Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Welcome to the Family, Matt!

SO excited to finally be able to shout,


Matt, welcome to the family!  We are very excited to have you!

You can see all about Matt and watch his impressive video, here.

I am SO EXCITED for our training camp in April in Chattanooga, TN, too!  We'll be hanging with our fabulous sponsors, Quintana Roo and Hub Endurance, as well as generally causing all kinds of shenanigans.  I plan on working out until I collapse and also laughing until I collapse.

This season is going to RAWK. Congrats, Matt, and welcome to the team!

Sunday, January 29, 2012

The Best Laid Plans

Well, had one of those days that required a lot of flexibility HELP yesterday. One that is funny now, but at the time?  Not so much.

A reminder that you've gotta role with the punches, for sure.

So I had a grand plan.  My plan is to swim once during the week and once on Saturday while Bug takes his swim lesson.  It's perfect, right?  He has his lesson and I swim in the pool that's 10 feet away.  It would be a short swim, but still--better than nothing!  And lately I've been doing a whole lot of nothing when it came to swimming.  Which made me sad.  Because I am not a duathlete.  Or a runner.  I am TOTALLY a triathlete at heart and I NEED TO SWIM.  (BTW, Mary's got a fabulous post in her hilarious, no-nonsense, Mary style about why swimming is, indeed, important, for triathletes, despite what you may have heard.  LOVE.)

So here's what the plan was for Saturday:

Bug and I head to the pool for swim lessons
He has his first indoor swim lesson
I swim 2000 yards


Matt and Bean head to Target to pick up a Strawberry Shortcake present for a 4th birthday party
Then, they come back to get us, as we are all changed and dry

Okay, first of all, let's just start with the obvious flaws.  That is ENTIRELY too many things to accomplish in one hour when you have a four year old and a one year old.  Seriously.  Am I on crack?

But the main thing I didn't factor in?

It's Bug's FIRST day of swim lessons.  Bug HATES the first day of ANYTHING.  Well, really, the first 15 minutes.  After that?  He's having a grand old time.  But I should have learned my lesson after swim lessons the past few years, the first day of preschool, etc.  I know better.  The first 15 minutes are not going to be fun.  But the thing is, it's worse if I'm around.  So then I have to slink away in the shadows and worry that people think I'm horrible for not hovering helicopter-style over Bug.  But I know that he really does better if I back off, so I do.

(But that doesn't stop the MommyGuilt Monster from creeping in, since I can't just grab a megaphone and explain to the crowd, "No, really, he does better if I leave! I swear!")

So instead of me seamlessly slipping into the lap lane to crank out 2000 yards, I helped Bug and coaxed him over to the class.  I reminded him how he asked, no, BEGGED me for lessons in "the lesson pool," so he could learn how to "swim in the deep."  He wasn't having any of it.

So then I tried the whole "walk away" thing.  And it worked...for him.  Not for me, though. I felt horrible for even thinking about swimming.  I frantically called Matt for backup.  He brought Bean back and then I felt comfortable attempting a swim.

Trouble was, Bean was in her winter coat.  And wanted to swim. NOW.

So, needless to say, I cut the workout short, and looked every few breaths to make sure a) Bug was okay and 2) poor Matt wasn't chasing Bean in the pool fully clothed.  Luckily, they have an indoor playground, too, so Bean could run without water involved.

This, my friends, is what you call a supportive husband.  Sometimes, people ask how I am able to train with two little ones and a full time job, and my answer is, him.  Always him.  There's absolutely no way I could pull this off without him, because he knows how important this stuff is to me.  So he makes it work, just like I make his soccer tournaments work.  We do it because it's part of who we are, so when I frantically call him when he's in the Target parking lot and say, "please, please...I need help" he is always there.  He knew how hard it's been for me to get to the pool and when this plan came unraveling he didn't hesitate to change his plans and come back...and I'm so grateful.

After the (shorter) workout, Bug begged to stay and play.  I had told him he could only if he listened to his teachers, and he swore to me that he played "Red Light, Green Light" and kicked with the kids in class, which he did.  So it really, truly was only the first 15 minutes that was the rough patch, the "no-I-don't-wanna-do-this" whimpers, the part where half of me wanted to just make him feel better and take him away and the other half knows that's not the right thing to do.  Because he needs to learn how to swim, for safety's sake.  And also, he loves it.  And after that 15 minutes, he did love it.  He couldn't stop talking about it the rest of the day--how the one little guy in his class had a Batman towel, or how he did "animal jumps" with Coach Anna.

And that Strawberry Shortcake thing?  We got it on our way home.  It all worked out, like it always does.

Someday soon, he'll take off running full speed ahead without me.  Without even a second glance.  And I'll miss these days, when he needed me and when I was afraid to walk away, even though I knew it was what he needed me to do.  And those first 15 minutes?  When he gets on that school bus?  When he drives away in that car?

I'm pretty sure it will be a lot worse for me than for him.  But I've got the best team around to help me out.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

The TST Playlist, 5/100

Okay, sorry for any dudes that are reading this.  But for my Janet fans--Miss Jackson, if you're NASTAYYYY--I had to put this up on the playlist.

HOW did I forget how amazing Janet is until my buddy Dani put it on our spin playlist last night?!?!  I got a big smile on my face and almost had to get off the bike to do the sweet dance break at the end.

This song also made me laugh because back in the day we really wanted to use it as entertainment for a halftime show as a dance.  And then our advisor actually LISTENED to the lyrics.  Aw HELL NO.  Not what you'd call "school appropriate" for a bunch of 16 year olds to dance to in polyester blue skirts.

However, SO APPROPRIATE if you want to jam out on a ride.

The video is so deliciously, ridiculously 1993 awesome, though.  So, enjoy.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Operation Swim with the Fishies

So this morning was my swim morning. 

You could say I was a *little* nervous to try it all out and time it all up.

How nervous, you ask?

Nervous enough to wake up automatically at 4:FREAKING10 AM.  Thank you, internal clock.  FOR BEING PSYCHO.

Anyway, I found out something very, very exciting.  The pool opens AT 5:30!  Yahooooooooooooooooyippeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!  That 15 minutes is seriously key.  It means I can probably hit 3000 yards and still be out of the water in time to shower quickly and come home and put Bean's hair in piggies. 

(This is the most important task of the day.  Baby Girl has a bit of a mullet goin' on, and lest she be confused with this:

...I need to put her hair in some piggies, yo.)

The best part was that the high schoolers showed up, sleepy-eyed, at 6, so I got to see a few of my kids there which was fun.  And I made a good solid attempt to hang onto their feet in the lane next to me, which considering they were swimming, like, 10 people to a lane and I was sharing with one other girl, was not quite as much of an accomplishment as it would be if I was in their lane.  But I was still excited to be close!

2200 yards and time to SPARE, homies.  Bring it. 

I will leave you with one of life's great mysteries....why is it that I feel like drowning and that I can't BREATHE when I do backstroke and my face is OUT OF THE WATER, yet in freestyle I breathe just fine? 

Discuss amongst yourselves.

Happy training!

Saturday, January 21, 2012

The Monster

He makes an appearance quite often.

The MommyGuilt Monster.  I kind of think he looks like this:

(Credit:  Cute Monster by ~WotansKriegerin on deviantART)

At first glance, he looks cute, no?  But don't be fooled.  He is one passive-aggressive MOFO.  I know he doesn't make any sense.  I fully understand that he is irrational, and what he says MAKES. NO. SENSE.

And this is a small sampling of what he says:

"RAWR. You should work.  You should stay at home.  You're not good enough.  Nothing you do is right.  You work out too much.  You don't work out enough.  Why don't you make more crafts?  Why don't you cut their sandwiches into the shape of an elaborate pirate ship with sails and action figures?  Why did you allow them to eat a french fry and non-organic chicken? RAWR WORSTMOTHEREVERRAWR!"

As much as I know that he makes no sense, I still hear him.  Quite often.  And the funny thing is, once I make peace with him, ignore him, and move on, he seems to go away.  He's like the one bad kid in the room that wants all the attention, but when no one pays attention, he actually shuts up, you know?

Swimming has been difficult lately.  Like, nonexistent. Because MommyGuilt Monster was rawring all over my attempts to swim.  But what if I'm not around in the morning as much before school?  But what if I go after school and Matt has to pick the kids up?  BUT?!  BUTBUTBUT!  Life CANNOT go on without ME! ME ME ME

(MommyGuilt Monster is really about validation, sometimes.)

The funny thing?  That things CAN go on without me.  And go quite well, after all.  That my husband is an amazing father, and doesn't need me to hover like an annoying insect whispering, "Do you need me to help?  Should I get her socks?  Did you remember their lunches?"

No.  No.  And YES ALREADY!

Here's a classic example.  I was really, really going to try and swim Friday morning.  The goal was to pack up the bag and go to the pool and then go straight to work, which is about a block away from the pool.  There is no good reason I haven't been swimming.  I practically work in the building.  But I haven't, and it's mostly because of Monster and how he won't shut up about me "missing it."  "It" being time, space, minutes, seconds, breakfast, WHATEVER.

It took me about 348,942 minutes to pack everything up.  I got annoyed.  I grumbled.

And then it appeared.

Rawr.  You won't see the kids before school.  You're a MONSTER.  They will not survive the day.

So then, at about 11:30pm, I changed my mind.  I'd go, come home and shower and see the kids off, and then go to work.

Yeah!  That's a good idea!

But the Monster got louder.

WORST idea ever, RAWR.  They won't see you for more than a few minutes. RAWR. That's not quality time RAWRRAWRRAWR. MOMMYFAIL.

Before I knew it, it was 2:03am and I was still wide awake.  Panicking.  That if I wasn't around EVERY second in the morning, the world would cease to spin on its axis.

See?  Irrational.  But that's how the Monster works.

So what ended up happening, you ask?

I was so exhausted I slept in and was almost late--thank goodness Matt came in to wake me up!  No swim.  And, the kids were already dressed and in the car, with their lunches and blankies.

So that precious important time that Monster told me I'd be a failure if I missed?

I missed it anyway.  AND my swim.

I thought about it a lot Friday.  It seems that Monster has a way of making me feel guilty about things that really don't need guilt about.  Yes, I've been at this for almost 4 1/2 years.  No, that's not news.  But I'm really going to try and be better about letting Monster in my head.

I swam after school.  It was awesome.  I remembered how much I love the pool, and how much I'm a TRIATHLETE and not a runner or a cyclist or a duathlete.  And to be a triathlete requires swimming, which I love anyway, and I need to make this work for me.

That when I have that short time--just 40 minutes, even--in the pool, it reminds me of summer and the beach and races, and it makes me happy.  And that, in turn, makes me a better mother.

So here's what I'm going to do, at least once during the week:

Swim from 5:45-6:25am.  Yes, it's short.  But I can do some harder sets in there, and I'm going to have to live by the philosophy "quality over quantity" for a while, because that's my life at the present time.

Quick shower until 6:35.

Home by 6:45am.  See kids off and put Bean's hair in piggies.

Dry hair, change, coffee.  Out the door by 7:30am.  Back to my school, which is 0.5 miles from the pool.  But doing it this way will allow me not to have to pack EVERYTHING in the free world, and I'll get to see the kids in the morning, which, let's be honest, is probably more important to me than to them.  I'm pretty sure they're happy to see me whenever it is, YOU HEAR ME, MONSTER?

MommyGuilt Monster is one powerful, loud, SOB.  I may not be able to drown him out entirely, but I'm going to try.  I'm going to do my best to ignore him and look the other way and remember that sometimes giving up a few frantic, "did you brush your teeth?" minutes in the morning will lead to many more quality minutes later in the day.  And that it's important for me to continue doing things I love as much as I can.  To show my kids that it's important, too.  And to set a good example for them on how to stay active, even if you have to get creative in the process.

Be gone, Monster.  I took my cuties to see an Eric Carle stories play this morning downtown at Playhouse Theater, then lunch at Chick Fil-A (Bug's favorite treat), and now one's napping and the other's playing with his daddy.  You can't tell me I'm doing this wrong.  You can't tell me I'm not good enough.  Well, you might try, but I sure as hell am NOT going to listen.

And anyway, I'm off to the pool.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Race Report: Run for Regis Trail Half Marathon

Or, "The It's Really Nine Degrees?! Half Marathon...

Or, the "This Sounded Like a Really Good Idea in October" Half Marathon...

Or, "Trails are Hella Hard But Pretty Amazing" Half Marathon.

So Saturday night, I had an amazing time with some super awesome people.  It was so fun to hang out with some friends and very much needed after a really busy last-week-of-the-semester.  The alarm clock went off WAAAAY too early for a Sunday, but it was go time!

Whoa.  MORE snow.  We got dumped on this week, which I was actually kind of excited about on Friday.  Because, see, I attempted to run the trails with Ana, Laura, TriEric and Aimee, Dale, Patty, and Tina last weekend, and let's just say it didn't go so well.  Poor Laura slid down a hill with all the mud and was COVERED.  A few of us bailed and just decided to run on the roads since we were mostly walking through swampy mud, and the thought ran in my head of, "How the heck am I going to do this next weekend for a HALF MARATHON?"  I was pretty sure it scared Ana off big time and she was going to join the Witness Protection Program on race morning if things didn't change.

So freezing temperatures and snow?  Very much welcome by me on Friday and Saturday.

Not so much on race morning, though.
This is my "what the HELL was I thinking" face at 5:57am as I opened the door to let Mugsy out
We headed out and due to a BIG mistake on my part, we got a little lost.  DOH!  No worries, right?  It's a laid back race, right?

Um, yeah, but you still need to be there IN TIME FOR THE START.

We arrived literally three minutes before the start.  We frantically jumped out, grabbed our schtuff, peed, and made it by about 10 seconds to the start line.  I found Brandy and the four of us:  Ana, Brandy, Jen, and I, set out for a nice little "Happy Birthday Winter Hike With Friends" which is what I was calling it since it was Jen's birthday (yay!), I was grossly undertrained and hadn't ran more than 8 or maybe 9 miles, it was NINE degrees according to Jen's car, and we were all there with friends.

So we took off on our little winter adventure!

It was beautiful.  Really, seriously beautiful.  Here is a link to the official FB page of all the pictures, so HUGE props to the volunteers like my buddy Lloyd who I saw snapping away on the course!  His photos can be found here--thanks, Lloyd!  The volunteers were seriously amazing--stocking the aid stations with "hot and cold" tables full of everything under the sun, making sure the course was clearly marked, and just being awesome.  It really made this run super fun.

And hard.  And not as bad as I thought, and then hard again.  And with some killer hills and technical trails.  Garmin says 1,130 feet of elevation gain.

(OUCHY.  That's the sound of my quads ripping apart and my right hammy barking at me.)

I saw tons of snow covered trees, lots of snow covered running buddies, amazing volunteers, and a few signs that said "STEEP GRADE" which meant, oh yeah baby it's ON in about 12 seconds.  And then ouch!  But in a good way.

The last time I attempted this course, the snow was so deep and it was my first long trail race so I made the decision to bail at the first loop's end at mile 8.  So if I could finish this one, I'd be pretty happy.  And finish we did!  Brandy, Jen, and Ana killed it and I dragged along about a minute behind as my legs and lungs revolted a little bit on the last climb out (yeah--forgot my inhaler AGAIN.  me=stupid).  Ana has officially been introduced to the world of trail running and did AMAZING.  So proud of her!  Jen and Brandy killed it as usual, too.  It was so fun to run with these girls!

Ana, Me, Brandy, and Jen at the finish!  My face was pretty much frozen into a smile

I finished in about 2:40 by my watch (not counting our approximate 6 minute stops total for 2 aid stations) for an average pace of just about 12 minutes/mile, which I am SO happy about considering I had to walk most of the uphills.  And there were quite a few of them, too!

Afterwards I had a bowl of delicious vegan chili provided by the volunteers and some conversation with good friends!

And now, it's almost time for this:

So get out there and play in the snow!  Remember, there's no such thing as bad weather....only bad gear.  :)

Huge congrats also go out to my girl Daisy who tied for first overall in the 50K!  50K in those conditions = HONEY BADGER.  Amazing.  Well-done, Daisy!  And I KNOW she's drinking a cold one tonight, cuz that's how she rolls.

Wednesday, January 04, 2012

TST Playlist, 4/100

Okay, so this isn't really a song I know.

But a year or so ago I stumbled upon the Holstee Manifesto, and kinda fell in love with it.  I immediately printed it out, mounted it on some cardstock, and put it in a highly visible place in my classroom.

Turns out they made a video of it, with people riding bikes--how awesome is that?  And my super cool tri-bro TriEric just posted it on FB, so I'm shamelessly putting it here.  So it's not necessarily a video picked for the song, but picked for the words.  Check it out!

The Holstee Manifesto Lifecycle Video from Holstee on Vimeo.

Monday, January 02, 2012

Polar Plunge, 2012

Happy New Year!

I rang in the new year in my flannel pj's watching sorry excuses for talent on various cable channels.  I know, right?  I am JUST THAT EXCITING!

New Year's Day I woke up and headed to Puma Yoga to try a Vinyasa Flow class with an awesome instructor, Rachele.  I go to Rachele's Tuesday Relaxing Flow and Meditation class quite a bit and love it. I thought I'd mix it up and start off the New Year with something different.  I knew it would obviously move a bit faster, but WHOA!  Chair!  Chaturanga!  Eagle! Sun salutations! Crow! Headstand! Warrior!  AGGGHHHH  It was seriously a great workout and I'm SORE now from all those difficult poses.  I will definitely have to hit that class again--it was a great way to start out the day with a good sweat.

Then, I headed straight to the beach for our Cleveland Triathlon Club Polar Plunge.  Boo-yah!

It was a BALMY 48 degrees, and man, did we luck out because today a huge cold front and snow came through.  I decided that I was going to HTFU and go all the way under this year!  I mean, the Mayans said the world will end in December so I may not have another chance to do it, right?  Gotta live it up while I can! (Ha!)

That's my buddy, TriEric, holding up the blowhorn as we all head in!

Tri friends Susan, Lori, Jen and I

It looks like I'm deep in thought here..."Why do I do this every year?"

Now it looks like Jen and I are really questioning our sanity

There were TONS of my tri-buddies and it was super fun.  And yes, I did go all the way under.  And then I yelled some bad words, but it was out in the Lake so I doubt the cameras picked it up. Sorry kids.
Those are my arms behind that dude

Freezing my you-know-what-off

Jen and I did dolphin dives and lived to tell the tale!

Apparently I was on the news on two different channels, but all I found was this one!  I give Jen a high-five and TriEric makes a cameo at the end with his blowhorn. Plus, you can see newlyweds Kim and Tim who got married New Year's Eve.  Now THAT'S Polar Plunge dedication!

And I even got to meet Trail Boy!  Big shout-out to him.  Always fun to meet other bloggers!

Both of my kids TOTALLY wanted to go in and were NOT happy when I told them "No, honey, 36 degrees is not really toddler-appropriate..."

He wasn't havin' ANY of that

Now Bean is really ticked off we won't let her in, too

But happy again!

And now mad


But other than that we were all smiles!  Bug put his hand in the water and felt how cold it was, so that helped. As always, a fun way to ring in the New Year with lots of friends.

In other news, I have a trail race in less than two weeks and have yet to run on trails.  Oh boy.  Are we in for it or what?!  Ana and I decided we're calling it a "training run" and are not to utter the words "race" anymore, since we will be completely and totally winging it on all levels.  But regardless, it will be supercrazyfun.

Happy New Year to you!