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.


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.


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.


That's all I have to say right now.


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


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 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.)


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.


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'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



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!


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. 


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...