Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Swim Workout + Club Nationals Thoughts

Had a meeting up in Columbia today which meant I had a good excuse to hit the indoor pool at the ARC this afternoon before a meeting across town at 6:00.  Yay!  My workload has been kind of light and I haven't been going to my friend's office up there as much so it is good to have an excuse to make the drive.  The lap lanes were crowded most of the time I was there.  I shared a lane with a crazy older oriental woman who had the most bizarre swim form and also did some walking backwards in the water in the lap lane.

I tried again to get the hang of the bilateral breathing.  I did a little better, but felt like I got a little water up in my sinuses that didn't feel too nice (nor did it seem to want to come out!)  It wasn't quite as good of a swim as last week (which felt awesome), but I felt pretty strong.  I hopped out after 35 or 40 minutes.  I'm guessing I did 1500 yards give or take.  I was pretty pleased that it was again nearly all freestyle only resorting to a few breast strokes when I had to cough up some water from not quite managing the breathing and thinking at the same time.

Headed out to a meeting with some of my favorite women engineers, but ate a way too large dinner that has me feeling kind of ill right now.  Stupid! 

OK - so changing gears - I joined Columbia Multisport Club about a month or so ago.  They have all kinds of group training (although 30-45 min from me so it isn't super convenient except when I am working up there more) and they have great discounts (my membership has already nearly paid for itself although my credit card hurt after my trip to The Starting Block).  Got a very nice, personal email today from the VP of the club talking about USAT Club Nationals.  Each participant can earn points for their club at the competition in Myrtle Beach in October.  I never really considered it because I thought it would be too expensive plus I'm still pretty fat and slow.  But this email today talked about how CHEAP the club makes it for our members to go (like crazy cheap for a trip to SC).  And I looked up some info tonight and just by showing up and participating, I could add a point and some change to my club total.  This small town club (which does have a lot of members) has RULED nationals five times - beating out teams from much larger metros!  How cool is that?  With my husband laid off and my workload not where I would like it to be (plus a pretty big project of mine being put on hold), I hate to spend any money I don't have to, but this is so cheap it is super tempting.  However, another problem is the timing.  It is the 8th and 9th of October and I am supposed to be at one conference in St. Louis the next Wed and then fly out early Thur to Chicago for the national Society of Women Engineers conference (my section's delegate - ugh) through the next weekend.  I basically would miss seeing my kids for a good chunk of the first part of October!  And, if all goes as we hope, my husband might be working the nuclear plant shutdown (72 hour weeks - night shifts) by then.  My mother-in-law and father-in-law will probably help us with childcare as much as they can, but timing could definitely be better for me to be gone.  So - something to think about.  I think it would be a fun trip to get to know some of the CMC gang.  The sprint distance is definitely doable and the course looks great.  Ugh - so hard to choose between what I want to do and what I should do! 

Monday, August 29, 2011

Bike 5 Easy Miles

Also known as, kids slow me down but it is better than nothing.  Kids wanted to ride up to the local burger/ice cream joint tonight with the neighbors.  We went to head out and the neighbors said to go ahead that they weren't quite ready to go.  Took both kids (7 and 10) with me and since we had time to kill I suggested we add a couple miles of relatively flat road to our ride.  I got some whining from the 10 year old, but just rode on and they followed.  We went from home to Windriver, back to Daisy Delight (stopping to meet up with neighbors so kids could each have a cone), back home (to drop off the kids) and out and back to each of the Wakodas.  Mapped it and it was about 5 miles, but it was mostly flat - very easy mileage.  Really need to kick it in gear and get a long ride figured out.

Oh, and as a follow up to the 5k - MAN I WAS SO SORE!!  Geez!  I had no idea those hills would kick me in the butt, quads, hamstrings, arms, back - you name it!  Wowser! 

Another side note:  I finished reading "Slow Fat Triathlete".  It was ok.  I may have appreciated it more if I had read it last spring before I had already tackled my first tri.  Jayne has an easy-to-read, cute writing style.  But there wasn't much I didn't already know.  Guess it did accomplish the mission to inspire me to do more than I think I can no matter what my current weight is.  Just keep training towards the goal.  I started a book called "Everything Running".  It seems very elementary so far, but I am only in the first couple of chapters.  My guess is that one of the CMC folks will be a better source of info, but it is worth a shot.  Free from the library so I'm not out anything other than my time.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Heart 5k

Enjoyed opening night of Helias High School football last night.  Visited with a friend for most of the game.  Watched as the boys tripped up a little late in the game, but pulled out a win by a couple of field goals.  Got home and got everyone cleaned up and off to bed, but I couldn't get myself to sleep for anything!  Grr....Got up this morning about 6:20 after just a few hours of solid sleep and a lot of tossing and turning.  Got dressed and woke my daughter up.  I have no running shorts (having trouble finding the coverage I'm after and really haven't shopped enough for them) so I wore my tri shorts.  It was either that or denim (that are getting too big)!

We got to the site of the Heart walk and were told the 5k was starting on the other side of the park by the pool.  We had plenty of time so we hiked through the park to the sign in table.  It was pretty loosely organized, but I went ahead and signed both of us in.  Paid the extra $20 for my daughter to have an official race number.  Happy to donate to AHA so not a big deal.  Weather was gorgeous!

Started at the top of the hill (intersection of Binder and Main) at 7:30.  Ran down Binder (and back up), down Livingston (and back up), across Boonville, down Belair (and back up and up), down Hillsdale (and back up), across Ridgeway and down a little more of Livingston, back onto Binder and up a long ass hill to the finish line back by the pool.  We walked all of the UP portions of this course (and there were a lot - yikes!) and mostly ran the downs.  My daughter got a bit of a side stitch she fought about half the distance and so we didn't run some of the flats that I think we probably otherwise could have.  She was a trooper though.  So proud of her!  Seven years old and already knocking out a 5k!  She finished a tenth of a second ahead of me (sprinted through the finish) at 46:27.0. 

I really thought we'd finish faster than that, but such is life.  So I guess that is my new PR for a 5K.  Kind of sad, but better than the 54+ min I took to do it in Pewaukee (after swim & bike).  Guess I'll see what I can do to whittle it down from here.  I really have to figure out how to run at least some of the distance on my tri's or I'll be facing a lot of last place finishes that are so disheartening.


Thursday, August 25, 2011

Got some T.i.t.S.

I love that abbreviation.  Probably going to make my blog following explode though, right?  But alas, as much as a trip to the plastic surgeon isn't totally an awful thought to me - my tri friends will understand that I just manage to get out the door and spend some time with my bike.  Yes, I wish it was a fancy tri or road bike, but alas - again - just my trusty mountain bike that sits in the "better than nothing" category until the money Gods drop a big fat bag of cash in my lap. 

Woke up feeling a little under the weather today.  I'm probably getting a bit of the sinus cold my daugther has (love how starting school brings all the germs back with a vengeance).  A little scratch in the throat, an "off" stomach, kind of a general "blah" feeling.  It was a gorgeous day and I basically hung out at home and worked on a project I'm fairly behind on.  But come this evening I couldn't let another day go by without some kind of workout (yesterday I didn't git'r done).  So I drug my butt out the door telling my husband I'd be back in under an hour (so he could go froggin').  I did my "usual" ride, but added stubs up to the interchange, up by Fabick, up by the quarry entrance.  This made the ride about 9.5 miles (plus a little) - just right.  I'm waiting for the day when I don't hate the big hill as much - man it sucked it out of me!  But I got home and then went for a super short walk to shake out my legs. 

Then it was back the usual "mom" duties - checking homework, running everyone off to the shower, reminding them to brush their teeth, giving cough medicine to the daughter who has been hacking at night so much that I haven't slept worth a crap for a week and now seems to have given it to me, etc. 

Tomorrow night is the home opener for the high school football season with the Central Bank tailgate (free food and t-shirts - we go every year).  Might try to get a walk in sometime during the day, but if not - my daughter and I are doing a 5K for the American Heart Association on Saturday.  I have no record so I will establish a slow baseline to work up from.  We don't really intend to run it - but we might jog bits of it.  Still haven't gotten anyone to tell me the route. 

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Back to the Indoor Pool

Been almost two weeks since I swam.  Hard to find the time and location for swimming as compared to how easy (logistics wise) it is to jump on my bike or go for a brisk walk.  Had hoped to hook up with the CMC folks and do another group open water swim, but timing was tough with some other stuff going on in our lives so I figured I'd better just suck it up and hit the ARC instead.  It has a 25 meter/yard? lap pool with three lanes.  They close in the middle of the day for maintenance that you have to dodge, but today that wasn't a problem. 

I did 30-35 minutes of laps.  The first time for me to be in that pool with goggles!  Pretty handy since I ended up sharing a lane and one of my fears has always been running into the other person and looking like a dork.  The swim felt really good.  I can never keep track of my laps, but I felt fast and strong.  I worked on some drills that Lise from CMC had shown me - fingertip drags and catch ups (though I continue to struggle to remember to breathe while I trying to remember to do the drills).  I also briefly attempted to practice breathing on the left (very awkward and choked a couple times).  Unlike training I did earlier in the summer, I did push off the wall some (to practice the gliding) and I did put my feet down to rest here and there (something I didn't do when I was training for the tri's as I was trying to create the concept of open water swimming).  But I did nearly the whole workout freestyle!  Earlier this summer, I couldn't do half the length without stopping to catch my breath by doing the breast stroke or back stroke.  Did nearly injure myself trying to hoist my big butt out of the pool without using the ladder - not strong enough for that yet.  Ouch!

It was a great workout!  I felt redeemed after my sucky Sunday ride.  Onward and upward!  Oh, as a side note - my sis's bday was last week and I just picked up a couple of small tri-related items to send her.  She has a race in a couple of weeks. Go Sis!  Better get my happy butt to the post office in the next couple of days!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Bike Ride with DD (aka "Better than nothing")

My dear daughter (dd) was lazing on the couch in front of the boob tube hoping the neighbor boy would hurry up and finish dinner and come out and play.  Then she calls out that his folks had closed the garage doors.  This is usually their sign that they are not coming out to play.  She was kind of bummed.  So I suggested we go for a short bike ride.  She said ok, but wanted me to ride too - that was kind of my plan anyway so all good (a lot of times I walk while she rides ahead). 

She said she wanted to ride to "Aunt Alvina's old house" (around the corner from us - recently moved away, but it was a landmark to her).  We did.  Then she said "and Anna's house" and I mixed up which Anna as we have two friends near her age in the area - one slightly farther than the other.  So we take off towards the other one and she said, "Well that isn't the one I meant, but ok - let's go!"  On the way is her grandma's house (mother-in-law) so we stopped in and topped off the water bottle and said hello for a minute.  Then we went about a quarter block down to the other Anna's house and I sat on the porch and visited with my friend (Anna's mom) while the girls played for a bit.  It started getting dark and I have yet to buy blinkies for our bikes so we headed off and it got dark FAST!  Oops - bad mommy!

Out of curiosity, I "Mapped My Ride" and it was 2.7 miles - way to go sweet seven-year-old girl!  Not a really tough workout, but....better than nothing! 

Heading to Columbia tomorrow.  I want to touch base with my work friends up there and then hit the indoor pool (all our outdoor ones are stupidly closed for the season - darned college bound lifeguards!) for the first time in a month or more.  No real "plan", but I should be able to do 1000 yards or a bit more.  Also want to stop by the running store (we don't have one in my town) and pick up a few items as a belated bday gift for my sis who still has a tri on this year's calendar.  Might peruse for my own wish list.  This year Santa will bring me at least a few items from there.  Been almost 2 weeks since I swam.  I hope it doesn't hurt too much.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

What the...bonk!

It was an ugly workout.  I got up - after a not so great night of sleep, but a lovely early morning with my husband..ahem...and went back and forth on whether I could get in a somewhat "long" bike ride before needing to shower for church (and yes, I use "long" loosely).  My husband called from the shower as I stood there waffling "You going for a ride?"  Um, yeah, I guess.  Time was tight and I made the mistake of not really eating anything.  Grabbed a water bottle and headed out.  It wasn't crazy hot, but fairly humid.  I brought my phone in case I got desparate to make it home.

Headed towards downtown, hoping I could make it to the Capitol and back in an hour.  As I climbed the first murderous hill, I realized that wasn't going to happen.  Then I thought, well maybe just the library (few blocks closer).  After another couple of hills kicked me in my non-existant nuts, I convinced myself I'd turn around at the 25 min mark with some hope of getting back to the house in time to shower.  I was disheartened to watch two joggers (and yes, Adam at "I Am Boring" they really were "jogging" - just above a shuffle) beat me up a double hill.  Argh!

The problem?  This ride was basically hill repeats!  I could barely catch my breath before another hill was kicking my ass.  Ahh...coast downhill....holy crap....don't know if I can make it back up the next one!  I was suffering physically and mentally.  Sad because I've done this ride as part of a MUCH longer ride before.  But I got in just under 7 miles of hurt (walking up parts of two hills - shameful!).  Would breakfast have made it better?  Would going an hour sooner have helped?  Hard to say.  Probably wasn't officially a "bonk", but I was NOT having any fun.  And as it got later in the morning, I feared people I know driving by and seeing me in what can only be described as a humongous FAIL.  Got home, drug my ass in the door and 30 min later drug it to church. 

Spent the first few minutes in church praying...thanking God that I had gotten through this morning even if it wasn't pretty...thanking Him that I have a body that is able to do what it can do...and praying to make my knees stop hurting.  Maybe I should have tried a Hail Mary or Our Father on the bike!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Just a little walking...

Been a hard week to get any traction in the fitness department.  With my husband off work, the last two days of summer for the kids, football practices, one night of rain and then school starting - just having a hard time focusing.  A couple short brisk walks with my tall husband was about all I've managed.  And I have an out of town business trip tomorrow to one side of the state and a personal trip to the other side of the state on Saturday that will likely sink anything too long for those days.  I know the answer is to get up earlier - ugh!  We'll see what I can do.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Two late...

Ouch!  Too old for partying late into the night - even if I didn't drink.  As yesterday's post indicated, I wasn't feeling wonderful yesterday morning so I choose to pass on any alcohol at the class reunion party and afterparty.  But I found out that the old addage of "It's not late until it's 2:00 and then it's too late" held true.  Had a great time with friends.  I didn't get in the pool with the other bra and panty clad folks so couldn't count it as today's "swim workout".  And then to get up and drag out to school open house and then spend part of the day in the sun walking around the state fair...ugh!  Tired!!  And headache to boot - even without alcohol.  Feet/legs hurting too.  Will be nice to slip into bed tonight.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Slightly hungover bike ride

Yesterday was my 16th wedding anniversary.  We went out to dinner and then met up with some of my husband's high school friends (and current friends).  This weekend is his 20th high school reunion and a few folks went out for drinks last night to kick off the weekend (sad how few, but we had fun).  I only had two drinks.  But I haven't been drinking through most of my training since April.  So yep, was a little cotton mouthed and headache afflicted this morning.  I waffled a little, but finally drug myself out of the house for a short ride.  I did my "usual" 45 minutes route, but did one part of it "backwards" to try to mix it up.  I wasn't really feeling it.  I was tired and just wanted to get through it.  I did and actually felt a little better by the time I got home (minus some nagging knee pain I've had).  Still need to drink some water and shake off the rest of the headache while I take my daughter to TWO birthday parties today before I have to come home and shower/change for the reunion afternoon/evening (mass, school tour, happy hour, dinner and dance).

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Birthday Toast

It was a pretty uneventful day.  I got a card from my husband and kids and a dozen red roses.  I got a card from my aunt and plenty of Facebook posts from friends.  I worked a little, but generally took it easy after a not so great night of sleep.  I had dinner with my son's cub scout pack (cookout) and thought a lot about what I want to accomplish in the next year (or two even as I round out the last of my 30's).  So here is a toast to me:

"May you achieve more than you can dream.  Happy birthday!"

Hulen Lake Swim

Last night I met up with some of the CMC folks to swim at Hulen Lake.  It is a private homeowners lake in Columbia and one of the homeowners is a member of the club.  She offered to help the newbies with drills, but told us we could do whatever we wanted.  Most of the more experienced folks did longer distances across/around the lake.  I did 100 yard out and backs with a couple of drills.  Truthfully, there was way more chatting with this lady that there was drilling.  I was there an hour and maybe did 300 yards.  Better than nothing, but I might try to focus more on swimming and less on chatting if I go again.  She gave me some good information on form and I found it hard to focus on everything she said and breathing.  It was kind of frsturating.  But everyone has to start somewhere.  I did wear goggles for the first time and really liked them more than I thought I would (picked them up just before going). Stepped on a bee or something right before we started and still am feeling the pain of that swollen area in my right arch.  Not cool! 

Backstory - Part 3

In the last seven years (since my daughter was born), my weight has mostly been creeping up.  I've had some brief losses, but I was way too content to sit and watch tv, eat whatever struck me as sounding good and just ignore the ever increasing numbers on the scale.  I'd freak out a little every time my weight hit a new decade and work for a week or two to try to get it back down, but then give up when life got in the way.  I'd bounce around those ten pounds for a while and then freak out again when I crossed another threshold.  But 2011 was different.  After a long New Year's Eve night of drinking and eating and having a great time with friends (plus 3 months of unemployment and stress trying to start a new business), I woke up 1/1/11 at 213 lbs.  A new record high.  Over 20 lbs what my 6'3" husband weighed.  And the first words out of my mouth for the new year were "Holy Shit!"

But this time I wasn't going to give up so soon.  I dug in and went on a soda hiatus for two months, ate out very little and really tried to reign in my poor eating habits.  Being mid-winter, I didn't have a major plan for working out.  I did manage a few workouts with a couple friends.  We did a Just Dance video game and a pilates dvd that kicked my butt.  But I felt my body remembering some of that coordination I had when I was a dancer.  I really enjoyed it.  I dropped the first seven pounds in a couple weeks, but then it came off super slow. 

My sister told me she was doing the Pewaukee, WI triathlon with her husband and his family.  I don't really remember if she hinted, suggested or if it just struck me - but my new goal was to join her and do it as well.  I even signed my kids up for the kids' race the day before.  I paid the money and had a goal to shoot for.  Except that it was still winter and I just wasn't motivated to go out in the cold and work on it.  So April came and the weather warmed up and we were spending more time with the kids outdoors and my husband turns to me one night and says "You'd better call your sister and tell her there is no way you are doing the triathlon as you haven't trained and you will drown, or not be able to ride home in the car the next day being so sore of behind or you will just keel over from the exertion."

Did I mention I tend to be one of those types that likes to prove someone wrong?  My first triathlon became all about proving to my husband (and myself) that I could do this.  The next night, I went out on a 5 mile bike ride.  I had to walk my bike up a hill, but I completed it and felt good about this start of my training.  I found an indoor pool that I could buy a punch pass for and managed to swim the total distance (450 yards - though I stopped every 25 to rest).  I went out and picked up a couple books on training the next day.  Eric Harr's book was the easiest to read and follow the plan.  It really focused on just finishing my first race and that was good for me.  I did the 8 week program over 10 weeks (repeating the first two acclimation weeks).  The plan was for folks listed as "Just a slice above a couch potato".  That was me!

But I trained from April through early July and then "tapered" by basically doing very little the last week (one OWS in my sis's lake on Fri, easy/flat/short bike ride with sis on a trail near her house she wanted to show me on Sat) and on Sunday morning, about 7:15 AM (wave #22) I was in the water doing my first tri (See race report).  I finished.  I was so proud of that and I think my husband and kids were too.  Then I got home, rested for a week, did a 15 mile bike ride at 2 AM the next weekend (see Tour of JC post), rested for a week and did another tri (See SMSG post).  Crazy!  I joined a multisport club and started thinking about what was next.  I think the idea of having a race out there you are working towards appeals to my Type A, goal setting personality.  I've become addicted to reading tri blogs and look forward to the day where I can be someone that other athletes turn to for motivation, inspiration and advice.  Someday! 

Oh, and having spent a lot of time in this backstory talking about my weight, I was pretty frustrated that my weight really didn't come down much while training for Pewaukee.  I was down maybe 10 lbs or so.  But I continue to work on finding healthier ways to eat (still haven't kicked all bad habits).  And I am trying to get at least one workout of each sport in every week (though I am still a "walker" and not even really a "jogger" - probably the next thing to really work on).  I recently crossed back into the 180's and am slowly working my way down.  At least triathlon gives me a more focused exercise routine.

End of Backstory.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Backstory - Part 2

The year we got married (1995, if you missed Part 1), was a big year.  I graduated in May and started my first job with a small consulting firm, we married in Aug, husband graduated in December and started a job in Jan with pretty long hours, and we bought our first house in March (96).  The last year of of college into our first year of marriage, my sister and I slowly rebuilt a faltered relationship (we had been VERY close growing up, but our parents' divorce had left us relatively on opposite sides).  We did some of this by walking together.  When she moved away in the spring of 1996, I felt a little lost on the exercise front.  A guy I worked with and who lived around the corner from me suggested I talk to his wife about walking as she would probably be up for it.

His wife quickly became one of my closest and dearest friends of all time.  She called it like she saw it, never letting me use excuses, but always showing me incredible love.  She was in the early stages of starting a business (a franchise of Diet Center).  By 1997, my weight had increased to about 160 and I was starting to be more than just "not skinny".  So she agreed to take me on as a client without charge (although I helped her when I could and still look back and what a gift this was.  She did weekly weigh ins, body fat composition measurements and counseling to see where I was struggling with diet and exercise (and she continued to walk with me in the early mornings quite a bit).  I got down to 130 very briefly after about 5 months.  I looked like I did in high school (a size 8) and felt awesome about it.  I even took a kickboxing class and felt powerful!

But I got complacent and slowly the weigth crept back.  I was a size 14 by the time I was matron of honor in my sis's wedding in June 1999.  And then I studied for my professional engineering license and did nothing but eat, study, work and sleep for two straight months.  I had to buy more fat clothes when I put on 20 lbs in that 2 months. 

In Aug 2000, I became pregnant and I weighed about 175-180 lbs (at the beginning).  The good news (if you can call it that) was that I had crazy awful morning sickness and didn't gain a ton of weight due to feeling sick to my stomach most of the time.  I lived on bland noodles and rice and potatos for several months.  It didn't go away after the first trimester.  It really didn't go completely away at all (and it wasn't just in the mornings either)!  And then at 27 weeks I was put on bedrest with preterm labor.  Not a good time, but I managed to deliver my son at 39.5 weeks.  At my last dr appt of the pg, I weighed 200 lbs and I cried.  But for all we'd been through I was just happy to have a healthy boy the next Tuesday.  Shortly thereafter I was back down into the 170's and was pretty stinking pleased with that (as he was a nightmare baby and there was no time for eating or sleeping or exercise not to mention dealing with returning to work at 3.5 weeks because my bosses insisted).

Then we decided to move back to Jefferson City.  We decided to build a house and we broke ground just after our son's first bday.  We moved into a duplex while we were building the house and I proceeded to gain 20 lbs with all the fast food we ate at the greasy spoon down the street from our job site.  And I never seemed to find a healthy eating or exercise routine.  Being a mom was often overwhelming to me.  My career proceeded to go through more changes (changed jobs twice in 2000 and again in 2002) and I just wasn't coping with my life well.  Food was my coping mechanism. 

My weight went on up and in July of 2003, I was pg again.  First dr appt weight?  190!  I about crapped myself right in the doctor's office at that number and I told her I was scared of what this would mean for me during this pg (my dad was a Type 1 diabetic and I did worry about gestational diabetes) and long term.  She told me not to diet, but to cut down on the snacks and soda and junk food and it was ok to walk.  I did try to eat better, but that wasn't a really big deal as the morning sickness monster came back with a vengeance.  I couldn't keep much down anyway.  I lost 11 lbs before the next doctor's appt and all I did differently was walk a little (which strangely seemed to ease the sickness some).  Dr scolded me and asked if I was cutting major calories and I assured her I was eating whatever I could keep down.  So I continued on and had a pretty uneventful pregnancy.  I didn't even wear maternity clothes until I was 6+ months along!  Just my stretchy fat jeans!  At my last dr appt, I weighed 200 lbs, but this time I didn't cry.  Within 6 weeks after giving birth to my sweet baby girl, I was back to about 175 and was hopeful I could go down further.

So you see, unlike so many moms, I really can't blame my pregnancies for any of my weight issues.  I actually lost weight with both kids on the whole.  I yo-yo'd much more based on the stress levels in my life and how much time and mental effort I put (or didn't put) in to trying to eat healthier, drink more water and get out and do some amount of exercise. 

--- End of Part 2 ---

Backstory - Part 1

I find myself looking through other blogger's oldest posts looking for the backstory.  You know, the "where did they come from and how did they get here" type of thing.  It occurred to me that there might be a time where someone might actually be interested in my backstory.  If nothing else, it allows me to reflect on the last 38 year of my life (which given it is the week of my 38th birthday seems appropriate).

It is bizarre to find myself here - 38 years old, wife of 16 years, mother of 2, business owner, and a slow/fat triathlete.  I grew up super active - dance classes multiple times a week, always out on my bike or just simply running around.  I was super skinny - crazy skinny.  I just burned it all off quicker than I took it in.  I never really did organized sports (other than some really lame attempts at lib league softball in high school with my church friends).  But from age 3 to age 14, I danced everything from ballet to jazz, tap to point, and whatever else I could pick up.  I loved it.  It was a safe place to be away from my less than happy home.  I even studied one summer with the Missouri State Ballet.  Although it was this summer that I realized I would never be anything other than a "hobby" dancer.  I just didn't have the body for it.  And with some pressure from my uber-scholastic father, I gave it up.  I remember thinking at the time that I would still be plenty active and could always run myself through my own dance class at home and get in my workouts.

But then high school was in full swing and I got busy with school and soon work to save up for college with a little time for boys here and there.  I remained thin, but was slowly less active than I used to be.  Still had killer dancer's legs (so my boyfriend said) and missed it terribly, but I didn't step back into a dance studio for a long time.  Then I started at Mizzou in the engineering program.  I never worked so hard in all my life at school.  It had always come easy to me before.  But suddenly, instead of the one who sets the curve in the class, I was - at best - in the middle of the pack.  It was very humbling.  And then I wasn't going to be able to renew my scholarships (gpa issue) so I had to start working to pay for it.  Between schoolwork and working between 1 and 3 jobs, and then a boyfriend on top of that (dated my husband all through college), being so poor that ramen noodles and I were on a first name basis - eating well and exercise just went out the window.  I did however take one dance class my senior year where I found out that those 30 lbs I gained in college and the car accident I had the middle of my freshman year had really taken away a lot of my flexibility.

My first date with my husband was my 18th birthday.  I was 5'7.5" and 110 lbs.  I rocked a denim miniskirt with a purple t-shirt and cute little Keds-knockoff tennis shoes.  I held his hand so tight through what has to be one of the worst movies of the summer of 1991.  When we married in August of 1995, I was 140 lbs and barely 5'7" (car accident actually left me shorter!).  I was no longer "the skinny girl", but I wasn't quite the "fat chick yet".

---End of Part 1---

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Another bike ride

The short story:  got up at 6:30 and was out the door by 6:45 and managed to hit a little less of the shift change traffic today.  I rode what had been my 45 min route when training for Pewaukee (home to Militia, back to Shamrock, around Sterzer, back up nasty hill on Algoa, in/out of Wakoda, to Tania's house and home).  It is about 7.8 miles give or take.  Got it done even though my knees have been hurting this week.  Did a short/brisk walk with husband and kids yesterday (probably a mile or so).  Still trying to maneauver to get up to the CMC Hulen Lake swim tomorrow night. 

Longer story:  I'm not sure it if PMS or post-race blues or what, but I'm having a hard time getting my head in the game on multiple fronts.  Pretty much since mid-July, I've been wasting an insane amount of time on runner/tri blogs.  This means that I'm not spending nearly enough time doing WORK.  Since I work for myself and my husband is laid off, this is NOT a good thing. 

I also am having a bit of a battle in my mind as to where to go now with this new obsession.  I like that having races out there to work towards keeps me from just sitting on my butt.  On the other hand, I feel like it is wasting money and time to sign up for races when I risk another LAST PLACE finish and will never be competitive.  Do I keep going to events and just work on beating myself?  Or is there a point to trying to squeeze in a couple of more sprints this year?  Should I instead just keep working on getting in at least a few workouts every week and lose some weight and begin working on jogging (since right now the last leg of tri's is pretty awful with my insanely slow walking)?

My sister is doing the Lake Geneva tri and I find myself jealous of it.  I can't really justify slogging all of my crap back to WI to do another race with her when I really don't get to race "with" her as I am so slow I have to do it by myself regardless.  We are planning on going to KC to visit my grandfather (97.5 years old) and aunt (just retired) on the 20th and the Jackson County sprint tri is the next day (although we haven't really decided if we are spending the night yet).  But I fear my husband will think it a waste of time and money.  It was all good to do it and prove to myself that I could finish a race and the SMSG race wasn't expensive or far away (and he was still working), but I'm not sure where he stands on this subject and, given my own indecision, maybe it isn't worth fussing about.

But there aren't a lot more races this season.  Maybe I need to be sitting and doing some goal setting and thinking to next year.  I have pretty much decided on a couple of 5Ks that are coming up.  I figure I can always walk them in a pinch.  Certainly will be easier than doing them after a swim and bike leg. 

Sorry for the splattered thinking post.  Guess that is how I am feeling right now - splattered.  Maybe another day or two will go by and it will all sort itself out in my own mind.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Continued inspiration...

So Beth over at Shut Up and Run posted the most awesome email that she received from a friend the other day.  I totally think it is something we all should read daily and twice before a race.  The link for the post is here.

And then Jason over at Cook Train Eat Race posted about a wonderful tweet from tri hero Chrissie Wellington about leaving regret-filled "what ifs" behind and focusing on the "what ifs" that can propel us to dream bigger than our current circumstances.  Another that should be part of our regular read rotation.  The link for the post is here.  I loved this.  All of the tough times we have been through and hard choices we've made brought us to THIS.  The here and now.

And as I mentioned the other day, Mark over at tridadoffive posted a manifesto of inspiration the other day that I want to record for rereading as needed for inspiration.  The link to that post can be found here.

We all have to find our inspiration.  And reflect on it when our spirits our struggling. 

14+ Miles into 15 Mile ride

Apparently, the universe thought I needed a mini-brick workout this morning.  As I was coming up the last hill of a very long bike ride (for newbie me), I dropped the chain as I tried to shift.  Yes, I know I should know how to fix that.  Yes, I'll figure it out for next time.  But I was pretty mentally and physically spent and within a mile of home so I walked the rest of the way to the top of the hill and coasted down part of the last couple of blocks home until I couldn't coast anymore and then walked until I could coast into the garage at home.  Such is life.  At least I wasn't 7+ miles from home.

Backing up, I got up at 6:00, out the door by about 6:10 (with fanny pack that has a little cash, emergency contact info, granola bar and phone).  I rode the opposite direction of my "normal" route (into town).  This route had a lot of rolling hills (very par for the course in Jeff City).  From my house, through downtown past the Capitol, out Main to Hwy 179 (stopping at Breaktime on Dix to get a Gatorade; almost hit by minivan making left turn from 179 to Industrial), down Industrial and McCarty and made it all the way back to SMCCC when I dropped the chain.  Kind of hit the wall going up the hill by the City Cemetery and had to get off and push it the rest of the way.  Irritated about that, but it is what it is.

A good workout (ie. very sweaty).  It was a little cloudy on the way out which was nice.  Got very lightly sprinkled on a little over half way (on Industrial).  Sun started to come out and was wishing I had my sunglasses a little bit, but it never got insanely hot before I got home.  So that was a plus!  Guess I'm going to see if the boy and I can fix my chain before I bother with a shower.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

7 AM Bike Ride

Night before last, I stayed up later than usual talking to my husband about this, that and the other.  Something we do very rarely and I enjoy - but I didn't get quite enough sleep that night so I slept hard last night and felt kind of hung over this morning (with no alcohol involved).  But I thought of SUAR and rolled out of bed just before 7 (a benefit of being self-employed) to go for an hour bike ride.  In all my training for Pewaukee, I never rode more than 45 min and I wasn't sure what I would have to add to get closer to an hour so I just added some "stubs" off my "regular" route.

Things to note - 7:00 to 7:30 AM must be shift change for nearly all of the industrial belt along Algoa Road.  My normally low traffic road consisted of LOTS of cars this morning.  Oops.  Scholastic, Inc. has a giant distribution center; Missouri National Guard and SEMA, MO State Prison, and others are all along or near my route.  Thankfully, everyone slowed down near me and swung wide when able (yep - no bike lanes here).  I'll remember that 6 AM or 8 AM allows for much less traffic as it was nearly dead as I rode the final 15 min.

Also note, we've had record high temps lately (108° is NOT normal for us even mid-summer).  And the humidity has been stifling.  But this morning it was in the low 80s!  And with CLOUDS!  YAY!  Until those clouds got DARK!  I made up my mind if I saw lightening I would shorten up and ride like hell to get home, but I never did and even finished before the first drops fell.

To my "normal" route which is mostly flat with one Cat 5 hill (according to map my ride), I added a "stub" up to the entrance ramp from the Hwy 50 interchange (a hill there), a "stub" up the side street by Fabick that I didn't realize dead ended right behind them, a "stub" up the other end of Algoa Road to ABP's far driveway (another little hill), a "stub" up the road by Command Web (including a short uncomfortable run on gravel down to the lift station that proves that even though I ride a mountain bike - I do NOT enjoy using it as such), a "stub" up Shamrock to the quarry entrance, my usual loop around Scholastic and back home (with my usual "stub" up Wakoda Woods).  Mapped my ride at home and it came out just short of 11 miles.  Man I ride slow (10 mph give or take)!

A good sweaty workout.  I had a Nature Valley Trail Mix bar before leaving and some water along the way and more water when I got home along with a couple bites of peach.  I just don't feel like eating in the morning.  Something I'll have to work on if I do longer rides.  Now to find some time for a swim in the next day or so.  Wish the CMC training opportunities weren't 45-60 miles away, but maybe I'll just need to suck it up and go.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Who Inspires You?

Today, among the things I was "supposed" to be doing - I continued to read up on athletes that inspire me.  I can only dream of being so inspiring.  For the last few weeks, I've been reading triathlete and runner blogs.  I also joined a local multi-sport club after reading some of their inspiring race reports (and finding out about the 10% discount at the local running store). 

Upon having been put on their crazy busy listserv, I received an email about a news story on the Team True Spirit.  This is a group of UK wounded soldiers (mostly amputees) that just completed the UK Ironman competition as relay teams (and one soldier who basically said "Ah heck, I was training to do the bike and the run so I figured why not toss in a couple miles in the water" and did the whole thing himself.  Amazing!

And there was a reference to the infamous (and Ironman Hall of Fame) Team Hoyt.  Rick and Dick Hoyt (the senior Hoyt now 70 years old) that have finished over 1,000 marathons, triathlons, and other races/events through the amazing love of a father for his physically challenged son.  Tears flowed from my eyes - and Ironman?  TOUGH!  And Ironman where you pull your adult son in a boat, pedal with him in a chair mounted on your bike (for over 300 lbs of resistance total), and push him in a racing wheel chair (that was invented prior to baby joggers) is INCREDIBLE!!  And to do it multiple times?  Into your sixties?  Can't even wrap my brain around it!

And I had read about these heroes only an hour or so before reading on another triathlete's blog (tridadoffive) about the complete and total difference in mindset that you develop as you dive into the journey that is triathlon.  About the people that inspire us to push past the pain, make the tough choices to find the time in our busy lives to train...about what motivates us.  So, what motivates you?  To do whatever it is that you do?

As a side note, Tri Dad of 5 visited my blog and wrote an encouraging note which really made my day.  My first blog comment.  Going to try and use that motivation to get off my butt first thing in the morning and knock out a bike ride before it gets crazy hot again. 

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Climbing hills - at the waterpark!

My husband got laid off last week (an electrican - comes with the territory) and we'd been putting off some fun things that we try to do every summer before school starts until this time (which we knew would come).  So today, when the mercury was on the rise, we took off for the Lake of the Ozarks and a fun time at Big Surf.  We decided last night to get there about 2:30-2:45 and slather on the sunscreen in order to buy discounted tix at 3 PM (saving $36).  Three hours was really going to be enough of hiking up the hills between each downhill slide run. 

I mostly stuck with my 10 year old son and my husband stuck with our 7 year old daughter.  We did a couple laps around the lazy river, several runs down the "rapids", a few runs down the "no tube" slides and played around in the kiddie area (where he went across the "lilypads" and we played some water basketball).  I could swim across this "pool area" in one breath (about four-five strokes) so it was hardly a workout.  Of course we also played in the wave pool some.  The crowds thinned out as closing time approached.  My feet were really starting to hurt with all the walking barefoot on 100°+ concrete (air temp over 100° all afternoon - at 6 PM the truck thermometer said 108°).  I was glad we were only there for 3 hours.  Everyone had fun and we enjoyed some Culvers bacon burgers and custard afterwards. 

School starts two weeks from tomorrow.  I hope we can squeeze in some more fun in that time.  Too bad the weather isn't being more cooperative.  Back to the grind tomorrow.  Need to get some billable hours in.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Another bike ride with the boy

My son has been bribed by his father to get in four "long" bike rides this summer (which is now my "easy" course).  It is from our home, out 2.5 mi and back with a brief detour down one cul-de-sac.  Husband agreed to give him $20 towards the reward of his choice after completing them.  He doesn't enjoy exercise and I guess his dad was up for "whatever works".  Except that my son can't ride nearly as fast as me and it is terribly frustrating to ride with him.  Not to mention that when he starts to hit the wall that we all tend to hit (mentally more than physically), he is a ball of negativity.  We did this ride on Saturday (his ride #3 this summer) and like money burning a hole in his pocket wanted to know when we could do it again so he could get his $20 towards a new airsoft gun.

So I took him out this evening after supper.  I had a pretty low key day - lots of reading blogs (oops).  Didn't get much work done (oops).  So maybe this was my attempt at some kind of redemption (that and I am having some shin splint pain since my walk with Jennifer and cross-training seemed like a good way to "rest").  The "out" part of this ride is pretty easy - a long, fast downhill and a lot of basic flats.  I had to do some little "loops" to let him catch up with me (or ride back to him as the case may be).  On the way back I tried to prepare him for the first part of the hill going back (remember he mastered the 2nd half /aka steep/ part of the hill last time).  I told him he could do it and he geared down and got it done (yay!), but he was flipping out when he got to the bottom of the steep hill and insisted on stopping to rest.  Like total comeapart with tears and everything.  Not pretty so I rode up the steep hill and told him I'd wait at the top.  I told him he had to keep moving (walking or whatever) and I'll be damned if he didn't get back on his bike and get up the steep section!!  Rock star move, buddy!  So proud. 

Tried to tell me we didn't need to go into the cul-de-sac now, but I said "Fine, I'll do it and catch up to you."  But he followed me and added that little 0.25 mi or so onto his ride too.  We got home and he headed into the garage while I went up to my friend Tania's house and back (another 0.5 mi or so).  It was hot and humid as it has been for a while this summer, but we got in a decent little workout.  I probably finished a total of about 6-6.5 miles (give or take with the loop de loops).  Proud of my boy, but looking forward to NOT having him with me next ride.  Tomorrow's workout?  Hill climbing at the waterpark at The Lake for 3 hours.  Maybe I can do some swimming in the wave pool?