Friday, May 29, 2009

Simple Observations...

There are some things in life that are just simple observations... Here are a few that have come to my mind recently:

1. People watching is some of the best entertainment in life, and it's free. I'm convinced that this is why there are street vendors who sell popcorn. What better than to sit with a box of popcorn and watch the show.

2. Dogs and toddlers do not listen to reason. No matter how many times I tell the dog that the people in the side yard are OK because they're installing our neighbor's fence, she barks. No matter how I explain why yogurt cannot be eaten right before I'm about to serve dinner, the toddlers in our house cry.

3. Tummy tucks are quite the invention. I often dream of one while riding my bike... primarily because the twin skin that resulted from carrying Angelfish and Ladybug as my doctor likes to say "we're only built to carry one, you know") hangs down and when in the aero bars my legs hit it. Plus, I'd like to see my abs again. Yet, I worry about surgery for such a cosmetic reason. Although it would be nice to have a flatter stomach again.

4. Some people will not listen to what anyone says, even if their life in endangered. Today I swam Lucky's Lake and there was a young woman who was not a very strong swimmer who had been told not to swim Lucky's but showed up. Then she was told only swim half way and back and she didn't listen. Then when she was tired and treading water to "rest" she was told to float on her back until she caught her breath, and didn't listen. While I do not want to squash any one's dreams, there are certain edges of reason that should be adhered to. Lucky's is a deep lake and one can drown if one cannot handle the swim. There is nowhere to rest, just a nice long 500 m swim from one end of the lake to the other. Great for sighting practice and swimming in open water, but not for the skittish (lots of fish and turtles and even an unknown creature, snakes from time to time,etc.) or those who are not strong swimmers. Having to wait on someone (because I don't have it in me to not be concerned with the possibility of needing to help rescue someone) when that someone doesn't listen to reason is slightly annoying.

5. All triathletes I know push themselves on several levels: physical, emotional, and mental. We all believe in ourselves, and the more we achieve the greater we believe. And sometimes, we're swimming/biking/running from something so that we can swim/bike/run to somewhere new in life.

6. When people really want something, they are motivated and do not need to be reminded of anything related to what they want.

7. Life isn't fair. I heard a little kid say something to someone in a restaurant about "that's not fair." Well, life isn't fair but the trick is that you have to pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and either fight to make it fair or find a new way. Whenever someone wins, someone else loses but that doesn't mean you give up.

8. Reality TV is a sad commentary on life. I used to watch "Kate & Jon Plus 8" intermittently... usually on a rough day with the girls to remind myself how good I have it. I stopped when they went from being an everyday family with everyday struggles to getting all the freebies and product placements. Now I just feel sorry for them and especially for their children, and wish they would at least try some marital counseling.

9. Nothing is better than watching your child's face light up or being told that she loves you. Angelfish & Ladybug learned a cute little song at school with hand movements and everything that ends with "I love you." It melted my heart every time they did it. But best of all was when I told Ladybug I loved her as I was putting her shoes on in the car and she touched my arm, gave me a smile and say "I know. I love you too." and then Angelfish chimed in "I love you so much, Mommy!" They can wake me up at 3:30 am any morning for that.

10. Everyone needs something for themselves. You give so much of yourself as a spouse and a parent, at work, to your friends and other family members, but you have to keep something for yourself. The hard part is remembering this and finding the time to live it out.

11. Birthday parties are not about cake and presents. They're about celebrating that you exist, touch the lives of others, and that you are loved. I don't care how many pony rides, build a bears, or fairy/princess dress up you have if you're missing that point.

12. I could be a swim coach. I'd need some technical training, but I'm always giving people pointers and I really do love swimming. Despite my internal vow to never swim competitively again because of how much I hated the way my childhood swim coach treated me (especially when I quit and he yelled at me for quitting and told me that he made me into who I was - even at 12 I knew that was malarkey, I swam for those Junior Olympic times not him AND I was more than just a swimmer), and having to relive and forgive myself for breaking that promise to myself, I LOVE swimming and I love helping other people be better swimmers. So, yes, Coach W, you were right. You said I'd be back, and I'm back to competitive swimming... just not in the time frame you expected it to be.

13. The idea of running a marathon or a half marathon on it's own makes me think, "I'd never want to do that." But the idea of running a half marathon as part of a triathlon doesn't even phase me. I just think of it as the last 13.1 miles of the race. I must be crazy.

14. Life is too short. I wish jobs were just about making money to put food on the table and a roof over your head and clothes on yours & your children's backs, and you had free time to spend with people and see the world. And I wish food would magically appear in my kitchen each week and cook itself, and that the laundry would do itself and put itself away. There are not enough hours in the day for it all.

15. This post is getting a little too sappy. So I'll end by saying: in the big picture my life is good and while I have my complaints, all in all it's not worth the stress and anguish I put myself through. Now, if only I can remember that later when the girls are trying to avoid bedtime yet again.

Happy weekend! I'll be biking 30 miles tomorrow morning... and I'm hoping it will be on my new bike (which came in yesterday but is not yet fully assembled)!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

The Best Laid Plans and Revisions

I had the best laid plan in the world for this morning. I was going to rise at 4:30 am, eat, set the trainer up, do my 1.5 hour ride, run for 1/2 an hour and return just in time for the little ones to wake, sleepy eyed and adorable as they do each morning. It was going to be perfect timing.

Fate, it would seem, had other plans. I sometimes wonder what it is that attracts the god of mischief to my daily life. Of course, sometimes the mischief is fun... this morning was a mixed bag. I woke at 3:45 am to the feeling that someone was staring at me. Lo and behold, Ladybug was standing at the side of the bed staring at me through the darkness. I said her name and put my hand on her bottom and sure enough, pee! So, I was up and we went to the bathroom for her to potty and to change. Then she insisted she had to have pajama shorts - not pajama pants, mind you, but pajama shorts - all of which were in the chest of drawers in the bedroom she shares with her sleeping sister. Not wanting to wake said sister, I said no. This led to crying and wailing and perhaps even some gnashing of teeth, although I might have been the one gnashing the teeth, it's hard to tell it was so early. Being desirous of at least a few more moments of sleep, I caved. By this time, Mr. Darcy had woken up and was trying to calm Ladybug down also. Finally, quiet. And then I literally had the feeling that right as I was finally about to sleep again the alarm was going to go off. Just as I had the thought, the alarm went off.

Up again. This time getting ready, eating breakfast, setting up the trainer. Angelfish comes out looking worried and the moment she sees me, she lifts her arms up to be picked up. I pick her up and soothe her and bring her to the bathroom to use the potty. We talk a little and it turns out that she had a bad dream. I can't quite understand what she's trying to explain but evidently there was a bad dream involving the carpet. I take her to her bedroom and lay down with her for a bit, and she asks for a story. So I tell her a story about a guardian angel just for her that is friends with her Mommy and with God & who looks out for her. She starts to fall asleep. Then we hear Ladybug out of the bedroom with her Daddy in tow talking in a very loud voice. I jump up to get her away from the door but Angelfish stays in the bed, so I thought she was asleep. It's not even 5 am yet!

Ladybug is hungry because she heard me eating cereal, and "you should have closed the bedroom door all the way." To which I replied, "I'm up this early because you want me to have at least one day on the weekend off so there are no interruptions to family life. So be nice." Grumpiness abounds at that hour of the morning. I get on the bike at 4:47 am. (I should explain that our alarm clock is set 15-20 minutes ahead of the actual time to ensure we get where we need to go on time.) Ladybug eats her cereal, discovers my during training nutrition and tries to get me to eat some, and I tell her that I'm not going to eat any just yet because I haven't been on the bike very long. Then she wants to know if I'm almost done. I told her that I still have quite awhile to go. Mr. Darcy ushers her off to the bedroom again to try to get some sleep.

Not even 20 minutes pass and Angelfish appears again, but this time with a sly smile on her face. She asks where Ladybug is and I tell her that she's in the bedroom with Daddy because she couldn't' sleep and that she can go in there too. About 5 minutes later, Mr. Darcy appears and gets the "Sleeping Beauty" video. Evidently, the girls watch the video and Mr. Darcy tries to get some sleep. I'm still riding away on the trainer. All works out in the end, but what a fiasco. Angelfish and Ladybug never went back to sleep and Ladybug raised some more Cain at some point while I was still on the bike, but after inquiring if all was well, I was told it was under control.

The trainer included 1 leg drills. I was supposed to do 6, alternating legs each minute. I accidentally did 8 because I wasn't thinking about it and started minute 7 with the left leg and then it dawned on me 30 seconds in, at which point I decided I didn't want to be uneven. (Yes, Coach, I know you read my blog. Turns out yesterday was supposed to be 3x500 negative splits not 2x750, which I remembered wrong from my workouts and so I told on myself in my blog... my brain is not necessarily the best that early in the morning.) Whether 6 or 8, those suckers are hard! Much easier with the right leg than the left. By the end I was able to have a somewhat smooth minute on the right side, but not as much on the left side. Then the rest of the 1.5 hours on the trainer. Something about using the trainer is harder for me than riding on the road, and I certainly was rather sweaty by the end of it.

The 1/2 hour run was actually pretty good, but resulted in my becoming even more sweaty. I was completely drenched by the end of it, but felt good. I did about 2.4 miles in 30 minutes. Not a world record, but rather good for me especially after completing 1.5 hours on the bike just prior. I was pleased, and thrilled to find that I could have gone farther. (Despite the neighbor walking his dog who during my last 2 minutes of the run when I was supposed to be in a lower zone that I should keep up the pace - note to self, I need to get Coach or Mr. Darcy to help me set my heart rate monitor so I can actually train in the various heart rate zones. I told the neighbor I would run faster but it was the end of my 2 hour workout.)

I could use a good nap and some caffeine, and I'm really hungry at the moment, but other than that it all turned out nicely.

As for revisions, it has to do with my plotting for a European adventure. After looking at prices for airfare overseas (well, actually, the taxes and fees associated with overseas travel that turn a $298 airfare into $660), I am now plotting for a Northwestern US/Canadian adventure. Much less pricey (especially since it looks like we can get 3 of the 4 tickets for "free" via points and sky miles), and still something that sounds like fun. Not to mention the discovery of nonstop air travel from Orlando to Seattle, which settled some minds... although a decision has not yet been fully rendered. See Seattle, visit some family (if they're available) when we're there, and venture up to Vancouver as well. The ability to cross another state and a Canadian province off my list of places to go before I die to boot. There is hope.

Still waiting on the tri bike. Called the shop yesterday and they said they thought it would have arrived on Tuesday so they were hoping it would arrive yesterday and they'd call when it was in. No call. It will arrive eventually, I guess. I am just ever so excited.

In other exciting news, Ladybug kept her underpants dry all day yesterday! Day #2 in the victory of the unified forces against the potty training resistance. Let's hope we can go for more! The funny part is that Angelfish is 99.8% potty trained but we have to reward her as well for keeping it up because we can't chance her defection to the potty training resistance. The war of the bladders continues!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Success, Impatience, European Plots, and Other Matters

Success: Ladybug went an entire day without an accident yesterday and was a potty using champ! She rocks! When I got to daycare yesterday, Ladybug ran up to me gave me her hug and said, "Mommy I kept my underpants clean and dry all day! I want popcorn!" Not wanting to be fooled, I asked "You have the same underpants on that you had on this morning?" And she said "yes!" while flashing me. Sure enough. Same underpants! Will wonders never cease?

I told her how proud I was of her and gave her lots of kisses and hugs, and promised popcorn when we got home. At this point, Angelfish made sure to let me know that she kept her underpants dry and clean too. So she too got popcorn. And the best part? Ladybug went accident free all the way up to bed time when we put her in a pull up (she's not able to keep it dry at night yet) and put on her pajamas. She even got up to use the potty before going to bed, after our story! Let's hope this is the start of a nice long winning streak in the potty department!

Impatience: #1 The tri-bike I won, has been ordered. Now I wait, wait, wait for it to arrive at the bike shop. I was told that it could be here sometime this week, but it is already Wednesday. In the meantime, people have been inquiring as to whether I'm going to sell my road bike. If they'll give me the price I'm looking for yes, but otherwise I'm holding on to it. It's only 3 months old and is a wonderful bike. The bike shop owner and my coach recommend keeping it so that I can do road races or group rides that don't allow for triathlons and for those times I want to just train on a road bike instead of a tri-bike. So, if it happens to sell, great. If it doesn't, that's OK too. But, I REALLY want my Orbea tri-bike to arrive. (In my dreamy moments, I tell myself that it's being crafted and sent all the way from the Spanish Pyrenees, so I should be patient.)

#2 Blood work. I called the doctor's office yesterday about my blood work. I had it done last Tuesday, so you'd think they would have the results. Evidently, one of the tests that was ordered takes 7-10 business days for them to get the results so they don't have the blood work back yet. In this day and age, what in the world could they be doing with that blood that can take so incredibly long? They did tell me that my thyroid ultrasound showed that my thyroid is officially "slightly enlarged," but that there is no need for a biopsy or surgery. Anyway, I want to know the blood work results.

European Plots: Living in Atlanta spoiled us for overseas travel. Direct flights abounded. Living in Orlando means no direct flights to Europe. London would be at shortest 11 hours and 30 minutes, including flight times and layovers. Dublin, 15 hours. So now my darling hubby is attempting to distract my plots with tickets to the U2 concert that would be right in the time frame that I was talking about traveling. (U2 is my favorite band from my youth. I still love their music to this day - in fact, Angelfish and Ladybug were in utero at about 10 weeks at their last concert.) I have countered with the suggestion of attending the concert and going on a trip to Seattle, seeing my family who lives out there and crossing the border into Canada to go to Vancouver for a day or two. It's not Europe, but I've never been and always wanted to go. Plus, it brings us to just under 8 hours for layovers and flight times. If worst comes to worst, I will concoct an adventure to take on my own, but I would much prefer traveling with the fam. We shall see as the plotting continues.

Other matters: My morning swim was quite good. A 200 warm up, and 2 x 750 m negative splits. I felt like I was a little boat cutting through the water with little effort. But, I noticed that when I started to get a little tired I change my body position so that my head is not looking high enough and my chest is not held far enough forward. So I worked on it. When I stay in the right position, I am super fast! I made sure to maintain posture for the entire 2nd 750 m and I made the negative split easily with out much additional effort. The weird part too was that on that 2nd 750, I got so into a zone with it that I forgot where I was for a bit. I still somehow knew what lap I was on, but I had to remember whether it was my first or 2nd 8 (I count lengths in 8s, it's my swim number so I don't get lost on how many I've counted) because I was just going through the water like no body's business and evidently without a care in the world. It was almost like I fell asleep while swimming. You know, kind of like you do when you're really tired and driving a car... you are driving, your eyes are open, but you don't remember the past 5 miles. The only difference was that I didn't feel tired, I felt great!

And I had this nagging desire to tell the guy in the lane next to me that he crosses his arms over when he swims and that he needs to work on entering the water with his hands in line with his shoulders. This guy swims in the pool at the same time I do, is there almost every day I am there, and he works hard at his swimming. He uses the paddles and the zoomers, and does sprints and distances as well as just doing the paces. But he's never going to be able to get going really good until he stops crossing over. He does it with both arms, which is perhaps the only thing that keeps him moving in a semblance of a straight line, but his stroke is catty wampus. His right hand is entering the water in line with his left ear, and his left hand is in line with his right eye. Thus the slapping sound he makes when his right arm enters the water (that and his elbow isn't high enough). I don't know the guy. He has never even said hello in response to my greeting him on occasion when we both arrive at the pool at the same moment. Yet I want to fix his stroke. Maybe it's that slapping noise with the right arm... it's even worse when he breathes on the right side. Maybe it's my obsessive tendencies with swimming and/or perfectionism. Whatever it is, he's making me want to stop him (even in the middle of my swim) and tell him. Of course, he might find that rather impertinent. Ah well. I'll just have to be content to fix my own stroke and body position issues, and continue to out pace him in the pool.

So here's to a day of wishing for dry underpants, the arrival of my tri-bike and blood work, an adventure abroad, and good swim form! Tomorrow's workout will have me up rather early... I have a 1 1/2 hour bike workout that is supposed to be done on the trainer as it involves some 1 legged cycling, followed by a 30 minute run. So, think of me at 4:30 am!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

A Lovely Weekend - Full of Pee and Fun for All

It really was a lovely weekend. Unfortunately, Ladybug is still a member of the potty resistance but luckily (and knock on wood) she has been unable to recruit Angelfish to join. She did much better at school on Friday (not sure that I told you all about her purposefully peeing and pooping in her pants at school a total of 5 times. How, you ask, do I know it was on purpose? She announced it to the playyard before doing the deed and when in doors would laugh at her teachers as she did it. As the head of school said, "this is the trouble with having a highly intelligent child. The other children just aren't smart enough to think this up." ), but then returned to the less then attentive potty habits by Monday. So it was a weekend full of pee, even if overall the weekend was fun.

Friday, we painted our foyer. It was a color called spun gold. When it dried, it looked like a school bus. So we headed off for paint samples and settled on a nice terra cotta orange color called La Fonda Sombrero. Purchased the paint and hit the furniture stores, with only the intention of purchasing either a foyer table or a sofa table. We ended up buying a chest for the foot of our bed, a foyer table, and a sofa table. All very lovely, all on sale due to Memorial Day, and all just what we've been looking for (the chest for 2 years mind you). Played with the girls a bit after we picked them up from daycare, and then painted.

Saturday morning I woke up to head to the gym for a 30 mile bike and a 30 minute run. The gym that I though opened at 6 am. Took one look at the kitchen and decided that sage green would be a lovely color and that whomever lived in this house with the bright orange kitchen was not related although it was a nice color. Got to the gym by 6:22 am. By 6:30 am, it was evident that I was the only car in the parking lot and the gym must not open until 7 am. So I ran the parking lot to make good use of my time. 30 minutes later, super sweaty, the gym opened and 32.4 miles on the trainer later I had a nice shower and headed to the emergency care to meet the fam so Angelfish could have her staples removed. Took all of 30 seconds to remove, Angelfish's only complaint was that the nurse (who was not the one she's used to seeing at the emergency care center) gave her only 1 sticker this time and that Ladybug got one too. We did some errands and played with the wee ones.

Sunday our friends Mike, Elaine & Josie came for a day visit. It was fun for the little ones to play and the grown ups to chat. I also went for a 6 mile run in the morning before the company arrived. Bill started to run with me, but the girls were fighting over territory in their blue car within 2 minutes, so he ran after I finished. All I have to say is, it was rather hot. To the point that I ran without my shirt on. Full coverage black sports bra in place, no need to call the police. I am not one to run without a shirt, so lets just say that when I passed the church I thought that I may have been indecent but it was better than passing out.

Monday I did about 6 loads of laundry (all of which are waiting to be folded and put away this evening), we did a few more errands and then wandered around Sea World for the afternoon until it started to rain. And I was rather naughty and skipped the 4 mile run and 1 mile swim I was supposed to do. It was a holiday and I wanted to be holidayish with the fam. Of course, Ladybug added to my laundry with her potty resistance, but I can hope for a day free from pee pee pants.

This morning it was back to work. A 4 mile run to start things off, which really is getting to be just an easy sort of run now. I have to say I'm most impressed at this fact. Then work, and now off to get the kiddies from daycare and attend Mr. Darcy's volleyball game downtown - if it's not rained out by the time we get there. The weather is looking a bit ominous, yet again. 7 straight days of rain turned into a gorgeous Monday until it's time for work to end. A cruel trick, but much needed rain.

Tomorrow is a swim... yay!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

A Sputtering Tank

Evidently, my tank is low and definitely sputtering.

I woke up tired this morning after oversleeping and thereby missing my opportunity to join friends for a group bike ride this morning... although it was a bit wet still at our house. So I put the bike on the trainer and started to ride. Then I realized, I didn't have breakfast. I never start a workout without breakfast. At least not since 3 months ago when Coach not so gently explained how I could do serious harm to myself by continuing to do such a thing. But, I didn't have 1 1 /2 hours to wait, so I borrowed a trick from Joe Friel's book The Triathelete's Training Bible. I ate 2 raspberry flavored Hammer gels and got back on the bike.

Within the 1st 3 miles I could tell there was going to be a problem. I was tired, already, and my quads were burning, already. This never happens so early on. Mile 12 is usually the first of these sorts of things and after consumption of shot blocs, things get better. No such luck today. I tried the new method of nutrition consumption my Coach wants me to follow - 4 to 8 oz. of sports drink (although what I used today won't cut it - 3 calories per 8 oz because we were out of Gatorade and I used some Nuun elctrolyte tabs thinking it would be just like Gatorade, um no) every 15 minutes (provided I'm doing 1 hour or more of exercise), and shot blocs for the rest of the calories I need for the activity (500 cal per hour during activity). Realizing that the Nuun was not like Gatorade, I added a shot bloc each 15 minute interval (100 cal in 3 shot blocs). It helped a little but man was I tired. I have never just wanted to stop, but boy did I ever today.

The new bike shorts I bought are great though. Real bike shorts have a ton more padding than the tri shorts, which made things a bit more comfy. I think I'm going to use them up until race day or when I do not have a swim bike brick involved. The funny thing is that I bought a smaller size and even tried them on... and when I tried them on I thought you know I might even need a size smaller, but didn't want to be overly optimistic and bought the size I tried on. I may be buying a smaller size. These were fine but they seemed to fit a little looser than they should. They will do for now, but a smaller size would definitely be better.

Angelfish woke up at mile #3 and wanted Mommy to help her get dressed. She was so cute. She walked up to my bike, and tried to press on the brake lever. I asked her what she was doing and she said, "I am trying to stop you bike!" So, I (of course) stopped and helped her get dressed. Then Ladybug decided she wanted me to help her too, which I did. They were so cute wanting to wear dresses today, and Ladybug promising me (on her own accord) she would keep her underpants dry today at school because she wanted to have popcorn after school today. (4 accidents yesterday, so yes, I'm plying her with popcorn in an attempt to get her back on the potty using track - popcorn is her favorite food other than candy... but I don't give her candy. Only her Grammie and Papa do that.) Then they piled in the car, kisses and hugs were given, waves goodbye, and wishes for a good day expressed, as they pulled out of the driveway.

Then back on the bike, but my body did not want to go. I got myself to 15 miles and that was more difficult than any bike ride I've done in forever and I had to stop - 10 miles short of where I needed to be for the day. I felt like stopping several times during that 15 miles and my legs were like lead. Talk about feeling like a big wuss. Lucky for me I didn't go on the group ride, that would have been embarrasing.

The only thing I can think of is that somewhere I am not eating enough. I have to say that yesterday I wasn't very hungry, so I didn't eat all of my planned meals. It's probably my payback. So I vow to plan out my meals for the rest of the week and next week, and I will stick to the plan. This fueling the machine thing is really quite amazing and a bit complicated. You can't just stick any old thing into the system... unless you want to feel like a slug or cause yourself GI distress... and if you don't put enough in to your body, you can't train as well as you need to. The proper amount of healthy calories divided into the proper proportions of carb, protein, and fats. But how good you can feel (and how far you can go) when you're doing it right... which my tank is telling me I am not quite doing right at the moment. This I will remedy!

I originally had planned to do a 30 mile bike followed by a 30 minute run tomorrow (since I'm taking the day off of work to make a nice long 4 day holiday weekend), but after this morning I have changed the plan. Depending how I feel in the morning, I will either take a complete day of rest or I will run 6 miles. That will then determine whether I have Sunday completely off, or whether I will have a 6 mile run to do before corraling the family off to church. Either way, the 30 miles & 30 minutes will be Saturday morning's adventure. Stay tuned for further details.
: o ) That is, if I don't sleep the entire weekend.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

The Rain, A Fitting, and A Plot

It's Day 3 of Rain and we have been promised yet another day of it tomorrow. The 1st day was nice. There is something peaceful about a rainy day. The 2nd day was OK. It resulted in my running alone in our neighborhood yesterday evening - the 1st 4.5 miles in a light and intermittent drizzle; the last mile in steady, heavier rain. I decided I like running in the rain, as long as I'm wearing moisture wicking clothing (which I was). Today, I am over the rain. While I realize we are in a drought, we need not make up for it in one fell swoop.

I blame the rain for making me unable to get up out of bed this morning to go to Lucky's Lake for a swim. I made it to the gym pool however, and did a lovely 2,000 m (1.25 miles) swim . It was rather invigorating. I did the first 500 m, took a 30 second break and then decided to swim the next 1500 all at once. Amazing how strong you can feel after doing a nice long swim like that!

I am hoping that the rain will move along because tomorrow I have a 25 mile bike to do. I will not be nearly as happy doing 25 miles on the trainer as I would be on the open road. But, at least Ruby (my road bike) and I will have a few more training rides together before the new triathlon bike arrives. Today, I went for a fitting for the new Orbea Ora I won. The 49 fit just fine. The 51 will be a bit too big, so the 49 it is. Now they just have to finalize the financials with the person who was in charge of the bike raffle and then they will order my bike. I find it amusing (and expensive) that higher end bikes like these do not come with pedals. So I had to buy pedals for them to install when my new bike arrives. I'll also have to have them move over my bike computer, and I'm hoping to have a bottle holder that fits between the aero bars too so I don't have to even move to drink while riding. My new bike's name may have just come to me - she is red and coming to me from the heart of the Pyrenees (well, Orbea is headquartered there anyway. I can dream, can't I?), so perhaps her name should be Rosa (which, yes I know is Rose, but there are red roses, she is a thing of beauty, and roses are the queen of the flowers, not to mention people get roses often when they WIN!). Only that first ride will tell. I can't wait. I just hope Ruby won't be too jealous.

In news of other obsessions...the past few days my passport has been staring at me, sitting there in my office, luring me with its navy blue cover and gold seal on the front. It wants me to use it. And yes, technically we are going on a cruise to the Bahamas in July. And yes, the Bahamas is a "foreign country." But it's not quite foreign enough. The passport wants more.
So I am plotting. I am angling for a trip to London to visit our friends Kelli & Iain. Early October works for them, Kelli tells me. How cool would it be to go from finishing my first 70.3 IronMan to a trip to England for several days following?

Mr. Darcy is resisting. I think he worries about having to buy tickets for the girls and primarily how they will do on a long plane ride. They have survived 4 hour and 5 hour car rides just fine. Plus we have WorldPoints that, if we want to use them on airfare, we need to use them before June 1st to purchase said air travel. That's 2 of the 4 tickets for "free." The other thought is to let Mr. Darcy be sensible like he wants to be with his points and get new pots and pans and an iPod thing for the house, and I can use my points for travel to a foreign destination... London, Dublin, Quebec for a few days. Not sure which he'd rather endure - the long plane ride with the girls or his being with the girls on his own for a few days. The plot thickens, but the plot twists must be ironed out before June 1st. I'm on a mission!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

A Little Too Much Excitement

Last night we had a little too much excitement around the house. I had gotten home from my evening swim (a 1500 m ladder in about 45 minutes, I was pleased and tired), was greeted by extra happy girls with hugs and kisses (which always puts a smile on your face), ate some food because I was starving, and the girls began to play "cowgirl" with a rope they found while we tried to convince them to chat with their Grammie and Papa over the internet video cam. All seemed to be shaping up for a delightful evening. Then as Mr. Darcy was winding up his video call the girls' started barreling through the living room at top speeds. Just as I was telling them to slow down, Angelfish tripped and fell. As she fell, she hit her head and then her arm on the corner of a little dividing wall that we have between the living room and the breakfast nook.

She was screaming and holding her arm, and I thought it might be broken. But I got to her, scooped her up and discovered her arm was ok. Angelfish had full range of motion, it was scraped up, and all seemed ok just a painful ouchie. Then all of a sudden I had blood on my hands and I had no idea where it was coming from. I freaked out. I am generally good in an emergency, but when I couldn't see where the blood was coming from, I was useless and screamed for Mr. Darcy to come back. I had yelled for him when I heard her hit the wall and she started screaming immediately (the view was impeded by the sofa so I wasn't sure what hit the wall at first). He said that it came from her ear because there was a scratch there. I told him that couldn't be it because I had too much blood on my hands. So I took a deep breath and calmed myself and asked Angelfish "did you hit your ear on the wall?" "No." "did you hit your head?" "Yes, mommy. It hurts." "Where, honey?" "Here." And that's when I saw it - an inch from where she put her hand, there was a cut. I moved the hair away and found her scalp had split open.

I told Angelfish and Mr. Darcy that we needed to go to the Emergency Clinic to see a doctor. Mr. Darcy looked at it and agreed that it was an open cut that probably would need stitches. Angelfish matter of factly said, "I need to go to the doctor. The doctor will give me stickers." Ladybug was very sweet to her sister, very concerned and wanting to help in making her feel better. Once we determined that she needed to go to the doctor, Ladybug walked up to Angelfish, put her hand on her back sweetly and asked "Are you ok, Angelfish?" Angelfish replied, "Yes, but I need to go to the doctor." Ladybug then said so sweetly and sincerely, "I love you so very, very much." It was the sweetest thing, especially because Ladybug is not one to say I love you but on a rare occasion.

So, we packed everyone up into the minivan and headed to the Emergency Clinic where we waited 1 1/2 hours to be called back into the back room, and then another 20 minutes for the doctor to appear. The doctor told us that she had to put staples in because with stitches (liquid or otherwise) the wound would reopen and not be able to heal. The wound was deep. I could see the fatty tissue under the skin. Then she was off to get a nurse to assist. Our Angelfish is one tough girl. I told her that the doctor was going to need to help her head and that it was going to hurt a little but it would be ok. When the doctor came back, Mr. Darcy and Ladybug left the room (because we didn't want Ladybug to see what was going to happen). Angelfish laid right down on the table on her side, held my hands, and she and I sang "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star" twice. She winced when the doctor put in the 2 staples, but never cried. When she was allowed to sit up, she clinged to me but was a brave, brave girl. And once the nurse brought her stickers, she was back to her usual happy self and headed off to the car with a joyful trot. I think it may have been harder on me than it was on her. It's hard to let someone do something to your child that you know is going to hurt them, even if it is to help in the end.

We got home around 11:30 pm last night. Poor Mr. Darcy hadn't had dinner before we left so he ate when we got home and after we put the girls in bed (they had fallen asleep in the car). I went to bed immediately too. I was exhausted!

Today, Ms. Angelfish is at home with me and I will be taking the afternoon off from work. For some reason, she's able to play and let me work in the mornings but not as much in the afternoons. Besides, it's a chance for a little one on one time that we rarely get.

I am hoping the rain will subside at some point too as I have a 5 mile run that I need to get in and I'd rather avoid doing it on a treadmill if I can. I get so bored on treadmills. The open road is so much better for a run. If the rain subsides, Mr. Darcy plans to run with me (although he has expressed concern that he might not make all 5 miles) - which means the girls will be riding in their blue car (aka biking/running stroller type contraption). So let's keep our fingers crossed!

Monday, May 18, 2009

A Weekend of Growth and Choices

This weekend was quite interesting. After a very angry shouting session where I fully expressed myself, and settling down a bit, Ladybug asked me, "Are you happy with me Mommy?" To which I replied, "Yes, honey. You make me so happy. You are wonderful and I love you very much." And made the choice to stop being angry.

A little bit later, Mr. Darcy decided he wanted to go with me for my 45 minute run. So we packed up the girls with snacks, drinks, and got them into the "blue car" and finally set off (about 1/2 an hour later), with Mr. Darcy pushing the car that seems to go by itself. 15 minutes into the run, I hear heavy panting behind me and being generous, I told him we'd walk for 3 minutes. Then we ran another 15 minutes, walked 3 minutes, and ran out the rest of the 45 minutes. Unfortunately, I had purposely skipped 2 sets of 500 calorie meals the day before to prove a point, a stupid point that showed nothing but that it would pay me back on the run. I was able to do the run because I ate some breakfast before the run, but being short on 1,000 calories from the day before doesn't help in the heat and I almost vomited the emptiness of my stomach during the run.

So, afterwards I made the choice to never do something so stupid again. I announced that I will eat what I want, when I want and if that wasn't acceptable then too bad. You have to fuel your tank to do what triathletes do, and you harm yourself when you don't.

I also explained that we all have choices in this world. I do my best to be the best me I can be every day. That is my choice. I chose to eat healthy, whole grains, vegetables, fruits, and lean meats and fish, and train for triathlons, and if that is not enough for my body to become acceptable for others that is their choice, not mine. I am the best me I can be. The others have the choice to accept me as I am and for that to be enough for their own happiness, or they can choose to be unhappy. I cannot control others happiness, nor am I going to spend my life trying to do that. That choice is up to them to make.

The growth that came from that choice was amazing. I always was taught that you should always work at self improvement but to never allow yourself to be proud of yourself. I chose now to no longer believe that. I realize now that I have to be my own best cheerleader because as a dear friend said to me, "Nothing others do is because of you. What others say and do is because of their own reality, their own dream. Your best is always going to change from moment to moment. Under any circumstances, simply do your best." And I also found some inspiration from Triathlete Life magazine of all places. It was talking about the idea that some people have about who should do triathlons, and really it was up to each person to decide that no matter what shape or weight they start at that they are triathletes and take up the challenge. It all kind of came together.

I can be proud of myself as long as I do not reach the crazy mode of thinking that I am wonderful and can never improve or that I am the absolute "best." So that day I chose to be proud of myself. And I realized that all these years, my dearest friends who have been telling me I'm wonderful are right. I am pretty friggin' awesome to be quite honest. I'm even more lucky to have met people who challenge my notion of myself and inspire me to always improve, to value the wonderful in people, and to learn from others. I have met some amazing people, but I realize now that I am pretty amazing too.

I am smart, hardworking, friendly, kind, caring, a champion of those I love - friends and family alike. I am dedicated to my children and their happiness and their growth into caring and responsible people but without crushing their spirit and what makes them unique. I am supportive of my husband's dreams even when I don't necessarily want the same for myself. I love, honor and cherish my husband for all his faults and opinions, even those that I disagree with. I am accepting of people for all their faults and all their positives, but those that I truly respect are the ones I let into my life. I want to make this world a better place by being in it, and that's why charitable works and being a good friend and a good person and helping those who need it are so very important to me. I believe that we all deserve and have a right to be loved for who we are and that should be celebrated every day. I have endured many hardships in my life but I never want to be a complainer and I try to live each day with happiness and joy. I have my faults too. I am not perfect or a supermodel, and I never will be - no matter how hard I try. But I am the best me I can be on every day that I am on this planet. Some days this means I will be better than other days, but I am the best me I can be and I'm proud of me.

Coming to this realization and this belief made it a lot easier to have a nice rest of the weekend. After our run on Saturday and my epiphany and sharing my epiphany, the girls cracked me up because they wanted to take a shower with me. So we spent time playing in the water, just the 3 of us, which was a hoot. Angelfish and Ladybug truly are little water babies. I think, like their Momma, if they could spend all their time in the water or either on the pool deck or the beach, they'd be happiest of all. Poor Angelfish got shampoo in her eye and claimed that it burned for a good long while, even after I flushed her eye with water a few times. I think she was wanting some Mommy attention, personally. So I bundled her up in a towel and rocked her and snuggled with her on the bed. The next thing I knew Ladybug was trying to wake us up and Mr. Darcy was stopping her. So we napped a little longer.

After our nap, we played until Ladybug got up from her nap and then we played some more until I needed to make dinner for them. Mr. Darcy and I went to a restaurant in Winter Park called Chez Vincent for our anniversary. It was delicious! Perhaps the best meal I have had in an extremely long time. I had venison with sundried cherries and a sauce that was so tender and delicious that it was like heaven. Mr. Darcy had a filet mignon that he said was rather scruptious as well. For desert, we shared a Grand Marnier souffle with a little bit of chocolate sauce. Yum!

Sunday, we finally found a church that we love and plan to become members. Angelfish and Ladybug are to thank really, as they asked (completely unprompted) if we could go to church. I figured, out of the mouths of babes... So, All Saints Episcopal Church is the winner. It too is in Winter Park, but definitely worth our 30 minute drive. Then we had some lunch, did some errands, the girls fell asleep (and so did I) in the car, so we headed to try to buy honey from our local beekeeper forgetting that they are closed on Sunday. Then it was time for the wrap up party for my Team in Training team.

We had a blast - it was a pool party and all were there with good food and their families. Ryan had been raising money for TNT by raffling off a new Orbea bike - either an Onix road bike or the Ora tri-bike, winner's choice. I had already bought a ticket, but the way Ryan was asking for any more interested people for tickets right before the drawing, I was worried that he might not have sold enough tickets to cover the cost of the bike. I told Mr. Darcy that he needed to buy a ticket and Mr. Darcy resisted. Then I told him that he needed to go buy the ticket because I was worried that Ryan might not have sold enough to cover the cost of the bike and that I knew he had a $20 bill in his wallet. Mr. Darcy bought the last ticket.

To make things fair, Ryan mixed up all the tickets in a box, shook vigorously and mixed them by hand as well, and then had little AJ, a 3 year old Leukemia survivor whose Mom Hope was on our team, select the winning ticket. Mr. Darcy won the bike! He says that he is only starting to try to workout and I have been dedicated to my training so I should have the bike. I told him he could have the bike, but he insisted. So, I will be the proud new owner of a gorgeous Orbea Ora Tri-bike. (Pic below for those of you who love bikes...) I am super excited!
A great end to the weekend! This morning I hit a 4 mile run, and ran the entire thing with energy to spare, and this evening I'll have a swim workout as well. My swim gear (kickboard, paddles, buoy, and zoomers) was just delivered, and my heart rate monitor I ordered is in at the bike shop! 70.3 here I come!

Friday, May 15, 2009

A Tired OOPS!

I am back from Atlanta. The seminar went well and the trip, was quick, as usual. It was wonderful to see my colleagues from my old office and spend time chatting and catching up with them, including my paralegal who is really just a very nice guy. But I was ridiculously tired when I got back. There it was only 6 pm and I was having a tough time staying awake while watching an episode of "The Little Einsteins" with the girls. Mr. Darcy had to cook dinner because I couldn't even pull myself off the couch. Ladybug told me that she didn't want me to close my eyes because it was still daytime and she wanted to be with me. So I forced myself to stay awake because with that kind of request, who wouldn't? But the second the girls were in bed, I was too. Sound asleep and I woke up kind of tired still.

In fact, I was so tired that despite dragging out the bike and setting up the trainer to make up for not riding yesterday, I forgot that I had to have blood work done today and that it was fasting blood work and had some breakfast before the 1.5 hours I spent on the trainer, pedalling away to 2 episodes of "What Not To Wear." I remembered when I found the paperwork for my bloodwork for this afternoon's appointment. While I was annoyed with myself because I had to reschedule again (I had a conference call at 11 am that made me bump back the original bloodwork appointment to 3 pm today), I secretly was glad because having to fast until 3 pm today would not have been fun.

As for the ride, I like the aerobars. It was much less taxing on my upper body and my hands did not go numb at any point in the ride like they were doing before. It lets me pedal with a slightly higher cadence too, which I liked. But, I found that it was a bit more difficult overall - breathing wise mainly and the fact that my legs kind of scrape the back of my arms... which may mean we just need to adjust the aero bar fit a little bit. My sensitive parts were even less abused than usual, although still painful after the ride. They may be able to adjust my seat a bit too. So, all and all a pretty good ride, although I find that I can ride faster on the road (and it is more enjoyable) than I can on the trainer and that I can ride in a higher gear. Perhaps I have my trainer a little tight... or maybe I need to work on my leg strength, but I definitely can ride faster on the road.

As for the tiredness, I am (in a wierd sort of way) sort of hoping that I have a thyroid issue (especially since it's enlarged and hypothyroidism runs in the family). That way the medicine will help regulate the issue and I will hopefully not be so tired. Of course, being a mommy to twins, working full time, and training for triathlons may have something to do with being tired too. Plus, maybe it would help in the ability to lose weight department despite my husband's claims that hypothryroidism doesn't affect your ability to lose weight. Everyone I know who has hypothroidism had a hard time losing weight and gained weight until their hypothroidism was brought under control with medicine. But he read something on the Mayo Clinic website about it and about weight loss and now he's the expert.

Anyway. I will keep on chugging along. The ride was good but would have been better if I wasn't so stinkin' tired. Hopefully I'll get some more sleep soon. Tomorrow is a 45 minute easy run at 50% effort. I'll probably have to get up early so as to do it before the girls get up. No rest for the wicked, as they say.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Lucky's Lake - Swim Two

Today was my second Lucky's Lake swim. I have to say, I actually like swimming in this lake. Not as much as a pool mind you, but I like it. The water level was up and the temperature was 83 degrees. Warm! The 1st traverse across the lake (500 m) I took it nice and easy focusing on stroke and sighting... sighting is not super easy in this lake because there are no buoys only the other side of the lake... and made it across in pretty close to a straight line. The 2nd length back I focused on swimming fast and trying to be fast while sighting too. Not as much of a straight line because the current was heading the wrong way, but not bad either. No major corrections, and a nice view of the sun rising higher in the sky as I breathed to the left. I was happy to say that on the 2nd length I finished a good bit faster than the 2 people I started that length with and almost caught up to 2 guys who started a few minutes before us. A nice way to start the morning and to get my 1k swim in.

The only sad part was I didn't get to see my girls in action before I leave today. They were still sleeping when I left, but I looked in on them and gave their sleeping faces kisses. Angelfish all stretched out on her belly and Ladybug who evidently decided to sleep in the chair instead of her big girl bed - probably trying to stay up and fell asleep - all snuggly in the chair.

And I am working on forgiving, forgetting and moving forward. It is just going to take some time to get over the hurt and the anger. A different type of endurance, I suppose.

Now to get myself to Atlanta...

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Returning to the Gym and Thyroids

First, a word about yesterday's post. I have decided to delete it (as you can see). While it worked as some cathartic therapy (and I truly appreciate all the emails and words of encouragement), I decided that it was too much to lay bare for the world to see in a permanent fashion. Not only was it full of my humiliation and degredation at the hands of another, but by leaving it I felt that it would serve in some way to do the same to the person who wronged me and I would rather rise above. So it is gone, albeit not forgotten.

One somewhat positive thing about it is I decided to make an appointment with the endocrinologist to see if I have anything else wrong with me. They had a cancellation so I went in today and found out my thyroid is enlarged and has some nodules on it. She asked me if I was tired, etc. and I said yes but I couldn't be sure if it was because I was physically tired or if it was because I have twins who are around 3, work full time and train for triathlons. So I have bloodwork scheduled Friday and an ultrasound on my throat for Monday morning. My mother has Hashimoto thyroidism and turns out that my Grandmother and Great-grandmother also had hypothroidism. I am not resigning myself to it, but if I do have it the good news is that the medicine (once regulated) should allow me to lose weight a little easier and I should have more energy.

Today I went to the gym for a 30 minute run and then weights. I was amazed at how strong I was. Before the tri training, I was working with a personal trainer and for my legs I would press 70 pounds. Today 90 was easy! Everything was a little easier than before the tri stuff. I love being stronger and hope the weight training will add even more oomph to my run, bike and swim! Of course, I'm used to free weights but the gym was having work done so I had to use the circuit machines and wasn't sure which ones were what so I wandered a bit. Looking like a newbie. : )

I also had aerobars put on Ruby today. Yep, finally named my bike. Not exceptionally original given her name is Roubaix Pro, but it just clicked in my head. It is definitely a different position than I am used to, but it's supposed to shave at least 1-2 mph off of my time, which doesn't sound like much unless you're talking about a nice long 56 mile ride. And trust me, I need all the help I can get. The bike looks even more sexy than before, I must say. I almost didn't recognize it as mine. So, I'm actually looking forward to my 1.5 hour ride on the trainer this coming Thursday evening.

So, it was a full day and I'm tired and still need to finish packing for my work trip to Atlanta tomorrow. Up and then back on Thursday evening. Thus, there may be a small hiatus in my posts, but I shall return.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Running and Mother's Day

I went for a 30 minute easy run this morning and employed the Galloway method of run x, walk y. I ran 5, walked 1. I have to say that while this used to be a favored way of mine of doing an "easy run, " I didn't enjoy it this morning. I felt tied to my watch and as though I was running slower instead of faster by using it. Next time, I'll just run it out, I think. As Coach Bill from TNT said, he likes to just run for as long as and as fast as he can.... of course, he's also a professional duathlon and runner who does ultramarathons, but I think I'm with him on that method even if I'm no where near as fast as he is, unless I'm driving my car of course. But while I was running, I pretty much enjoyed it although I had a little bit of wheeziness from all the pollen. I'm back on the allergy meds (thank goodness), but if the wheeziness is still there the next time I run, I may need to get an inhaler for my asthma (which I have attacks of only every once in a blue moon) to help things out. I'm hoping it will just be gone so I don't have to do that, though.

When I got back from my run, I had some recoverite. I know that seems kind of excessive for a 30 minute easy run but I was sweating a ton (it's hot in sunny Florida today) and feeling a bit sluggish despite a nice bowl of cereal before the run. It seems to have helped. I also went online to see what was in the news and came across an article entitled "The Worst Mother's Day Gifts to Avoid." I always like reading these sorts of articles to see what it was that made the list and to make sure I didn't fall into them (even though I usually do not) in my gift buying for my Mother and my Mother-in-law. And lo and behold, what was the last item on the list but the following:
"Nothing. Dads this message is for you. Just because, you know, she's not your Mom (she's only helping you raise your beautiful kids), doesn't mean you should forget her on this special day. Have a heart and show your lady how much you adore her and how much you appreciate the amazing job she's doing as a Mom."

Ah, yes. The conversation where Mr. Darcy said to me that he didn't have to buy me a Mother's Day present because I am not his mother right back at the forefront. Evidently this article shows that he's not the only husband out there with this thought process, but I can't say it makes me feel any better. The temptation to email him a link to the article was almost overwhelming, but I restrained myself. I figured the email I forwarded him last week that was from a place I've purchased gifts before, contained a coupon for 20% off, and told him 2 items that would be nice for mother's day, if the girls were interested was probably enough of a hit over the head that a present from my children at the very least was expected. While I thought I was over the his comment, I find myself realizing more and more that I am not over it at all.

It's really the lack of appreciation inherent in his thought process that bothers me and the fact that every Mother's Day that I've had since the girls have been born has been this way. Last year, I cooked my own breakfast after asking if we could go out and Mr. Darcy offered me left over eggs that he had cooked for the girls and then I had to tell him point blank that we were going out to dinner because I wasn't going to cook dinner for everyone on Mother's Day. We ended up going to his favorite restaurant at the time, Mimi's Cafe. The girls got me a card and a copy of a DVD that we already owned along with a box of Junior Mints. Nothing (other than dinner and getting to sleep in a little bit, which is at least something) from Mr. Darcy. The 1st year the girls were born, I think I got a card from the girls but that was it in the way of Mother's Day celebration. I find myself truly expecting that there will be nothing for Mother's Day this year as well despite the conversations and the not so subtle hints of the email. Fuel added to this fire is the fact that Bill was supposed to go on a charity golf trip today but it turns out that they were somehow scheduled for tomorrow instead. It's for work, so I can't say no you can't go. The man has to network and all that, but he couldn't figure out why no one wanted to go Friday and even more so for Saturday. Then he got home and made the comment that no one seems to want to go on Saturday because it's Mother's Day weekend. A part of me wanted to shout "no? really? why wouldn't they want to go? Their wives aren't their mothers." And that was when I realized that I was 100% not ok with things and that my annual mantra of "maybe he'll figure it out when he sees that year after year not only do the girls get him Father's Day present, but so do I" really wasn't cutting it.

This is not to say that my husband does not redeem himself in other ways. He is, in fact, a very loving and doting father, and he tries to help around the house by paying bills, taking out the trash, sometimes doing laundry, and helping with the girls. Yet I still can't get over this bit about Mother's Day. I will just have to let it go. And there is time still for him to show me otherwise as Mother's Day is not until Sunday, but I dread the prospect of that not being the case. Time may not really cure all wounds as they like to say, but at least it will make me more forgetful about it. Anyway, my father sent me a very sweet Mother's Day card in the mail the day before yesterday which I rather enjoyed and have up in the kitchen.

On the Quest for the Big Girl Bed front, Angelfish has a 99% shot of getting her Big Girl Bed this weekend, but Ladybug most likely will not be getting hers. I hate to do it this way, but Ladybug had 3 accidents yesterday and the school put her in a pullup because of it... which was wet when she got home. I told her this morning that if she kept her underpants dry and clean all day today she could get her Big Girl Bed this weekend still. Angelfish asked about her Big Girl Bed and I told her that as long as she kept her underpants dry and clean today that she would definitely get her bed. She's very excited. If Ladybug can't get with the program, maybe the fact that she doesn't get her bed will get her motivated.

This weekend appears to be "off" from training as I won't get next week's training schedule until Sunday. So I plan to sleep in the best I can on Saturday, but of course I am fully at the mercy of when the little bits decide to wake up. Then there's grocery shopping, getting an oil change and regular maintenance on the car, a costco run, laundry, and setting up at least one Big Girl Bed. Mr. Darcy will most likely be leaving around 6 am for the golf tourney and not returning until 3 pm at the earliest, so getting all the errands and chores done will be up to me with the ladybugs. Let's hope they are in a flexible mood tomorrow!

And for all of you Mom's out there, Happy Mother's Day!!!

Thursday, May 7, 2009

35 minutes on the bike trainer...

I wasn't able to get my allergy medication until this afternoon and I felt miserable - not sure if it was a virus or allergies - all yesterday and slept from 9 pm to almost 7 am this morning. So I did my ride on the bike trainer today while watching What Not To Wear, and wishing I was: 1) a participant on the show and 2) out on the open road with the crew down by the airport. It was only worse when I found out that Coach road a bike more expensive than my husband's car and popped a zip wheel... I would have liked to been there for that and to, of course, ogle the bike. And then Ryan did a sprint and got up to 30 mph! Go Ryan. The only time that's happened to me is when I am going down a very steep hill and is not of my own volition. Some day...

I miss the structured group workouts and am looking forward to next week when the morning schedule is a little freer and I can make it to those workouts again. I'm hoping for Lucky's Lake Wednesday for an open water swim and cycling near the airport on Thursday. Monday night pool workouts will resume the week of May 18th.

70.3 is on the minds of this household. This morning Mr. Darcy asked if I really thought I could do it or was it a waste of money to even try it. I told him that it was not a waste because while I can't say that I am capable today of doing the 70.3, I wasn't capable of doing the Olympic when I signed up for it either. But I want to train for it - I want to train 6 days a week for it, and 7 when I have to. I still promise the flexibility so that I won't necessarily be at every group training so that he can do things too, but I want to be able to do the 70.3 on September 27th. It dawned on me when we were talking about it that it will be almost exactly 1 year and 1 week from the date I started training for my first sprint triathlon. How amazing will it be to go from barely able to run to being able to do the 70.3 in essentially 1 year? I want that. I want to be able to say that I did that. So now, it seems, we are all on the same page in the household.

And now I can't wait to see what workouts are in store. Coach said she'd email them on Sunday. I get the whole recovery thing because you can't build on something already broken down, but I miss the intensity level with the training. Biking on the trainer for 35 minutes (I would have done 45 but got a late start) in a gear that I was pedaling at a 90 cadence with little effort is no longer a hard workout. I was sweating, but then I was inside and the air temp was 76 with no wind, and I was not out of breath. Tomorrow will be harder because it's a run... that's always harder for me - 30 minutes is easily doable though.

Got a haircut today. Went in and asked for something that makes my face look thinner. I love a hairdresser who tells you that you have a nice, thin face to begin with and you can tell that she means it. She did something slightly different with the style I already have because I told her I didn't want to go short short, and I think it's cute but it doesn't look much different. Of course, that's not necessarily a bad thing. Nothing would be worse than 2 weeks shy of your 12th wedding anniversary than your husband telling you he hates your new 'do.

The topic of the house on the munchkin front is Big Girl Beds. Ladybug wants her Big Girl Bed in the worst way. I guess the fact that she sees the mattresses out in the garage just waiting for her to get the green light on them is tough when you're 3. So the deal is that if she keeps her underpants dry at school during the day and she stays in her bed at night (in an attempt to cure her of climbing in our bed at 3 am) for the rest of this week, she can get her Big Girl Bed on Saturday. 2 Days until plastic sheets become part of my life. The same deal goes for Angelfish too, but I'm hoping she'll keep her underpants dry at night too. Can't throw that in the deal though because that's not part of Ladybug's deal - only because she can't keep a pullup dry at night yet while Angelfish can go the entire night in underpants. It's amazing how focused one can get on potty training. It may have something to do with the fact that another human's waste, no matter how cute the little human, is rather disgusting. I long for the day when they are potty trained both day and night and I dont' have to bring a diaper bag with extra clothes and extra underpants and pullups in case everywhere. Of course, that also means they'll no longer be my little babies but big girls instead. The double edge sword of growing up.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Back in the Water...

After 2 days of rest and beginning to get restless yesterday afternoon, I went back to the pool this morning (with the blessings of my Coach who made me promise her before I left Miami that I would not exercise other than walking with or playing with my children until she gave me the go ahead). It was a pretty easy swim - 1000m. I wasn't supposed to swim hard, so I didn't. Instead I tried to focus on my stroke and thought about what I could do to make it stronger. I'm thinking paddles for swimming to increase resistance and perhaps some weight training. I'm genetically cursed to weak, somewhat flabby tricepts, and have been my entire life. But, I bet some tricept and bicept training along with shoulder, chest and upper back work would not only will my arms look better but also make me a better swimmer. I'm a good swimmer as it is, but if I could be super fast then perhaps it would make it easier to get a start on the other 2 sports since I'm not nearly as good at them.

I also decided that I really want to focus on my running mechanics and improve my running capabilities. It is the sport of the 3 that is my least favorite (as I've discussed previously in this blog), and so I must (as my friend Ryan says) make it my new favorite. It will take some doing, but I will have to do it. I almost feel as though it is silly and that I should focus on my bike before the run because it's the longest leg of the 3. So you might say I am conflicted.

Speaking of conflicted, there is also the buyer's remorse that I've been suffering over my 70.3 entry. But this morning, I decided that the entry fee is a decent amount of money as is the time that I spent figuring out a hotel situation for the race and that is good enough of a reason to sally forth. Plus, it will keep me training and the worst that could happen is that I DNF, which would result in very mopey Kate and probably some sad sappy blogging entries. It's almost as though I was focused on the TNT fundraising goal and the goal of doing the Olympic to the point that when I finished and it was as difficult as it was that I just didn't know what to do or think. Well, I have new resolve. I will do the 70.3! I was fearful of the Olympic distance when I started out and 12 weeks later, there I was finishing it nearly attaining all of my goals. I have 20 weeks until the 70.3 so at this point I have set my goals... they may look familiar, but remember 6 months ago I couldnt' run 2 minutes without agony... A) Finish in the time allotted for the race in an upright position with a smile on my face and without vomiting at any point before, during or after the race. B) Finish in the time allotted for the race in an upright position with a smile on my face. C) Finish in the time alloted for the race in an upright position. D) Finish in the time allowed for the race.

I think these are realistic, attainable goals and with the help of my TNT friends who are crazy enough to do this along with me and my Coach, I should be just fine and dandy. And no, I don't think I'm underachieving by not setting an actual time goal other than the "time allotted"... although you can tell that it passed through my mind. At this point, I will be conquering the fear of failure (that perennial old friend that my best will not be good enough) and doing the absolutely most physically strenuous thing I will have ever done in my life. A 1.2 mile swim, a 56 mile bike and a 13.1 mile run for a total of 70.3 is no laughing matter. Nothing to scoff at and throw bravado at. Success for me will be in the finishing... literally going in one year from staring at my watch when I ran counting down the seconds to the end of my 2 minute run so I could walk for a minute before starting to run again to finishing an IronMan 70.3. Pure amazement and awe will be in store - primarily from me and everyone who knows me. Years of casual gym workouts to a half IronMan is no joke. And besides, I'm attempting to turn over a new leaf to accept and be proud of what I do. To, as inspired by a post on another blog earlier today, live more in the present moment and to enjoy it.

When I succeed, if I determine I want to do another 70.3 then I'll worry about improving my time. But whatever I do, do NOT let me agree to a full IronMan. Maybe when the girls go off to college, but not before then. A full IronMan is definitely crazy talk... 2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike, and 26.1 mile run... if I mention it at any time before my children have turned 18 and are out of the house at college, please have me committed. You will notice I do not rule it out all together... I just postpone its consideration until I have done a ton more triathlons, my children are not needing me to attend functions and raise them (at least not as much), and I will have more free time (hopefully) on my hands.

In other news, Angelfish has been a potty training champ. She's been keeping the bed dry while wearing underpants at night for almost 2 solid weeks now. She had a little mishap this morning in that she got to the bathroom but not onto the potty when she couldn't hold it anymore, but she was in the process of doing the "right thing." Ladybug on the other hand has reverted a bit, which I expected since she has a new teacher at school and change during potty training is not a helpful friend. She's been doing ok at school, but then having an accident in the evening here and there. Plus, I don't think she's quite ready for nighttime bladder control. She will sleep through the night if she's in a pull up but it won't be dry in the morning. And if she's in underpants she is waking up in time to get out of the bed, but instead of going into the bathroom she comes into our room to wake us up and by the time that happens, she's gone in her pants. Ladybug keeps asking about her big girl bed, but I had told her we needed to practice keeping our underpants dry a little longer first. They're about to be 3 at the end of June, and how I wished they were going to both be potty trained by then... there is still time though. Perhaps they will surprise us.

I find myself also thinking up ways to try to raise more money for cancer research. Mr. Darcy isn't really on board for another Team in Training season just yet. He wants a breather, which I understand, but I really don't want to stop trying to make a difference in the hopes that at least $1 of what I raise will help find a cure or help lighten the load for a cancer patient and his/her family. My current thought is to get people to sponsor me for training for the 70.3. Like you would for a walk-a-thon for a little kid - 5 cents to $1 per mile I train and race. I could have people sponsor me, and then when I complete it all and tally all the miles, they could write a check out the The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society for the amount and send me the checks. I'd then give the checks to the local branch here. It's an idea, but I'm not sure it would work well. People, while well intentioned, tend to commit to something and then not follow through. If you have thoughts on the matter, please leave me a comment.

Oh and thank you for the comments telling me not to be so hard on myself. I am working on it, and you all are right. I did do something amazing in finishing my race in less than 4 hours while in an upright position and with a smile on my face! It also made me feel great that people told me that I've inspired them too - my neighbor has started running and riding a bike, Angela's sister told me she was inspired to do her Breast Cancer Walk because I did the TNT program, and friends have told me that I am amazing for doing what I did. It's funny how others perceive things that I do not. I think I said this yesterday, but I am working on breaking that tendency to be amazed and awed by others but not by myself... even if I am doing the same or similar things. So thank you all!

Other than that, Spring is in the air and the pharmacy is out of my prescription allergy medicine and I took my last one on Monday evening. The over the counter stuff just doesn't cut it. So I am hopeful that they will have received the new shipment today. Spring would be much more lovely if it weren't for all the pollen!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009


So I'm having lunch Friday with Coach to discuss my goals for the IronMan 70.3... and in all seriousness I am simply wondering if there should be more of a goal than finishing the race within the 9 hours set as the cut off. I mean there's the goals of wanting to become even healthier and the desire to drop 10 pounds and hopefully tone up even more, but really for a newbie triathlete like me who is having fun ... do I need more than finishing within the cut off?

Please, share your thoughts...

I Made It!

Yes, I made it all in one piece through my 1st Olympic Tri this Sunday. I have to say that I knew it was going to be hard, but things were a little harder than I thought they would be. I definitely was physically capable for the race, and I achieved almost all of my goals... I fell short on the 3 hours and 30 minutes but had set a 2ndary A goal (and A2 if you will) of finishing under 4 hours, and I made that one. I finished in an upright position with a smile on my face in 3 hours, 57 minutes, 43 seconds and 1 hundredth of a second.

To be perfectly honest, at first I was just thrilled to be finished. I was hot, tired, and completely worn out. At first I couldn't think super clearly and I had to keep moving (albeit slowly) because otherwise I felt my muscles tightening up while I stopped to talk to a team mate or one of the girls (who were so cute yelling "Go Mommy Go!" whenever they saw me - which was only about 4 times... evidently they were super excited when I was going to the finish line but I had to be told about it because I was so focused on just finishing at that point - and thanks to Coach Keith who ran with me the last mile, I was doing it while running.
It was not my best performance, but I gave the best that I had that day. I was happy with it at the time, but the more I look back at it the more disgruntled I become with my performance. I need to cut myself a break, really, but somewhere I'm having a hard time doing it. Doing my best is all I can do, but why oh why do I always want to do better?! But these people (my team) are some of the best positives - in doing this, I met them.

Here are some more positives. The night before the race at the Inspiration Dinner, I found out that for this particular TNT event, I raised the 3rd most amount of money in the state of Florida. I was thrilled! It made me feel good to do something that amazing, especially since it was in Angela's memory. I think it makes her proud. (And completely unexpected - especially since I yet again was feeling that I hadn't done enough... bad recurring trend I'm noticing about myself... why can't I be pleased with myself and go from there like other people? I need to stop comparing myself to everyone else.) It was also extremely inspiring to hear some of the speakers talking about their personal experiences with Leukemia, Lymphoma, Myeloma, etc. After hearing their stories, you want to find a way to keep raising money so parents and family members don't have to have the discussion that their daughter/son/spouse/parent/sister/brother/friend might die if things don't go well. Even worse are those of us who know the pain of losing someone we love to cancer.
It was also completely inspiring to see people on my team who were so afraid of the swim, or crashing their bikes, but still pulled it out and finished the entire race. And the good athletes on our team were pretty amazing too... one woman finished the Olympic distance in under 3 hours and it was the first one she's ever done. Trying not to compare yourself to that (despite her being almost 10 years younger, a good 25-30 pounds lighter, and her not having had children) is rather difficult - especially since I usually beat her on the swim and she beat me by 3 minutes. But, wait, I'm focusing on positives. Oh yeah.

The positives from my race:
1. I woke up on time and visualized my race, got ready on time and down to the lobby for pictures and my ride. (In a wierd twist of fate, Mr. Darcy told me it was 3:57 right as I was visualizing the finish line... and then I finished the race in 3:57.)

2. I didn't throw up from nerves before the race.
3. I didn't panic in the water at all and felt like I had a pretty good swim while I was doing it, even though I had to figure my way out of being the middle of a swim sandwich between 2 women who couldnt' swim in a straight line and I kept getting body slammed by them. But, I did figure my way out of it by stopping and swimming around the side of the one woman - it cost me some time, but I felt better while swimming at least.... until I found out it was a 37 minute swim which put me in the middle of the pack for the women and that others on the team who I usually beat in the pool were faster than me too.

4. I didn't crash my bike.

5. I made it over the Rickenbacker Causeway 4 times while on my bike. I never had to dismount and walk my bike... although it may have been a little faster if I had for the 4th crossing. Of course, the bridge was huge. Bill said he was overwhelmed by the size of it for me. Here's a picture (which makes it look smaller than it looks in person):

6. Despite the size of the bridge and the immense head wind and a terrible cramp in my right side that was probably from drinking too much water on the bike and having not enough salt in my system, I felt pretty good until the last 3 miles of the ride when that cramp really got bad and I just wanted to cry and get off the bike.

7. During the ride, I remembered to enjoy the view and mentally cheered myself on from time to time.
8. Even though I had an awful cramp, I still made it through transition and ran and walked the 6.2 miles at the end of the race to finish. All the while, I kept cheering on Team in Training people (even people I didn't know from other chapters). Maybe I'm not fast, but at least I'm friendly while doing it. Also, I didn't feel as badly about walking a decent chunk of the run when I found out that the woman who finished in less than 3 hours even walked for a portion of the 1st loop of her run. (I am trying not to quantify how fast that made her for the rest of it though.)

9. I finished with a smile on my face, in an upright position, in under 4 hours even though it was hotter than Hades and I was literally coated in salt from sweating it all out of my system.

10. I wasn't last in the race, on my team, or in my age bracket.

11. I got a shiny medal for finishing. (see below)

12. It was the most physically grueling thing I have ever done in one day in my lifetime, and I did it.

13. I want to do more triathlons!

14. I met some amazing people along the journey.

Things I need to improve upon:

1. The run. I have to find a way to get myself so that I can actually run at the end and to run it relatively fast, like an 8 minute mile would be great.

2. The bike. I have to get faster. I averaged 14.5 mph, which isn't that great... although I probably could have been a good bit faster if I didn't have that giant bridge to go over 4 times. Plus, I need to figure out my nutrition better. It dawned on me yesterday that I only had 3 shot blocks on the bike and didn't have a gel or anything before I got on the bike after the swim. I did take 2 gels during the run, but that's normal for a run for me. I definitely need to figure that out. That will most likely help in the performance area.

3. The swim. Ok. Realistically, in my first ocean swim and being me - not other people who do not have the same issues as I do whether physically or otherwise - it was pretty good. But I still really want to be faster. 37 minutes instead of the 34 predicted from my pool swim is upsetting to me. I wanted 35 minutes or less and I'm not really certain what happened.

4. Staying in it mentally when I'm so overheated. I think I probably could have physically run the entire 6.2 miles but my brain wasn't in it to the point that I believed I could have run. I still believed I could finish, but I wasn't telling myself I could run it. My ability to use my mantra wasn't really there anymore. I have to figure out how to hold on to it.

5. Not expecting myself to be perfect. In fact, I realize I should be proud of myself. I did something only about 1% of the world's population has and will do. I did something I've never done before in my life. It was physically grueling and I did it. 6 months ago I couldn't run 2 minutes without difficulty and now I did almost 32 miles of swimming, biking and running all in 3:57:43.01.

So when's the next race? This all just gives me room for improvement!

Friday, May 1, 2009

The Calm Before the Storm...

It is a day of rest in the training gambit, that I am calling the calm before the storm. Little to no strenous activity today, a little bit of light activity tomorrow, and then Sunday tons of physical activity - around 32 miles of it to be exact.

I am super excited, but also a bit nervous. I start to think about the race and I can literally feel my heart speed up and the butterflies in the stomach. I have set the packing and errand plan and am pretty much sticking to it. I'm taking off work a little early today to help keep the plan on schedule and try to find time to do a little visualization of a nice, successful race too. But the lack of exercise today is making me a bit batty. The exercise helps with th estress relief. Of course, I'd rather sit pretty today so I can compete well on Sunday. But it's still somewhat difficult to be still after so many days and weeks of distances that before this were somewhat unimagineable to me.

It's also been a day where I've had thoughts about the path that got me to today. My decision this past September to do a sprint triathlon because I needed a goal with my workouts - other than just losing weight. And then Angela phone call that her cancer was terminal and my feeling utterly helpless only to have another friend tell me about a radio ad she heard for Team in Training, and then hearing about it on the radio myself later that day. Being the believer in fate and destiny (despite my intense desire to try to control it all so it turns out the way I want even though I know that doesn't necessarily work), I emailed and the rest was history. The day after I did my 1st sprint was the start of TNT training. I feel as though there is a bit of God in it all. How else can you explain the gift of this love for everything triathlon and for doing something with purpose. In a way, it's saved my life too - between health issues and sometimes feeling alone in a new city - it's a gift that I could have never expected.

It's funny too in a way because it's shown me how much I succeed at the small things in my life that I don't give myself credit for. A friend said to me today, "look at how far you have come. You have done so much already from being someone who would skip the gym to eat with a friend to someone who relishes the training, and all the money you've raised." I had to stop for a moment and really think about what she was saying because I have been doing this because I was compelled to do something, anything to try and change the past while knowing I could do no such thing. I can't bring Angela back, but maybe I can help someone else like her. That's a good bit of what I have been chasing, and I've been too busy to realize that I was doing just that. And I told her, "Yes, I have done alot, haven't I?" Yet I don't feel like I'm done. And that, my friends, is a good thing. While I won't be doing Team in Training this Fall (I think poor Bill would not be able to handle it and really the idea of swimming in the Potomac with all the pollution makes you think twice - even if you get a wet suit out of it), I hope to do it again soon.

So the best reward I can give to all those who have popped into my life, all those who supported me on my quest to raise money for cancer research, my wonderful husband who has been a great babysitter for our girls, and to Angela who through a round about way inspired this all, is to sit and relax and continue to slowly carb load so that Sunday I can go the distance. I know I can do it. I've trained hard and I believe in myself (because without my mindset my training is irrelevant). Now it's just time to do it. Perhaps that is my reward as well... I can do it and I can make a difference even if it is in just my small corner of the world.

News to come on race day results... but probably not until I return on Monday (or if I'm too tired, then on Tuesday). And then it's on to the Ironman 70.3!