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

Monday, May 27, 2013


I've been feeling a little unmotivated lately.
Not in regards to running, or even biking or swimming....just racing.  And training.

It always disappoints me how quickly I get burnt out.  While my peers continue to train for upcoming half Ironman and full Ironman races, I do a few sprint triathlons and feel the desperate need to take a break.  It's not the amount of activity that wears me down, but the amount of obligation.  I don't want to have to run or have to bike or have to swim...I want to simply do whatever I feel like doing.

Reading that last paragraph alone would make one believe that I have been tethered to a training plan,  committing each morning to a pre-determined workout, whether I liked it or not.  But I have not used a training plan in years, I just make sure I bike and swim XX amount per weeks in addition to my running.  I guess my whining stems from the weeks I don't want to bike or swim.  The weeks I want to trail run every day.  Or sleep in.  Or do yoga.

I really love to trail run.  And sleep.  And do yoga.
And sometimes, I don't feel like I get to do them enough.

Although I always aim for efficiency with any activity, hence my running errands.  I am also known to strike yoga poses anytime the situation surfaces.  Like while I am volunteering at a water-station during a race.

This explains why the kids have been spotted doing downward dog in places where you don't expect to see a butt in the air, such as the grocery store or Home Depot.

 However, we do try stick to more socially-acceptable places, like our living room:

Or backyard.  And while Brenna does have a beautiful one-leg downward dog, she can only marvel at my headstands.  (My chiropractor forbade from headstands so this photo is rather incriminating). 

Yoga is not really about balancing on your head though, it's about balancing life.  And I think that is what burns me out.  It's not really about having to go to Master's swim or ride my bike, but  doing those things on top of all that motherhood stuff.  

Someone suggested I use them as a coach (rather than a recreational track workout) and I want have to the motivation to say, ".Yes, Lets do it!"  I feel like I plateaued this year and this is perhaps the arm to help me pull me up to the next level.  On the other hand, if I cannot even handle going to Master's swim once a week without feeling overwhelmed, how can I promise more? 

I've dabbled in coaching before and I immediately had the urge to break all the rules. I've always been one to do the opposite of what I am's like yoga, something about it just feels good.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Tempe International, Take Number 3

After crunching in a single yet satisfying speed workout, and 4 swims, into last week, I felt confident about this event.  After struggling in my two previous races, this was going to be THE race that did not suck.  Really, that was my main goal – not to suck.  Of course, I preferred to place overall or snag a PR, but at some point, you get desperate and just hope for a decent outcome.

There was quite of bit chatter in the morning about some out-of-state college elites that “ran a 17 minute 5K off the bike.”  They sounded stupendous, if not super-human, and dissolved any hopes I had about placing in the top 3.  But, I was okay with that – it did not affect my primary goal of not sucking.

I warmed up and, like every year, the race started late.  This year, it started an HOUR late.  As my body cooled-down, the race adrenaline started to dissipate.  And so did my motivation.

Eventually the race did start though and in the brutal swim start, I found myself awakened as I tried to swim through a sea of bodies and flailing limbs (as shown at Minute 1):

Although wetsuits were legal, it was not worth the hassle for only 400 meters.  Instead, I borrowed my friend’s neoprene speed suit.  It was less buoyant than a wetsuit but it did help a little – since I naturally sink when I swim, I need all the help I can get.  I felt like this was the first time I really raced the swim…every time I saw a pink swim cap, I pushed to pass it.  After 200 meters, I finally escaped the pack and I was actually able to swim a little.  And then, the swim ended.

We had to run up a long ramp to get to transition.  I managed to pass a few women.

But once in transition, I struggled to get the speed suit off – T1 felt like an eternity. 
But in reality, it was faster than last year:  1:03.

The first few minutes on the bike were slow.  I had a little container of apple-cider vinegar and it took some skill to remove the lid while keeping on hand on the bike.  But, I swallowed quite a bit of lake water and was relying on the vinegar to save me.

And it did!  I had not a single stomach issue, not even a single fart, for the rest of the race.

The bike was good – same course as last year.  My time was a few seconds slower but that is negligible.  It was the third fastest bike split.  I am pleased.

I rushed in T2, resulting in my best transition ever:
56 seconds.  

The run began with a long descent down a staircase.  And then up a little hill and around a corner.  Once completing these obstacles, I passed the girl I was chasing.  I passed a second girl about a half-mile later.  After that, I didn't see any other females.  I passed plenty of dudes…somewhere during Mile 2, I zoned out.  Keeping focus has been one of my racing challenges.  Last year, I had a competitor who raced me during the entire run, pushing me to run my hardest, and get the fastest female run split.  This year, I ended with the third fastest split – and a mediocre time.  There was a second staircase in the race (I do not remember that from last year?) and I am convinced the course is long – no female broke 21 minutes.  So needless to say, no one ran that alleged 17-minutes.

Final times, results and comparisons:

Swim:  Last year – 9:26 (not much training, no speed suit)
            This year – 7:15

Bike:  Last year – 33:49 (22.1 mph)
          This year – 34:02 (22 mph)

Run:  Last year – 20:26
          This year – 22:04 (ouch)

Final:  Last year – 1:05:58, 2nd overall
          This year – 1:05:26, 4th overall

I was 20 seconds away from third place – one of the downsides of a waved start is that you don't know this.  Could I have ran 20 seconds faster?  Sure.  But, I didn't.   HOWEVER, I did not suck – so I walked away with success and even more importantly, with my first PR of the year. 

It may not be a mind-blowing PR but I will take whatever I can get.

Monday, May 13, 2013

All you need is love?

It’s been a rough rebound after my triathlon debacle last weekend. Although I know I was sick, I can’t brush off the feeling of giving it my best on my bike, yet barely able to break 19mph.

After a few more days of recovery and hot yoga, I returned to the saddle Friday afternoon. I rode for an hour, hilly roads, in 95-degree weather and swirling winds, and ended with a short 15-minute run. Afterwards, I looked at my Garmin was mildly pleased I covered 22 miles during that time. But, it didn't give me the redemption that was expecting.

On Saturday, I met my tri-group for an open water swim. We followed that with a bike ride/ run. Again, my performances were pleasing but didn't bring me the motivation that seems to have melted away during my illness.

There is one last local triathlon in five days before everyone surrenders to the heat. I want to do it. Or more so, I want to want to do it. Or maybe even more so, I want to do it well.

I feel like I have a lot of bad races. I am scared of having yet another.

But, on the other hand, I love triathlons and the triathlon community, so should it even matter if I do well? I feel like it has been ages since I have PR’ed, but that does not mean that I have not had fun during all my attempts.

At the end of the day, I love to race. So I don’t know why I can’t commit and bring myself to fill out the entry form. If I don’t do it soon, I lose the opportunity all together.

In addition to my running, biking and swimming, I was able to spend weekend with my favorite people. On Saturday, David and I went out for our anniversary. We rarely go out so this was a special treat. I had quite a few drinks.

On Sunday, I laced up my running shoes and left for a run – I had no idea where I was going or how far I would go…I didn’t bring music or water…I just ran! After about a mile, I thought maybe I had a hangover. And I realized that it was very hot. But I just kept running and it turned out to be glorious run – I ran all over the city – and eventually found myself at my mom’s house. She gave me a hug even though I was all sweaty.

I love my family.
I love to run.
I love to race.

I should just do it and have fun.  I have nothing to lose.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Esprit de She v.s. My bed

I was looking forward to this event very much and was hoping for a PR (sub-1:12).  I feel like I am in the best shape of my life, although I cannot seem to have a good race to prove it to myself.   I had hopes that this would be the race.

And then Friday happened.

I was at work and my body started to ache.
I felt this instant and incessant need to go to bed.
So I left work early and did go to bed, where I stayed all day.  And all afternoon.  And all evening.
I sent my husband to Subway for dinner.

I was expecting to feel better on Saturday but  I woke up in the morning and found the only thing I was capable of doing was napping.  I sent my husband to Subway for dinner again.

Around 11:30pm, I awoke because I could not breathe.  I sprung up, gasping for air, only to realize that I was choking on puke...... if you think that is gross to read, don't imagine how gross it is to experience.  And, the proceeding events only get worse so I will spare you the rest of the details.

The fact I was sick was not shocking.  Hayden had a stomach bug last week, Brenna had a stomach bug a few days later and David got the stomach bug a day after that.  On Thursday I was standing in the kitchen, cutting an onion, praising my invincible immune system for not catching the sickness.

What I do find shocking is while David and the kids were able to poop a few times and be done with it, I was inhabilitated for days.  They eat hotdogs and goldfish crackers.  I eat spinach and kale.  How does that work?

Anyway, I knew that I was going to show up on race day morning no matter what.  I was just hoping that I could improve enough to keep some nutrition inside me - and even more so, I was hoping everything would remain inside of me during the race.

I can understand perhaps pooping yourself during the Olympic trials or something - but it would really suck to be the girl who pooped herself during a local sprint triathlon.

And here is the good news:  I DID NOT POOP MYSELF!!

My warm-up, however, included simply dashing back and forth from the transition area to the toilet.  On one hand, I was grateful to be empty.  On the other hand, having an empty tank is not a great way to start a race.

My mindset automatically changed from "try to PR" to "just have fun!"  It seemed easy enough to have fun while doing something you love.  I realized while swimming from the dock to the start line, I was wrong.

Nothing is fun when you are sick.  There was not a moment of that race when I did not want to quit.

My legs were so useless that at one point on the bike, I checked to make sure my break was not rubbing.

The finish line had champagne, massages and manicures waiting for us.  Although those are my favorite things, all I could think about was my bed.

I think I was the first athlete to remove her bike from the transition area.

After I finally reunited with my beloved bed, my kids reminded me that I promised to take them to the "ice cream store."  Ice cream actually sounded really good.  On our way, we instead found ourselves at a shaved-ice food truck.  The combination of ice and sugar magically cured me!!!

For an hour.

I realize if skipped the race, I would probably be better today.  But, whether its ice cream or a race, I try to honor my commitments.  I knew no matter what, I would live to write this post.  After all, it was just a sprint triathlon, the worst case scenario was I would have to poop.

Was my race good?  Not to my standards. I was eleven minutes off my PR.
But, the $65 entry fee came with a really nice cycling jersey.   It is perhaps my favorite piece of race-swag.
And, now I can wear it proudly because it's not the race that I skipped - it's the race that I conquered while sick.

I will just feel better tomorrow instead.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Park, Milk, Knock, Dark and Cake

The kids have finished their first year of preschool.  I think they liked it - I know I certainly like dropping them off.

The year ended with a formal graduation ceremony.  There was a fancy program listing the ceremony events using a cursive font.  I was very impressed - we didn't even distribute programs at our wedding!  (I like to keep people guessing, why spoil what will happen next?)

First, they did awards.  Hayden got the award for the Kindest Heart.  He does have a very big heart.

Brenna got the award for the Pinkest Princess.  She does wear a lot of pink.

If I knew about this beforehand, I would have dressed her to fit the role.  There are not enough opportunities for Brenna to wear her collection of princess dresses appropriately.  Plus, almost everyone else dressed up.  The other moms wore makeup!  Instead, Brenna and I had on our matching shorts that we bought a few months ago.

After the awards, we had delicious and delectable cupcakes sprinkled with gold flakes.  Even the cupcakes at our wedding did not have gold flakes! Not that there should be any doubt, Brenna had a pink cupcake. (And so did I).

Hayden did not have a pink cupcake nor did he care.  I don't think he even noticed that there was frosting , nonetheless gold.

But the real highlight came six hours later when I took Brenna to speech therapy.  Brenna has been working hard on her speech.  It was decided that she did not have Apraxia, but instead Dysarthria.  So we have been doing things to strengthen her face muscles, like blowing horns and blowing bubbles.  The part we struggle with most is the last syllable of any word - Brenna likes to keep people guessing, too.

But, as if she understood she just surpassed a milestone in her short little life, Brenna stood for the occasion by conquering a new sound.  A sound that we have been working on for many weeks:
the very important "CK!"

You can't say "cake" without it.