26 December 2010

Things that make you go "hmmm".

Well, it's a day late but we've managed to accomplish about 6-7 inches of the white stuff today. So no "White Christmas" but the day after means that family actually stays all day for Christmas and there's no worry of being snowed in. Seriously it only take a few inches here for people to stay in and avoid the roads. We are in the south.

So Tim and I bundled the boys up this morning and attempted a snowman...it was more of a snow duck I have to admit...if I can find the camera I'll get a picture up, but if you've been reading this blog for any length of time, you know that me and pictures don't really go well together, I'm lazy. Any how, our snow duck has a big carrot nose (mini carrot), two blue candy eyes, two very small twig arms (wings) a green scarf and a blue cookie monster knitted had. Priceless.

After the building of said snow duck, we went for a walk in the white stuff. It was only a walk because Tim and I have yet to really admit that purchasing a sled might be worth the 30 bucks it costs. As we were walking around the 1/2 mile loop, we came across a lady that was in her drive way wearing a beat up sweat shirt, pajama bottoms, bedroom slippers and a bandanna. She was walking on her 4 inch snow covered driveway. The only tracks other than hers were from where they had backed the cars out of the drive into the street. She was slowly walking from side to side throwing somthing and I just thought it was weird.

Then it hit me, I recognized the blue round container in her hand with the familiar yellow (or white) girl with an umbrella on the side. Morton's table salt. She was sprinkling morton's table salt on the 4 inches of snow. I guess she though it would help the snow melt? I turned to Tim and said, maybe we should tell her that you're supposed to salt before it snows and with rock salt. #1. I have never heard or seen table salt used to help with snow/ice prior to the white stuff falling and #2. I don't think that it helps when applied on top? Not sure here people but my guess is that she's fighting a futile battle.

So flash forward about 5 hours to this afternoon. Ryan is eating a snack, Brayden and aunt Jen are napping and Tim is braving the roads with a friend. So I get the bright idea to shovel our walkway and driveway. Let us keep in mind that Tim and I have yet to buy a sled so please note that we surely do not own a shovel. Hmmmm, so what can I use that has a flat edge to move the fluffy snow? Let's take a gander in the kitchen closet....broom, no. Dust pan....that's ridiculous, no. Ah, there it is, the swiffer wet jet. I don't use it to mop anymore, no pad, flat bottom, turn it on the side and you have a semi-sharp (for my purposes) edge...yup that's it.

So I go out and remove the snow/ice slush from the walk and drive way and then notice that it's starting to flurry again. Crap. I wish we had some rock salt now. Then it dawns on me, no rock salt but my lovely neighbor gave me the idea so I ran with it. I mean really...I removed all the crud from the driveway so it was a clean slate....better table salt than nothing, right? Heck yeah, I emptied my big blue round container of Morton's all over my driveway and walkway.

Now, I just know that there was some neighbor looking out their window at me saying to their family "is she using a swiffer wet jet to clear the drive?" "I think she is, but what is that she's sprinkling on the drive now honey." "Hmmm, it looks like...no it can't be...it is, it's Morton's table salt...she's crazy."

I am crazy but I'll let you know if it works. I amaze myself.

12 December 2010

June 2011

is going to be a doozy. First let's just get the elephant out of the room, Tim and I will be expecting baby Gautreau #3 then. I had written this whole cryptic post with a "surprise" ending, but decided to just say it instead.

We didn't expect it to happen so quickly but literally the week of IM, BOOM...tada! I knew about 4 weeks in and just prepared myself that maintaining that fitness level was unreasonable given a full time job, two kids and a husband that had just signed up for Eagleman.

Yup, that's the #2 doozy for June 2011; Tim signed up for Eagleman about 2 weeks prior to us figuring out I was pregnant again. So the logistics around that race are already being planned out. I have a history of going early (3 weeks with Ryan and 1 with Brayden) so with Eagleman being 2 weeks before my due date, we're going with the impression that baby #3 will be born while in Cambridge. I'm not missing that race, my doctor's will have to get over it.

So, now that I'm 12 weeks, I'm feeling much better. The nausea and fatigue were worse this time. Can't really say that I think it means maybe a little girl, just because of all the other factors of race recovery, being sick and three crazy boys to chase around. I'm enjoying just exercising for health and not worrying about "training".

Tim already has a ton of races (well relatively speaking) that he has signed up for in 2011. "We" just did a marathon in Charlotte yesterday. I'm actually looking forward to taking a back seat sport wise and providing the support and cheering. Although I told Tim last night I wanted to pick 2 early season tri's to do as a relay with him...just can't get it out of my blood you know. So here's to bringing in the new year, with a new life, a new role and a new attitude.

03 December 2010

Getting back in swing of things

I've finally gotten out of the mild funk I've been in and have decided to be serious about physical activity and healthy eating habits. I guess I'm tired of being a bum and my clothes getting tighter.

I kid you not, it's getting bad. I've been completely slack and when I say that my average weekly training hours went from 14-15 to 1 or 2, please try to hold back the gasps and "holy $h!ts". I know, believe me I know. I just couldn't do it, for whatever reason, I just couldn't...so I didn't.

But now, I'm tired of the dimples appearing in places other than my face and not sleeping well because I'm not tired because I'm not expending any amount of energy during the day that resembles a normal human being. I guess I'm tired of being "normal"...that's what everyone says anyway. "you should take some time to be normal again". But what does that really mean? Lazy? Because normal for me was working out, exercising, training (whatever you choose to call it) at least 6 of the 7 days of the week. That was normal. Normal for me, pre endurance training, was 5-8 hours of aerobic activity a week.

So really, I think what people (those that don't race or exercise regularly) mean to say is "stop making me feel bad about the fact that I don't do what you do, and be like me for a while so I feel better about myself". Is that a fair assessment? Maybe not nice, but fair. And I'm tired of that "normal" life.

Despite the past week being nothing but greasy burgers, salty fries, ice cream, sugary cereal (captain crunch with berries being my favorite) and tons of doritos with salsa (ok so the salsa isn't so bad until you eat the entire jar in one sitting), I'm tired of the junk food. I mean, the taste buds like the junk food, but my body is starting to hate the junk food...I'm all sluggish and mushy and yucky feeling. Heck, I've even broken out with pimples this week...how old am I again?

So I'm done with being normal, lazy, non productive and slack. I think I've tried it for a sufficient enough amount of time to have recovered physically, emotionally and mentally from this past year. Time to get crackin' on being me again. Nothing like trying to do that over the holidays...whatever! You cookie makers, pie bakers and soul food cookers....don't come to my house, leave me alone, I don't want it. Well, maybe just give me a few weeks to get back into my routine, then you can come by....really you can. I take anything chocolate and coconut...or pumpkin flavored or savory warm pastry...crap...I need help.

Somebody, call the food doctor. This is more serious than I thought.

24 November 2010

In the nick of time

Ever had just one of those days....you want to scream, curse, pull your hair out, slap somebody and throw everything around you out of the window, or perhaps even set your desk on fire?

Ah, Monday was that day for me. I don't know what it was, but nothing went right. From the time I got up with the boys, daycare drop off, work, cleaning up other people's mess, work, dealing with angry sponsors, oh and more work....I was starting to flip my lid. I was mumbling obscenities under my breath (perhaps not quietly enough since a co-worker asked if I was ok) and just had enough.

I wanted to cry, scream, jump up and down and wave my arms frantically. So when it was close enough to "go home" time, I left. And when I got in my car, thinking things just couldn't get any worse on this crapity crap crap day...I started my car. And guess what happened? The mother of all good things....Christmas music was playing on the radio.

Pheww. Now, I believe that you should enjoy one holiday at a time. I don't like the commercialization that has gotten worse over the years. Our family celebrates halloween, then thanksgiving and then only after that day of stuffing do we get out decorations and get ready for Christmas. But this radio station started playing Christmas music 24/7 on Monday and it saved me.

Christmas is absolutely, without a doubt, my favorite time of year. Perhaps the greatest, fondest memories of my childhood are from a warm house smelling of pumpkin, turkey, stuffing, macarrons, chocolate peanut butter cookies, red velvet cake, german chocolate cake...the list can go on and on. The sound of The Carpenter's Christmas, Alabama Christmas album...classic music.

The big family dinners in Florida when we all got up early to help Mooma with "dinner"; secretly we were just hoping she would let us help so we could sample the goodness a little earlier than everybody else. The family movie night that only consisted of a Muppet Christmas Carol (great movie), and falling asleep to colored lights outside the bedroom window. I miss the anxiousness of Christmas Eve, wondering what Santa would be bringing...even as I grew older and Santa was no longer a magical happy fat old man, but two loving parents trying to keep the spirit alive. I loved that so much, I miss it.

Now I find myself trying to recreate that feeling of comfort, wonder and excitement for my family. I love it...so I will enjoy the early Christmas music every morning in the car (regardless of the "mommy what's that noise" questions from the back seat), enjoy it every afternoon on the way home (great relaxing), soak up the lights, be amazed by the multitude of trees, and absorb every smell...this is my time of year. Hopefully one day my children will feel the same warmth and love.

03 November 2010

Gautreau projects

Let's see. There's so much time now that I don't know what to do with myself...well I do but it's almost like I want to get it all done right now.

1. Goal is to get Ryan bathing himself at night. He's already pretty self sufficient and dresses himself, can brush his own teeth (satisfactorily), uses the bathroom by himself, can feed the dogs and let them out...now it's just bath time and fixing his own food. Although it'll be a while on the food, the kid can't reach very much in the pantry or fridge.
2. Get Brayden potty trained. This one is going to take a while. He's in the "play" mode right now with potty training. I didn't know there was such a stage when we went through it with Ryan, but there is. He's already trying to put clothes on by himself and helps Ryan feed the dogs.

3. My Christmas present from my parents this year are chair rails throughout downstairs. So I've got to finish painting them and the walls. If I'm really motivated, I'll paint the rest of the trim while I'm at it, but that's a lot.

4. There are actually 2 more house projects in the works, but I can't post them...it's too close to Christmas and I don't want to ruin Tim's present.

5. Get back to at least 4-5 days of regular exercise per week. I'm still slacking post IM.

6. We've instituted family dinners. Not just Tim, the boys and myself, but real family dinners. Every other Sunday (starting this week), my parents, Tim's parents, cousin Madison and Aunt Jen along with us of course will all bring a dish and enjoy family time. Talking, eating and maybe some games. I thought it would be fun, so what the heck.

7. Perhaps baby #3. We're still thinking.

Boring blog due to nothing going on in my life other than work. I'm glad it waited till after IM to get busy at work...couldn't have done it otherwise.

24 October 2010

Escape to Edenton

North Carolina that is. Tim and I ran away Friday after work to Edenton, down near the coast. We stayed at a Bed and Breakfast called the The Pack House .

It was very nice. The B&B was only about .2 miles from downtown which was riddled with old shops...like a shop just for books (ha a bookstore), a shop just for shoes, a soda shop, a furniture shop, a pharmacy, an appliance store...etc. Hopefully you get the picture. If you walked all the way to the end of the street, you ran into the bay. Little boats were docked, there was a small playground and to top it off, nearly every street corner was equipped with a light pole, a flag and a park bench.

Saturday, we got up, ate breakfast and then headed out for a bike ride. It was a perfect day out; sunny, slight breeze and cool temperatures. It's flat as can be near the coast so we road fast. It was my first bike ride post IM and it felt wonderful. My legs were moving well, only had brief hints on breathing issues as we went over the 1 bridge in that area.

After we got back, it was a lazy day of laying around watching football, walking around downtown and eating. This morning was a nice breakfast and then off to try another run. It was better than the past few, but I think my runs are going to be either on the treadmill or out on the tobacco trail where it's flat until I can get my breathing under control.

The boys were so excited to see us and when we got in the car, the first request was this "mom, can we listen to my B-day song pweaze". Sure Ryan. When the music started Brayden got so excited "Ryan, it's B-day ryan, you hear that it's b-day. Yeah it's B-day mommy"....and this is what comes on the radio

Da na na na na, na na na, da na na na na, da na na na....They told him don't you ever come around here, don't wanna see your face you better disappear. The fire's in their eyes and their words are very clear so beat it, just beat.

The chorus is the best when the boys sing. Ryan is actually trying to learn the words now but Brayden still says "Nobody say B-DAY....B-DAY" "Brayden that's not the right words brayden".

It's been a good weekend.

20 October 2010

Ironman to Weakman

I should have seen it coming...I mean I practically foretold my future. I think my words were "I don't care how sick I get...blah blah blah." I got sick on Thursday September 16th. It got slightly better after Chesapeakeman, but I never fully recovered. Then Brayden got sick again and so did I. I finally broke down and took some Musinex and Sudafed PE for about 5-6 days. Well I'm still not completely better, I can't get rid of the little glob of mucus that seems to have implanted itself into the back of my throat. Stinkin nagging persistent cold.

I went from making myself not workout for 9 days post IM to being plain lazy. At first it was all I could do to keep myself from working out, to now having to pep myself up to attempt a workout. I've run 3 times since the race. Yesterday was the first run I've had where my knee didn't hurt...apparently I did some damage from all the training and the race. I've also swam 3 times. The first attempt being more like I was swimming in tar, but the last two swims felt really good surprisingly. Well, minus the under water coughs and hacking up mucus between laps. Still no bike.

So let's do the math shall we....3+3=6. A total of 6 whopping workouts since September 25th. Ladies and gentlemen, I might have figured out the fastest possible route to go from the best physical shape of your life to turning into a ball of mush.

I don't think I've completely lost my fitness, but wow, my breathing right now is horrible. I can't get into a comfortable breathing pattern and I'm getting the worst stomach cramps/side stitches I've ever had. I do believe I've walked more in the last 3 runs than I did during that marathon. My legs feel fine running. My arms and breathing feel great in the pool, I just can't put my finger on what is going on.

Is this normal post IM? Several people told me it would take about a month to completely feel "normal" again. Maybe I'm still recovering? Whatever, I actually haven't gained any weight back which shocks me but I feel like a tub of lard. Gotta get off my lazy butt and at least get back into a normal exercise routine.

13 October 2010

What would you say?

I just got done watching live video online (with no sound) of the Chilean miners being pulled out....the last 4. Everyone out alive. Watching this was interesting. I'm not a claustrophobic person, but I can't even imagine being stuck underground for over 2 months and then having to get in a cylinder barely wide enough for my body to be pulled out of the earth. The amount of time it took just to get one person up...What must it have been like for the last minor waiting down there for the cylinder to make it's way back down to get him.

I was watching the reactions of the people at the top and it was just so emotional. Some of them were just over joyed by the fact that everyone was safe they couldn't stop smiling. Rightfully so I think. Then there were those who were crying over the cylinder just starting to come out of the earth, while others were still skeptical until their loved one was actually out of the cylinder and in their arms. Mothers or wives so composed for what was going on to their family and then young men putting up a futile battle to hold back tears.

The embraces between these families was intense. So tight, so long and so passionate. Although I'm sure they were not speaking English I wish I could have heard what they were saying to each other. What do you say in that situation? There are really no words that I could think of that would adequately describe my joy and relief.

When I was very young...5-7 years I think, my dad was still in the Navy and going on deployment over seas. He was stationed in Bahrain. I remember hearing that his ship was being bombed (or something of that nature) and didn't understand why mom was so stressed out about it but knew that everyone was worried. I started having dreams about fireballs running through the city chasing people and that my dad got "caught" by a fireball. I would wake up crying but that was really the extent of it. I didn't know the consequence of what I was dreaming.

In high school, dad had a heart attack. My parents woke me up very early one morning to tell me they were going to the hospital but not to worry, they would call me later and just to go to school as normal. I had a volleyball game that night and was told to go and I could come see dad after the game. They had taken him during the day to Raleigh (we were living in a smaller town at the time) and he had surgery. When I got there, the nurse pulled me aside and told me "You can go in the ICU and see him, but he his intubated and on machines still. If you're going to get upset or cry you will need to leave. He can't see you get upset, he needs everyone to be happy".

I walked very bravely and naively into the ICU, like I was made of stone. He was in the bed in straight sight of the door and I immediately felt my insides falling apart. When I walked closer, I was so scared. He was discolored all over, a yellowish tint and there were bandages all over his chest. The intubation tubes seem to swallow his face and he was awake looking around to find everyone. They only allowed 2 at a time back there, so my mom and I were there. I immediately grabbed his hand and he squeezed me so hard and all I could muster was "Yes, we won the game." I managed an "I love you daddy" and felt my eyes watering and the nurse gave me the look. I had to leave.

At that moment I understood mortality in a way I never wanted to. Seeing your father, a person that is supposed to be the rock, the foundation of the family, the tough man that never feels pain, is never weak and has never cried...for him to be lying nearly helpless attached to machines was simply more than I could bare. But a few days later, he's walking, talking, laughing and living, and there was that sigh of relief...the same sigh I saw tonight. The sigh that says "thank you Lord for blessing us with one more day".

I couldn't say anything that day, but if I could go back or even now I would say: you are the one who has shown me how to love, how to be humble, how to work hard, how to value what I have and make something of myself. You have given me a good life and I am forever grateful. I love you more than you will ever know and am glad that I have more time with you.

Phewwww...happy to be alive, happy to have two healthy children that are safe in their bed tonight, happy to have a husband that loves and supports me, happy to have a family that is always there and able to see their grandchildren grow up. We are a blessed family.

02 October 2010

What's next for the Gautreaus

Well it's hard to say. Tim is definitely doing a marathon in early December (Charlotte NC) and is now looking at picking up another ultra distance relay in Florida in November. He's also trying to raise money right now for the Blazeman Foundation so that he can race at Eagleman next year. I think he's got two weeks to raise $750. I think he's itching to race competitively again.

Me, I'm feeling anxious. About Tuesday or Wednesday this week (only 4 days post IM) I was already wanting to race again. Nothing long, just wanting to find something short, perhaps a 5K or 10K just to feel fast again...well faster. I feel good this week, no major soreness and no injuries from the race; just healing blistered feet. Then again, I've done absolutely nothing that resembles or requires physical effort this week. I think a nice easy swim and perhaps easy run tomorrow. My winter will probably end up with running and swimming mostly with sporadic long rides on the weekends just to keep a certain level of bike fitness.

Ryan is just beside himself with his new "booster seat" for the car. He's so proud to be the big boy now that he doesn't have to ride in a car seat. He's obsessed with wanting to know when he will turn 5. The number 5 is his favorite number and has been for almost a year now. The number 5 was/is the reason he will run around a track for a mile just to see if the number is still there when he gets back around. Hey, if it makes him sleep I don't mind.

Brayden is jealous and keeps asking when it will be his turn to be big enough for a booster seat. For months Brayden has been sleeping in Ryan's bed. He just got tired of his crib even after we converted it to the toddler bed. He didn't want it. We didn't see an issue with letting them share a bed, and Ryan didn't protest too badly. But we did notice they played more at bed time and woke up earlier due to kicking each other and other contact throughout the night. So we broke down this week and bought Brayden is own "big boy bed". This seems to have made him forget about the booster seat and they are both sleeping much better...which means mommy and daddy sleep much better.

28 September 2010

Who is # 180?

The short version of chesapeakeman was a swim of 1:19, bike of 6:36 and run of 5:34. Overall time of 13:45:49, good enough for 5th overall female considering this race doesn't pull a huge elite wave and is more geared for first time ironman athletes...but whatever I was just happy with finishing under 14 hours honestly. Just a finish was a win for me.

The longer version.

We left wednesday afternoon to go to Cambridge. This is the same site where Eagleman is held in June/July. A great little town. It was Tim, the boys, my parents, my sister and brother-in-law, tim's parents and our niece. We rented a house about 6 miles from the finish of the race. I had broken down and started snorting Afrin on Tuesday so Thursday was the last day I could take it. I was still so stuffy and coughing uncontrollably Friday. It was only after warm herbal team with honey that I was able to get any good rest before the race.

Saturday morning, Tim got up with me at 4 and we headed to drop off my special needs bags and then over to the swim start. I think I had been so nervous since about 5 weeks out that I just didn't have any nerves left. From the time we got into town Wednesday and even throughout the day Saturday, I was never nervous. I was not worried, I was just ready to start. I don't get it, perhaps the one time I should have been nervous and it wasn't there. It was very surreal and just seemed like any other race day, really more like a training day.

Swim: I was actually able to touch bottom at the start, which was nice. They had warned us about jelly fish, but I didn't run into any. Aside from a few head bonks and a few elbows, the swim was uneventful. I was very conservative on the first lap just due to not knowing was kind of effort I could get away with and still have the energy for later. I guess that happens with the first try at each distance. I must have been hydrated because I used the bathroom at least 5 times during the swim. Although my left calf got a charlie horse three times and I couldn't kick for the last 500 m of the swim, I was happy with the swim. I swallowed/snorted salt water twice...so not a ton but enough to open my sinuses and keep me from coughing all day.

T1: Lots of ladies looking very scared and quiet. I used the bathroom again in T1...good hydration.

Bike: My family had gone out the night before and put messages on the bike course every 5 miles. This was a flat course...windy from all directions, so at least it wasn't a head wind the entire time. I have to say that I thought I would love the flat, and I did love the absence of big hills, but I would have like something to give my legs a little break every now and then. The messages were a great way to break the ride up. Not only that, my family drove the bike course and stopped every 10 miles or so and waited for me...yelling, clapping, dancing...it was awesome. They started cheering for others riding around me too. I tell you, that came in handy on the second lap especially when I started to hit that wall. It gave me that little extra boost. I actually used the bathroom while riding the bike...never thought I would do that...but holy crap I must have been hydrating well. Again, uneventful ride. Nothing crazy going on, just riding. Trying to push when the head winds hit and then trying to take advantage of the tail winds. The thing that was odd was the sporadic bursts of energy and then lack there of; this started happening about 85 miles in. Again, take advantage of the energy periods hoping they weren't met by the headwind and then just trying to push through the lack of energy.

T2: I was in the tent all alone with a bottle on unopened water somebody had left...so I used it to shower off before changing clothes. Loaded up on sunscreen, stretched out a little and drank some more fluids oh yeah and went to the bathroom again.

Run: This was an out and back (3 times) with not a lot of shade. I just tried to get my legs going. By the time I was starting the run it was about 96-97 degrees out, the good thing was that it was not humid. I made it to the turn around where they had tikki torches, a grill, a keg of beer and upbeat music blasting....it was nice. I wish they had that set up at all the stops. When I got back to aide station 2 my sister and mom were there to see me, I had to sit and vaseline up my feet...yucky blisters already formed on the balls of both feet and three toes. At the start of lap two, I met up with Brian from Delaware and we agreed to run the last two laps together...and we did. run every mile, stop at the stations and drink, take a few slow steps and start running again. I had to stop 3 times to use the bathroom on the run...I'm telling you, I had the nutrition down on saturday. By the time we started lap 3, the sun was setting and you couldn't see the road at all, they only had 2 rented lights on the 4.2 mile stretch of road. Tim met Brian and I out there and "ran" beside us.

The finish: Brian told me to go ahead of him at the finish because I had "saved him from a race that would have been over 15 hours". So I did....grabbed Brayden on the way in, Ryan was asleep with Nina, and everyone ran across with me. One of the most amazing feelings I ever had!

It's crazy to think that my first marathon ever was at the end of an ironman. Actually prior to race day my longest run ever was 17 miles. I never felt overwhelmed with the day or what I had to do, it never felt like a daunting task...it just felt doable. Tim's only comment was "well it didn't feel that way because you were physically prepared." And he's right, so thank you Marty Gaal...you are the reason that the only daemon I had to face Saturday was myself. I was equipped physically and nutritionally.

On that note, I whole heartedly believe that the reason I was able to conquer myself Saturday was because of my family. My day wonderful and fun and exciting only because of my family's support and willingness to share in it with me. For almost a year now, Tim and the boys have dealt with training on a daily basis, my parents have come through on countless occasions so that I could get long rides/runs in on weekends and still allow for Tim and I to have some time together and my sister been the ear that has heard it all. And on the day itself, I couldn't have asked for a better cheering section...if anyone ever needs fans, I'll rent my in-laws out...when I tell you that you can hear them calling your name a 1/4 mile away, I'm not exaggerating! And if it's loud, you'll still hear them above everyone else...and that keeps you moving.

I absolutely love triathlon, and now I know why so many people love the ironman distance. My day ended with my sister and I in the back of the truck back at the house, both crying. Her emotionally exhausted from all the support she'd been giving all day, not just to me but to everyone else. Why would that make her cry? The connection you make with these athletes trying to do something so crazy, right? And then not knowing if they made it. And that made me cry. Because somebody else got it. Maybe my friend Malinda was right, I'm a "waterhead", but that's why I love this sport...the months of sacrifice, crazy crap and then the one day pay off that lasts a life time.

Will I do another one? Absolutely. When? Not for a while, it's my family turn for the same commitment and attention that they've shown me over the last 10 months. I'll post pics of the tattoo when I get it...sister is helping design it.

Oh yeah, and guess what.....I'm an Ironman!

19 September 2010

One week out, what do you do?

Well with Brayden fighting the ick for about 3 weeks now, Tim had it for about a week and Ryan and I successfully fought until early last week. Both of us got a little cough, started with a few sniffles by the Thursday and then by Saturday we were both icky.

I took Friday off work and Tim and I loaded the boys in the car and headed to Asheville for the Blue Ridge Relay. Tim was on a 6 man team. The 209 mile relay race started in Virginia early Friday morning and went around the clock. The boys and I were in the second "team vehicle" which really was just using the extra pass so that we could meet the team at the exchange zones to see daddy and play in various country mountain settings.

So all night Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday I was in a car with a 4 and 2 year old. All three of us sick. At least I got to nap Friday and Saturday and had a good nights sleep Friday night in a bed. Better than the relay team...cat naps cramped in a rented Ford passenger van. Fun fun. We did take them soup and supplies when they needed it though and the boys got to run and play quite a bit...finding fuzzy brown bugs and nicely sized rocks and sticks always make rowdie boys happy.

Saturday morning I was awaiting an early text or call with an address of where to bring a hot breakfast for everyone and instead heard this on the other end.
"hey, what room are you in?" Oh crap "119, why are you all done?" "yeah we had to pull out".

Apparently the downfall of this relay is that the course was not well marked or well staffed with volunteers during the night portion. One of their team members missed a few turns and got lost for close to 3 hours on a 5.5 mile leg. Not fun or good. Everybody else stiffened up while in the van looking for him. And honestly, when you're giving the one female team member a knife to carry on her night legs...probably not a good sign either.

So even though daddy got done about 5 or 6 hours before we expected, we made a day of it. We took the boys to a "gem mine" to find stuff...which honestly was more like somebody tossing some store bought rocks in a big bucket of sand for you to then "unearth" with their water channel...but the boys loved it. So if it makes them happy, it makes me happy. Then we went to the Mast General store and got candy (of course what else), went back for a short nap before heading to catch football and ultimately balloon animals and pizza.

The boys had fun, but were DONE with being in a car by the time we got home today. They were just going buck wild. Luckily grandma and grandpa Barnes came over and asked the boys to spend the night with them so mommy could rest in the quiet and try to kick the ick...I think just the quiet has made me feel some what better. Emergen-C and tons of water, chicken and rice soup and sleep are my friends right now. Let's just hope they make me feel better quickly.

And that's how one week out is shaping up for me. Tim is picking on me now so I must go and kick his lilly @ss. Hehe, not really but the bed is calling.

12 September 2010

Calling all graphic designers....

I'm looking for a little help. "When" my ironman attempt is successful in two weeks, I'd like to get a tattoo. I'm pretty sure I'd like the Mdot, but I'd like to change it up a little, maybe have the name of my race on there and the date. I'm just not creative at all. I've googled some tattoos online and there are some pretty cool ones on there. I'm just not sure.

So if anyone has any ideas, do share! Also, I'm still debating on location. Seems like most people get it on the calf, it's always visible, a constant reminder and conversation piece I suppose. Then there's the shoulder or upper arm. You can see it when you race, but you can cover it up for things like formal occasions...I think I'm leaning toward the calf...I mean if I'm going to get inked, I might as well let it been seen right?

thoughts and recommendations welcome and wanted.

08 September 2010

Saying our "Thank Yous"

Lunch monday:
Ryan: Mommy we need to say our thank you's
Brayden: Uh huh...thank you's mommy
Me: Ok, but you'll have to say them so I can learn them too.
Ryan: We start by counting together mommy...say it "1-2-3", say it
Brayden: 1-2-3 GO RYAN GO!
Me: Ok, 1-2-3
Ryan: thank you for the earth and sky, thank you for the birds that fly. thank you for the strings that fwoat (float), thank you for the food we grow. thank you, thank you this we say. Thank you for all we have today.
Brayden: thank you for today.
Me: that's very nice. we need to say thank you's more often.

Ryan: mommy who do we say our thank you's to?
Me: Well we are saying them to baby Jesus.
ryan: you mean baby Jesus from Christmas. It's not his birthday yet. I miss baby Jesus, can me and Brayden go play with him. When do we get a turn to play with him?
Me: Well hopefully your turn to play with him is when you're really old.
Ryan: You mean like grandma lillian (mind you she passed away when he was 2.5 years old)
Me: Yes honey, like grandma lillian and grandpa sam.

Ryan: Well mommy, that's not fair that they get to play with him and be in his house in the sky and me and Brayden can't have a turn yet. I think I'm going to build a rocket ship and then me and Brayden can ZOOM UP in the sky and visit and take our turn. Do you think that is a good idea?
Me: I think building a rocket ship to fly in is a great idea. I think that you wanting to take turns and share playing with baby Jesus is a great idea and very nice too.
Ryan: Yeah, that's what we're going to do Brayden, alright?
Brayden: right Ryan.

If only it were that simple.

05 September 2010

With September comes change

1. College football has started. Our week now starts on Monday with analysis of the previous weekend's games and predictions for the coming week. Thursdays are spent watching the first of the weekend's games and Saturday's start early watching College Game day all morning until the first game kicks off and full anticipation until FSU plays. Lots of food and drinks and company.

2. It looks like we're going to get a fall this year. Back in April, we skipped directly from winter to summer heat and humidity. All of a sudden, we hit the month of September and the weather got very pleasant. It's chilly in the mornings and the day warms up to a tolerable heat that just makes you feel like you've just eaten a hot bowl of soup on a freezing winter day...comfortable. Unfortunately with this relief from the heat, not only is it giving us more energy...it's giving the kids more energy. We're outside more and they are wanting to go all the time. As if they weren't before, but I think you all know what I'm talking about with heat zapping energy.

3. I've noticed a huge difference in my training load and energy. My body is getting much needed rest and recovery. The load is tolerable and with the reprieve in weather, my training actually feels good. Although it's nice, this holding pattern still has me ready for race day to be here and done.

4. With my training winding down, Tim is now ramping up his training for the Kiawah Island marathon in December.

5. Ryan is now a big boy with show-n-tell and getting ready for kindergarten. He no longer goes to "pre-school" he goes to "pre-K" with the "biggest kids in school" and in the "biggest kid room".

6. Brayden has been riding the tricycle by himself for a while now. He figured out the pedaling much faster than Ryan did. He's also much farther along with potty training than Ryan was at this age as well...I think having an older brother to watch has helped. I'm hoping that he'll be trained by Christmas...or at least pretty close.

7. Maybe my house will start to stay clean and my laundry will get put away...okay okay. Maybe it's not going to change that much around here.

28 August 2010

Wandering Minds

It's interesting what you start to think of during long training days...like on my long rides I start to sings songs from the golden oldies station from when I was a kid...I can never remember more than 3 or 4 lines of the song so it's more of an "angela's memory sucks" montage. I've sang 99 bottles of beer, I've tried to remember songs and poems from high school. I've contemplated if I'm "being all I can be", what makes my boys happy/sad, why I'm doing this, why Tim puts up with me...those sorts of things.

It's mostly just happened on the bike, obviously because the most time is spent there. But it happened in the pool on a short workout this week...weird. In our new pool, one lane is right next to the doors for the woman's, men' s and family locker rooms. And today, swimming with my eyes closed, I could tell which locker room door I was passing based on the smell and taste in my mouth.

It's simple really. A slight musty stale smell with a small hint of old spice is the men's room. It's the least noticeable, least offensive of the three actually. Still detectable to the trained olfactory system of a mother.

The distinct smell of baby powder and desitin means I am passing by the family locker room. It's a smell that I have known all too well for the last 4 years. More so with Brayden, little boy's bottom has diaper rash at least every other week. Seriously, he can tell us before we change him, "mommy I have diaper crash...I need ceam" or "I need a band aid for my diaper crash".

Then there's the woman's locker room...oh my dear heavens. It's the strongest, thickest smell of all. It's like swimming by a Macy's perfume counter and the smell just hangs in the back of your throat for an entire lap or two after the door closes. It's a choking hazard waiting to happen. I can't stand it. It's like they load the stuff on before they go work out for fear of smelling while working out...the same women that put on make up to workout or play sports and the same ones that only work hard until they start to sweat. ARRRRRGGGGG, curse you chanel #5.

But the fact that I was trying to guess what door I was passing based on smell in between strokes with my eyes closed, that's a new one for me. Too bad I don't have doors on the road. Of course I wouldn't be closing my eyes, but hey it would pass the time.

26 August 2010

This one is for Trish!

I think that there are always those people that just pop up in your life out of no where. Trish is that person for me. I worked with Trish about 5 or 6 years ago. She was a senior member of the regulatory team when I came on and as the one who showed me everything. Actually she was the "do it all" woman. She had made her way through nearly all the departments doing whatever they asked. It was a small company, you had to do what you had to do in order to get the job done. She knew it all, knew all the right people and to top it off, had the greatest personality. It was never a dull day with Trish, if you were at work, you were smiling and laughing.

Well, Trish was there with me when I got tricked into signing up for my first triathlon. She would go to the pool with me at lunch and help me out a little...she used to swim. So after my first season, Trish got the idea to get back into running and started doing the sprints with some ladies in her neighborhood. Unfortunately, she left where we were and I didn't get to see her anymore.

So about 1.5 years later at a race on the coast, as I'm yelling for Tim out of T1, and a few months pregnant with #2...I hear "Angela Is that you?". Turn around and there she is, Trish. With that big smile on her face...racing! A quick conversation to catch up and as quickly as she was there, she wasn't again.

I'm pretty sure there's another instance between then and now, but I can't recall specifically. This past weekend, Tim and I were at the bike shop trying to figure out what to do about his trashed bike...and as we start to pull out of the parking lot, a huge white SUV stops mid turn, rolls down the window...and it's TRISH! Another quick hello and "update your blog, I'm following you." and we're off again.

So Trish, here's the latest.
I'm 4 weeks out from my Ironman debut. And this week was a much needed break from training. I look at where I started last November, when 8 hours was a heavy training week for me and think now that 9.5 hours seems like nothing and is my "easy" week. I'm on the downhill to race day.

The thing I like most about this week, it's allowed me time with my family, time for chores, time to sleep, time to eat and unfortunately it's coincided with a really busy week at work...so it's balanced out.

Ryan has actually asked me why I'm not riding my bike or running. Brayden has been happier with being able to cuddle more and I've just been more relaxed. Tim is starting his marathon training this week and it's nice to be able to let him do something for a change.

My contracting position with the "Q" is hectic and stressful and I'm looking forward to not being there anymore...I think I've got 6 months left....hint hint wink wink, if you have anything interesting as far as jobs go let me know....I'm on facebook. haha

So Trish, you're following me, but I can't follow you. Do get in touch, I'm dying to have a good laugh and catch up!

Everybody else out there, hope it's all going well for you too! And seriously, I need to hear some good IM stories and "be prepared for ..." type messages...so send them my way....Michelle, Rebecca, Scott, Dan...seriously I know there are more of you out there!

15 August 2010

I'm burnt

like toast..
like a lobster...
out....yeah that's it...I'm burnt out!

I've been told by several whom have done this IM stuff before that the last month and a half are the hardest...that these last few weeks before the taper is what will test me the most. And I have to say that I agree whole heartedly. Not only has the fatigue just piled up infinitely on me, but mentally, I'm just wrecked. And as you all probably know, it's hard to make the body do what the mind is not willing to do.

Example: today's brick was a 3 x (25 mile bike/3 mile run). With each session increasing in intensity. I started at 6:30, got through the first set easy, plenty of shade. Set two, bike split down by 5.5 minutes, run with no shade. I stopped by my parent's place half way through the run, sat down, drank a water and just sat. I didn't want to do the last set...I just sat there. Now, I did the last set and even managed a bike split still 1.5 minutes faster than the second. But I sat there for 5 minutes after that last bike trying to convince myself to just start the last run...I would finish if I started...and I did but it was another run that was just yuk.

A month ago I was all in the right place, mentally, physically and emotionally. Now I just feel defeated. I'm tired, I'm sluggish, I'm lacking in confidence over all this and just want it to be over. It's all stemmed from the run in SC, ever since then every long run as been met with cramps, a pace which is slowing exponentially and a ratio of walk/run that is increasing. I'm just ready to feel good when I run again.

I know that all this is probably normal and I can even reason that it is logical based on what I'm doing on a daily/weekly basis...but honestly this sucks. And sure it's really hot and humid...I know all the factors leading to how I feel, but it doesn't make it easier. This party girl is getting impatient for her debut party entrance. September 25th cannot get here fast enough.

Now if I can just get through the next week, I should be good...or at least I think so.

25 July 2010


or should I say a training camp in the ocean? Tim and I just got back from our 7 day cruise to the Caribbean. It started with a long run Saturday before we got on the boat, in 85 degree, 100% humidity, heat index of 105...at 8 am! Needless to say this was the worst run I think I've had since January.

Sunday was up at 6am for a 4.5 hour ride on a spinner on the boat gym. Not too bad. Then lots of food, drinks both of the water and alcoholic kind and a three hour nap. The nap turned in to a daily routine...that was the nicest part of the entire vacation. The rest of the week was a balancing act of treadmill runs on a treadmill that was mimicking the sway of the boat from the ocean, more spinner rides and a nice ocean water swim. Friday was a 5.5 hour spinner ride on the boat...a tiring way to end the cruise.

But It was the best training week I've had in a long time. I felt good all week, I think the combination of lots of good healthy (yes I ate healthy...98% of the time) and tons of sleep contributed to the way I felt.

Tim and I gambled a lot, saw some really good shows and some not so good shows on the boat. Tim even volunteered for the hypnotist show on Friday; it was interesting to say the least since he did the rated R show at 11pm. Whether it be good or bad I don't know, but I didn't even think about the boys until Thursday night. And honestly, I could have taken another 5 or 6 days.

It was good to be home yesterday though. And today was Ryan's 4-year birthday party! His birthday isn't until Tuesday but we celebrated today. Complete with the FS Series orange dancing man (thanks guys!) and an appearance from Muddy the Mudcat (a local triple A baseball mascot)...the only two things he wanted for his birthday and we were able to get! He was so excited and happy, it was so nice to see. Words can't describe how nice it feels to see your children that happy. Definitely will be posting the pictures soon.

Good to be home. So, I've got about 9 weeks left till my IM party and I'm feeling good and getting more excited and anxious with every week that passes.

14 July 2010

Dinner props

Tonight for dinner we had spaghetti, creamed corn, applesauce, yogurt and koolaide. There were some grilled chicken fingers in case they didn't want the spaghetti, but for the first time in a few weeks they destroyed their plates.

Ryan: Mommy, these sure are some delicious corns.
Brayden: yeeeahh...dewiscis mommy. Mmmm.
Ryan: Mommy, this sure is some perfeccly awesome spaghetti.
Brayden: yeeeahh....pefely awes pasketti
Ryan: Mommy, thank you for such a yummy dinner. My belly is so excited.
Brayden: yeeeahh...yummy. My belly cited tooo.

Now, only if I had been the cook.

Thanks for such a great dinner Tim!

11 July 2010

New Bike and news

Well Tim's been trying to convince me for 2 years to get a new bike...an upgrade. And I never could pull the trigger. There was always something else the money could be spent on...and probably there probably still other things we could use the money for, but we're not stretched any more since I'm working full time and it's a good time.

I've tested the Felt B14, Cervelo P2, Kuota k factor and Kuota Kueen K. I'm wanting to try the Cervelo P3 and Felt B12. But I think it's coming down to the P3 and the Kuota Kueen K. I'm excited. I never knew how heavy my road bike was until now. It hit me like a ton of bricks when I test rode on saturday and then went for a 4.5 hour ride sunday....the entire time I was cursing my bike.

The one problem I'm having is timing. The IM is September 25th and no stores really have my size bike in. Stocks are low and nobody knows when they're shipments are coming in. It sucks. Hopefully by the end of the week I will have a new bike to play with. Yeah!

In other news, Tim and I finally get another vacation. Cruise time starts this Friday for a week. Tim's mom is staying at our house with the boys so I'm sure they will enjoy nina time and being able to stay at their house.

Ryan has made a definite jump from toddler to "big kid". His reasoning skills and conversation are amazing, and I've already starting getting teary eyed over the fact that he will be starting school in a year. Brayden is full force into tantrums and his independence finding phase. It doesn't seem as bad as it was with Ryan. I'm not sure if it's because we've been through it once so it makes it easier to deal with or if he just hasn't changed as dramatically as ryan did. Different circumstances, different kid, different parents (so to speak).

Tim has really started focusing on his running again, doing a lot of track meets. And to top off all that we have going on already, we're playing flag football once a week for 2 months. Well, I wouldn't call what I'm doing playing...I'm more just jogging around the field looking "good" because I don't want to get hurt. The other teams seemed to have picked up on this and don't really pay me any mind. I don't mind, I'm getting to be social and it's a good mental break from the trifecta that runs my life right now.

23 June 2010

In the throws

Never did I expect IM training to be like this. "This" is not a bad thing, it's just more than I anticipated. Granted, at the time that I began training I was only working 20 hrs/week...which made training easier to manipulate around. So when I started working full time again right after the early season 1/2 IM, it kinda threw a kink into things.

My time is so consumed now I can't even account from one day to the next. Aside from early morning workouts, lunch workouts, and after work workouts (depending on the day), I get about 3 hours a day that are not spent either getting myself and the boys ready for work/school or getting ready for bed. Typically those hours are spent picking up around the house or throwing laundry into the wash or vegging out on the couch. We don't really put laundry away anymore...we just have a dirty pile and a clean pile. Since the end of April, last weekend was the first time we've swept, mopped, wiped or dusted the house. Sad thing is we didn't have enough time to get to the bathrooms. Needless to say, I only get online maybe once a week now.

I actually met a woman at work today who is training for IM Wisconsin. It was so nice to talk to somebody else who is at the same stage of training as I am and who has done it before. She gave me names of local long group rides, run/swim training nights and wants to get together again to talk about what she went through with her first IM. I'd like hearing the stories and little "ah ha" moments people have...it helps to get me prepared I think. So this lady asked me "how are you feeling with everything right now?" My reply, "I'm tired and hungry". and she said "well then, sounds like you're right on target, your coach is doing it right".

I guess that sums it up...tired and hungry and right where I'm supposed to be. More than I thought it would be but well worth it as far as I can tell for now. The only reason I say that, is that I'm a complete "water head" every time I see one of the televised IMs right now...all teary eyed wondering "how will I react when i finish", "how many times will I want to stop" , but most of all "what will it feel like to be an ironman". I want it so badly, I want that honor.

I don't even think I will begin to comprehend the things I'm learning during training from a physical, mental and even emotional level until September 25th has come and gone. But as my co-worker said today..."that day is a party, celebrating all the hard work and pain you've put in. So just smile and enjoy the fact that you can even try to finish." I'm ready for my party.

18 June 2010

Brown bear, Brown bear what do you see?

Last weekend was fun. Tim and I took the boys to the Pamlico River and spent time with my parents, his parents and his sister Jennifer. Saturday morning was filled with sprinklers, spiders, coolers filled with Ice and a pig pick'n.

After lunch, little boys found their way to a nap, big boys found their way in the shade of a tree drinking and talking or in-front of a tv to watch soccer and the girls (Jen and I) found ourselves sailing with my cousin Chuck. It was fun, I've never sailed before. It's one of those little boats that you sit on and manually handle the sails and steering...I'm boat dumb so I'm not sure what kind of boat it was. But we had a good time. Jen went out by herself with Chuck and on their way back in the boat was vertical and they were laughing. Very good times.

Back to the trailer and I headed out for my 90 minute run. Tim decided to ride his bike with me while I ran...the company was nice. What was nicer was what happened in the first 1.5 miles of my run...here's where the caption should be BLACK BEAR. We saw a black bear walking out of the woods about 200 yards in front of us. I stopped dead in my tracks and so did the bear. Tim's reaction "Angela turn around now, go, turn around now". My reaction...uh I'm not moving until he moves and he wasn't moving.

He stared us down as if to say "I see you, what are you doing? Do you want to play with me? I like to play chase." No thank you Mr. black bear. So finally, a few cars had stopped behind us, which provoked a response from said black bear. He decided to move along. Tim and I proceed with extreme caution and just kept wondering...WHAT THE HECK is a black bear doing on the east coast of NC? Mountains, yes...coast, um no.

The rest of the run was uneventful other than a blister that covered my entire pinky toe. This was followed by nearly a 4 hour ride Sunday morning. It was pretty hot, flat, windy, Hot, sunny and HOT. The one place I forgot sunscreen...a little place on my back where my shirt slides up and my shorts slip down. It's still got mini blisters and extremely tender to the touch nearly a week later...and still NC state red. OUCH, note to self for this weekend's rides!

After the great training we got in, (it's nice having both sets of parents and aunt jen around), we took Ryan out on the lake in a big inner tube. Tim and I sat in this thing while Ryan was in Tim's lap. He loved it! I seem to recall when I was younger that my dad couldn't try hard enough to throw my sister and I off the floats. Now we were slightly older than 4, but still...it's was no joke. Hold on for dear life and when you couldn't hold on to the inner tube, you held your nose for fear of water shooting so far and fast up your nose that it stung. So the point is, dad wasn't going super fast, but he was going fast enough to get some good waves and that Ryan said he felt like he was in a hot rod.

Now that's a good weekend.

09 June 2010

Finders Reward

It's different for everybody in our family. Examples:

1. Ryan finding his lost "ball bumper" = hours of entertainment and anxiety as he tries to keep brayden from taking it from him.

2. The dogs finding their tennis balls = 5 minutes of wild anticipation of being able to play fetch, followed by 2 minutes of playing fetch because the boys can't throw the ball more than 10 ft.

3. Brayden finding a "chocat" muffin in the backyard= happy screeches of "mommy I find it...chocat muffn" (insert dog poop where you see the words chocat muffin) followed by smiles as he smears it all over himself...yeah for water hoses.

4. Tim making new friends through FSSeries = Tim getting new bike toys.

4a. Tim and Angela making friends with FSSeries = Ryan getting his very own "dancing man" for his 4th birthday...how cool is that? That's why FSSeries rocks!

5. Angela finding Suzie (spin instructor from 5 years ago) = a break from the garage once a week and a room full of other miserable, tired, sweating, puking triathletes!

6. Angela finally finding someone to run with at track practice = workouts go by more quickly and are actually fun.

7. Finding more time in the day to spend with all my boys = when I find that I'll let you know. Seems as though working full time again, IM training, keeping house, keeping husband and keeping boys just requires more than 24 hours in a day.

What's your find and reward? If it can beat the chocolate muffin, do tell!

15 May 2010

A Break

I got to go to Atlantic Beach, NC Friday after work. I was meeting a college friend for her bachelorette party. It was good to see her and a few other college friends. When I showed up they asked what I wanted to drink, and the typical response almost emerged when I thought to myself "no kids, no man, sleep in tomorrow..." I'll take a pina colada please.

We had a nice dinner and by nice, I mean I had to fish one of the ladies out of the men's room as she started a conversation with the men at the urinals. It was funny...sort of. Afterwards it was fun games back the hotel and a restful night. I slept in till 8:30, which was magical, then got a long ride in.

It was time to face the wind daemon. I talked to him, told him he was not going to beat me down this time like he had in South Carolina. I told him to screw off and grow a pair because I just wasn't going to take it any more. And I didn't take it, I kicked that winds butt. Now honestly it wasn't nearly as bad as it was in the SC 1/2, but it was a start to facing the deamon. And I survived. I felt pretty good and I was happy at the end at having been able to stay focused and strong. A step in the right direction.

On a bad note, my last water bottle fell off my bike and was run over and busted at my turnaround...when you're on a rural road that runs between islands, there is no where to stop for water. So I had to stop at the beach access lots and get water out of the sink in the women's room. There were only two such stops on the way back in, so needless to say I was a little dehydrated this afternoon.

On my way home, I let the windows down, turned the radio up as high as it would go and I sang as loud as I could. Even when I didn't know the words. It was refreshing, revitalizing and fun. Then Pink's song "Rockstar" (I think that's the name) came on. And I found myself dancing in my seat with the hugest grin on my face as I sang the chorus the way Brayden and Ryan would have sung it "Guess what, rockstar, got my rock moooooonnns. so what, I having more fun, cause I'm a rockstar!"

I got my rock moons back this weekend.

08 May 2010

Early Mother's Day

This morning I was woken by Brayden at 6am...he climbed into bed with us and tried to go back to sleep but it was useless. So the tv was turned on. At 6:30 Ryan came meandering in...with a huge grin on his face. "Good morning mom". He joined us all and after 5 minutes of tv he says "I'm hungry mom".

Do you want to go downstairs and get breakfast buddy? "Yeah, I'll be right back." And he left the room. I knew he was going to get something and bring it back. When I was at home with them, it was not uncommon for him to go get a box of cereal, bagels or fruit chews from the cabinet and bring them upstairs for everyone to eat while we watched cartoons. This morning was no different. When he came back into the room carrying the lucky charms, with an even bigger smile on his face he said to me "HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY, here you go". "Wow, did you bring those for me?"..."Uh, no they're for me and Brayden but you can share with us."

Cool, love it. Best breakfast in bed I've ever had. This was followed up by a Swedish massage and facial, then lunch with my mom. It was nice...very nice.

So during my massage, while on my tummy, my stomach was growling crazy. It was loud, like the screaming child in a restaurant, it would not stop. I felt bad for the lady giving me the massage. Just when I was about to apologize to her, it growled again....oh wait, that wasn't me. It was her. Ha, no apologies needed. At least it wasn't gas I suppose.

Better yet was coming home to a house that Tim had tidied up. I love my boys.

Happy Mother's day to all the old, young and about to be moms!

03 May 2010

Try Charleston 1/2 IM Race Report

Ahhh, how do you start a race report of a race gone sour? I guess like this:

I did what I could. But after 5 years of racing triathlon, I had my first truly bad race. Not all bad, but disappointing and riddled with mental error. Was I nervous before this race, we all know the answer to that. I had put a lot of pressure on myself for this race. Was I physically prepared, more so than I've been for any other triathlon I've raced. Was I mentally prepared...mostly, but not entirely. And the one thing a coach can't do for you is train your mind. You can hear the messages all day long, but until you process them for yourself and take ownership over them, all the conversations, pep talks and coaching are no good. And what I found out this weekend, racing is just as metal as it is physical..maybe even more so.

I was nervous before the start and even Tim said that he noticed I was not thinking clearly as we got ready to head out of the hotel for the race site...it was just a manageable nervousness though, nothing like my first race ever, or my first half. I got a good warm up run in before hand and was nutritionally square. I got in the water and when the horn blew, I went. I felt good in the water and at the end of the second lap, although a little tired, I felt like I could have gone another two laps. Out of the water, passed up the wet suit strippers and onto the bike.

I had heard bad rumors that there was a headwind on this pancake flat course...but the first 25 miles were nice. A slight tailwind, smooth, flat and comfortable. I felt good, controlled and confident. I was hitting my nutrition spot on, then it happened and I wasn't prepared for it. At 25 miles, we made the turn around and literally as soon as we turned the median of the road, the headwind stopped us in our tracks. I say "we" because every person I saw that had already made the turn around looked as though they were sitting still. "To be sure, I'm in better shape than that" I thought...then I found out, Uh it's not that they are in bad shape...the wind is that bad. I tried to stay strong because I knew we were turning off the main road and though that would get me some relief...but none was to be found. There was only about a 4-5 mile stretch during that last 31 miles that was not in the head wind. At one point I started singing "99 bottles of beer on the wall" to try and take my mind off of it until I lost count of how many bottles were left because the wind was blowing me around. My rpms just kept getting lower and lower...down shifting to try and let my legs recover and still no relief. The last 6 miles were never ending...and I was mentally spent.

As I came into T2, I commiserated with a gentleman on my rack about it and tried to get ready for the run. Tim was talking to me from the side "this is what you've trained for Angela, let's go have a good run." I heard him and I was trying to believe him. As I ran out of T2 smothering sunscreen on, I tossed the bottle to Tim and decided to try and focus on what Marty said. Start the first 3 easy/comfortable, get into the groove. Then, "if you're feeling good, move into a moderate/fast effort just like in training." That was the plan and I was getting it done. Miles 1-3 were at my right at my goal pace...and I felt good. Forget the bike. So, it was time to move into the moderate/fast effort, right?

Here's where my racing inexperience got me. Being a volleyball and softball player, there really isn't any strategy to game time, if you know what I mean. With racing, whether it be running, biking, swimming...pick your type of race...strategy and game plans are vital, especially once you get to these longer distances. Before this weekend, my strategy was always, put an effort in that will allow you to finish...so I never pushed. But now that I was trying to best my time, I needed a strategy. So, what did I do, I went for the moderate/fast. Well, correction, I dropped my mile pace by 30 seconds per mile...no comments please. At the time I said to myself...wow angela you can do that after that bike...you go girl. Except for after a mile of that pace, an a scorching hot day, in a course with no shade (with no heat training as of yet), my legs said stop.

So I stopped at the next aid station. And from that moment on, my miles got slower and slower and then I stopped again and they got slower and slower.I remember looking down at my watch (which I don't normally wear during races) and thinking "if I can just hang on to a 10 minute pace, I can match my 5:45 from November)...then I looked down again at the next mile marker saw the reality, I was not even going to make 6 hours and I had an emotional breakdown. I was sobbing like a baby...until of course another racer would pass and I would shut up. That lasted for about 5 minutes.

Enough already, shut up and finish. One step at a time, just get your butt across the line and be done. And I did. But as soon as I saw Tim waiting for me in the final 1/4 mile...I broke down again. The one person that would get it, he had been there himself and I knew I could just let it go. He ran with me to the finish where I continued to hang my pathetic head, tears streaming and snot flowing. The only people that wanted anything to do with me at that point were Tim, Brayden, Ryan and my mom. My dad, God love him, didn't know what to do or say...nor did I. It just wasn't my day. I had put all my energy into what it would be like to beat my time and never thought about what it would mean if I didn't. I mentally withdrew after the bike and made a very bad decision on the run that cost me being able to salvage my race.

Positive outcomes/lessons learned:
1. Swim was still an improvement which is encouraging
2. Bike, despite the headwind, was feeling very strong
3. Race nutrition was great and I physically felt great
4. Let bad things go in the race, don't dwell
5. No more wearing a watch or if i do, don't focus on it
6. When coach says pick it up to moderate/fast...that doesn't translate into 30 seconds/mile faster...duh
7. Bad days happen
8. Prepare for the unexpected

So I'm done wallowing now. The big fish is at the end of September.

29 April 2010

Mental Changes

I'm not sure what triggered the change or when it happened but it has happened. Regardless of what my loving husband would say, I am and have always been a very competitive person. Admittedly, it was really bad when I was younger; I'm embarrassed about just how bad of a sport I could be at times.

When I graduated from college, I started coaching teenage girls in volleyball. Perhaps that started, the change from "WIN, KICK A$$, NO EXCUSES, WIN MORE" to "how can we develop your talent, make you better than last week, last tournament, last year, make you happier as a player and meet your goals." Or maybe it was seeing that at 14-16 years old, there is no need to push that negative energy around. But slowly, I started changing my outlook on sports and how I participate. It became a mission of feeling proud about myself and what I had done to accomplish a goal, or being okay with the idea that a goal didn't get met because I had worked as hard as I could and I would just have to work harder next time. Satisfying the competitive side of me....with beating me and not somebody else.

So I bring this up because that mental change was a very slow and gradual process. Not just a sudden enlightenment. When I started triathlon, I just wanted to finish a little sprint. That was good enough, didn't matter how it happened, as long as it happened. Then my first season was focused on improving that sprint time as much as I could, with no thought of how to do so...just work harder. Once that goal was met, it was "let's finish an oly distance...just finish" and check for that. Then, let's try a 1/2 IM to "get back into shape post baby #1"...check for that.

My goals since that first half went like this 1) for the second 1/2 IM don't bonk...prepare nutritionally 2) for the third 1/2 IM don't walk at all on the run and now for this weekend's race 3) get as close to 5hrs 30 min as possible. You see, the first two goals had no planning...I just went at them as working harder and more mental focus. But last night's car ride with Tim to South Carolina really got me thinking about this last goal. It's no longer just the "work harder" approach.

Of course I have been working harder than previously...well maybe not harder, but definitely more regimented and committed to what I'm doing. I trust that what Marty has had me do since January has prepared me to be physically and nutritionally ready for this race...but he can't control the mental part of it (although I do enjoy pep talks on rare occasion *wink*). Tim was my pep talk last night. How can I be mentally prepared for this race? What needs to happen to ensure that I utilize all the training that I've put into this race? In other words...What is my race plan? Never had one of those before...like I said it was just "finish" or "work harder". What does that mean exactly?

A good chunk of the car ride was a discussion between Tim and I about what we both "need" to do to accomplish our goals for this weekend's race. For the first time since I started racing...I'm formulating a plan of how to accomplish my time goal, considering the training, talks and information I've gotten from Marty I'm really excited....but more nervous.

Seriously, it wasn't hard to improve on my first 1/2 IM time...it sucked to put it bluntly. I bonked, I was unprepared. The second go was much improved but still left much room for improvement. The third one was a wetsuit legal, salt water (with a current) swim...so of course my time was better. Now, it's really time to see how I can push myself given the training I've had...not wuss out and hold back....for as long as I mentally can stand it. It's a mental game. So the thoughts of "how much time can I realistically carve off of last November's race given the swim" are entering my mind. Alligators are in the back of my mind...not hitting my goal is in my mind. But what's driving me the most is the thought that is the smallest right now...what if I can blow that time out again? What if I can take another 10-15 minutes off that time? Holy cow...so I've got to try.

So the plan is to swim like I know I can (which is faster than I normally do in races because I get scared of drowning), suck up the "pain" on the bike and get as close to 2:50 split as possible, and then put a run together like I have been in training on my long runs (9 min pace would make me happy). I just have to repeat "You can do this" "You will do this".

I will try to do this...comes down to the 3 D's; desire, determination and dedication. I can do this.

19 April 2010

Rule No. 1

What was the first rule you were taught when you learned how to cook? Don't leave cooking food unattended, right? Simple. Basic. Common sense. Until now.

I decided to boil eggs tonight just to have boil eggs or make some egg salad...I don't know, just wanted them. So at 5:45 I put 6 eggs in a pot and started the water boiling. At 6:45, Tim, the boys and myself, were upstairs in our bedroom getting some quality time in and some "quiet time" in. When we heard a few "pops". Didn't think anything of it. In fact, we thought it was one of the dogs turning over their dog food dish in the laundry room. Then the next pop was louder and Tim said, "Have you been back downstairs since you started boiling the eggs?" "nope...oh crap".

I stayed upstairs with the boys while Tim went down stairs as I hear another "Pop" I just started laughing realizing the eggs were what was popping. "Tim, are those the eggs popping" "yeah, I'll let you come down and see the damage."

So I learned that a few things happen when you boil eggs for an hour on high:
1. Obviously all the water boils out
2. The bottom of the pan burns
3. The eggs explode

I only hope I didn't ruin the new stainless steal cookware we just got for our anniversary...sorry mom.

14 April 2010

Two weeks and 3 days...

Till SC 1/2 IM. Ye-haw!

10 April 2010

Season's first open water swim

Today was the 5280 swim out at Beaverdam about 45 minutes from our house. This race was done in conjunction with an Olympic distance triathlon. Tim and I were volunteers for this race, as well as participants, so we had to be there around 5:30. It was cold! Water temp was about 68 to 70 depending on who you asked, but all I cared about was that I got to wear a wetsuit...because I a cold water wussy. Seriously people, the heated pool at our gym still isn't warm enough for me sometimes.

Anyhow, after helping check people in, body marking and various other small tasks, I had about 15 minutes to prepare before the start. My goals were 1) to get a faster time than the 1 mile swim from last August and 2) try to break 30 minutes.

I think I started way too fast because I found myself near hyperventilation mode within the first 75 meters...yikes. So I slowed down a bit. For whatever reason, I did not site well today. normally my swim path is pretty spot on, straight and the shortest path to the next point...but today not so much. I can't say that I went completely out of the way but I was slightly off course twice. So not a big deal. The other thing I learned is that Tim and I are apparently very close to the same size from crotch to shoulder, so wearing his long sleeve wetsuit that pulled on his shoulders/arms did the same to mine today. It was like a rubber band preventing me from taking a full and proper stroke. I was getting so tired and didn't figure it out until we got home. I was fighting against a wetsuit out there. Again, don't know how much that really impacted my overall time, and I don't really care at this point.

The good news is that I did better my open water mile time by about 2minutes and 34 seconds. I missed breaking 30 minutes by 35 seconds so I am a little bummed, but I was pleased with the swim after all is said and done. It makes me feel like things are definitely working (thank you Marty and Bri). So now I'm really excited for the South Carolina 1/2 IM on May 1st! Perhaps I'll be able to improve on my half time yet again! We'll see.

05 April 2010

Yellow Haze of Spring

Ahh, it has come in full force yet again. It's not a gradual process, it's just BAM here out of the blue. Pine pollen. Ryan asked Tim this weekend what the yellow stuff was and Tim replied "It's when the trees sneeze, this is what comes out." and I quickly added "it's yellow tree snot". That about sums it up...tree snot.

It's so bad that just sitting on the porch will leave you covered in this stuff after a short 2-3 minutes...no exaggeration people. I thought I would be okay on my long ride yesterday because I would be "moving fast enough that it wouldn't stick." I couldn't have been more wrong. I got off my bike and my legs had a measurable amount of pollen on them. Perhaps that's a sign that I was going to slowly...eh? Dunno, but as I was stretching my legs out, a neighbor came over with beer in hand (for Tim of course) and I went to the sink to rinse my arms off and wiped my face only to find that it was covering my face, particularly below my eyes. "Tim, why didn't you tell me I had pollen all over my face." "Oh, I just thought you had put that zinc oxide stuff on your face before you went out." "yeah me too" replied said neighbor. Hello? do real people own that stuff, I thought it was just those funny base ball players? No, but that's how bad the pollen is right now.

Today on the way to drop the boys off with Tim, we were driving down the road and I saw a cloud of yellow, literally. Similar to how you can see rain in the distance or when somebody creates a brush fire in their yard and the smoke over takes the road...it WAS that bad! Ick, it would be a nice ride with windows down but the darn stuff flies in the windows and settles in the seats. And it's not even worth washing your car for at least 2-3 weeks until you're sure it's done, because 2 minutes later, you've got a new color...again.

Go away yellow tree snot.

29 March 2010

Random update

Well, I must say that eating more has done nothing more than make me feel fat and full all the time. I think my stomach has only growled once in the last week and a half since I started the mission of making sure I'm eating enough. I'm proud to say that I'm getting within 2-300 calories of what I'm burning each day as opposed to 1500 calories short. So it's better, just hard to eat that much for me.

Our house has been busy! Ryan is busy in his own world so conversations never make any sense and are often just a circle. Now that he's been potty trained fully for about 3-4 months now, he finds it humorous to try and pee anytime we're outside instead of going in to the bathroom. And even the other day as we were in the family room playing, he got up and said "I have to go pee"...off he went...to the kitchen where he pulled his pants down to his ankles and was about to christen the cabinets. WHAT? Yeah, um....you better take that to the bathroom boy. Tim and I were just so dumbfounded we didn't know what to say.

Brayden is absolutely, 100% completely the opposite of his brother. Ryan was a quiet, calm child who listened and didn't really get into things. He was/is content with what you give him. Brayden on the other hand, will find something you've barricaded and stored in a lock box. The child is into everything and when he gets it in his hot little hands, it's straight in the mouth. I thought they were supposed to outgrown the oral fixation by now??? He's a mile a minute, jumping, running, galloping, skipping, falling, flipping, turning, hanging, throwing, twirling and head banging with a smile on his face the entire time. Yikes, we are in trouble in a few more years. I've often told Tim, had Brayden come first, we definitely would have waited longer to have a second child.

Tim is nursing a calf injury that will hopefully get better with enough time for the SC 1/2 IM in May. And me, I'm just trying to hang on to whatever little bit of sanity is still hiding inside...it's hard to find right now. Work, training, house, boys, dogs, and whatever else have just absolutely drained me. How do I know? I actually drank with dinner tonight, that's how I know. It's on very rare occasions that I partake in the beverage, but tonight I had two tall glasses of pina colada with my dinner and then still had a big piece of cheesecake, yum!

I'm looking forward the half in May, I'm ready to get a race under me belt for the season...ready to get the feet wet (pun completely intended). Time to check the bed to make sure it's cozy enough.

19 March 2010

How hard is it to eat?

I think I've mentioned before that before Marty agreed to coach me, the most I trained was about 6-8 hours/week. That was my limit, not necessarily physically, but mentally it was all I was willing to commit to with the family and work thing. Marty has built me from 10 hours starting off to the last three weeks at 15 hours. So I was surprised at how well I have physically held up. I feel strong for the first time in years when training and I'm gaining confidence with each session which just makes me feel even stronger.

The one thing that I've noticed is that the training has affected some female situations a bit drastically. After talking with Bri about it and reading up online, I'm not concerned about pregnancy, nor am I concerned any longer about having dropped too much body fat or body weight too quickly. So during my rest week, I've been tracking my food intake a bit more closely instead of just going off of "I'm hungry" or "I'm not hungry" and I've noticed that I'm only consuming about 2000-2500 calories/day. Yikes! I feel like I'm eating a lot, and I'm eating well most of the time..although I'm a bit carb heavy, but obviously (as Bri mentioned) that's not a lot of energy consumed for the amount of training I'm putting in. I'm a little shocked that I have had the energy to keep up my training considering my lack of nutrition...but what I am eating is good stuff. Maybe this is why I've been more fatigued by bed time and just completely rack out for 9 hours or more when I can and naps on weekends. I was contributing that to the training, but maybe it's food related too.

I've found myself just throwing junk in my mouth to try and up the calories but I just can't physically eat any more. I'm full. I've never been one to track what I eat, or how much...I just drink lots of water/milk, eat when I'm hungry and try to make sure it's balanced. Maybe this is why I bonked on my first half IM. Good thing I wised up and hired a coach for the full and even better is that I have some time to get a handle on it.

Oh yeah, and I'm loving this rest week! It's done wonders for my mental, physical and emotional well being. Hehe and my laundry is getting put away for the first time in a month.

13 March 2010

Blue lights

So Thursday I was taking Ryan to the gym with me then it was off to work. For once in my life, since having my license, I can honestly say that I had broken absolutely no traffic laws since I had left the house. No rolling stops, abiding by the speed limit to a tee, signaling...etc. So I turned on to a small highway and was carrying on about my business when I noticed a local sheriff behind me. He followed me for about a mile, then turned his blue lights on.

"crap, seriously...I wasn't doing anything."
To which Ryan replies "Uh mommy. do you see those blue lights?"
Yes I do buddy.
"Mommy, you're in a HEAP 'a' trouble!" (for those of you who aren't familiar with the movie CARS, my son has seen it too many times.)
"No, mommy is not in trouble, the police man is just going to make sure mommy is being safe." (I had no clue as to why he had pulled me."

"Hello ma'am. My name is office "whatchamacallit" with Apex police. Do you know why I pulled you over?"
"No I don't."
"Ma'am, your tag is expired. Did you know that?"
"No I didn't." ( you know they stopped putting those stickers on your windshield last year stinking whitie)
"Ma'am, may I see your license and registration please?"
"Sure." As I open the registration, I see the exp. date of 12-31-1009. My heart sank. I suppose he notice the look on my face because his next comment was:
"You really didn't know did you?"
"No sir, I didn't. I'm sorry."
"I'll be right back, let me go run this information."

as he walked away, Ryan says
"Mommy, he took your card. You need that to get in the gym. Put my window down, I will talk to him. I will get your card back mommy. Put my window down."
"ryan, it's okay, he's going to bring it back to mommy. He's just helping mommy to be safe and follow the rules."
"Oh mom, just put my window down. I'll get it back."

Officer returns, with a ticket! Stinking $25 ticket, $130 dollars in court costs, and I have to appear in court to show them documentation that I've fixed the "problem". Dude, I DIDN'T KNOW....CUT ME SOME SLACK!

After sharing this with Tim, he tells me that all his co-workers believe that I got pulled because the cop thought I was cute and then when he realized I had a kid in the car, he had to give me the ticket. Shoot, I could have bought the man a coffee and some doughnuts.

08 March 2010

Quick update

We've been extremely swamped around here. Last week we found ourselves having to say good-bye to Tim's grandfather Sam. Thankfully, it was a quick, painless passing for a man that served his country and family very well. All in all, everyone seems to be handling it well, not that it is ever easy. I was on edge all week wondering if Ryan was going to ask about grand-daddy Sam and what I would say so not to turn it into something sad for him. But surprisingly, the only comments my observant 3.5 year old had were at the church service. He heard everyone praying and didn't know the prayer they were saying so he started saying his bedtime prayer. Every time we would pray, he would pray. It was precious in a way he will never understand. Then he asked me about the stain glass picture of Jesus feeding some doves. When he found out that was "baby Jesus" he asked "is this baby Jesus house mommy?" yes it is. " I like his house, it's pretty." I wish I was 3.5 years old again.

On top of a heavy emotional week, training was bumped up for the last two weeks at 13 and 15 hrs. Might not seem like a lot to some of you, but for me, prior to working with Marty, a heavy week for me was 8 hours...so it's physically been a lot. No sleep, emotional turmoil and that much training took it's toll.

Saturday we found ourselves watching daddy at the Umstead trail marathon and trying to nurse him back from a disappointing DNF. I can't imagine what it feels like to have to drop out of a race in 4th place because your body isn't willing to continue, even with proper training. I think everything had taken it's toll on Tim for sure. As a side note, this is one of my greatest fears come September...that despite all the training and nutrition, my body just won't let me finish...somebody better but roller skates on my butt, because if it comes down to that, I'm going to scoot across the finish line.

Then yesterday found Brayden with his 5th case of the croup, 4th since last August. Normally we can't see a difference in his behavior but it's been different this time. He's all out of sorts.

I've found that when these things happen to me, I can "handle it" in my own way. I can reason and get ticked and make changes. I can make it go away and I can dictate how I respond and cope. But when it's someone you love so dearly and all you can do is be there and be willing to listen, it's hard. It's the hardest thing for me to watch Tim or the boys struggle with something, whether it be physical or emotional and not be able to take the pain away. Like I said earlier, I just wish I was 3.5 years old again.

27 February 2010

How could I say no?

When I first started in triathlon, everything was competing for time against my training; friends, family, the dog even got the boot on certain occasion where taking her with me on a run just was a hassle. Training won many of those battles. Perhaps it was because triathlon was new and exciting, the new "love" interest in my life. But I felt guilty for missing a session. I would end evenings with friends early because "I have a race tomorrow" or I wouldn't enjoy a drink because "I need to hydrate". It was another obsession, if you will, that I had. Something to throw myself into.

Last night when Tim and I went to bed, the plan was for him to leave by 7:30 this morning to go get his last long run in before next weekend's marathon, while I went to pick the kids up from a slumber party at my parent's house. When Tim got home, I was supposed to get my long run in then it was off to his parent's house for the afternoon. Then tonight would be an easy bike ride.

Well, one thing led to another and after Tim got home later than planned, I did my bike before we went to his parent's house. When we got home tonight, it was dinner and chores. I planned to hop on the treadmill for that 1.5 hour run after Ryan went to bed. I should have known better. As he does every night after prayer, "mommy, will you lay with me?" 7 out of 10 times I say yes, and the other 3 times, I call upon daddy to take a turn. But tonight daddy was out with the guys. So how could I say no to my first born baby? I couldn't, I didn't. "Sure sweetie, just for a minute."

A minute turned into just over an hour, as I found myself being woken up by the dogs grumbling about some random noise only they could hear outside. It just past 9pm and there was no way I was getting on that treadmill. Sorry coach, I chose my son over that long run. I don't feel bad at all about missing the run, because I know I'll just make it up on what should have been my day off. Actually, this is the first workout I've missed since the "ick" in January, and since I'll be making it up, it's not really a missed session, right? Am I justifying here? Point is, I will gladly miss a session without (too much) guilt now. All three of my boys, my family and friends are much higher priority now, as they should be.

Don't get me wrong, I'll still go to bed early and I won't drink often but I'm more inclined to let myself have a personal life. Although, it seems that I'm just going to have to get up earlier to get those sessions in before everyone gets up in the morning.