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

Monday, June 24, 2013

Beat the Heat Report

This was an inaugural race, held on a historically hot weekend, at the hottest time of the day (2:42pm). The hottest temperature recorded on this day was 112, so to be cute, the race distance was 11.2K.  (Although it was really over 7 miles...I guess it's like the 28 mile bike ride in my last Olympic triathlon).

It was pretty hot - around 105 at the start and 108 at the finish.  However, had they waited one more weekend we all would have been in for a real challenge - the forecast for this upcoming weekend is 117 degrees! It's not so much the temperature that I struggle with though, but rather the position of the sun.  At 3pm, the sun directly pounds your skin and there is no escape.  Brenna always demands that I park in the shade when we are looking for a spot in a parking lot...those shrubs do not produce much shade.

Arizona is a dry heat though.  When the air is dry, your sweat cools down your skin, as designed.  My plan for this race was to stop at every single water station to 1) drink water, and 2) pour water on my head to stay wet.  There were 12 water stations, so nearly one every half-mile.

Before the race, we were all squished into a horse stadium.  This stadium was air conditioned but squeezing 1,000 people into such a small place negated any cooling effects.  There was a pre-race yoga class was not very popular but I jumped right in.

The race started inside the stadium and we quickly ran into the bright sunlight.  It felt like a normal race and I constantly caught myself cautiously reigning in the pace.  At 3pm, I always have my kids, so I was not able to train to run this race fast - it was more like an experiment.  How much would it suck?

It didn't suck at all for Miles 1- 3.  In fact, I felt great.
There was a girl in front of me that I desperately wanted to pass, but I played the patient card and stayed at a comfortable pace.  Right after Mile 3, I passed the girl.   Mile 4 was in a headwind, and on a golf course filled with small but steep ups and downs.  This is when I started getting tired.

Mile 5 is when I started getting hot.  I had to adjust my water-station pattern from:
stop - pour water on my head - walk to next cup - drink water - run (5 seconds)
stop - pour water on my head - walk to next cup - drink water - walk to next cup - pour water on my head - walk to next cup - drink water - run (10-15 seconds).
I still think that adding 10-15 seconds at the water stations was a lesser evil than not properly hydrating and slowing my pace by perhaps minutes per mile.

I never found any additional girls to pass and zoned out for a few miles.  I arrived back in reality at the last water station and realized that I was  very hot and thirsty.  But I could see the finish -- I just had to slosh through a sprinkler-soaked grass field first.  I tried to gracefully leap over puddles but as always, I landed right in the middle of each one.

At the finish, reporters asked me questions about the race.  No one offered me water.
I staggered around for awhile, looking for water or, even better, watermelon.  I did find snow cones, which would be AWESOME if you had $2.

Post-race refreshments were replaced with a water slide.
The top 10 finishers won prize money.  This attracted a large professional field.  Unfortunately, the four professional women could not contend with the men.  Oddly, there were no overall women's awards so they were lumped into the age-groupers.  And, us age-groupers did not win money - we won Arabian Horse Show tickets!  Which, I think is pretty cool because my kids will like it.  I was 5th female.

At the finish, a reporter asked me if I would do this race again.
I told them, "Maybe."

Maybe if they provide watermelon.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Reverse Triathlon & Reverse Psychology

I have always wanted to try a reverse triathlon.  I was hesitant for a few different reasons.   In a normal triathlon, I slush out of the water seeded in the middle of the pack.  For the rest of the race, I get to silently sneak up on the swimmers, one by one.  I enjoy this chase. It's like a game.

But reversing this process completely changes this game.  The motivation is no longer to hunt people down, but to be the hunted.  It's too much pressure.  I don't perform well under pressure.

My second reservation was the pool. Supposedly, a few years ago, someone almost drowned during a reverse triathlon.  So now, they all take place in a pool.  That way, if you get tired, you simply get out of the pool instead of drown in the lake.  It makes sense.  But, there are lane lines and I am not good at serpentine swims.

But I found myself itching to do something and since it's 110+ degrees outside, there are not a lot of options.

However, I surprised myself by really enjoying the reverse order.  Starting with the run was a larger advantage than I anticipated because I was able to run to my full ability!  Normally, I am tired, hot, thirsty and filled with gut-eating lake bacteria by the time I finally start my run.  Starting fresh meant starting fast.  And fast is always fun.

The run was supposed to be 4 miles but I returned to the transition at only 3.5.  "That way, That way!" someone shouted.  They were pointing to the back to the transition.  I thought maybe you had to keep running and then u-turn, to make it 4 miles.  So....I kept running.

That was wrong.
The course was short.
Even though I lost a minute or so, I still had the lead going onto the bike.  
The bike course was easy, four straight loops.  I averaged 22mph.

When I finished my bike, I stood by a water cooler and drank four cups of water.  I never thought I would want to swim but in a unique moment of excessive sweat, swimming sounded fun.

And the cold water felt good.  As much as I do not like the serpentine, it was nice to be able to see my hands, the feet in front of me and not worry about sighting.  The swim went quickly and I was the first woman out of the water.  This was nice because I was able to watch the rest of the race, including my friends battle it out for second and third place.  I was relieved to not involved in that tight of a race.  Just like I don't like the pressure of being chased, I don't like the pressure of a photo-finish.  Even at awards they were still battling it out.

Not to say though that I have not had my own battles lately.

Everyone has been telling me that I need to regain control of my princess.  One constant thing that I always ask of Brenna is to pull her hair in a ponytail.  Or braid. Or half ponytail.  Or bun.  Or ANYTHING to keep it out of her face.  When her hair is in her face, it is a magnet for food and dirt.
Brenna's constant response to this request is always been "No."  If I dared to pull it back anyway, she simply pulled it out.

In a bold move to make a point that I have control, I threatened Brenna:
"Let me pull it back in a ponytail or I will cut it off."

FYI, I said this while looking at her beautiful, original curls of baby hair.
Of course I did not want to cut it off.
And I knew that girly-Brenna would not want to cut it off, either.
Maybe it would sting - but maybe that is what we needed.

However, Brenna was not about to lose control of her hair by just an idle threat. In an unexpected act, she looked me in the eye and said, "Cut it."

I couldn't back down - so we went to Great Clips.  There was a 15-minute wait.
We sat down.
I took a magazine and found a young girl with very short hair.  I showed it to Brenna.
I quizzed her: "Are you sure you want your hair to look like that?" 

She held the magazine in her lap and studied it for many minutes.

I patiently waited for her to say no.
Instead, she sat there until a stylist called her name.  And, without any prompting, she walked up to the stylist, handed her the magazine, and said with decisiveness, "I want that."

The stylist was very impressed and shocked to learn that this was her first haircut.
I was shocked that my daughter was really about get her first haircut.

Brenna sat very still the entire time.  I watched her face.
It was a hard face to read.  Maybe one day she will play poker.

When the cut was complete, we stood in front of the mirror.  "I like it."  I said.  "Do you?"

She explored her new hair with her hands.  "Yes," she answered.

I forced a smile.  She forced a smile.
And her beautiful hair was placed in a sandwich bag.

But her hair has been effortlessly out of her face ever since.
And at the end of day, there are no longer clumps of  amalgamated cereal milk, apple sauce, sand and snot.
So although a battle - and although it's questionable - I am claiming the win.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Losing Control of my Finest Creation

Every time we leave Costco (and since we live a mile away we are there more often than normal people), the man at the doorway waves to Brenna and says, "Goodbye, Princess."   While most girls would giggle and bashfully wave, Brenna flips her hair and offers an aloof two-second obligatory 90-degree rotation of her hand.

My daughter is smart yet stubborn, clever yet complicated and amazing yet exhausting.  I love her to death.  But, it is one thing to play you are a princess, it is another thing to believe you are a princess.  These days, I am beginning to question who runs the house.  If Brenna is a princess,  then technically I am a queen.  However, it's a title she refuses to acknowledge.

When I was about 6 months pregnant, David and I were at the mall and I was relaxing by a fountain.  There were a few kids surrounding the fountain, totally fascinated, finding it to the coolest thing ever.   Mind you, my estrogen levels were off the charts and even a Charmin toilet paper commercial made me cry, but I couldn't help feeling sad that my years of learning something new every second and being enthralled by even the simplest things were over.  And even worse, I spent them without appreciating them.

I shared my feelings with David right then and there in the mall, with tears streaming down my cheeks.  He told me that I would get to re-live all those childhood moments through the eyes of my children.  I was comforted.

I have always liked everything pink and princess.  I don't really remember owning a lot of princess stuff but I do remember the princess hat I picked out at Disney land.  It was pink, tall and pointy with a pink veil. I wish I still had it.

The moment of wearing such a princess hat was over me, but  I was excited to re-live it through my daughter.  And I did not waste much time.  Obviously Brenna did not elect to wear this princess crown and pink tutu when she was three months old.

Nor did she understand the very basic plot of her movie, A Princess Rides a Pony.  (Directed by myself)

And she did not she pick out her first princess dress two years ago.

I have a friend who loves hair bows.  So, her 6 month old daughter has (literally) 100 hair bows, many of them custom made.  Some of them are bigger than her head. Her daughter has no hair - she never asked for those bows.  Just like my daughter never asked for this:

She doesn't even have the maturity that is necessary to handle the stress of having such a selection of pretty poofiness.  One minute she was be happy and admiring her dazzling self in the mirror:

And then, without warning, she will spontaneously collapse onto the floor, into a pink, dramatic heap:

Basically I created this princess.  I own it.

Sometimes though, I wish just bought her hair bows.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

It's Summer Time, Part 3

Same post, different year.

In 2011, I made this post in May.
In 2012, I made this post March.

At least this year I held out until June.  Either we have had a gentle transition, I am miraculously tougher, or I was just being wussy in previous years.  Today the temperature has already hit 110 degrees.

But. the heat has yet to have a huge impact on my performance.  In fact, yesterday I went on a 10am bike ride for 1 hour and covered 21.1 miles -- perhaps my fastest ride to-date that did not happen during a race.  And then I ran and felt just fine.

It's the after-effect that has hit me the most.....that moment when you stop moving and your body starts gushing sweat.  Serious sweat.  And it does not cease until you gulp three cups of electrolyte induced ice water, stretch, eat cottage cheese, stretch again and take a bath.  And yes,  that is my post-workout routine. Only then I can finally take my shower.

I may be here patting myself on the back for being such a trouper this time around, but I can't say the adjustment has been as effortless for my kids.  For the past month, any mention of "park" or "outside" has had an adverse reaction (screaming, crying, frantically looking for a place to hide).  I've tried to help them out with hats (but they will not wear them) and sunglasses (but they will not wear them).

I've introduced the Slip-and-Slide but Hayden was not a fan.  Don't ask me how this is possible.

And so....we've returned to the gym daycare.  They seem to like it just as much/little as previously.  And just like before, I treat them to lunch afterwards.  They always tell me they are "very very hungry."  

I ask them what they want.
Hayden always says he wants eggs.
Brenna always says she does not want eggs and throws a tantrum.
Then I order them the same stuff I did years ago:  An egg burrito.

Then Brenna eats all of the eggs that she so loudly originally insisted she did not want.  

At least it's predictable and I am able to pull out a treat out of my purse and make a silent deal with Hayden by kicking his foot and looking into his eyes with slightly raised brows.  He allows me to slip the treat next to his plate, give Brenna his remaining eggs and shoves the treat into his mouth when she is not looking.

We're definitely figuring things out.  I am sure we will figure out how to handle the summer heat, too.