Monday, August 29, 2011

The Hardest Thing I've Ever Done

The hardest thing I've ever attempted is being a working athlete mother. And I even have quite a bit of help, in the form of an amazing husband and family. But for some reason this past week seems to have been particularly tough. Tough physically, and especially emotionally.

Because, and I realize this is a good problem to have, there is simply too much for me to love and not enough hours in the day for me to fit it all in. I would never NOT want to work where I do. I would never NOT want to spend every waking second with Bug and Bean. And I can't even wrap my head around not working out at least 4 days a week.

So, by the wayside goes the unnecessary.

My beloved lengthy race reports, filled with pictures, for a start. Followed by all remnants of a clean and orderly house, dinner that involves more than a protein, a veggie, and brown rice, and afternoon workouts. I actually thought I could run after school today. Ha! Silly me. I know better. Even if I could somehow get that in (which it was literally impossible), all I ever want to do after school is spend time with Bug and Bean. And Bug's totally NOT down with the jogging stroller (yeah...he's been done with that for a while now).

Here it is, with random pictures and thoughts and I've got 15 minutes here so that's what you're gonna get:

Lorain Sprint Tri

I came, I did not have my heart in it, I tried to put my heart into it as much as I could, I still did pretty darn good.

Swim: Awful awful awful, but I didn't panic, which I take to be a result of me swimming in pretty rough conditions a few times this summer. So sucking is not good, but at least I didn't suck AND panic. Lots to work on here. I lost it in the swim on this race, and could have had a better finishing position with a better swim. Took a wrong turn in T1 to boot and had to turn back around. Awesome. Arg. 3/6 AG (<-----boo.)

Bike: Just didn't really have my head in the game here. Official results have me at 21.4 crazy miles per hour, which sounds awfully purty but is just not true. The course was a little short and I had 20.3 on my Joule, which is just about on par with what I did at Huntington. But only 160 watts?! Boo. I can do better. Held back a bit due to fears after a derailleur malfunction the night before, so kept it in pretty much the same gear the whole time. I should have trusted it a bit more, but wanted to have a good run so just kept on in the same gear. 1/6 AG

Run: Very proud of this. 25:05, which is an entire minute faster than Huntington. And I felt pretty awful! I could swear I was crawling. I need to take at least 90 more seconds off here. Work to be done, but definite progress! (1/6 AG)

All in all? Work to be done, but isn't there always and ain't that why I love this stuff? I muddled through after a challenging week and I didn't have my head in the game like I did at Huntington. So to finish where I did felt awesome.

5/52 overall females (a few seconds out of 4th--poop sandwich!)
1/6 Age Group (small field, but I finished just shy of 8 minutes ahead of 2nd, so pretty happy!)

Here are a few pics at least, courtesy of my awesome Mom:

And now I'm going to collapse. Goodnight!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Evotri and Quintana Roo!

Evotri Age Group Triathlon Team Partners with Quintana Roo

Chattanooga, Tenn. – August 17, 2011 – For the 2012 season, Quintana Roo is excited to partner with Team Evotri to provide each of the team members with the bike that Triathlete Magazine has called "the most innovative in the past decade from any brand," the CD0.1. The QR Shift Series is the only line of aerodynamic bikes designed specifically to minimize the substantial drag created by the drivetrain. QR's exclusive 18 millimeter offset downtube SHIFT Technology diverts concentrated airflow away from the drive side to produce a true, measureable bike-course advantage for every athlete at every level.

“We are very much looking forward to the partnership with Team EVOTRI for the upcoming season,” said Peter Hurley, QR CEO. “Having active social networking athletes on the CD0.1 for 2012 and beyond is an exciting direction Quintana Roo is heading.”

Team Evotri was conceived in 2007 based around the idea of finding out what happens when age group triathletes of all ability levels are provided with top coaching, technology and precision equipment. The team currently has eight members who share their journey via blogs, podcasts and social networking.

Evotri’s team model has been proven successful since 3 of the 8 age group athletes have qualified for the Ironman World Championships in Kona, Hawaii for the first time after joining the team. Other team members have also seen substantial improvements resulting from the team sponsorship package. The Evotri team also focuses on giving back to the triathlon community through organizing one of the fastest growing training camps for the Ironman distance. Held every summer, the Wisconsin Ironman Brick Adventure (WIBA) is a completely free weekend full of solid training, good sportsmanship and a wealth of knowledge.

Evotri Team Manager, Stu Joannes ("Simply Stu") states, "When I walked my rickety old bike into my first triathlon years ago, I remember seeing an incredible bike with a cool name - Quintana Roo. I told myself that one day I would ride one. Well, that day has finally come, and I couldn't be happier. The new CD0.1 is just an incredible ride that is packed with technology. I have come a long way since that first triathlon, and so has bike technology. My passion for the sport is only matched by the passion that Quintana Roo puts into bikes!"

Quintana Roo:
Team Evotri:

Monday, August 22, 2011

Transitions, Part 2

"And when you're in a Slump, you're not in for much fun. Un-slumping yourself is not easily done." --Dr. Seuss, Oh, The Places You'll Go!

I started doing triathlons ten years ago almost to the day, with a good friend on a borrowed bike and following a computer-generated training plan. And I crossed that finish line, darn close to last. And loved every second of it.

And it made me want more.

And by more, I felt instinctively that this meant more MILES. Longer, longer, longer. Longer was better. Longer got all the glory. Longer got the NBC broadcast, right?

So that's what I did.

I set my sights on the long stuff in 2005. I completed my first half ironman the day before I signed up for my first Ironman. Because that's what you do. That's the natural progression of things, or at least that was how it seemed to me.

I kept up the long stuff and completed more half ironmans. Most were better; one was worse. All taught me a lot about what I am capable of and a fire that I have in here that hadn't been lit in a while.

I kept going long. And I did like it. But life started to change, yet my training did not. And for a while it was fun. It was exciting to me to prove to myself that I could still do the long stuff. I could still ride 3 to 4 hours, sneak it in during naptime, get up early and swim, and run on the treadmill while someone slept in the swing. For a while, that was exciting.

"You can get so confused that you'll start in to race down long-wiggled roads at a break-necking pace, and grind on for miles across weirdish wild space..."--Dr. Seuss, Oh, The Places You'll Go!

And then, after last summer, it wasn't fun. It became a chore. I dreaded the rides. I didn't feel like running. And swimming was something that I had a rough time fitting in because I knew it was 6am or nothing, and 6am is really tough when you have two children under 3 and one of them being just a few months old.

What motivated me, as the summer went on, was that I needed to make it worth it. Worth all the lost sleep, worth all the time on my bike when I could have been at home. That lit a fire in me, too, and I made it worth it to say the least. Shattering my PR by 16 minutes while still carrying around almost that many pounds is still something I'm extremely proud of. And it reminded me that 5:44 is still not my best. That there is something much faster than that in here, without a doubt.

But I was burned out.

I should have learned my lesson. I should have remembered all of this when I signed up for the marathon in May and set such a high goal. I did think about it when I got so sick last March, but the fire in there wouldn't let me quit. I had to at least try. And I still don't regret what I did.

But I realized more than ever after crossing the line in Cleveland that something had to change. I was trying to train and race the same way I did in 2005. And life in 2011 is completely different than it was in 2005.

I needed to adapt. To still feed that fire in me, but to adapt to the new reality of my wants and dreams. And my wants and dreams increasingly do not involve sitting on my bike for 3 or 4 hours. Because I've done that. I've done that, and I've done it well, and learned a lot and grown and succeeded.

I needed a change.

"It's okay to rest....but in the modern world, that's just not a popular idea. Outside of sport, in business, people boast about getting only two hours of sleep and still going into work. They're stressed, they're not sleeping, and they wonder why they feel like hell all the time. It's like the less you sleep, the more hardcore you are. Translate that to the triathlete world and it's 'Look at me, I ran twenty kilometers yesterday after riding for six hours.'"--Chris McCormack, I'm Here To Win

Instead of feeling pride after a ride or run, I felt almost inadequate. That no matter what I did, most of my training partners were doing double it. I couldn't keep up. And if I couldn't keep up with the volume, well, then, I must be worthless, right? I must not be cut out for this. Maybe I've outgrown triathlon.

"That's the monster that is human nature. We train to look good to other people, to look good to ourselves, to justify the cost of a coach, or as some sort of inoculation against the fear that we won't have what it takes on race day. But we rarely train for the only reason that matters: to be the best we can be in body and mind, and deliver our finest possible performance on race day, regardless of result."--Chris McCormack, I'm Here To Win

But this summer has shown me something. I have had so much fun.

SO much fun.

I can't remember having this much fun training or racing. It hasn't been a burden or a chore. It's been a release, an outlet, a social hour. It's pushed me beyond my comfort zone time and time again. It's left me crossing the finish line in a heap, ready to puke. It's made me ask, " there another gear in here?" since the races are short enough that you have to--you have to push harder than is comfortable.

And I was totally comfortable with the attitude that I've held the past 6 seasons: that "I'm not very fast," that "I'm no good at sprints." I just thought if I wanted to succeed in triathlon, I needed to do what I was getting better at: 70.3s.

But I wasn't enjoying them. So maybe I'd do these shorter ones and even if I was horrible, it would fit into life better.

"One key to training this way is to attach no guilt to it. You have to let go of the numbers. Stop counting how many miles you did at the end of the week! You have to train yourself to be confident that you are doing enough and stop overtraining as a security blanket."--Chris McCormack, I'm Here to Win

The funny thing? I'm actually not horrible. Three races can't be a fluke. Yesterday I won my age group and finished 5th overall, once again shocking the hell out of myself. Even in a large and talented field at Lifetime, where I felt pretty rotten and like I wasn't ready and had a pretty horrible run, I still finished near the top third.

And I feel like yesterday has really forced me to turn a corner here and transition into something different. I want to keep this fun going. I love the fire in me when I'm chasing someone down. I love the feeling when I'm red-lining. It's something new and exciting, and it may not be as glamourous as Ironman, but it sure is a lot more fun for me right now.

Next season will be more of this. It will start with a super fast half marathon in May. And then it will be as many sprints and Olympics as I can pack into a summer, depending upon what works for my family. Because nothing beats racing close to home with my kids at the finish line. Nothing. Instead of spending hours on my bike every weekend, I'm going to spend a few hours racing like I stole something. I'm going to hit the track hard. I'm going to hit the pool hard. I'm going to continue to get stronger as a cyclist and mix up longer stuff with intervals. I'm going to continue to lift and get stronger.

I'm transitioning. And I'm ready.

Friday, August 19, 2011


I don't do so well with transitions.

I'm like my soon-to-be-four year old Bug, who NEVER wants to go somewhere (bath, library, park, fill in the blank) and then when he gets there it's the BEST!THING!EVER! and does not want to leave.

Let me be straight: I love my job. But I hate the transition from full-time SAHM for 10 weeks to full time working mommy. I usually get a healthy dose of guilt with a side order of not sleeping well for about 2 weeks or so. The two weeks that happen to usually be the craziest of the school year (tied with the last week of school).

So I was really trying to stay positive. I felt guilty for doing a race this weekend the day before I head back, though. Especially with such a late start time: I don't even start until 8:20 or so. And the course is slightly longer (you know, one of those local deals, not a USAT course) so I'm looking at being done after 11, not home until at least noon, etc etc etc. Guilt. GUILTY.

I was thinking about downgrading to the sprint just for the sake of time. Still fun but done much earlier since their waves go off earlier anyways. But then I felt like a slacker.

And then I felt like punching myself. Who does 3 triathlons in 6 weeks with two children under 4 and is SLACKING? Seriously.

Sometimes I let myself get a little warped since I train with people who have much higher volume and go much longer than I do. I knew this summer would be like this, and that's why I adjusted my schedule accordingly. So why am I feeling bad about that? Have I become so warped that I really don't think a sprint "counts" anymore?

Because if I'm becoming one of those people, I need someone to throw a pie in my face or something. Maybe smack me. Because that attitude is annoying. And just plain wrong.

Lately, I've been lucky to be able to even get out at all, and it's been so great, even if it is alone sometimes. I will miss my early morning sunrise swim and runs with friends, since those are gone until next year. I will have to be done by 6:30am from here on out during the week, and I've come to accept that I need one day of rest on the weekend for nothing but family things: zoo, library, snow fun, etc. So it's about to get pretty isolated up in hrrr, because I don't think I can convince my SAHM friends to meet me as early as I need to.

Because their job is seriously tiring, yo. I have huge respect for them. I'm tired after work, too, but it's a different kind of tired.

And then yesterday we got some news that is a game-changer. It's a game-changer for the next few months, and quite stressful to say the least. I was already up at 4am consumed with it. And it made me want to do the sprint for sure.

But then now I'm thinking maybe to continue with the slightly-longer-than-an-olympic Olympic. Because it's my last tri for months. Because I (somewhat) trained for it all summer. Because yeah, I can't do the mileage and hours most of my friends can do right now, but I still love this stuff anyway.

So I'm going to think about it. I'm going to do the race either way, and I think it might be a game time decision.

For now, I need to transition myself to hit this major pile of schoolwork.

Friday, August 12, 2011

My Open Water Fishies

Well, my bike is limbo, so to speak, so I've been swimming, running, and hanging at the beach lots this week. And these kids LOVE the beach. And I love that they get to grow up enjoying living down the street from this like I did.

And this girl comes from a long line of talkers...can you tell?

Anxiously awaiting some big news that I can't wait to share! Happy training and racing this weekend!

Monday, August 08, 2011

Goodbye to a friend

Ahhhh. I just had a bittersweet parting with my Specialized frame. Bittersweet, because I get very very attached to things. Like, take for instance, my piece of junk '99 Chevy Cavalier base model car. I sold it to a nice kid, and then teared up when it drove away.

I just think about all the places it took me, that's all--DON'T YOU JUDGE ME (SNIFF SNIFF).

So I had one more awesome ride on it this weekend--took it for a spin with my former college roommate turned tri sensation (which I take full credit for, thank you very much) DaisyDuc. Hammered out a nice 2 hour ride on it for my last brick and today, I said goodbye. I am passing it on to my good friend Laura, so I will still have visitation rights.

But I am very excited for what's to come. Oh, yes. VERY excited.

And I should have some news and pictures hopefully by the end of the week!

Last week was a solid week of training despite craziness at home. I should seriously do a post or two about how insane in the membrane this summer has been. Between our addition, chasing after my Bug and Bean, and working on creating content and presenting it for ClevelandHistorical (which I am super proud of and very excited to be a part of), Matt and I haven't really had any down time. And this is exactly why I knew I wouldn't be able to put in the miles for a 70.3--that and my rotten right hamstring issues.

Which, by the way, (knock on wood) are NO MORE! Apparently the cure WAS more running! Who knew?

Anyway, I am still having fun swimbikerunning albeit at shorter distances. This summer I've been reminded how much I just love this sport for what it is and what it does for me. If I need it to be long, it can. If life is crazy and I don't even have time to do laundry or grocery shopping, it's still there for me in a different way.

But I am very very very excited for the direction my team is heading, both with our sponsors AND our team event next year.

And I know next year, if all goes well, I will be able to get back into the long stuff and do Rev3 Cedar Point again. I had such a great experience there and am looking forward to seeing what I can do when I'm not a few months postpartum and a few pounds up. And of course, to have the family at the finish line with me.

For this season, I have one more Olympic distance on the 21st--another great, local race--and then Dances With Dirt with four of the coolest people I know in late-September. It feels weird to NOT be gearing up for the 70.3 right now, but I know this was the right decision.

And it has me chomping at the bit for all the exciting stuff to come next season.

Monday, August 01, 2011

Goody Goody Gumdrops

I got a VERY EXCITING PACKAGE in the mail just now....ACK!

Very exciting news for Team Evotri coming soon! More pics to follow!