Friday, July 22, 2011

Odds and ends

* Kristina totally killed it at her first triathlon last weekend! I'm so glad I was able to watch her compete. It was a miserably hot day on a difficult course, but she did a great job! Not only was I glad I could go to support Kristina, I was happy to have the opportunity to see the inner workings of a triathlon up close and personal. It was a small event, so I was able to get right up to the start/exit areas for swim and even to see the transition areas (from a distance so as not to interfere with racers). Thanks for letting me be a part of your day, Kristina!

* I walked away from K's tri with two solid thoughts:
  1. I am SO ready for this.
  2. I am SO NOT ready for this.
It's true. I'm ready and not ready. I'm ready for the thrill of a race atmosphere, to finally experience this event that I've been thinking about trying for almost a year, seriously considering for 9 months, have been registered for for nearly 6 months and have been in training for for almost 2 months. I'm excited to get out there and give it a shot and to be in the moment. And yet, if it's possible, I'm equally NOT ready. I don't think my body or mind are quite prepared for what lies ahead. Yes, I've been training, but I don't know that anything I've experienced in training has come close to what I'll experience that day. I'm trying not to freak out, but I do find myself getting a little overwhelmed from time to time. Must. Remember. To. Breathe.

* Because of #2 above, my goal for the next three weeks (yes, only three weeks left!) is to really hammer down and focus on my running and biking. They are easily my weakest spots, which means I tend to shy away from training for them. They're not as fun as swimming and with the heat as bad as it's been, it's extra hard for me to get out there and bust my butt out of the water. But it has to be done. As much as I'd like to be able to count on my swimming skills to carry me throughout the race, it's just not possible. So, swimming is a reward now--I'm allowing myself one or two pool swims a week just to keep up my fitness in that area, long OWS on the weekends whenever possible and running/biking/bricks as often as possible during the week. I still haven't biked more than 10.5 miles/1 hour, so a long ride (90mins or 12-13 miles) needs to be made a priority. I did get in a solid bike/run brick earlier this week, but those need to be the rule, not the exception.

* I had a private swimming lesson a few weeks ago, which was fantastic. I got some feedback on my stroke, learned a few tricks/tips to help with turns and such and she showed me a few basic drills to use with the boards and buoys. The best thing I got out of the lesson was learning that there wasn't a whole lot I needed to work on, at least when considering my current goals. I've always been comfortable in the water and consider myself a strong swimmer. Certainly not competition level, but I can handle my own in the water. Anyway, hearing from someone else that I looked as good as I FELT in the water was reassuring. I guess all those lessons I took as a kid finally paid off!

* Let's wrap this up with pictures, shall we? Here's my little munchkin, running her heart out at the kids' fun run last month. In the picture below, she's in the front, in the pink shirt and shorts, #363. She's already rockin' some great race face!

And striding toward the finish line! Look at that form... Way to finish strong, baby!

May all your training runs/rides/swims be full of joy this weekend!

Friday, July 15, 2011

The thing I should've done months ago

Before I delve into the heavy (oooo...punny, you'll see why) post below, I want to throw out a huge GOOD LUCK to my training buddy and friend Kristina, who will be completing her first triathlon on Sunday. I'm going to get my spectathlete on and head out to watch her and hopefully get some pics for her blog. I know she's going to kick that course's arse!


Last year about this time, I was only about 4 months into the fitness thing and had lost about 20ish pounds. I was counting calories, running several times a week and using DVDs at home on a fairly regular basis. I was losing weight but not as quickly as I thought I should be. I quickly became OBSESSED with the scale--noting tenths of pounds lost or gained, fretting if I was above a certain number, celebrating if I was under. I was weighing myself daily, and often multiple times daily. I was the poster child for how not to have a healthy relationship with the scale.

Luckily I have good friends--great friends, in fact--who gave me a virtual "Snap out of it!" and suggested I hide my scale. While it's likely that their motivation behind the suggestion was because they were sick of me fussing about it all day, every day, they were able help me realize that my behavior wasn't doing me any good. I did end up hiding the scale--for a while anyway--and got back to weighing myself on a "normal" basis.

But I still weigh myself frequently. Sometimes only a few times a week, but sometimes a few days in a row. Usually in the morning, right after a shower, before I've eaten, when I feel like I'm at my lightest. And while I'm no longer trying to lose weight, it's reassuring to see the number more or less stay at the same spot day to day. (I don't obsess over the tenths as I used to, thank goodness.) Unfortunately, I've fallen back into the trap of letting the scale run my brain. There are times when I'm feeling light and lean, step on the scale and see a number slightly higher (we're talking maybe 1-2 pounds) than my "magic" number and I'm crushed. Other times I'm feeling pudgy and flabby and know I'm heavier than I should be, only to see a number well within my "normal" range and suddenly I feel better about myself. It's wrong to let that thing dictate so much of my self-acceptance and yet I still allow it to happen. But hey, as long as it's just me and I KNOW I'm being silly about it, no harm, no foul. Right?

But it's not just me. It's my sweet, beautiful, 4-year-old daughter.

The other day, after a healthy dinner together, she told me she wanted to go "weigh." Somehow my innocent little peach has connected "health" with "scale," and there's only one way she could've made that connection. By watching me.

We talk a lot about health. She knows I exercise and why I exercise and she's even participated in her own kid's run and bike race. (Cutest runner ever, btw.) She knows about good foods and the importance of exercise and why both are so important for our bodies. We don't talk about weight as a indicator of health and we certainly don't talk about HER weight as such. And yet, somehow, she's under the impression that when we eat a nutritious meal, we step on the scale and it tells us that we're healthy.

Bad, momma. Bad.

So the scale is going bye-bye. It's going on a high shelf in the closet or in the scary, spidery shed or maybe even in the trash. I'll let my husband decide. I don't need it and my beautiful daughter certainly doesn't need it either. No more letting the numbers tell me how I feel about myself. No more allowing some digits to tell me if I've worked hard enough today. No more weight=health.

No more. For me. For her.

Good riddance.

Friday, July 1, 2011


Two posts in one day. What a lucky reader you are! ;) I thought I'd throw both of these Q/A posts together, just for funsies. Maybe you'll find them interesting, maybe you won't.

First, I was surprised and flattered to be contacted by the administrators of the sprint tri I'm doing to ask if I'd be willing to share my story and potentially be featured in some marketing and promotional materials for the event. I answered a few questions for them and have enlisted my new training buddy, Kristina, to take some training photos during our OWS/run brick this weekend so I can send those along as well. I feel sort of dorktacular at the thought of taking "training" photos, but whatever. If they want them, they'll get them. Not sure what will become of all this, if anything comes at all, but I'll keep you posted nonetheless!

Second, My Friend M My Friend M tagged me in one of those "What's your favorite..." posts. I think I'm supposed to tag someone else now, but since I don't know many other bloggers well enough to tag them (aside from M, who tagged ME), I'll let it die here. But in case you're interested, my answers are at the end of this post.

As mentioned above, here are my answers regarding "Why I Tri":

1. What motivated you to participate in the YWCA Women’s Triathlon?

My main motivation for participating in the YWCA Women's Triathlon stems from the desire to challenge myself to meet new fitness goals. I've never been particularly athletic or fitness-minded, but I recently began running and have found that it's something I love. Having run a few 5ks and one half marathon, I feel like I'm ready to tackle a new challenge. One of my best friends, who is also participating in the YWCA Women's Triathlon, began doing tris last year. Her race reports made the sprint tri sound like something I could accomplish with the right training--not to mention it sounded like fun! Also, the concept of a women's only, newbie-friendly event made me feel so much more comfortable as a first-timer! So, my desire for a new challenge coupled with the inspiration provided from my friend resulted in my decision to participate in this year's triathlon.

2. What has been the most challenging part of your training and preparation?

The most challenging part of my training and preparation is finding the time to squeeze in my workouts. As a mom who works full-time outside the home, my free time is limited. Juggling work, home life and training can be difficult, and I often find that training is the first item to be cut from my to-do list. Making time to exercise can be hard, but it's rewarding if you can make it work!

3. Did you register or train with a friend, coworker or family member?

I registered with three of my best friends. Three of us are traveling from different states (Kansas, Ohio and Illinois--the fourth lives in St. Paul) to participate and only one of us has ever participated in a triathlon before! We're looking forward to sharing this experience with one another! Since we all live far apart, we are unable to train together. However, we communicate frequently via email and I feel like we are virtual training partners since we check in with each other so often. Also, I'm lucky to have met someone locally who is also training for her first sprint tri, and we've become friends and occasional training partners. Having that support system--whether it's local or virtual--is priceless!

4. Why train for a triathlon and why now?

I am training for a triathlon because I find the concept of a multi-sport event intriguing and challenging, and I want to push myself to try something new. Being able to say "I finished a triathlon!" has a certain appeal, too. I am participating in the triathlon now because I'm finally realizing how important it is to fulfill my own personal needs and goals, and that taking care of myself is just as important as taking care of other people. Also, my daughter is 4 and is fully aware of my training--she sees me lace up for a run, load my bike for a ride and watches me swim laps at the pool. It's important to me to set a good example for my daughter not only from a health and fitness standpoint, but by showing her how important it is to set reachable goals, how to follow a plan to meet those goals and the satisfaction you get from accomplishing those goals. I want her to grow up knowing she can do anything she puts her mind to!

5. What advice do you have for other women interested in trying the sport for the first time?

My advice for other women thinking of trying a triathlon for the first time is to believe in yourself. Believe in the training program, believe in your abilities and have confidence! Trying something new can be scary, but you'll never regret getting out there! Enlist your friends, family, local training resources and other support services to help you along your journey. Finally, enjoy yourself and have fun!

And if you're interested in finding out more about my non-athletic are my tagged answers:

My favorite cartoon character is… Jem! What's not to love about a girl who turns into a rock star through the aid of hologram emitting magic earrings?? Besides, it's a TOTALLY realistic show.

My favorite thing to photograph is… my daughter. She's got personality to spare!

My favorite thing to cook is… anything that requires a lot of cutting, chopping, tending or otherwise "worrying to death." I'm not one for leaving something be. I'm not happy if I can't mess with it continuously!

My favorite way to exercise is… swimming. Hands down. I could spend hours in the pool. But ask me when summer is over and I may have a different answer. ;)

My favorite movie is… I don't know that I have one favorite, but A favorite is "Waiting for Guffman." Hilarious!

My favorite article of clothing is… Ooo, tough choice between my Kansas Half Marathon shirt (best sleeping shirt EVER) or my swim suit because, duh, I love swimming.

My favorite flower is… I'mma be lame and say I don't have one, because it's true. I love them all! Except lilies. You can keep those.

My favorite breakfast is… Cheerios w/ milk. It's not what I'd order at a restaurant necessarily, but it's what I eat at home most mornings!

Training recap: Week of June 26

Training has been satisfying this week! While I haven't really done what's written on The Schedule, I think I've done a good job making sure I hit the three disciplines evenly throughout the week. I also managed to squeeze in two short brick/transition workouts, which is a new challenge for me.

Last weekend, I traveled to Iowa to visit family and totally over-indulged in festival food (pork Ts! hot mini donuts! hot dogs!) and car food (candy! corn nuts! pop!), and was feeling pretty barfy by Sunday afternoon when we got home. I flopped on the couch and prepared to laze the rest of Sunday away when a nagging thought wormed its way inside my head: "You really should get out and do something. It's been four days since you exercised and you overate to the extreme this weekend. You know you'll feel better if you sweat some of the junk out." As much as I tried to rationalize my way out of a workout, guilt won out and I decided to squeeze in an hour workout somehow.

It had been about a week since I took the bike out of the garage, so I settled on a short bike ride after a swim. It was sort of a pain logistically--I'm still too scared of traffic to ride on the roads, so I had to load my bike in the hubby's truck (first removing his ladder and stuff from the back), find an extra key for the lock, stop by the gas station to air up my bike tires and THEN drive to the pool. Still, the effort was worth it. I knocked out a quick 500m at the pool and loaded back up in the truck to drive to the levy for my bike ride. I'd lucked out with a gorgeous, not-TOO-hot day and biked about 6 miles to round out the workout. Not too shabby for an unplanned workout.

Monday I realized it had been a while since I'd done any running, but the thought of hitting any of my typical 'hood routes was too boring to bear and I didn't have much time to commit to driving elsewhere to run. Also, I'd read two issues of Runner's World nearly back-to-back and was under the influence some subliminal messaging, leading me to the brilliant idea of running to the local track to do some speedwork. 2.5 heinous miles later, I remember why I hated jr high track so much. Sprints are SO not my bag, baby. Yeah, yeah, I know they serve purpose and you don't get better at them if you never do them, but holy cow. Those are NOT fun. But I cranked them out nonetheless.

Tuesday I managed another brick, this time of the bike/run variety. Only about 5 miles on the bike, and I barely managed a 1 mile run after. It was my first bike/run brick and it was quite a wake-up call. I knew my legs would feel wobbly, but I wasn't prepared for exactly how wobbly they'd feel. It took me half the run to get my land legs under me. The second half of the run wasn't pretty physically, but I had the pleasure of running into a friend who was riding his bike the same direction I was running. We chatted while I ran and he biked (slowly) and before I knew it we were back to my truck! It was nice having someone show up unexpectedly, just when I needed the distraction the most. Serendipity FTW!

Wednesday I opted to rest, and by "rest" I mean "took my 4yo to the pool so she could jump in and have me catch her 5,000 times which I'm sure counts as some exercise, right?"

Thursday was strictly swim, and it was awesome! This week's schedule called for 1050m, so I figured I'd aim for a min of 1000, hope to hit 1050, and if I get anything beyond that, BONUS. I was also running short on time (what else is new?), so I was trying to crank this out in 30 minutes. I wasn't sure if it was possible, but I was going to try. I hit 250m at 7:30 min, and I thought it was going to be doable. I've been trying to work on my stroke lately, going for less random, crazy, crashing about and more deliberate, long, smooth pulls. Moving from what I think of as a sprint stroke to a distance stroke (I have no clue if there's even such a thing, that's just how I categorize them in my mind), makes it feel as if I'm going much slower than usual, but I wonder if I'm getting more power and that makes up for the lack of turnover? I don't know. Things I think about when my head's in the water. Anyway, the short of it is, I ended up finishing 1000m with about 1:30 to spare, so I decided to see if I could bust out an additional 75m in that time. I made it in a final time of 30:14! Not too shabby. It was an exhilarating swim on an scorchingly hot day.

So, not too bad of a week! The tri is 6 weeks from Sunday, which is darn close. I'm doing my best to be ready in time!