Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Major Award

I got a MAJOR AWARD in my email inbox today!

No, not that kind of award.  It's not FRAGEEEEELAYYY.

I got IN to the Run for Regis Trail Half Marathon that I was previously waitlisted for!  Me so happy!  Me so happy!

Now, um, here's the problem though...I haven't run on trails since my pancake trail run with my buddies, like, 2 months ago, and I haven't gone more than 8 miles in forevah.  Um, I guess I'd better get on that!

Yippee yahoo--it's a Christmas miracle :)  Can't wait to run with all my friends on the beautiful course!

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

This sums it all up

I always enjoy Christmas, of course, but there's something pretty amazing about celebrating Christmas with your 5-year-old and almost-3-year-old.

I think magical is the right word.

Merry Christmas, and I hope Santa was good to you!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

What I've Gotten Myself Into

On April 20, 1999, I sat on our dilapidated plaid couch in the living room on 15 E. Vine Street.  I was two weeks away from graduating with honors from Miami University with a Bachelor of Science in Secondary Education and a double-minor in History and Political Science.

I remember staring at the TV screen, slack-jawed, in disbelief.  I had on a green backpack.  It was a sunny day.  I was getting ready to head out to one of my last classes as a student; the last before I was in the front of the room.

What is happening?

What have I signed up for?

I remember people saying things to me like, "Aren't you too smart to waste your career on teaching?"  Some professors even tried to talk me out of it.  I remember an Econ professor specifically trying to convince me to switch.  "It's, of course, noble and all, but aren't you concerned...don't you worry about...wouldn't you like to do more?"  That was always the theme. 

I was going to waste it.  My career, my brain, my time.

But it was noble and all, and don't get me wrong, they always said.

My first year teaching was both the most wonderful and most awful year of my life.  I questioned what I had gotten myself into.  I had 168 students in 6 classes.  I was completely, utterly overwhelmed.  I was far from home, and I was homesick.  I was maybe, if I was lucky, 2 days ahead of the kids. 

I started to get paperwork together for law school.  I started to look into the LSAT.

But as the year went on, I figured out how to stay afloat.  My mom would tell me advice and when I'd call, crying, saying "I have SO many papers I don't know what to do with all of them and how do I sleep and eat and how do I create more lessons when I'm buried under these papers?" I remember her saying "Stop giving them so many papers!" 

So simple.  It was an "aha" moment that year.  I didn't have to do paper pushing. I could come up with meaningful assessments that were based on discussion, on analysis, and on higher-order thinking skills.  You know--what I was trained to do.

So I did.  And I loved it. And I realized that there was nothing--NOTHING--else in this entire world I wanted to do.  I loved working with the kids, even if sometimes they drived me nuts and I drove them nuts. And although I relocated back to Cleveland at the end of that year I cried--really hard, actually--when I packed up that room at Oak Hills.  Big fat tears rolled down my face when I read the cards the kids gave me and the scrapbook they made me. I still think about those kids often.  Many of them have families of their own now; I know of at least one who is a history teacher himself.  They will always be my first class.  My first year that taught me so much.

I like to think I've gotten better over time, or at least I sure hope so.  I refer to my students as "my kids" even though I was barely older than them when I started.  I'm now 13 years into this career--1/3 of the way done, if I am lucky enough to keep doing this. 

There is still nothing in this world I'd rather do.  Despite the fact that I just read this article on the careers that give you the least return for your degree, and Education is #6.

Are you sure?  I mean, it's noble and all, but....don't you think...wouldn't you rather...

No.  Actually, no. 

And from what I've seen, most of us here would answer that the same way.  I was born a teacher.  That's what I do.  I know it may not "make sense" from a financial standpoint, but to do anything else would be a waste of my time.

I am here because I love it.

On October 2, 2007, I became a mother.  I once heard that being a mother meant your heart forever walks around outside your body, and I think that's the closest I can come to describing it.  In one instant, one moment, my entire framework changed.  My wiring changed.  My students were still "my kids," but Jackson became my heart and soul walking around, throwing temper tantrums, giving me hugs, digging mudpies, and spotting trucks.  One moment, and my heart wasn't mine anymore.

Jackson is now five.  He is sweet and strong-willed and determined and strong and funny and silly and inquisitive and five.  Five.  He is one year younger than most of the children killed in Connecticut.  Had he been born a few days earlier, he would have been in kindergarten this year.  But I got one more year to shield him from this world, this evil that I can't even talk about.  One more year before I really have to let him know what he's getting into. 

I purposely stayed away from the news the past five days.  Yesterday, at lunch in the lunchroom, I politely excused myself when people began talking about it.  Because I can't.  I can type this and I'm only crying a little, but if I try to open my mouth and say these things either I will cry uncontrollably or go off on a vulgar, profanity-laced anti-assault weapons rant which I think we all know isn't necessarily the easy answer anyway.

I keep thinking of those parents who have gifts in their attic to wrap, like I do, that now don't matter.  That still have crafts hanging on their fridge with little handprints on them.  That, like me, probably got frustrated last week when their little girl or boy didn't want to wear THAT dress or put on THAT coat or eat that for dinner and NO! I'mnotgoingtobednow and suddently wish they could have that argument again, just once, just one more time.

The parents whose hearts that were walking outside of their body are now gone, and never coming back.

The brothers and sisters who are left behind. 

I don't know how I'd feel if I didn't have a 5-year old right now.  But having one made this feel like September 11 felt when I found out Kelly was on American Airlines Flight 11.  All I can see is her face in that plaid seat on the plane, forever.  And all I can see is my Jackson in a classroom.  Terrified.  Forever.

Some want to arm teachers like myself.  I respectfully disagree.  First off, I am trained as a teacher and as an educator; not as a marksman.  Nor do I ever want to be. 

The one story I did listen to, and really read, was of Vicki Soto.  And it's given me nightmares lately (I haven't slept much since Friday) because I know I would do the exact same thing.  If anyone were to threaten my kids in this classroom, I would snap into a fit of rage and I would do anything--ANYTHING--to stop them.  And I think all of us would.  Matt and I have even talked about getting some rope ladders for our rooms (both on the 2nd floor) to get our kids out safely, because like hell we're going to sit in here and passively wait to get shot.  Simply locking the door and turning off the lights doesn't guarantee anything anymore.  Not against this kind of illness and this kind of evil.

I would do what Vicki tried to do, and I wouldn't think twice about it.  Because I know that when I send Jackson to kindergarten next year, his teachers would do it, too.  We would all take a bullet for your kids.  Our kids.

I don't know what the solution is here; there are so many failures and so many heartaches on so many levels.  It is not an easy answer--that's for sure.  I think we have to change our entire culture, which of course is pretty much the hardest thing to do in the universe.  We have to change our attitude and our treatments toward mental health issues, we have to change our culture of consuming violence, we have to change our culture that says those who work with kids are wasting their time and those who can, do and those who can't, teach.

I know I'll be quite vocal in the coming weeks to my lawmakers on my thoughts of what to do to move forward.  I won't share them here; that's not what I wanted to write here.  I think I just needed to vent a bit on how it's been as a teacher and a mother of a five year old to watch these five days unfold.  And wonder what we've gotten ourselves into.

And how, ultimately, we can all get out.

Friday, December 14, 2012

An Early Christmas Gift!

Okay, so I am officially really really excited!

I found out that due to a rather lucky break, I qualified for the USAT Age Group Nationals next year!
Um, yeah, I didn't believe it at first, either
How excited was I? So excited that I seriously thought it was a scam and asked Coach Emily if it was for realz.

Me? Really?  

Turns out I qualified at Vermilion...and I had no idea that the race was even a qualifier!  Shows you how clueless I am.  Even though my age group was REALLY small, I won it, so I lucked out and got myself a spot!  So, I understand that part of this is selling their race and all, but for someone like me who doesn't get out much and races mostly small and local, I think it sounds pretty fun. Now, operation "Don't Finish DFL" will be in full effect.  Because, as long as I can get in on registration day, I am totally going!  Driveable?  How can I pass this up?

I never qualify for anything except free shipping!

What totally sealed the deal was that my teammate, the super awesome Rural Girl, will also be heading up, so it's going to be EPIC.  Unfortunately, it's the same weekend as the Dells, so I won't be able to see my other Wisconsin Homies.  But Michelle and I will still REPRESENT, yo.  

I know it's a little silly, but I'm kind of ridiculously excited about this.  Yippee!

Provided the world doesn't end next week, 2013 is gonna be pretty awesome.

Sunday, December 09, 2012

Ridiculously Grateful and Stuff

So I've been having one of those weekends (last weekend was like this, too) where I've been so lucky to be surrounded by good friends and family and lots of fun stuff.  It's been really busy, but also really awesome.  Work has been challenging and also insanely busy, yet really fulfilling.  I know I am very lucky and blessed to have a job that both challenges me and one that I really do enjoy.

So I'm feeling a bit like a cheesy sap lately.  Aw, shucks.

Last weekend, I had my super fun race followed by pancakes with friends, and then on Sunday I headed to a baby shower for a tri buddy and got lots of great time with some awesome girls.

Some of the coolest--not to mention fastest!--chicks I know
I feel like now that life has settled in I've done a better job of getting out and being social.  Last year I was sort of in survival mode and I think I sacrificed girl time quite a bit, and that's just no good.  No good at all.  I really am a fun person if I can get out!  HA! So I've been really enjoying hanging out with some fabulous ladies and meeting some new ones, too.

This weekend, I had a date night with Matt on Friday where we went to Michael Symon's local place, B Spot, and I ate myself silly.  I got a big fat cheeseburger, some amazing Lola fries (seasoned with rosemary....pure heaven) and a nice fat beer.  It was delicious and worth every single calorie.

Then, we went to go see this, FINALLY:

Not only do I not risk losing my APUSH Teacher Card after having two weeks go by before I see it, but it was AMAZING.  If Daniel Day-Lewis does NOT get an Oscar for this, there's something seriously wrong with the universe.

Yesterday we had Breakfast with Santa, to which the five year old was still not *quite* sure about the big guy, but Little Bean LOVE!LOVE!LOVES! Santa:

No fear, whatsoever
Bug isn't entirely sure, and Bean's Santa's BFF
Then last night, we got to head to a friend's party where Santa made yet ANOTHER appearance!  This time, Bug warmed up a little bit and actually (for the first time ever, I think) sat on Santa's lap:


Heading to the Cleveland Triathlon Club Winter Banquet tonight to see a few more cool tri peeps!  So this will round out the weekend quite nicely.  While Matt's at the Browns/Chief's game, I'm going to head to a friend's house to do a combined playdate/make a meal for our new Mommy friend Karen who just had baby #3--a little girl!  Yay!  

Somehow in there managed to squeeze in a good run with Ana, a good solid trainer session in the basement, and a swim in which I even busted out a few 100s with a halfway respectable time.  Oh, yeah, and one more thing....

...I'm down 9.5 pounds.  

:)

So I'm feeling pretty good and pretty excited for the tri season!  This whole "train-like-a-triathlete" thing is making me pretty happy.  I didn't realize that running less might be the key to having more fun with workouts.  Further proof that I do, in fact, have "exercise-induced ADD" and that I am a triathlete at heart, fo' sho'.  

Getting pretty stoked already for the Evotri trip to Chattanooga in April and Rev3 next year!  




Sunday, December 02, 2012

Race Report: Reindeer Run 5k

So, it wasn't a PR, or really what I know I can do.

But I am really still happy with this one.

I know!  Doesn't really make sense, does it?

I shall explain....

I headed out to Lakewood Park to do what's become somewhat of an annual tradition with my running buddies:  the Reindeer Run 5K followed by a gorging of pancakes at the Original House of Pancakes.  I am not entirely sure they don't put crack in their pumpkin pancakes.  I'm just sayin'.

Anyway, here I am with JenC three years ago running preggers:

And here's some pics from last year on my way to my current PR of 22:52!

Got up, rolled out, hit the bathroom nervously twice and then once more at a McDonald's on the way.  (Nervous stomach much?)

Met up with some awesome people including my rockstar Mom, the ol' college roomie DaisyDuc, and my former partners-in-prenatal-crime JenC and Bridget who are BOTH preggers again! YAY!  (Not me, though.  Sorry.  I love them and all, but not enough to have a third so we can time up our flip turns again.)

I tried to do everything just the way I did last year, when I PR'd by almost a minute over a time I never thought I'd ever be able to beat.  NO COFFEE, nice long warmup of about 1.5 miles.  Same old same old.

This time, though, I didn't have my super amazing pacer Nicole.  She did all the work for me last year so I could just zone out and follow.

This time I was going to have to do it on my own.

I definitely got stuck back too far, which got me in the first mile a bit, but I hit the first mile in 7:12.  Considering I was hoping for a 7:15 average, I was okay with that.  It felt hard, but not too hard.

I kept going and definitely felt a bit like I was slowing down.  Garmin showed me slowing down and I got pissed.  I tried to HTFU and just focus and pick people off.  Still, despite that, I definitely slowed down.  Mile 2 was somewhere around 7:25 (I can't find my splits as my watch went MIA).

At this point, I tried to really remember what my student said about "the race starting at mile 3."  I felt like I needed to pick it up so I really really tried.  The thing is, I was still being kind of hesitant.  I don't know if it's an endurance mentality thing I need to get over, but I never really felt like I put the hammer down and ran as hard as I could (until the last .1 mile when I was running well under 7 minute pace).  Mile 3: somewhere around 7:40.

I turned the corner and had way too much left in the tank (I do remember Garmin said average pace was 6:42 for last 0.1, so that's too much in the tank fo' sho').  I was pleasantly surprised when I saw the clock time and hit my watch at 23:06.  It wasn't my best, but it was only 14 seconds off my best ever. And I definitely haven't been doing much speedwork or pace work at all.  Just a few fartleks here and there but that's it.

I was happy with this.  Slightly disappointed I wasn't able to get 7:15s or run an even race again, yet reminding myself that to do that it's hard and requires specific training (tempo, speedwork, etc.) that I haven't been doing.  All in all, to be 14 seconds off my best on December 1 is not too bad.

Afterward, my super fun (and fast) friend ESpeed was attempting to make me feel better about my time (I think she thought I was really sad, but I actually wasn't!) and told me that I shouldn't feel too badly as now I have the kids and stuff.  Here's the thing though: I set the bar pretty high on this one, and I was just happy to be in the ballpark. 7:15 would have been very tough considering my best is 7:23.  I still went 7:27.  I do hate the "I-have-kids-now" excuse and try my hardest not to use it.

But I immediately caught her--and myself--and explained that this was actually a pretty awesome day for me.  I know to fast people out there, 23 and change isn't anything to write home about, but bear with me here...truth be told, I've gone under 23:43 in a 5K exactly twice in my life and once was last year and once was today.  And both times, I was significantly under 23:43. Age 34 and age 35, yo'.

What does that mean? A few things:

A) I must have totally been a slacker in my 20s (no surprises there) and
B) I can definitely go faster and
C) I need to give myself a big high five for doing this on my own this time.  Progress is good.

If that's a "bad" day, I can't complain.

I was talking to Bridget over pancakes because she's had some CRAZY improvement in her 5K times and she told me that she finally realized how to run a 5K when she ran with speedy fast Salty as a pacer at last year's race.  She told me that she was like, "Oh...so THIS is how it's supposed to feel."  I don't think I really know that yet.  I'm too conservative of a racer, which suits me well in longer distance but makes these short ones tough.

After she has a baby in less than a month (!) she and I made a pact to pick out a 5K and she'll help me figure that out. When it comes to this distance, I definitely get by with a little help from my friends.

Final standings had me placing 8/127, but over a minute back of the first 7 girls.  Still, this tends to be a pretty stacked field and I am happy with that today!

If this is any indication of what's coming for next year, I think I am in good shape.  Plus, seeing a bunch of my running friends is always awesome!

Got home, hung with the kiddos, and then last night even had time for my newest obsession:



This *might* make my previous addiction to 24 seem like NUTHIN.  Sure makes for good watching on the trainer, though!

Happy first-week-of-December to all--get out there and do some training!

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Operation Eat Like an Athlete, Volume 3

A couple of weeks ago I went to my super-cool friend Lori's birthday party at the Greenhouse Tavern (love!) and met her boyfriend Mehul.  I'm not sure how we hadn't met before, because he rocks.  He's a cyclist who loves his Vitamix and enjoys talking history.  My kinda guy!

Anyway, last week Mehul facebooked me with a link to a Vitamix soup he and Lori made.  Do you not have a Vitamix? You have some other blender?  THROW IT AWAY AND GET ONE NOW.

Seriously--I loved my Vitamix before but now I love it even MORE MORE MORE because I can make soup in it.  Like, start to finish.  One blender.  It even HEATS it for crying out loud! I didn't believe it either until I saw it myself.

My thing is to make a big vat of soup or stew in the winter on a weekend and then eat it all week for lunch.  Nothing better than a big mug of soup, a piece of fruit or a salad, and a crusty roll.  I can even eat that at my desk while I grade.

(Yes, I know you're not supposed to eat and grade and stuff, but there's only so many hours in the day...so don't do that.  Relax and stuff.  TST = Bad Example. Yeah.)

So when I saw the nutritional value on this soup: 110 calories, low-fat and high protein...I jumped.  Plus, I heart all things black bean.

A few things:  I didn't have a jalapeno, so I added a palmful of chili powder and a few drops of Tabasco.  I also, at Mehul's suggestion, added more garlic and more veggie stock.

The result?  Steamy, hot, tasty goodness in my Vitamix.  And then in my tummy.

The best part is it tastes really creamy and full of fat, but it totally is not!  I love tricking myself.
Not the greatest picture, but trust me on this one: TASTEEEEEEE.
This will be a keeper during the winter and spring months for sure, and will make a tasty post-run lunch!




Friday, November 23, 2012

A Pace Report: The Turkey Dash 5K



I set out to pace my buddy Pappy and run with Best Friend at the Turkey Dash in Avon yesterday.  It was so nice to not have to worry about racing too hard as it allowed me to enjoy my Mexican dinner on Wednesday as well as my Breckenridge Christmas Ale with my buddies Jon, Amy, Chien and Jaime.

Yes. I cheated on Great Lakes Christmas Ale.  I'm sorry, GL.  It was tasty.  You're still my #1.

Anyway, I headed out with Best Friend and my parents because my mom was running too, of course.  I wore my sparkly yellow skirt just because.  There was a guy in complete Native American chief garb including a well-stocked supply of bows and arrows at the start.  Some people were definitely more creative than I was...

Pappy wanted to go for about 9 minute pace, but I told him I wanted to sneak him in under 9s. :)  BF wanted to run 10 minute miles since it "was cold." I told her it wasn't cold and she should run with us, but she was insistent.  I told her we'd start slow and maybe get faster after that, so hopefully she could just hang with us.  She's a former soccer player so I know she's a tough chick.

Anyway, we went off and it was a total cluster for the first 1/2 mile or so. I tried not to go to fast (always a challenge for me) because I knew Pappy was depending on me not to screw up.  BF wanted to slow down a bit so I ran with her but she instructed me to go on ahead.  So, I ran up to Pappy with the goal of getting him in under 9s.  

The first mile he ran an 8:54! Yay, Pappy!  He didn't even seem winded.  He could still answer my questions and talk a bit, so I decided to pick it up just a *teensy* bit.

Action shot mid-race! Go Pappy Go!

Our second mile was an 8:43!  He was still doing fabulous.  I asked him if he wanted to know his pace and he said no, which was probably good because I didn't want to freak him out.  

I tried to just keep talking and tell him how much he was kicking butt and how he was definitely going to PR, it was just a matter of how much (his previous PR was a 29:09).  We turned the corner and hit mile 3 in 8:32!  Then I told him to kick it up with whatever he had left.  He crossed the line in 27:17!  YAHOOOOOOOO!  I was very proud of him. :)

I turned around and headed out to find BF and she was like 20 seconds behind us!  She did awesome and if I had known she was that close I would have gotten her before.  She really ran a fabulous race and I think I might have even talked her into the Reindeer Run.  Yay!

Went out to find my Mom and found her earlier than I thought and looking really strong!  We ran in together and I believe she had a PR--unofficially I think she snuck in under 34 minutes!  YAY Mom!
My Mom (or is it my sister?!) and I with BF at the finish

All in all, we had a great time and I enjoyed helping everyone else reach their goals!  Now, hopefully I can reach mine next weekend. :)

It was 61 degrees and sunny so after I had the Turkey prepped and ready to go, I simply HAD TO SNEAK OUT FOR A RIDE.  There was really no question about it.  I jumped on the QR CD0.1 and did a quick 17 miles along the lake where I was very irresponsible and took a few pictures:
ARE YOU SERIOUS, THANKSGIVING?! I get to ride in this?  This is a HAPPY face
About as daring as I got while I rode.  Look at that sky!  Me likey

Now it's sunny but a little cold, and tomorrow we're supposed to have some snow, but I don't care.  I got to get out not once but TWICE on Thanksgiving and I definitely earned my fair share of pie!

I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving!




Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Turkey Dash Fun Tomorrow!

I signed up for the Turkey Dash like I do every year, and part of me wanted to go as hard as possible.  Obviously.  Because, as previously mentioned, I have a very difficult time racing without a goal.

But then my buddy Pappy (my softball/baseball bud from WAAAAAYYYY back in the day) who just finished his second Marine Corps Marathon (not to mention dropping a ton of weight--yay, Pappy!) tweeted me to see if I was running.  At first I said I wanted to go hard, but then I thought about it and:

a) when Matt asked if I wanted to cash in a Groupon to a Mexican restaurant nearby instead of cook, I was all, HELLZ yeah

and

b) I want to meet some buddies out tonight who are in town.

All of that? Makes me not want to run really hard tomorrow.  I am on break, after all.

So I decided my goal tomorrow is to help Pappy smash his!  I'm going to be a pace bunny.  Yay!  And I'm going to wear a ridiculous yellow sparkle skirt, too!  Why, pray tell, do I own said skirt?  Well, it was part of my costume for the Cleveland Triathlon Club Halloween run that ended up getting cancelled.  Boo.  And we all know how I feel about spending money (I HATE it) so I am determined to now put this thing into good use.

Even if it means looking ridiculous while doing so.

Best Friend is also joining me tomorrow, too!  I'm proud of her--she's gotten back into running despite a toddler and an extremely demanding job.  Yahoooooooo!

So tomorrow I'll be running with friends and helping them hit goals.  That means, then, that at Reindeer Run it's all about me busting it and running so fast I almost (or actually) puke.  Bonus!

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone, and hope you find somewhere to trot tomorrow!

Sunday, November 18, 2012

A Little Rusty

So as previously mentioned, I'm just now getting back to the swing of things.

You could say the first quarter of school knocked me on my butt was extremely busy.  This is an unconventional year with construction and this Type A Control Freak had a rough go with it at first, but now things are settling in.  And, I've been blessed with some of the nicest kids I've had in 13 years of teaching (Lucky 13?) so that's made it easier.

Now it's time to get back on it.  Build the base.  Lay the foundation.

Yesterday Ana and I ran 8 conversational miles at an 8:40 pace.  We were both kind of surprised that we were able to hold that seeing as we were laughing and talking literally every single second.  I heart our runs as it feels like we're almost chatting over a beer, except that we're sweating, gross, and in constant motion.

Other than that? Basically the same thing.

Anyway, today I did a nice easy trainer ride for 75 minutes and then a bit of P90X Chest and Back.  Needless to say, both felt harder than they should.  I tried to really keep it easy, but I was somewhat disgusted at how bored I got on my trainer after, like, 27 minutes.  One can only stare at my washing machine for so long, I guess.  Thankfully, Sunday Winter Spins with my buddy TriEric and his wife, Aimee, are starting up next week, so I don't have to spin with my laundry in the basement alone all the time.

(Just most of the time)

Down another pound (yay!) so it's time to up the muscle tone.  I'm going to work on really sticking to strength two times a week this winter, and as always, I am on the quest for a SINGLE DAMN PULLUP JUST ONE THAT'S ALL I ASK.

My goal is to hit May in pretty decent triathlon shape this year.

How is that different than the past two years?

Well, over the past two years I've decided to run either a full or half marathon in the spring with a pretty tiptoes goal.  And in both cases? I got injured.  Once missed the goal, and once didn't even get a chance to try for fear of rupturing an already-injured achilles.

So then, I was out of commission pretty much the rest of June, and by the time July hit, I was *just* starting to feel like I was actually a triathlete again.

So what's that definition of insanity?  Doing the same thing multiple times and expecting different results?

Well, I kind of already did that, but OKAY I'M DONE NOW.  No more of this pretending I'm a runner and then getting injured nonsense.  Triathlons are my first love and I need to stop cheating on them.

This will be hard for me to say but...deep breath....

My name is TriSaraTops and I will NOT be doing the Cleveland Full or Half Marathon in the spring.

There.  I said it.

Now, I know what you're thinking.  But TST, why don't you just do it for fun?  Just to run it?

A) I'm way too cheap to pay for that and
B) Running "for fun" for me requires a goal, and usually one based in a time.  I know I'm a freak, but for me that's what makes it "fun." I just am not one who can just "do it" for fun, and hats off to those who can, because I am not nearly that disciplined on race day.  I'm like my dog who is convinced that if he just barks hard enough at that dog on the cartoon then MAYBE THIS TIME HE CAN JUMP INTO THE TV AND GET IT AND SHOW HIM, ALRIGHT.  On race day? I basically turn into my crazed, obsessive pug.

(They say people take after their animals, or something)

So over the next few months, I'll be continuing to work on getting leaner and build a bit of muscle as well as building a nice base.  Then, I'll start ramping up some intensity in the spring and actually be ready in June to hit the ground tri-ing instead of hitting the ground with my fists and sobbing because poor me did the same thing again this spring and injured myself AGAIN like an idiot.

Look for some fun spring road races to mix it up and maybe a du or an indoor tri if I can squeeze them in.  But then, it's all about building for the big show.

Killing it at Cedar Point in September.

So for now, pardon me while I dust off the joints a bit over here.  It's time to get moving again.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Reunited and it Feels so Good

Back in the pool this week, after a two-month hiatus.

As always, the first 1000 felt like I was swimming through quicksand.  And then I *started* to remotely feel a teensy bit like I was getting it back.  But not much.  I'll need at least a few weeks for that.

But it felt good to drive back home as the sun was rising and know that I was done, and that I was finally starting to act a little like a triathlete again.

It feels good to be home. Although I'd rather watch the sunrise outside during my laps like I did all summer, but a frost-covered sunrise on the way home ain't so bad, either.

I'm laying out my season plan for next year, and it involves some changes (mostly early on) from what I've done the past few years.  I'm already getting excited, though!

Here's to smelling like chlorine all day despite a shower and having goggle-eyes at work!

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Keepin' Me Honest: My Fitness Pal

At the beginning of the school year, things were NUTS.  Like, insane in the membrane.  So, when things get a little crazy, I tend to EAT.  And not have time to work out much.

(I can't the only one out there, right?)

I am one of those people that is a nervous/stressed eater, and I definitely had a TON of that the first month or so of school.  But it doesn't count if I just grab handfuls of things, right?  Standing up?  That doesn't count, of course.

Yeah.  Tell that to the scale.  Um, it counts.

So coupled with the fact that I wasn't going on 2 hour rides and swimming hard sets in the pool on a regular basis, I wasn't happy with the way things were going. I felt sluggish, and I felt like a slob. I know I'm not, of course...but I definitely felt off my A-game.

My buddy Ana told me about My Fitness Pal, which I had never heard of before.  I'm a newbie in the smartphone world and app market, so when I realized it was pretty much everything that Weight Watchers wanted, like, 30 bucks a month for, I figured I'd give it a try.

I've been logging my meals for about 6 weeks now.  I set the "one pound a week" goal with an end goal of what I like to call my "fighting weight."  At first, progress was slow and I was cranky.  And sometimes hungry.  But I did realize that keeping track of what I eat daily for me is the single-most important thing I can do to keep my weight where I like it to be.  I struggle with this sometimes: pay attention or not pay attention? Eat what I want because I love food and stuff and say it's mostly healthy so it's okay, or really keep myself in check?

Here's the thing:  I have obsessive tendencies about this stuff so I do have to be careful.  But I have never been one of those people who can't watch what they eat.  Now that I'm (gulp) 35, I hear it gets harder and harder.  I feel like I'm pretty healthy and fit now, and I'd like to keep it that way.  I would also like to drop just a few pounds that I let creep on me with my "handful of this/spoonful of that" habit that I do when I'm stressed out.

After 6 weeks, I'm down 6 pounds.  My clothes are fitting better, and I feel really, really good.  My running pace has dropped a bit with the same effort and heart rate.  Yesterday I ran 8 miles with an average pace of 8:22 and it felt slow and awesome.  I'd like to think that had something to do with the fact that I am a bit leaner.

I do kind of hate it sometimes and I call the program "My Fitness B%$@," ("she" is a girl, of course) but overall, she makes it a game and I have to beat her every day.  So it's a teensy bit fun for me.

Here's what I like:

--IT'S FREE. 'Nuff said.
--You can scan bar codes of foods and I really haven't found anything yet that it doesn't recognize.  Easy to log, easy to keep up with it.
--You can easily see your progress in calories and nutrients, too.
--There's a social aspect of it and you can be "friends" with people.  Great if you don't want to admit that you just took your 47,392nd spoonful of peanut butter for the day.  (Um, not that I would know...a friend of mine, see....SHE eats a jar of peanut butter a week...yeah, not me...)A little peer pressure/humiliation can be a good motivator.
--You can easily log your cardiovascular activity to "earn back" calories.  In fact, if I DON'T work out, it makes it darn near impossible to hit my calorie goal.
--NO crazy rules or things ruled out.  I don't know about you, but if someone tells me I can't eat something, that's all I want to eat.  Case in point: when I was preggers, all I wanted was a nice cold beer with a side of lunch meat and feta cheese.  You know, all the things that could kill you or morph your baby into a two-headed monster.  So no rules to follow.
--Calories in must be less than calories out.  Which, really, is the bottom line, no?

What I don't like:

--There's no distinction between "good" calories and "bad."  There's a LOT of "low-calorie" TRASH out there.  It would be good if it could somehow reward me for eating "good" calories instead of processed "low-calorie" garbage.  It's really up to you to do that, but I could see how it's tempting just to eat the packaged, low-cal trash just to meet your calorie goal.
--I haven't figured out a way to "count" strength work, really.  P90X doesn't "count" in the cardiovascular section.  It's just annoying, because I am competitive against this stupid thing, and I want my freaking calories withdrawn OKAY?

All in all, I think it's been helpful for me.  I'm going to keep on keepin' on here at least through the winter just to keep me honest.  If you want Weight Watchers success without paying an arm and a leg, check it out!


Sunday, October 28, 2012

How to Run a 5K

So I ran a 5K last weekend and it was tons of fun but I didn't do as well as I hoped.  I finished just under 24 minutes, which is still fine and all, but I was hoping to be in the low-23s at least.  I just never was really able to get in the groove and I definitely felt my coffee talking back to me.  I had to hold it down a bit in the middle because I kept massively burping coffee.

Yummy!

Anyway, yesterday and Tuesday I killed both of my runs.  Easily coasted along in the mid to low-8s.  Seriously.  Why?  Whywhywhy?  I felt great, but was also slightly annoyed.

Why am I so much better at pretty much every distance but 5K?

So I asked one of my super fast Cross Country AP kids.  What's your secret?  There must be a secret.

He said what I already pretty much know.

"It's mostly just mental."

Sigh.

So why is it that I can push myself longer but not really faster?  Why when I'm pushing FAST do I so easily poop out and make excuses?

My favorite excuse which usually hits me around mile 1.2 or so is "I'm just no good at these short races."

This sounds pretty elementary, but with that piss-poor attitude, of course I'm going to slow down.  Why would I get faster if I keep telling myself I'm no good?

So the XC fast kid also told me that I should think of the race starting--STARTING--at mile 3.  "The first two miles should be automatic, and then when you hit mile 3, you should really start to race."

Interesting.

Usually I run mile 1 at a speed that I can't handle, start to give in to the pain and puking reflex around 1.5, and get progressively slower each mile after that.

So, I'm going to run two more 5Ks here in the end of the year.  Now, I know what you're thinking: triathlete logic should say that it isn't possible to get faster during the off-season and see decent times, right?

The weird thing is that I shattered a 9-year old 5K PR last December.  DECEMBER!  Who has two thumbs and PR's a 5K in December?

This girl.

(I am so weird.)

So I know that it IS in me.  Somewhere in there a little dose of speed exists and perhaps it didn't go ALL to my brother who can run a 17 minute 5K (and, by the way, says he's "slow").

My time was okay.  It would have actually got me 1st in the 30-34 age group (small race!) but I didn't even place top 3 in 35-39.  Reminding me yet again that as you get older, you'd better get faster because IT'S ON.

So I think I'll work a bit on the head game here this winter and see if I can coax a little speed out of this endurance body.

Giddyup.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Two "Summer" Rides

Summer had one last gasp here in the NEO this week.  TWICE--yes, TWICE!--this week, after a long day at work, I rushed home, hopped on the CD0.1, and headed out for a quick 20 miles.

And quick it was.  This girlz still gotz it.  It took me an hour both times, and I pushed some good watts to boot.  Yay!

Let's be honest--I was just SO! EXCITED! to be riding my bike after putting in a full day at work and sneaking out before dinner while it was still sunny, warm, and full of fall awesomeness.  I mean, sleeveless jersey, people!  I really didn't think I'd be able to pull this off this late in the season.

Got home and Bug and Bean were super excited to "ride" with me.  We put on our helmets and went around the block.  Bug on his two wheeler (aka "My Bike With Two Wheels Not Four Wheels") and Bean even joined us for a few houses on her balance bike.  I was decked out in full Evotri gear as we went around the block.  I'm sure I looked pretty hardcore  RIDICULOUS.

But not to Bug and Bean, and that's what matters. :)

Now it's pouring rain and 45 degrees.  And I know that my fate in the basement on the trainer is pretty much sealed for a good 5 months or so.

But me on the basement will remember how much fun me yesterday had.  And she'll be super jealous.  And it will make her work harder so she can tear it up even more next spring.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Accidental blog-cation

Hi!

Is this thing still on?

*tap, tap, tap*

Sorry I disappeared off the face of the earth there.  I swear I have lots to say but just no time to say it!  Hopefully things will settle in soon.  The short version:  school = crazy but good, kids = awesome, Matt = bestest supportive-est husband ever.

What have I been doing?

Um...not swimming.  I KNOW!  I'm horrible.  But I swear I am going to get into that soon. I needed a bit of an off-season, and off-season I've had.

I've been doing lots of running--not long, but quality (or at least trying to).  I think my running legs are actually coming back (yay!) and not a moment too soon, since I have a 5K next weekend.

5k? The ones that hurt?

Yes, those ones.

So in short, I will be back as soon as I can.  I have big plans to discuss, people.  And in the meantime, I hope you're training like crazy and having fun, too.







Saturday, September 22, 2012

Off Season

My interims are due on Monday which means, yikes, it's been about a month of school now and I've barely had time to workout post much.  Whew.  Here we are.

I'm hanging in there.

I've been playing a little game on the weekends called "Wriggidy Wreck YoSelf For One Hour" on the bike, which is a sort of sick rendition of "Hour of Power" that we used to play in college minus the red solo cups and plus a bike and a powertap.  Basically, I don't even remotely have time to do any more than a 60 minute ride (boo).  So, I make it count and try to beat my power average on an out-and-back that I have here.  So far, I've beaten it every time and have been kind of riding like a freaking maniac.  Good thing I have a race next week next month not for SEVEN months or so!

Sigh.

But at least I'm having some fun out there, right?

On a random note, since I don't have much time to workout at the moment, I am definitely dreaming big.  My secret plan was to throw my name in the lottery for the Escape from Alcatraz and use it as an excuse to a) have my butt handed to me big time and b) see Coach Emily.  But the America's Cup had to go and be in San Fran next year, so they moved the race up from June to--wait for it--MARCH 2.  You know, because it's always so BALMY AND WARM in MARCH in San Francisco.  Not to mention, impossible for me to get there on a weekend during the school year.

Stupid boats!

(Yes, I'm a little bitter about it.  Sorry if you sail and stuff....but you basically ruined my plans)

So, that's not going to work.  But it hasn't stopped me from thinking about next year.

Guess what I will NOT be doing?

Any kind of running race that's more than a 10K in the spring!  No, really! I'm serious!  It only took me two seasons of injuries to learn this lesson.

I plan on actually acting like a triathlete this off-season and swimming and biking lots and running not as much as I usually do.  Because the amount I usually do gets me HURT.  So perhaps I should try another route, no?

That being said, do you want to guess how many times I've made it to the pool since it closed on Labor Day?  Here's a hint: it's between -57 and 1.

Zero.  I know.  I'm off to a great start, right?

But I firmly believe that everyone needs a good off-season, even if it is a few weeks.  You need to back away and think about other things, which for me means sleep and grading.  No, I kid--I have been doing some other things and it's been pretty good for me.  I've been able to take the kids to the apple orchard, do my Hour of Power rides, try some new strength stuff that I usually blow off, run with no agenda with a few friends, and I even tried stand-up paddleboarding.  One perk of having Lake Erie at the end of my street.  It was super fun and if I had a spare $1,000 I'd buy a board tomorrow morning.  Maybe someday....!

A good off-season leaves you ready to start.  Hungry to start.  I'm not there yet, but I can sense that I'm getting there.

I'll be hitting the ground in June ready to tri this year.  And I plan on doing the Rev3 Cedar Point race and having the half marathon I meant to have last May there in August.

And you know what?

I'm almost--almost--ready to think about trying that full distance at Cedar Point.  The thought stopped repulsing me and started somewhat interesting me.  It's on the radar.  Not anytime soon, so don't get too excited.  But I'm thinking about thinking about it.  It's the only way I'd ever do a full again--there are no more WTC races in my future since planning a year ahead is not possible for me.  Plus, having the course less than an hour away and so family-friendly would work.

SOMEDAY.  Not now.  So don't you dare start trying to talk me into it!

Let's say it's on the three-year plan for now.

(Maybe two)

Here's to dreaming big, sleeping in, and enjoying a short little off-season!




Monday, September 10, 2012

Six Years Later

This weekend, about 894,670,201 of my friends were racing in various places, including the River Run, Ironman Wisconsin, and the Rev3 Half and Full at Cedar Point.

I, on the other hand, did not.

This made me quite sad.  But it was (partly) by choice, as the achilles issue made it really difficult to be able to race my way (hard) in Sandusky.  So I put the money somewhere else.  (Like preschool tuition...ack)

I really wanted to at least get to Sandusky, especially when I found out that my teammate Chris was going to jump in and race it two--TWO!--weeks after his last Iron-distance race in Grand Rapids.  Dude's a machine.

I really tried everything I could.  I wiggled things around.  I tried staying up later to get things done.

In the end, I was defeated.  It looked something like this:

Instead of the 5-6 hours I hoped to have to go down and back to Cedar Point and cheer on my friends for a bit, I had about 1 hour.  Maybe less.  So I did what I always do this weekend.

I ride.

I usually put on my IMW kit that I treated myself to after the race and go for a ride (if I'm not racing) this weekend, on my Iron-iversary.

This weekend, I was so exhausted.  Mentally, physically, the whole nine yards.  This year is looking to be challenging and unconventional, to say the least.  After spending almost 5 hours grading Saturday and still not being even close to done, I was done.  I had to walk away.  Because after 5 hours of grading?  Not much sounds good.  So I had to save it for Sunday.

(and even Monday)

And on Sunday I had a small window to sneak out for a quick ride.  So I figured I'd better make it count.

Every year I remember the race, and how damn cold it was, and how long I was out on that bike course.  If I remember correctly, it was something completely ridiculous like 8 hours and 13 minutes.  Not what I planned for then, and DEFINITELY not what I'd ever plan for now.  But, that was my year, and that's what I got and what I could do with the Iron-hand I was dealt.  But each year I get a little twinge of wonder.  What could I do now?  Now that I'm six years removed and six years better?

(I know I'm still a ways away from finding out, but each year the little wonder voice gets louder.)

I hammered on my bike for all my buddies out there on the courses.  I remembered how hard that ride seemed as I led up to it, and how many, many times that cold and rainy day, I wondered if I'd make it back to the Monona Terrace in time.  How that day, as I spent longer than a workday sitting on that freaking saddle, I felt every emotion, from chilling fear (literally and figuratively!), nausea, and anxiety to elation and joy.  Most of all, I just remember how happy I was to be off that freaking bike.

I rode as hard and as fast as I could, and had the ride of my season yesterday.  The fastest ride with the best power I've put out all year.  Yesterday.  Not in a race.

By myself.

And I came back feeling better.  Still not where I wanted to be since I was hoping to be crossing a finish line yesterday, but better.  Enough that I'm ready to do it next year.  And that I will get through this year somehow, too.

Because if there's one thing that ridiculously slow, freezing cold, embarrassingly long ride taught me?

It's that I'm tough as fricken nails.

I'm going to have to remember that here when the fear creeps in and the doubt comes crashing over me and I wonder how on earth I'm going to make everything happen that needs to happen this year.

That's what I learned that day.  You just have to keep moving forward, that's all.

Congratulations to Sweet and all the finishers yesterday, and a huge, big, bear hug and nice cold one to my friend DaisyDuc, who was the overall amateur female winner at Rev3 in the full distance yesterday.   I really, really wish I could have been there to see it all myself, but I promise you--I was there in spirit.


Sunday, September 02, 2012

Bittersweet BOB ByeBye

So tonight, I passed along the torch of my bright yellow BOB stroller to my friend's little sister.  I say little sister like I'm 12 and she's 10 still.  But, nonetheless, she's a super awesome runner Crossfit chick and, like me, cannot WAIT to start running again. She asked me for some advice on jogging strollers and I told her I'm about ready to put mine up on Craigslist and would she like a look? and she was all YES YES I WILL TAKE IT YES CAN I RUN YET?

So today we made the transfer.

She was in town for her shower in an adorable striped dress and with a big glowing smile on her face.  And my two kids were covered in cheerios and black raspberry ice cream and sweat, barefoot in the grass and running all over showing off for her.

You guys, the day I found out I was pregnant--seriously, that DAY--I started researching these strollers.  Not cribs.  Or carseats.

Running strollers.

It was the first thing I bought.  The very first thing.

And as both my kids tried to tell me that I needed to keep it today (love it--no one will sit in it for over a year until today) and part of me wanted to keep it, I was reminded we have a good second-hand double that Bean and her Woody doll from Toy Story ride in sometimes, and that if I have to run with 80 pounds of kid while negotiating, I'd rather just wait until Matt gets home or get up earlier.  But I'll never forget this:

March, 2008:  Our first run with Bug.  Note the socks on his hands since it was chilly.




April, 2010.  One of my first runs on the circle path up near the lake.  Little Bean just woke up.


Summer, 2010.  The last time I could get him to actually sit in it for more than 30 seconds.  All tuckered out after 3 miles (I didn't want to push my luck)

And when he woke up


So as I watched them eating dinner and told Matt how I was a little sad, because it was the first thing, the VERY first thing I bought, and then I got all teary and choked up.  And at that very moment, Bug said, "Mama, maybe next year I can get a wristband so I can swim in the deep! Like you!" and then I realized that it's going to be just fine, even if I'm not pushing my trusty yellow BOB anymore.  


And that's the funny thing about this whole parenting ride I'm on.  Just when I think it can't get better and I think about how amazing it was back then, I'm reminded of how it does, indeed, keep getting better and better and even more amazing somehow.  


Because now? Spiderman sometimes is in my house.  And that's pretty cool.

May the BOB bring the new BabyGirl as many sleepy miles and her mama happy miles as it did for this running mama.






Monday, August 20, 2012

Race Report: Vermilion Olympic Triathlon, 2012

Alrighty, here we go!  If you've been here before, you know these things can get long.  And I also realized that I haven't done an Olympic triathlon since 2008!  Seriously--4 years?!  So I may have a lot to say.  You know what that means, right?
Get ya popcorn ready!
I've learned a few things:

1.  I can see myself really enjoying this distance.  I think I have got some room to grow here and it could be a distance that I could get pretty good at.

2.  Hills always seem harder from a distance.  You don't really feel how hard it is until you're about halfway up, and then you just have to soldier on to the top and keep going.  (And yes, that's kinda one of those life things, too.)

This course is advertised as being difficult on the bike, so I had mentally prepared myself for a slower bike split.  This was important because I didn't want to get all defeatist on the bike by looking at the miles per hour.  I really tried to focus on keeping my watts in check and saving a little for the run, since that was going to be the wild card.

I picked up my new tri buddy Laura and we headed out.  Got all checked into transition and saw about 893,405,102 triathlon friends, which was pretty much awesome.  We got a PERFECT day:  the waves were calm. the humidity was down, and it was not going to get warmer than the mid-70s.  For a race on August 19th in Ohio, you can't order any better than that.

I had a little pre-race warmup with my buddy TriEric and then wished all my buddies doing the sprint good luck since they went out before us.  Then, before I knew it, it was time to go!  I noticed there weren't very many women in my wave, which was actually kind of nice.  I figured there was no excuse for me not to kick some butt in this swim.  Minimal waves, minimal traffic.  Let's go.

THE SWIM:  7/38 females

I was feeling great!  Loop 1 was rockin' along pretty well, until we had to turn back into the sun...and then I regretted having 1988 goggles that are perpetually fogged.  Is that a buoy?  No, wait, is THAT a buoy?  Oh boy.  Before I knew it, I stopped and looked around and I was in the MIDDLE OF THE RECTANGLE.  It looked a little something like this:


Poop, indeed.

I did my best to keep the swearing underwater, and headed back on course.  On the 2nd loop, I was MUCH more careful to really swim straight and follow the buoys.  I caught up to quite a few dudes in the wave ahead of me so I knew I must have done okay.  I hit the beach in 25:18 which is a BIG FAT PR for me!  Yippee yahoo!  The official time includes the run up a little sandy hill to the transition area, so my time is officially 26:28 for an average pace of 1:37/100 yards.  Still a big fat PR for me, as I think my last oly swim in '08 had me at 27:42.  Boo-yah.

T1:  6/38, 1:38

Nothing too eventful here.  It's been a while since I've done an oly so I wanted to be sure I had everything all set.  It wasn't too hot so I didn't have to freak about liquid like I usually do.

THE RIDE:  7/38, 1:22.54

So this ride?  It separates the MEN from the BOYS, or something like that, since I am neither of those categories.  I had already heard stuff from a few friends, so I was a bit cautious but it's still a race, so I wanted to go pretty hard.  I know that time doesn't look so hot, but considering the fastest female bike split was a 1:16, its a testament to the technicality of the course.  I was surprised I was still on the west side of Cleveland, since we are notoriously flat.  Here's a few pics I snagged from the Backroads and Beaches facebook page which show one particular climb in the middle...this one we went tearing down a hill only to cross a bridge and then have a pretty steep climb.  So you just couldn't really use your momentum, which is how I usually play it.
TriEric going over the bridge, killin' it

Climbing out

Downhill--hey, who's that chick on the sweet QR CD0.1?  (HINT: IT'S ME)

Because I was being a bit cautious, I was not hesitating to go from my big ring to the small on the climbs, and then back to the big (because it is a race, and I don't race in the small ring ever unless I MUST).  But at about mile 10, something went BERZERK on my bike.  My big ring started making this horrid noise.  I thought it was the chain or the derailleur, but I just couldn't figure it out.  I tried leaning down and fiddling with stuff, but nothing seemed to work.  It didn't seem to be affecting my performance too much at least, so I kept hammering away and passing people and whenever I passed them they looked at me like "what the heck is that noise" so I would make some kind of joke.  I just kept my fingers crossed that it would hold on until the end, and it did.  Whew.  Dodged a HUGE bullet there!

T2:  Okay, now is where I LOSE THE RACE.  Sersly.  There is no excuse.....

1:40 30/38 females

I KNOW, RIGHT!  IS IT MY FIRST TRIATHLON EVER?  NO?  Oh, do I ever deserve to get punched in the face here.  Let me explain...our racks were crowded to begin with and then when I got back it was riDONKulous.  I had to quickly find some spot for my bike and then I tried to get my Garmin on since I really wanted to have it so the average pace could keep me motivated if things got rough.  So...I, um...spent like an extra MINUTE doing this.  

I'm sorry.

I know that's not a good excuse.

Speaking of which, does anyone know if the Forerunner 310 is water-resistant?  I think it is.  In which case my extra minute deserves to get me punched five more times.  I should just wear the stupid thing in the whole race, right?  Sigh.

I SAID I WAS SORRY, OKAY?

THE RUN:  12/38 females, 52:02

You guys, I am so so SOOOOO excited about this run.  This was my longest run since my achilles flared up in April.  I hadn't ran more than 5.7 since then.  I had NO clue what I'd be able to muster here and I'm very happy with this finish.  Of course, there's work to be done, but for all I've had to put up with and for not running more than about 12 miles a week since April, I'm gonna call this a big ol' victory.

Don't call it a comeback.

I couldn't get the stupid GPS to hook up for at least a half mile, so again, wasted nonsense effort there, but it was fun to see some of my guy friends hammering the course on their way in since this was an out and back.  And I saw the overall female winner absolutely kicking ass on her way in, which was pretty awesome.  I tried NOT to get too caught up in the competitive little games I like to play in sprint tris and race my own race, which is really easier said than done for a competitive whack-job like myself.

I missed mile 1, but hit mile 2 at 15:49.

15:49! ME!

I almost did a cartwheel right there.  But then I was also a little nervous wondering if I could keep this up.

Subsequent miles of course got harder and I slowed down.  But I really went into this expecting to finish with an average pace of close to 9s.  To finish with an average of 8:24?  That makes me so happy, I do the dance of joy.


Overall finish:  2:44.44
1/2 AG, 7/38 females

Yeah.  That's a LOT better than I thought I could do.  Once again, body shows me who's truly in charge here.  It sure as heck isn't my mind or the limits I set in my head.  Can I please learn that already?

Takeaway thoughts: 

I was 2 minutes back from 4th overall female.  Considering I may as well have read a Tale of Two Cities in T2, I think it's safe to say I could get a free minute there.  I think I definitely could have shaved another 30 seconds off my bike and run if I had been a little mentally tougher at the end or not as cautious on the hills.  

I think I do have some ability at this distance.  But if I want to compete here, I need to get used to pain a bit more and I need to drop that run into the 40s for sure.  Olympics are still "short" enough that it should hurt, and definitely hurt more than a half-ironman.  I'm not quite used to that yet.  I could see myself really, really enjoying this distance.

All in all, it was a great way to end the tri season!  I only got two races in this year, which kind of stinks.  But I plan on doing lots of riding this fall and ACTUALLY SWIMMING this winter (no, for real) so I can hit the ground tri-ing next spring.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

The Lakers Beat the Supersonics

Today I didn't even hafta use my A-K!

I gotta say it was a good day.

And Mama served the breakfast with NO HOG.
Yes, Ice Cube says it well, folks.  I had a really good day today!  The numbers are all screwy since the last timing mat didn't work right, but by all accounts I either PR'd or came DARN close to it in both the swim AND the....RUN!

RUN

No, that's not a typo.  I hit mile two at 15:49 for pete's sake.

WHAT?!?!?!?!

Super excited and I felt like I had a perma-smile on from seeing so many awesome friends.  I love this schtuff!

Full report to come once I get some actual splits.  The bike course was KILLAH, bro.  It was definitely a challenging course.  So, to finish in 2:44 which was about 3 1/2 minutes shy of my PR on a flat course was definitely cause for celebration!

Back with a report as soon as I can!

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Race Time!

Okay, tomorrow is it!  I signed up for the Vermilion Harbor Triathlon which, according to the link as well as everyone I've talked to, is a pretty killer course.  I checked last year's bike splits and they were definitely slow (although last year's weather was rotten).  So this will be a challenge, for sure!  But I figured I really haven't had a chance to race much this year so I might as well go longer and get my money's worth.  Right?

(I may not be saying that so cheerfully as I spin in my granny gear up the hills tomorrow.)

The good news is that the weather looks fabulous, and if it's anything like today, it will be darn near perfect.  A little chilly at the start, low humidity, and light winds.  "So I've got that going for me.  Which is good."

My goals are really just to go as hard as I possibly can, make it through the 10k in a respectable fashion, and finish smiling.  I know this isn't a PR course for me nor am I in run shape to pull off my PR time on the run.  So I just want this to be a fun, hard, challenging in a good way day to end my last week of summer vacation.

Here goes!




Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Operation Eat Like an Athlete, Take 3

Well, this is really "eat like a person who is completely overscheduled yet wants to be healthy with minimal effort."  But that was a little long for the title!

It is well-established that I have a love affair with slow-cookers.  Like, I *might* own 5.  But they are all different sizes!  With different capabilities! And needs!  And I just want to be sure they all get their equal share of love!

Okay, enough of that.  I heard your eyes rolling.

Anyway, I've been meaning to have a Freezer-Pa-Looza day before I headed back to school to load up our new deep freeze with some meals.  I used to be a big fan of those places you could go and make your own meals, but then they all had to up and go out of business on me.  The nerve!  But I really liked how I controlled the ingredients and there were no preservatives in there.  I felt good serving them, even if they weren't necessarily the most gourmet things.  Less time in my kitchen = more time to train, play with my kiddies, or (ew) grade papers.

So I decided that Saturday would be the day I was on a mission.  Oh yeah.

Mission?  To test out this new ecookbook I downloaded and make 10 freezer meals in 2 hours. Including time to the grocery store.

Could it be done?

(I do like a challenge.)

At 2pm, Bean was down for a nap (which, by the way, she's totally done on since she figured out how to get out of her crib and refuses to nap anymore....so this was truly my last hurrah).  I had already made my shopping list and checked to see what was in the pantry.

I was ready.

I took my mark.

BEEP

I hit the store and was a crazy person in the aisles, grabbing veggies and spices and everything I needed.  I already had some good stuff at home from my local CSA, and I'm pretty good about stocking the pantry with spices.  My bill minus the chicken (which I got at Costco) came to $86.47.

Then, I went ballistic on my kitchen.  It was like a freaking bomb went off in here.

I had my trusty food processor to chop up all my veggies quickly.  I started with the onions, since most recipes called for some onions.  I decided to add an additional meal:  one of my favorites!  Speedy Laura's Chili.  I know it freezes well and since I already needed some sweet potatoes, I figured I might as well!

So I was now attempting to make 11 freezer meals, all before Bean got up.

I kind of felt like I was in the Olympics.  Of GEEK.

Anyway, the thing I was drawn to about most of the recipes from the ecookbook was that they made two of each.  So I had two freezer bags set up, and then I'd just go to town.  I was all Swedish Chef in there.  There were veggies flying, sauce everywhere, and I might have said "Bork! Bork! Bork!" a few times and thrown a wooden spoon.

(If you were born after 1982, you probably won't know what I'm talking about:  educate yourself, below, please.)



(okay, now we can be friends again)

Here's what I made--two of everything except the chili, but it's a HUGE pot of chili:

Chicken and Cherries
Chicken Curry
Orange Beef Stew
Flank Steak Fajitas
Speedy Laura's Chili
Cranberry Chicken

She's got a lot of lamb stuff in her cookbook, and I'm not sure how I feel about that.  But there's definitely a lot more I'd like to try!

When all was said and done, I put them on a cookie sheet flat so that they would freeze nice and orderly because I AM OCD OKAY DEAL WITH IT.  And I did about 4 backflips, 3 triple sowcows (yes, I know I spelled that wrong and have the wrong olympics) and then I STUCK THE LANDING, YO'.

My freezer was full, and I had the kitchen counters cleared off by 4:22 which was 3 minutes before Bean woke up.

WINNING

If you can't already tell, I am ENTIRELY too excited about this.  But if I can pull this off in 2 hours and 22 minutes, anyone can.  I keep telling Matt how excited I am that "if I only use one a week, I'm good 'til Thanksgiving!" giddily with excitement like I'm 12 and I'm going to see Justin Bieber.

It's that bad.

But you know what?  I know this stuff is healthy.  I know it will cook while I'm at work or working out, and when I come home it's done.  I won't feel guilty getting in that after-school swim or run if I know that a good meal is cooking away, so I think I'll be able to do that more often.  And it bought me MUCH more than 11 meals:  it bought me time.  Time to play, time to train, time to (maybe?) think about sitting down.

So if you've got a few hours, I highly recommend getting to know your crockpot--and your freezer!--and stock up now to train more later!

And hey--I have a race coming up this weekend!  It's going to be a challenging olympic distance for me, and I am not sure what I can pull off on the run, but I say BRING. IT.

Happy cooking--and training!