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

Friday, September 30, 2011

It's that time of year again!

Well, at least in the mornings.

Scottsdale, Arizona

Yes, its the park.
Yes, this means its time for pictures of the kids in swings.
Like here and here and here.
Not that I necassarily want to fill this blog with redundant pictures, but when you are one mom, dealing with two kids, the sweet confinement of swings is a blessing.

Because when they are not confined, they are climbing.
Scottsdale, Arizona

But never the same structure, of course:
Scottsdale, Arizona

A summer growth spurt has left them with new, longer and stronger limbs. So now they can climb everything. Which creates yet another problem: Just because you can climb up, does not mean that you can climb down!
Scottsdale, Arizona

So yes...we like the swings.

And we like fall. We were getting desperate towards the end of summer...sometimes we would go to Albertsons just to walk around!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Nathan's Triathlon Race Report (with lots of pictures)

This race had its ups and downs for me but overall I am pleased with my performance since it resulted in nearly a 12-minute PR.

My goal for this race was simply to do better than my last one.. This time, I focused more on swimming and I did brick workouts. I felt confident.

However, I also felt nervous.
1) The memory of my last run haunted me. Would I have another bad run?
2) No wetsuits.

Triathlons prohibit wetsuits if the water is over 78-degrees. The morning of the race, the water was 81-degrees. For those of us who cannot swim, the wetsuit is wonderful. It is like a massive floatation device, that allows you to glide across the water with little effort.

Knowing that I dont naturally float, I knew from the start that I was at disadvantage. You cannot tell in the picture, but I was so nervous I was trembling:

In large triathlons, they start you in waves.
-First the professionals will start.
-Then the Sprint triathlon will start.
-Then the young men will start.
-Then the "old" men will start.
-Then, finally, I start.

They separate each wave with 5 minutes. During this 5 minutes you wait in the water. With a wetsuit, this is no big deal because you float. Without a wetsuit, this is 5 minutes of treading water. I guess we can refer to that as a warm-up?

Usually the swim course is a rectangle. This swim course was a weird shape, which made spotting hard. However, I felt in my groove after I reached the first bouy.

The water was choppy and I swallowed a lot.
In case you dont know, this particular lake is very gross.
I was very relieved when I finally got out of the water - the hard part was over!

My swim time at the last race - 27:27.
The swim time at this race - 29:47.

I knew it would be slower without a wetsuit.
However I also heard the course was about 400 meters too long. That makes my swim time not so bad.

Coming out of the water, I was in 25th place.

I did not know that.
I dont wear a watch so I had no idea how good or bad I swam.

But there was no time to think about it - I rushed to my bike.

Transition time at my last race - 2:30
Transition time at this race - 1:48

Better, but still slow.

My bike went exceptionally well.
Once again, I did not have a watch, but I did have a computer telling me my pace. I stayed in a middle gear, high cadence. It felt effortless! I spent the majority of time passing people.
"On your left! Have a nice day!" I repeated over and over again.

Bike time at my last race - 1:14:22 (20.1 mph)
Bike time at this race - 1:08:12 (22 mph)

It was the 8th fastest female bike time, and I am now in 16th place.

I get ready for my run and I can already tell that it was going to not be my best. Remember all that lake water that I drank? Yeah, it doesnt feel very good sitting in my stomach.

Transition time at my last race - 1:28
Transition time at this race - 1:41
I suck at these!!

I grab my Garmin. Now I am in my element.

I figured if it was a standalone 10k, I would shoot for sub-7 minute miles. So it seemed reasonable to expect 7-7:10 minute miles for this race.

Mile 1 felt OK. 7:06.
Mile 2 felt less OK. 7:15.
Mile 3 did not feel good. Nor did mile 4 or 5 or 6.

My stomach felt bloated, crampy and gassy.
My fear came true: It hurts just like it hurt last time.

It didnt help that the temperature at this point was over 90-degrees.

JUST KEEP RUNNING, I told myself.
I kept an eye on my Garmin to ensure that my pace stayed below an 8-minute mile.
I couldnt help but think, How are you ever going to run a 7-pace during a half marathon if you cant run an 8-pace during a 10k?

Finally I reach a small hill. I knew that after this hill, it was less than a mile to the finish. For the first time, I walked. For the first time, people passed me. But I needed to walk and compose myself.

After the hill, I continued to run.
I ran passed everyone who passed me.
I ran to the finish.

Oh sweet finish.

Run time at my last race - 54:49
Run time at this race - 47:21.
Maybe it was the heat but I think lots of people struggled because it was the 9th fastest run time.

Last triathlon final results: 2:40, 28th place, 6th AG
This triathlon final results: 2:28:52, 9th place, 3rd AG

I like my time.
And I also like that between the swimming and transitions and running - there is a lot of realistic room for improvement.

That will temporarily be placed on hold while I focus on my half marathon.

Unfortunately, this race has made me second-guess myself as a runner. But running is not what I do, it's who I am, and I am sure in a few days I will remember that.

As usual, I had my reliable fan base. Including:

As adorable as they are, I did ditch them after the race for a late breakfast with my dear friends:

And maybe breakfast included this:
And yes, that is gummy flavored vodka.
IT TASTES JUST LIKE CANDY. Isn't life great?

Sunday, September 18, 2011

6 weeks to go, 1 week left

Training for this week:

Monday: 8 miles w/ 1 mile x 3 (6:24, 6:19, 6:25), 3 min RI + 2200 yard swim

Tuesday: 24 mile bike ride (19.4mph) bricked with 3.5 miles with the jogging stroller. We visited the cow. The cow is an oddly placed animal just a half a mile away. I say "oddly placed" because we dont live in a neighborhood conducive to live stock. However, once I accidentally ran down a dead-end street to find this uniquely hidden gem in the city:
Phoenix, Arizona
Phoenix, Arizona

Wednesday: 8.25 miles w/ 4 miles at tempo pace (7:03)+ 2300 yrd swim

Thursday: 20 minutes on trainer, followed by 20 miles outside, bricked with 3 miles. This would have been a fine workout except for I fell off my bike. I was going pretty fast (between 19-20mph) but yes, I am fine. I was able to lay my bike on the side, and walked away with just some sore hips.

Friday: 55 minute trail run (forgot to charge Garmin) + 2200 meter swim

Saturday: 12.3 mile easy run. I say "easy" loosely because my pace was 7:54. I wanted to run a little slower but there was no slowing my running partners down!

Sunday: Rest day. It was supposed to be a 37 mile bike ride with my girls, but I think yesterday's run was pushing it and that I should relax instead because I am officially IN TAPER MODE!!!!!!

My taper schedule looks roughly like this:
Monday: 25-30 mile easy bike ride
Tuesday: Mr.Coach's speedwork
Wedneday: Rest day
Thursday: Easy spin class
Friday: Easy swim
Saturday: Rest day
Sunday: Race!

I also will get a massage, some ART, and take a few naps.

And, just maybe, we will take a walk to visit the cow.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

8 weeks to go, 2 weeks left

Training for this week:

Monday - Double brick: 1500 yrd swim, 24 mile bike (19.4mph), 2.3 mile run

Tuesday - 7.5 miles w/ 800x5 (3:14, 3:09, 3:14x3) 2 min RI

Wed - Sick Day

Thursday - Rest Day

Friday - 6.3 mile trail run, 2400 meter swim

Saturday - 12 mile run (mile 8=6:56, mile 9=6:49, mile 10=6:57, w/ 1 minute RI)

Sunday - 35 mile bike ride with the girls (19mph) bricked with 2.1 miles. This was a lot of fun but it was windy. The only thing worse than cycling in a headwind is swimming.

I kid, I kid...swimming is not so bad.
I should have swam more this week - I think I say that every week.

The run on Saturday ended at the Rock and Roll marathon kick off party. I dont plan to run the marathon but I participated in the party anyway.

There were free massages!
And free food!
And free champagne!
And a SLIP AND SLIDE!!!!!!!!!!!!! But yeah, apparently I need to work on my sliding skills:

Shelly and I also both won the raffle. She got a shirt. I got a visor.

Now I think all my long runs should end with champagne and a slip and slide. I need to figure out a way to make this happen.

Friday, September 9, 2011

We Survived!

So this week my mother (aka "G-Ma-Garden") took a vacation.

No big deal, David and I can handle the kids are own for a week. We shuffled our work schedules to make it happen.

Then David got invited on an impromptu business trip. No big deal, I am a big girl - I can handle the kids by myself for two days.

And then I woke up on Day #1.


And not, ugh, my head hurts a little sick, but oh my goodness I need to lay down right this second in a tiny ball sick.

I had to make the kids' breakfasts doing intervals:
- Slice strawberries
Recover on couch
- Peel bananas
Recover on couch
- Halve grapes
Recover on couch

But as always, the kids and I are a functioning team and I think they sensed that I was a weak player so they stepped up their game. They played independently for most of the day while I camped out on the couch. They took breaks from their playing to eat cheerios and watch Nick Jr.

I think the important thing to note here is that they did fight. Or whine. Or throw books at my face.

My kids are awesome.

I woke up on Day #2 feeling much better.
A bit weak, but eager to shower and give the kids a day that they deserved.

So we went to this place called Imagination Avenue.
My mother takes them there frequently - except she calls it The Imaginarium. And it really makes no sense to re-name something if you are going to use the name number of syllabuls anyway.

This place is basically a large room, with a bunch of play areas:

I was under the impression that you had to wear socks.
This turned out not to be true, but that is irrelevant to the story.

I dress the kids and attempt to put on socks. They have been wearing their beloved sandles for months on end - they did not want to wear socks. They screamed when I put the socks on their feet.

Luckily, I have an odd habit of going to consignment stores, buying and hoarding shoes. So, I was able to bust out some new, cool sneakers for them to wear over their socks. They liked this.

However this turned out to be a problem once we got to Imagination Ave (or The Imaginarium) and we had to take off the shoes.

Hayden was adaptable, as usual.
Brenna was pissed.

Please, dont feel *too* sorry for her. She is at this awesome play place!

We start playing.

Hayden pretends to be school teacher:

And then he pretends to be a doctor:

Meanwhile, Brenna screamed:

Hayden then did some grocery shopping:

Played with a train:

And built stuff with blocks:


Eventually I collapsed on a bench because chasing Hayden around, while dragging my screaming Brenna, was exhausting.

In my absense, Brenna realized that I was no longer paying attention to her. She stopped screaming, toddled away and started to play.

Although it got off to a rough start, I label this outing a success!

Brenna's favorite part was probably the end because she got to put her shoes back on.

David has safetly returned from his business trip and my mother is returning in a few days. I cannot wait to get back to our normal schedule!

Sunday, September 4, 2011

9 weeks to go, 3 weeks left

I am the point in my training where my triathlon training and half marathon training officially overlap. This was my first week using my coach's plan - there are 9 weeks left until the race. At the same time, I am still pushing on the bike and on the swim for my triathlon - I have 3 weeks left to improve.

It is a tad overwhelming.

This week's training:

Monday - 6.5 miles (SS), 40 min swim
Tuesday - 21 mile bike ride @ 19.6mph bricked w/ 3 miles with the jogging stroller. + 1800 meter swim
Wednesday - 8 miles w/ 2 miles tempo x 2 (14:03/14:32), 1 mile RI. Coach said that tempo should be "half marathon effort" and that I should feel like I could do a third. It felt especially hot, by the time I was done, I was exhausted.
Thursday - 21 mile bike ride @ 18.6mph (I caught every red light! so frustrating) bricked with 2 miles
Friday - 3.5 mile trail run, 2400 meter swim
Saturday - 10.6 mile run w/ friends - 7:59 pace! The weather cooled to 83 degrees and felt fantastic. It's been awhile since I had a good run, so I needed this boost. This was actually one of the easiest workouts this week. My legs felt wonderful.
Friday - 46 mile bike ride w/ my women's cycling club, bricked with 1.2 miles. I did not feel great for the first 20 miles of this ride - it just felt very hard to peddle. I checked my brakes at every red light to make sure they were not rubbing. Turns out, the first 20 miles were up a gradual hill. Needless to say, I felt much better on the way back.

Sunday's workout was longer than intended, and took up most of the morning. I was worried that I would arrive home to especially cranky kids but it was exactly the opposite! They have been independent, little angels.

Yesterday we took them to the mall, where again, they were nothing short of perfect.

The mall has little toddler rides for $2 so we decided to put them in their first helicopter! At first, Hayden was intrigued:

But then it started to move. Not only did it go around, it went up and down.

After a few seconds of screaming, we moved them to a train so I could ride with him. This ride stayed flat.