Friday, April 30, 2010

The best laid plans...

sometimes actually work out! Last night worked rather nicely.  I picked the girls up from daycare (and when we got to the car, Ladybug asked if we could go to gymnastics!) and went home.  They wanted to color and play together, so I hopped on the trainer and watched "What Not to Wear" while doing my 45 minutes of spin on the bike.  The girls showed me their pictures while I was riding, and Ladybug decided to pick last night to act like a 14 year old girl who knew everything and no matter what her Mommy said, Mommy was wrong.  Two time outs (for her) and a talking to later, my bike ride was over and Mr. Darcy returned from Boca Raton. 

I tried to convince Mr. Darcy to do push ups with me - Day 2 complete!  I almost got to 20 pushups - I called it 19 1/2 on the last set, which was pretty good I though.  3 1/2 more than the initial test.  But Mr. Darcy wasn't in to it.  I think he did maybe 2 sets from Day 1.  But he did go for a 1 1/2 mile run, so I was happy.  Mr. Darcy is starting to move!  YAY!

Then it was dinner and a nice chat with my friend L on the phone.  We can't wait for our girls weekend to be here, and we're already planning a vacation to Las Vegas for next year with the husbands too.  I'm really excited about it!  Mr. Darcy cracked us all up by responding that he was interested by saying "I'm all in (poker reference)!"  The girls and I thought this was a hoot - that he thought we needed him to point out the poker reference... we're only married to men who think that the World Series of Poker should be aired year long, in order above all other shows.

Then bathtime for the little ladies, who decided to pretend they were mermaid princesses and fought off the evil pirate alligator (who is a windup alligator that swims when you wind him off) to save their fair kingdom.  I LOVE their imaginations!

This morning everyone was in a good mood and got ready pretty nicely, although Ladybug did have some words for me about my needing to wait for her to eat her cereal (that had been sitting there for 10 minutes while she did everything except eat).  I informed her that she needed to get into the car now because Daddy could not be late to work.  Hugs, Kisses, and more hugs and Kisses and then off they went.

I took some time to snuggle with the dog because the poor thing was hurting again.  All I have to say is thank goodness the medicine kicks in and gives her relief.  Even if she is sleeping more because of the pain medication.  It breaks my heart to see her that way.  If it doesn't stop soon, I think we're going to break down and have the x-rays taken to see what the cause of the pain is and whether it's "fixable."  I honestly do not know what I will do if we have to "send her back to heaven" as the girls asked the other day.  She is my constant companion while working from home.  In fact, she's sleeping next to my desk as we speak.  She was my first "child" and my first dog (I had a parakeet growing up - my Dad claimed he was allergic to fleas... ironically, Annie has never suffered from fleas... knock on wood).  I remember bringing her home from the breeder and she was the length of my hand from wrist to the tip of my middle finger.  I think her ears were the biggest part of her - and we refused to have them clipped because that was just not nice.  Mr. Darcy would get offended on her behalf if people made fun of her ears.  She's really been the best dog in the entire world.  So I keep hoping that all will be well and that it's just like my back pain, which is seeming to go away.  Of course, I haven't attempted to run again since the race yet.

Work, work, work.  And then I went to yoga today and it was heavenly.  I decided that instead of doing yoga by myself, I would go to class at the Y as my lunch break.  It was taught by my next door neighbor's sister, which was pretty cool.  And even better was that she was focusing on stretches for the lower back, sciatica, hamstrings and hips... all those places that I've been tight since the race.  So it was perfection... not to mention super relaxing!

Some more work, work work.  I'm looking forward to this weekend.  I hope to sleep until the girls get up around 7 am and play with them and do errands and just relax.  I have a 30 minute walk on tap... I'm sure I'll get it in somehow. : )

And then back to work

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Day in Reverse

Today seems to be shaping up to be the reverse of a normal day for me. Normally, I wake, get Mr. Darcy out of bed, dress, get the kids ready, hit the road or water for my run/bike/swim, go to work, get children, etc.  This morning didn't quite work out that way and it makes me feel like things are "off."

Mr. Darcy had to go to Boca Raton for work this morning.  I still woke, got Mr. Darcy out of bed, dressed, got the kids ready... and then I had breakfast.  A full bowl of cereal while wearing a shirt and a skirt and shoes.  (Usually this is where I'd be wearing gym attire and just grabbing a quick mini-breakfast before the workout.)  Then I got the kids in the mini-van and took them to school and came home and started working. After a bit I went to do the blood work for the bone marrow registry - 3 big vials and 3 small vials. Grabbed a sandwich from my favorite deli on the way back.  Ate and worked at my desk. 

Do you see the missing piece?  I sure do.  It's called my workout.  And I'm actually sitting around fantacizing about when I'm going to do it.  I have Day 2 of the pushup challenge, which I cannot miss because I will have to wear a bathing suit at the end of June... (not to mention in a few weeks on my girls' weekend) and not the tri stuff.  I'm actually too busy on race day to worry about what I look like, I'm in the busy of getting it done.  But sitting on the beach in a bathing suit with the kiddies and the hubs?  Pushup challenge will be adhered to... and I am actually concerned about myself with this part.  I am actually looking forward to the bike trainer for a 45 minute stint.  The only way I'll get it in is when the girls are home, so that means while dinner is cooking for part of it and probably after dinner for the rest.  The trainer. In front of most likely a princess movie.  I am so tired of princess movies.  Why is it that I got such girlie girls?  I liked matchbox cars and climbing trees and reading books as a kid.  Not dress up and princesses.  There is photographic evidence that I liked to play with a tea set, but I'm pretty sure that was before I discovered that there were bugs to play with.  Anyway.  I am looking forward to it. 

Granted, I'd much rather be on the open road on this beautiful sunny, blue sky day.  But it's better than not getting it done.  And the way I'm feeling today, I've got to get on the bike somehow.  So that's the plan.

I think Annie may be doing a bit better.  The poor thing still turns into a U every morning when she's gone the whole night without a muscle relaxant, but she's actually up on the extra chair in my office - her usual nap spot during the work week.  She hasn't jumped up there in days.  We'll just have to see how it goes.

The girls LOVED gymnastics yesterday.  Ladybug at one point spotted me and stood up, waved and said "Mommy!  I'm learning how to flip over this bar!!"  She was so excited.  Angelfish took to the balance beam as though it was nothing.  Granted, it's only a few inches off the floor at this point, but she walked it backwards, forwards, and sideways and only fell off once.  Of course, she also got a reprimand from the teacher for trying to knock her sister off of the balance beam, but that's probably something I would have done at her age... okay or at mine if it was Mr. Darcy on the beam and not a child... they did some short sprints, hopping like frogs and stretching as warm up.  They did an obstacle course where they ran and used a spring form to jump onto a soft platform, run across it and jump down, jump on one leg, then sort of do a cartwheel type thing to get over a rope, do a somersault down an incline and then walk across the balance beam.  Then it was on to another little course where they were on the lower bar of the uneven bars and they pushed and pulled them selves so they had themselves with their belly on the bar and arms long and straight and would swing their legs 3 times and then flip over the bar; then to the parallel bars which they walked on their arms (with a block under them for support), then to the next bar where they jumped up onto it and then swung and jumped down.  My kids also saw the rings hanging down and swung on those while pulling themselves up.  They're strong little monkeys.  The next set of fun was to climb up and then slide down a slide into a pit of foam.  Then from the pit they climbed up an easy (and short) mountain climbing wall, then bounced on a springy floor (that Angelfish kept trying to figure out what made the floor springy) and jumped doing hurdle jumps and legs together jumps and then repeating.

When I asked the Little Ladies if they wanted to come back next week, Ladybug asked if they could come back tomorrow. : )  Angelfish said she definitely wants to do it again next week, so we're all signed up.  They loved it, and it keeps them active, so I'm all for it.  Watch out Nadia Comaneci!!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Wednesday musings

So this morning I put on bike clothes.  I had a 1500 m recovery swim on tap, but I wasn't feeling it so I thought I'd switch it with my 45 minute recovery bike ride for tomorrow.  I helped the girls get dressed and Mr. Darcy helped them pick their breakfasts of choice (yogurt for Angelfish and applesauce for Ladybug).  Mr. Darcy took the girls to a gymnastics gym near our house to check it out yesterday evening while I was at Junior League, and they really were interested.  To the point that Ladybug asked me this morning, "Can we go to gymnastics tonight after school?"  When I asked Angelfish what she thought about doing gymnastics, she said "good!"  (It's her version of "sounds good!")

So after talking over the price and calling the gym, I'll be taking the little ladies to a trial gymnastics class this evening.  If I get a chance today, I'm going to use my lunch hour to go and get them some leotards. They may be dance leotards - I saw some at Target the other day though.  That way they can play dress up with them if they don't like gymnastics.  Hopefully this will play out better than soccer...

Oh, well. Back to my "workout."  Once Bill and the girls left, I was about to go get on the bike when I realized... I just didn't want to do anything.  I wanted to take a nice long shower, use a face mask, do my hair nicely, pamper my skin a bit with moisturizer, have breakfast in a non-hurried manner, and read a magazine.  I figured it's a recovery week, so that's exactly what I did.  I even picked out a cute outfit to wear. : )  And I finished in time to walk into my office and start the day.  It was a bit heavenly, really.

On the Annie front, she seemed to be doing better this morning.  Still a little ginger but walking well without the arch in her back and doing her usual morning potty routine in the yard - pee, trot along the perimeter of the property, stop to take a poo, sniff the trees a bit, attempt to run off into the conservation lot behind our house, and then trot back into the house.  She wasn't as quick, but at least (unlike yesterday) she was doing the usual routine.  And then you could tell she started to hurt a little bit... and then Angelfish didn't see her as she ran out of the bedroom and hit Annie's side with her knee.  Instant U shape and puppy cries.  It was heart breaking.  At first, Angelfish didn't want to admit it because she thought we would be upset, but once we told her we knew that whatever happened was an accident, she told us.  30 minutes later Annie was still in pain, so she got a pain pill and has been a bit sleepy ever since.  But she's barking at the garbage men right now, so it's not all bad.   I'm hoping she gets better soon...

And that is it for the morning.  Tommorrow will be Day 2 of  the push up challenge.  My tricepts are a little sore.  Not much, but a wee bit.  I'd like some nice looking arms, so I'm all about it. : )  I'll also either swim or bike tomorrow... as the spirit lends it.  I'm also going in for blood work for the bone marrow registry tomorrow morning.  Things are moving along.  I don't know if I'll end up as the donor (of course), but I like the idea of helping save a life.

Anywho... until tomorrow!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

The Race Report and Our Dog

I am sorry for the delay in posting.  It's been a bit of a whirlwind.  Oh, and this will likely be a long post.

The Race Report

I left work early on Friday and went to the chiropractor because I was in a bit of pain. Viola.  Pain gone.  I wished a little wish that all would stay well with my back and did a little shopping, had some lunch and then drove to St. Pete.  When I went over the bridge, the water was like glass.  I oohed and ahhed and the thought entered my head - don't expect it to stick.  The weather was gorgeous too.

After getting a bit lost because evidently I hit 3rd Ave instead of 3rd street in the GPS, I finally found my way to the Hilton (after 3 calls to a very nice woman named Jillian who worked at the Hilton - it was when she said "we're on a grid system" that it all became clear what I needed to do to get to them).  I checked in and put my bike and other gear in the hotel room, headed to packet pickup, and then back to the room.  I read "National Geographic" cover to cover without interruption and realized that it was strangely quiet.  Then I went to dinner with Teammate Kristi (who I was sharing the room with), her daughter and brother (who was on a Team in Training team from Tennessee).  And I slept really well.

Saturday morning, Kristi and I headed out to the swim course for the team open water swim.  That glassy water was no where to be found.  In it's place was choppy water.  Later I would be glad it was choppy.  We swam out to the 3rd buoy and back, and I got nauseas but that stopped once I got out of the water for about 2 minutes.  Then I went back and swam out to the 1st buoy and back envisioning race morning.  I felt good.  I reminded myself that I was NOT going to freak out on the swim and that I knew how to swim.

Then we were on our own until 3 pm.  So I checked out of the Hilton and took my gear and stuff over to the TNT hotel - Hotel Indigo.  It was a cute little boutiquey type hotel.  But the irony that the building and the interior were GREEN when it was the Hotel Indigo was not lost on me.  Anyway, it was a cute place.  So I checked in and put my stuff in the room and met Teammate Carolyn who I was sharing the hotel with.  She and I then checked my bike in like Coach asked, went to the expo, got her packet from packet pickup, had some lunch, and then met everyone for bike check in.  As a 1st time St. Anthony's participant, bike check in was a little confusing - you had to have your seat on the side of the pole that your name sticker was NOT on and if facing your bike, you needed to have your wheel down on the side of the sticker.  It took 3 explainations from volunteers and my getting a volunteer to double check me to make sure I got it right - because no one was as succinct as my description.  But I was able to tell everyone on the team how to rack their bike!

From there I went back to the hotel, freshened up and went to the TNT Inspiration Dinner.  It was good food, had good speakers, and was inspirational... especially when they told us that there were 360 participants and collectively we raised 1.8 Million just for that race for Team in Training.  They announced the top 10 fundraisers, all of whom raised at least $8,000 with the top fundraiser raising slightly over $20,000 in honor of his wife who was about to have a stem cell transplant in a few weeks time.  It really gives you some perspective on what a bad day is.

Sunday - Race Day.

I woke up seriously refreshed.  It was the best night's sleep before a race I have ever had.  Sure, it was 3:55 am when I got up, but still.  4:30 I was in the hotel lobby ready to go.  We took a team picture and headed over to body marking.  I was pretty calm.  A little nervous but not too terribly bad.  We got body marked and my woman must have really wanted to make sure that I was marked because my word she pressed a bit hard.  Then I set up my transition area and met a nice woman who you could tell was a serious athlete.  She said that normally the water course was hard the 1st leg and then the rest was easy because the waves were with you the rest of the way.  Unfortunately, that day it would not be the case.  I went and talked to some teammates, used the porta potties in the dark and headed over to the swim start (about 3/4 mile away).  Porta Pottie stop #2.  Talked and laughed with teammates, watched the pro start, did a little swim warm up to get used to the water.  And the water was CHOPPY, friends.

Got in line and my emotions were high but I was definitely not super nervous and was feeling good.  Calmed a Team in Training person down who said she was about to cry she was so nervous, and lined up in the very back right of the pack.  I was determined not to freak out. 

Swim Time: 42:25

The gun went off and I ran into the water, picked a spot and started swimming.  I got kicked.  The water churned, and someone grabbed my feet.  I swam and swam but even with the waves I was making good time.  And I DID NOT FREAK OUT!  It was great.  I just kept telling myself - there's no need to be concerned.  You can do this.  And I did.  Then I rounded the buoy and discovered more choppy water.  Sure it was "pushing you in the right direction" but with such force that a few times I thought to myself that this was a bit nutty to be out there in those conditions.  Then I rounded the 2nd buoy and was turned around.  Luckily a guy on a kayak pointed the right way - turns out the left turn is more like a full 180 left, not the angled lefts I've been used to. 

I found my way and it was like swimming in a washing machine.  I was getting battered by waves.  I stayed calm and kept swimming and sighting the best I could.  I sometimes had to use some of the other swimmers.  I knew that the water was rough for everyone and not just me when I realized that there were a ton of different colors of swim caps out there, but I also assumed that I wasn't doing all that well for time because there were people from the waves in back of me now in front of me.  But I kept swimming.  There were waves crashing on the back of my head when I breathed to the left... and to the right.  It seemed like the waves were doing their best to take me out to sea instead of let me get to those stairs to get out.  At one point, I started getting nauseas and thought, I really don't want to win Big Daddy Diesel's award in this race!  So I kept sighting on the giant blow up Gatorade bottle. 

But get out I did.  Without a panic.  Without stopping.  I did the whole thing.  I didn't even care what my time was at that point.  I was just happy I didn't freak out and that I made it without throwing up.  When I found out my time was 42:25.  I was actually happy with it.  I can usually swim a mile in about 36-37 minutes, so you'd think 1500m at 42:25 would be disappointing, but in those conditions I was okay with it.  (Heck, I talked to someone who was a college swimmer who can do 1500m in 25 minutes and he did it in around 34 or 36 minutes, so I think I did just fine.)  Later I would find out that waves 20 and after were treated to a 1,000m because they pulled the buoys in because they had pulled 6 people out of the water in short succession and there were white caps. 

T1: 3:34
I kind of had to get my equilibrium back a bit, so I walked some.  Then I ran a little.  I was pretty far from the transition entrance.  I got myself together and my gear on and out I went.  Sure, it was slow.  But I was a little discombobulated from the swim... and from the fact that there were a lot of bikes still racked.  The woman who told me about the swim was on the bike already, but she had said that you could tell where you were in the age group in transition because we're racked by age group.  But I was the middle of the pack.

Bike: 1:36:47 average pace 15.4

While you might think that I wouldn't be thrilled with this time, and I'm not jumping up and down with joy, I'm still satisfied with it.  I was thinking I would be around 1:30 for 25 miles based on the fact that on a non-windy day, I average around 17 mph.  But with gusts of 10-20 mph while on the bike, I was rather happy with the time.  I really had to bear down on the bike at times to keep the bike from blowing out from under me.  At one point, I rounded a turn at 18.8 mph to be smacked in the face with a very harsh head wind to watch my mph drop to 14.7, 13.9, 12.7, 11.9.  So I dropped my gear and my cadence went to 90 and my speed back up to 13.9.  When the wind died down, I was instantly at 16.4 at which time I went back into a harder gear and dug it out.  Another time I was rounding a turn at 16 mph when a huge gust came and I felt the bike going out.  I bore down and leaned right (which was out of the turn, but in the direction of letting the wheel hit the ground solidly) and of course came out of the arch of the turn.  Somebody likes me up there though because I was headed straight to collide with the curb and somehow I got myself onto the lip and up on to the sidewalk and before crashing into the tree next to the sidewalk, I was able to get myself on the sidewalk and going on to the next lip down where I pedalled on.  At one point I was going almost 21 mph and I got passed.  Another time, I was at 11.7 (love those headwinds) and got passed.  So I decided to just ride my bike and enjoy it.  And that's what I did.  I used a lot of gears too based on the wind.  It was a good ride - even if it wasn't as fast as I would like, and even if it was windy as all get out.

T2: 4:04

Okay.  This is abysmally slow, but my back wasn't too happy when I got off the bike.  So I walked through transition, trying to stretch as I went.  I stretched out some and started to exit and realized - oops I still have my bike gloves on.  So I went back and put them at my spot and then jogged out of transition.

Run: 1:26:56
14:31 pace

And this ladies and gents is where the wheels fell off the bus. But it may have been a good learning experience for me all the same.  I tried to run out of transition.  I ran along the start of the run path and made it probably about 1/3 of a mile before my entire lower back seized up and I had a sharp shooting pain down the side of my leg, into my shin and my big toe.  So I walked the rest of the 1st mile.  I walked as fast as I could and I grumbled.  People were shouting "Go Team" at me and I was grumpy.

I tried to run just after the 1st mile mark.  I made it about 1 minute before I had to walk again.  So I walked over the bridge, and tried again.  No dice.  I could go about 45 seconds before I hurt.  So I tried to walk 5 minutes and run 45 seconds for a little until that was hurting too.  At about the 1 1/2 mile mark, I thought to myself "What would Doug do?  Here I am grumping about what my time is going to be and he's in a hospital bed rooting for all of us out here while he's just had a bone marrow transplant."  And I realized.  Doug would probably just put a smile on his face and do what he could do.  I forgave myself for having to walk because in this race, it's wasn't my brain telling me not to run (which I could ignore) but my back.  So I decided that for Doug, for Angela, and for myself I was going to walk strong and I was going to be happy.

And I was.  At one point I saw a woman up ahead walking.  I was gaining on her and I realized she sort of had a hitch in her step like I have while my back is giving me issues.  I tried running here and there, and things were still not overly happy.  I caught up to her and asked if I could walk with her a bit.  Her name is Maura, she's from Titusville and has 3 young children.  She did the Princess 1/2 like I did, and like me, it was the first time that she actually liked running.  For me, my back gave me issues after and for her, one of her arches fell afterwards.  We talked and walked and then somewhere at mile 4, my back suddenly felt decent.  I asked her if she wanted to try to run and she said yes.  So we ran about 1 1/2 miles of the 2.2 left.  We walked the bridge again, but did the 1/2 mile up to it, and then with about 3/4 of a mile to the 6 mile mark we ran it in.  She helped me when I started to get a cramp by reminding me how to breathe, and then she got me to lengthen my stride in the rather long chute to the finish line.  She told me I was her guardian angel right when I was about to tell her she was mine.  It was great!  Sure my time sucked.  But I wasn't going to PR that day after the swim and the bike, and I am able to train for the rest of my season.

And all in all that day, I didn't give up.  I made the best out of what I had that day, and I had a good time doing it.  I hope to see Maura again.  We had our picture taken at the finish together. 

So I got to my C goal. I finished in an upright position, with a smile on my face and I did not freak out while swimming.  Not every race can be my A goal, so there you have it.

Even better was the fact that when I went to check in at the TNT tent, there was a surprise for me.  Perhaps the best surprise I've had in a very long time. The guy at the tent kept saying, "Oh. Kate Martin. Oh. Oh. Oh." and then finally, "Turn around." I turned around and there before my eyes were Anna, Ms. Sherrie, Bryan and Anna's Husband, John.  (In order, they are Angela's sister, Mom, husband, and brother-in-law.)  I burst into tears and hugged each one of them - except John who I'd never met in person before.  I was so excited and thrilled to have them there!  Anna had read on my blog that no one was going to be at the finish for me, and she organized everyone.  She even made me gorgeous paper blackeyed susans, and brought me two beautiful roses from her garden.  It was so wonderful to see them and to get to spend the afternoon with them... they even oohed and aahhhed at my bike after I got my stuff out of transition.  I felt so loved and so very, very lucky.  I told them how I thought of them just the day before (and of Angela's Dad too) when I saw a woman walking around in a t-shirt that said "Stay calm and carry on." and that I thought to myself "Thanks Ang for looking in on me."   That slogan was a WWII propaganda poster that Angela had up in her bathroom to make herself (and others) laugh.  It was the perfect end to a not-so-perfect and yet somehow fun race.

Our Dog.

When I got home at 8 am on Monday morning.  Mr. Darcy's wheels were flying off the bus as well.  The girls had completely melted down when they woke up and I wasn't home.  They refused to get dressed and then to go to school until they saw me.  And Annie.  Poor, sweet Annie.  Mr. Darcy told me that she seemed like she was in pain and was walking funny with her head down.  But he didn't tell me everything, in his words because he "didn't want you to worry."  Annie came out to greet me, walking so gingerly and with her back in a complete upside down U shape, her head hanging down and only looking up with her eyes.  Eyes that were full of pain.

In a minute, I decided I had to take a PTO day and take Annie to the vet and I'd let the girls stay home with me so they wouldn't be so traumatized.  They were girls who had desparately missed their Mommy.  And truth be told, I missed them a ton too.

At the vet, the girls made friends with 3 greyhounds while we waited.  One of whom wanted to eat Annie, I'm quite sure of it.  Ladybug informed the dog that Annie was NOT a rabbit, but just a small dog.  It didn't change much.  But all was well.  We were seeing my friend Kim who is also Annie's vet.

Turns out that Annie is getting old.  She is having a spinal problem of some sort.  For now, we're trying to see if pain killers, muscle relaxants, and anti-inflammatories will help let it sort itself out.  If it doesn't, we may have some x-rays done to see what the cause is.  In addition, her sebaceous cysts are starting to have sebum that is changing... most likely to cancer, but at this point there was no cancer per se but just funny looking sebacous cells.  Normally that would mean surgery for little Annie dog, our wonder mini schnauzer.  BUT Kim also found that Annie has a bad heart murmur which is news to us... and Kim said it can develop as a dog ages.  On a scale of 6, hers is a 4 1/2 or 5.  Unless we  want to pay $525 for a ultrasound of her heart, no surgery can be performed because it's impossible to know if she'll be able to come out of anesthesia.  Of course $525 might tell us she can't have surgery either.  And this morning, her blood and urinalysis came back and the blood work is fine, but she has a urinary tract infection.  The poor dog.

So our course of action right now is to give her medicine for her back and see if it works itself out soon, and of course to treat the urinary tract infection.  She is the sweetest dog, and seeing her in pain like this tears my heart out.  It's also why (combined with my day spent with the lovely ladies, which aside from the vet was wonderful) my race report is so late.

Another interesting thing happened yesterday too.  While waiting in the vet's office, I got a call.  I am a potential match from the bone marrow registry.  I've filled out my health questionnaire and emailed a little with the administrator from the registry.  I don't know if I'll end up being the donor, but it's not everyday you have the potential to try to save someone's life.  I signed up for the registry hoping to be a match for my friend Doug.  Doug matched with someone else, but who knows?  I might just get to help try to save a life - in a way other than just raising money.

PS. And today I did some yoga, spent time with the foam roller and trigger point leg set, and did Day 1 of the push up challenge!

Friday, April 23, 2010

Off I Go!

In just a few minutes, I will be off... to the chiropractor, to get the car cleaned in case I need to give someone a ride while in St. Pete, to do a little bit of shopping, and then back home to pack up the car (NOTE DO NOT FORGET THE BIKE - this is a fear of mine... remembering everything but the bike), have a little lunch and then head out to St. Pete!

I am nervous and excited.  My back gave me major trouble last night so I didn't have the greatest sleep.  I'm not sure where it came from other than just being stressed about my 1st race of the season and getting things done before I leave.  So no walking or yoga this morning.  I stretched out my back and took the girls to school (after putting the car seats back into the car after Mr. Darcy removed them for me last night).

I did the work that needed to be done today and now I am off!

Thank you all for your wonderful comments to yesterday's post!  They really mean alot to me... which I guess is a little odd because technically we've never met, yet I feel like you all are friends all the same. And  I feel like I have my own cheering squad! 

I plan on having a good race report for you all.  I've even packed the camera, so let's hope I remember to use it!  "See" you Monday!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Visualizing Whirled Peas

Thank you all for your comments yesterday!  And I'm super excited because I have 50 wonderful readers now - welcome both "old" and new!  It makes me happy to have more bloggy friends....

Well, the bike ride didn't get done yesterday.  I hoped it would, but it didn't.  Instead, my darling bike went to the bike shop to just have a once over and then it was off to pick the girls up from daycare.  I needed a new tire as the cut from the glass the other weekend had spread and why risk the race?  Other than that Aerodite is in good shape and ready to race.  When I got to daycare, the girls were happy to see me, so that was nice too.  Of course, the rest of the evening they just wanted to play only the two of them... which in a way was a good thing because it let me straighten the house and fold 4 loads of laundry and put them away.  I would have had to do that after they were in bed otherwise.

I had what I've started to call "bad energy days" yesterday.  It's funny because if I don't take my medicine in just the right way, I sometimes have these days.  I've found I have to take my synthroid 45 minutes before my other morning medicines, then wait 5-10 minutes after the morning medicines to take my B12.  BUT, I have to take the B12 with food or my stomach isn't really happy with me.  Since I had to fast for my blood work yesterday, I had to wait to take the B12 until I ate, which was much later than usual because I wasn't about to eat breakfast in front of the termite inspector.  That would have been rude, unless of course I had made him some food to eat too.  Anyway.  I think that was the thing that did it because by 3 pm I could have used a major nap and was having a hard time focusing and I had that grouchiness that hung out pre-thyroid medicine and B12, but I did my best all the same.  Thank goodness the grouchiness was controllable.  Pre medication, not so controllable, but now at least I'm not on the outside of my own brain looking at me being grumpy.  So I let the girls play and do their thing and talked to them when they were willing, and did housework. 

I even started piling things up to pack for St. Anthony's.

I decided this morning I was not going to swim as the schedule said but being somewhat close to race day I also wasn't going to do 15 miles at race pace.  Instead, I did 30 minutes at race pace on the trainer (because as Training Buddy said to me, "you can't coast on the trainer") and then 30 minutes of yoga.  When I finished my yoga, I saw that my lovely DVR was taping another yoga that had focus on spinal flexibility and core strength.  So I am thinking that tomorrow I will do a 3 mile walk and a 1/2 hour of yoga (but probably the episode that works on balancing the energy of the sides of the body... I did that when my back bothered me one day and it was like magic.).

I have to admit I'm getting a little nervous about St. Anthony's.  Part of my nervousness has to do with timing my medicine right - I definitely do not want to have a bad energy day on race day.  Part of it has to do with my back.  It's been doing the clicky thing, but not a ton.  But still.  Any clicks are not welcome at this point so close to race day.  I haven't had much back pain, which is good, but I still have a little here and there.  Part of it is just because it's a race and I always get nervous about races.  Part of it is the fact that Mr. Darcy and the girls will be almost 5 hours away.  Part of it is that I really want a PR, but with this wonky season so far between my Aunt dying and my back I don't know if I'm putting too much pressure on myself.  I also don't want to have the worst finishing time out of the Team in Training Team.  Not that being a mentor means that you should be faster than everyone (and goodness knows I think that almost everyone is faster than me on the run because they're almost all marathoners who decided to try triathlons... and we know triathlon is really won on the run), but I feel like I should be faster than at least most them.  Realistically this is not the case.  Plus, I want to have a really good race and race weekend because I know it will probably be awhile until I do another Team in Training event because of the time it takes away from the family.  (Although I think that in a couple of years I'd like to come back and train for the Nike Women's Marathon.  Yes, I realize my back will not likely be pleased but at the moment, my brain doesn't really care.)

As I got on the trainer this morning, I decided that I needed to take some time to "visualize whirled peas," as I like to call it.  So I closed my eyes and I started imagining the race and how awesome it was going to go.  And as part of my visualization, I even told myself that my back was going to be happy and I was going 5/1 it all the way home to the finish line.  But I also told myself that even if my back was not happy, I was going to do what I could to stick to 5/1s and that even if I ended up having to walk because of my back that I would be happy because I was out there getting it done all the same.  I visualized myself crossing the finish line with my arms up and victorious with a time of (I'm not telling- I don't want to jinx it) on the clock.  And then I realized that I still had 20 minutes left to pedal and that I had started my visualization when I was already swimming in the water.  Since one of my goals is to NOT freak out during the swim, I decided to start over and re-visualize the entire race, but this time starting from the time I woke up at 4 am.  I closed my eyes as I pedaled away and imagined everything from what I ate, to setting up my transition area, to starting and finishing.  I even imagined getting kicked and bumped in the water and still remaining calm, swimming my race, getting into my groove, and just doing what I need to do and not worrying about everyone else.  On the bike, I saw myself doing my best but also enjoying the race course and beautiful surroundings and sipping from the speedfil and hanging out in aero (which really is my favorite position on the bike; I'd rather be in aero than up on the bars any time) just enjoying the course.  A happy run, 5/1's all the way home but with permission to listen to my back and legs at the same time.  And again finishing with a smile on my face and with that same special time on the clock.  Ironically, I only had 5 minutes left after that visualization and I felt pretty relaxed. 

I am ready for the race.  As ready as I'm going to be and I'm looking forward to it.  I'm sure that nervousness will return a bit when I go to pack this evening, but I'll just try to visualize whirled peas again and hope for the best.

Mr. Darcy is being very sweet to me and taking my car to get the oil changed during his lunch break.  His office is a good bit closer to the Honda Dealership than our house is, so it's faster for him to do it.  But I really appreciate him taking his lunch to do that for me because otherwise I would have had to do it tomorrow before I leave town, and this week has felt like I had so much to do and not nearly enough time to do it in.  Yet things seem to be getting done all the same.

I'm hoping to take a little bit of time and go shopping for some clothes if I can squeeze it in.  I seem to either have super casual clothes, training clothes, or business clothes but nothing in between.  And I don't want to be over dressed or to wear one of the cotton dresses that I have that people often think I am pregnant when I wear them.  I am seriously considering the tummy tuck again.  But this time I mean it.

Of course, that idea would have to wait until after my season ends... and I'm not finished until the end of November.  So it may be awhile, which is fine.  I need to save money and shop doctors for it anyway.  I hate my stomach.  It is not a beautiful vestige of pregnancy, folks.  It's a thing with a mind of it's own that I can tuck, pull and move as the skin only gets looser the less fat deposits it contains.  I can't do my wheelbarrow pose properly without readjusting the skin folds. It honestly disgusts me (and probably just disgusted you too - sorry about that) and I would rather not find myself disgusting.  My fear though is that once I give in and have plastic surgery that I'll start to want to "fix" other things too.  That and I fear I'll regret it because I'll end up with a scar that goes from one hip to the other.  But I won't regret fitting into smaller sizes.  I am realistic though.  I don't think I'll end up fitting into a size 4/6 again like I was pre-pregnancy - my hip bones and rib cage spread while pregnant with the Little Ladies, so I'm not expecting miracles.  I'd just like to be able to wear loose cotton dresses without people asking if I'm pregnant.

I still dream though that my thyroid medicine will correct my metabolism so that I'll slough off enough weight that I'll be able to tuck that stomach into smaller pants and decide that I don't need a tummy tuck after all.  So I may resist the idea once again.

But for now, I'm hoping to just focus on race weekend, enjoy the time in St. Pete and the race itself.  Forget about stomachs and other silliness.  And let myself remember why I am doing St. Anthony's - the joy of movement, for the blessing of my Mom's recovery from cancer, in Angela's memory, for Doug and his journey with his bone marrow transplant, for the quest to find a cure for cancer, and the sheer joy (and even some of the pain) that is being alive.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Honest Scrap Award

Big Daddy Diesel gave me the Honest Scrap Award... or as he put it, perhaps I'm being picked on?  Just kidding.  So now I am to write 10 honest things about myself.  I'm honest all the time, so I'm going to have to think hard about what to say so it's not boring...

1. I grew up never wanting to get married or have children, but to be a "high powered corporate attorney."  When I grew up, I got married, had twins and realized that if given the opportunity (i.e. large quantities of cash) and the ability to maintain a lifestyle that allowed for my children to attend good schools and have opportunities I didn't have growing up, I wouldn't work.

2. I ran cross-country in high school.  I say ran loosely because I never "ran" an entire race without walking.  The races were 2 miles long.  I did it because I heard colleges liked sports on your transcript not because I liked running.  Thus, I only got a varsity letter because I was a senior that year.  Boy have I come a long way.

3. I love people.  I get lonely working at home and drive Mr. Darcy crazy by wanting to talk his ear off.  I'm a  talker to begin with.  I'm that lady that talks to people in the grocery store or while waiting to get blood drawn.  Of course, that's not necessarily a bad thing.  I missed my blood work appointment by 5 minutes and they still brought me back and knew which of the phlebomotists is my favorite and let me see him... and I know it's because I'm friendly. 

4. I cry every time I finish an endurance event.  Every Olympic Distance, my HIM, and my first 1/2 marathon.  For some reason, I haven't cried after a sprint distance tri.  Huh.  I have no idea why I cry though.

5. Generally, if you tell me I can't do something, I'm going to prove you wrong.  Unless it's not something I care about.  I'll still ignore you, though.

6. I hate that I don't have anyone at the finish line for my races.  I don't blame Mr. Darcy at all.  Our girls aren't quite 4 and trying to entertain them and keep them safe while I'm out on the race course for a few opportunities here and there to see me, in the early morning hours at that, doesn't make a whole lot of sense.  Plus, it puts him in a bit of a grumpy mood.  So I get the why, but it still sucks.

7.  My personal theory is that life is an adventure.  Kind of like those adventure, pick your ending type books I used to read as a kid.  You chose option A and that brings you to this part of the adventure.  Had you picked option B, then you read a different part.  The hard part about life though is that unlike those books, there can be way more options than imagniable and you don't get to know if you "picked the right one."  But I have to say I haven't regretted any of my decisions.  I might have done things slightly differently or better, but I am who I am because of those decisions.

8.  I also think that we're all interconnected.  Even if we meet only once, we have an effect on the lives of others.  So we should be as friendly and as kind as we can be.  You never know when you might just help someone when they need it the most even if it's with something as small as a smile.

9. I often wonder if people who don't know me think I'm nuts because I smile and talk to them.  Truth is though, I don't care.  I'm me.  The best me I can be.  And some days that's better than others, but I'm just me!

10. I wish I was a better Mom to my kids.  I'm not really sure how I could change to be better, but I always feel like I worry to much about making sure they eat healthy, have clean clothes  etc. (the chores part) and spend too much time doing that stuff than just enjoying my children.  But at the same time, if I don't get those other things done, there'll be problems.  In talking to my friends with kids, I'm a good Mom and so are they.  And we all feel the same way.  Of course, that could be related to my deep seated fear that my best will never be good enough.  Good enough for what, I have no idea.  Good enough for who, I don't know that either.  But there it is.

So that was my list. I'm not even sure where a lot of that came from - but it's all very, very true.  I just started typing and out it came.  Sorry to get the award on a bit of an introspective day.

Now to award it to others...

Ryan at http://ndssprvsn13.blogspot.com/
KC at http://my140point6milejourney.blogspot.com/
x-country2 at http://crosscountrysquared.blogspot.com/
Rock Star Tri at http://www.rockstartri.com/
NJ at http://pinkytris.blogspot.com/

I didn't make it to the surprise for Doug today.  I had my blood drawn and discovered that there was an 8:30 am appointment to be kept with the termite people for our annual termite bond renewal.  I was bummed.  The surprise though was a group of people standing outside his hospital window on/near the heliopad so he could see them with signs saying they cared about him.  I was definitely bummed not to be there, but my thoughts were with him.

Instead, I got home in time for the termite guy and a little laundry.  I said I like to talk to people.  The termite guy is really nice.  It's the same guy from last year, Richey.  He and I talk about his kids and mine as we go through the house each year.  His son graduated from the University of Miami (FL) on a football scholarship and is about to get his master's and is going to be in the draft this week.  They predict he'll go in the 3rd or 4th round.  He's proud of him, but he's proud of his other kids too.  It was funny hearing him talk about how 2 of his kids are "water bags" meaning they cry easily.  I told him about Angelfish and how she is tough but you hurt her feelings and you get the waterworks, but how Ladybug isn't tough about getting physically hurt but she's a lot tougher about hurting her feelings.  Anyway, I like him.  He's even nice to the dog and talks to her too and tells her she's doing a good job barking at him.  What's not to like.  I need to make sure I see where his son ends up in the draft...

Then straight to work.  I've been working ever since.  I still have to get my bike to the bike shop and try to get my 15 mile bike ride in.  I can't promise anything.  But I sure will try!  Until then...

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Getting Ready for Race Day with Ladybug

By the time Swim Practice rolled around last night, Ladybug was feeling much better.  She had held down toast, soup, and graham crackers and  slept 3 hours for one nap waking with a smile on her face.  Mr. Darcy was able to come home a little early because of a tough day on the golf course with some contractors, so off I went to swim practice.  As I left, Ladybug was making a "desert" of a whole grain waffle and non-fat activia key lime flavored yogurt. 

It was a good swim.  The last "official" group training swim before St. Anthony's this weekend.  We had a pretty easy practice - 100 pull, 100 kick for warm up and then 20 minutes straight (I did 1,000 m) and then the washing machine drill to simulate race start.  Of course, you needed to add arms and legs so you could get kicked and hit in it and it would be perfect.  Then we had a session of picturing race day going perfectly.

I got home to find a happy Ladybug and a happy Angelfish, although I could tell Ladybug wasn't quite 100%.  I'm not sure that it helped that Mr. Darcy gave them a bratworst for dinner.  She said that her tummy hurt, and when I felt her forehead she had a little temperature.  But no more puking.

This morning Ladybug ended up in our bed at 5 am.  She said her tummy hurt, laid down and went to sleep.  No puking. YAY.  But we decided to let her sleep as much as she wanted and to keep her home one more day just in case.  So that meant no bike ride this morning.  I know it's a taper week, but I still hate not getting all my training in.  I'm going to attempt to switch out my 3 mile walk for tomorrow to today after I get home from the Callandale Center, and that's presuming that Mr. Darcy gets out of his meeting in time to get home so I can go. 

And then I'll try to find a way to get my ride done tomorrow... I have bloodwork at 7:15 am and then am going to try to meet up with some people to do something pretty cool for our friend Doug.  He's had a bit of a set back because he started having a reaction to one of the medications he needs for his bone marrow transplant.  They stopped the medicine but are going to restart it again to see if he can go forward.  So, we're going to do something to show him we care and support him.  I'll reveal it tomorrow, but let's just say that the thought behind it actually puts tears in my eyes.  It's a good reminder right before St. Anthony's that even if I don't PR or if my back acts up and it's not that great of a race that I am doing this to find a cure for cancer and that I'm doing this for something bigger than myself.

Ladybug will certainly be at school tomorrow - she's sung "I'm a Little Teapot" about 10 times, made up a happy song about having a "butter bagel," talked my ear off, and asked a million questions during "Sleeping Beauty" and "Tinkerbell."  But I have to say that it's nice to have her for company too.  She's a cutie pie.  My goal is to give her some lunch in a bit and then put her down for a nap.  Or a "1 hour quiet time" as I have to phrase it and then hope she actually falls asleep. : )

I also am going to try to get some laundry in the machine while I work some more.  All in the hhopes of having things set for St. A's by Thursday evening.

What's up for you all this week?

Monday, April 19, 2010

The Pukies...

have hit the household.  I just hope they are limited in both duration and in the number of persons affected. 

This morning started at 5 am when Ladybug decided that she would come into our bed and told us a story about a dream she had that really made no sense whatever.  She thought it was funny though.  She ught she was upset because she woke up and proceeded to climb into bed and flipped and flopped all over until finally both Mr. Darcy and I were up and getting ready.  Then she started to scream and cry.  I thought that she was upset because she woke up and we weren't in the room.  So I told her we were in the bathroom and that she needed to calm down because she was fine.  And then she said, "My tummy hurts, Mommy." By the time I said "You're tummy hurts?"  She had thrown up and by the time I got to her (all of 5 steps away) she had thrown up a 2nd time, and then I carried her into the bathroom where she threw up a 3rd time.  But it was all water.  And she looked so pale that even her lips looked a little pale.

Angelfish seemed okay this morning although she was really whiny and crying. And then she got worried about Ladybug when she found out she threw up.  I had to tell her that Ladybug would be fine, but that she had a virus and that she couldnt' go to school today but that she'd get over it.  I have to say that I'm secretly worried that I'm going to get a call from daycare telling me to come get her, although she ate her muffins with gusto and drank an entire cup of milk...

Of course, at this point Ladybug seems to be feeling a little better.  Sleeping almost another 4 hours after you vomit seems to do wonders.  She did throw up some more water earlier, but about 1/2 an hour later she was hungry.  So far the watered down Gatorade has stayed put, so we moved on to 2 pieces of toast.  And now we wait...

Unfortunately, our version of the pukies doesn't qualify for a Big Daddy Diesel award... but I am seriously hoping that I don't get the virus either and that even if I do that I don't get it until AFTER my race on Sunday.  So, I'll be keeping my fingers and toes crossed!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

The Weekend... on the Weekend

I know - amazingly it's a weekend post!  I just have the girls down for a nap and Mr. Darcy is working on a project in our living room/breakfast nook and after 4 hours of Target, lunch, and the grocery with the girls, I needed some quiet time by myself.  Don't get me wrong - overall I had a good time with the girls.  It's just well, Angelfish is in this stage where she is trying to get away with not listening and it is very trying to deal with that while shopping in a public location without a 2nd parent along for the ride.  And it didn't help that she decided to be particularly mean when I asked her why she wasn't listening and she said, "Because I wanted someone else to be my Mommy."  Not much is able to reduce me to tears in a short order, but that did.

All the groceries and items from Target are put away, I've had some dark chocolate (just an ounce), and a few minutes to read Blogs and emails and am feeling more at peace - despite Mr. Darcy's banging away to hang some dry wall.  Our house is a very open floor plan in the more public spaces, which is one of the reasons we love our house.  But it also makes it a little difficult for painting because you have to stop in odd places to delineate where one room "ends" and the next begins.  To end the breakfast nook, there is a small divider (about 2 1/2 feet wide at most) with a column on the outer end that starts the new space (along with a change from tile to carpet... which we'll end up replacing with hardwood at some point probably).  Well that's great if you want your breakfast nook and kitchen to be the same wall color as the family room, but we don't. We like creating the division with color and such without breaking up the space.  But in this particular spot, Mr. Darcy felt we needed to make a more defining space with another column so that we can avoid a change in color mid-wall.  And I pretty much agree.  So he's framed it already and is now adhereing the dry wall, to which he'll add a wall texture like we have already, and then paint it to match the green we painted the bar and the divider, and then paint the wall the bisque cream color we painted the rest of the kitchen and breakfast nook.  Thus, my removal of the small people from the house so this could have some semblance of starting.  Of course, my fear is more related to the finishing of the project than the starting as we tend to have things start and then take months or longer to finish.

Yesterday's workout was decent.  There were a large number of swimmers at Lucky's this weekend, but unfortunately the large majority of them were kids from a swim team who definitely were having issues swimming in open water.  They swam just fine... except for the fact that they would swim over anyone and everyone in their way because they didn't seem to see them or care if they did see them, and they couldn't sight worth sh#t and were swimming at people head on, or forcing you to get out of the way and getting yourself off line or on the wrong side of a buoy from time to time.

So, our 2,000m swim took me 51:42 to finish.  I wasn't overly happy with the time, but I reminded myself I want to peak on race day not the weekend before, so hopefully all will be well.  The 10 mile bike ride afterwards was nice and easy, although the traffic was tough.  I had to laugh because at one point I held the group up because I didn't make it through the light after we had been stopped at it because I almost crashed when my bike shorts got caught on the nose of my saddle on the way up and wouldn't get unstuck.  Luckily the people behind me had been paying attention and laughed with me, especially after I said "now that's a new meaning for not being able to get your ass in gear..."  Turns out the guy who picked the route for us used to live in NYC and biked everywhere... so his definition of "heavy traffic" and the rest of the teams was a little different.  But we all made it in one piece just fine.

Afterwards I headed home in time to see the girls a few minutes before Mr. Darcy took them to a football game at UCF.  I had thought to warn him that at 2 months shy of the age of 4, they might not be quite ready for it yet but he seemed determined to go and meet the other guys from his fraternity alumni association, so I kept quiet and thought to myself that I hoped someone brings a girlfriend who likes kids.  Turned out that only one other person arrived and he was an older gentleman in his mid to late 60's that had grandkids... so he didn't mind when Angelfish decided to sit on his lap to watch some of the game and seemed to understand when Mr. Darcy left at half time because the girls weren't exactly being overly good listeners and were getting wild because they were like pent up little animals.

I on the other hand spent time volunteering at Baby Basics, where I counted and packaged diapers for a bit, chatted with the other volunteers, and helped deliver the diapers to the women who participate in the program when they arrived to collect them.  I helped one Mom who had an infant and a little boy who was about the girls' age.  He was having a bit of a fit because he wanted to play on the playground but Mom needed to go to get her glasses fixed so she could see.  I chatted with him, tried to get him to laugh and tried to destract him, but he wasn't having it.  In the end I told him he needed to be a good example for his little sister, and ironically it seemed to work... it reminded me of the girls.

Then back home where we cleaned up the playroom and I got a nap in while the girls were napping.  Then Mr. Darcy and I went to dinner at Outback (which was a bit ironic because in the movie we saw, they usually go to a steakhouse) and then saw "Date Night."  "Date Night" was hysterical.  We were laughing about scenes in the movie a good 40 minutes after it ended.  The premise is exactly as they show it in the commercials - longtime married couple with kids decide to try to spice it up by going to dinner in the city and get wrapped up in this crime situation.  It was so funny that even the couple who was on a date and not married were laughing hard.  Mr. Darcy and I were laughing our butts off throughout the entire thing.  If you're married (and not in the 1st 2 years of marriage) and especially if you have kids, you can't help but think it's funny.  Go see it.  It's the first time in awhile that I wasn't sorry to have paid $20 for the two of us to see something in the theatre!

This morning, the girls let us sleep until almost 8 am when Ladybug entered the room and shouted "Get up and play!"  It was loud... and ironically, not the usual climb into bed and jump on you that we normally get.  That's painful sometimes, but at least it's not loud.  So I started the day by making breakfast, straightening, and having a nice cup of coffee and reading my newest installment of "Southern Living" that arrived this week while sitting on the tile and watching the girls play in the playroom. (We have a house rule that drinks aren't allowed on the carpet, and that includes the parents.) Then we had a nice party that the girls put on with a lot of "candy" and "cookie" and "cakes" (all fake food - actually most were plastic vegetables that they pretended were made of those sweet things) and pretend tea before heading out to Target, Davis Bakery (we were all ready for lunch) and Publix.  The girls lost their ability to get a cookie at the end of our Publix trip because they were already on 2 for not listening and I hear them tell each other they're "going to break your teeth"... granted, I realized that they were saying this because they bumped teeth and thought it was funny instead of being some sort of mafioso youth but I had to lay down the law all the same.  Ladybug burst into tears and started a fit, but Angelfish decided to make her feel better (thank goodness because I really was at the point that I had already waited 15 minutes to get lunchmeat from the deli counter and I didn't want to leave to have to discipline someone in a bathroom) and it was very short lived.  I thought they were going to fall asleep on the 5 minute ride from Publix to the house, so I checked the mail too, but it was not to be.

Before the crazy behavior in Publix (they were manhandling each other in the cart - didnt' know you could wrestle in the space of the seat in those car carts did you?), we had a really fun time though.  They were sweet and funny, except when they were being crazy about bathing suits in Target and going around and around in circles in and out of a crowd of people who were fixated on bathingsuits and came up while we were looking at them.  I was having visions of child abductions, so they ended up in the shopping cart.  And lunch at the deli was enjoyable too.  I have a lot of fun with our kids, but as I said to Mr. Darcy last night... it's like 95% of the time it's fun and sweet, but the other 5% can just be very, very trying.

We've had about an hour of quiet now, but Angelfish is shouting something... so I'm guessing nap time is officially over. I may have to go see what they are up to... wish me luck!

Friday, April 16, 2010

Thursday Reflections, the Art Show, and The Weekend

Thursday Reflections
Yesterday was kind of an interesting day.  My friend Doug started the process for his bone marrow transplant, and it was an amazing thing really.  Team in Training seriously has to be one of the best groups of people I have ever known.  Plastered on facebook were good wishes for Doug, and one of the cycling coaches even organized everyone to stop and say a prayer for Doug from wherever we were at 2 pm, since things got underway for Doug at 11 am.  People put things on their blogs.  It's kind of like my favorite movie "It's a Wonderful Life."  Except instead of Jimmy Stewart it's Doug and all the people who he's touched being there for him the best way we know how.

Another Team in Training person lost their best friend after repeated battles with cancer yesterday.  It reminded me so much of Angela.  The continued battling and winning, and then there being the one time that she just didn't win.  The amazing sense of loss and how this couldn't be happening, and that a friend that young shouldn't be dead.

I liked what a fellow TNT member, blogger, and friend said about cancer.  To quote the wonderful Missy (who had knee surgery this morning at 7 am): "Cancer is a coward. It picks on little kids. It picks on people that it believes are not going to fight."  And I, like Missy, and so many others of us out there, want it gone.  We need to find a cure.

It made our Bon Voyage for the team even more meaningful to me.  Here we were excited to embark on our races either at St. Anthony's next weekend or at Tri Miami  the following weekend, but I was even more excited about the fact that there were 13 people on the team, and at minimum we raised $2600 each.  Some of us raised more.  It was definitely harder in this economy getting the donations to come in.  I raised $3,341 as of yesterday.  It's not the $4700 I raised the year before, but it wasn't for lack of trying.  I even had restaurants that typically do group fundraisers turn me down by refusing to return my calls or emails and finding out from a waitress that they're not wanting to do as many this year and that they had problems with some groups not really bringing people in.  But, from the numbers I had access to, at the very minimum our team raised $38,825.  And I have to say, that's pretty darn good.  It may still be a drop in the bucket when it comes to the cost of patient services and cancer research, but it's a drop that wasn't there before.

For Doug's sake and for the sake of all cancer patients everywhere, I hope it's a drop that makes a difference.  When I'm out there at St. Anthony's trying to get the job done of my Swim/Bike/Run, I know I'm doing it for something bigger and better than myself.  And it's sure heck a lot easier than dealing with a bone marrow transplant or other cancer treatment.

The Art Show
All of that made the girls art show even more special too.  It made me so thankful for how very blessed I am to have 2 wonderfully talented, happy and healthy children and 1 talented, happy and healthy Mr. Darcy.  We had a great time at the art show (and I was there right on time - in fact, I got there before Mr. Darcy and the kids did!)  The girls were super excited and we had a great time looking at their artwork and listening to them tell us all about it.  Ladybug's room was more of a themed room with set projects where they made dinosaurs and animals and some free thinking artwork (that's what I call it where it's up to the kids as to what it's going to be), and Angelfish's room was more artistic for the most part - projects but you could see where the kids were given free reign over how things turned out.  And afterwards we went for ice cream as a treat! Here are some of their projects.


The Artists, Ladybug and Angelfish

                                



A desert scape with a snake (I thought it was poop at first); shape collage; and the elephant

Ladybug's art is above... Angelfish's is below.



A Marble picture; Angelfish was the only one to put feathers on her owl; and the last picture is a self-portrait.


We LOVE ice cream!!


The Weekend
Oh and speaking of St. Anthony's (well, a few paragraphs ago).  I think I've figured out my goals.  Here goes:
A. Finish in 3:20:00 or less.  This may be a bit lofty, but hey, if everything goes just right I can do it!
B. Beat my current PR of 3:36:55.05.
C. Finish close to my PR of 3:36:55.05, since that course was a little shorter and I've had back issues in recent weeks.
D. Finish in an upright position with a smile on my face and not having freaked out during the swim.  I tend to freak out during the swim on race day.  There's going to be a ton of people.  But this race, I don't want to freak out for a change.
E. Finish in an upright position with a smile on my face.
F. Finish in an upright position.
G. Finish.

After this morning's 28:34 minute walk.  (Sorry, Coach, I thought I'd be back in 20 but accidentally went on the 2 mile path instead of the 1 1/2 mile.)  It went fine.  No pain when I walked, and I did a 10 second jog when I first started with very minor pain, an 30 second jog about 1/2 way through that had some pain but not bad, and then another 30 second run just before I finished and it was just very minor pain - and only down my shin.  So I think my nerve is getting happier.  Let's hope it keeps getting happier so all goes well on race day!

I've already decided also that after last night's ice cream, I'm going to endeavor to only eat holistically from today through race day (except bread because I just don't have time to make it myself, but I eat whole grain bread as it is). And hopefully from there on out too.  I'm a pretty wholistic eater for the most part, eating food in it's natural state, as it is but the past couple of weeks have not been overly wholistic.

I'm looking forward to Saturday.  It'll be a busy one, but I think good.  I start the morning with the Team for our last Saturday group practice before St. Anthony's - 2,000m swim and 10 mile bike.  Then a shower, some time with the girls and then volunteering for Junior League with my friend M., then home and a little time with the girls before Mr. Darcy and I go on a date to see "Date Night."  I'm looking forward to it.  Sunday we're probably going to head to the neighborhood pool for a bit.  The girls have been asking to go this entire week!

I hope you have happy training and good times this weekend! (And let me know if the new blue is easier to read... I've gotten some people saying they see it fine in grey and some who don't... so I'm hoping the blue will work for everyone!)

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Additional Thursday Thoughts...

to the Thursday Test Drive.

This morning at 3:21 am, Ladybug woke up screaming because she was afraid of the dark.  Mr. Darcy slept right through it, and I had insomnia from that point on.  Ladybug was so loud that she not only woke me, but she also woke Angelfish.  So I had not one but 2 little ladies to snuggle with and to calm down and get back to sleep.  If only there had been someone to help me get back to sleep.  I would start to nod off and then think about training and St. Anthony's or the fact that my Junior League dues are due or that I forgot to tell Mr. Darcy that his glasses had come in at the eye doctor or that I need to do laundry and return some things to Kohl's.  About 5:45, I finally started to nod off... right when the alarm went off.  I got up and took my medicine and then tried to sleep some more.  Started to fall asleep and the snooze alarm went off.  I got Mr. Darcy to reset the alarm clock and I slept until about 6:30ish... sort of.

I laid in bed thinking to myself, okay I should get out on the open road on my tri bike for a little more time in the saddle.  Then it started to pour down rain.  But it was wierd.  Not just a steady rain.  It would down pour, then stop raining all together, then rain lightly and then down pour again.  It was odd.  And with the shortage on sleep, I decided... I was going to the Y.

I did my 20 mile ride on the stationary bike in 58:12.  I told Coach about my lack of sleep and the rain, and she told me I needed to sleep and to start riding in the rain.  As I said to her, I don't want to break myself before race day so I was taking care... if it rains on race day, I will race (of course) while avoiding painted surfaces, metals, and puddles.  And in the meantime, I'm praying for good weather.

Mr. Darcy and I also came up with my final and real race schedule for the year.  It's one he can live with and one that I can live with too.  I wouldn't have minded adding one sprint triathlon in October, but Mr. Darcy said he didn't think that he could handle that in addition to the schedule as it is now.  So unless I can talk him into that one a little closer to that race day, the schedule is complete.  Drum roll please... and the Schedule is:

3/7 Princess 1/2 Marathon (Completed)
4/25 St. Anthony's (obviously) (A/B Race; It's been A but with my back...)

7/18 Moss Park Olympic Distance (B Race)
9/12 Florida Challenge Triathlon Olympic Distance Clermont (A Race)
10/2 1/2 Marathon Disney Wine and Dine (B Race)
11/21 1/2 Marathon Women's in St. Pete (A Race)
12/11 5K Reindeer Run (C Race)

I think it's a good solid schedule.  Not overly crazy, and yet not underwhelming either.
 
As for schedules, today is a busy one.  Work, of course. TNT Bon Voyage party at 6 pm and Little Ladies' Art Show at 7 pm.  Ladybug is a little anxious about my attending because she knows I have Bon Voyage, but I've promised her and asked her if I've ever broken a promise and she said "No!" and gave me a BIG hug.  So come hell or highwater, this Mommy will be at the art show at 7 pm on the dot!
 
Oh!  And I did my initial test for the pushups.  I'm pretty impressed with myself, really.  First I did the test on an incline to make sure I didn't mess with my back and got to 28 before my arms hurt.  Then I figured that put me too high in the range, so I did regular pushups right afterward and I still got to 15.  I am stronger than I thought I was.  So I'll be starting the Pushup Challenge right after St. Anthony's!

Thursday Test Drive

First... welcome new readers!  I am so very excited to have you all (and have already started following you all too - you're interesting people) and to be teetering on the edge of 50 readers.  Whoo hoo!

As promised, today is (finally) the return of the Thursday Test Drive.  The first Test Drive is of the book Racing Weight by Matt Fitzgerald.  This Book is starting to popup everywhere. It's mentioned in this month's Triathlete (mine arrived Monday and I've already read it cover to cover) and it was mentioned in another Triathlon related email... so it's a good thing I found the time to finish it.  The 2nd Test Drive is of Gu Chomps and Gu's Recovery Bru.

Test Drive #1: Racing Weight by Matt Fitzgerald

What they Say...
If you're like most endurance athlets, you're concerned about your weight.  You know that every extra pound you carry costs time, wastes energy, stresses your joints and affects your performance.

Racing Weight is the first book to explain how enurance athletes - runners, cyclists, triathletes, cross-country skiers, rowers, swimmers - should lose weight.  Using sound scientific principles gleaned from the latest sports research, Matt Fitzgerald lays out five easy steps to get lean for races and events.  His guidelines will help you hit your target numbers for weight, body composition and performance while maintaining your strength and conditioning.

Fitzgerald makes good nutrition simple with great recipes from pro triathlete and dietician Pip Taylor and a look atht eh diets of 14 elite professional athletes.  He explains how to avoid the most common mistakes in training and how to emabrk on a strength training program that works.

The Racing Weight plan will help you close in on your performace goals while feeling - and looking - great.

The Good:
This book is clear and through.  It gives you the "you should do this" and the scientific why as well as dispelling some of the things we've heard that don't really work.  It covers everything from how to figure out what weight is best for you (which is based on performance, and if you have a decent amount of weight to lose, may take awhile to finally get there), suggestions on how to examine the quality of the foods you eat and how to improve that quality (the key is go for more wholistic food), nutrient timing, and even good training suggestions for how to get to race weight.

The Bad:
While I am a woman who loves to have the science explained to me, I also like things to be succinct.  Perhaps the science explanations in some cases could have been shortened a bit to the science involved and not necessarily so many details about how the study was performed.  Or at least for some of them so it wasn't as long toothed every time.  Also, there were some good recipes in the book from Pip Taylor but it would have been nice to give a suggested plan for a couple of weeks for a variety of different scenarios for weight loss.

The Tri Mommy Truth:
I would recommend this book to anyone interested in getting leaner for triathlon (or any other endurance sport).  It is the first book that I have seen talk about weight loss for endurance athletes that takes our hard training into consideration, as well as the temptations of the off season and the fact that BMI isn't the ruler when you're an athlete but percent body fat may be.  The book is organized in an easy, understandable way.  It will let you put together your own plan once you sit down and read it ... although you may need to re-reference some of the material because there is a good bit there.

Test Drive #2: Gu Chomps and Gu Recovery Brew

What they say...
Gu Chomps:
GU Chomps offer a change of pace from gels and an answer to that moment in your run, ride, ski, swim, hike…. when you just gotta have something to chomp on.


GU Chomps deliver the premium ingredients and performance benefits you've come to expect from GU Energy products:

• Amino acids for added focus, rippin' energy and speedy recovery.
• Vitamin C + E, those mighty antioxidants that combat tissue breakdown.
• Sodium and potassium to restore electrolyte balance.
• Exclusive blend of complex and simple carbohydrates.

All in all, a superior choice to propel you in your athletic pursuits.

Gu Recovery Brew:
The premium quality ingredients in GU Recovery Brew help you quickly replenish energy stores and rebuild mucles after an intense workout.  This packet contains the best protein, most amino acides, optimal car blend, essential viatmins, and GU's great, mellow Taste.

The Good:
Gu Chomps:  They definitely worked.  I started to feel muscle fatigue while on my 1 1/2 hour bike ride and I ate some and within a short period of time, I was back to feeling like I had fuel.  They came out of the package easily and weren't overly sticky.

Gu Recovery Brew: I felt pretty decent afterwards.  No aches or pains, but then none were really expected either.

The Bad
Gu Chomps: They were sweet.  Too sweet.  It was almost like eating 3 pieces of candy.  The strawberry flavor was nice, but again too sweet.  I also had some gastric issues a bit later.  I never seem to have it right away, which is good.  But later isn't good either.  But then, I have Irritable Bowel Syndrome so life can be interesting.

Gu Recovery Brew:  I tried the Strawberry Watermelon.  Typically I like this flavor combination.  But I did not like Recovery Brew.  I did not like it one bit.  It was a mixture of sweet and something just not quite right.

The TriMommy Truth:
For me, I'm going to stick to my Shot Blocs and Hammer Gels and Hammer Recoverite.  It works for me.  I like the flavors and they aren't overly sweet.  Plus, I don't get gastric issues from them.  But that's just what works for me.  And it was worth a try.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Chik-fil-a-Part Deux and Other Items

Chik-fil-a Part Deux
Last night was family night at Chik-fil-a.  We decided to go with the girls after getting a facebook post from Connor's Mom saying that he asked if our girls were going to be there... after that we figured we should go (plus we like chatting with Connor's parents).  When I told the girls at daycare that we would meet Mr. Darcy at chik-fil-a, the first words out of Ladybug's mouth were "I'm going to be a good listener for you and eat my dinner and I'm not going to run away in the restaurant so we can stay and have ice cream."  At least the child learns.

And thankfully, the evening went well.  Both girls were good listeners and we had a fun time with Connor and his parents.  It turned out it was the Chik-fil-a cow's birthday, so there were balloon animals, face painting, a live musician, and the playground.  To say the least, the girls had a blast... and the place was a complete and utter zoo.  One that normally would work as extremely good birth control for anyone who did not already have children.  Yet it was a fun time.

The entire time though, I was thinking about my friend Doug.  There was a surprise party for this wonderful human being that we did not go to primarily because the girls and I have had runny noses for the past week. It may be allergies, but as Doug is having a bone marrow transplant this week (in fact he's in the hospital today) and will be completely immunocompromised, I didn't want to take chances in introducing a cold (or any other random germs that my kids have at the moment because they're germy little kids) into his system right before that.  He's started a blog about his journey through bone marrow transplant which you can access at: http://dougstransplantjourney.webs.com/apps/blog/ if you're interested.  Doug is honestly one of the nicest people I have ever met... he's kind and funny and has a way about him that you just can't help but have a good time when he is around.  He's an inspiration too.  After being diagnosed with CML and going into remission with the help of Gleevec, he not only has done a hike, a triathlon, and a century ride for TNT but also trained for a 1/2 marathon with them too.  All the while raising money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society and acting as someone who spoke with newly diagnosed CML patients.  Not to mention being a wonderful husband and father and running a business.  So my thoughts are were with him last night and today... and I have a feeling he'll be lingering there for a good while.

Swimming, Without a Hitch
This morning we woke and the girls decided they wanted to get ready "all by myself." So once I actually got them out of bed, they did a great job and were ready to go!  That let me get to the pool relatively on time, which was great.  I had a 45 minute continuous swim, and the pool was a popular place this morning.  I had to take the farthest lane, which I hate doing because all those years ago that's where the slow people get sent for races - the outside lanes.  But I did pretty well this morning.

Monday I had a bit of a hitch in my stroke when I swam, I wasn't quite sure where it was from and I was doing my best not to have it, but it was staying with me.  Today, when I stretched my back out, it clicked just once and my back muscles seemed to loosen up a bit.  And when I swam today, the hitch was gone.

It was a nice relaxing swim that cleared my head.  I thought a little bit about St. Anthony goals, although not fully resting on anything 100% just yet.  The rest of the time, I just thought about counting the length I was on and that was it.  Counting all the way down the length of the pool and then going up to the next number is a nice little mantra for relaxation.  Of course, I only count sets of 8... so 1st 8, 2nd 8 and so on.  I decided to stop momentarily at 1600m to see my time and also figure out how much more I needed to do.  36:32 for 1600m.  I was pretty happy with that and finished out the 45 minutes with another 800m, half of which I did the backstroke for as a sort of cooldown.  It was a great swim!

Funny about Lunch
Today I also set out to have lunch with Mr. Darcy.  This is a somewhat rare occurrence, despite our efforts to do it once a week.  The last 2 weeks Mr. Darcy was able to bring lunch home for us, but this week he had meetings so we met at a restaurant.  Wouldn't you know that this time was the only time  I get an email from my boss asking me to do something... which led to several emails about who would lead the call if I couldn't lead the call.  All in the stretch of 15 minutes.  I guess they're used to my responding right away to everything.  But I'm supposed to get a lunch!  Anyway, it kind of made me laugh from the sheer irony.  I'm literally at my desk 99.9% of the day - the 0.1% is literally for potty breaks and a quick grab of food - on 99.9% of my work days.  One of the few times I actually leave my desk and go to lunch, email central!  But all is right again - I said I'd be happy to lead the call and that I was just at lunch.  No rest for the wicked (or is it weary) as the saying goes...

On Tap
This afternoon after work and before I pick up the little ladies, I plan to do the initial test for the 100 Push Up Challenge.  I figured I could at least be set to start the week after St. Anthony's and it would give me plenty of time to recover before race day.  (My guess is 12 for my initial test...15 at the most.  We'll have to see.)

On tap for tomorrow is a 20 mile bike ride at 16-18 mph, nice steady pace.  I plan to go to the closed road for this one, folks.  No gauntlet of death for me!

So until then, happy training and please send positive thoughts to my buddy Doug for his bone marrow transplant!!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Cycling the Neighborhood: the Gauntlet of Death

As irony would have it, yesterday I read a great article posted by Big Daddy Diesel about bike safety and needing to keep yourself safe while on the road.  I almost always follow the recommendations that they layout in the article, and add one more: choice of path.  I do not go certain ways at certain times of the day because there are way too many cars.  Yes, we need to learn to ride in traffic.  But we also need to see our children graduate from college.  So typically, I hit the closed road for any ride over 10 miles. (The loop is 9.8 miles and it's almost 2 miles to get there.)

Today, however, I decided that it was too late in the morning to get to the closed road.  Yup.  That's right.  I would: 1) have to run the gauntlet of death past the elementary school and all the roads leading to it even if I went the way around, not once but twice (and that's too many soccer moms on cellphones for my comfort); and 2) have to deal with the main artery out of the subdivision which would be clogged with cars, school buses, trying to go fast and being frustrated with the number of people leaving (you would not believe the bad driving I've seen on that two lane road).

It was 7:35, and I had 15 miles to do.  I mis-remembered my schedule and thought I was supposed to do the mileage at 16-18 mph, steady pace and staying in aero as much as possible.  (Nope.  I was supposed not go over 16 mph.)  I use the neighborhood for various and assundry runs - anywhere from 1 1/2 miles to 10 miles.  So, I knew I could find 15 miles worth of road to cover.  Plus, I wanted to bike by a house that Training Buddy and Mrs. Training Buddy are considering buying.  I knew I'd have some traffic on some of the longer roads, but I could be in aero at least 90% of the time safely.

So I set out.  I purposely avoided all major paths leading to the elementary school.  Luckily, I misremembered where the house I wanted to ride by was located and found a nice, 2 mile stretch of road that was seemingly empty although lined with cars.  I stayed in aero unless I was approaching a stop sign or saw or heard a car.  Then I popped up so people could see me better.  At one point there was a little old lady in her car trying to pull out and not great visability so I stood up on the bike (I had the right of way)... luckily she saw me. 

I wandered and meandered and even stayed in aero around some of the less sharp curves and turns.  I found the house I was looking for, tried to cross a street at one point and had to unclip and finally just pick a different direction and then loop back later because there were so many cars that it was like the video game frogger.  I remember how many poor pretend frogs I killed playing that video game and decided instead of going left, I could easily turn right add some mileage to the bike computer tally and loop around on a different street that would give me much better visability and easier right of way for the left turn.

The weather was great.  Blue skies with some puffy clouds, a bit of a wind, but not overly terrible (and nothing like last week).  I was sweating like mad, but loving every minute of it.  I was pretty much going around 17 mph the majority of the time... although I loved the one little hill that I clicked into a harder gear at the top and cranked it out to 19.7 mph toward the end of the ride and then slowed myself down for the turn.

And that's when I saw the mercedes with the driver on the cellphone driving on the wrong side of the road.  Luckily, I have a good sense of self preservation.  I popped myself out of aero faster than you can say "Holy Sh#t!" and was as far over on the side of the road ready to slam on those brakes while unclipping and leap on to the side of the road.  She saw me as I popped out of aero and threw the car on to the correct side of the road, and while I was on the brakes and had one foot unclipped already I never had to leave the bike.

But for Thursday when I do my 20 miles, I'm making sure I'm out of there earlier and I'm hitting the closed road.  No more gauntlet of death... unless its a ride shorter than 10 miles.  Period.  Even avoiding the elementary school, it's not worth it.

I signed the girls up for Voluntary Pre-Kindergarden (VPK) yesterday.  I spelled VPK out because a friend thought I was talking about Vacation Bible School (despite the abbreviations being different), and couldn't understand why I was saying "Oh my babies.  They're growing up."  We had a good laugh about it.  The thought of my Little Ladies in VPK this August and then Kindergarden next August makes me cry.  They're definitely ready for it and need it, but I feel like the next I know they'll be going to college or getting married.  Perhaps that's why I left so late for my ride today.

I told Angelfish that I would see her after school and that I was going for my bike ride.  She said "Not good."  I asked why, and she said "I want you, Mommy."  So of course, I had to sit down and have a snuggle while we put on her socks & shoes and talked about what a fun day she would have at school.  Ladybug asked me to brush her hair, so I did and then held her hand as we walked to the car.  They both told me they loved me as they put on their seat belts and waved and shouted "Bye. See you later!" through their open windows as Mr. Darcy drove off.

It was well worth the wait.... and even the Gauntlet of Death.