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

Sunday, September 30, 2012

MoonValley Grasshopper Bridge 5K, Then and Now

I ran this race two years ago pushing my jogging stroller.

I was excited to look back in the blog so I could do a then-and-now comparison, but found myself disappointed when I realized that this blog was not yet created two years ago.  Is time really going by that quickly?  Life before the blog seems like a few months ago.

I went on a hunt for pictures.  I could not find any.  Did we not take any pictures??
I went on a hunt for pictures taken during the month of September in the year 2010. I could not find any.  Did we not take any pictures for an entire month???

This is why I must blog.
Even if I have nothing positive to say, or simply nothing to say, this blog must forever remain in existence in order for our past to remain in existence. Without a photograph or written proof, all you have is a fading memory that begs the question - Is that really what happened?

Curious as to why we took no photos of September 2010, I went on a mission to learn why.  I opened up computer folders and scoured Photobucket and Picasa photos.   I did remember that I actually did blog back then - it was a riveting blog called, Babies Eat Food, that chronicled the early exploration of their palette.

On Sept.7th, Hayden tried and disliked roasted eggplant:

On Sept. 21st, the babies ate meatballs with rotini pasta for dinner and enjoyed it:

The blog then takes a hiatus but I discovered more after remembering I had a YouTube account.  On Sept. 23rd, the babies played hide-and-go-seek.  This was two days before the race:

I have public records of conversations at an online community I frequented at the time (hi guys) and I made this comment at 10am, the morning of the race.  This must have been during their morning nap. Back then, the babies took two naps.  As of now, I need to beg and pray in order to make them take one.

I placed 3rd in my age group - but back then, I never stayed for awards.  I never cooled-down, nor stayed to mingle.

This year, kids at home, I placed 3rd overall.  I did cool down.  And I did stay to mingle.

As much as I loved racing with my babies, somethings are just more fun on your own.  I spend every waking minute tending to my kids - between feeding these two hungry beasts and making sure they stay alive, there is not much downtime in my day.  It is nice to do something for myself and not have to think of anyone but myself.  Selfish? Yes.  But that is the nature of the sport.  Aside from maybe some charities, people race for one person.  No one saves the world by getting a PR.

And a PR was not my goal - I haven't ran a sub-6 pace for not even a minute since August.  My goal was just to have fun.  And, pick up my summer series overall award.

I didn't look at my watch the entire race but I had to set to auto-lap every mile.
-Mile 1 was easy.  I wasn't even breathing heavy.  5:58.
-Mile 2 started getting hard. 5:56.
-Mile 3 was hard.  I hate running in grass.  6:10.
-.15 to finish: 54 seconds.
Garmin final time:

Their final time:  19:05.

And, I did take pictures this time.

It was a bit of redemption after the debacle of a run last weekend.  I can run. I just need to figure out how to run farther, and how to do it after swimming and biking, while fueling, and in the heat, with no socks and without getting blisters and drinking from water stations without stopping.  I can do that!

Monday, September 24, 2012

Nathan's Triathlon Race Report

We may as well just call this #2 and copy and paste this entry: Last years race report.

It was nearly an identical performance - which is not what I intended, considering I have spent all year practicing shorter races.  and swimming.

The swim went okay.  My ankle did not hurt although it did stiffen towards the end.
I think I did a good job sighting, the buoy was always where I expected it to be.  I bi-lateral breathed as necessary.  I was hoping to draft, but within the pandemonium of the start, I was too busy getting repeatedly kicked in the face to remember that plan.

Things were settled by the first buoy and then I did manage to catch a draft to the second buoy.  But the course is a rectangle so this really didn't help me much.

Looking back, I didn't really push myself in the swim.  It's still always less about swimming and more about surviving.

Last years swim time = 29:47.
This years swim time = 28:41.

There is rumor that the swim course was long.  This was the rumor last year, too though - although the winning swim time (by the same girl) was a whole minute longer.  But the only thing that matters is your placement out of the water - I was 31st - which means I cant retire Masters class yet.

Last years T1 = 1:48.
This years T1 = 1:54.

This transition area is quite unfair because it's really big.  Some people get to run in / out, grab their bikes and go, while others have to grab their bikes and run in / out in their cleats.  Like me.

The bike was fine.  The bike is always fine.

Last years bike = 1:08:12.
This years bike = 1:08:20.
Eh, there was wind.

I somehow acquired this fancy amino acid hydration supplement.  In my mind, since it is fancy and the bottle swears to have magical hydration effects, it is awesome.  For this reason, I save it for race day.

Mid-way through the bike, I notice my stomach starting to cramp. This is a phenomenon that plagues me in every single olympic distance triathlon.  I have blamed everything: lake water, gels, over-hydration, heat.....but yet, I have never considered that maybe, my super-cool amino acid drink was the culprit.

Feeling like an idiot for not connecting the dots, I stopped drinking.  I ended the bike less bloated but more thirsty.

Last years T2 = 1:46.
This years T2 = 1:36.

I loosened my bike shoes before getting off my bike, which was a mistake considering how far I then had to run with my bike.  Given my lack of coordination, it should be no surprise that I tripped.   BUT, luckily, my peddle caught my knee and I was able to slide on onto my bike instead of falling clumsily on my face.

It was an unintended moment of grace.

Followed by the much longer, less graceful moment of dealing with my  bib-belt.
The plan was to grab it and put it on as I left transition.
This was a plan I remembered! 
So I grabbed it.
          And I tried to put it on.                   And tried.                              And tried.

A few minutes later, it was finally on, I dashed off for my run.

But only to the first water station.

The race started late (past 7:30am) and the temperature at this point was over 90-degrees.  Not only was I thirsty, I was hot.   Very hot.
I took every cup available to me and poured them over my head.

And then I "dashed" to the next water station.  I spent probably close to 30-seconds at every water station, gulping water and pouring water over my head.  Then with soaked shoes, I sloshed to the next station.  Sometimes we look back at races and think, "well, it wasn't really that bad."
Nope, not this time - it really was that bad.  I only smiled if I saw a camera.

Last years run = 47:21.
This years run = 46:27.

I was hoping for sub-42.  On labor day, I did a 31-bike ride, bricked with 6.1 miles @ 6:45.  I really thought maybe it was doable.  And maybe it is doable, on a different day with a different heat-index. 

After the race I was bummed about it, but I more happy just to be done and in the presence of lots of water, fans, misters, and my kids.  

Final time = 2:26:30, 5th female, 3rd AG (1st AG since 2 of the top 3 were in my age group and you cant double dip.  This is one of the benefits of being in a competitive age group).  

I am going to try the olympic triathlon one more time - when its not almost 100-degrees outside.  Until then, its trail racing season so if you need me, I will be on a mountain (starting with the Estrellas in two weeks).  

Or Masters, because I just can't let swimming beat me.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Feeling Rather Beat Up.

I have not swam for a week but assuming I am still suffering from my unique swimming injury, I have more annoying aches allowing me to create quite a list.  All of them, however, are self-inflected, so I am not sure I am entitled to complain?

I shall complain anyway.

The first one was a bike accident.
It is not new news that I don't check the weather reports before embarking on a bike ride. I mean, it's Arizona.  Our weather is hot and sunny 99% of the time.

But last Tuesday, the forecast supposedly called for rain.  A lot of rain.
I discovered this factoid when I was 12 miles away from home and the rain was falling so hard that it felt like tiny needles hitting my skin.  Needless to say, I don't have a lot of experience cycling on slippery roads.  I gripped by handlebars tightly, kept my head down and gave it 100% of undivided concentration.

I was 2 miles away from home when the rain finally stopped.  I let out a huge sigh of relief, relaxed my cramped hands, and made a right hand turn.  Or, tried to make a right hand turn.  The bike did turn- onto its side.

My first thought as I hit the ground was, "OH MY GOSH, CAN I RUN??"
I did an immediate check of the knees and ankles.  Everything felt normal and I was left with just some road rash and oozy wounds, like this:

But as the day moved into the evening, my neck and back started to hurt.  I guess I tensed up when I fell and accrued some whiplash.  Despite seeing a chiropractor, by the next day, I was unable to turn my head.
Brenna was unforgiving and insisted to clinging to my neck.  We couldn't even survive a trip to the grocery store, we had to be shuffled around in a shopping cart.

(and I realize this is not the first time I have posted myself squished in a shopping cart)

I started to feel better by the weekend, right in time to take a trip to San Francisco for a wedding.  David and I enjoyed our two toddler-free nights to the fullest.  We did everything you would expect me to do.... run a lot (and get lost a little) and eat and drink.

and drink, again.

You know you are having a really fun time when you end up buying purple, sparkly converse shoes.

Although - I don't have regret buying the shoes.  I love the shoes. And a girl can never have too many pairs of purple shoes (at least according to Brenna).

But I may regret running up so many many really, really big hills.

The opportunity to go out run for as long as I want doesn't happen very often.  For the first hour, I felt fantastic. I frolicked through the city and pranced up the hills with glee.  I was giddy when I found the Golden State Bridge.

But then, I had to turn around.
And all those hills were still there.  Only they seemed a lot bigger.  And my legs felt a lot heavier.

So, with my cycling wounds still fresh and my whiplash still lingering, I got on the airplane to return home with legs overflowing with lactic acid.
Thank goodness I had brought my bright pink compression socks.
Thank goodness they match my purple shoes.

I have spent my time resting and hoping that everything repairs itself for the race this weekend.  I swore this time around that I would practice my transitions - but I have not.   I don't feel ready so I plan to do what I always do - survive the swim, mess up in transitions, take a bike ride and then run too fast the first mile.  I get a strange pleasure in the predictability.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Xterra Highs and Swimming Lows

I had the grand opportunity to work at a local Xterra triathlon.  I have done Xterra races before but my ineptness for mountain biking has kept me away from their triathlon - so I jumped at the opportunity to participate in a relay team.  It was really everything a girl could ask for...awesome people, awesome race, a few extra bucks in my pocket, and a weekend away from anything that excessively screams and/or poops.

I found myself in awe of all the other female participants.  It takes a really "cool" girl to mountain bike.  I have tried it and, well, as long as there were no rocks or bumps or major hills, I did okay.  But let's be real:  Xterra is only rocks and bumps and major hills.  Or you may have to find a way to get your bike through a knee deep puddle, or over a closed-fence, or miles of mud.  I don't think Xterra worries too much about logistics because "finding a way" is sometimes more fun than being told the way.

The run lived up to my Xterra expectations.  I blissfully flew along the course.  I didn't wear a Garmin but it was a good, well-paced effort.  I did feel like I was somewhat cheating since I did not do the 15-mile mountain bike - that feeling took the "race" out of the race and made it more into a really fun run.  However, I did pull our team from 5th place to 3rd place and had the fastest run out of all the relay teams.

My favorite part of the run was the water.

Somethings you know you are meant to do.

Somethings you know you are not meant to do.
My body has been telling me that it is not meant for swimming.  I look at it and say, "Why not? You have long arms and gigantic hands like Michael Phelps!  You should be awesome!"  
And it responds by getting injured.

You are probably thinking that my shoulder hurts because that is a typical swimmer's injury.  But no, it is my ankle.  My swim coach, my swim friends, and my chiropractor are all baffled at this recent injury.  And I cannot bend or twist my ankle outside of the pool in a way to trigger the pain - I must be in the water, kicking my feet, for at least 10 minutes.

In any other conditions I would be on the roof screaming, "I can run.... I can  bike....I can dance....I can do anything BUT swim!!"  Unfortunately, with my triathlon looming in just one short week, this is an anomalous occasion where I do want to swim. 
Not to mention, I have put in HOURS at the pool, swimming 5 days a week, averaging 10,000-12,000 meters per week.  For countless weeks!  
My arm hair turned blond.
My swim cap ripped from overuse.
My bathing suite is so stretched out that your kids should not be able to look.
People no longer recognize me without goggle marks around my eyes.

The hypothesis is that I am doing something wrong with my flip turns.  This does make sense because it hurts the most after I flip.  If this hypothesis is correct, then aside from my training abruptly ending two weeks too early, I will be okay in the lake.
But, if this hypothesis is wrong, then I can end up in the middle of the nasty lake with a really nasty ankle cramp.  

And, it will just confirm that I meant to be running in the mountains instead.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Typical Day

The kids have completed their first two weeks of preschool.  They walk inside every day and forget about me instantly.  This part is great.

The teacher has reported that they are perfectly behaved.  That part is great, too. 
But perfection is a tough task and when I pick them up, they release their suppressed energy by refusing to nap, rebellious tantrums and Hayden poops in his underwear.

A good example of this is our post-preschool Cotsco outing earlier this week.  Costco has always been our safe haven with their free samples and twin-friendly carts.  Our last visit started like all others until we checked out.  It was noon so we decided to do lunch.  The problem with a weekday lunch at Costco is that every old person in the neighborhood has the same idea.

Hayden insisted on eating pizza AND hotdog.  I ordered his man-size meal and we found a seat in the sea of old people.  They looked at us.  

Hayden dropped his pizza on the floor and his eyes exploded with tears.  They looked at us more.  I gave him my portion and life was good.  

Until Brenna loudly squealed that she had to pee. 

With all bifocals on us once again, I tried to convince Hayden to come to the bathroom with us.  I even asked the old man next to us to guard his plate.

But Hayden was not going to leave his pizza and hotdog.
Brenna’s temperament began to escalate and I could feel the sweat begin to form alongside my hairline.  I toggled between begging Brenna to wait just a few more minutes and encouraging Hayden to shove additional bites of food into his mouth. 

 Finally, his pizza and hotdog was gone.  I put Brenna in the cart.  In my haste, I shoved one leg in the correct hole and one leg in the center hole.  

This left no room for Hayden and instead left him standing beside the cart, crying, “Up…up…Hayden wants up.”

Brenna was pleased that her improper positioning was upsetting Hayden and refused to let me correct it.  So I grabbed Hayden like a football and lugged him to the bathroom.

Brenna knew that getting out of the cart to pee would pacify Hayden - so she refused.  After what seemed like an eternity of screaming and no peeing, we fled from the store.

When we got home, I tried to get the still-screaming Brenna to pee but she arched her back in refusal.  She ran out of the bathroom and down the hallway.  With her undies to her ankles, she opened the front door and went outside. 

She wanted me to drive her back to Costco to pee.
She demanded to go to back to Costco to pee.

I said no.
She sat and screamed in dissatisfaction.

She got on all fours and screamed.
And then she got into her “extreme tantrum” position, which involves kicking feet, pounding fists and glass-shattering, eardrum bursting, blood-curdling screams.

And over what??

We both forgot when we were interrupted by Hayden’s cries from inside.  

He had pooped in his underwear.