Thursday, September 13, 2012

Shutting down my blog

Well it isn't like I've blogged that much in the past few months anyway, but I have to officially shut this thing down.  I just accepted a teaching job at a high school, something I was convinced I would NOT be doing this year....but it was just too tempting to pass up.  I am going in after the year has started, I haven't ever taught high school, and I will have three preps, and still have my kids at home, and I think I am having a panic attack just typing this!!  So I will be BUSY!  But that isn't why I am shutting this thing down.  I don't want those kids googling me and reading all the embarrassing stuff I've written about myself!  I could go back and delete all those posts and only write non-embarrassing things but then I wouldn't have any posts left or anything to write about.  So I am hanging it up!  Thank you to everyone who read my blog, encouraged me, made me laugh, and became my online support system.  Love to you all and thank you!!

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

An overdue and unsolicited shoe review of Hoka One Ones

In my opinion there is no gear more important in running than shoes.  No wait, there is nothing more important than a sports bra....but shoes come directly after that.  The wrong shoes can wreak havoc on your body and affect your form, times, and enjoyment of the sport.  Finding the right shoe is an essential task for every runner, from the novice to the elite.

Lately, there has been an influx of new shoes and shoe types to choose from.  Instead of making it easier to find a shoe, I think it has made that shopping trip even trickier.  What shoe do you get?  Brand, heel to toe ratio, padding, barefoot, neutral, natural, stabilizing, etc, etc, etc??  The options seem limitless....and so do the conflicting opinions. There are folks loudly yelling that the only way to run is barefoot (or as close as you can get to it) and there are folks yelling equally as loud that barefoot running is the best way to get injured.  It is enough to make your head spin.

In my limited experience and equally limited expertise, I find that a shoe with a lower heel to toe ratio is better (4mm or less).  So I guess I lean closer to barefoot running, although I don't think I will ever run completely barefoot.  I read ChiRunning and loved it.  I try to be a midfoot/forefoot striker (although many a race picture will show you that I don't always achieve it) and I think shoes with a smaller heel help you do that.

Shortly after I read ChiRunning I bought my first pair of Newtons.  At that time nobody had them.  I got a lot of strange looks from people checking out my insanely bright orange shoes that did not contain a familiar symbol on the side.  I loved my Newtons and I still think they are a solid shoe choice.  And now races are flooded with Newton clad runners...although you still might be the only one at the gym sporting them.

So why switch shoes?  Well, Newtons are not cheap.  I also hurt my arch and wondered if they shoes were to blame (I don't think they were).  And finally, I read a review of this new shoe called Hoka One One (oh-nay oh-nay).  The reviewer was none other than Marshall Ulrich, and if the grand master of the ultra marathon likes a shoe, well I listen.
This is from last year when I met Marshall Ulrich...I bet he misses me.
Marshall's review promised fewer aches and fresher legs.  Um, yes please!  So I gave them a go.  Unfortunately, these shoes are just as expensive as my former favs.  How expensive?  $170 before tax.  Ouch!  Even more unfortunate, these shoes, in my opinion, are butt ugly.  Here they are:
Red and Yellow Clown Shoes Adult
Red nose not included
Okay, so maybe they are not that bad, but they definitely look and feel clown like in the sea of minimalist shoes that are popular today.  How I actually describe them is like this:  it looks like a pair of skater shoes mated with a pair of Sketcher Shape-ups.  In fact I can not tell you how many times I have been asked if I am running in toning shoes.  Ugh.  The design/colors aren't is just that they look orthopedic....nobody, especially runners, want to look orthopedic.

Although these things look ridiculously big and heavy, they are actually pretty light.  And the heel does look enormous but the heel to toe drop is still only 4mm.

So what makes these so great?  How are these ugly, giant things any different, or more importantly, any better than the rest of the shoes out there??  This link from Hoka will tell you all about the technology and I will tell you this: they feel luxuriously plush.  The material that Hoka One One uses is amazingly shock absorbing.  It almost feels like running on gymnast flooring.  Now I am not a skinny runner and I have bad knees. I need shock absorption, especially on long runs.  Running down hill?  A dream!  Switching back to other shoes?  Borderline torture on my knees.  I love these shoes and they were worth every penny because I don't feel trashed after a long run....or a short run for that matter.

Now, that said, I will give you a few of the negatives
  • They run small.  I recommend getting a half size or size bigger than your current shoe.  I actually had to take my first pair back because they were too small.
  • They take a while to break in.  I wasn't in love with these shoes the first 2 times I wore them.  There was a definite break in period.  My feet felt a little caged at first (they don't anymore).
  • The toe box is a little narrow in my opinion.  I wish it was wider (yeah, I guess I am saying I wish these giant shoes were even bigger).
  • You take a little bit of an ego hit wearing them.  You don't look a runner in these look like your going to go mall walking.  You are going to get looks from other runners like, "What are you running in?  Amateur!"  When I wore Newtons I felt considerably cooler.  Shoot, when I wore Nikes I felt a lot cooler.
My overall opinion is a positive one and I believe my next shoes will also be Hoka One Ones.  I can't imagine going back to a regular pair.  I don't think every shoe is right for every runner.  If you like to feel the ground, these aren't for you.  I don't like to feel the ground...the ground hurts, so I love them!  Bottom line: Give them a try!  They are a totally different type of shoe and you just might fall in love, I know I did.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

A bunch of firsts

The second post in a month?!?  This is shocking that I am actually going to post again...and I am hoping to actually read some blogs too!  Which must mean one thing: school started!!  (Well, at least for one of the kiddos.)

Monday was a big deal around here.  My son started Kindergarten!  And in some cruel twist of fate my firstborn's first day of Kindergarten coincided with the first day of my period.  In case you are wondering, this is like the perfect storm.  Overly emotional mixing with overly hormonal is not ever a good thing.  Ugly.  But I survived, he survived and seems to love it....but my heart still leaps a little every time he walks into the big elementary school without me.
All ready for the first day! 

Seriously Mom.  Are you for real?  Another picture?

I also had a big first this past week and that was my first Olympic distance triathlon!  After 6 sprints I decided it was probably time to up the ante.  I was at the point where a sprint distance wasn't that challenging...and well, I am a little bit of a type A, overachiever that needs a challenge.  I mean I guess I could have challenged myself to keep my house clean or learn how to cook.... but that just sounds awful.

As luck would have it, my friend Audrey wanted to up her game too (she seems to suffer from a similar overachiever affliction).  We picked out the Rattlesnake Tri early in year, based on the sole requirement that it was late in the season, and spent the summer training our little hearts out for it.

To be honest, I was really good about my training in the beginning of the summer.  I followed my plan religiously, checked off my workouts, patted myself on the back....and passed out every night at 7.  It was a lot of work and I felt myself getting burnt out.  Juggling full time motherhood and what seemed like full time training (it really wasn't!) was too much for me.  When you start asking your kids to push YOU in the stroller at the zoo you know you need to change something.  So I backed off a lot but was overall more balanced and happier....slower, but happier.

So I went into this race feeling like I was not as prepared as I should have been....but are you ever the first time you tackle an event?  But the day came and I told myself that I was ready to crush it....or at least finish it!

Audrey and I got to the race at our usual anal time of way too early.  As we wheeled our bikes into transition we realized that we had now entered the big leagues.  This wasn't Tri for the Cure where everyone pats you on the back and sings, these people were the real deal.  There was a definite presence of tri bikes, aero helmets (!), top of line wetsuits, and a definite lack of...body fat.  Audrey looked at me and said, "New goal:  Don't be last!!"
Audrey in transition.  The sun has never beat us to a race!
We finished set up and I heard a voice say, "you must be Katie."  It was Julie from You Just Have to Tri!  My second blogger meet up in just a couple weeks.  I need to keep doing these because I am 2 for 2 on meeting awesome ladies!  Julie is fantastic and it was so fun seeing her on different parts of the race!  Anyone else wanna meet me because I am loving this!  You can read Julie's (much more informative) report here.  She actually did something called the crazy back to back where you race the Oly on Saturday and the Sprint on Sunday.  Can't wait to hear the second half of the report!
Here we are.  At some point I am hoping to meet people when I've actually showered and put make-up on, but so far they have been very forgiving of my, let's call it "sporty," appearance.
Race Breakdown
The Swim:
  • Another first for me on this race was the time trial start.  Instead of starting with a big group in the water, you are sent one by one every 5 seconds into the water.  
  • Verdict- I liked it...well as much as I can like any open water swimming event.  
  • Aurora reservoir is a thousand times cleaner than Cherry Creek.  Instead of resembling dirty Mountain Dew, it resembled...water.  I didn't feel that my DNA was mutating as I was swimming like I did at CC res.   
  • I am just slow at swimming.  I don't swim that fast in the first place and you couple that with my inability to swim in a straight line...and...well, I'm not ever going to place well in the swim leg.  Also, I'm pretty sure I got lost at one point.  But hey, I couldn't even swim two years ago so this is progress!
The Bike

  • I generally consider this to be "my" event in a triathlon.  If I am going to make up any time, this is where it is going to happen.
  • However, I didn't expect too much since this was a very hilly course.  As Julie put it in her post, you were either going up or down. 
Here is the elevation graph for the know my legs hurt all over again just looking at it.
  • I was happy with my time considering all those hills and the fact that I don't have a tri bike or aero bars (yet)!  I averaged over 17 miles an hour.  I didn't get passed by a single girl (never mind that it was probably because I was the last girl out of the water!).
  •  Another first for me.  The first time I've almost run over a rattlesnake during a race!  At first I thought it was a prop because the tri is called The Rattlesnake...but no it was just a part of (dead) nature.
  • Photo: On the bike course today for the Olympic distance.
    I'd actually rather see this guy than a mouse!
The Run...okay the jog
  • No iPods allowed!  6.2 miles and the only entertainment was my heavy breathing and trying to guess when I'd pass out.  Dear USAT, the no headphones rule sucks!  
  •  I have to say that until mile 2 of the run, I didn't think an olympic distance tri was that much harder than a sprint tri.  If an Oly tri ended with a two mile run, I would do a 100 of them...but it doesn't.
  •  Welcome to mile 3....where I met the wall.  Those last four miles were brutal.  Although we had great weather, it was getting hotter, I was tired, and there was nothing left in my legs.  Try as I might to maintain my speed I just got slower and slower. 
  •  I stopped and walked at one point!!  Something I did not think I would let myself do...even now I wonder if I was being a big wuss...but I do think it saved me from puking.
  •  At mile 5 I could see the end and I could hear them announcing people as they passed the finish line.  You would think it would renew my spirits but it just frustrated me that I seemed so close yet so far away.
  •  The run took place on an open path that contained a bunch of typical cyclists....meaning they seemed annoyed that runners (even in a race) would dare clog up THEIR bike path (because didn't you know that all paths belong to cyclists??).  At one point I vowed to throw a water bottle at the next cyclist that yelled "On your left!!!!!!"  And I only once (or twice) considered throwing myself in front of one of those jack holes so I could end my miserable run.
The Finish Line
  • I think this is something that all racers know, but the finish line is an amazing thing.  The transformation that happens the second you cross the line is incredible.  Misery become glory.  Pain becomes triumph.  This race you were just cursing is now your proudest moment. In that instant, no matter how long it took you, you are a champion, and it is something that can not be taken from you (unless you are one of those idiots who ran to the finish line with your headphones on...then you got DQed).
  • I had no real time goals in mind but wanted to finish in under 3:15.  I finished in 3:11 and now I have a goal for my next oly tri..... and I wasn't last!!
  • I have a lot of room for improvement.  Next time I will be doing a lot more bricks....oh so many more!
  • About that 70.3.  Hmmmm, I think I need to do a few more olys first!
  • Here are a few more pictures from the day!


Audrey sprinting to the finish!  So proud of her!  Beat her goal time by 5 minutes!

First time my medal also doubles as a bottle opener.

The after race feast!  That coke was quite possibly the most amazing thing ever....and I don't even really like coke.

My daughter took this picture of me after the race.  I was actually trying to smile but this is as close as I could get.  And for the record, I don't usually look this hideous.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Tri for the Cure 2012

Well, it has been quite some time since I last updated this poor little blog.  A few friends pointed out that it seems as though I died from the flu since that was my last post.  I assure you I am not typing this posthumously as I did survive that awful virus.  I must also apologize to my husband who was actually horrible sick with pneumonia, and not just lazy like I accused him of being.  I know, he's a lucky man to have me.

My absence really had to do with a great lack of time.  I was spending way too much time on the computer and way too little time on things that were less fun, but more important.  Even my children were beginning to think I was spending too much time on the computer.  Here is a family portrait my son drew.

See what I mean???  But I am least for this post and no promises beyond that.  I really wanted to give my race report from Tri for the Cure!  But I haven't done this in awhile and I really couldn't write in the first bullet points it is!!  Here are the highlights in no particular order.
Photo: We be awesome!
This picture, like all the picture in this post, is stolen.  I have to give credit to Jill, Audrey, or Brightroom photography for the pictures.

  • I had my first ever blogger meet up!  I met Jill from Run with Jill.  I had never met Jill in the flesh but I read her blog and we are friends on Facebook.  After making a post about open water swimming she commented that she had just done one too.  Well, I immediately asked her if she was doing a tri because why on earth would you ever do an open water swim if you weren't getting ready for a tri?  Seriously, why would you?  They are awful and I can't image one would do them for enjoyment alone.  Every time I finish one I feel as though I have somehow cheated death.  Anyway, she admitted that she was doing Tri for the Cure and since I was doing it too, we were able to meet up for a OWS and the tri.  And if you haven't met Jill before here are a few things I learned about her:
    • She is just as nice and funny as she appears to be on her blog!  After a few minutes I felt like I had known her for years.  She is great!
    • Jill is a big liar.  Yup, that is right.  She is going to tell you straight to your face that she sucks at everything.  Oh I can't swim that fast, and I am really slow at running right now, and I still have training wheels on my bike.  Don't believe her!  She is an amazing athlete and I know she isn't where she wants to be right now, but her slow is still fast!!!  Her first tri in 23 years and she did great!  
    • Check out Jill's race report is a whole lot better than mine!  
After the race in all our sweaty glory!
  •  I put my face in the water!!  That was my only goal for this tri.  This is the third time I've done this race but the first time I didn't hyperventilate the whole swim.  In case you haven't ever tried to simultaneously hyperventilate and swim, it is really hard.  I felt calm before the start and swam that thing the way you are suppose to swim!  I got out of the water feeling invincible.....fear conquered!  I was over three minutes faster than I was last year.  Who knew freestyle was faster than doggy paddling???
Coming out of the water.  I look so professional in my wetsuit.
  • I did this race with my friend Audrey, and she is actually the one who tricked me into doing this race the first time.  I think the conversation went something like this, "I can't swim." "Oh you don't really need to know how to swim to do an open water tri."  Um, yes you do.  For the record, I am so glad I was dumb enough to believe that.

  • For the first time ever Audrey and I raced with wetsuits.  We even had matching wetsuits and it made us look like a racing team.  I named us Team Camel Toe.  If you don't know why I named us that then you have never properly put on a wetsuit.  On a somewhat related note, I told Audrey that if you tuck your tri shirt into your shorts it makes it easier (as if that is possible) to put on the wetsuit.  So we did that and joked that we'd better make sure to untuck it after the swim.  As I took my fuel belt off at the finish line I realized that yes, I had forgotten to untuck.  What a way to make an already unflattering outfit look even worse.  I considered contacting the race photographers and paying them off for not publishing my pictures.....but good thing I didn't because I got this gem of a picture.

  • What to say about this picture?? First off, I think it was really great of me to demonstrate how to perform a self breast exam during a race to benefit breast cancer.  For the record, I am not actually grabbing my boob....or at least I don't think I was....I don't know, it was the end of the race, I was sprinting, and those tri tops are not the most supportive things in the world....maybe I was grabbing my boob, it certainly looks like it.  
  • Before the race in the transition area
  • Overall I had a great race.  It was really fun to race with Jill and Audrey and hang out eating Otter Pops with them afterwards.  I was (almost) 6 minutes faster than last year (1:27:26).  154/1979 overall, 16/214 for my age group, and 59/1979 on the bike.  By no means "elite" but for me it was great!
  • Audrey and I will be competing in our first ever Olympic distance triathlon on Saturday and even threw around the words "half Iron Man" today.  Will I do one?  Uh, I think I'll just see how Saturday goes!  And Jill, I hope you caught the tri bug and we can race again sometime!! 

    Friday, March 16, 2012

    Cold vs. Flu

    I usually don't get the flu.  In fact I can't really remember the last time I got it.  Why?  Every year I get my flu shot like a good girl and escape the season unscathed.  But somehow this year I forgot to get my flu shot.  Worse than that, I forgot to get my kids flu shots!  And I forgot to harass my husband to get his flu shot!!  There we were, 4 souls in a sea of germs completely unprotected.  Walking around with big targets on our back.  It was just a matter of time.

    Wednesday our grace period ended.  BAM!  We were hit with the flu and one by one we fell.  First my son (and he has pneumonia too), then I got it, about 10 seconds later Kevin got it, and our last little hold out succumbed to the virus last night.

    Frankly, I had forgotten how bad the flu was. Isn't it just like a cold?  An over-hyped version of the sniffles?  Let me tell you now that the answer is no.  The CDC gives these differences:

    But I don't think this truly captures it, so I have assembled some visual analogies for you:







     I think the biggest difference is you can function with a cold, while you can't with the flu.  But if you cohabitate with children, specifically small children, you have to at least somewhat function.  The doctor's advice to stay in bed, sleep a lot, and baby yourself?  Um, are you kidding me?  Those kids, who seemed like a great idea in your former non-infected life, are suddenly a very bad idea.  They are always wanting to eat, and drink, and go to the bathroom.  More than that, they want your attention, to settle arguments, to turn on stuff, etc., etc,. etc.  I am not exaggerating when I say it is never ending.  They don't understand that mommy is half delirious with fever, dizzy, and barely mobile.  They want their juice dang it!  And would it kill you to make them a peanut butter sandwich!  And don't you think about leaving that crust on!

    All childless people are now thinking, but you have a husband to help don't you?  No, I had a husband.  The flu has turned the 6'3" man into this:
    I only agreed to "in sickness and in healthy" because I had no idea how whiny "in sickness" was.

    If you are married with children, you probably knew this already.  It is a well established fact among my mom friends that our husbands are the worst when they are sick.  Sorry if that offend all the guys who read my blog (my apologies to both of you) but you guys are beyond useless when you are sick.  I went from being married with two kids to being a single mom with three kids.  While I melodramatically said I was dying, he really thought he was.  All I wanted to say was, "Suck it up Buttercup, I'm sick too!"  In the end, I knew it would be pointless.  Plus I am collecting all kinds of bonus points for my sacrifices...and to be fair, he was/is realllllly sick.

    There is  no bigger proponent of flu shots like the person who is currently suffering from the flu.  I implore you, if you haven't gotten one yet, GO GET IT!!!!  Learn from my stupidity.   I know some people are against them.  You know what I'm against?  Feeling so awful you actually pray for death.  Get the shot.

    **  Update- Tricia gave me this link in her comments.  It is funny because it's true!  Thanks Tricia!

    Flu Shots:  Feelings about them?  Did you get yours?  Feel free to rub it in.

    Ladies: Is your guy a big baby when he is sick?  Fellas:  Did I judge you unfairly?

    Moms:  Hardest thing about being sick with kids?

    Wednesday, March 14, 2012

    Things- The March Edition

    Thing that took me away from blogging for a couple of weeks (again!):
    This looks like I was just relaxing for a couple weeks, but actually I was planning for other people to relax.  I was in charge of planning Spa Day for my MOPS group.  It doesn't sound like it is a lot of work...that is why I said I would do it.  But actually it was so much work.  But worth it.  I will try to be a better blogger now, but really that isn't very likely.
    Thing I just got:
    Okay, so it wasn't the jeweled kind...but it probably cost as much.  Stupid cracked tooth.
    Thing my daughter just got:
    Right before age 3, my daughter gets her first pair of glasses.  That has my gene pool written all over it.

    Thing that I need to fill out ASAP:
    Any other March Madness fans out there??  Love it!
    Thing I am wagering on the bracket:
    Hey big spender!!!
    Thing I am never going to see again:
    I have the worst luck.  You wanna know who to pick??  I'll send you my bracket and just do the opposite thing.
    Thing I am probably having next Friday:
    I'm becoming the Bionic just kidding, I am thinking about having LASIK surgery.  Looks totally gross...hmm, I'm starting to have second thoughts.  Actually, I was all ready for it but my husband is having a bit of sticker shock so we'll see if it really happens.
    Thing I have to wear until then:

    Boo!  I hate wearing my glasses.  And I can only imagine how running in them will be.  Blah!  Oh and my daughter took this picture.  I should have taken a better one but I was too lazy.  At least it is better than the picture she took of my husband:

    It cracks me up and scares me.  He would be pretty mad if he found out I used in on my blog.  Since he doesn't read it he'll never know...Mwahahahaha!!!
    Thing I got addicted to:
    Who knew early 20th century Brits could be so entertaining??  If you haven't watched it, I totally suggest it!!  And Maggie Smith, as always, is divine!
    Thing I just finished reading:
    I would recommend this book with a warning.  The first 30% drags on because it is all background and no plot.  The last 70% I devoured.  It was a crazy story and I couldn't stop thinking about it for a little while after.  Plod through the first part and I think you will be happy you did. 
    Thing I just started reading:
    What should I read??  I'm stuck!
    Thing that hasn't moved since my wetsuit incident:
    I'm pretty sure I'm broken.
    Thing I didn't get any of last night:
    In case you are wondering, the perfect combination for no sleep is as follows: 1 very sick son (pneumonia), 1 dog sick from/hopped up on stolen chocolate (I will let you guess which dog that was), and coughing attacks from yourself.  By the way, pediatric cough medicine with codeine will work on adults.  There is a chance I stole some from my very sick son....which sounds so horrible when I type it out.  In my defense, I was/am very tired. 
    Thing I have to say good-bye to this month:
    My best friend, Susan, is moving to Alaska at the end of the month.  I cannot even begin to tell you how sad I am.  She will be neonatologist extraordinaire at an Anchorage hospital.  It is suppose to be for three years...but you never know...Joel stayed in Cicely a lot longer than he was suppose to.
    From the Urban Assault ride last year
    Thing my husband and I decided to do this June:
    We are thinking of going on a Caribbean cruise.  Any suggestions on cruise lines, destinations, etc??

    Thing I can't stand:
    These new captchas on blogger are horrible.  They are impossible to read and really long.  I know others have complained about them and I will too.  Please, I implore you, disable your captcha for comments.  I don't have one and I have never, ever gotten spammed!  Oh wait, I think I just jinxed myself.
    What things do you have going on?

    Quick, who do you have going all the way this year??  I need help!

    Suggestions on books, cruises, laser eye surgery (I read all the comments on Miss Zippy's blog so that helped).