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

Monday, July 30, 2012

Today is the Last Day.

Thanks to a brief storm last night, it was yet another very humid morning.  It didn't start off that bad, but by the end of the run my feet were sloshing in my shoes as if I ran through a large puddle.

But I didn't.  My socks were just drenched in sweat.

As if bathing in your own sweat is not gross enough, the wet air brings out all these little bugs that attach to you like flies to honey.

I know it's ugly picture.  But I always said this blog would include the good, the bad and the ugly.  Despite my disdain for even the daintiest bugs, at least I know it is coming.  Even when the rest of my world is rapidly changing, running has remained a calming constant in my life.

One big change is about to occur tomorrow:  the kids are going to turn three.
Considering my babies were the first babies that I ever held, it is probably not a surprise that my experience with small children is very limited, if even existent.  I have no idea what to expect.

It is rather intense to think about quickly they have transformed from babies to kids.

Today I have to grunt when I pick up Hayden's 40-pound body, but it was not that long ago that he lived in a carrier on my back so I could have Brenna in my arms.

Sometimes Hayden wants to go into that carrier but he now exceeds the weight limit so I cannot wear him.  So now, he has become this:

Today is the last day of our toddler years.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

He did it again!

It's been an entire year since this celebration, but last night we got to celebrate again!  CFA test results were posted a few days ago and David was one of the 42% of test takers to pass.  I knew he was going to pass so finding out officially was just a technicality.  

To celebrate, we went out for sushi!  We went to a small, dark, very crowded and loud restaurant and feasted on sushi rolls.  The kids and David had noodle dishes and I had a massive plate of sashimi.

We tried to get a family photo.
Getting a good photo of both kids is always a challenge, but I don't think the dark lighting did us any justice either.

The sushi was a great idea - 
until this morning.  It was 91 degrees at 5am and very humid.

Here is the thing about sweating:
Your body always wants to have equal amounts of salt and water.  If want to be able to run in the summer and not die of thirst, they key is to have a low-salt diet.  Less salt in your diet means you will need less water.
Unfortunately, sushi dripping in soy sauce, is quite salty.
And during my run, I was quite thirsty.

This may have been the most difficult run of the summer.  I managed 11.5 miles @ 7:47 so it wasn't horrible, it was just horribly uncomfortable.  When I got home, I had to hang my clothing up to dry - I probably could have squeezed enough water from them to fill the tub enough for a salt bath.  And mind you, I run in very little clothing. 

But this is just the beginning - August is when the true sweat-fest begins.

Monday, July 23, 2012

A Day of Firsts

We have been experiencing a lot of "firsts" lately...
we've had our first poop in the potty,
Brenna slept all night in her big girl bed,
I joined my first masters swim club,
Hayden put on his pants all by himself (although it was hard to walk with both legs through one hole....)

But the event I am going to write about is our first family outing at the zoo!
Yes, the kids have been to the zoo  before, but this was our first time tackling it as a family unit.

It may seem weird to visit the zoo in July, but we had a pass that was about to expire.
And, to lure people in during one of the hottest months of the year, the zoo hauled in a bunch of snow.

The word "snow" in Phoenix is such an anomaly that always draws a crowd.

I was stoked that the kids were going to see snow for the first time!  And even more stoked that I didn't have to drive them hours or fly them anywhere for it to happen.

But I have to say, to call this "snow" is quite a stretch.
At best, it was dirty ice.
The kids were not interested, to say the least.  
At best, they were indifferent.

I tried to get them out of the stroller to engage them.  Hayden flat out refused.
Brenna only appeased me under the condition that her precious feet did not have to touch the ground.

It's hard to tell in this picture but we are wearing our matching running skirts.                                                  This is not the first time we have worn them, but it is the first time she wanted to wear them. Usually, I have to beg. And then I get denied.

After the snow debacle, we decided to stay and see some animals.

The kids were very satisfied with the monkeys. The zoo has a little walk-in area that is overtaken by small monkeys. They literally come right by your head (David had to be reminded by a zoo-keeper to keep 3 feet of distance).

We also saw flamingos.  I found this to be noteworthy because I had never seen a flamingo before.

Even though it was 100-degrees, the snow was nasty, and we were dripping in sweat, the kids were the epitome of well-behaved toddlers.  If the heat did bother them, they sucked it up.

We belong in Arizona.
And without snow.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Mountain Man Sprint Triathlon Race Report

This was another sentimental race for me because it was my second triathlon, back in 2006.   I really didn't have much memory of the race - was it hilly?  was it cold?

All I could remember was the extreme dizziness that overwhelmed me when I got out of the water.   It was my first time wearing a wetsuit and I inherited a very nice one from a friend.  The problem was that this friend was only 5-feet tall.  I am 5'6.
So, I got out of the water and stumbled into the transition area.  I remember telling my husband, "Wow, I am dizzy!" as I tried to get out of my wetsuit.
There are a lot of pictures of me attempting to get the wetsuit off - I was quite stuck.  And, after I shared the photos with my friends, they were quick to tell me that not only was my wetsuit too small, but I also wore it backwards.

But to this day, I really think  that it only makes sense for the ZIPPER TO GO IN FRONT.  I mean, you have to zip yourself and unzip yourself, so logic would be to put the zipper in a location where it is easy to do so.

Anyway, that travesty of a transition added over 4 minutes to my time!  I figured this year I should have no problems in the transition area.  After all, my wetsuit was the right size.

David and I dropped the kids off with Grandma and began our recreation of our 2006 excursion.  It started off a bit stressful - we got lost and David had a falling out with our hotel clerk, but as we wandered around dowtown Flagstaff, holding hands, life felt very nice.  We stopped for drinks at the same place that we did in 2006.

And yes, I am drinking a pre-race martini.
Back in 2006, that was my version of carbo-loading.
And I wore the same shirt on purpose - I really don't dress like a 24 year old anymore.
Most of the time.

Even in my ripened age, I managed to wake up without a hangover.
It rained the night of the race but it was a beautiful morning.

I felt a little anxious because this was the first open-water swim NOT in Tempe Town Lake that I have done since '06.  I felt a little dizzy but comforted by the perfect fit of my wetsuit.

My was to draft off my friend Tracey because she is a fast swimmer.  But, I lost her toes during the first stroke.  So I focused on my swimming.  I tried breathing every 4th stroke and every 2nd stroke but found myself lured to every 3rd stroke.  This was my first time bi-lateral breathing in a race.   My goggles did not leak nor fog and my wetsuit kept me afloat.  I think it was one of my best swims!

Unfortunately, this was not indicated in my time - 15:32.
But it was better than 6 years ago when my swim time was 16:39.
I was the 10th woman out of the water.

As soon as I emerged, I was greeting with a familiar dizziness.
I ran to my bike and peeled off my wetsuit.  And then I tried to put on my bike shoes.  Leaning forward only made my dizziness worse and I fell over.  I grabbed the bike rack to break my fall, put on my helmet and ran out of the transition.
Transition time = 2:30!  I fell back to 14th place.
But, at least it was under 4 minutes this time.

Getting on my bike was just as hard as getting on my bike shoes.  I made numerous attempts before I successfully mounted.  This added about 30 seconds to my bike time. I was so dizzy!  Luckily, once I was moving, I felt much better.  It was a fun ride, with rolling hills, and lovely scenery.
Final bike time was 32 minutes -
much better than the 35 minutes, 46 seconds that it took 6 years ago.
I moved up to 8th place.

Transition 2 was just as bad as Transition 1.
I have plenty of reasons excuses but there is no justification for a 2:30 T2.
Even 6 years ago I did it faster than that.

My biggest issue was my shoe laces.  My hands were cold, I was dizzy once again, and I just could not get them tight.
"What are you doing??" my friend yelled to me as she passed me.
"I can't get my shoe laces right!"
"Stop thinking about it and just run!!" she ordered, as she left the transition.

It was good advice.  Within minutes, I forgot about shoe laces.

I didn't wear a watch for the run but I felt like I was running slow.
Running at 7,000 feet elevation is weird - it's not like you are more fatigued, but rather that your body isn't working normally.  When I passed the finish line, I didn't feel the need to prop my elbows on my knees and catch my breath like I usually do after a 5K.
I didn't feel tired.
I think my exact words were, "I feel funny.  Like I just smoked weed."

I was right, my run was slow - 20:55!!
But I was still the fastest woman, even though there were other equal, if not better, runners in attendance.  I guess everyone was feeling the elevation effects!

I ended up in 6th place, 2nd in my age group, and a final time of 1:13:29.
That is 10 minutes faster than 2006.

Even though it was different scenery, it was still the same familiar faces and friends.  That is one of my favorite things about racing.

Sunday, July 15, 2012


I don't know if it is because I don't have enough time, or simply because it goes by to fast, but I am having trouble managing my time to get everything done.

It seems between work, parenting, swimming, catching up on Dance Moms, cooking, eating and running errands, it is somewhat a struggle to update this blog.  And, I know that is not a massive deal since we only get 75ish hits per day (Hello mom and dad and 73 others!) but it's a deal to me since this is essentially the only place where I record memories.  When time goes by this fast, you have to capture and save as many fleeting minutes as you can.  Life is too short to live and forget.

My babies kids are about to turn 3.  It blows my mind that three years has passed since this:

And that Hayden has gone from this little dude:

To this much bigger little dude:
Or that
they used to look like this in the stroller:             And now they look like this:

Brenna has gone from being the "little sister" to being the smaller "big" sister.  Her maternal instincts have already kicked in as she cares for Hayden most of the time.  She wipes his nose and even feeds him food off her plate after he devours his.  

She brings him his blanket when he cries for it, and finds his yellow car when he loses it.  She hugs him when he cries, and holds his hand in the parking lot.

But, despite Brenna's help, they are still a lot of work.

Luckily, David and I were able to escape this weekend to Flagstaff for a much needed break and a very fun triathlon.  I will post the race report most likely tomorrow - I just need to find the time.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

5K Summer Series, #3 (4 miler)

I was pretty excited about this race because it was my redemption race.  I was disappointed with my previous performance.  Not disappointed with my legs, but disappointed with my head.

 Even before the race, I had compiled a list of reasons why the race was going to suck.  We are not machines and we all have bad runs.  We cannot control that fact but we can control the thoughts in our head - and make it less of a bad run.

I've been working on these thoughts during my training.  A friend once told me that "every workout has a goal."  That goal is not always related to pace.

My goal for this race was not to win or to run to super fast.
My goal for this race was to ensure that not a single negative thought entered my head.  I wasn't going to think, "it hurts" or "I'm tired" and I certainly was not going to think, "I can't."  When these negative thoughts result in negative performances, it can also trigger negative thoughts, such as "I suck."  What a horrible thing to think in general - nonetheless during a race!

The morning of the race I wore my brand new running skirt.  This skirt is too cute to run in, however it's also a bit short to wear out-and-about.  So, it has been decorating my dresser for a few weeks.  I also wore brand new running shoes.  I figured the first step to a positive self-thinking was looking the part.

I knew from previous years that the first two miles of the course were at a downhill, and that the last two miles were uphill. I also knew that Mcmillan's dandy running calculator suggested a 6:20 pace. I decided I would run 6:10 for the first two miles and then try to stay under 6:30 for the last two.
On the start line, I saw some fast looking women and I knew I was not going to win the race.  I was okay with that - because it wasn't my goal.

The first two miles were fun. It was a little challenging fighting the urge to run faster and staying in my pace range (6:08-6:10) yet I managed to pass all but one of the women who started in front of me (the start was organized based on your projected pace).

 I knew the single woman still ahead of me was a good runner.  I always know a good runner by their fancy sunglasses.   I slowly caught up to her and passed her at the beginning of Mile 4.

I didn't really want to pass her - it is much more fun to chase rather be chased.  But, it was a race.

(By the way, she IS a good runner.  Just a runner who started off with a 5:40 first mile....sounds a little too familiar for me!)

Mile 4 had some significant upgrade so it was an unpleasant mile.  But I kept reminding myself, No negative thoughts, No negative thoughts, No negative thoughts......... and that my running skirt was too cute for a wussy girl.

Mile 3 was 6:20 and Mile 4 was 6:30 - bringing me passed the finish (4.02 miles) in 25:18.  That is 80 seconds faster than last year - and I did win the race after all.

Even if it's not the goal, it is always more fun to win than not win.

As usual, I brought my medal home for Brenna.  She did wear it for a few hours and to the grocery store.  However, the grocery store had Barbie dolls on clearance for $2.50.  I let Brenna pick one out.  She became instantly enamored, and my medal became instantly forgotten.

Hayden was not jealous of her new toy since, you know, he has his yellow cars.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Three Rare Occurrences of the Week

To prevent disappointment, let me promptly clarify that in this situation, "rare" does not imply exciting or eventful.  It was a rather boring week that provided very little posting material and photo-worthy moments.

But it should be documented that Hayden spent his first FULL night sleeping in his big boy bed.  He has napped in his bed before but usually his underhanded request to sleep in his big boy bed is an attempt to actually not sleep at all.

If I agree to his "request", he will immediately lay on his bed and say, "Good night, mom."
He will close his eyes and begin to fake snore.
After about 20 seconds, he will open one eye to see if I left the room yet.
Of course, I am always still standing right there.  

Perhaps this is my fault from decorating his room with a plethora of toys.  There is a ballpit, a slide and a train table, to name off the larger items.   I find it to be a double-sided situation because I want him to play in his room - during the day
I don't know how you teach a three year old to resist the temptation of a train table at 2am outside of moments like this one - those created by luck:

It also deserves to be noted that I swam three days this week.
Yes, that is rare.  In fact, it may be a first.  
I was delighted to discover that the pool in which I assumed was yards, is actually a metered-pool.  This makes me substantially less slow...albeit, still slow.
I've played around with my stroke and determined that all the following combinations yield the same amount of slowness:
- bi-lateral breathing, every third stroke
- every fourth breath, right side
- every fourth breath, left side
- every second breath, right side
- every second breath, left side
 Now I am out of options and using my secret weapon last resort (aka, Olympic swimmer friend turned teacher).

The final thing worth mentioning is that David and I went out on a date.
I admit, it's a bit sad, but these date-nights are few and far between (perhaps 4 a year?)  But you have to be grateful for what you can get - I cannot complain.
The kids had no problem complaining, though.

First, Hayden brought over his sandals and announced he would be joining us:
And without missing a minute, Brenna demanded to go as well:
At that point, we understood that we were not going to get our token date photo of us canoodling and staring passionately into each other's eyes.   David put down Brenna and we dashed out the door as both kids corrupted in high-pitched, ear-shredding screams.
It was hard to feel sorry for them since they were about to go out for Mexican food with their grandparents - and I am sure it was better than the "Mexican food" that I prepare for them by hiding cauliflower puree  under the cheese of a quesadilla,  or by adding finely diced kale to their taco meat.

Rumor has it they had a very fun night and barely missed us.