going to go potty before we went to Target. Ladybug and Angelfish agreed that Ladybug would go first, and as Ladybug climbed onto the toilet...
She said, "Mommy."
Mommy: Yes, honey?
Ladybug: Please shut the door. I want pivacy.
Mommy: You want privacy?
Ladybug: Yes. Angelfish you out too.
Angelfish: I want to stay.
Ladybug: No. I want pivacy.
Angelfish: Ok.
Time passes... business is completed.
Ladybug: Ok, Mommy and Angelfish. You come in now. I done. I went pee! YAY! Your turn Angelfish.
Mommy: Great job, honey! It's your turn Angelfish.
Angelfish: Yay Ladybug! My turn. Hurry up! (Climbs on toilet.) Ok. Close the door!
Ladybug: You want pivacy?
Angelfish: Yes! (While doing a motion with her arms that was like slamming a door...)Close the door!
A few minutes later, Ladybug opens the bathroom door.
Ladybug: You ok Angelfish? Everything ok?
Angelfish: Yes. (Repeat of arm motion like before) Close the door!
Ladybug: You still want pivacy?
Angelfish: Yes, you close the door!
(This was repeated twice until I told Ladybug that Angelfish needed her privacy too and that her opening the door was invading her privacy. Mr. Darcy and I were doing our best not to laugh our heads off!)

As for my Saturday workout, my legs ached afterwards. My quads were pretty much on fire after the bike and my left shin was on fire after (and at some points during) the run. We did a 25 mile bike and then a 5 mile run. The bike was hard - not because of the distance but because of the hills. We biked a trail out in Clermont that started in one town, went to Lake Minneola, up a hill that looks small and then your bike almost stops despite the fact you are pedaling super hard in your smallest gear (can you say 6 mph while pedaling the heck out of your bike... I am not one to curse often, but I used a huge expletive while trying to get up the hill and to survive the asthma attack that decided to happen part way up the hill... my 1st one in 4 years), then back around the lake and back to the 0 mile mark of the West Orange Trail. At one point I was not pedaling and going down hill at 30 mph... so let's just say these hills were steep. But it was very fun and I really liked it. Then the run where my shin splints were evil yet again for the 1st 2 1/2 miles and then let me run the rest of the way. Pain radiating into the arch of your foot is not fun, but frozen peas are pretty helpful. I wasn't fast, but I got it done and I had a pretty good time while doing it!

And now I am looking forward to my weekly training and my girls' weekend this coming weekend. Swimming tonight is always fun, so I'll keep you posted!

Friday, March 27, 2009

The Speed of Life

This week has been so busy I've rather felt on the edge of screaming, tearing my hair out and/or throwing a temper tantrum like a two year old. Not only have I had a million things to do but I felt like somehow I wasn't doing enough of something. What the something is, I'm not quite sure. But oddly enough, I think it just came to me. The answer is living.

The past few days, I've been thinking a lot about my friend Angela and how I miss her. It's not a constant thought stream but random bits here and there. Tuesday night I had a dream that it was night and I was in a car accident (which is ironic because when I was about 13, I had a premonition that I would die in a car accident at night while driving. It came to me while being driven home from babysitting - we'll have to see how that plays out...). In my dream, Angela was there looking at me and told me, "You're ok but if you don't pay attention you're going to miss something important." That whole day I thought of her in odd moments and tried to figure out what she was talking about in my dream. On the bike yesterday (I did the stationary bike because it was too dark out that morning), when I got to 25 miles I thought to myself I could do an extra 5 because it was alot easier than what Angela went through and that I had the time. The day before I just kept thinking of Angela - again random spottings of things. Today the thoughts didn't come in the pool during my swim workout or when I was arguing with Mr. Darcy or rushing around trying to get laundry done, passports signed and mailed, or taking things forgotten to daycare, but when I was driving home from it all. When I got home I thought I'd do my blog really quickly and I looked online and there were postings on her sister Anna's Blog (Little Maverick's) and on Liz's blog (Mabel's House) about Angela too. Just now, while typing, I have an image that appeared in my head of her smiling and walking through a beautiful meadow with pink and yellow flowers.

I think Angela is trying to tell each of us something. It is probably different for each of us and the same too. I think she's telling us to be in each other's lives. To be connected to one another the way that she was connected with each of us. Desparately looking for Anna's missing blog pieces and wondering if she's ok when she's not blogging and dedicated reading of Liz's blogs must not be what Angela is envisioning. Why else talk to all of us around the same time? No, I'm not talking about ghostly visitations, although I wouldn't put it past Angela to do that to us if we're not complying with her wishes... she could get huffy from time to time. But I think our loved ones who have passed on do visit us in some ways when we need it.

For me, I think I just realized what Angela was trying to tell me in my dream. Slow down. Yes, you have a million things to do and they all seem "important." But the most important thing I need to be doing is living my life - not worrying about what errand "must" get done or whether my passport will arrive "in time" without expediting or getting it out today, not worrying about whether the house is clean enough, or whether the girls are listening when they should be, or whether Mr. Darcy is going to cut a hole in my walls for his new tv. She's telling me that's not what matters. She's telling me I'll miss my life, my time with my children and my husband, if I keep scurring around like this. At the end, which will come all too soon whether it's tomorrow of 80 years from now, if I haven't lived then that will be the true accident. How do I know this is what she's telling me? Confirmation in the form of the tears running down my face and the warmness on my back and in my chest as though someone is holding me tight and telling me everything is going to be okay as I bawl like a baby.

I love you, Angela. I will endeavor to look for what is truly important each day and to live - not just survive. "Funny" how even though you're "gone" from this life you're still letting me know the what's what just like you did when you were "here."

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

The Terrible Twos Are In Fact Completely Terrible

Yes, I will say it again. The terrible twos are, in fact, completely terrible. Knock on wood that so far only one of our two year olds is in the terrible twos. I may not be able to see them reach 3 1/2 because I will have had a massive coronary or have gone mad if they both start acting, well so darn right terrible.

There are those sweet, fun, funny, and tender moments. But the terrible ones can crowd those out at times. Last night was the fundraiser at California Pizza Kitchen. We arrive and start to put sandals on the girls because they were tired of their sneakers. Ladybug throws a fit in the parking lot because she wants to wear the shoes Angelfish is wearing and Angelfish refused to give them to her. Angelfish is a rather selfless child for a 2 year old and often will give Ladybug what she wants but not today, and to be perfectly honest I don't think she should give her sister everything because she should get to wear the flip flops sometimes too! But Ladybug is screaming so loudly that people are looking. Luckily they appear to be other parents because after seeing that we were not even touching our child but trying to calm her down by talking to her, they wandered off. Finally, Angelfish & I went into the restaurant and Mr. Darcy & Ladybug worked it out somehow and came in about 10 minutes later. 10 minutes is an eternity in the life of a 2 year old but that is how long it took.

Throughout dinner Ladybug behaved ok. She wasn't really listening but not doing anything overly damaging other than standing up the entire time and throwing a fit because after insisting that she wanted pizza for dinner when it arrived she didn't want it. Daddy took her outside and whatever happened out there she was a good bit better the rest of dinner.

And then we got home. She wanted to wear a flower pajama top that is dirty and we had other pajamas for her... and she threw a complete and utter fit. On the floor, flailing her arms and legs, screaming and wailing and insisting on her way. No form of parenting or reprimands worked. Finally, Mr. Darcy had to leave the room because he was at that point where he was going to completely lose it. That seemed to work because Ladybug realized he was gone and wanted him and I had to explain that because of how she was acting Daddy couldn't talk to her right now because he was so upset. After I talked to her a little while and Mr. Darcy came back in because Angelfish was asking for him, Ladybug asked for permission to get out of bed and say she was sorry to her Daddy.

Then this morning... dear Lord, Ladybug was at it again. Angelfish and I were in the bathroom together and Ladybug had run off to find Daddy. Mr. Darcy wandered back to us and I gave him an outfit for Ladybug along with 2 pairs of underpants. He goes and talks to Ladybug about her clothes and she completely melts down. So Mr. Darcy leaves the room and goes into the girls' bedroom because the shirt I gave him had worked in dirt that hasn't come out in the wash (it was inside out when I took it out of the clean clothes) and he went to get a new one. When he went back Ladybug was still throwing a fit and the clothing mysteriously had disappeared (and we couldn't find what she did with them this morning). So he picked out another pair of shorts for her. And the fit continued. 10 minutes in, he put her in time out so she'd be stationary and told me he couldn't take it any more. So we switched. I let her out of the time out chair and she was completely enraged... to the point she was making noises that sounded like a wild animal growling and grunting at the same time. I tried to take her shirt off and she went ballistic - kicking me, pushing me, hitting me and anything and everything else around us. Thankful for the advice of another Mom from daycare who works in the juvenile justice system and told me about a modified hold that does not hurt but that keeps a child from hurting themselves and others that she uses on her own 3 year old, I put her in a bear hug restraint to 1) keep her from hurting herself and 2) to keep her from hurting me. She may be 2 but she is wicked strong. I had to hold her that way, calmly talking to her during which time she went from a cross legged seated position with both arms crossed against her chest while I held her tightly (but without hurting her, of course) to forcing her way into a standing position with her arms free and facing me so she could try to hit me some more. Back into the bear hug until she finally calmed down and screamed "I don't want to change my clothes. I want pajamas." I continued to talk calmly and tell her why she needed to change, etc. Turns out, she wanted to sleep and wear her pajamas still. I told her Mommy wanted that today too but that I have to take her to daycare, go workout, and go to work, cook dinner, etc. so I had to get up too and pointed out that I was dressed. She let me put on her shirt and decided it was cozy enough, then she went potty, got dressed the rest of the way and had a small meltdown because Daddy wasn't driving them today. But she got over it as soon as we pulled out of the driveway and she couldn't see Daddy anymore. Then all happiness and smiles the rest of the drive and at daycare.

What was Angelfish doing during all of this? Wandering around the house like a happy little sprite, talking to Daddy, getting dressed, eating muffins at the table, and then when Ladybug emerged she gave her a hug and tried to cheer her up by running around being silly. Ladybug even asked her "What are you doing Angelfish?" and Angelfish said "I'm running around being funny so you not cry more." She is so easy going and happy that it makes Ladybug's behavior seem even worse.

Luckily, I spilled their milk that I brought to daycare for them. (They had to finish breakfast there because well, Ladybug hadn't eaten and it was time to go.) I made a face but didn't say a word and one of the ladies said, "One of those mornings?" And I told her what happened as we cleaned up the large cup of milk that was now everywhere. She told me that this is a very hard age and that kids go through this and that it will pass. She told me about her kids and the fits that they had when they were Ladybug's age. She told me the bear hug is a good way to hold her still to get her to calm down when she's at the point that she's so worked up that she is wild like she was. She told me I did the right thing by restraining her but remaining calm and talking to her in soothing tones like I did. And then she and the other morning teacher told me "Just wait until they're teenagers." I asked why Ladybug was like this when Angelfish was not. And she told me that Angelfish is just one of those rare children who is happy, goes with the flow and is pretty laid back... an anomaly. My Dad tells me that I was like Angelfish as a child, and not having any brothers or sisters that's the only frame of reference he has. I relish Angelfish's happy moods and loving ways... and thank the heavens for them even more on days when Ladybug is in high drudgeon. I don't love Ladybug any less for it, but it makes it harder to deal with.

Now, if we can survive Ladybug's moods without giving in to her I will deserve a Mommy merit badge of some sort. Or as my Grammy used to tell my Aunt when she was a teenager, that merit badge will be the version of "I hope you have children just like you are when you get older." Although, after surviving the morning and having to postpone my swim workout until later today due to all the excitement, I don't think I would even wish it on her.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

A Changed Woman

I am a changed woman. This morning I ran 5 miles in 50:32 (which included 2 short stints of walking due to my ever present shin splints). While not a world record pace, it is a personal record on several levels. Two months ago, I would not have been able to run 5 miles. Four months ago, running 3 minutes straight was super hard and tedious. So just be able to finish the 5 miles (that I painstakingly plotted out to make a loop in my neighborhood - thanks to google maps) is a feat. Being able to do it at a less than an 11 minute mile pace, even more to my amazement. Add on that the fact that I actually enjoyed the run, despite sweating buckets, and felt good at the end of it, and I am a new person all together. As readers of my blog can attest I have proclaimed on many occasions to hate running. Then we moved to not minding it, and now I have admitted that I actually enjoyed a 5 mile run. What is this world coming to?

In other news, I had lunch today at California Pizza Kitchen with my neighbor. She is wonderful and even though we don't know each other well, it feels as though we have known each other forever. She has 2 children - a baby who is now probably about 6 or 7 months old and a little boy just a bit older than Angelfish & Ladybug. I had a blast and hope we will get to spend more time together. It's been awhile since I felt right at home with someone and that I could talk to them without realizing how long we'd been talking. Perhaps the funniest part of the lunch was transportation. We had spoken this morning and I said that I would drive, and then just before we had arranged to leave I discovered I couldn't find my keys. I called Bill and lo and behold, he had not 1 but 2 sets of keys in his pocket. So my neighbor drove and told me how her husband has done that to her before too. (Oh, and she also told me that I look great and look like I've lost a lot of weight. That always puts a smile on a girls' face.)

I've also decided to take my social life (or lack thereof) into my own hands. Yes, I am determined to make friends in this city of Orlando. I have decided that I will join Junior League. I went to a meeting a few months ago, right when I was deciding to do Team in Training, and put it off because I didn't think it would be a good idea to try to do both. At the meeting I met some very nice women - mostly professionals around my age with children or at least married who like children. So, I'm going to another information session in a few weeks and plan to join. A volunteer group that also helps you grow as a person and provides you with socializing opportunities - what more could I ask for? Plus, I am starting a book club with a friend. I love to read and now I will have to make time for it again (other than reading about triathlon skills).

Not to worry though, I still plan to train for and compete in triathlons. I don't think I could give it up if you tried to make me. I love it too much. I love the alternating days of swimming, running and biking, and the fear, thrills and nerves associated with race day. A few short months and there you are - a triathlete who enjoys a 5 mile run.

I keep thinking of Angela today. Perhaps it is due to a blog entry on a Tiding of Magpies that I read about finding time to write. Angela was a writer. She wrote stories about two overly intelligent sisters who get into a mess of trouble on trips with their academic parents. They were wonderful stories. I so wish she could have been published before she passed. Her blog is still up... Tea with Mrs. Fox. She posted some stories there before one of her last surgeries. You should take a peek.

Until tomorrow...

Monday, March 23, 2009

A lot to catch up on...

Ok. So here's the skinny... or at least part 1 of the skinny because I only have a few moments before I have to hurry off to swim practice tonight. What day is it? Oh, Monday. Ok. I think I left off last Tuesday. It's been a doozy of a few days. I'm just hoping to make it to a day where life slows down a little bit.

Wednesday I ended up postponing my workout until I arrived in Boston. Unfortunately, both of my flights were delayed and while waiting in the Atlanta airport found out from my boss that they laid off the LA Region attorney and paralegal team. So, not only am I feeling badly for them but I also have more stress because there's more work that will be landing on my plate and oh, yes, tomorrow I have to stand up in front of a group of attorneys and paralegals and make sure I do a d@mn good job to make sure that I'm not the next should there be another round of layoffs. I finally get to the hotel after wandering the Boston airport avoiding the emergency lights flashing that went off with no reason, take a cab, call home and head to the indoor pool. This pool is half the length of a standard pool, so I have to do twice as many laps as usual... but boy did I feel fast. I could do the length of the pool breathing only once and if I really pushed it was able to do some lengths without breathing until the wall.

Thursday I woke, did my seminar to what seems to have been a good crowd who gave me good reviews (yeah!). Then back to the airport where I had hoped to get an earlier flight home, but to no avail. So I read books about bicycling and talked to my paralegal on the phone. On the plane I fell asleep and got home just in time to help put the girls down to bed. Those little faces after a work trip are always a welcome sight! But then Mr. Darcy convinced me to stay home because he hadn't seen me all week, so I skipped my bike workout that evening. It was going to have to be on a stationary bike so it wasn't nearly as tempting as usual.

Friday I went and swam and then afterwards spent the day with Angelfish at Disney. We had a blast! She liked seeing the princesses and then we went on the Tea Cups (her ultimate favorite. After the ride she wanted to go on it again, but I lured her away with the promise of the carosel that she likes. On the walk to the carousel, she told me, "Mommy when I older I go faster on cups!" The girl likes speed... Then we rode Dumbo and headed home. THe place was packed so believe it or not, that (and lunch) took until around 3 pm. It was great!

Then Friday night we headed to Orange Park to visit the in-laws. We got in late, but Mr. Darcy held up to his end of the bargain and worked out with me. It was a 25 mile bike ride followed by a 5 mile run. Mr. Darcy made it through the bike ride and walked 2.5 miles before throwing in the towel (and complaining the rest of the day about how much his legs hurt). I was happy with my ride even getting up to about 18 mph a couple times on the ride, and then I ran the entire 5 miles except for about 5 minutes when I walked because of my shins. I felt like a rock star. Not only have I never biked 25 miles in my life, or been at 18 mph while riding, but I can't remember the last time I ran 5 miles. Happy as a clam, and my legs didn't hurt all day either!

Sunday I made it up by 7:30 and was running by 8... 50 easy minutes of running... and I actually enjoyed it. Today, it's swimming which I love although it's a little cooler than I prefer and it rained which means that the pool will probably be a bit chilly this evening. Oh well. It's good for me right?

So that was the quick and sweaty version of the past week. If I find more time, I might be able to fill y'all in on other thoughts. But right now, I'm off!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Pool Therapy

No worries. The pity party is over - cured by swim practice last night and by little Ladybug deciding that she wanted to get up at 5:45 am today. I have to say that I probably do carry what I said yesterday with me everyday, but most days it is just underlying the surface and is not nearly as intense as it was yesterday. I'm a constant work in progress trying to change the way I think about those things and every once in awhile they just reach out and grab me.

But, triathlon training really does tend to be therapy - as does the Team in Training mission. We had swim practice last night and it reminded me, looking at my fellow teammates, why we do this. We have 4 people that I know of who are cancer survivors, 1 whose child is a Leukemia survivor, and 3 of us who have lost loved ones to cancer. Being a part of Team in Training makes me feel like I am making a difference in the lives of others by raising cancer awareness and raising money for cancer research and patient services.The swim itself last night also helped clear the cobwebs and drama from my brain. We did 1800 total (which is around 1.175 miles) and Coach B put us in the pool and told us to do our sets at our own pace. The sound and the movement of the swim are therapeutic. I forgave myself for my freak out in the lake, realized that I am making a difference with Team in Training, and re-confirmed that I have a right to be happy and that while making some sacrifices are part of being a wife and mother I do not have to give up everything. I deserve happiness as much as every member of my family and so the triathlons and the training will continue. I will do my best to be there for my children and my husband as much as possible, but I do need things for myself too.

It's amazing that these things come out of my swims, but they do. I'm not even sure how they do. I concentrate on my stroke and my continuous breathing and counting laps and thoughts just run through my head - sometimes I only catch the snippets of my thoughts... it's like my unconcious mind is working behind all the breathing, arm strokes, leg kicks, touching the wall, counting, and set building until it reveals to me the secrets it has unlocked while I move through the water. I was done with the 1800 before I realized it, and well before everyone else on the team. I even hung out in the water for about 5 minutes after I was done, secretly hoping Coach B would give me more to do but he insisted we were done for the day. I was dressed before anyone else even got out of the pool. Now, if I could only be that fast on the bike! : ) My new goal is to conquer the bike and get fast on it.
As a Mom, there is a natural tendency to put your children before yourself, especially when they are young. You want everything to be the best for them, you want them to be healthy and happy, and you want to spend all the time you can with them. When you work on top of being a Mom you don't get to be with them as much as you want, and even sometimes envy stay at home Moms who get to be with their children all the time. As one stay at home mom said to me , she felt sorry for me because I was going to miss out on so much with my children. But, what she didn't understand is that my going to work is another sacrifice I make for my children. I don't do it because I don't want to be with them or am keeping something for myself. Instead of putting our family in financial hardship, I work to ensure that we can save for college, afford to live in a neighborhood with good schools, allow them to participate in activities, and afford to have experiences for them that would be impossible if I did not work. If I could stay home with my children and have all those things, I would. But my life is not set up that way and I can only do the best I can. Those that can do those things and stay at home too are truly blessed.

Perhaps that is really what this journey of life is all about. Finding your way to make the best of what you have in life and continuously searching (and hopefully finding) how to not only make your life a happy one but also how to help improve the lives of others. All of this from 1800 meters in the pool on a warm March evening and Ladybug waking everyone up at 5:45 am because she wasn't tired and wanted to spend some time with her Mommy and Daddy. Pool therapy and child induced sleep shortages - a combo for self-realization!

Oh, and whoever bet that both girls would return home in their original clothes is the winner of yesterday's potty training bet. : ) No accidents! Yay! Let's see if we can go for a second day... double or nothing? Ladybug insisted on wearing a dress and Angelfish is wearing a cute little stretch pants and long top number that her Grammy gave her. The motivation I used yesterday and today is that if they keep their underpants dry their cute little outfit and their pretty underpants stay dry, which means they get to wear them all day instead of wearing their extra clothes. We'll see if it works!

Monday, March 16, 2009

Post Script - Monday's Horoscope

So after my post earlier this morning, I found it amusing that this was my horoscope (or as my Dad liked to call them my horror scope) for today:

"Your moods can fluctuate wildly today, leaving you to wonder why your emotional keel is so uneven. You may be able to overcome your temporarily temperamental nature, however, by looking critically at all of the factors influencing your feelings. If you are facing a number of challenges while also attempting to meet personal goals and see to mundane chores, you may simply be feeling overwhelmed by all the obligations currently on your plate. To ease your distress and regain control over your emotions today, try to fix your attention in the moment by focusing only on those elements of you day that are most vital to your well being or health."

You can say that again psychic sister!

In other news... 2 of the 3 skin areas Mr. Darcy had biopsied came back just fine. The 3rd while not currently cancerous is abnormal and likely to become cancerous in the future, so he's having it cut out at the end of the month. And the girls' potty training wanes and waxes. But both were in underpants when they left for school this morning. Any bets on who returns home in different clothing than they left in?

Balance and Acceptance

Where to start? My brain is running in circles at the moment, so I'm not sure where the beginning is. Basically a lot of what's in my brain has to do with guilt, body image, and trying to find balance in my life that works for everyone in my family.

Mr. Darcy wants to go out of town this weekend to see his parents, and so do I. They are sweet people who are kind and great to be around and our children love them very much. But, I also have my fundraiser for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society next Tuesday and need to get the word out to the general public because, well, I don't know anyone really and those that I do know, I've already talked to about the fundraiser and I'm going out of town for two days on a business trip. Finding the time to breathe, let alone get everything done is going to pose a bit of a problem. I am taking Friday off of work, but had dedicated that day to taking Angelfish to Disney or Sea World on a Mommy Daughter day like I did with Ladybug when she was home because of her skin infection. And if I don't do that this Friday, it won't be until May when I can do it. Plus she and I have already talked about it and she seems excited about it.

My original idea was to spend Saturday doing my workout (25 mile bike and then a 5 mile run) and then distribute fliers for the fundraiser. But, with our going out of town that doesn't work and we can't move our trip to next weekend because Bill is going out of town to go to his fraternity's initiation weekend in Gainesville. I feel like I need to do it so the fliers are around for the weekend at the shops to get as much interest as possible. I'm out of town for work Wednesday and Thursday so I can't do it then. Mr. Darcy's attitude is basically that I've done enough fundraising because I've raise more than the minimum required already and that my workouts are getting in the way of being able to go out of town and see his family, which I understand. But I also know that because of how he's acting about things that he is not going to want me to do Team in Training again any time soon (despite the fact that I would love to do it again in the Fall so I can do the Nation's Tri in DC and raise more money for cancer research, not to mention the great people I'm meeting and the great training too), so I feel like I have to do the best that I can with fundraising to make as much money possible for The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. It is though my wants do not meet with the needs of my family because I can't do what I need to without interfering with the time with the girls and Mr. Darcy's free time. Finding balance is sometimes difficult.

So, I've come up with an idea. I will have the fliers all printed and ready and on Friday I will put them at specific locations at Waterford Lakes in the hopes that it will bring more people in. Whether this is going to be during the day will depend on how long Angelfish wants to spend wherever we go. If I have the time, I will do it Friday afternoon. If I do not, we will pack the girls up along with our stuff and hit Waterford Lakes before we leave town. Mr. Darcy will play with the girls at Chick-fil-a and feed them dinner. I will distribute fliers and then we'll leave. The next morning I will get up with the sun and do my 25 mile bike and 5 mile run, which hopefully Mr. Darcy will join me on.

And then there's the guilt that is associated with everything that is going on because I'm not here 100% of the time like I used to be. But at the same time, I need to be able to do things too although I feel like I'm breaking the "rules" associated with being a mother and a wife because I'm not supposed to put myself first like I have been and every time I'm not at home for the girls to go to bed or when they wake up on a Saturday because I'm at a practice or a meeting that I'm somehow being a bad mother simply because I am not there and because Mr. Darcy has to do it himself. But then I think to myself why is it that I have to be there all the time... and then the thought comes to me of what MR. Darcy said to me when we got into an argument about how he never shows an inkling of an interest in helping plan the meals for the week or doing the grocery shopping and he said to me that this is just how it is. Men don't do these things because they're not interested in them and they don't care about them, so I have to do it basically because I'm the wife and Mom and I want my kids to eat healthier foods. Like the mice in the movie Babe say, "the way things are." It sucks being the Mom sometimes. You love your children and would never trade them, but it seems like you have to trade yourself in the bargain. I almost feel like it's a cruel trick. I've found something I love to do - training and competing in triathlons and even better being able to do something to help those with cancer while doing it - and yet I feel like I'm becoming a bad wife and mother because of it and because of that like I'm supposed to give it up. But I don't want to give it up. It's good for me - mentally and physically - and I shouldn't have to give it up. I don't know that Bill is asking that of me either, but its just this feeling that I get whenever stuff like this comes up. I don't know that it comes from him either. It may come from my brain and what I think is expected of me, but it doesn't hurt any less.

And then there's my body image issue that I'm dealing with a lot lately too. I train pretty hard each week, and I'm eating healthy and am eating what I'm told is 500 calories under what I should eat each day, and I'm trying to eat in the balance I've been told is important for triathlon training, and I look at myself and I just see a big fat blob of a person. Triathlon clothing isn't exactly helpful either because well, it's skin tight because you have to be able to swim, bike and run in it. On top of it, the clothes I own don't really fit right. They're either too big or too small. When you have twins your body changes a lot, and when you have PCOS that makes it hard for you to lose weight (even while on medicine for it) that makes it even harder. And then you see women who have children, granted not necessarily twins, who look as though they did before ever having children, and you can't figure out how to get any thinner than you are despite all you're doing it makes you a bit self conscious. I want to look nice, but I don't feel like I deserve to spend the money on clothes because I can't get myself any thinner and I feel like it's taking money away from things I could buy for the girls or our family. And I'm sure people just think - well push away from the table more. But, for me, it's not about that. I actually hate to eat because I worry that every bite is going to make me fatter and when I do indulge in something I like (like ice cream) I feel guilty and fat for days afterwards. And before the triathlon training showed me how much I need to eat, I was actually eating less than 1200 calories on most days.

So I'm working on balance and accepting myself for who I am and trying to figure out how to be a good wife, a good mother and still find a way to let myself enjoy things in life that aren't related to anyone but my own interests. People always say that no one is happy if Mom isn't happy, but I don't know that is true. It seems like everyone in the family tends to be happy when Mom takes care of everyone and put themselves last. But that's not quite fair to Mom. Balance and acceptance. I wish it was easier. Today is just a tough day.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Call me a Wildwoman!

I did it! I am officially a "Wildwoman"! I finished the Wildman Triathlon, and all in all am pretty happy with myself. However, I do have somethings that I want to work on... learning to bike faster is one in particular.

But first, the good parts which in some ways include some of the bad parts. The open water swim is one of the things that I both learned from and was proud of myself. I made the mistake of not getting in the water in the area that we could have warmed up in. I will never do that again. This was my first open water swim and only the 2nd time in my entire life that I have been in a lake. I ran into the water, jumped in and within a few seconds was panicked. Not just a little, but that panic where you feel like you can't really breathe. Why? I couldn't see at all in the water. I got kicked and never saw the foot coming. I'm not someone who is normally susceptible to claustrophobia, but I think I was experiencing it then. After swimming a little with my head above the water, my brain finally kicked in and I thought to myself, "You can do this. You know how to swim and you're good at it. You can do it." And then I remembered a team member who told us that she looks for her hands, so I put my head in the water and started to swim but I couldn't see my hands. So I breast stroked for a little and decided that I needed to try again and see what I could see underwater. I could see my forearms, so I watched for those and counted to 3 for my breathing, and every 8 strokes I looked up to see where I was. Even with the panicking, I swam the 750 meters in 17:15.158. I could do it a good bit faster in the pool, but since I panicked I think I did well, especially since I passed a bunch of the guys who were in the wave in front of mine!

I think I spent a little too much time in the 1st transition. We had to run more than 1/4 of a mile to get to the transition and I wasn't running overly fast because I was barefoot and it hurt my feet, but I could have run faster and will work on that for next time. In the transition area itself, I was ok. I think I will bring a bottle of water with a squirt nozzle to rinse of my feet because that will go faster than trying to wipe them off, but other than that my set up was good and I just need to practice doing the motions of getting things on a little faster.

The bike. I did well with my cadence, staying between 85-92 the entire way. But I think I need to learn how to ride better because even with a good cadence, I was only going 14 mph to 14.5 mph. I feel like I can go faster, but I don't know how to use the bike to allow for that. Maybe I was in too low of a gear? Maybe my leg motion is not as efficient as it should be? Maybe I need to sit farther back on the seat by using my core and until my core is strong enough to maintain it, check every so often so as to push myself back? I'll be getting some books, and perhaps some specialized training if I can get it. Because of this I wasn't super happy with my time: 51:39.837 for a 12 mile bike. I know I can do better. But the good part was that I didn't crash in the dismount zone! I had studied the route map so I would know when it was coming up, and I came in mentally ready to ignore everyone around me and snapped my right leg out, put the brakes on slowly and evenly and leaned forward and to the right, had my leg down, was still and snapped my left leg out, and dismounted. Go me! In fact, I was so happy that I smiled ear from ear!

Then for the 2nd transition. I did well with it... less than 2 minutes (1:58.953), but could have been a little faster in that I decided to run back and get my water bottle. I don't think I'm going to run with a water bottle again, and may opt for getting a camel back so I can use it on the bike and on the run because I have to admit that on the bike, I didn't use my water once - which is not a good thing. I just didn't know how to get the bottle out when going so fast, and while I need to learn, I also need water in the meantime. Anyway. T2 I thought was pretty good other than doubling back for the water bottle.

The run. My shin splints decided to kill me about a mile into it, so I had to walk and run a little bit. And then somewhere I hit some uneven terrain that helped stretch my calves out and the pain in my shins stopped... and I was able to run the rest of the way. If I hadn't had the shin issue, I think I could have gone faster. But I was not wholly unhappy with my time - 3.2 miles in 30:19.883. Not too shabby for a girl who is not an overly good runner (but is trying to improve) and had to walk some because of her shins.

The end was great! I felt so good and so happy... exhausted, smelling like wet goat, but I felt great for what I had accomplished and for what I learned. A total time of 1:46:38.215. Slower than I would have liked, but this one was longer than my first (the swim was almost 2x as long and the run was 1 mile longer) and I know where I want to improve and was happy with what I did well. And I had a great time rooting for my team mates still out there and congratulating those that finished before me. My Team in Training team rocks!

So when is the next one???

Friday, March 13, 2009

The Day Before...

Today is Friday, but not just any Friday. The Friday before what I consider to be my first, true full-fledged sprint triathlon. This is not to belittle my past accomplishment in completing a "my 1st tri" version of the sprint triathlon, but you only get to do that once right? This time around the swim is the full 750 meters (a little less than 1/2 a mile) in open water. A friend asked if this meant fish and alligators, and while I suppose it could, it's a lake swim where the water is estimated to be around 68 degrees (if we're lucky) so I'm doubtful the alligators are interested and the fish will be far a field with the hundreds of triathletes partaking in the event. I'm not worried about the wildlife. I just want to envision swimming straight, focusing on my stroke and remembering to site swim about every 8 strokes... 8 is the swim number and the swim number is 8.

Perhaps I should explain my swim number. It's the number that whenever I would get antsy or panicky in the water when I would compete as a kid, I would count to in my head in order to calm down. No one ever taught it to me, it just made sense to do. I'm not sure why I picked 8, but that was just the number. When I returned to swimming at the start of this triathlon path, I returned to counting to 8, but this time it was for strokes... although I used it the other day when I was jittery at the end of a slightly stressful Monday and we were doing our first 50 m length pool swim. For some reason, I needed the counting to get re-aquainted with the pool that day. When I count laps, I count in sets of 8 to keep track of things. So, I call it my swim number.

So with my swim number in my head, my gear almost packed... it's at least laid out (although I need to go buy a new race belt and some clif shot bloks, and I'd like to practice a little unclipping this afternoon/evening), and my racing packet (complete with my number - 190- and neon pink swim cap), I'm nervous but ready to go. Whenever people tell me I shouldn't be nervous about sports, I think that racing is a lot like public speaking. I teach CLE's to attorneys as part of my job, and I get nervous before each and every one. The one time (luckily not a work event) that I did not get nervous before a public speaking event was just like the few times I didnt' get nervous before a swim meet or a cross-country race, I stunk. I embrace my nervousness and hope to harness that extra fight or flight sensation to flee, but to flee in the direction of the finish line.

Let the Wildman tri begin!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

A Swim, Glasses and the letter S

Today I went for a swim without my contacts. It wasn't nearly as troublesome as I thought it would be. I could see just like I always can while swimming and discovered that I look a bit up and to the front of me while swimming. I paid attention to this because another Team in Training member said that people sometimes get a bit freaked by the fact that they can't see the bottom of the lake/river/ocean that they are doing an open water swim and that when she gets worried she focuses on looking at her hands when they enter the water and pull down past her upper body. So when I got in the pool today I thought about where I look. Turns out that I don't pay much attention to the bottom of the pool, although I do see it.

The open water swim doesn't frighten me because of swimming in something that resembles tea, although that might change when I am actually in it (I'll be able to tell you after Saturday's Wildman sprint triathlon), but because of all of the other people that will be in the water. As my parents were fond of saying when I was a teenager, "We trust you, it's everyone else that we don't trust." I trust my swimming abilities, but I worry about getting kicked, swum over, punched, etc. At the same time, that's the lure of it all - to enter the water at the same time as hundreds of other swimmers and be able to find your spot and make your way through the swim and hope to emerge before everyone else.

But I will feel better about the swim once I have contacts again. I have an eye appointment today because 1) I'm completely out of contacts and 2) this means that I am in need of my annual check up. So I'm wandering around in my glasses, which evidently look a bit like Mr. Darcy's because this morning Ladybug said, "Hey! Give those back. Those are Daddy's glasses!" And we had to remind her that she broke Daddy's glasses and that these were Mommy's. To which she responded. "I accident broke Daddy's glasses. I climbed on his head!"

When I wear my glasses for the first day after awhile I see just fine but things are different. I notice the edges of wear my glasses end and my sightlessness begins, and it causes me to have a little bit of a depth perception issue at first. Which is why when I missed throwing something in the trash this morning and bent down to pick it up, I ended up picking up the letter S instead. A red foam lowercase letter S that is part of a puzzle the girls have and we're always looking for errant letters. Somehow this one strayed into the bathroom and has gone unnoticed. Perhaps I too will go unnoticed and slip past all those other swimmers in the open swim as I focus on my stroke and attempt to zip on by.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

The life and times of my shins...

yes, dear readers, you probably have already guessed. My shin splints are aggravated yet again. I dare say that they are back because I am not certain that they every truly left. Perhaps they just lay in wait for me to have a really good run that I actually enjoy to rear their little heads. (Last Saturday I actually enjoyed the 4 miles I ran.) When I woke this morning, I thought that I felt a little bit of pain in my left shin but ignored it because well, it was only one little jolt of pain. I should have listened, it was the warning shot across my ship's bow. I sallied forth to the gym. Biked my 15 miles and then hit the treadmill for my 3 mile run (which on a different note, amazing the difference in the amount of sweat between biking and running...). The 1st few minutes were a tiny bit painful but nothing I couldn't handle. I kept running at a nice, easy pace and the pain subsided. But around the 1 mile mark, my legs (both of them) started to hurt, so I walked a few minutes and started running again. A 1/2 mile later, my left shin felt like it was on fire with pain. So I walked 5 minutes. Tried to run again and this time, my right shin hurt too plus the back of my calves were so tight they were painful. So, I walked the rest. I got the 3 miles in, but had wanted to run them. So, I'm back to icing them, doing my leg exercises and special stretches (which I probably shouldn't have stopped in the 1st place), but reticient that I shall overcome the evil shin splints and be ready to run the 6.2 miles at the end of my triathlon on May 3rd... you hear me legs? Listen up and listen well. It has been decreed.

On a lighter note, Ladybug has been doing great with the potty training. Angelfish has had a few setbacks (like 2 sets of pee pee clothes from school yesterday), but is on her way to being potty trained. They went to the Recommitment Social with me (and Mr. Darcy) last night and I told them we were going to a party. This was a bit of our conversation from the drive over.

Ladybug: where party at?
Me: A restaurant. Daddy is meeting us there.
Angelfish: Daddy go too? We go to his ocice (that's how she says "office")?
Me: No, we're not going to his office. We're meeting him at the restaurant.
Ladybug: Daddy's office has a lot of people. They are his friends.
Me: Yes, that's right!
Ladybug: His friends good.
Angelfish: Daddy's friends go to party too?
Me: No, just us and some of Mommy's friends who she works out with.
Angelfish: We go swim?
Me: No, it's a party at a restaurant. We can't swim this time.
Ladybug: At party we have birthday cake!
Me: It's not a birthday party. There's not going to be a cake, but we can have spaghetti. Not every party has cake, but it would be a wonderful world if that was the case.
Ladybug: No cake?
Angelfish: It not a birthday party, Ladybug. Daddy be there though!
Ladybug: And Mommy, and Ladybug and Angelfish too!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Swimming & Recommitment

Last night was swim practice... a 25 minute long swim. We were told to get in the pool and warm up and then do a straight swim so that we could get out in 25 minutes and have our nutrition discussion. So, we swam and at the end we had to tell how many times we hit the 100 m mark. I did a 1200 in 25 minutes, and was one of the only ones to get to 1200. Another girl did also, but I was already out of the pool and waiting around when she got to the wall... and this is a girl that can solidly beat me on the running (and most likely the bike too). So, I felt pretty good about it all. As I've said before, if only there was more swimming involved in the tri!

Tonight is recommitment, which means that we are signing our papers to 100% be set for the triathlon and for our fundraising. A few things have happened in the past weeks that have made me even more steadfast in wanting to fundraise. First and foremost of these is that I keep coming across Angela's obituary. I put it in a drawer in my bathroom so it could flatten and stay safe until I have a chance to laminate it and put it in a scrapbook. And when I'm having one of those days or one of those moments (like yesterday seeing the scary photos of myself in tri gear plastered on facebook... having twins is not kind to one's body), I will come across her obituary and it brings different thoughts to mind. Yesterday, when I thought about those photos I remembered how Angela hated having her picture taken and now we all are sorry we have so few pictures of her, and while I still think they need to come up with some aerodynamic yet somehow figure flattering tri gear, I realized that those photos are good. The other day, I saw it in the morning while getting ready for my early Saturday morning workout and when I heard the mission moment about an honored hero who died this past week during his battle with Leukemia, I thought of Angela and how I know she and that other person's honored hero are at peace now. And then I thought about her when I saw "Slumdog Millionaire" this past weekend. I could have sworn the 3rd musketeer was D'Artangnan who while in the Three Musketeers is not in fact, one of them. And I told Bill, Angela would know. Another Team in Training cohort had an honored hero die last week too. Not to mention the lovely woman who gave us massages Saturday after practice to give back to us for raising money because she is battling Leukemia right now. Not to mention my own Mr. Darcy is waiting to hear back about some biopsies of some skin tissue... he's not worried about it, but I am and will be until I hear everything is just fine.

So, recommitment to Team in Training? I'm all about it. I can't say that there is anything else that I would want to do right now. Until there is a cure for cancer and people stop dying, there isn't enough that we can do. I have already surpassed the required fundraising and my initial goal of $3250. So, now my goal is to raise $5,000. I'm not quite sure how I'll be able to do that, but I am going to try anyway. I am hosting a fundraiser at California Pizza Kitchen on Tuesday, March 24th at the Waterford Lakes location. If you bring in the flyer that is included in this entry as a picture (just print it out), they will donate 20% of your bill to The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society through Team in Training. Or, if you can't make it and want to donate (no donation is too small), visit: http://pages.teamintraining.org/cfl/miatri09/kmartinmou

And here's that flyer....

Monday, March 9, 2009

When the rubber meets the road...

a little too hard, you fall over. This Saturday's training session taught me that little gem, which looking at it now could really be a good life lesson as well. We did a 5 mile bike followed by a 2 mile run and then repeated. It was meant to be a transition practice as we are all participating in the Wildman Sprint Triathlon this coming Saturday as a "practice." But, for me it was more of a lesson in stopping my bike. I can get on my bike and go... pedaling, not a problem. Going fast (for me, not necessarily others), not a problem. Stopping the bike and getting off... issue laden. I have a new bike and new clip in pedals and I need a lot more practice with the stopping issue. Particularly the unclipping portion of stopping. I need to learn to snap out that 1st foot (even when approaching stop signs), stop completely while leaning to the side with the unclipped foot and then unclipping the left foot. I have the road rash to prove it... let alone the embarrassment of falling. But luckily, I am the "pick yourself up, dust yourself up and start all over again" kind of gal. I almost fell during the 1st transition (landed square on the bar - glad I'm not male) and did do on the 2nd bike transition. But, I ran the 2 miles afterward all the same and came in 6th out of the 11 or 12 of us that were at practice all the same. So, my goal for the week is to get out there a little bit each day and practice - 1st with my sneakers just pretending to be clipped in and then a little later in the week being actually clipped in. My main problem appears to be that I hold the bike too upright when I go to stop - probably because I'm scared to fall. Ironic.

And then there is the completely separate issue of feeling self indulgent and a bit selfish after this weekend and this morning. I had practice on Saturday and afterwards our coach surprised us with a woman who is battling Leukemia now but is also a practicing sports massage therapist who gave us all massages (not to mention a big Thank You to Jose from Advanced Pro Cycles for adjusting my bike seat and giving me lessons on using my clip ins). After practice, I came home around noon and showered and played with the girls a little bit and then it was nap time. The girls took a nice long nap and didn't get up until around 5 pm, so Mr. Darcy and I played a video game that I got him for Christmas and we were toward the end but hadn't played in awhile. Then we spent a few minutes with the girls and the babysitter arrived and we headed out to a movie. We had Chipotle for dinner, saw "Slumdog Millionaire" (which was amazingly good even if it was more violent than you might expect), and then had ice cream... it counted as my Sunday for lenten purposes. When we got home the girls were in bed and they stayed asleep until what would have been 7:15 usually, which is nice and "late" so we got to sleep in. Then we tried a church nearby (and the girls were angels) and then got haircuts for the girls and Mr. Darcy, bought clothes and some shoes for the girls who are now definitely a 3T, got new bike gloves and bottles, and went home for a few minutes. Then Mr. Darcy and Ladybug stayed home while Angelfish & I did the grocery shopping and came home to dinner of fish sticks and broccoli (and a cliff bar for me for desert). Watched Beauty and the Beast with the little ladies while Mr. Darcy put the groceries away, and then had bath time for the girls and attempted to get them into bed. I say attempted because the little stinkers kept turning on their bedroom light and playing until we finally took the lamp out of their room around 10 pm. Anyway, my point is that I felt guilt in a way... as though I was doing something I shouldn't because there definitely was a lot about what I wanted to do this weekend. But, maybe it is as Mr. Darcy said to me last night when I said I felt bad about watching a movie with the girls while he put the groceries away, "You can't be selfless all of the time." Perhaps I am just trying to find that right balance still, so that when the rubber meets the road it won't be too hard.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Running and Too Much Quiet

Today I ran an "easy" 40 minutes. Believe it or not, it did seem easy today. I alternated 6 minutes running with 2 minutes walking, and even with doing that I went farther in 32 minutes than I used to be able to do in 45. I was pretty happy. However, my shins were not as happy but luckily these days they only hurt for the 1st 3-5 minutes and then only a few minutes after I finish. So, I think they are on the mend. Let's keep our fingers crossed on that one... these chronic shin splints are a bit annoying. I've changed shoes, tried orthotics, but to be truthful I think it's just getting in better shape and changing my running posture that may be what I needed.

Other than running, the girls are doing (knock on wood) amazingly well with potty training. This week Ladybug has not had any accidents, and Angelfish has only had 3. Two at school and one at home. We still have to be vigilant because sometimes they don't want to tell you they have to go because they're having too much fun doing something else and don't want to stop, especially Angelfish. But, I'm rather proud of them even if both of them now tell me "Don't say Yay to me Mommy." I guess they're too big for cheering when they go in the potty now. Let's hope it keeps up... pull ups are not cheap.

I have had to admit to myself that life has been a little hard on me lately. The Team in Training workouts are good for me because I actually get to talk to people, and I love my triathlon training, but I need more social interaction. Take a very social, happy woman away from her group of friends, her clubs and social functions, her charity work, and her office place. Put her in a new town with one girlfriend (thank goodness for her), working from home, the only volunteer opportunities she can find only let you volunteer during the work day, and she pretty much only leaves the house to train or to pick her girls up from daycare. What is the result of this little social experiment? Someone who is on the verge of saying she's somewhat unhappy (which is pretty tough for a formerly perennially happy person). I think the issue is that everything I do is on a schedule, I rarely do anything impromptu any more, and I lack time with friends. I used to be "plan? what plan?" Now my day is full of tasks that I must fulfill without a chance to do much playing. My workouts are awesome, but then there's the tasks that need to get completed for the day from the girls needs, wants, and whinings, to working, to cooking dinner so we don't have starving children (the truth is, if I don't cook we either don't eat or eat junk), to housework and laundry, and somewhere in there trying to get a few minutes to spend talking to my hubby, let alone trying to find any time to wind down from the day.

Part of this is being the mother of toddlers of course. I can't just flit off and do something different and exciting on a whim (there are diaper bags, snacks, drinks, attempting to reason with toddlers, and car seats involved). Well, maybe I could but I think DFACS would be involved, and plus I wouldn't want to do that to my precious love muffins. But I think the majority of this conundrum is that I miss people. Sure, people can be annoying sometimes but overall people are simply wonderful... their different opinions, their ideas, how they look at the world, what they choose to look at in the world, and their different backgrounds. What better entertainment and life experience can you have than meeting other people? So, I'm on a mission to make friends. How and where I will find these friends, I haven't the slightest idea... hopefully it will work itself out.

But for now, I'm off for a snack...

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Swimmy Swim Swim

Today was a nice mile long swim, consisting of a 100 warm up, a 200 swim, 3 sets of 100 swim, 100 pull, 100 kick with only enough interruption to change gear (which was pretty easy since I forgot my kickboard today... too bad that made it harder to do the 100 kicks...) and then what was supposed to be a 200 swim and a 200 cool down that I turned into a 400 swim and out of the pool. Have I ever mentioned how much I love to swim? What? Only a few zillion times and with poems on occasion? Oh, well, then consider it said again.

Angelfish this morning was really amusing. She found a plastic cup, put a balloon on top and started singing "Happy Birthday" and at the end, she blew out the pretend candles on top. The girls are all about birthdays right now because a lot of their little friends at school are turning 3. I asked them what type of birthday party they wanted in June, and Angelfish said "a really big one!" and Ladybug said "one with cake!" (That's my girl!) Ladybug this morning was very stuffy as the latest victim on the head cold circulating the household. When she said her lips were chapped it took us 4 times to finally figure out what she was saying. Let's hope it's short lived... kind of like today's blog entry.

Until tomorrow!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

I LOVE my bike!

Yes, it's official. I am absolutely in love with my bike. Yes, I know I said that before about my old bike... but that was before I knew what an amazing bike ride could be like and I always knew the Trek had faults. But, the Fuji Roubaix Pro is my new main squeeze. I took my first long ride this morning, and it was great! I took it easy on the first 8 miles so I could get to know my bike a little better. But, it's like I already know it. I get on, and it does basically what I think about telling it to do. And it's fast. It was rather windy this morning (and a brisk 42 degrees), so I wanted to be a little cautious... I am, after all, in a completely different position than on my old bike, and balancing on tires that are probably 1/4 of the width of the old bike, and it handles so much better but is also so much more sensitive to my movements than the old bike.

At one point I was biking 15.5 mph! Yes, for an experienced cyclist that would be slow, but for me that was perhaps the fastest I've gone when I wasn't biking downhill. Even with the wind and my going slower for the first 8 miles, I finished my 18 mile bike ride in the time it took me to do 15 miles on my old jalopy. (Poor Trek, see how quickly it's relegated to the back of the bus?)

I will have to get used to a few things with my body position... like remembering to bend my elbows to get into a bigger tuck, the overall tuck position, and the fact that my head isn't up like before and I need to look up with my eyes more than my whole head (crick in the neck). I also either need to have more practice or get my clipless pedals loosened because I fell over 2 out of the 3 times I needed to unclip today because I couldn't get my feet out fast enough and was going too slow. The first time was on grass but the 2nd was on concrete and it hurt. ... thank goodness I was going rather slow and had on long bike pants. And I will have to get a new pair of bike gloves because my old ones don't have the padding in quite the right spots and my thumbs got a little numb by the end of the ride. But even with the things I need to get used to, it was amazing. I have a need, a need for speed!!!

My new love... my Fuji!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

A Mixed Bag

I am back from the doctor and done with my day of work, and as promised here is my blurb about my doctor's appointment and cholesterol. The news was a mixed bag of tricks.

The good news is that my cholesterol overall dropped from 269 to 220, but the bad news is that my good cholesterol dropped by 10 points too. She wanted to put me on a low dose of crestor, especially because my Dad and Grammy have familial hypercholesterolemia (Dad makes 1.5 times the normal amount of cholesterol and Grammy is 2x normal) but I talked her into letting me have 3 more months. She said I can have the 3 months if I take 3 grams of fish oil and a red rice yeast tablet each day (the red rice yeast evidently produces something that's a low grade statin, but it's over the counter). So we’re going to try that.

Of course, it didn’t help that it was a different doctor than I saw the last time and I have white coat syndrome so my blood pressure was high 135/90, which is normal for when I meet a new doctor because evidently I have a nervous subconscious. If I'm not meeting a new doctor for the first time and I like the doctor, it's 117/76 or around there. So, she wants me to keep a record of my blood pressure and wants me to go to Publix and have it taken once a day for the next 3 months. I told her that once a day was unlikely, but that I could do once a week. She said that whatever I could do was fine, as long as it wasn’t less than once a week. If it wasn't for the triathlon training and my agreeing to the supplements, it was straight to the pharmacy for me.

So now I just have to find a GNC!

Point of Clarification...

I received a question from one of my dear readers, so I thought I would give some clarification to my hatred for Orange Cycle that I posted yesterday:
1. Orange Cycle is the bike shop that I went to when we 1st moved to Orlando to try to help my hybrid be a better racing bike without having to buy a road bike at that point. So, they fleeced me back in September. It was only now that I realized how much they had taken advantage of me... releasing my ire on them (and a bit on myself for letting it happen).
2. I did not buy my new bike (or anything else) from Orange Cycle. Cheap used car salesmen of bike shops as they are. Even when I went to test the Cannondale and Specialized bikes I felt like they were trying to do a pressure sale.
3. I bought my wonderful new Fuji Roubaix Pro from a great shop - Advanced Pro Cycles, which is down by the airport on Semoran - that I highly recommend. They take the time to explain things, love to ride, have champion triatheletes and cyclists on staff, and like to educate people about bikes and biking. Their prices are rather good as well.

So to sum things up... ADVANCED PRO CYCLES GOOD; Orange Cycle BAD. I will post more later after my dreaded doctors appointment to discuss my recent cholesterol test that all I could get the nurse who called to tell me was that it was a "little bit" better. I may be asking to get referred to a cardiologist because I can't figure out how to eat any healthier (we follow all the low to nonfat dietary restrictions, etc.) and it turns out that a genetic cholesterol issue runs in the family called familial hypercholesterolemia. Plus, if 40+ miles of cardio each week isn't enough exercise, I don't know what is!

Monday, March 2, 2009

Orange Cycle Sucks!

Yes, it's a double posting in one day. But when I realize I've been had, I don't get mad. I get even. And while I am not necessarily widely read in the blogosphere, I will still have my 2 cents to say. DON'T EVER SHOP AT ORANGE CYCLE! ALL THEY WANT IS YOUR MONEY.

In September, when I was first bit with the triathlon bug, I went to Orange Cycle in Orlando with my hybrid to see what I could do to improve my efficiency on the bike. I was sold handle bar extensions that I didn't need and was told it would help me get a little more aero - lie! It made my elbows stick out which causes more wind resistance. Second, I was sold clipless pedals and a pair of biking shoes. At the time I specifically asked if I would be able to use the shoes on a road bike if I ever bought one and I was told YES. Well, I find out today that answer was kind of like Bill Clinton asking what the definition of "is" is. If I were to put MOUNTAIN BIKE pedals on a road bike then the bike shoes would have worked, but because of how they are constructed the shoes can't work with road bike pedals because there isn't enough room to put the brackets on the shoe so they can clip in. And this shop was honest. They showed me everything and explained it all and even offered to let me return the clipless pedals I was buying if I wanted to put the old pedals on the new bike and use the old shoes on the bike. I decided to go with the new pedals and new shoes but I have vowed to NEVER BUY FROM ORANGE CYCLE again and I will encourage others to not frequent them either!

My new baby...

I apologize for the hiatus in writing, but rest assured dear friends there has been no hiatus in training... just life getting in the way of my blogging as it is wont to do from time to time. And it is rather ironic that the last post I made was about biking. Even more ironic is the fact that in the last post I found a picture of a bike that I would love to own and posted it. Even more ironic than that is that I now own said bike and didn't even realize that I had a picture of it in my blog until this morning!!!

YES, I have a new baby. A beautiful white and black Fuji Roubaix Pro with Shimano 105 shifters, Shimano 105 front derailleur and a Shimano Ultegra (even better than the 105) back derailleur. And, I got it for $450 less than the MSRP that I saw online, which allowed me to get nicer clipless pedals and still save more than $350 off of that MSRP. And even better than that is the fact that it rides like a dream and is as though I am at one with the bike. It's fast, it's sexy and it's all mine!! WHOO HOO. So here's a picture (in case you didn't see it in the last post)...

Other than that we have been running around with chickens with our heads cut off. Work has been busy, then training of course, birthday parties, head colds, errands, cooking, cleaning, trying to catch up with ourselves, and children. But nothing that I would trade for the world.... although I wouldn't mind an extra hour or two in the day to help get things done and to help have some fun free time with my dear husband. Now if only the weather will warm up a bit by Wednesday morning so I can ride my bike!!

In all my rushing around, my brain has been thinking for me while I sleep, processing things that are said to me. (Thanks Coach!) Here are some thoughts that I've woken up with: 1) I need not to worry so much about my weight. I will just eat healthy, try to eat the right number of calories in the right proportions of fat, carb, and protein, and that will be that. Life is too short to worry about that! 2) I need to get new tubes for my new bike in case of a flat. 3) I want to be able to run a 7:30 mile (if not a 7 minute mile) by the May triathlon. 4) I need a vacation and to use my planner to remind myself of things I have to do!

Angelfish and Ladybug were super potty training champs this weekend. Both wore underpants all weekend long (except night time)! Ladybug only had one accident and it was during a nap (and we forgot to have them go potty before naptime), and Angelfish had 2 accidents - 1 when she was playing and wouldn't stop to go and the other also during a nap. Go wonder twins!
Overheard this morning in the car on the way to daycare:
Angelfish: Hold my hand, Mommy.
Mommy: I can't honey, I need to drive the car. I would love to hold your hand when we get to school though.
Angelfish: Ladybug, hold my hand.
Ladybug: Nooooo!
Angelfish: You hurt my feelings.
Ladybug: I not want to hold hands.
Angelfish: That hurt my feelings!
Ladybug: I sorry. I do not want to hold hands right now, Amanda, but I love you.
Angelfish: But you hurt my feelings.
Ladybug: I not hurt your feelings. I said sorry. (If only it worked that way...)
Angelfis: Still hurt. Hold my hand.
Ladybug: Okay...