So be sure when you step. You step with care and great tact and remember that Life's a Great Balancing Act.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Looking Cool at the Pool

I am noticing some pictures no longer display correctly below, although the pictures and their paths are perfectly fine.  I guess my blog is broken.  I keep saying I am going to move it to my mom's server anyway, but then I get lazy, so I suppose this is good motivation.

You know what else is good motivation?
An awesome bathing suit.

Let me provide a brief back story:
Awhile back, I left my swim suit crumpled up in a wet ball inside my gym back.  The next day (or few days?) later, it thwarted my plan to swim when I found there.  Still in a ball.  And still very wet.

Now, we all know that I am not much a of swimmer, and ideally I use any excuse available to avoid the pool.  But, I do have moments where I convince myself that I am just strokes away from becoming a brilliant swimmer and find myself pumped up at the pool.  I must have been going through one of those phases because I was quite disappointed that my suit was wet and icky and not suitable for wearing.

I figured if I dried the bathing suit, it would get rid of some of the "ick" factor.  I knew from past experiences that putting it in the drier would ruin it.  So then I thought, "But a hair dryer would work!"  only to remember that I do not own a hair dryer.

And then I saw the space heater.

I left my bathing suit draped over the space heater and left the room....and about 5 minutes later, the space heater started beeping  very loudly and the house started to smell like burnt plastic.  It wasn't plastic though. It was my  bathing suit.

The good news is I did not burn down the house. The bad news is my bathing suit had a hole right over the nipple.

I have been known to buy some horrific bathing suits (like the padded one-piece I found on clearance at the mall that was surely meant for a 70-year old with saggy boobs vacationing in Vegas) but even I knew this bathing suit had to go in the trash.

Still determined to swim, I went to Target to score a cheap suit.  It was too close to summer though because the clearance swim suits were gone and replaced with their new "sports illustrated" line of suits. Unwilling to pay $40 for something that did not have any straps, I opted for a black bikini with boy shorts from the Girls department.  At least it had straps!!

It also had ruffles.  And a bow.

Luckily for me, after a few weeks and a few shameful swims, Coeur sports came to the rescue and provided me with a super cute, super appropriate, super comfortable bathing suit, which I just love.  LOVE.

I mean, you really have to love a bathing suit to post pictures of yourself, on the internet, in said bathing suit.

It makes me want to go to the pool.  It even makes me want to go swimming!   The pattern is really cool, too - it is made up of little foxes.  It took me awhile to realize this.  Can you see the foxes?

I promise that I am going to treat this bathing suit with respect that it deserves.
  • I am not going to leave it in wet, moldy ball in my gym bag.  
  • I am  not going to put it in the dryer.
  • I am not going to place it on the space heater or set it on fire or run my car over it.

I am also going to fix my blog.

And lastly, I am going to swim.

Friday, February 28, 2014

Powerbar Team Elite

I've completed nearly three weeks of training, which is a word a use loosely since technically, my race calendar is still blank.  But, I see progress!  Ever since Sedona, I have tried to keep things really simple.  And, letting go of certain pressures made me feel so much lighter.  Right after I realized that I had a little bit of pep back in my step, I also got the memo that I made Powerbar's Team Elite.  I am so excited and honored to be part of such an extraordinary group of athletes.

I think I have a few more weeks to go before I am comfortable enough in myself to sign up for some races. I have been noticing some signs of aging, which is an adjustment.  My warm ups, for example, keep getting longer.  My recoveries are getting longer, too.  I seem to also need more sleep.

Things that used to be easy, like pushing the stroller, also are not easy at all anymore. Although that is probably less about me and more about my kids.  My now really big kids:
 The other day, we ran to Costco to pick up a snack for Hayden’s preschool.   On the way there, our pace was pretty quick because it was all downhill with a tail wind.

We ended up getting a bag of veggie chips, on sale for $3 (Hayden wanted Goldfish crackers but the veggie chips were practically free!!)  Neither kid was willing to hold anything because it would infringe on their ability to eat samples, so we were limited what we could fit into our cart.

I narrowed it down to a few select items, including a massive bag of mandarin oranges to pair with the veggie chips.  Because we all know veggie chips are not really vegetables, and I wanted to please all the preschool mommies with contributing a healthy snack.

My kids weigh roughly about 39 and 41 pounds.  But, add in every single costco sample x 2, and  they weigh more like 42 and 44 pounds.  And then add in 10 pounds of oranges and we are over the BOB 100-pound weight limit.

So, what happens when you exceed the weight limit?

First, it is really heavy.  Especially when you are running uphill and in a headwind.
Second, the stroller makes a lot of creaky and uncomfortable sounds.
Third, all the tires slowly deflate.

About half way home, Hayden asked me, "Mom, Why are we going so slow?”  That is when I noticed he was letting his feet drag on the ground.  But, we eventually made it home and Hayden brought in his snack.

Fast forward to Valentines day - the preschool teacher handed out adorable heart-shaped valentines that read, "orange you glad we are friends?" 
and inside was taped a familiar mandarin orange. 
So - I am thinking our my hard work was in vein. 
Next time, we will just stick with the very light veggie sticks.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Weekend Away

Lately I have been feeling stressed out and strung out, even more so than my usual self (because despite my desire to be chilled and relax, it's simply not my character).  There is not one thing to blame, but rather an amalgamation of many things, coupled with my failure to step back and breathe.

We were doing Dancer's Pose, my favorite pose, in hot yoga class a few weeks ago and I kept falling out.  It was the strangest thing because normally I can sleep in this pose.  But, even as the rest of the class was ready to move on, I planted both feet on the floor, closed my eyes, took a second to re-center, and when I opened my eyes, I had my balance back.

I've been feeling like I've lost my balance in life so I attempted a similar approach and started taking moments to close my eyes.  But, it only takes a few seconds of standing/sitting with my eyes shut before I start hearing stuff like:
"Mom, I am going potty!"
"I am done now!"
"I said....I am done now!"
"Mom, can you come wipe my butt??"
"Hayden! I can help you wipe your butt!"
"Mom, Brenna is touching my butt!"

So I took a more exaggerated approach and went to Sedona.
And, here I am, typing in our hotel room.  And I promise that I am using this desk:

And not this table, conveniently located in the bathroom.  Although as someone who works from home and ardent about efficiency, I think this table is borderline brilliant.

One would assume that having lived in Arizona my entire life, I would have already been to Sedona.  But this was actually a first time for me.  I accepted the idea when my husband suggested it, but I would have accepted to escape anywhere -- even in a hotel down the street.  However, I enjoyed Sedona more than I expected, and it was the perfect weekend reprieve.

When we arrived into town, we could not find our intended hiking trail, but I convinced David that we did not need a trail.  So, we found parking off the side of the road and descended down some rock.

David was weary of hiking without a trail and it turns out he was right, because after 10 minutes of hiking down and over rock, we were stuck at a creek with no crossing and plenty of little scratches and scrapes to show for it.

So we did what naturally any couple would do it that situation.

We made-out and took selfies.

We also went wine tasting, ate brownie ice cream sundaes, and of course I went running.

Running has always been my go-to version of "closing my eyes."  Lately, it has been causing more stress than relieving stress, though.  Part of this is because I have not done speed work in....oh.....6 months?   It's a tad hard to see myself not running nor feeling like my former self.  But I know that if you don't use it, you lose it, and that it just does not magically come back.  So being hard on myself does not help, and, if anything, it is ruining the one thing in my life that makes my world a happy place - no matter what.

When I stepped outside my hotel room in Sedona, I tried to also step outside the fact that I wish I was running faster. I found myself seeking out the steepest hills, and running on roads named, "Ridge" and "High View" and "Cloud High."  It has been many months since a double-digit run for me and I was hoping to see that "10" on my Garmin when I returned to my hotel at my allocated time....but alas, all the vertical running slowed me down even more, and I was only at 9.87.  

But I ran up mountains and saw gorgeous views that were normally reserved for folks like George Cloony (he has a house there, don't think I wasn't searching out of the corner of my eye!)  I felt free.  I felt like me.
And that is why I run.

One wonderful weekend did not return me completely recovered, rejuvenated, and ready to battle the world.  But, I do feel refreshed, re-centered and ready to battle Monday.

I think I have my balance back.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Maybe getting Motivated?

The first few weeks of 2014 have been very good weeks, but also very busy, leaving me very overwhelmed.  I had brief thoughts about abandoning my blog, which is unlike me because I have kept a written account of my life starting at age 5.

Growing up, our household "tooth fairy" was an enchanting oddball.  Instead of leaving dollar bills under my pillow, she left me presents.  I only remember two, specifically. Once there was a silver dollar and beaded bracelet.  And once there was a white diary, with a big pink rainbow heart on the cover, and pink lined paged protected by a combination lock.  I wrote in my diary almost daily, filling the pages with barely intelligible scribble about Kindergarten drama.  And now, I have an entire plastic crate in my closet of journals sitting in my office closet, recounting every heartache, strife and hormonal spike of my adolescence.

I really thought by 2014 that I would be motivated to race.  I even signed up for a 10 mile trail race.  The race happened two weeks ago.  Or was it three weeks ago?  Regardless, race day seemed to appear out of nowhere.  Months of being sick left me unprepared.  Even considering trying to race 10 miles was laughable, yet I considered it anyway.

I wisely decided to drop down to the 9K (which was roughly 6 miles).  I told myself I would just "run for fun" but when the race started, I saw kids at the front of the start.  Knowing that this trail would get narrow, I did not want to get stuck behind kids, so I too, started in front.

This made me the leading female, which always stresses me out.   At first, I was worried that I started too fast, but after about 10 minutes, the trail started to get technical and the constant uphills and downhills took my mind away from the race.  I was trail running - I was loving it.

I did end up winning the race, and ended up only three seconds away from a course record.  I could have easily ran three seconds faster - at least that leaves me with a goal for next year.  It also leaves me with my first trophy of this year, and perhaps the most unique trophy that Aravapai has given me yet:
But the last few weeks have been a reminder that I cannot do it all.  Between all my commitments, I have not had ample energy to focus on anything extra.  I  have yet to do any speedwork or any double-digit runs, nonetheless bike or swim.

Until yesterday, I rolled out of bed at 6am and had this weird idea to go to the pool.  It was around 45 degrees outside, yet the swimming pool was packed.  I placed myself in front of the last available lane.  I sat down next to my bag and took out my Zoomers, swim cap and goggles.  I turned on my Garmin.  I started to unzip my husband's fleece hoodie that covered my bikini.  The cold air on my bare belly promptly brought me to a very awake, and very alert state.

I looked at the people swimming laps to my right, and then I looked at all the people swimming laps to my left, and then I looked at my own empty lane in front of me. 
 "Oh, Crap!!" I said.  
And yes, I said it out loud.
Only then, at that moment, did I really realize what I was doing.  And now there I was, goggles in hand, at the pool.

But the thing is, even though I made that choice half asleep, I still made a choice to go swimming.   I could have went running. Or back to bed.  But I went to the pool.  That is a hopeful sign of emerging motivation.  And, a good enough reason for a  blog entry.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Coeur Sports and Tri Scottsdale

It is the first blog post of the year - Happy new year!

The last few months of 2013 were rather rough.  It started with a relentless cold, that turned into a sinus infection, that turned into bronchitis.  It was immediately followed by a wicked, never-ending, antibiotic-resistant virus, and finally one more sinus infection.

This was probably the first "off" season that I really took off.  Towards the end of December, I started finally feeling like myself again.  We visited some family in Chicago and for the first time, in a long time, I was able to breathe during a run.  I was so happy to have my lungs back that I didn't even care that I was inhaling 7-degree air.  In fact, after avoiding it for my entire adult life, I realized that I loved the snow.  OK...I love it for a short visit.  But, if I could run in snow, it means I can run in anything and be a runner anywhere.  Figuring that out, as a I frolicked down the sugary white street, was very liberating.  I felt free.  I felt like a kid again. 

As for my kids, they were not as thrilled or as awed by the experience.  They liked the snow for the first minute they saw it - but that ended with a blood-curdling scream the second they touched it.  

We are back in the desert now and running is slowly returning to me. 
I feel sluggish and stiff.
I am still mustering up the will power to get back into the pool.  I question how I ever convinced myself to swim all winter last year.

But, I am sure I will figure it out again and I am excited about 2014.
My goal is to travel, do races in other states, and step outside of my comfort zone.

At the very least, I will be able to do it style because I am now a proud ambassador for Coeur Sports!  Aside from the cute clothing, Coeur is a company that gives back.  A percentage of their profits goes to charity and I love being part of something that is bigger than myself.  The other girls have fantastic attitudes and their excitement has made me excited.

I am also part of the TriScottsdale Elite Racing team this year.  It will be fun to meet new people, get to know familiar faces a little better, and push myself a little harder.

I am hoping for a PR in 2014, at this point I will settle for one in ANY event - but regardless, it's going to be a fun and stylish year!

Monday, December 2, 2013

Toddlers, Teenagers, Turkey Trots

One of my favorite things about Thanksgiving is the token Turkey Trot.   Which, of course, does not surprise anyone since running is favorite thing to do upon waking up.  I also signed Brenna up for the "tot trot" - a short 35 meter dash for kids under seven years old.   She was excited and enthusiastic about it, especially since she had new running shoes.

In fact, both kids have new running shoes.

So it's just about transitioning from the stroller to the sidewalk.

Because yes,  we still do sometimes use the stroller, but it's not just as simple as it used to be.  For example, a simple jog to Walgreens to pick up a prescription easily turns into a shopping spree.

The day before Thanksgiving, I took the kids to the packet pickup.  Hayden surprised me by announcing that he also wanted to race.   "Are you sure?" I asked him, because the race had an $8 price  tag.   He assured me, and even though I was skeptical, I believed him.

Race day was hectic and the tot trot was crowded.  The kids were understandably intimidated.

Brenna was a trooper and nervously stood at the start line.
Hayden, on the other hand, refused to leave my side.
 The start gun went off and the tot trot turned into the tot stampede...there were kids running everywhere.  My kids ran too - or maybe Hayden moreso got dragged - and less than 60 seconds later, it was all over.  The finish was a sea of lost kids, standing and screaming for their parents.  Once nice thing about having kids attached to your hip is you cannot lose them, even if you tried.

The adult race was much more organized.  The 10K started first and the 5K started five minutes later.   Of
course I chose the 5K!

The race started off fast but I stayed in my comfortable zone.  Within the first mile, I passed most of the girls in front of me.  I knew there was one more girl up ahead, but she remained out of my sight for most of the race.  The course quickly became crowded as we merged with the slower 10K runners.   It is much easier to just go around people on the left instead of weaving through the crowd, however, it's not very strategic because it is a longer route.  I chose that option anyway.

My longer route was 3.19 miles but I didn't care.  Until I saw the finish, looked down at my watch, and realized I was not going to break 20 minutes unless I started to sprint.  So, I smiled one last time and managed to cross the finish line at 19:56.

I recently turned 32 and I guess maybe I acquired some patience with my older age because for the first time ever, my mile splits go from slowest to fastest.
Mile 1 - 6:20
Mile 2 - 6:15
Mile 3 - 6:10

I knew that there was one girl very much ahead of me who after the first corner, never re-entered my sight line.  So I was surprised to learn at the rewards that I finished third place, not second.  Who was the other girl?

The other girl turned out to be so much faster than me that she never was in my sight to begin with!  And not only was this girl many minutes faster than me - she was only 13 years old.

But anyway, I got a small check and a pie.  The pie was strawberry.

On a similar note,
I am doing an inaugural, all-women trail race series.
The first race was a 5K on a hilly trail and an easy win.
The second race, a 6K, was on Saturday.  
There were some new, fast looking faces at the race.  But the only one that made me nervous was a short, thin girl lined up directly on the start line.  She was 13 years old.

Again, the race started off fast, but again, I know better so I allowed the young girl to take the lead.  I knew my best bet was not to run fast, but to run smart.  Unlike at the turkey  trot, I selective about my route...keeping the distance as short as possible, while attempting to avoid puddles of wet mud. 

A little past Mile 2, I was able to take the lead and pick it up for Mile 3.  This race was 3.75 miles and during the last half mile, I got tired.  I carefully glanced over my shoulder and saw emptiness.  I sighed with relief and slowed down.  But a few minutes later, I glanced again and there she was - moments behind me.

So once again, I realized that I had to frantically sprint to the finish.
This time, I barely beat the kid.  These kids are going to be super stars one day.

I wonder if it all started with a toddler trot?