Friday, December 28, 2007

High School, Revisited

We traveled to Maine the day after Christmas to see my family. We planned to stay until Thursday night, and I had to get in a swim according to my PLAN from Caitlin that I refuse to disobey. (Yep, I'm a little rigid...) Problem. Where? 

My friend Alina swims with a Masters team up there, so I thought perhaps I could join them. They weren't practicing Christmas week, however. Instead, she had gotten special permission to work out with the high school swim team. Did I want to come? Oh boy. 

The coach of both the girls and boys swim teams in Cape Elizabeth is a former classmate of mine--a guy with whom I was actually pretty good friends. I walked into the pool site and immediately saw him. The whole thing was like a weird dream. Here I am walking in with my best friend from high school to the pool, where we spent so much time, and there is Ben, my buddy and fellow swimmer--only he's the coach--and Alina and I aren't in high school, but are 37, and we are supposed to get in the pool and practice just like the old days with all of these kids... Bizarre. The whole thing was bizarre. 

 It was also a bit of a nightmare (even though I had fun). One of the sets we did was 12 x 125 on 2 minutes. The odds were to be done as 100 IM with 25 free at the end, and the evens were straight free with a start off the block. Yikes. Anway, we get started on the set and I quickly fall behind and fail to make the interval. No big deal. I'm a 37 year old Mom practicing with high schoolers., right? What did I expect? I already have no shame... Except that every time we started off the blocks, the whole team had to wait for me to finish so they wouldn't dive on top of me. EMBARRASSING! 

I apologized profusely to Ben after practice about holding up his team, but he just laughed and said he knew the team was psyched about the added break. BTW, my friend Alina is a rock start swimmer (former state champion in a billion events) --and she kicks the asses of the high schoolers, so she was in no way holding back the team as I was... 

In other news, I am finally starting to make some progress on the bike. I am now going faster while still staying in zone 1. Of course, I still haven't cured the boredom problem. It's pretty deadly. I'm supposed to ride 2.5 hours tomorrow morning, and I have my bike set up next to a table complete with drinks, a gel, 1/2 a Clif Bar, 4 books, 3 magazines and the TV clicker. Wish me good luck. 

Unrelated to all of this is super exciting news for me in Mommyland. My youngest has decided that she is now potty-trained. She's determined. No more diapers. This was a huge, special, total GIFT. My other two resisted training and probably would still be shitting in diapers if I hadn't insisted for months and months that they act like big kids. Lara is only 2.5 years old, and she basically wants to be like her big bro and sis. Sweet! She's gone three days with only one mistake. Of course this mistake was that she took a dump in her underpants--not pretty--but still, things are looking promising. NO MORE DIAPERS. Hallelujah!

Sunday, December 23, 2007

I am Now...

THE IRON MATRON Tri-ing to do it all was just too whiny. It's a play on Iron Maiden. Not sure those who grew up post 80's will get it.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Part of the Problem...

Is that I am a pastel girl. My favorite color is pink. My blog is a light, airy blue. I like stuffed animals. I like to watch Animal Planet.
Girls who like pastels and watch Animal Planet don't kick ass. They are like that girl in the song Free Falling by Tom Petty: fluffy, walked over, and left.

I am not fluffy, walked over and left, but I feel edge-less.Why isn't my blog edgy and black? Why don't I wear black stilettos? Why won't I get a tattoo, even though I WANT ONE. Why do I apologize so f-ing much? Why can't I deal with conflict AT ALL?

I think the reason (or one of the reasons) I love triathlon so much is because when I race I leave pastel girl behind. I am strong, tough, and I will be damned if I let the dude with the hot bike pass me. I will kick your face off if you touch me in the swim. In short, I am focused, aggressive, and sometimes downright mean when I race, and it makes me feel alive and real and free.

I think I am in need of a merger between my pastel self and my racing self.
I don't want my daughters (or my son, for that matter) to have a pastel woman as mom. How do I let my racing self out of her pastel shell without worrying so much that people won't like me anymore if I do?

I need a long, hard run rocking out to American Idiot and other Green Day rants.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

I Suck on the Bike

And it will be a long, long time before I can say otherwise. 

I am runner first, a swimmer second, and a biker--ummm. Not at all. 

Andy bought me Little Red, as I've come to affectionately call her, last Christmas. I gazed upon her a lot last winter, thinking how attractive (and intimidating) she was, but didn't actually get on her until May of last year. Just looking at those clip-on pedals and those skinny, skinny tires made my heart race (in a terrified way, not an excited way). 

The first time I rode her we went to this area where there is a one mile loop closed to traffic. I rode at about 5 mph, my grip on the handlebars so tight my hands hurt for like an hour after I got off. I fell. And then I fell again. I swore. I panicked. My knees got bloody. I screwed up Little Red's handlebars by falling sideways one too many times. I thought I would never be able to go on the main road, let alone race. But here's the thing: I had already signed up for the Timberman 1/2 Iron in August. Nothing like runner's arrogance , huh? (e.g I run marathons! How hard could 56 little miles on the bike be?) So there was no choice. Little Red and I had to become a team, and I had to learn how to ride. 

I had Jesse make me a plan, and I was off--wobbling a bit--but off. Now that I've been riding Little Red for 8 months, I'm no longer terrified of the main road or of racing (although I'm still a little anxious every time I ride outside). Nevertheless, I always opt to run first, swim second, and avoid biking at all costs. Until now. 

I began working with Cait last week. Now I'm running like 15 miles a week (as opposed to 30-35 I usually run) and I'm on the trainer what feels like 3 hours a day. Today I need to get on for two hours and ten minutes. Argh. So so sosossososo long. We just got about a foot of snow and it's still sleeting outside, so obviously riding outside isn't a possibility. Gotta love New England. I'm supposed to have a cadence of 95 rpm all the time when I'm riding. Um. That's like IMPOSSIBLE. Here's why: if I put it into a normal middle gear, I can't spin fast enough. If I put it into an easy gear, I can spin, but I'm not able to pedal smoothly. Does that make sense? Anybody have any suggestions for me? Is it just one of those practice makes perfect things? 

On another note, I was able to get a night away this weekend. I went out with a good friend of mine to a holiday party in town. I don't usually drink, but hey, it's the holiday season, and I was out SANS kids! So I had like three chocolate martinis. Right. I had to get up to run 60 minutes Sat. morning. It was not pretty. It might have been the longest 60 minutes of my life. Remind me not to do that again any time soon. Definitely. Not. Worth. It.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Life Outside of Triathlon???

I never wrote about my brother's wedding, which took place three weeks ago now. It was awesome. 

 I love my new sister-in-law, who is smart, fun, and gorgeous, but who most importantly loves my kids! She is really a favorite aunt already. My son adores her (and is perhaps a little in love with her--I'm not sure. Can one be in love at the age of 4?) My daughters were flower girls in the wedding, and they were so cute. Lara (my two-year-old) didn't make it down the aisle, turning around and screaming "Mommy!" when only half way there, but she was still super cute in her cake-like dress and shimmery gold shoes. My sister's daughter was also a flower girl. She was very poised, and tried her best to get Lara to go down the aisle. 

The best part of the wedding came when my cousin Nate, the best man and a musician, sang with a few other guys (my baby brother, AJ, included) a "special" song for the bride and groom. In the ceremony program it just said "special song"--with no other explanation. Even Jordan (brother) and Odessa (sister-in-law) didn't know what was in store. It was a great moment when they began singing "Open Arms" by Journey. Of course they had to sing it an octave lower than Steve Perry sings it, but still, it was AWESOME. By the end of the song all of us who grew up in the 80s were serenading Jordan and Odessa too. It was fantastic. My favorite picture is 

of Noah and Lara holding hands. When does that ever happen? 

My sister's children are Alanna, the older girl with long blond tresses and Sam, the older boy. The final pic., to the right, was taken after Lara scrambled back down the aisle and into my lap. 

It's been really cold here the last couple of days and it's been hard to motivate to work out outside. Yesterday it was snowing and wet when I got out of work, but like so many of you, I couldn't stomach the treadmill, nor did I have the time to go to the gym before pick-up, so I sucked it up and ran outside. After 200 feet I stepped into a huge, icy, slush puddle in order to avoid getting hit by an obnoxious "you better move" driver. My feet got soaked--which in my opinion is the absolute worst. I kept slogging, though, and the run didn't turn out to be so bad. In fact, about a mile before the end I had a great moment, running fast downhill while Greenday pounded in my ears and the snow fell in large wet flakes on my face. 

 It's kind of awesome when you defy the weather and just run. It makes you feel sorry for all of those people holed up in their snug homes, who just don't get it and totally miss out. 

Despite the above sentiment, today I just couldn't deal with the cold (it was 25 degrees with a wind at 4 p.m.) so I went to the gym. They have this new bike there that has a video screen attached to it. I've watched people ride it the last few weeks and observed that it measures everything--power, heart rate, speed, time, mileage. Also, you can select a particular course and the screen simulates the ride. Today there were only a few people in the gym, so I figured I could try and fiddle around with it without feeling the pressure to just do the workout and get off. It's pretty cool. I've never ridden and had my power measured during the ride. Generally my power measured around 120, although I've no idea what that means. I got as high as 250, and as low as 30. I tried a few of the simulated rides, but they made me feel nauseated. 

Does anyone out there use a power meter when they train? I'd love to hear people's opinions of it, whether it's helpful, or just another way to spend three billion dollars on this sport we love! Next week I start working with my new coach. I'm going to miss these weeks of only working out for 6 or 7 hours and only doing what I want to do!

Saturday, December 1, 2007

GNRCYO 5k Race Report

I ran the GNRCYO 5k this morning. 

My running club, GNRC , puts it on. We had a pretty good turn out, I think. I wonder if we hit the 100 mark? In any case we made $1200 for the club, which is awesome and a relief, since we're a new club and until now had no saved money. I won it for women, but my time was far from stellar (race results--21:29) and far from a PR. I never run fast on that course, and today it was windy, really cold (28 degrees at the start with a big wind chill), and I haven't done speed work in over four months. The last mile is a gradual uphill, so I ran two well-paced 6:50 miles, and then something like a 7:15 or so for the third. Anyway, I was about 10 seconds ahead of Maureen and Rose, two of my teammates, so I really just barely edged them out. I won a pair of Reeboks for holding onto first, though, which is very exciting. The last time I won a pair of shoes was in the Muddy Buddy with Andy two years back! 

5Ks really hurt. I was sucking major wind 1/2 mile into the race, and by the end I began to have those evil, defeatist thoughts, like, "Hmmm. I could just stop. That would end the pain. Who cares if you don't win? Who cares if I'm shamed?" Luckily I didn't listen to that evil inner voice and tried to counter it with singing, Just Put One Foot in Front of the Other from the kids' TV Christmas special, Santa Claus is Coming to Town. You know that show? Dorky, but it works for me. 

My two oldest kids have been taking skating lessons, and they both want to start hockey. I'm excited about this. I love watching hockey--but.... I was a swimmer. I want them to be swimmers too! Weep. We're starting swimming lessons again in Jan, so maybe they'll get the swimming bug back. 

I'm loving reading everyone's blog out there! Please know that if I've put you on the "Blogs I Read" list, I really do read your blog. It's amazing to think of you all training out there, all of the country and far from me. I thought of Flo this morning (who was just bemoaning the temps in the 60's they have there in Hawaii in "winter") as I headed out into the bone chilling, freezing wind and cold for my 5K! Wish I was there....:)