Saturday, June 30, 2007

Starting Fresh

...kinda like next year.

I was just telling Wil how excited I am to race next year, because it will just be all shiny and new again. After spending the better part of the past two days crying and feeling sorry for myself, I think I'm done now. Gotta love these hormones.

My philosophy will be to track everything I'm consuming. It shouldn't be too different from before, but I'm going to really watch the salty carbs that I like so much. Like pretzels. And Sun Chips. Mmmmm. Sun Chips. They will go bye bye.

I went to a natural foods market today and bought lots of vegetables--even more than usual!--and some other stuff to make lower-carb and lean-protein things. Anyway, all is not lost. After all, the baby is fine. That's what really matters. I went on a 2 mile walk today at the lake and it was a beautiful day. I'm not going to let this get me down. I've got a birthday Thursday, too. A big one. There's no crying at birthdays. Not that I'm even really doing anything that exciting, but still. Supposed to be happy. And I WILL eat enchiladas and a little ice cream cake that day. I'm sorry. It just is going to happen.

I refuse to go through the next three months of this hating every second. There's got to be a silver lining in here somehow. And although I've felt more down on myself this weekend than I have in a long, LONG time, there's still hope. Maybe things will level out. Maybe I can stay around where I am. I'm not off the "chart" yet...

All I can do is be the healthiest I can be. I did that last year, but I had the luxury of being able to torch 2 or 3 thousand calories in a nice long brick every Saturday. I could eat what I wanted and not pay as much attention. I feel like I've paid lots of attention now, but maybe I haven't. Something's not adding up.

So now I'll pay close attention. It couldn't hurt. And if it still doesn't change things, then at least I know I've done everything possible in my control. And I'll have to let it go then.

I found a great site: where I've started tracking my nutrition and workouts. They even have a nice message board where there are "teams" of Moms. I found a "Racing Mommies" team. How cool is that? Most of them are already moms but maybe they'll let me in the club. :)

I'm gonna do this, dammit. And I'm gonna like it.

Friday, June 29, 2007

All better, sort of.

I talked to four people whom I trust: one is an athletic good friend dietician, two are athletic moms (one of them being my own), and one's a best friend. All said pretty much the same thing, which was reassuring to hear that no matter if it's a dietitician or my best friend with no kids. My doctor probably spoke without thinking a bit, which might explain why when I started throwing things at her like "zero refined carbohydrates" and "high-fiber" and "low-glycemic" and "light but sustained physical activity" she started backpedaling and looked very confused. When she asked me if I "drank a lot of pop" and I said I haven't had pop in probably 15 years, or that I know not to drink juice because of empty calories she seemed lost. She sees me more as a piece of paper, which is just the way our medical system is set up right now, and she's probably trying to cover her ass. I can respect that, but I've had some philisophical differences and this just might be the straw that broke the camel's back. Next time around, I think I'll be going with a doctor who understands athletes more or is at least willing to entertain the possibility that someone might be doing everything right and still not fit into the "recommended chart."

I will still write everything down like she suggested, and I will BRING it next month. Yeah, that's right. BRING IT, DOC. I'm coming prepared. And she said she "might need me to see a dietician" if things don't change and I might grow a pair and tell her thanks for the suggestion, but that's unecessary. I already have a good friend dietitician who is an endurance athlete that thinks my doctor is overreacting.

And I just did that blog rating thing last night that TriEric had on his blog and mine was PG because I had the word "ass" 4 times on my blog. So make that 5. Or actually, 6.



Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to go for a nice long walk with a few podcasts.
Okay, so I was JUST finally making peace with things and getting used to things...even a little excited, less scared and worried and upset.

And then I went to the Doc's today. I did my normal "don't look at the scale" thing, because it just messes with me, and I told her to just tell me if there's a problem.

There's a problem. She says I'm gaining too much weight. And now I can't stop crying and no one is home that I can talk to. I am angry, I am upset, I am trying really, REALLY hard to block out the 20+ years of body and eating issues that I've had, and now I feel like just when I was starting to get comfortable standing on this rug it just got pulled out from under me.

She talked to me about calories in and exercise, and it was all I could do not to start screaming and kicking the wall. I KNOW ALL THIS STUFF. I SWEAR that all I am eating are small portioned whole grains with lots of fruits and vegetables. Ice cream makes me sick so I only have it maybe once a week, and I never finish it...I have fruit popsicles when I am craving something sweet. I eat nothing fried. I work out at least 4-5 times a week--swimming, walking, elliptical, and yoga.

I just don't understand, and it makes me mad and very sad. And then I feel overwhelmingly guilty for feeling mad and sad, because I guess I shouldn't feel bad since it's just me and not the baby. But this is hard. I don't like it at all. I have to now write down everything I eat and measure portions, just like I did before on Weight Watchers. Like before, when I was fat.

I don't like this. I want to be done. I want everything to work out in the end fine more anything but so far I have not really enjoyed this process one bit--I was almost there and now I feel like I've just taken one step forward and lept about 2oo yards back.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Outswimming the Storm

You know in those Charlie Brown cartoons where there's a little black cloud that follows Charlie around when he's having a rough day?

I feel like I've had that around me for the past week or two. Probably just general anxiety about me hitting the 7th month and only having a jogging stroller.

(It is a really sweet jogging stroller, BTW.)

That's part of it, but there's some other stuff, too. Essentially, I've been worrying about a few things quite a bit that I need to let go, and I've really been down and extra extra hard on myself lately.

(I'm always kind of hard on myself, so the extra extra part is not so good.)

I gave Wil a call to chat on Sunday as she was driving home from High Cliff 70.3 and then we finished our conversation up on Monday. It made me feel a lot better to talk to a like-minded individual about some of the dumb stuff I'm worrying about on all angles of my life. We also got talking specifically about tris and next year. She gave me some good advice.

She told me that Peter Reid gave her some advice (update--Okay, so he gave Melanie McQuaid the advice, who then passed it onto Wil...either way, STILL PRETTY SWEET!), which, is pretty damn cool that Peter Reid is giving her advice--holy shizz! I had to interrupt her and laugh at that. Anyhow, he said that at every race, he's not trying to WIN it. He goes out and tries to do the best he can for that possible day, and if he's done that, then he wins. Of course, this is a guy who, with that philosophy and mindset, has MULTIPLE Ironman WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS under his belt.

Maybe he's onto something.

I know I can't compare myself to others now, or even next year--that's not why I got into this sport anyways, and I need to remember that. It's the main reason why I think swimming was such a good sport for me as a little girl. You are on a team, but ultimately, you are competing against yourself. Next year will be harder than anything I've ever tried to do. The nervousness and anxiety I feel now trumps my sleepless nights worrying during my Ironman summer about 10 to 1, and I've still got 3 months to go. So I need to remember what Peter said now more than ever.

Will I win the Muncie 70.3 next year? Of course not.

Will I PR? I'd like to, but there are so many factors that I can't control.

The only thing I should worry about is what I can attitude, my training (to the extent that I can control it with a few-month-old at home--it will have to be flexible and efficient), my nutrition, and my knowledge of my gear and the course. If I can keep the right mindset, I may not win the 30-34 age group, but I will win the first overall female with an 8 month old baby at home who hasn't raced in a year category.

Life's too short to sweat too much about your time anymore, I think. I had several years of age group awards at sprints and olys, and that was fun....but I feel like long course suits my personality better. Putting in the training required to pick up hardware at one of those things for me is not totally impossible (I never like to say never), but at this point in my life, would require an amount of time that I just will not have and am unwiling to create.

So I will look to the countless other rewarding aspects of triathlon besides the trinkets.

I've got a whole shelf full of those collecting dust, anyway. They're on a dresser that will soon be the baby's, and I'm not even sure where to put them. I don't want to say they don't matter anymore, because they were and are an important reminder of who I am and how far I've come, but they might just be moved to a box somewhere upstairs for now. I think now, as I'm staring a new decade in the face, I'm realizing that they are overrated.

You know, kind of like waistlines. :)

Anyway, yesterday I couldn't help notice while I was banging out 3000 yards in the pool again (hey, it's the only thing I can really do right now, so I have a feeling we'll be doing a lot of those workouts these next few weeks), that a ominous black cloud was hovering over me--literally. I stopped to fix my goggles, and the wind blew some lady's newspaper into the pool as she sipped her iced mocha. Kids ran after hats and toys. "Oh, no you don't," I thought. "I'm not done swimming yet." So I pushed off again for my last 1000. There was a guy in the lane next to me with a gatorade endurance bottle and I figured he must be some kind of triathlete. He was pretty fast, and for once I just let him go so I could focus on my own sets. He did his short sets fast and stopped, while I just went steady...the opposite of what I did for so many years...the 50 and 100 free, sprinting. I've got trinkets for those, too, I thought. I'm not even sure I know where they are.

Steady, steady, I kept going and the black cloud still hovered. On my last 100, I noticed fast guy was right around me. I decided to try and keep his pace just for fun on the last 50. I "beat" him by a stroke.

Alright, so that's the closest I can come to racing this year. Cut me some slack. I've got to appease otherwise slow Competitive Sara somehow.

Victory is often in the eye of the beholder. That's what's so great about this sport, and now more than ever, I'm learning that as I sit on the sidelines and watch this season. My first tri season in 6 years without a tri.

I might just be learning more this season than in all the other seasons, combined.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Help a Brutha Out!

We hereby interrupt the usual programming here to plug my buddy Manitoba Guy's quest for a new Cervelo! Manitoba Guy, aka Laird, has entered a contest where he had to create a 15 second movie about how much he loves his Cervelo. He made the top 10--yahoo!!! So now it's up to loyal fans to get him the prize. His movie is quite riveting. I think Spielberg and Scorcese are pretty jealous.

So, if you have a second, please head over to and find his video entitled "Laird L. Cervelo Dream" on the right. Then, after wiping the tears away from his Oscar-contending performance, please vote a "5 I Love It" after viewing. You can only vote once, but he'd really appreciate it!

Why should you vote for Manitoba Guy? Because he rocks! He and his wife were across the hall in the hotel with me before Ironman Wisconsin, and when I arrived at the hotel to check in we struck up a conversation since I was alone, and went on a little ride on the course. Then we ran into each other at the Gatorade Swim and all hung out at dinner at Stu's on Friday. He's a cool guy and a kick-ass Ironman to boot. And--apparantly he's pretty creative with a camera!

So why not share the tri-bike love? :)

Friday, June 22, 2007

Sports bras are awesome.

Not a whole lot to report, here...

Monday I swam in the lake with the tri club, then the rest of the week I've done some walks (I think I'm even done with wogging. Lower back hurts too much. We'll see.), a few rides on my Raleigh mountain bike (on the sidewalk, of course) and some yoga last night. I'm feeling a little better about the whole weight thing. You can't really fight biology. So either I continue to fight and get frustrated, or I just continue to eat as healthy as possible, do some kind of physical activity 5-6 times a week, and just go with it.

I had 2 different strangers on 2 different days this week tell me there's no way I look like I'm 6 months pregnant. That was certainly nice to hear after some of the ruder comments I've gotten lately. One of the people has a 4 month old at home and looks fantastic, and CLAIMS she gained 80 pounds with her first and 60+ with her second. ?!?!?!?! That just can't really be good, but hey, she looks fantastic so I guess what do I know? Makes me feel a little bit better about the number I've gained so far.

I've also discovered that the only bras that are really actually somewhat comfortable right now are my sports bras. Woo hoo! This triathlete has plenty of those.

I'm still missing triathlon, but trying to really focus on this new aspect of my life. Tris, I keep reminding myself, ain't goin' nowhere. But I'm still dreaming of future races, and have added my '08 race schedule. It's good to think about the future a little to get my mind off some of the nervousness and scared feelings that come. I wear my Ironman necklace every day and it helps me remember that sometimes things you think are impossible really aren't. The body is an amazing thing.

Tonight, a cookout with some family, and then this weekend I've got some fun stuff planned with friends. And whoa--I turn 30 in less than 2 weeks. That's pretty crazy...too bad I can't test out the new age group until next year! But 30-34, watch out cuz here I come! :)

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Holy Smokes.

Well, this certainly makes it real.

That's the little monkey that's been kickin' like crazy. Not too much longer and Baby Z will make its world debut.

All was almost well at the last ultrasound, and now all is very much well, which is good news.

Kinda amazing, huh?

Monday, June 18, 2007

The Most Fun You Can Have Without Doing a Triathlon

I am all pumped up!

STUPENDOUSLY awesome night tonight.

I met the TriClub down at the beach for an Open Water Swim. This one was newbies-specific, but welcomed all. We had a great mix of seasoned tri-veterans and Ironman finishers along with people who have yet to do their first sprint tri. Outside, it was 90 degrees and humid, and I was really, really hoping that Lake Erie wouldn't be too cold since A) I can't fit into my wetsuit right now and B) even if I wanted to fit into my wetsuit, I sent it away to Jaclyn so she could use it this season.

Bellissimo! Perfect lake temperature. Some in wetsuits even got a little warm!

We practiced sighting, turning around buoys, and then just swimming in the open water. I felt pretty slow, but it was just nice to be out there and help out some newbies as they were getting excited for their first tri. I never even did an open-water swim before my first tri and got quite a rude awakening that day! It was really fun just to be around triathletes and get in a little workout on a hot but otherwise perfect night.

Then, as we were packing up, I got to see Lloyd who was coming down the stairs....AFTER FINISHING THE MOHICAN 100 YESTERDAY! HUGE congrats to Lloyd. He not only FINISHED, folks. He was NINTH OVERALL and finished in 21 hours. AMAZING. Mark, another Second Sole friend was with him, and they were going to do a little swim to recover. It was great to see them both!

A few of us then headed over to my place, since I live right by the beach, for some burgers, veggies, antipasta salad (Mom's recipe), fruit, snacks, and good conversation. TriEric helped me out and grilled the burgers (THANKS, bro!) and I set everything up, tried to keep Mugsy from eating all my plants and drinking everyone's gatorade, and the rest of the crew sat around the patio and just chilled. It was super fun. I got to hang with DaisyDuc and Marie, too, who I hadn't seen in a bit. They both had to drive quite a way to get there, and I really appreciate them coming out. It was so good to see them! The sun started to set and trifriends then had to head home.

Tomorrow morning, I have another ultrasound. I'm excited for that, too. And I'm excited for what next year will bring, both life-wise and race-wise. Tonight helped remind me that I can, to some extent, still do the things I really love to do in the summertime: swim, laugh with my friends, and talk triathlon, and think about what I am capable of.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Meltdown #2

So yesterday I had to have meltdown #2.

Matt was a witness to the first one. My poor Mom was the witness to this one.

Essentially, I am so sick of these dumb baby books/magazines/store employees that tell you your "pre-pregnancy size" is what you will wear in your pregnancy.


I am normally a 6 or 8, depending on the brand. That is most usually a medium, and occasionally a small. I am sort of tall (5'8") although I am the shortest person in my family.

SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO. Logic would say that I'd wear a medium in stupid maternity clothes, right?

Oh no. Not so fast. We need to factor in this.

This is so out of control it's driving me nuts. So last night we were meeting some friends out at a fun little bar and I wanted a cute shirt. All the shirts I have that I can actually fit into are stretch polos, or tank tops from Old Navy Maternity. Not really the essence of style. I'm not a style snob, but I would like to have just ONE shirt that is somewhat stylish to wear out with friends on the rare occasion I actually head downtown to a nice pub. Is that TOO MUCH TO ASK?!?!

Seriously. I hate everyone in the maternity clothing industry. It seems to be that my choices are either a knit tank top, or shirts that look WAYYYYY too matronly for me. I really don't want to look 15 years older than I am, you know? Why don't they get that?!

So Mom took me to the Maternity Store--the only one really around here--and we tried to find shirts. I tried on MEDIUMS BECAUSE DARN IT THAT'S WHAT THEY SAY TO DO.

I seriously can barely get them over my head.


So I proceed to start breaking down in the dressing room. Poor Mom tries to pick out a few clothes to make me feel better but it only made me feel worse. I put on my huge cheap sunglasses and snuck out of there with nothing and then proceeded to heaving cry the whole way home.

I'm sorry you had to witness that, Mom. It's just DARE "they" say that you remain your pre-pregnancy size when I AM ALREADY AT MONTH SIX 2 SIZES OVER THAT?!?!?!?! That REALLY doesn't work wonders for the ego.

I finally got home and decided the only thing that would make me feel better was a GOOD workout.

10 mile run?


How about a nice hour long ride outside?



So I went up to the pool and swam 3000 yards, stopping only to fix my cap that was inching off my head and occasionally adjust my goggles. 3000 yards, only stopping a few times. I could have definitely kept going, too, but I was already out of time.


I also ran into Rob, who is kicking some SERIOUS butt getting ready for IMUSA. I can't believe how much he has improved his run game this past year, and I gave him some mad props for it. He's already an amazing swimmer and cyclist, so now that he's blazing the run, I wouldn't be surprised if he knocked off some serious time off his already-impressive IM performances. So it was nice to talk Ironman a bit and I think it helped remind me that next year at this time I can hopefully be moving faster, too.

So I got home, showered and changed, and then headed out to meet my buddies. The more I thought about it, the more I decided that if one part of me have to inflates, I guess it's better that it's the top half. My pants, shorts, capris, and skirts are all medium. I'd rather have an XL top and a medium ass than an XL ass and a medium top.

Baby Z is moving around like crazy. I think it likes to swim. And it's probably also laughing at me, too.

Like, really hard.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Swimming and Canada

You know what totally stinks about pregnant swimming?

1. How slow I am.

But, you know what totally ROCKS about pregnant swimming? Let me count the ways...

1. I actually feel almost normal!
2. I'm still doing (ugly) flip turns!
3. I can still sort of "race" the people next to me even though they don't know it! Totally caught up to this chick next to me after about 100 and then managed to squeak by 2 lengths ahead of her when I hit 200. Competitive Sara rears her ugly head six months pregnant. Yeah, uh...that little game doesn't work out for me when I'm "wogging."
4. Multitasking: since I can only lay out on my back, I can swim and get some color on my back, and then dry off while listening to a podcast or just chillin' on the flip side! BRILLIANT!

2000 meters seems to be a perfect distance for now. Not very far, but hey, it's somethin' at least! So all is well.

Except for one thing: tonight I had to say goodbye to Canada Jenn, my partner in crime and favorite running buddy for the past five years. In classic Sara style, it didn't hit me until I got in the car to drive home, which led to a pit stop at Malley's to get 2 chocolate covered pretzels. After that, I proceeded to cry the whole way home. She'll eventually end up somewhere on the west coast (after a year stint in Peoria, IL) to be closer to her family, which is great...except for me.

I miss my friend already! Boo.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Studying Abroad

I had a little realization yesterday.

As tri season is in full-swing for the first time since 2001 without me, I feel like I'm missing out. I worry that I'm doing nothing but getting fatter and slower, as my friends are all getting fitter and faster. This is pretty silly, and I am fully aware of that. My tragic flaw is worrying to the point of irrationality. I'm working on it. It's quite a work in progress.

So yesterday, as I was feeling pretty low after friends/coworkers little observations about (brace yourself, here) how I DON'T look like I did during Ironman training (I SHIZ Sherlock), for some reason I remembered back in high school how my friend at the time, Joy, was going to spend her junior year as an AFS student in France and how I couldn't possibly wrap my head around it.

But, she's going to MISS SO MUCH! Like, FOOTBALL GAMES! And, GOING TO FRIENDLY'S AFTER FOOTBALL GAMES! And, like, the big yearly BAND CONCERT! I mean, how will she LIVE knowing she didn't get to go to HOMECOMING? Why on EARTH would you want to miss all THAT and spend a year in PARIS? What about SWIM SEASON?! And, like, AP ENGLISH?! How could you want to be ANYWHERE BUT HERE?????

Yeah. Pretty ridiculous.

Let's see....France, or small-town Ohio?

To 16 year old me I couldn't POSSIBLY GRASP anything but small-town Ohio. That was my little world I had created for myself, and that was all I knew.

This is a good thing that I'm being forced to study abroad this year. I've gotten a few books and have been reading about how I can fine-tune things: my bike, my nutrition, etc. I've been forced to step back and have fought it kicking and screaming the whole way. Workouts are getting shorter. Stomach is getting bigger. Kicks are getting stronger.

I'm being forced to live in the moment. Not thinking about this week's plans, or this month's goals, or hours on this or that.

This, to me, is a foreign country.

I'm sure that I'll look back on this I'll laugh, just like I do when I tell the story of how I thought Joy was absolutely insane for leaving my little world for 9 months. It all seems so silly now. High school didn't go anywhere, but she had an amazing experience. Neither are these races.

When you're at minute 32 of a 7 mile ride, you can't start thinking about all your insecurities and worries. You just keep spinning. If you worry too much, you waste energy. And that's DUMB. You just go minute by minute and deal with each thought as they come to you, and each problem as it arises. And then you move on.

How did I get through the Ironman last year, with my nutrition that I left in the trunk of my car, the surprise weather forecast that left many on the side of the road with hypothermia, the clock that ticked away and the initial goals in my head that slipped away, too?

I think, really, for the first time in my life actually, I didn't think about it. I just did it. I stayed in the moment or I would never, EVER have made it to that finish line.

Somehow, I need to do that here. I will get fitter again. I will get faster again. I've never let myself down before, and I damn well know that I won't now.

So maybe instead of worrying, I'd better just enjoy the view from the Eiffel Tower this tri season.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Public Service Announcement

I just got back from 35 minutes of "wogging" (which is Cerveza's term for walk/jog...and unfortunately what I think I am succumbing to here in my 6th month) and feel a little sad. These little valleys are bound to happen, I guess. I wouldn't be honest if I didn't say that this journey gets me down from time to time, despite the extreme excitement and anticipation of it all.

I'd like to say a little PSA for the world at large. Maybe it's because I had to graduate to Matt's Cool Max shirts today, as mine are ridiculously tight. Perhaps it's because my favorite red swimsuit I swim in all the time will have to be retired for a while for fear of me resembling an Italian, slightly bloated CJ Parker from Baywatch with a distended belly. For whatever reason, I think I've just had enough.

So here it is: what NOT to say to someone who's pregnant.

I admit I must have made some mistakes in the past. No one told me not to tell moms to be that they have popped out and look so cute (which I know I've said before--I'm so sorry! you must have wanted to smack me!)

I have heard the following comments in the past eight days. None of these are exaggerated. Some are from males, but some are from females, too. None were from my Nutter girls who I got to visit this weekend and as always, rock the house. :) All of these comments have one thing in common: they were NOT WHAT I NEEDED TO HEAR.

1. "Wow, she looks really great! You...I mean, YOU look a lot more pregnant than her!" points to my friend, who is DUE WITH TWINS IN JULY.

2. "I didn't realize you were pregnant! I thought you were just getting fat."

3. " sure have gotten huge since I last saw you, what, two weeks ago?"

4. "WOW. Well, you certainly look like you've stopped running." To which I replied, NO ACTUALLY I HAVEN'T, BUT THANKS.

Here is the only safe and acceptable thing to say to a pregnant chick...the secret phrase...the only one you'll ever need to know:

"Wow! You look great."

Because you know what? Maybe said pregnant chick doesn't look great by her standards, or traditional standards. But by the standards of carrying around a little kicking alien creature that has made it impossible for her to stop gaining and gaining weight despite exercise and eating well and NOW SHE HAS TO WEAR HER HUSBAND'S RUNNING CLOTHES...taking that into consideration...SHE LOOKS FLIPPIN' GREAT.

That's all. Just stop there. PLEASE.

Friday, June 08, 2007

"Open Water" Swim

So today I decided to head up to the local pool for a swim.

I sort of knew that was a mistake, but I just really wanted to be outside. But--it's the FIRST FULL DAY the pool is open.

I used to work for the Rec Department in this town. I know what the "first full day" means.


Nasty, dirrrrty pool, and five gazillion little kids who don't understand the concept of a lap lane. I decided that I was just gonna swim, and they'll eventually figure it out. I dodged a few but sort of got hit by a few others as they were cutting through to the other MILES OF OPEN POOL that they have free range on. When I saw a few lounging at the sides, I refused to stop and just did my flip turns around them.

They'll get it eventually. The guards were too busy flirting with each other to be bothered by the lap lane.

I got in just about a mile before the storm came, so I had to get out. Oh well--I felt pretty good and the Ayatollah Belly was allowing me to do flip turns today, so I went with it. Touch and go just isn't as much fun.

As I swam, I thought, "Man...what a difference a year makes."

Last year at this time I was looking at Ironman in around 100 days. I was consistently swimming 4000 yards or more every time I got in the pool. My 100 yards hard were something I was proud of...not my 1992 times, but hey, still pretty sweet for me at least.

And now?

Man...I can tell if I go too hard within 25 yards. My body has a funny way of slowing me down and forcing me to cooperate. I've got a big ol' belly that gives me some strange looks as I don my swim cap and goggles.

I think people must be like, "She can't be serious...can she?"

The funny thing about living where you grew up (when you never in a million years dreamed you would) is that you are always reminded of little things that if you lived somewhere else, you'd probably forget. This pool is where I was a bona-fide POOL RAT. I did nothing but swim in this pool on the Summer Swim Team from the time I was 8-15. Every. Summer. Wake up, ride bike to pool, swim, ride home, eat, swim with friends, eat again, go to a swim meet, wash, sleep. Repeat.

I have so many great memories from those days. While I was very self-conscious and pretty socially awkward during a few of those key years, I felt at home here. I learned a lot about myself here. Last year, I learned even more.

I wondered as I swam, and saw lots of moms just sitting around soaking up the sun and reading magazines, what will next summer be like? I doubt I'll be able to just come up here and swim whenever I want to like I can now. Some of that freedom's gonna have to go.

But as Baby Z gets older, I think that I can still swim in this lap lane, back and forth, back and forth, while little Z plays and swims with its Little Z friends. Maybe it will want to be on the swim team, or maybe it won't. That's cool, too. But, I thought, I'll probably be right here, instead of a lounge chair reading US Weekly.

After all, even if Little Z doesn't get into swimming like I do, there's a KILLER set of water slides. What kid can resist those?

(I barely can, and I'm almost 30.)

This water has always been quite open to my possibilities.

It's kind of fun to think about how far I've come, and where I'm about to go.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Oh boy, I just bought somethin' kinda big.

I just bought something for the baby.

Is it a crib?


Is it a pack and play?


Is it 3 tons of diapers?

Negative, ghostrider.

All of the above are quite practical and must be bought eventually. However, they are NOT what I just bought.

After much cost-comparison, shopping around, review reading, and research...what did I buy?

Happy mom, happy baby.

Monday, June 04, 2007

Goodbye, Flip Turns

Today I swam a measly mile.


It was fun though, and I could have gone farther but ran out of time because I was gabbing with my lane mate, Canada Jenn. She's moving in 2 weeks and I'm so sad. She was the first person I met at the Second Sole Training Day back in December 2002. I almost didn't go...I didn't know anyone, and thought it was only fast people. Matt convinced me to try it, so I went. I walked in at the same time as Canada Jenn, who had moved from Alberta just a month or so prior. We struck up a conversation, and the rest is history. We've made it through many good times and some bad, always able to run together no matter what pace or circumstance. We did the Flying Pig Marathon together back in 2005, which was her first and my second. I'm really sad she's leaving, but we knew this was a 5 year gig as her husband is a radiologist. I just didn't realize how fast five years could go.

Sigh. :(

So, to make an already long story short, one of my closest friends is leaving and this is one of the last Monday swims I had with her, so the yardage can kiss my arse. Priorities, you know?

I learned today that apparantly, for me, at 22 weeks, I must say goodbye to the flip turn. This is quite hard, because I've been doing flip turns since I was 7 years old. It's like when you're so used to riding a bike with clip-in shoes, and then you ride one without...and it's almost like you FORGOT HOW TO RIDE A BIKE WITHOUT YOUR SIDIS OMG HOW DOES ONE FUNCTION WITHOUT CLIPPING IN?!

That's kind of how I felt.

I guess I could still do flip turns, but it looks pretty ridiculous. I sort of somersault in a seated position. The Ayatollah Belly gets in the way. It's not pretty. So I'm trying to master the touch and go.

I don't like it.

It slows me down. But, alas, I really shouldn't be worrying about slowing down at this point in the game. I'm not sure how much longer I'll be able to run, either. My friends are going to laugh their tails off this weekend when I have a girls' weekend with my Nutter chicks. I just saw them for the Indy Mini, and since then I feel like I've doubled in size.

I'm starting to (finally) make peace with this tri season. About going slow, about riding inside (it still stinks, though) and about possibly having to stop running soon. You know why?

Because Kid Z will NOT STOP KICKING.

I'm serious. This kid is doing some kind of conga line in there.

Last night Matt got to witness the acrobatics. He was out of town for a bit, so he didn't get to see my new favorite game I play before I fall asleep. It's called, "Watch-your-stomach-move-and-feel-butterflies-at-the-same-time-but-have-no-control-over-it." It's SO. BIZARRE.

I think he was pretty amazed.

TriShannon has been asking to see some pics, and so has my friend Sammy. I just really haven't taken any because I don't like how I look right now. I'm sure I'll take one someday. It's kind of like how there's no pictures of me from 1988-1990. Those years, you really don't want to see me. I don't want to see me. I'll just remember what I want to remember from those years, and not how horribly awkward I looked.

But I did get a really cute tank top on sale at DueMaternity. It's black and says in white cursive, "dying for a drink," which I just thought was pretty funny because I didn't realize how much I'd miss beer. Not 18 beers...just a nice cold beer at the Tribe game or on a cool evening. Please enjoy one for me. I'd buy you one if I could.

So that's the closest I've come to fashion-wise embracing this bump. I do like the bump, but more for the scientific aspects of it. I'm a gigantic science experiment. That's pretty sweet. But I don't want everyone staring at it. So Shannon, I'll just have to email you a pic, unless I get brave and post one here later.

WHOA there goes another strong kick. Kid's gotta good set of legs in there. I wonder if there's a way to hook up a PowerTap in utero...

Sunday, June 03, 2007

There Are Some Things Money Can't Buy

Ticket to go to Jacobs Field to surprise your friend for his 30th birthday: $9

One bottle of Aquafina to drink while everyone else had beer: $3.25

One cold, uncooked soft pretzel that you returned after standing in line for it for 35 minutes: $3.25

Peanuts from a street vendor: $1.25

Parking, split with a few friends: $5

One jumbo hot dog with stadium mustard and ketchup: $3.75

Watching Game 6 on a big screen after the Tribe game was over: $0

"The Drive," "The Shot," and "Game 7 of the 1997 World Series:" no money lost, but some tears and one remote control smashed against a wall after Joe Table blew the save in '97

10 years since any of your teams have even glimpsed at a Championship: $0

Being downtown to witness the electricity and excitement as your team beat the heavily-favored Pistons to go to the NBA finals for the first time in Cleveland History and snap this cell phone picture: Priceless

I don't think it's sunk in yet. You have to understand, I'm a Cleveland sports fan. These things just DON'T HAPPEN.

Go Cavs....RISE UP!

Friday, June 01, 2007

Up the Down Staircase, Volume 2

...or really, Volume 8. I just never wrote down the first 6.

Today was the last day of classes. Another humid scorcher, and I'm really gonna have to do something different to get through the first few weeks next year. I made it all the way to the last class with some semblance of order and even ran review games all day. In the last class, after about 15 minutes of review games, I gave up. I'm OK with that. It was just too darn hot, and most of them tested out of their final anyway. Whaddya gonna do?

I was up so late last night having multiple heart attacks from the Cavs DOUBLE OVERTIME VICTORY, and I SOOOOOOOOOOOOOO can't wait to head downtown for the insanity surrounding Game 6 tomorrow night. Kid Z must be a Cavs fan, because after midnight when I was trying to lay down and sleep, it was going BONKERS. I actually turned the light on to watch.

Nothing in the world is more surreal than watching something inside your stomach apparantly doing some kind of kick-line celebration of a Cavs victory.

Anyway, last year I posted my students replies to my "exit survey" I give every year. It's always quite entertaining and informational. I told the kids that I always know what they DON'T like...they make that abundantly clear. "THIS SUCKS" and "I HATE THIS" or various groans are pretty hard to misinterpret. But we rarely hear what they actually LIKE at this stage of the game. So this is the opportunity for them to anonymously say it, without being mortified for looking like an "overachiever." (To them, that's the worst name you can call someone in class)

So here goes: All spelling is the way THEY have written it. Nothing is changed. I've put a few of my favorites here for your reading pleasure. Welcome to my world.

1. What was your favorite activity we did in class and why?
  • the island--it was fun (sidenote: we did a simulation for the Enlightenment where they have "crashed on an island" and have to create a government)
  • island
  • island thing
  • stock market game
  • island--human sacrifice!
  • decades project--it was fun and I learned alot about my time period
  • island game! I liked to make my own decisions.
  • hmmm..I really like the island thing, but I'm sure everyone said that so I also liked the Marie Antoinette and King Louis role playing thingy
  • Decades Project. It let me know new things.
  • reinacting/having debates--> HANDS ON!
  • American Revolution Trial/Jefferson Davis Trial It was so fun, and enriching
  • the newer stuff
  • IDK it was all good
2. What activity helped you learn the most and why?
  • the decades project
  • les mis because it was a good movie
  • island was sweet made me most involved
  • probably the role playing with the French Revolution thing
  • powerpoints, they gave the information well
  • Africa project--learned a lot
  • AIDS and Darfur posters. I had no idea about Darfur.
  • soldiers coming to talk about Nam
  • fly swatter (side note: this is a review game we play with 2 fly swatters and for some reason they LOOOOOOOOOVVVVVVVVVEEEEEEE it)
  • flyswater and lecture and your baby named Kyle
  • Rock and Roll Hall of Fame
  • I knew it all already
  • games, they were exciting and it helped out 2.
  • IDK
  • trials; you could be a person and understand why he thought what he thought
  • stock market project--> it was really fun
  • acting out things. lets you experience things
  • the ones were we have alot of notes
  • taking notes and doing timelines
  • dont remember
  • notes--I just sit there and memorize stuff
  • about Somalia and Africa
  • news broadcasts about fall of communism
3. What activity did you feel really didn't help you learn and why?
  • notes b/c boreing
  • speaking in front of class
  • when we filled out those packets using those folders
  • WWI
  • role playing
  • the thing where you have to walk around and collect information
  • don't know--I liked alot of what we did
  • all the projects and group work
  • when you yelled at us
  • acting out events/notes
  • everything
  • notes so boring
  • reanacting trials
  • I hated political cartoons, because they sucked
  • the review games, people fool around too much
  • The hard ones
  • I hated when we worked in groups almost everyday. Its nice to do individual work sometimes
  • hated notes
  • the england stuff from really long ago
  • I did not enjoy having so many projects to do all the time.
  • notes...ew
  • ?
  • I did not enjoy the projects that we did every week. (sidenote: We did?! News to me. They think anything that's not notes is a "project." Makes my buddy Susan and I chuckle.)
4. Any other general comments?
  • Rwanda was funnest
  • cool
  • good teacher
  • not bad
  • this year was a great year
  • this class has a good set up but is honestly kind of boring most of time
  • less notes--more movies like Hotel Rwanda!
  • nothing
  • I had fun messing around
  • WWII is the best
  • I think some people need punishment for being MEAN TO ME
  • Have a great summer; I know that you were my favorite teacher this year. I HOPE IT'S A GIRL
  • Name your kid Kyle. Your my fave teacher.
  • I loved the reinactments of the courts and league of nations
  • very fun! ur a good teacher
  • name your kid Dickey
  • take good notes, pay close attention, and class was easy.
  • your a really nice teacher but class was just too boring
  • I loved this class! You made it interesting. Good luck with the new baby! Thanks for a great year.
  • I liked US history a lot better than World History
  • I liked the Rock was fun.
  • great class! Love it, will miss it.
  • We did the most work in this class but for whatever reason time didn't drag on and it wasn't boring
  • you're a sweet teacher and I liked having you for 2 years guess who I am--I'm goofy and just got a haircut
  • Mrs. Ziemnik I'm lucky to have you as a teacher, your enthusiasm really showed and made the class enjoying
  • Hi
  • It was a good year. but I don't like doing that many activities w/a partner. no offense to my partner.
  • the stuff that is fun to learn about is the stuff in the last 20 years or less
  • I think that we could learn more if you tried to teach the things on the test instead of going off on many tangents. I felt unprepared for many tests because some of the questions (that we never talked about) were so specific. However, I really enjoyed playing with the clickers. (sidenote: pretty sure that's from one of my consistently highest-scoring test takers.)
  • no more school!
  • you need to give more free time
  • your a really nice + good teacher :)
  • wasn't that bad learning about the U.S.A's history
  • more fly swater
  • congrats on the baby, have a great summer. This was a fun two years.
  • You are a really good teacher--you make everything more interesting to learn than other teachers do.
  • I don't like the 50% of late work :(
  • Forrest is annoying
  • Justin is annoying
  • Just the way you teach and structure the class room and just who you are really helped me learn and helped me figure out what I want to do with my future. P.S. Good luck with Little Bitty Z
  • I heart Mrs. Z and Baby Tom
  • To much projects
  • lots of notes but they helped :)
  • im bad at history
  • Love the Teacher. Hate the subject.
  • The room is hot.
  • Keep up with the good projects and awesome teaching skills.
  • I like history.
  • I wish you were our American History teacher too.
  • Mrs. Z was probably the best history teacher I've ever had. Seriously
  • I can't stand all the mini projects, If you cut the number of projects in 1/2, i't be better. I feel like I didn't learn much. And I love history, I knew most of it before from the History Channel. You are a very nice teacher though.
  • your class was my faviorite, you can take old and make it relateable. I loved it.