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

Sunday, May 27, 2012

5K Summer Series, #1

No, you are not having deja vu.

Eh, another 5K.  But there, done that...especially lately.   However, this summer-series is a yearly tradition that I am not willing to give up.

I know - it's not exactly in-line with my base building efforts, but I did a 3.5 warm-up before the race and 5 miles with my kids after the race to make 11.5 miles.  These days, that is a "long" run.

I felt slightly nostalgic that this was not a triathlon, and slightly annoyed that I was stuck with the onus of warming up.   I always did a slow 10 minute jog before my triathlons, but the swim is the perfect warm up for the bike, which is the perfect warm up for the run.  The burden of a 5K is that the warm up takes longer than the race itself.

I arrived at the race early, per tradition.  I began my warm up and I immediately thought, "Ugh, I cannot run fast today."  I had to remind myself repeatedly that I always feel like this at the start of a run if I am not coming off the bike.  This is normal.

I stuck to the trails and ran up a little hill that overlooked the race.
About 20  minutes into the warm-up, I began to feel...well, warmed up!  10 minutes of waiting in line to use the restroom, and a few strides later, I was ready to roll.

This race has a reverse-wave, meaning that they start the slower people first (kids and older age groups).  My wave, women 30-34, started in the middle.  They changed the course so that they beginning was hillier, and also went onto a sidewalk.  On one hand, this was challenging because it was difficult to pass people on the narrow sidewalk.  On the other hand, it helped me keep my first mile at a reasonable pace (6:06).  The second mile was entirely flat, but on a dirt.  My race shoes slip back on dirt so it's not my favorite racing terrain.  Mile 2 clocked in at 6:03.   Mile 3 was on a sidewalk but also included the hills that were at the beginning. I also started to notice the wind that had been the entire time (but also keeping the temperature cooler).  Even though Mile 3 is usually painful, its the last one so you just need to hang in there as much as you can.  I managed a 6:10.
And then, like virtually every 5K, the sprint to the finish was not .11, but .16.  I had enough gusto for a strong finish.

Final time (according to Garmin) = 19:16
Average pace = 6:06

They had a fluke with their timing mats that made every one's time 15 longer - not an issue except 15 seconds in a 5K is a lot of work!

This was my first summer racing in my new age group (30+).  I was interested to scope out my competition for the summer.  But despite this being a large race (1200 runners), a lot of the faster regulars were missing.  I guess more important things are going on!
So I won the race although it feels like I won my default. I can think of 5 people that I run with regularly that could beat me.  Nonetheless, its my largest overall win - 100 people in my age group alone:

Like last year, my husband dropped off my kids at the end so he could emerge himself in CFA studies.  And, like last year, my kids were enamored by the shiny medal.

Brenna wore the medal for the rest of the morning - which is not surprising.  The women in my family like gold...my Grandma prefers it surrounded my gaudy diamonds and I prefer laced on a ribbon but we all agree that silver is just not the same.


Sunday, May 20, 2012

Base Building

The twins are becoming best friends.
Sometimes when I am in the kitchen making dinner, it will become eerily quiet and I will find them cuddling together on the couch.

When we do arts and crafts, they always help finish each others.

It certainly warms a mother's heart............................................................until the screaming starts.

I have a younger brother close in age so I understand the dynamic behind their relationship.  Even now that I am 30 years old, if I know something will annoy my brother, there is a 90% chance that I will do it (and a 10% chance that I will want to do it but forget).

Sometimes I cannot even bring myself to scold Brenna because if this was my brother, my foot would be glued inside that shoe as well.





Don't get me wrong, I do feel sorry for him when he is in his room, lining up his cars by color and she decides to come in and move them.  I really do!
But nothing in life is ever 100% rainbows and roses.  And that is why we ensure that we have a nice strong, solid base to support us.  As long as they are friends most of the time, then it is only to be expected that there will also be times that they fight and cry and get mad at each other.

For a runner, the summer in Arizona is always about base building.
It is too hot to run too fast so you might as well run long, right?

Although it has only be 6-weeks of forgoing my long workouts, it feels much longer.  Keeping true to my long-term goals, I am committed to spending this summer on specializing in pacing.

Today was my first long run of 11 miles.  Instead of going fast with the banditos for the first half, I went easy pace (8ish min/mile pace) with friends.  Then at the turnaround, I attempted to keep up with the banditos (7ish min/mile pace).

Yesterday was my first long bike of 50 miles.  I did not intend to do 50 miles but that is another story.
We had a Ride of Honor where multiple groups started off from multiple locations and we all met in the capitol to have a cycling rally in response to the many car/cyclist accidents that have occurred on our streets lately.

It is very hard to video tape while riding your bike.  And probably not safe.  Don't try this at home!


Monday, May 14, 2012

Tempe International Triathlon Race Report

This race holds a special place in my heart because it was my first triathlon EVER.
The year was 2006 and I was 24 years old.


I rode my mother's mountain bike.










We all have to start somewhere, right?

I took a hiatus pretty early on after my claim to triathlonism:
- 2007 I trained for the Portland marathon
- 2008 I had a stress fracture in my foot and got pregnant
- 2009 I was pregnant and had kids
- 2010 I had young babies

It really is amazing how quickly time passes us.
And I was looking forward to beating my impish and impetuous former little self.

Here are the numbers:

Swim:  2006 - 9:49
            2012 - 9:26
Um....really?  I am only 23 seconds faster than my first open-water swim ever??  This makes me believe the swim course was long.   That would explain why I was so tired.
I kept thinking, Damn, this is a long 400 meters!
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T1:  2006 - 2:02
       2012 - 1:08
This is my best bike-to-run transition ever.  Still slow, but incredibly smooth.  
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Bike:  2006 - 41:11 (18.1mph)
          2012 - 33:49 (22.1mph)
I have to say, I am sorta impressed that I managed to do 18mph on a mountain bike - I am not sure I could do that today.  I am satisfied with my bike pace, but I loathe this course - too many u-turns!
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T2:  2006 - 1:41
       2012 - 1:03 
Another PR in the transition area - still about 10 seconds too slow.



Run:  2006 - 23:57
         2012 - 20:26
I am going to say the run course was long as well.
I came off the bike and began running.  Almost immediately, there was a woman at my side.  We ran alongside each other for a few minutes - the pace was fast.  Since I didn't race the race last weekend, I decided I push it so I picked up the pace.  Once you make a move like this, it becomes a commitment.  My goal for the run was to stay ahead of her...which I did.  I am positive I was running faster than a 6:30 pace.

Someone told me their Garmin measured the course at 3.24, which would make my time more reasonable.

Even though I did beat that (very nice) woman on the run, she started a wave behind me she beat me overall - and rightfully so!

End Result:  2006 - 1:18:36, 31st woman
                   2012 - 1:05:58, 2nd woman 
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I do think its fun to look back but now I am stuck looking forward and I ask myself, Now what?
As much as it bores me, I think I need to re-build my base.
And maybe work on swimming. Maybe.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Selfishness, Selflessness and Swimming

I witnessed a conversation yesterday where someone commented that runners were selfish.  Without delving into too much back story, here is the gist of the situation:
   - woman has small kids
   - husband discovers running
   - husband feels entitled to run as much as he desires and is gone from his family numerous nights per week and on weekends.

Most of my friends are runners so obviously I do not agree with the blanket statement, "runners are selfish."   But, I understand the sentiment.

Running is a selfish sport.
Although perhaps on a micro-level other people benefit (i.e, it puts me in a better mood so I am more enjoyable to be around), ultimately running is only about one person: me.

I think it's okay to have a selfish hobby.
I think most hobbies are selfish.
I think we are worth doing things that bring us pleasure and fulfillment.  But the question is - at what expense?

Although I was not really part of this conversation, it is essentially what this entire blog is about:  balancing a selfish hobby with one of the most selfless things in life - motherhood.

Clearly I believe, and hopefully demonstrate, that it can be done.

But, I think the selfishness comes with entitlement.
You know how they say it takes an entire village to raise a child?
It also takes an entire village to create an athlete.
As grateful as I am to have running in my life, it would mean nothing if I did not have my behind-the-scene team.  These people would move mountains so that I could run.

I have given them a shout out before, but it's nearly a year later so I think it's time to do it again.

There is my husband who pumps up my bike tires for me every night before a ride.  I know, I know...he has dreamy eyes.
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There is my mom, who watches them when I race.  We also refer to her as "G-Ma".
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There is my dad, who is the best cheerleader/photographer.  And he is always coming over so that I can run, or bike.  Oh yeah, or work...I do that, too.
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And of course there are my kids.  I couldn't be who I am without them.
They are always willing to sit the jogging stroller...especially if there are cheerios.
They don't mind it if I am all sweaty when I give them a hug.
And they go to the gym-daycare so that I can swim. We went for my one "pre-triathlon" token swim today - as expected, the kids were delighted.
And even more so when we ate at the cafe afterwards.
I know some toddlers are picky eaters, but mine will always eat the $4 special. Today they gobbled up pesto!
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Once again, they showed-off their classy and refined etiquette by using forks:
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Regality is just a bite away - we just need to work on keeping our mouth closed.
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Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Running Errands, Part 2

You know what they say:  When you have a good idea, run with it!
We decided to do that literally, since we had so much success the first time.



We've been running all over - the BOB has a lot of storage space so short of large screen televisions, we have few limitations.

 There have been a few times I wanted to dash to the grocery store, but I am unsure how frozen items would hold up during the ride back.




As mentioned earlier, Brenna has ambitiously taken over the task of putting her shoes on her feet.  To quell her of any frustrations, I have been making sure there are plenty sandals available.  A few weeks ago, Target had a sale on sandals for just $6.  I asked Brenna which pair she wanted...there was a variety of pink sandals, sparkly sandals, pink AND sparkly sandals on sale - but she turned her nose up at all of them.

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She ended up picking out a pair that were $15.  But, I was okay with it because I am desperate to get her to stop wearing her brother's shoes.   I was taught to buy a size too big since kid's feet grow so fast...but unfortunately, I bought them two sizes too big.

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Of course Brenna was not happy with this situation.......................................


But, like all good moms, I have a stash of emergency shoes.  You just never know when you will need a new pair of new shoes immediately.

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These were also too big, but just the right amount of too big.  She has been wearing them almost every day.




Last week, we ran to Anna's Linens and Things.  David and I finally figured out that if we have more sets of bed sheets, we can do laundry less.  That is one thing about having young kids - you have a perpetual amount of laundry.  There is never a single moment in the day when you don't need to do laundry, except for those moments when you've spent all day laundering and you look in horror at the mountain of clothing, towels, sheets and mismatched socks that need to be put away.
Sometimes I pretend that I don't see the mountain of clothing (despite tripping over it numerous times a day) but ultimately that fails because a few days later, it's always still there.

Anyway, we got new sheets - they are gray.
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We also have ran to Walgreens a few times.
Walgreens is one of my dirty pleasures, I can always find a reason that I need to go to Walgreens.
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The kids are rather ambivalent about it.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Rio Salado Triathlon Race Report

If you are thinking, Wow, another race?  Maybe it's too soon?
You are not alone - I was thinking that, too.

The recovery from the duathlon, as previously mentioned, was quite rough.  Even though it left me exhausted, I had trouble sleeping for days afterwards.  I felt like a zombie... not one of those freakishly fast moving zombies that are in all the newer zombie movies....but one of those old-school, really slow and stupid zombies.

Last weekend, I left for the duathlon quite stressed over normal work/life situations.  I let this happen too often - despite my desire to be chill and laid back, in my natural form, I am high-strung and easily stressed.  Nothing good ever comes from that - and although I know my duathlon fail was the result of numerous factors (poor hydration, crazy fast start, etc) - I do think that my flustered, frantic mind played a role.

After numerous nights of insufficient sleep, it was clear that I needed to do some compartmentalization in order to dig out my inner layer of "zen."   So for the last few days, I have been stopping and breathing at any sign of frustration or irritation.  I even didn't reply to an email until the next day.

I felt pretty good by this weekend, and even in the mood to race.  But, I'm using the word "race" loosely - my plan was to have a solid, smooth effort - not so much to compete.

The race didn't start out smoothly at all since I noticed a leak in my goggles as soon as I jumped in the lake.  There was not much I could do about it aside from stopping every so often to empty and adjust them.  Each time I stopped, I choked on the choppy water.  It was not fun but swimming is never fun for me.

My Stop -Fix goggles -Sprint method of swimming was exhausting and the lake water made my eyes sting.  But, it only lasted 15 minutes and 15 seconds...and once I was of the water, I put it out of mind.

At our last race, our friend Jen put her helmet on backwards.
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We (lovingly) laughed at her - after all, there are only a few people who would do that.

And, um...turns out, I am also one of those few people.
I always set my transition layout at the front tire, and then rest my helmet on my handlebars.  For some reason, I put my layout at my bike tire this time.  So when I put my helmet on, it was backwards.
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They don't let you race with your helmet backwards, FYI.

No big deal, I stopped and corrected it.  The rest of the ride was great...there was a wind so I didn't look at my pace.  Since headwinds slow you down and tailwinds speed you up, your pace at any given point is irrelevant.
I focused on drinking my electrolytes and keeping my cadence high.
Aside from dismounting too early, looking around confused, and finally realizing no one else was getting off their bike and that I needed to get back on - the bike was great.  When that happened, I could only laugh at myself.

After I dismounted at the correct place, I returned my bike and put on my left running shoe with ease.  It took two tries to get the right shoe on.

My stomach was full of lake water so I didn't feel great on the run - but I felt decent.  I picked a sustainable pace right on the edge of my comfort zone.  I didn't look at my Garmin to see the actual numbers...I knew it wasn't sub-6 or anything crazy.  At Mile 2 I am told that I am the 4th woman.  Well, that is pretty cool.

I pick off one lady in front of me - and I catch another.  I pass her but she passed me back.  I stay right behind her which basically allowed me to continue pace.
I knew I could pass her - but it would push me out of my comfort zone.
I just wasn't in the mood for pain.

She finished in second place and I finished 3 seconds later to take third.
My 5K time was 19:13 - which is totally okay with me!

I got a special wine bottle (filled with wine) and a $50 gift card for my efforts
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plus a reminder to me that I cannot take myself too seriously. When I start doing that,  I stress and my success suffers.   I always have to remember Why I Run.

Sprint tri 2 weeks ago   VS    this race
swim: 15:18                           15:15                  - 3 seconds
t1:      2:52                             1:37                   - 1 min, 15 seconds
bike:   36:38 min (20.5)          34:19 (21.5)       - 2 min (but last week the course was long)
t2:      1:39                             1:24                    -15 seconds
run:     19:07                          19:13                   + 5 seconds
time:    1:15:18                       1:11:49

I didn't actually improve - I just managed to get my bike shoe on.
My friend, a professional, suggested that I come to their weekly practice...it's sometimes a track workout, sometimes a swim workout and sometimes they do mock transitions.  They do the fancy stuff where they keep their shoes on their bike.  And while I will hold on to the coach's card in consideration, even just the mere thought of me ever getting my shoes on my feet while they are attached to my bike, makes me chuckle.
I am so light-years away from that.
I still need to figure out how to put on my helmet.






Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Moving Onward


Recovery from my epic fail has been rough.
Not so much mentally - that was surprisingly easy.  I guess I still ask myself, What the hell were you thinking going out so fast??  But it really didn't feel  that fast in the moment.

Ahhh, living in the moment...it has brought me some of my fondest memories, yet it never fails to leave me its mark on me the next day.  This was no different - I woke up on Sunday morning with a feeling that was eerily reminiscent of my Sunday mornings in college.  Lets just say that I lived in the moment quite often.

I think my brain is back to its state of functioning - although since having kids, "functioning" really isn't saying much.  My house is riddled with sticky notes, my phone is set with reminders and yet I still cannot remember anything.  But I am not sure I can blame the kids for that - maybe I should be blaming all those living in the moments moments.

Luckily for my brain, there is no time for spontaneous living anymore since I am too busy hanging out with these two:
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You know, doing yoga with Brenna...Photobucket

and playing dressup with Hayden....
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Our big adventure this week was eating hotdogs at Costco:
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Yup, it is a very exciting life - we even put relish on that hot dog.  We may not live in the moment but we certainly enjoy them.

And please take note that my kids are eating a hot dog with a FORK.
We are all about fine dining.