Saturday, December 31, 2011

Aging Up

Well, another year down, and as of midnight tonight, I move up another age group due to USAT rules.

(Whoaholycraphowdidthathappen?)

Just got back from celebrating "Noon Year's Eve" at the zoo with my cuties.  It was super fun.
Jackson and his little friend, Hanako, having a jam session yesterday

This year, I have some lofty goals and resolutions.  Let's start with resolutions--and these I really do plan to keep.  I don't want to LOSE anything this year.  I need to GAIN a few things:

1.  At LEAST one date night per month, set well in advance, babysitters all lined up.  Something ideally just for Matt and I.  We're pretty good at getting out with friends here and there, but find that it's hard for just the two of us to get out.  Usually I have a melting point involving a freak-out and a frantic call to my parents to see if they can watch the kids in, oh, five minutes...which is not good planning.  We're going to really work hard at setting aside some time just for us and put it on the calendar well in advance.  For those who have little ones, you can appreciate just how important--and how hard this is--to do.

2.  I'm going to really work on Keeping Calm and Carrying On.  I'm going to really focus on worrying less.  Those of you who know me also know how hard this will be.  I am a Worrier.  With a CAPITAL EVERYTHING.  I'm making some progress here, but I am going to focus on giving myself a break more.  Eating as clean as I can, regularly practicing yoga and meditation, and just trying to let go of the small stuff more.  I have a little system in place to start measuring this so hopefully I can really stick to it, since it's definitely an area I need to work on.

Race goals?  Just warning you:  they are biggies.  Here we go:

1.  Low 1:40s at the Cleveland Half Marathon in May.  I would like to go 1:43 or lower.  This is a high reaching goal for me, but I know that I can do it.

2.  Consistently improve at the short distance triathlons, especially in the run.  I want to get my 5K run at the end of sprint distances under 24 minutes.  This also will be difficult, but doable.

3.  Sub-5:30 at Rev3 Cedar Point.  Here's how I'd like to break it down:  36 minutes on the swim, 2:47 on the bike, and 1:52 on the run.  That would take me to approximately a 5:25 and allow for transitions, too.  Again, will be hard, but I know I'm capable of that.  The only really big change here is on the run. That run would be taking off a good 10 minutes of my last time, so that will be tough.

Professionally, I've got quite a bit going on, too.  I'm being nominated for something pretty awesome, so I need to get working on that.  I will be presenting to the Grant Committee and our faculty on how I've had my students use the iPads that were so generously provided for me, so I need to put together some good stuff to showcase that.  I also have of course the state tests looming in March and the AP test in May.  So 2012 will include quite a busy second semester.

(Which, of course, takes me back to Resolution Number 2.)

So I'm going to enjoy my last few days of just me, Matt, and my kiddies, before I head back to the crazybusy-ness that is the life of a working mommy triathlete.  I'm so happy for my health and blessed to have my family and friends, and I look forward to another amazing year.

Even if I do have to age up tomorrow.  ;)




 Happy New Year!


Wednesday, December 28, 2011

TST Playlist, 3/100

So I was all stoked to run with Ana Monday morning, but her kiddies had been sick with the stomach flu and she texted me that it was a looonnng night.  Been there.  Totally understand.  No problem--we made plans to run Tuesday.  I relaxed Monday and decompressed after a super fun but super busy Christmas weekend full of goodies, Batmobiles, yummy meals, and chunky flower puzzles.  And my new Kindle!  That I didn't even realize I wanted and now I loveloveLOVE it and can't put it down!  Woot!

Monday was gorgeous and sunny.  Matt needed to get in a workout so I just took the time to chill and figured I'd get in a good 8 miles or so Tuesday morning.

Except I got up Tuesday to run and, strike one, heard the rain.  BOOOOO.  Cold, freezing drizzle.  Oh hellz no.  I can do cold, and I can do rain, but 36 degrees and raining is just pretty much the worst case scenario for me.  EVER.  Me no likey.

But I'd have company, right?

NO.  Text from Ana, at 1:07am:

"Just kidding--now I am puking!"

Noooo!  First I felt bad for my poor friend.  That blows.  Then I felt bad for poor me.  I was all dressed up to run outside.  I hate dreadmills for anything longer than 45 minutes.

BOO all around.

So I sucked it up and decided to run outside for the both of us.  Me and the trusty iPod, which is in dire need of updating.  But it did have this gem on it from my friend, Chien, who is the mastermind behind Actually, Records in Chicago.  Chien is pretty much the most creative musical genius I have ever met.  The guy's been like this ever since I first really got to know him back in high school.  Whenever I need new tunes, I hit up Chien.  He's been making me mixes that he calls the "Toasty Arcaro" mixes (uh, long story) ever since they was on actual mix TAPES, yo.  And this song came on and it helped me run a bit harder when I really was questioning my sanity for going out in such craptastic conditions.  Thanks, Chientos!

Come get your beat back in the game
Gotta put my foot down switching lanes
Sensation pumping through my veins
Let's go again
I got your back so let it rain!

8 miles done.  Sucked, but still better than the treadmill.


Friday, December 23, 2011

Flip Turn Flashback, Preggers Style

So I switched to the new blogger layout (look at me, all techy!  not really) and I saw that quite a few people were finding my blog by searching "flip turns while pregnant."  Which, in turn, cracked me up.  Because I took great pride in doing flip turns, all the way up to the end.  The very, very large end.

So, out of my May 2010 archives, I have dug up the video that my preggers buddy, the superawesome JenC took with my little underwater Olympus.  See?  It is possible.  And no, I'm not entirely sure I could have possibly gotten any larger.  I bake big babies, people.  For realz.

So if you're pregnant and wondering if you can still do a flip turn, here's me at 38 weeks pregnant showing that it may not be pretty form, but it is possible...


Thursday, December 22, 2011

Christmas Vacation up in HEEERRRREEE

I am sooooo excited!

And tired.  OMG, very, very tired.

We finished school yesterday (finally!) and today was my first day off.  Which was awesome, except that I had a *bit* of work piled up that I've been putting off for, oh, a month or so.  And, uh, Santa's workshop had NOTHING wrapped.  Nada.  And, like, Christmas is in 3 days.

It'll get done somehow, right?  Santa always gets it all done.

(I could use a few of his elves, though)

Currently I am sitting on my couch with a snoring puggy on my lap watching....wait for it...Beavis and Butthead.
Shut up, Bunghole.
Yeah, I said it.

I am a HUGE fan of this show.  Even more so now, since they rip on music videos AND MTV shows.  Seriously.  Laughing HARD.

I really need to text Ana and we have GOT to hit the trails, like, at least ONCE before the Run for Regis half marathon.  Or we're both in big, big trouble.  We'll still do it, of course, but it won't be pretty!  It probably won't be pretty with just one trail run before anyway, but what can you do.  At least I can pretend I trained on trails.  The point of that race, for me, is to have a hella good time running through snow with friends.  It's hard to mess up that goal.

I have been hitting some spin classes to mix things up a bit at this great studio near me, Psycle.  My buddy Dani is an instructor and I just love the vibe there.  Tomorrow is a Christmas themed class and I'm pretty excited!  (Nerd alert.)

My goal this vacation is to actually SWIM!  IN WATER!  WITH GOGGLES!  I think I can make it happen.  I'm looking forward to getting back in the triathlon routine pretty soon.  I'm still working on when to swim but I may have a new buddy to rope into evening swims...(Shannon, you out there?!)  The only thing left to do is to pull the trigger and sign up for Rev3.  As soon as I get the finances in order, I'm going for it.

2010's race was super awesome, being that I did it 6 months after Baby Bean was born and had as good of a day as I did.  I feel like in Rev3 version 2012, though, I need to step it up big time.  5:44 can and will be--yeah, I'm saying it--SHATTERED.

By how much?

Yet to be determined.  I'm still thinking about it.  Lots of variables at play, so I'll make some difficult yet attainable goals soon.  But I'm definitely going to go hard.  I've got high expectations.

(You know.  Because I'm the kind of person who sits on her couch and watches Beavis and Butthead when she really should be doing more responsible things.  Uh, huh huh.  Huh huh huh.)

All kidding aside...I am so, so excited for Christmas and to watch it through the eyes of my four year old Bug, who is so full of magic right now that I can hardly stand it.
Christmas is pretty amazing this year, mostly because of this guy
2012 will bring a new member to Team Evotri, our team training camp in April (ack!  the epic awesomeness of that is blowing my feeble little mind right now), and lots of races for me, with the big one being in September.  

Feels like Christmas is here already!
My sweet Emmy Bean making a tree with her buddy A and A's mommy
Emmy with Adalyn--the daughter of my best friend since 1981
BFFs E and Bug at our Polar Express Movie night, wearing the same PJs, being goofballs.  E's daddy and Bug's daddy have been best friends since they were in kindergarten.
Matt and E's daddy, BFFs, with some amazing women's Christmas sweaters on.
Happy holidays to you and yours, and cheers for a happy, healthy, tri-filled 2012!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

TST Playlist, 2/100

So, the Black Keys, one of the NEO's finest, are totally coming with the Arctic Monkeys in March and I am a *little* excited.

(SQUEAL!)

I'm hoping to get a little group of some super cool people together to head down to see the show, so that's on my list of things to do once I get to 3:08pm on December 21st and I get a chance to FREAKING BREATHE.

This video absolutely cracks me up.  I heart.  Plus, the song is rad.

WOW.

That's all I have to say right now.

WOW.

The entries coming in for the contest to add a new team member to Team Evotri are just awesome.  This is going to be one hard decision for sure!

It's not too late to enter!  I'm telling you, being a part of this team is unreal.  Go ahead and throw your hat in the ring!  Make your 2012 a season to remember!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Origins

The following is a post I've been asked to contribute to the Team Evotri website on the origins of each team member in the sport of triathlon.

My entry into the sport of triathlon was now ten years ago.  I was 23, out of shape, and missing the competition that I got growing up as a swimmer, a fastpitch softball player, and a musician.  In all of those disciplines, I competed often, and was never the best or most talented but definitely was driven to make myself better.  It resulted in some little perks that largely mattered only to me; like a hard-fought third place medal in the 50 freestyle in 1988 summer league, several scores of "I" at my district Solo and Ensemble contest in very difficult pieces, or batting cleanup on varsity as a sophomore.  Seemingly silly little things that no one else would really notice, but to me, were proof that working hard could sometimes make up for a lack of amazing talent. 

After college, I entered the so-called "Real World."  Not the MTV version.  The REAL ONE.  The one with bills and 168 students and rent payments and WOW-this-is-not-what-I-thought-it-would-be's. 

I drank a lot of coffee.  I called home quite a bit.  I consumed quite a bit of junk calories in the form of Skyline Chili and Graeter's Ice Cream.

I wanted to push hard again.

I think I read about triathlons in some fitness magazine that I read while probably eating ice cream in the summer sometime.  Something called a "sprint distance."  Well, I thought, that can't be TOO hard...I know I can swim that distance.  I can probably ride a bike that far if I really try.  And I have completed a 5K--once.  I called up my buddy Shannon, who was totally hardcore and usually up for anything in the form of a challenge, and we picked out a race.

We did it, and little did we know we were well on our way to a new hobby.  A new sport.

And really, a new life.

I dropped 35 pounds within the year.  I was on such a high from my local sprint triathlon that it led to other things:  ending an unhealthy relationship, backing away from the ice cream (oh, who am I kidding--backing away from a DAILY habit at least and introducing a little thing called moderation), and really changing the way I dealt with stress into one focused on fueling myself with positive stuff and exercising away the negative stuff.

I signed up for a marathon, trained, and completed it in 5:14.

I then did a MS150 Charity Bike Tour.

And after that, I got a really crazy idea to do an Ironman.

Since that first race in 2001, I re-met and married my best friend, had two children, ballooned up to over 200 pounds each time and back down again, all while training and racing through every step along the way. 

I'm still not the best, but I'm still getting better.

I'm proud that my children know what I do and "do exercises" like Mommy does.  I hope that my love of triathlon and of fitness and health will help them deal positively with whatever challenges come their way.  I've helped train students to get to the finish line of their first triathlons, and love watching where it takes them.  This summer, I will be starting a Mom's group to train for a local triathlon, and I am literally giddy with excitement.

And through Evotri, I've been lucky enough and feel honored to be introduced to some of the most positive, inspiring, amazing individuals in the universe, all while being supported by unbelievable sponsors and opportunities. 

So to that tired, stressed, overwhelmed, out-of-shape 23-year-old girl who clicked "REGISTER" on the Fairport Harbor Triathlon website in 2001?

Thanks for everything.




Friday, December 09, 2011

Dear Santa

I promise I've been a very good girl.  I am pretty confident I'm not on the naughty list.  I may throw temper tantrums from time to time but only for good reasons...like poop water flooding my basement last February, for instance.  Certainly, Santa, if there's ever a time for some four-letter words, that would be acceptable, no?

Could you just pretend you didn't hear, maybe?

Anyway, I've been thinking long and hard about what I want for Christmas this year.

And it's THIS.  The half, of course, Santa.  I'm mildly tri-obsessed, but not quite that crazy.

So I will wait, Santa, until a few bills get paid and maybe a few things get sold on Craigslist to fund my Christmas wish.

Because this upcoming season, Santa, I think I'm going to kick all kinds of a--well, you know.

(I'm trying to be good here.)

Love,
TST


Tuesday, December 06, 2011

TST Playlist: 1/100

I love reading some of my friend's music picks of the week, and I thought I'd throw up one of mine every week or so.  I've always always always loved music--pretty much every kind, except country.  I'm sorry, country fans.  I really am.  With the exception of the year I lived in Cincinnati, I have not ever nor do I plan on ever listening to country music.  We'll have to agree to disagree on that one.

One of my besties from college, Mindy, was so awesome at making "mixes."  Of course, back then, they were actual mix tapes.  Because iPods weren't invented yet and mp3s were barely even in existence and YES I'M OLD OKAY SO THERE.

Regardless, she was Mix Master Mynd.  And even today, whenever I am lucky enough to see her, she always has a new mix for me, all ready to go.

So I'm going to start now on a journey from 1-100 on my TST Playlist.  We'll start with a little song that came on the iPod when I was running tonight and even though it's old, I was surprised at how much it made me want to kick so much butt.  I picked up my pace just a little bit, and was able to ride out my high from Saturday's race a little while longer.  This song will be one of those that forever will take me back to age 16, when I felt like I could seriously BE a character on My So Called Life, when I floated between cliques like a chameleon--never quite feeling at home in any particular one, the sound of the slamming of lockers and the taste of fountain Diet Cokes from McDonalds, and the feeling of wondering where I was heading next.

Sunday, December 04, 2011

I Got By With a Lotta Help From My Friends

Or, "How To Finally Get Out of Your Freaking Head"

Or, "How I Managed to Finally Do What I Really Knew I Could Do"

Or, "How to Almost Puke in the Finisher's Chute."

(All titles I considered for this post.)

The short, sweet version:

My previous PR (I had to do a lot of research on this!) in the 5K was NOT what I ran last month.  No, I dug WAAAAAYYY back in the archives of my old bibs scattered in a box in my closet (very scientific research) and found that 23:43 was my best time, in 2003.

TWO THOUSAND THREE.

As in, before iPods weighed less than my old-school graphing calculator from high school.  When Justin Bieber was NINE.  When Britney was still Britney.

New PR, 8 years later, 2 pregnancies later:  22:52.  7:23/mile pace, 7/153 AG

Mind = kind of blown, but at the same time, feeling of relief, that I'm finally starting to do what I should be doing.

/end short version/

LONG Version...

All week I was nervous.  My buddy B had thrown out the idea, "what if we just let the fast chicks (aka Salty and NC) pace us on their easy slow middle-miles-of-their-long-run?"

And I was really not sure.  First, because B was suggesting a pace that was borderline insane for me.  She wanted to go sub-6:59.  Do I think I can do that?  Actually, yes.  On the right day, I think I can.  But I also knew that I've never, NEVER been able to hold more than a 7:38 pace on a 5K.  EVER.  So to aim that high right now was probably a recipe for disaster.

But I wanted to try.  I know that I'm better than a 7:38 pace--I've just never been able to run that distance smart enough to do it.

Then I took the more modified approach of going hard, but staying reasonable.  Instead of going for a sub-7 now, how about I do something still hard but more doable--a 22:30, or a 7:15 pace--which would still be a HUGE PR but not quite as high of a reach as a sub-7 pace?

So that's what I settled in on.

Race morning was busy--and kind of chilly.  I wasn't sure what to wear and I changed my outfit at the last second--B came prepared and had an extra thin shirt (and I was really regretting NOT wearing shorts, but there was nothing I could do about that then).  So the resulting outfit was the most mis-matched, fugly assortment of colors ever.
Ben, Salty, E, DaisyDuc, David, Me, JenC, and CV
I hung with some of my buddies at the start and we did a warmup.  A few things I did differently in this race:

1.  Warmed up LONGER.  I usually do 1/2 mile and call it good enough.  I did 1.5 miles with JenC and B and noticed I felt much better--actually warm, despite the 38 degrees and slight winds.  Warm enough to peel off my gloves (good decision).

2.  Skipped the coffee.  Coffee does me VERY well on long-distance races.  It does NOT do me well on 5Ks.  The last two 5Ks, I've felt my stomach gurgling coffee in the last mile and it's not pretty.  I thought I'd try without and see how it went.

3.  Did NOT wear a watch.  Yes, I ran naked.  Naked sans watch, that is.  My Garmin is great, but it has been messing with my head.  I firmly believe that on Turkey Dash, when I saw my first mile at 7:26 and I didn't feel great, I gave up and phoned the rest in.  I didn't want to do that this time.

4.  Actually remembered to use my inhaler about 2 hours before the race.  I'm pretty sure I have at least some form of exercise-induced asthma, which I've had checked out and no one can really seem to give me a definitive answer.  But I do have an inhaler that I'm supposed to use on hard efforts, and the last two races I've forgotten.  DOH.

So I was all warmed up and ready to go.  I made it to the start, and my buddy ESpeed was there to cheer her head off and document, so all pictures credit to E!  She wasn't racing this week because she raced the Philly Marathon last weekend and finished in 2:51.  You know, NO BIG DEAL.  :)  She's a rock star!
E, marathon supastar, as Rudolph the Red Nosed Cheerleader
Salty was going to pace B and local superhero racer, NC, was going to pace me.  They were in the middle of their long runs.  Never mind that NC could have beaten most of the guys at the race today--pretty sure E said she ran a FREAKING 16:38 in a 5K last weekend--amazing!  So my plan was to hang onto NC for dear life.  She asked what pace, "7s or so?"  and I said that if I could hold 7:15s, I'd be ecstatic.  So we set out to do that.

This race is SO fun.  Everyone was in the Christmas spirit and we saw some great costumes:
OMG, I don't know who this guy is, but I LOVE HIM.  "Merry Christmas....sh--ter's full"--Cousin Eddie
Lots of runners in the Christmas spirit!
There were over 1500 racers there!  Including my awesome Mom, and a whole bunch of my running sistas.  I wish I could see them all more often!

First mile was crazy--we were trying to weave in and out of cars and people and NC was great pointing to me where to go.  "That way!"  "There--go there!"  So I basically bowed to her orders and did whatever she told me to do.

Despite my efforts to not look at a watch, they had clocks up at the mile markers.  This was still okay, since I saw my time but wasn't glancing at my wrist every 3.2359 seconds.  We hit the first mile in 7:15 on the time clock (which was a bit less than that--probably around 7:08 since it was chip timed and I started 7 seconds back).  I felt strong, but like this was the fastest I could hold.  "Pick it up?" NC asked me.  "No..." I panted.  "I think I'd better...just..hold this."  So we did.
This sums up my thinking:  a face of anxiety here!  NC leading me on, basically sleepwalking for her
2nd mile the clock said 14:30.  NC pointed to it and said, "See?  We're good!"  And I thought, holy crap, I just ran two even miles.  Hard.  Can I really do this?

Now, of course, it was starting to get hard.  NC was high-fiving people and basically walking.  I was trying to will my legs to keep moving.  "One more mile!" said NC.  "What's your fastest mile time?"  she asked.  "I....have no ...idea...never...ran one mile..." I gasped.  She must have thought I was such an amateur!  Ha!

She weaved me in and out of a few small packs.  I noticed that I am pretty sure in the end of the race, I follow packs.  NC had me passing packs.  That's a different mindset for me.  I do that in tris a lot, but never seem to pull the trigger in road races.  It is probably a confidence thing.  I need to trust that I can pull away from packs, especially late in the race.  She showed me that I could, and I did.

Now it was really hurting.  I saw E at about 2.5 and she was cheering lots!
Hurting, but knowing it's almost over
We hit mile 3 and the guy was yelling out times and I heard "21 fiftysomething" and I thought, HOLY CRAP.  This is gonna happen.  "Less than a minute of hard running!" NC yelled.  "Finish strong!  Through the chute!"  I mustered up whatever I had left and crossed the line in what the clock said was 22:59.  Then I doubled over and dry heaved a few times.  Cue the song that my husband has ingrained in my mind whenever I dry heave (this is what happens to you when you're married to a metalhead):


NC ran off with Salty to finish her long run and I didn't get to tell her how freaking amazing she was.  Major, major race karma sent her way for helping me!  THANKS, NC!

I found B and found out that she SHATTERED her goal and ran an amazing 21:06!  B, you kick SERIOUS butt!  And Salty was so proud of her, too!
Salty hamming it up, and B hanging on and killing it
JenC beat her best time by 50 seconds, too!
JenC, finishing strong to a PR!
And CV was 2nd overall female on her birthday!  Yay, CV!

My super awesome Mom ran a 34:25, just a FEW SECONDS SHY of her PR, a 34:03, that she set 4 years ago!  She just keeps getting better--SO PROUD OF YOU, MOM!  I hope I'm still killing it when I hit her age group like she does! :)

We all celebrated afterwards at OHOP, our favorite pancake place!  I ate myself something silly.
B, Daisy, Ben, and CV:  the ladies showing off their green AG and Overall Awards Hats!

JenC, me, and E waiting for pancake deliciousness

the superawesome GP and David, E's hubby, who bested his time by 4 minutes!!

Then I got home, took Bug to the pool for 3 hours, cleaned up, and had date night at two of my FAVORITE places ever in the NEO:  Luxe restaurant Cleveland and dessert at Sweet Moses in the Gordon Square Arts District on Detroit.  Pretty much a perfect day, with a perfect race.

This is a great way to end the season.  I finally did what I knew I could do, but had a lot of help from my friends to get me there.  Now, I need to trust myself and let this carry into next season.  I need to bring some of my triathlon mentality into road racing, too, and trust myself more.

I proved today that I've got it in me.  And I'm pretty sure if I dig deeper next time, I've got a bit more.

Saturday, December 03, 2011

DID IT!

I DID IT!

I FINALLY ran what I felt was a good, solid effort on a 5K--with HUUUUUGGGGE help from marathon superstar NC who paced me and encouraged me the whole way!

22:52!

LOTS more to say, but I just wanted to throw that up there while I had time--off to take Bug to the pool to celebrate. :)

Thursday, December 01, 2011

I know I just said I wasn't going to do this...

...but curiosity got the best of me.  I had two more friends tell me that I looked like I had lost some weight,  so I was curious enough to see what that meant.

You should have heard the conversation in my head before I stepped on.

You know if this is high, it doesn't matter, right?


Yeah,  yeah...I know.


No, SERIOUSLY.  You know that you are fit and that you dropped a dress size.  Understand that whatever this thing says won't change that.


I know...I know!  I think. 


NO I THINK!


Okay, okay....I know.  I really know.


So I got on the scale, with much the same curiosity that led me to step on the scale when I was in labor with Bean.  Just to see.  Just to see where the highest ever in my life would be.

Today?  I saw the lowest since about 11th grade.

62 pounds down from Bean.

Gotta admit, that felt good.  I believe the strength work is helping a lot, and of course, I can always get fitter.  But given what we've got going on around here, I'm quite happy tonight.

Now, QUICK!  Where's my ice cream?  And those Reese's trees?

Come on...just ONE...

:)

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Serendipitous November Triathlon

So I know I said before that it would be my last time on the bike for a while, but WAIT!  It wasn't!  I'm pretty sure yesterday was.  64 and sunny on November 26th in the NEO?

Global warming, I hate you every day BUT YESTERDAY.

This weekend has been amazeballs.  We hosted Thanksgiving dinner for 14 people on Thursday after I ran the Turkey Dash in the morning.  Friday we all relaxed and slept in until after 9!  That's the equivalent of sleeping until noon in college, or, even doing what TriShannon and DaisyDuc and I used to do which was BARELY making the 1:30pm Saturday brunch cutoff in our dorm where the dining hall was BELOW US.  Yes, oh laziness, we set the bar quite high.  So 9am was much needed, and completely relaxing.

Saturday I went for a run with Ana in shorts again with a shiny orb in the sky.  It is really unheard of this time of year, so we soaked that up for all it was worth and got in 8 miles at a conversational sub-9 pace!  I was very happy with that since my legs were still a little heavy from the race.  Then, I went home, helped Matt hang up some Christmas lights, chased Bug and Bean around for a bit, and then put Bean down for a nap.  Matt went in to watch the Michigan game (we are a house divided, you see--I still say GO BUCKS), Bug was playing cars, and I looked out the window to still see 64 degrees and sunshine.

I was pretty tired after my run and chasing the kiddies around all morning.

But that sun.

And that warmth.

And, once again, it's late November.

I just couldn't pass it up.  I checked the forecast and, indeed, this looked to be it (for realz this time) for a while.  Sunday would be kind of warm but really rainy, so if I wanted to get out today would be it.

I put on my big girl pants (errr, bike shorts) and went out for another workout.  But I way overdressed! I had to ditch my Evotri jacket at the first park by my house and tied it all stealth-mode to a tree. I hoped it would be there when I got back (I was pretty sure it would be, and it was).

At the turnaround, I even ditched my leg warmers!  And the world got to see my pasty white legs one last time before May or so!

Pastiest white legs this side of the Mississippi!

Seriously, I was so freaking happy to be riding.  To quote the late, great, Freddie Mercury, I love to ride my bicycle, I love to ride my bike.  I love the NEO, but get kind of sad that I miss riding for a good 2-3 months outside on a regular basis.  Trainer workouts can kick your butt, too, and there is value in that, but there's nothing like getting outside.  It was CRAZY windy, though.  At one point I was pushing almost 300 watts and going 12.2 miles per hour!

This is my "I can't believe it's 64 degrees today!" face
Got back, took a quick shower just so I didn't scare people, and went to my buddy SimplyMarried's pool party for Sweet A's 2nd birthday.  So, if you count me chasing Bug and Bean around a pool for 2 hours, then I pretty much did a triathlon Saturday.  Score!

Picture courtesy of my super cool buddy, SimplyMarried

And Saturday night?  I was toast!  I fell asleep right after Bug at about 8:47pm.  It was awesome.

Now it is raining and the cold front is moving in--probably for good.  But I feel like I did cheat a little bit this November, and for that, I am ridiculously grateful.

So here's to beating the conventional Northeastern Ohio triathlon season.  And hey, while we're at it, how about you check out my awesome team, Team Evotri, and our contest to add a new member?  We are so excited to add someone to the family next year!

Happy Training!




Thursday, November 24, 2011

Gratitude

Today, on Thanksgiving, I am thankful for so much...

My husband, who has more patience than any person I know in the universe.

My family, who never ceases to amaze me with their love and strength.

My sweet little boy, who is growing like a weed and who tells me he loves me "to the moon and back."

My baby girl, who is hilarious and determined and snuggly and a talker and very much my girl.

For my running and triathlon buddies, whom I love seeing at the races.

For my friends, who make me a better person every single day.

For my career, which challenges me and never gives me the same day twice.

For a hard run, and for the reminder that even if today wasn't my day, there's always another race.  Another day.  Another chance to breathe hard again.

For hosting dinner for all of my family tonight, and washing all these serving platters and dishes to prepare.  And for realizing that the life I dreamed about eight years ago when I picked all this stuff out is right here, right now.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone.

Love,
TST

Monday, November 21, 2011

Making the Team, 2012


Now entering its sixth year, the members of Team Evotri continue to challenge themselves and others to live a healthy and active lifestyle through endurance sports. They have been given an extraordinary opportunity to train and race with the same equipment and coaching as the pros. They continue to dedicate themselves to maximizing their potential, to sharing what they learn from their experiences, and to making a positive contribution to the endurance sport community.

Team Evotri is again ready to welcome a new member to the family. For 2012, Team Evotri and its sponsors have pulled together a one-of-a-kind package to provide an age group athlete the opportunity to train and race like a PRO, while giving back to the triathlon and endurance community. The current team members will be looking for an individual who embraces the spirit of triathlon: a positive attitude, enthusiasm for the sport, desire to improve, and dedication to give back to the endurance community. Years of triathlon experience and good race results are not deciding factors in choosing a winner, but passion is.

The next team member will benefit by receiving an excellent package courtesy of the team's sponsors:
  • QuintanaRoo will provide a top-of-the-line CD0.1 frameset with innovative shift technology that will undoubtedly take your bike splits to a new level.
  • Zipp Speed Weaponry knows just how to outfit a frame like the CD0.1 with a 404 front and 808 rear wheel set.
  • SRAM will add to the bike with its latest cockpit and drivetrain components.
  • CycleOps finishes the bike off with its cutting edge SL+ wireless PowerTap hub and Joule 2.0 computer.
  • HUB Endurance puts it all together providing a full year of expert triathlon coaching to deliver the newest Evotri athlete to the top of their potential in 2012.
Here's how you can be the next Team Evotri member:
Create a video that's no longer than three (3) minutes. The video should answer the following three questions:
  1. Why Evotri?
  2. Why You?
  3. Can you Evotri?

Guidelines:
  • Videos must be posted to Team Evotri's Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/evotri.
  • Videos must be posted by December 31, 2011, at 11:59 PM CST.
  • Videos not within the time constraints will not be considered.

Process:
  • The current team members will select finalists from the video submissions.
  • The finalists will be notified by January 15, 2012 and will be invited to be interviewed via teleconference by current team members.
  • The winner will be announced on February 1, 2012.

Important Notes:
  • By posting a video to Evotri's Facebook page, candidates grant contest affiliates permission to use said video for promotional purposes affiliated with Team Evotri and the 2012 contest.
  • The winner of the team slot forfeits all awards if he/she is unable to continue as a team member for any reason for a period within two years of joining the team.
  • The winner of the team slot agrees to contribute to the Team Evotri web site for as long as he/she is a member of Team Evotri.
  • The winner agrees to race in an Evotri team uniform for all multisport events. Winner to purchase choice of uniform apparel upon final selection.
  • The winner of the team slot must participate in the yearly Team Evotri event. The 2012 event is a training camp in Chattanooga, TN from April 12-15, 2012. You must be present for the entire time.
  • No reimbursement will be made by Team Evotri or its sponsors for the creation, submission or any other expenses associated with the video entry.
  • No reimbursement will be made by Team Evotri or its sponsors for any travel, lodging, race entry fees, or other associated expenses in attending Team Evotri activities.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Seriously. Please tell my head it's NOVEMBER.

Why can't I stop thinking about tris?

What has gotten into me?

Here are a few theories:

1. I am working my butt off. Working through most lunches while grading, grading late at night, finding some sweet new lessons for my APs and trying to really integrate my new iPads I got through my grant for World. This is good, but makes me really tired.

2. My kids have a level of energy that would make a squirrel on about 19 shots of espresso look slow.

3. I miss throwing my energy into races. I enjoy where I'm putting my energy now, but I do miss a good, hard, last mile at the end of a tri where I'm chasing someone or some goal. I heart that, and I haven't really had it since August (save the 5K where I accidentally broke my 9 year old PR for literally no rational reason).

So, I emailed Ana to see if I could talk her into something crazy--doing Rev3 Cedar Point with me next year. And you know her response?

"Oh my goodness...this would take some TJ (husband) convincing. Are you sure I won't drown?"

To which I thought, SHE DIDN'T SAY NO! VICTORY IS MINE!

Now here's the problem. Since early September I've been acting pretty much like a duathlete. Which a duathlete, I am not, people. I am a triathlete through and through. So I MUST get back in the pool. But how?

Sigh.

I have to make this work somehow. Some ideas I'm tossing around:

1. Picking one morning a week to go before school but I'd have to go straight to school. This requires a good deal of coordination on my end (bags, breakfast, lunch, clothes, etc.) and would not be fun for Matt since he'd have to get both kids out of the house solo by 7:00am which he's really good at but still it's kind of a headache. Four hands from 6:45am-7:00am are really almost a necessity.

2. Pick one day after school and go directly from school, hopping in the water sometime around 3:40, so I can be home by dinner. Pros--relatively convenient for Matt and I . Cons--I just hate spending more time away from the kids after school, even if it is one measly hour.

3. Go at night, after Bean is in bed and while Bug is getting put to bed. Judging by the schedule, this would need to be probably Monday or Wednesday. Pros: no missing time with Bug or Bean and easiest on Matt. Cons: OMG, do you understand how HARD it is to get motivated to head OUT to swim at 8pm? ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ

I've been running, riding, and lifting mostly at night or in the wee hours of the morning lately. Realistically, I think Option 3 is probably my best bet. But man, that's gonna be hard. I'm going to need someone to hold me accountable. DO YOU HEAR ME, INTERWEBS?

I'm going to keep doing some thinking, crunching, and pool-scheduling research, but my goal is to get back in the water in December. I need to put the tri back in this athlete.





Sunday, November 13, 2011

A Funny Thing About That...

So I'm sitting here, after enjoying a fully warmer-than-usual weekend with the family. Last week was insanity at work and I had a million things going on at the exact same time, so on the weekends I try to go on full-on hibernation mode and just chill. Of course, chilling involved a 7 mile run with Bean (in a jogging stroller that was pulling to the right the entire time--hello, right core muscles this morning! Owie!) and a solid spin session and weights today. But I fit it in between chocolate chip pancakes, Phineas and Ferb, and a few hours at the Zoo.

Weekends like this with sunshine and warm temperatures make me think of races. And how I miss them. So here are my very very very preliminary plans for 2012:

January 15th: Run for Regis Trail Half Marathon. I am so crazy excited for this--talked Ana into it and we may not be able to prepare much on trails, but it will be super fun anyway!

St. Malachi 5 Mile: It's kinda a rite of spring for Cleveland runners. You just have to be there.

Chattanooga Team Evotri Training Camp: Words cannot express the sheer awesomeness this will be. I am so so so pumped to hang with my teammates and do nothing but swim, bike, and run (okay, and maybe eat and sleep some too) for a long weekend!

Cleveland Half Marathon: Oh yeah, baby. It's on. I plan on puking at the end. In a good way.

A few assorted local tris, including Huntington and Lorain: TBD

And the one I'm toying with....Rev3 Cedar Point. No additions will be put onto my house next year, which means things won't be nearly as nutso as they were this summer. I still won't have enough time to train the way I used to, but who does have enough time to train exactly the way they want to, right? If I do this, I want to do it well and PR. This would mean under 5:44 (and in my head I'm already saying as close to 5:30 as I can get), which I am confident I could do, provided I have the blessing of my family (namely Matt). So I'm still mulling it over and probably will for the next few months.

So that's the tentative deal. I do need to get back to the pool soon, though. I'm still working out those details, since unfortunately, the last time I checked there was no 50 meter pool in my basement. The nerve.

The last thing I wanted to note of record is that several people have told me lately that I look like I've lost weight. Like, more in the past month than I've had in a long time. Which is interesting, because it was just about 2 months ago I decided I was done weighing myself. Like, probably forever.

I was one of those people who weighed myself every day, because I thought it would keep me on track. Which it did, for a while. But then it got to the point that it would dictate my day. Half a pound up because I had some pretzels the day before? I AM A FAILURE. Day ruined. I started to realize that this was quite silly. I know, I know. It only took me 34 years.

I decided I wouldn't be a slave to that stupid thing anymore. I know myself to know well enough that I wasn't going to get huge and bloated and let myself go a la Val Kilmer (I mean, seriously. Have you seen that guy lately? Where is my volleyball scene from Top Gun Val Kilmer? Sigh.) I planned on eating as well as I could and trying to be better about weights (like, 2 times a week, and no excuses--at least some pushups, chinups, lunges and core for crying out loud). So that's what I did.

I have no idea what I weigh. I am pretty sure it is about the same as usual. But I don't care.

I must be doing something right, so I'm gonna keep doing it. And I really don't want to know what the number is. It's not worth risking how good I am feeling. What if it's up? And then, DAY RUINED. I'm finally just kind of done with that.

For now, ignorance is bliss!

Big news--HUGE news, actually--coming very very soon from Team Evotri, too! I can't wait to share! But I have to. Trust me, though...2012 will be an awesome year.


Sunday, November 06, 2011

The Responsible Thing to Do

I am usually very responsible.

Really, I am.

Already, I've spent about four and a half hours grading my DBQs for APUSH. Little by little, dent by dent, red pen mark by red pen mark, I'm getting through them.

To grade each one correctly requires a good deal of attention.

And focus.

And patience.

And lots and lots of writing: theirs, and mine, too.

But today, we got an extra hour. Which I could easily have spent grading...again. It probably would have been the responsible thing to do during naptime, after we played at the park and went up and down the slides all morning, even though I did a good 2 hours this morning.

But, you see, today is November 6th.

And it's Northeastern Ohio.

And during naptime? It was 64 degrees, light winds, and not a cloud in the sky.

Which means, of course, that trainer ride I had on the schedule? Yeah, that's now being replaced by a ride outside.
Getting ready to hop on my Quintana Roo CD.01

*click, click...zooooommmmm*

A mid-ride snap

The great thing about rides outside in the sun in November in Northeastern Ohio is that it feels like such a gift, which really, every ride should feel like. I know that soon it will be gray here...gray sky, gray slushy snow, gray clouds. Soon enough, for sure.

A tiny example of the colors I saw...this was where I turned around

But today? Today was full of color.

Blue sky. Bright green grass. Bright blue lake. And the leaves were falling fast, but were still beautiful.


There was nothing gray about my ride today. Today was full of crayola leaves, of red and pink and orange and burnt sienna and goldenrod. And soon enough, I'll be running in the gray, bundled up with icicles on my eyelashes, but today was a huge inhale of color that I'll remember to carry me through the gray. And know that even if it is gray, it's still a gift.

Standing in my driveway after my ride, looking up

Sunday, October 30, 2011

The Best Chilly Morning Breakfast EVER

I don't know about you, but when October hits, I become OBSESSED with pumpkins.

Pumpkin spice lattes?

YES PLEASE.

Pumpkin bread, pumpkin muffins, pumpkin pancakes?

GET IN MAH BELLY!

The trouble with this is that all of the above are really pretty loaded with sugar. And that plus the fact that it's easy to just throw on the yoga pants and oversized sweatshirt (it's cold, right?) makes it oh-so-tempting to succumb to the waistline-wrecking ball that is pumpkin flavored pastry or caffeinated goodness.

But stay strong, brothers and sisters!

I have found something that is just as tasty and is not nearly as full of sugar as all my favorite pumpkin goodies. AND, it's awesome after an early morning (or late evening if your schedule is as crazy as mine!) crisp fall tempo run.

(Disclaimer: I rarely bake, because I hate measuring things. But I love to cook, because food is art. You just keep throwing things together until you get what works best for you. That's my kind of recipe! So I do a little-of-this-and-a-little-of-that, but for the sake of a recipe here I've given my best estimates at measurements. Just try it out until you find the right pinch of everything for you!)

Pumpkin Cranberry Oatmeal

You will need:

1/2 C Quaker Oats
1 C water or skim milk
a pinch of salt, if you so desire
1/4 C or so of canned pumpkin (you can always add more!)
a healthy spoonful of brown sugar (more or less depending on your taste...and how concerned you are about sugar! I usually do about 1 TBSP or so)
a few pinches of pumpkin pie spice (maybe 1/2 teaspoon?)
a handful of sweetened dried cranberries (or any dried fruit, really!)

optional: add some chopped pecans or walnuts to really make it a hearty meal and add some healthy fats!

It's really easy, and takes just a few minutes! Simply prepare the oatmeal, using water or milk (and salt if you desire) in the microwave according to the directions. Then, add a glob of pumpkin puree, a spoon of brown sugar, the pumpkin pie spice, and your cranberries. Mix it all up, and enjoy your healthy pumpkin creation.

Now you can save your extra calories for something even better!

REESE'S PEANUT BUTTER PUMPKINS.

Enjoy, and happy fall running!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

What?

No really.

WHAT?

Are you serious?

Yesterday, I am pretty sure I just beat my previous 5K PR by a second or two.

This is insane on many levels.

1) I am pretty much the least in 5K shape of my life. Or so I thought.

2) I am running MAYBE 15 miles a week.

3) I am not very good at 5Ks anyway.

This time that I set back in 2002 (I think--it's been so long I can't even remember!) which I believe was somewhere around 23:48 or so (again--so long I gave up really trying since I don't do these much anymore) and haven't been able to beat ever since....

I just busted it out yesterday.

According to my watch, 23:47. We'll see what the final times were (UPDATE--They have me at 23:46! Yippeeeeee): this wasn't a chip race, and I was back a bit (now I'm regretting that! DOH!).

To top it off, I even snuck into 3rd in my age group--which means you know it was a small 5K field! Ha ha!

Anyway, I should back up. So this race was literally in my front yard. It didn't run through it but came close, so the Mom and I signed up. Mom had to head out of town due to a last minute family emergency (it hasn't been the greatest 2 weeks in TST land, unfortunately) so it was just me, myself and I. My plan was twofold:

1. Run as hard as I possibly can.

2. Try not to hurl.

I had absolutely NO expectations about this race. I even told my buddy Shannon how NOT in 5K shape I was. I lined up kind of near the front but still pretty much in the middle of the pack. If I could average just under 8--like 7:59 or so--I'd call it a victory, given my lack of mileage. The good thing is that although I don't have many miles, Coach Emily has been giving me some good intensity and I've been doing some hard fartlek stuff. But I had a HORRIBLE run on Monday night. Awful awful awful. I could barely hold low-8s for my TWO MINUTE PUSHES. Ugh. So I really didn't expect much.

The first mile I was going hard, but comfortably hard. I kept looking at the Garmin in a bit of disbelief because it didn't feel that fast. Made it to the first mile marker in 7:23.

The second mile, things got a bit harder and I was laboring more, but the wheels weren't coming off as I expected them to. I tried to follow a few people in front of me who had a good pace and just zone out on them. The second mile was around 7:43 or so. Slower for sure, but given my lack of miles, I knew that would probably happen.

But I still felt pretty good.

It was about here that I realized that if I could hold it together, I might PR. I felt good, and it was hard but not too terribly hard.

Was this really going to happen today? TODAY? Nine years of trying to do this and I don't give a crap and it happens NOW?!

Around 2.5, I was regretting my decision to have coffee. That works really well in my short races for me, but started to make me froth at the mouth and feel nauseas. I let out a fabulous, classy, loogie-spit to the right and put on my big girl panties. It was here that I looked at my watch and knew it would be close. I was slowing down and it was starting to hurt, but I didn't want to get that far and blow up in the last half mile!

Mile 3 was 7:57. Uh oh. Time to turn on the gas!

My last .1 was an average pace of 6:36, which means I had entirely too much gas left in the tank. And when I crossed the line, it said 23:47. And I about freaking laughed, except I was doubled over and wheezing from my lovely allergy-induced asthma. So I just smiled instead.

23:47. And I would say this was the LEAST prepared I'd ever been for a 5K, or really any race.

WOW.

Okay, so what did I do differently than I haven't done in the past? How did I actually pull this off?

1. Hats off to Coach Emily for working with my insane schedule and giving me just the right amount of intensity. I definitely respond much better to low-volume, high-intensity training. This further solidifies that. My best marathon time came on my lowest mileage, and now this?! Geez.

2. I had ZERO expectations. NONE. Therefore, my head was not my worst enemy as it usually is. I just ran as hard as I could, period, the end. No drama. No ridiculous obsessing. No nerves, even. Just run hard, try not to puke, run harder, done.

3. I have been more consistent with strength training. I worked really hard to get my core back after Bean and it's still a work in progress of course, but it's a big focus. I've also worked on large muscles like glutes, hammies, and quads, and kept up with my upper-body stuff. Maybe that helped me not die? I dunno.

Now, what did I learn?

1. This is clearly not even CLOSE to what I am capable of. If I were to have some decent mileage along with intensity, I should be able to do much better than this. Of course now, I'm wondering.

2. This 5K PR bar was set very low.
Me, Anne, and Laura after the race
Okay, so I'm thinking there's really no reason I can't drop down into the low-23s and maybe even get into the high 22s. Yes, that's a dare. You hear me, head? THAT'S A REASONABLE DARE. If I can pull this out of my bum, then I should be able to do better. There's no reason why I can't.
Shannon snapped this one of me getting my medal!
So, I have two more 5Ks on the books that I was doing "just for fun" between now and January 1st. And they will still be for fun. But they might just be a little dare to myself, too. TST, the 5K underachiever, is going to try and drop that bar a bit lower where I know it should be.

Giddyup!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Are you there, blog? It's me, TST.

I do believe that's the longest I've gone without a post since turning this thing on in November, 2005.

So on that note, hi!

So school is in full-swing and that means I am, too. Lots going on, not much time to talk about it. Just a quick post to say I'm alive and well, and enjoying this fall weather. Stepping back a bit the past month or so to just work out for the sake of working out...for health, to burn off some steam, and to relax a bit. There is nothing that I am training for at the moment, and it's pretty awesome. I have a few things on my radar, but overall, I am back to the land of the solo workouts squeezed in whenever I can. I've decided the early morning isn't working out so well for me for a multitude of reasons, and switched to late at night and mid-afternoon on the weekends during Bean's nap. So far, it's been a nice switch and I'm enjoying it.

My workouts are lonely. But right now? Lonely is nice. I'm surrounded by people all day and talk ALL DAY and it's nice to be alone, with silence, just for a bit. Me and my bike. The sound of my feet on the sidewalk. The sound of me not swimming at all.

(Well, actually, that last one blows. But I'm working on getting some pool time going soon.)

Days are so busy I barely have time for lunch, because I just won't bring much home. I am really trying to leave work at work, which, of course, in our culture is growing increasingly difficult. So I work my booty off pretty much straight from 7:15am until 4, and then it's time for pushing Bug on the swing, saying new words with Bean (her new fave? "down!"), loving my crock pot in a mildly obsessive manner, and chasing around a newly-minted 4 year old and a tiny little girl who is almost 20 months old and cracks me UP.


I'll be back, I promise. But I'm in survival mode. Survival-solo mode, but it's all good.

Enjoy the fall weather, wherever you may be!


Sunday, September 04, 2011

Calm Before the Storm

I wanted to ride today.

It's been a long week, and I just wanted to sneak out for a bit before the fun but tiring whirlwind day started. So I checked the radar just to be sure I could fit it in before the storms that pretty much cancelled the Michigan game yesterday hit us. I thought I'd be okay, but I just wanted to be sure.

Ugh.

It said I had a small window of opportunity, but I'd need to be back by 9am. That wasn't really what I wanted to see. It was already 7:42. I pondered. I himmed. I hawwed.

I got out and quickly pumped up the tires and put my cell phone in a baggie and told Matt, "I may be calling you from the side of the road, k? bye" and as I stood in the driveway, I heard the rolls of thunder.

Crap.

Do I go?

A guy walking his dog looked at me like I was nuts and I told him, "I'm thinking about heading out...what do you think?" He told me he saw the radar so I might be able to do "maybe six quick miles." (I was thinking maybe more like 25 quick miles, but I kept my mouth shut.) So I told him I was just going to do it, and I rolled out.

I headed west, because, you know, when a storm's coming in from the west that's the smartest thing to do.

(or not)

The sky was dark and I was sure that I was going to get absolutely nailed. I put my head down, got aero, and was determined to make it a good solid ride. If I'm going to get soaked and this is going to be nuts, then I'd better damn well make it count.

This week school started, which is busy and fun and emotionally draining and exciting and overwhelming and absolutely EXHAUSTING all at the same time. Our family went back to school this week.

And our family went back to chemo this week, too.

Another school year; another September battle. This time we know a bit more of what we're up against at least. And the will to fight never ceases to amaze me.

I rode into that storm and pushed hard on those pedals. I got out some much-needed aggression. Sometimes, even though it isn't ideal, you just have to put on the obnoxious fluorescent orange jersey, put your head down, and send yourself headfirst into a storm.

But you know the craziest thing?

The heavens never opened up. The farther I rode west, the brighter the sky got. And even now it gets me a bit choked up. I think it was someone trying to tell me something.

As bad as things may look, if you soldier on through, the sun just might come out.

And then, it's just another beautiful morning.