Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Changing a flat and other life skills I never learned.

The kids and I went to the Downtown Aquarium yesterday for a bit of fun.  We have a season pass and it is a great place to pop into when you have a few hours to kill.  I was getting the kids out when I heard a noise.  What was that?  The car cooling down?  No.  I listened a little longer and heard that it was a distinct "pshhhhhh" sound coming from the back tire.  Oh, that is not going to be good.  So I called the hubs for advice and he said go to the aquarium and just see what it looks like when you get out.

We did a loop in the aquarium and came back to a very flat tire.  I knew it.  I must have run over something in the parking lot.  Mason suggested it was the raccoons who popped the tire.  Man, I should not have showed him those mean raccoon pictures because he is really afraid of raccoons now.  Lesson learned.  Anyway, I called Kevin again because I don't know how to change a flat tire!

I am going to admit that this is something I should know how to do.  Not only is it an important life skill, but I have had 3 other flat tires besides this one.  You would think by this time I would have picked up on it.  Of course not.  The first time I had a flat it was in Malibu Canyon.  I was on a narrow strip of dirt between whizzing traffic and a cliff.  I had no idea what to do and I of course had no cell reception.  As I was staring at the spare in my trunk, two guys pulled up behind me.  At first I was relieved but then I realized that they could also be raper/murders who could just throw me off the cliff after doing God knows what to me.  Fortunately, they were not raper/murders.  I think they must have actually been a part of some pit crew because they jumped out of the car, changed my tire at lightning speed, and then jumped back in their car and took off.  I barely had time to thank them.  They must have been some sort of NASCAR angels.  The second time I was living at home and used my parents AAA, and the thrid time I was at work and had one of the security guards changed it.

I guess I figured one of the perks of getting married was that you have someone to change your tires for you, right??  I thought it was one of those unspoken things.  I'll birth the kids and you change tires and kill spiders.  But when my husband showed up he said, "How is it that your parents never taught you to change a flat."  What?  I am actually suppose to know how to do that??

This is MacGyver in case you are under 30.
He was shocked that, yet again, I was lacking the knowledge of what he sees as a basic life skill.  Of course he would think this because my husband knows how to do everything.  It is true and I am going to brag about him a little bit (only because he never reads my blog and won't know about it).  Plumbing, electrical, construction, carpentry, basket weaving, machine repair, sewing (!), investing, decorating, bomb detonation.  He is practically MacGyver, minus the mullet.  It is so obnoxious. 

The reason he knows so much more goes back to our different childhoods.  I was doing things like perfecting the art of jump roping with roller skates on and  watching Jem.  He was handing his dad tools and watching This Old House.    He was probably Bob Villa for Halloween.  Even if I had succeeded at the rollerskating jump roping venture (which I did not. . .I did not), it is not very useful.  Whereas my husband filled his childhood learning very useful things.  Whatever, I had fun.

But the whole thing got me thinking about how I just missed the boat on learning a lot of things that I should know how to do.  Here are a few of those things:

  • Cooking edible food. 
  • Sewing.  I can fake my way through sewing a button on, but that is about it.  And yes, my husband really can sew.
  • Folding a fitted sheet.  Okay, is that really even possible??  And if you know how can you please give me a lesson.
  • How to work a drill or any power tools.
  • There are so many more, but I have rambled on long enough.
There you have it.  Although I can kick butt in Pop Culture Trivial Pursuit, I don't have any real practical skills.  Guilty as charged!

Oh, and my mom's answer for why I didn't know how to change a tire?  We had AAA.  Duh Kev, get your wife a AAA card! 

Monday, August 29, 2011

Tis the season for....raccoons

I have always had a fondness for raccoons.  I think it goes back to camping trips in the Redwoods with my family.  My little brother loved the raccoons we would see while camping.  He loved them so much that my dad made up a song for him.  (As a side note, my dad is totally awesome and created many songs for us.  He also has written a song for every one of his grandchildren.  Love you Dad!)  So my view of raccoons was very childlike.  I viewed them as these cute, cuddly, adorable, playful scamps.  Like this:
Ahhh, don't you just want to snuggle with it!
But over the past few years I have come to learn the truth about the "masked bandits."  These little buggers have been raiding our grape vines around this time every year.  In all honesty I wouldn't mind if a cute little raccoon family came into our backyard to have a grape picnic.  But I have two big problems with the nightly grape harvests.  Number one, the raccoons in Colorado are either way different than the California brand or I have not remembered them correctly.  Because the raccoons I see don't look like the cutie above, they look more like this:
I am pretty sure an encounter with this guy would result in a round of rabies shots. . .and maybe some therapy for post traumatic stress.  And even the scary breed of mutant killer Colorado raccoon would be fine with me if I didn't have three dogs (two of which are slightly larger than rats).

As you can guess, my little rat dogs and the proper sized dog all heard the invaders and wanted outside.  My groggy husband walked downstairs and let the dogs out without knowing that we had several visitors.  I must also mention that my rat dogs have no idea that they are small.  If a full blown cougar was in our backyard I have no doubt that Gidget and Bug would be snipping at its ankles.  These raccoons had at least 10 pounds on my min pins but like I said that is a moot point with those two.  A very loud animal brawl ensued and I ran down stairs certain something was eating my dogs (hoping Bug was the one being eaten, and don't judge if you haven't met her).  Kevin informed me that the coons had run off and we then spent the next ten minutes chasing and yelling at our dogs to get in the house.  Sheesh!  What a night!

So today we will be clipping down all our grapes to deter the raccoons from returning.  Maybe we should just cut the grape vines down.  Dogs aren't suppose to have grapes anyway (causes kidney failure in case you didn't know).  But the vines are so nice because they hide all the crap we store under the deck.  So grape snipping we will go because I don't want to walk out and see this one night:
We have a cat too!  Poor Coco wouldn't stand a chance
Or even more horrific this:
Real or photoshop??  I don't know and I am not sure which one would be more disturbing!

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Getting on my soap box

"Whether you think that you can or think that you can't, you're usually right." -Henry Ford

I recently read this quote on Shut Up And Run.  She wrote a great inspirational post and I have been thinking about it ever since. . .mostly because I hear this all the time: "I could never do that."  You did a triathlon?  I could never do that.  You did a half marathon?  I could never do that.  You ran around the block?  I could never do that.

The "I could never do that" statements seem to grow especially loud when my runs go over 10 miles.  I understand it because I used to be one of those people saying, "I could never do that."  I was overweight, I was sedentary, I couldn't even make it around the track once without wheezing and praying for death.  The reason I went from that to running longer distances is because of three things.  Start doing the following and you can go from saying "I could never do that" to "Do you want to see my medal?"

Desire:  I could never swim across the English Channel or climb Mt. Everest.  Monetary and ability reasons aside, I could never do it because I have absolutely no desire to do either!  Open water swimming?  Yeah not my favorite thing.  I am completely certain that I taste delicious and a whole host of sea creatures would be lining up to chomp on my gooey mid section.  I do think given the resources and training that I could physically get there but I just could never get there mentally.  And Everest?  Snow, wind, cold, frostbite, missing fingers and toes???  Have I mentioned that I grew up in Southern California?  I won't even go skiing.  So again, mentally I would never get there (not to mention that it costs a bagillion dollars and lots of people actually die doing it).

My point is that if you don't have the desire to do something you won't do it regardless of your physical abilities.  I see this a lot.  People say they want to start running or working out, but end up giving up because they don't really have the desire to do.  I think it is ok if running isn't your thing (I don't understand it because running is awesome, but I do think it is ok).  However, I do think you need to find the desire to make some sort of physical activity a part of your life.

Belief:  "You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think."  Am I quoting Winnie the Pooh?  Yeah, I totally am (I have little kids, what can I say?).  But I love what Christopher Robin tells Pooh.  We can do so much more than we let ourselves believe.  

I just started reading Running on Empty by Marshall Ulrich, and I am just amazed at what this dude has done.  I do think he has a natural talent for running distance, I do think he either doesn't feel pain or likes it (?), and I do think he is a kinda crazy.  But mostly I think that he has done these amazing feats because he never told himself he couldn't.

I want to run a marathon next year.  26.2 miles is really far (it seems less far since I started reading Running on Empty).  And although I am no Marshall Ulrich, I have no doubt that if I put in the time I will do it.  I am not saying that I am going to win or have a fast time, but I'll cross the finish line. . .because Christopher Robin told me I could.

Time:  Unless you are some kind of genetic freak or you are powered by the earth's yellow sun, you actually have to put in some work to go with your desire and belief.  I didn't get up one day and say, "Hmm, I think I will run 13.1 miles."  Even Marshall Ulrich didn't get up one day and say, "Hmm, I think I will run up and down Pike's Peak four times in a row."  He started with a short run that he struggled through.  I started with one lap around Pepperdine's track.  One.   

I put in the time to reach my goals.  I followed my training plans and worked hard.  It wasn't always easy but it was worth it each time I crossed the finish line.

Ok, ok, I am hopping off my soap box now!  Just don't say "I could never do that" around me or I will hop back on!!

Saturday, August 27, 2011


I have been sick and therefore sitting on my tush for the last three days.  No running, no riding, no swimming.  Just laying around and doing the bare minimum in the parenting department (sorry kids!).  I am feeling better now, but way off schedule with my training plan. I have derailed.

Is it really a big deal to get off the training plan?  Do you really even need one?  Well, I love training plans.  I think they are one of the most essential items a runner or triathlete can have when getting ready for an event, especially a long event or an event that you have never done before.  They really do get you were you need to go.  A training plan can make you successful whether you are doing a 5K or an Ironman. .  .if you stick to the plan!

In my book, sticking to the plan=success so I try to stick to my training plan as best as I can.  I switch stuff around to make it work with my schedule but I try to make sure I do all my workouts for the week.  Well, guess what?  Not a single plan out there has scheduled sick days and when you have two carrier monkeys children you are probably going to get sick a few times.  Sigh.  

So you adapt.  Training plans are important but how your body is feeling trumps a training plan every time.  I am hoping that I will feel much better tomorrow and be back on track.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

I feel the need, the need for speed

Yes, I am referencing Top Gun because it is still one of my favorite movies of all time.  Is it totally 80's?  Yes.  Is it kinda cheesy?  Absolutely!  But has Tom Cruise ever been hotter?  I don't think so.  And come on, the volleyball scene.  Need I say more??  But this post actually isn't about Top Gun.  I just had to give it a little love.  I am of course talking about the need for running speed.

I did a 10 miler today and it was my first time doing double digits since May.  While I am pleased with the distance, I am still disappointed in how long it is taking me!  I want to be this.

But I am a little more like this.

It is frustrating to say the least.  But I do have 6 more weeks and I do have a training plan that works on speed.  Just because I am not there yet doesn't mean I won't get there, right?  So in those six weeks I will be doing intervals, tempo runs, pace runs, hills, and of course long runs.  With some hard work and crossed fingers I think I just might get there. 

I must also face an unfortunate reality if I really want to get faster.  That reality being I am quite a ways from ideal running weight.  One chart said I should weigh 102 lbs!  102!  I think the last time I weighed that I was in elementary school.  I don't know if I would be faster at 102 lbs but I am a pretty sure I wouldn't have to worry about menstruating.  That is a ridiculous weight and I think that it is a dangerous recommendation.  But I can't deny that losing some weight does help with speed and at some point I am going to be as fast as I can be at my current weight.  So I have to either be fine with my current speed or stop stealing my daughter's potty training treats. . .and going to Starbucks so often. . .and mindlessly snacking. . .and so on and so forth.  Hmmm, maybe slow isn't so bad?

Slow isn't bad, but I want to be faster so I am going to try to remove some of the junk from my trunk.  I think I now have a great plan to go from this
to this

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

You talking to me??

I was completely out of breath, hyperventilating, and my heart rate was out of control.  The water was starting to engulf me and my body was sinking.  I was overwhelmed with exhaustion, working harder than I ever had before, and completely certain that death was imminent .  Finally my hand touched the wall and I stood up.  I had just completed my first lap in the pool. 

Yes, that was me 14 months ago.  I had already signed up for an open water triathlon (two months away)  and my first trip to pool was less than successful.  I knew how to not sink but I would not say I knew how to swim.  Why I signed up for a triathlon when I couldn't swim is anyone's guess, but I am pretty sure stupidity played a big part of it.  Giving up was starting to look pretty appealing and I might have done just that if it had not been for a conversion with another swimmer that day.  She must have known I needed encouragement (the tears might have been the giveaway).  She told me she was there just a year ago herself.  Her advice was to take some lessons, keep practicing, and don't give up!

I took the lessons, I practiced diligently, read Total Immersion Swimming, and my triathlon was a huge success (meaning I didn't die). I continued to work on swimming and, although I think I am considerably better than I was, I would not call myself a great swimmer (you can just read this or this to see my problems with swimming).  So, I was of course surprised today when I finished my 500 meter swim and the lady in the lane next to me said, "You are a really good swimmer.  Can you give me some advice."  Um, who was she talking to?  I was the only other person there, so it must be me.

I had to get over the shock of someone wanting tips from me on swimming (I did just describe my swimming in the tri as cat like!).  I think I was a bit unqualified, but I wanted to give her the same encouragement that I had gotten.  I told her that I was there too, that I had to take lessons, I had to learn to breath properly, and I had to learn proper body alignment.  She asked if she should just add a lap each time until she got better and I told her no.  No, you need to learn to swim properly or you will always feel like you are going to die after one lap.  We talked some more and I hope she was encouraged to not give up!!

Sometimes it takes seeing where you started to realize how far you have come.  That first day in the pool was so horrible but now swimming (in a pool, not Cherry Creek Reservoir) is, dare I say, enjoyable.  So lady at the gym, keep your head up. . .well actually keep it down. 

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Ditching the Cape

This morning I went for a run, got the family dressed and to church on time, mowed the lawn, did the dishes, and shaved my legs.  Whoa, someone grab me a cape because I am supermom.

Ok, not really.  But I have been feeling sub par all summer long and I am going to celebrate the small victories.  It seems like I have been having trouble juggling all the things I need/want to get done in life.  I don't have it all together which leads me to ask, does any mom have it "all together?"  Can anyone, in all honesty, say they are supermom??

I went to Wikipedia (because it is like totally accurate, right?) and found that Supermom does not exist, yet all us moms are trying to be her.  We are trying to be this mythical Supermom who:
*has perfectly behaved children (fail)
*has a spotlessly clean, organized house (super fail)
*is a wonderful cook who creates healthy, delicious meals that you don't have to bribe your children (or husband) to eat (FAIL!!!!)
*a perfect body (fail-unless "sturdy" is sweeping the runways this year)
*creates wonderful projects and games for her perfectly behaved children (does "find mommy's keys" count as a game??)
*attends to her husbands every need (yeah right)
*always looks put together (Fail! Showers are viewed as a luxury around here and my blow dryer has been severely neglected.)
*is president of the PTA, team mom, class mom, and carpool queen (fail)

I think (unless you are currently taking amphetamines) that nobody can live up to the impossible standards that moms tend to place on themselves.  Having it all means doing it all, and I don't know too many people who can keep that up for long.  I am realizing that I need to pick and choose what is important to me and my family and ditch the whole idea of achieving the impossible (to be honest I wasn't ever trying real hard for the whole clean house and good cook thing).

So what are the important things to me?

Spending quality, fun time with my children before I return to work next year (well if Jeffco starts hiring teachers again).  The dishes and laundry and definitely the dust will always be there, but my kids are going to realize I am a huge dork pretty soon.  I will, at some point soon, be the last person they want to spend time with so I better take it while I can get it.

The other important thing to me is making fitness a part of my life.  Yes, it cuts into the day a bit.  Sometimes the house is a bigger mess because I choose to spend time at the gym or running or cycling.  Maybe a "supermom" would choose mopping over sweating, but I am interested in avoiding type II diabetes not scuff marks.  At the end of the day being a healthy mom is so much more important.  I not only want to be the mom who keeps up with her kids, I want to be the mom who keeps up with her grandkids.

Here's to ditching the cape and embracing what matters the most to you!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

A goal and a plan

I have mentioned before that my daughter loves Dora the Explorer.  What two year old girl doesn't love Dora, right?  As much as it makes me want to stick a fork in my eye, I have to say I have learned two things from Dora: a) remedial Spanish and b) in order to be successful you need a map to tell you where you are going and how you are going to get there.  Basically, you need a goal and a plan.

This morning as I found myself saying, "Swiper no swiping," I realized that I need to nail down my goal and start following the appropriate training plan.  So I have decided that I am going to focus on the 1/2 marathon.  I might still throw the tri into the mix but I will not be "training" for it.  I feel good about this decision and I am hoping, just hoping, that I can get fast enough to run the 1/2 in under 2 hours.

Now that I have my goal I need to start following a training plan.  I have to admit I have kinda been winging it.  It isn't that I don't like training plans, it is just that I was training for two different events at the same time and it was hard to lay out a plan.  I became overwhelmed and decided to just stick to tri training until that race was finished.  I admit this was mostly because I was legitimately afraid I was going to drown (turns out I wasn't that far off).  I decided to jump onto week 5 of an intermediate (whoa, I am not a novice anymore!) training plan.

So now I have a goal and a plan!  Dora, I think you would be proud.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Fork(s) in the road

I know I just did a tri a little over a week ago but I am itching to throw one more in this year!  The open water swim left a bad taste in my mouth (not literally because I didn't put my mouth in the water, ugh!) and now I want to do a redemption race.  The Fall Frenzy is September 11th and I did it last year as my redemption race for the flat tire in Tri for the Cure.  It is close, small, and a pool swim (of only 500 yards).  All pluses.  The minuses?  Race fees and training for both that and the Denver 1/2 Marathon in 8 weeks.  So now I am trying to figure out what I want to do.  I decided I would wait until I did my long run (the first one in over a month) so I could see where I was in terms of  1/2 training.  When my run was finished I still had no idea what I wanted to do!  Here are the options I came up with:

A:  Train for both the tri and the half marathon at the same time.  That means a brick and a long run each week.  Doable, but a little tougher now that my sister has gone back to California and is not available to watch the kiddos.  Man, I was spoiled when she was here.  I checked Craig's List for "free nanny" but surprisingly no results.

B:  Just train for the half marathon and try to get faster.  I was really happy with my distance during the long run, but I was not happy with the time.  I was a lot slower than I wanted to be.  I want to average 9 minute miles for the race and I was running 9:50 yesterday.  Blah, that's a big difference!  It was like I had rocks in my pocket.  If I wasn't worrying about a triathlon then I could really focus on picking up the pace.

C:  Just train for a FULL marathon and be slow.  This one is a long shot but I have to say I am considering it (mostly because I suffer from delusions of grandeur).  I have 8 weeks until the race and I already ran (almost) 10 miles.  Could I totally work it and get up to 20 miles before the race??  I can change from a half to a full all the way up to race day.  Tempting, but I don't think I am there yet.  And I have to admit my main motivation is that I always have to correct people and tell them that I only did a HALF marathon.  Dang it, I want to say I did a marathon.  Plus, I live in Colorado and every other car I see has a 26.2 sticker on it.  It is like they are taunting me.

D:  Train for the half or full marathon and phone in the tri.  I could just do the tri for fun and not even worry about my times (FYI- there is zero chance of me not caring about my times).

E.  Start sleeping in and going to the mall.  My legs are voting for this option.

So I guess the real question is: Do I want redemption, speed, or distance?  Hmmmmm....

Sunday, August 14, 2011

On the lamb

Yesterday I got a letter from the fine state of Texas informing me that there is a warrant out for MY arrest!!!!  It says and I quote, "you are subject to arrest at ANY TIME."  And yes, "any time" was in all caps!!  Yikes!!  I had visions of hiding in my basement with the windows drawn expecting Walker, Texas Ranger to bust down my door at any moment.  I guess you don't mess with Texas, do you!!

So after I got over the initial shock of being a fugitive from the law, I read the whole letter.  Looks like I might not need to get "thug life" tattooed on my knuckles because they just want me to pay my speeding ticket.  Yes, it looks like I have been too busy running to pay my fines and apparently Texas is none too pleased with me.

My husband is having a great time razzing me about being a criminal.  I think I am just finally living up to the preacher's kids stereotype.  It's never too late to rebel, right??  So I either need to practice shiv making or I need to find my checkbook.  Um, I think I will go the checkbook route and until that check clears I will be looking in my review mirror for Dog the Bounty Hunter.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

A new toy for mom

Sometimes when one door closes you need to open another door. . .like one that leads to REI.

My heart rate monitor bit the dust during the tri.  It was on its last leg before the race and that open water swim totally killed it.  But to be honest I was kind of happy about it.  I have been pining after a GPS watch for months now.  Dreaming of its superpowers.  I wanted it bad but couldn't justify spending more money on yet another running gadget. But when the old one died it was the perfect excuse to go buy one!

This a picture of the watch, but not mine.  I wish I could run a 4:56 mile.

So I took my old watch into REI on the off chance they would take it back.  I bought it in 2008 and thought the warranty would be long gone, but good old REI took it back.  I love that place!  So I picked out a Garmin Forerunner 110 to replace it.  It is on the more basic end of GPS watches but does enough for me.

This morning was my inaugural run with it.  How on earth did I ever live without one??  It is like the first time you got a computer, email, a cell phone, an ipod, or DVR.  You were perfectly fine before they came along but after you used them once you could no longer exist without them.  And yes, I do think I would die if my DVR was taken away from me.

It was amazing to be able to look down and see what pace I was running.  It made me go a bit faster a few times.  Also, I got a more accurate measure of my run.  Mapmyrun is pretty accurate unless you go off roads (which I do several times during this run).  So I found out the run was 4.1 miles and not 4.25 miles.  Bummer.  When I hooked it up to my computer it told me all kinds of stuff.  It showed my splits with average speed and fastest speed.  I could definitely tell when I was going uphill!

My verdict so far: AWESOME!  Oh Garmin, I never want to run without you again!!

Monday, August 8, 2011

Swimming like a cat, riding like the wind, and running UP a Dam Road

I think I must have been a cat in a former life.  Ok, so I don't actually believe in reincarnation, but really my aquatic skills are quite feline in nature.  It seems that no matter how much I try, no matter how many laps I swim, no matter how much I channel my inner Michael Phelps, I just plain stink at swimming!!  Tri for the Cure was yesterday and in case you didn't pick up on it, I am not too happy with the way the swim portion went.  But overall it was a great race.  Here is a breakdown of Tri for the Cure 2011!

All set up and ready to go!
Pre-race I was assigned a swim start time of 8:00 sharp so of course I set my alarm for 4 in the morning.  Seems a bit ridiculous, right?  But here is the thing about Tri for the Cure.  It is the largest Sprint Tri in the nation.  Over 3000 women sign up to race which means one thing: parking is an absolute nightmare.  You better get there early or you're schlepping your gear for a couple of miles.  So I pulled into a primo parking spot around 5am and made my way to transition.  I set up my area, got my tires fully inflated, and checked out the course.  Then I waited for 2 and half hours.

Racing for a reason this year:  Each year participants can race in memory of or in celebration of someone who has battled breast cancer.  I was honored enough to race in celebration of Sheryl Dahm.  Sheryl is a mentor mom at my MOPS group.  I have been inspired by her and her story of battling (and beating!) breast cancer.  She is an awesome lady who is always there to give the moms in our group a smile, a word of encouragement and wisdom, a prayer, and a shoulder to lean on.  I am so grateful for Sheryl and so happy she let me race in her honor!

Swim (Goal time: under 20):  Finally around 7:45 I made my way down to all the other blue caps in my wave and began the nerve racking process of waiting for the swim start.  I began my internal pep talk, "Ok, Katie you can do this.  You have been practicing!  You can can swim front crawl, you can sight, you can open water swim.  You have this in the bag!  This year you are putting your head in the water.  No breast stroke!  Great form!"  I should not become a motivational speaker because as the bullhorn sounded I panicked.  The swim start was chaos.  The water was choppy, arms and legs were flying in all directions, and the sun was directly in my eyes!  I couldn't see, I couldn't swim, I couldn't breath.  All of my hard work and what did I do????  I swam breast stroke with my head out of the water just praying I could hold it together for 750 meters.

Disappointment washed over me and I just wanted to swim back to shore, grab my stuff, and go.  Not only was I going to be slower, I was also going to be exhausted from this.  Good form is important for speed but it is even more important for efficiency.  When you swim you should look like this -- not this /.  Looking like this / means you are dragging your body through the water instead of gliding on top of it.  When I finally reached the shore I was so relieved because I knew I could not swim another stroke.  I ran to the finish mat tired but glad that I survived.  Surprisingly, I was still 3 minutes faster than last year and (barely) made my goal time for the swim. (Actual time: 19:31, Rank: 1104/2411)

T1:   I have already mentioned that in a race of this size parking is a problem.  Another problem is the massive size of the transition area.  Transition is a part of your total race time so you want a spot that is close to the start and finish lines of all three events.  The elite group is assigned a spot right next to all three starts.  I was assigned a spot in Kansas.  Needless to say, my transition times were slow (almost 8 and a half minutes!!).

Bike (Goal time under 40 min):  I was a rock star on my bike.  Yeah, that's right, I am going to brag a bit.  Please feel free to skip this if you don't want to read about  how awesome I am (just kidding).  I might suck at swimming, I might be average at running, but I can go all Lance Armstrong on my bike.  Ok, I am not that good but cycling is definitely my thing.  I blame it on my mannish thigh muscles.  I only got totally passed once (played leap frog a few times with 3 ladies and ultimately passed them).  Although, I must mention that the elite and competitive groups had long since finished the race by the time I started.   Overall, I was very thrilled with my cycling portion and it almost made up for the heinous swim.  (Actual time: 36:08  Rank: 115/2411)

T2:   See complaints from T1

This is the evil time chip
Run (Goal time: under 30min):  Running is hard to do after swimming and cycling.  Running up a hill (that lasts for a mile and a half) is super tough.  I started out kinda slow and picked it up a bit when I got to Dam Road.  The run was pretty good except for one little thing.  Half way through the bike I realized that my timing chip was starting to dig into my ankle.  At the start of the run I really noticed it and by the end I was in excruciating pain.  I thought of a review of Running on Empty where it talked about Marshall Ulrich running across America when he had a foot problem.  He told himself that his foot did not belong to him and he kept running just ignoring the pain.  So I tried that and discovered that I am not Marshall Ulrich.  That foot still belonged to me and it was pissed off.  By the time I got my chip cut off, I had a bloody mess on my ankle.  Oh the poor volunteer who had to cut it off!  Partially severed foot aside, it was a decent run and five and a half minutes faster than last year. (Actual time:29:15  Rank: 482/2411)

Overall (Goal: Under 1:30:00):  It is hard for me to not be disappointed with this race because of the swim.  But I need to look past that and realize that overall I did a good job.  Swimming isn't my thing, but that doesn't mean I am going to hang up the goggles.  I will keep working on it until I can describe my swim as "good" instead of "avoided death." (Actual Time: 1:33:18  Rank 350/2411)

I do love Tri for the Cure!  This is where my love for (or obsession with) triathlons and racing in general was born. I love the atmosphere, the organization, and you can not help but be inspired when that group of cancer survivors starts their swim (there was even an 84 year old survivor who raced!).  It is a great race for a great cause and I was so happy to be a part of it again this year.

P.S.  I missed you Audrey!

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Name Change

I have not been getting along with sippy cups lately.  We've been having our differences and I think it is time they made their exit from our lives.  Since I am no longer on speaking terms with them, it seems that my blog title needs to make a change as well.  So out with "Sweat and Sippy Cups" and in with "Will Race for Carbs." 

Why did I pick this title?  Well really I think I like racing so much because of the guilt free carbo loading you get to do before hand.  I am a (kinda unsuccessful) recovering carb addict and before races is usually the only time I let myself eat lots of carbs (without remorse).  I don't think any food should be "off limits" but I also think you shouldn't only eat one food group (which is what I would do if I could!).  So since my Junior year of college the only times I let loose have been pregnancy and pre-race (um, no wonder I sign up for everything!).

Here is some evidence of what happens to me when I don't restrict myself.  You are looking at me 9 months pregnant.  That is 7 pounds of baby and none of your business pounds of bagels and pasta.

So this morning I enjoyed a wonderful bagel and just told myself that it was part of training (a totally yummy part).  Tonight I am thinking spaghetti.  Ah, I love racing!!

Friday, August 5, 2011

Training. . .potty training that is

I think I would rather run an ultra-marathon than potty train my two year old daughter.  I HATE potty training and quite frankly it hates me.  Getting my son to poop in the potty was my Everest and I don't want to climb Everest again.  I will pay someone a million dollars to come potty train my child (DISCLAIMER: I do not actually have a million dollars so don't show up on my doorstep asking for the potty training job). 

When I was pregnant with Emerson I would pray, "Lord, let her be healthy and let her be a potty savant."  Well, she's healthy.  A genius on the can. . . not so much.  So alas, we are beginning to start the hell that is potty training.  We only have one success and a very stubborn girl who thinks it is ridiculous that we won't let her wear her diapers.  Um, I thought girls were suppose to be easier to potty train?

The next few weeks should be filled with paper towels, loads of laundry, frustrations, hopefully celebrations, bribes, and desperate pleas to God for my sanity!  But when I can kick that final pamper to the curb and pronounce the Schmidt house a diaper free zone it will all be worth it!  Wish me luck because I am going to need it.

Come on Emerson!  A cat can do it for Pete's sake!!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Home Stretch

I have reached the final count down for Tri for the Cure!!!  This Sunday is race day and, I have to say, I think I am ready to totally rock it!

I did my last open water swim yesterday!  It went great and I am feeling more comfortable in the water.  Here is a view of where I swim.
I swim between the rope and the buoys.  I have to avoid the hoodlum teenagers on the rope side and becoming a boat speed bump on the buoys side.
And today I did my last brick.  I averaged 16mph on the bike (but there were very big hills) and 8:49 minute miles for the run.  Good enough for me!

So now I rest and eat pasta!  Woo hoo!!  Here are my race goals for Tri for the Cure:

Swim- under 20 min
Bike-under 40 min
Run-under 30 min
Total race time with transitions- under 1:30

I am very excited and I just hope I don't get a flat tire again this year!!!!

Monday, August 1, 2011

Dear MOPS, I love you!

 On March 29th, 2007 I nervously laid on an operating table as my doctor said, "It won't hurt, but it is going to feel like an elephant is sitting on your chest."  A few minutes later that elephant sat down and I heard the most glorious sound; my son screaming his head off. 
The first moments of fatherhood for Kevin.

To say things did not go as planned would be an understatement.  I did not plan to ride to the hospital alone in the back of an ambulance.  I did not plan to have an emergency induction.  I did plan to have an epidural after the first contraction and luckily that did happen (and yes I am a giant wuss and no I don't feel like I missed out on anything by skipping the pains of labor!).  I didn't plan to push for THREE hours only to have my son shoved back into me.  I didn't plan on having an emergency C-section.  And most of all I didn't plan to hold my son and feel absolutely nothing.

Motherhood did not come easily for me.  Those first few weeks were more than rough.  I felt like a failure because I couldn't deliver my son (I know it is ridiculous but I really had to work through that).  That child I had felt so close to when I was pregnant seemed like a stranger to me. . .a mean stranger who had tortured my insides only to come out and start torturing my outsides (nipples specifically).  I was in pain from the c-section, exhausted from lack of sleep, and riding on a crazy postpartum hormone roller coaster.  People would ask, "Don't you just love being a mom?  Isn't it the greatest thing in the world?"  I would choke back the tears and say "oh yes I just love it!"  I didn't dare say what I was really thinking.  "Are you kidding me?!  Please tell me how leaking constantly (from everywhere) can be enjoyable.  Yes, I love not sleeping, being thrown up on, and cracked nipples are my absolute favorite!  The joys are never ending!!!"  I secretly cried a lot and would put on a big fake smile during the rare occasions I ventured out.

As the weeks turned to months I did fall madly in love with that beautiful baby boy and things were becoming easier.  But I felt lost at times and it was very lonely to be home alone all day.  Something was missing from my life and I did not know how to fix it.  Thankfully, God was looking out for me and He lead to me MOPS through a friend's invitation.

I can't even begin to explain what MOPS has done for me.  I got connected with other women, I made friends, I got advice, and I had a lot of fun.  I don't even think these women know how much they have touched my life and helped me survive motherhood.  Moms need other moms!  I often say that the two things that saved my life as a mom were MOPS and running.  And this weekend I got to do both!  Bonus!

The steering team went on a weekend retreat in the mountains.  Beautiful scenery, great company, lots of laughs, no kids(!), and of course I ran!  I even had a running buddy the first day (thank you Sarah Babb).  Here are some pictures of the beautiful course we ran.  Prepare to be jealous of the absolute beauty of Keystone, CO (elevation 9100 feet).
Our run started from the house (not a bad view).  Two things about running in the mountains: the air is thinner and even in July the mornings are FREEZING cold.  We froze our tushies off!
Over the river and through the woods.  
The path we took went right by this river.  Beautiful!  I wisely opted not to do an open water swim here.
Starting to get a little hilly.  Thin, cold mountain air + hills= lung torture.  I think Sarah started glaring at me at this point.  Just kidding!

Just another shot of the river.
My legs might have been dying but the view was worth it!  Love those 14ers (and for the record I am just guessing those are 14ers)!

We ran around this lake and then headed back to the house.  Over three miles of scenic beauty.  I did two loops the first day and one loop the second.

What a view!!!  The snow on the mountains is so beautiful to look at (and by that I mean I love that is far away from me!).
Posing by the lake.  Sarah on the left, Darla in the middle, and Joanna on the right.