Monday, December 31, 2012

2013 To Do List ...

So, it's that time of year again. The time when everyone suddenly decides that it's time to finally stop procrastinating and set some goals. And I love it, I really do. I think that change is good and that people need something to give them a swift kick in the butt.

However, resolutions really aren't my thing. It's too easy to give up on a resolution. When I decide that I want to do something, I find a way to make it happen. Yes, there are roadblocks at times. And yes, sometimes my timelines don't work out. But, it is extremely rare for me to set out to do something and NEVER accomplish it. I'm just not a quitter. It's not in my nature.

And that's why I make a To Do List. If it's on my list, I'll make sure it gets done (well, mostly anyway). Just like I wouldn't skip an appointment on my daily list, I'm not going to skip the things on my "Big Picture" list either. Also, this list format, let's me add things as I go.

So, as of today, December 31th, here is my 2013 To Do List:

Fitness:
  • 140.6. That is all.
  • Make time for strength training. Don't let training loads eliminate strength workouts completely. And stick to strength training in a group, it keeps you accountable.
  • Switch to time-based/HR training. Despite my knowledge of training paces, I have a hard time sticking to them. I'm hoping this will help me train more effectively.
  • Log 4,500 cumulative run, bike and swim miles. Up 485 from 2012.
  • Race a 10K with a finish time much faster than your very dated current PR of 53:17. I never managed to register for a 10K in 2012 and I'm not sure where it will fit in this year, but it's on my radar.
  • Set a new PR in the Half Marathon, currently 1:57:06. I totally blew this one in 2012 and will likely only have one good shot at it in 2013.
  • Run a 5K with Dizzle and Doodle, even if that means tricking them into it.
Nutrition:
  • Eat like a gluten-free athlete. After struggling with health issues much of 2012, removing the gluten has been key in alleviating the symptoms. Don't be swayed by the lure of wheat. Or cake.
  • Find the race day (and training) nutrition plan that works for me. 
  • Consume no more than 18 desserts from Shyndigz. This number worked well in 2012 and helped me cut back on my serious cake addiction. Plus, their gluten-free menu is limited, so I shouldn't be tempted as often.
  • Drink at least 100oz of water per day.
Personal:
  • Only say yes to the projects you REALLY want to work on. An honest no is much better than a halfhearted yes.
  • Stick to our budget. We've lived credit card (and credit card debt) free for three months. No reason to go back now.
  • Ignore your impulses. Take time to process the true value of the things you are filling your space/life with.
  • Figure out what to do with my hair. Keep the mohawk or grow it out. I'm taking opinions on this one.
  • Continue to balance family life, training and now, work.
  • Prioritize and be a good example for the people in your life.
  • Help and support J and the kids in reaching their goals. We are a team and that must always be the primary focus of our lives. No one should have to sacrifice so that someone else can reach their goal. If a balance can't be found, it's not worth pursuing.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Year in Pictures ...

Ever have so much to day about something that you can't manage to say anything at all? That's kind of how I feel about 2012 (and a lot of things recently). When I look back, it was an amazing year. I accomplished most of what I set out to do and our family seemed to find a balance that works for us. Life is good. We are happy. And I don't think I have the words to do our year justice. So, instead, here's our year in photos ...

J and Doodle at Disney ..
Dilly, Dizzle and I on the opposite side of the monorail ...
We lost our minds at Disney ...
Disney magic ...
More Disney silliness ...
I found myself of the podium at Patriots Sprint ...
And crossed my first 70.3 finish line ...
Ran my second Hood to Coast with Nuun ...

Made some amazing friends while rocking the sparkle ...
Ended up in Runner's World. Again ...
Started CrossFit ...
Dressed J up like sushi ...

And got our Halloween on ...
Convinced my sister to be a runner ...
We walked hand in hand ...

Ate s'mores ...

Celebrated together ...

Traveled (and broke bones) ...
I got inked ...
J got goofy ...
We bonded ...

Was 2012 perfect? No. But it was ours. We had struggles. We had triumphs. We had tears. We had laughter. We had arguments. We had apologies. But most of all, we had health, happiness and love. And I couldn't ask for anything more.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Three Things Thursday ...

Chaos - Life around here has been a little more hectic than usual, which is something my OCD self is not really OK with. I feel like every time I go to do something, I remember five other things I should have or should be doing. Call it a surplus of nervous energy. Or anxiety. I'm not really sure, I'm not a psychiatrist.

To keep myself from going all kinds of crazy, I am doing my best to prioritize what needs to get done. For example, my time is better spent singing and dancing with my daughters than sitting in front of the computer blogging. Also, I'm trying to overlook the little shreds of wrapping paper, glitter and tape I am finding everywhere and I'm focusing on enjoying time with my family and friends. Oh, and I am working out a lot. It makes me less jumpy.

Planning - Being completely Type-A makes the end of the year torturous for me. I spend the last few weeks "wrapping up" everything I feel I should have accomplished and then obsess over what I hope to accomplish in the coming year.

For some reason, this year, I am worse than ever. Between J's travel schedule (which is quite extensive), my expo schedule with Tough Chik and my training and racing plans (we're talking big things here), we have a lot on our plates and it's going to take some serious teamwork to get it all done. Fortunately, I have an all-star support system and a boatload of drive, which means we should make it through unscathed or at least, alive.

Gifts Galore - My girls are spoiled beyond belief. Although J and I get them almost nothing for Christmas, each of them received everything on their wish lists. I guess that's what happens when you are the only grandchildren/nieces on one side and only have one cousin on the other. Grandparents, aunts and uncles like to spoil and did they ever come through this year. It probably didn't hurt that they asked for things like "a bike bell", "workbooks" and "a pretty pink dress with a bow". Obviously, my children aren't hard to please.

I also made out this year. My mom got J and I this sweet coffee maker ...


My sister hooked me up with this badass mug to drink my coffee with ...


Shannon sent me this awesome ornament ...


And I also received two pairs of Toms, a gift card to Lululemon and a gift certificate to my favorite restaurant in Richmond, The Boathouse. All in all, it was a pretty epic Christmas.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

reflections of rest ...

Yesterday, after 18 days of basking in pure laziness, I returned to my training schedule. And it humbled me.

I'm not sure why I thought I would be able to jump right back in. I know it's not only illogical but unsafe. However, despite my knowledge of training loads and stresses on the body, I thought that my Superwoman gene would present itself and I'd go run eight miles like it was nothing.

Obviously, I suffer from delusions of grandeur.

G, my bike sherpa for the day, met me at my place and after a lengthy fight with my watch and the satellites, we were off. I felt pretty good for the first half mile. By mile two, I had talked myself down to six miles. At mile 2.25, a twinge in my knee conjured thoughts of tendon rupture and I was retreating back to my house within moments.

I finished with 4.5 miles. 4.5 painful and challenging miles. A far cry from the eight that I thought I was going to manhandle.

But, as hard as it felt, my return to training reminded me that you have to work for what you want. Without continuous and balance effort, you'll never make the gains you hope to. And those reminders weren't all I gained during my three weeks of rest. Taking time off taught me much more than I had expected.

During my training hiatus ...

I learned that some rest (even continuous) can be good, but too much just eats away at you mentally and physically. Initially, my time off helped to heal and to recover, but at some point, I knew that I was just digging myself a hole to climb out of.

I learned that the longer I took off from exercise, the easier it was to stay away. I now understand how easy it can be to never get off the couch and get moving. So, if you have someone in your life that needs the motivation to make a change, help them to make it. Be their motivation and accountability, because it really is easier to do nothing.

I learned that our bodies react in strange ways. In the three weeks I rested, I LOST five pounds. I ate 2000 a day and still lost five pounds. Honestly, I have no idea why, yet I am confident that it wasn't entirely muscle loss.

I learned that I can get a massive amount of stuff accomplished when I don't have to use all of my free time training. I read six books. I cleaned out our closets. I wrapped 4952 Christmas gifts (that might be an exaggeration). I checked off every item on my to do list.

I learned that where my priorities were unbalanced. I reprioritized and hopefully found the best way to balance everything without taking away from anything.

And I spend boatloads of time with these cuddle bugs, something I wouldn't trade for the world.


The more I think about it, the more I realize that this rest was exactly what I needed.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Monday, December 10, 2012

unforced rest ...

10 days.

That's how long I was on Levaquin. And that's how long I was medically banned from exercise.

I thought it was going to be brutal. I thought that my children would get on my last nerve and send me spiraling. I thought that I would drive my family insane with my lack of endorphins.

I thought wrong.

None of that happened. But something else did.

Instead of feeling refreshed and ready to go, which I should since my cough is pretty much gone, I don't. I feel sore.

My hip flexor and I aren't really friends right now. And my heel and Achilles are revolting. Kind of odd considering I have done nothing to strain them over the past 11 days.

Normally, I would ignore these aches and see if they resolve themselves. But, not this time. This time is different. This time, there are voices telling me to be smart. You see, although I am no longer taking Levaquin, my risk of tendon rupture isn't instantly back to zero. In fact, the risk can be elevated for months. *awesomesauce*

And these pains that seemingly came out of nowhere are kind of freaking me out. If these pains are being caused by the medication still in my system (and really, even if they are not), I am not willing to risk months of training just because I was unwilling to wait a few days.

So, that's what I am going to do.

Wait.

For seven more days.

I'm trying to think of it as unforced rest that will hopefully prove that sometimes it's better to listen to logic than be fueled by emotion.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Three Things Thursday ...

Resting - I'm seven days into my medically imposed 10 day rest period and surprisingly, I'm not mad about it. It hasn't been all that bad and I have accomplished quite a bit, much of which would have just added stress to a jam-packed schedule. Really, I'm just trying to be zen about the whole thing.

Unfortunately, during this rest period I have developed some crazy hip pain. Prior to starting this medication, I had some soreness/tightness in my SI joint and hip flexor for about two weeks. I went to the Witch Doctor, he did some ART magic on it and I thought it was getting better.

Not the case.

My SI doesn't feel super agitated, but a three inch band around my entire hip (from groin to buttocks) is sore, especially when it has pressure applied to it, which makes both sitting and lying down uncomfortable. And since yesterday, I have had random pain/tightness radiating down the back and side of my leg. I'm not sure if this is a side effect of the medication I am on, which can cause joint pain and tendon rupture, but honestly, if I wasn't forced to rest, I wouldn't be running or biking anyway. And that says a lot considering my OCD tendencies.

Fortunately, I don't really need to ramp up my training until January 1 or even mid-January to prepare for my next race, so I'm not totally stressing. And I'm not about to injure myself, so I may be chillaxing for a while ...

Glasses - J and I have passed on some fabulous traits to our girls. Doodle and Dilly got some wicked athletic skills and are, um, abnormally tall for their ages. Dizzle has the singing voice of an angel (not entirely sure where she got that, but I am taking credit) and the running form of Ryan Hall. From all current indications, we passed along our Ivy League brains and our large jaws, hopefully setting them up to be brace-free children.

Sadly though, we also gave them our eyesight. All of their grandparents, aunts, uncles and of course, J and I, wear glasses. Thus, we've always know that in the future, they would most likely suffer the same fate.

Anyway, two weeks ago, J and I visited a new eye doctor. She asked me if the girls had ever visited an eye doctor. I told her no, but they had all passed the vision screening at their pediatrician. She, in turn, told me that while that was great, some children can pass the vision screening even if they have a hard time seeing, since like adults, once you can recognize letters, you can often decipher what's on the chart even if it's not completely clear.

*me banging head against wall*

She went on to tell me that it's also good to get a baseline of their vision and eye health before eye development stops at around age 9 and that she recommends that children have their first screen around age 3.

Oops.

Her little speech sold me and I set up appointments for the girls.

Dilly went first. She passed the vision screen with flying colors. 20/30 in each eye and 20/25 when combined. Her eye health is right as it should be and we even learned that she was born with "snowflakes" on both eyes, otherwise known as congenital cataracts. Basically, they are cloudy spots on her eye (that look like snowflakes). She was born with them, they will never grow or change and she doesn't see them in her field of vision. Also, they are very rare, which makes her kind of epic.

Dizzle was up next. When she sat in the chair the doctor asked her if she felt like she had any issues seeing. Dizzle responded, "No. I see great."

Then the testing started. Within 10 seconds, I knew we had a problem. She could only read the second line down, and she missed some of the letters. Crap. She continued on and continued to have issues reading the screen. Upon completion, the doctor turned to me and said exactly what I knew was coming.

Dizzle is rather farsighted for someone her age and the correction she needs warrants her getting glasses.

Awesome. The kicker is, I constantly ask this kid if she has any issues seeing and she always says no. And to her, she probably doesn't, it's likely that she has always had some degree of farsightedness and it's just what she is used to. However, I probably should have suspected something was up, as she is the clumsiest child I know.

Hopefully, in a week when she gets these, she'll gain some coordination.

Dizzle's new specs ...

Finally, Doodle jumped in the chair, where she proceeded to TRY to fail the eye exam. She was reading things out of order, backwards and from the wrong row. She was squirming and fidgeting and stalling. It was completely obvious to me what she was trying to do and the doctor had caught on too. Dizzle, Dilly and I were asked to leave so Doodle could focus.

A few minutes later, they came out of the exam room and the doctor told me that while Mackenzie does have a slight vision problem, her prescription is light enough that she can get by without it for now. She added that it's quite likely that once she starts reading more and the type gets smaller, she will likely want and need to get glasses.

Good news, right? Wrong.

Doodle proceeded to throw a fit and cry the rest of the way home because she didn't need glasses. Seriously, who does that?

Christmas Lights - Like I've mentioned, I'm a bit of a scrooge when it comes to Christmas. My grinch-like persona is aided by the fact that we don't have any plugs on the outside of our house making it impossible for us to create a festive landscape. Some of our fellow Virginians, do not have this issue and they more than make up for the rest of us.

Last weekend, J and I took the girls on a tour around on a Tacky Lights Tour. This house was my favorite, but not even the most extreme.


Kind of makes you feel like a slacker, doesn't it?

Monday, December 3, 2012

November Rewind ...

Miles Run: 47.25 miles. Yup, that's just sad.

Bike Miles Rode: 94.2 miles

Swim Meters Completed: 15150 meters of 9.41 miles

Rest Days Taken: 13. I was sick pretty much this entire month.

Highest Run Mileage Week: 11/5-11/11: 13 miles

Highest Bike Mileage Week: 11/12-11/18: 35.6 miles

Highest Swim Volume Week: 11/12-11/18: 5000 meters or 3.1 miles

Long Runs Completed (10+ miles): 0

Current Book: Right now, I am reading Iron War by Matt Fitzgerald. Even if you're not into the whole Ironman thing, you should really check it out. It's captivating. Also, in all my time NOT training this month, I read a few other selections as well ...

  • Be Iron Fit: Time Efficient Training Secrets for Ultimate Fitness by Fink
  • Global Weirdness: Severe Storms, Deadly Heat Waves, Relentless Drought, Rising Seas, and the Weather of the Future by Climate Central, Inc.
  • A Life Without Limits: A World Champion's Journey by Wellington
  • The Moneysmart Family System: Teaching Financial Independence to Children of Every Age by Economides 
  • Screamfree Parenting: The Revolutionary Approach to Raising Your Kids Without Losing Your Cool by Runkel
  • The Taste of Tomorrow: Dispatches From the Future of Food by Schonwald
Current Shame-Inducing Guilty Pleasure: Peppermint Mocha coffee creamer. That is all.

Current Colors: Charcoal Gray and Yellow
 
Current Drink: Anything I can put peppermint mocha coffee creamer in.

Current Song: A Thousand Years - Christina Perri

Current Triumph: I've made it four days without working out and I haven't even thought about strangling anyone.

Current Goal: Be a better me. Each and every day.

Current Blessing:
Generally, I feel like my whole life is one big blessing and I am entirely grateful for that. I don't take anything for granted. Not even for a second.

Current Excitement: Sunday. Because on Sunday, I can get back to my training plan.

2012 To Do List Update:

Fitness:
  • Take 70.3 training day by day. Don't get caught up in what is coming, but rather focus on what is. Trust that it will get you where you want to be. - CHECK
  • Find the strength to NOT add races to your schedule during 70.3 training. That is your focus, don't screw with that because of FOMO (fear of missing out). - CHECK
  • Cross the finish line of your first 70.3 in less than 6:57:59. - CHECK. Goal crushed. 6:39:39.
  • Maintain at least one day of cycling and one day of swimming per week, post 70.3. Give J some proof that a new road bike would be a good investment. - CHECK. I'm crushing this one.
  • Log 4,000 miles, swim, bike and run combined. - As of December 3, 3930.47 miles completed
  • Race a 10K with a finish time much faster than your very dated current PR of 53:17.
  • Set a new PR in the Half Marathon, currently 1:57:06 (or 1:56:18, if the half split from the NYC Marathon counts). - FAIL. Better luck in 2013.
  • Race a Fall Sprint Triathlon. Actually train for the event, unlike in years past. - Rocked that. Finished 3rd Athena!
  • Add strength training to the routine. - CHECK. 
Nutrition:
  • Eat like an athlete. Be mindful of the nutritional value of your food. - I've been killing this. But, apparently my scale doesn't care.
  • Consume no more than 18 desserts from either Shyndigz or Two Sweet Cupcakes (approximately 1 dessert/3 weeks) - As of December 3, 17 consumed. I need to just face the facts with this one.
  • Cut out snacking on the girl's leftovers. Just because they don't eat it, doesn't mean you have to. - CHECK
Personal:
  • Only say yes to the projects you REALLY want to work on. - CHECK
  • Throw away the credit cards. Stop repeating history. - CHECK
  • Ignore your impulses. Take time to process the true value of the things you are filling your space/life with. - CHECK
  • Declutter and Organize using this calendar. - CHECK
  • Continue to balance family life, training and now, work. - CHECK
  • Prioritize and be a good example for the people in your life. - CHECK
  • Help and support J and the kids in reaching their goals. We are a team and that must always be the primary focus of our lives. - CHECK

Friday, November 30, 2012

forced rest ...

Remember yesterday when I said that things were kind of boring around here? Well, I may have spoken too soon.

You see, I have been fighting a cough for five weeks. Well, actually, the cough as been beating me into submission for five weeks. When I have an "episode", I sound horrible. Like I might die at any moment. After one round of antibiotics, the infection still didn't quit. So, I went back to the doctor to see what the deal was.

Once I reminded the doctor of what brought me in the first time, I told her about my current symptoms.

A never-ending cough.

She asked if I took the medication she had given me - Yes.
She asked if I had ever had asthma - No.
She asked if exercise or the cold made it worse - No.
She asked if I was sure I never had asthma - Still no.

She was baffled. I'm completely healthy except for this cough. My blood work is normal. My oxygen saturation is 100%. I do cardio workouts of one to two hours per day and am seemingly unaffected by illness. But, I am coughing (harshly and loudly) a lot. 

Since I am still coughing up gunk, she suspects it's just a bad infection. I made her get me a chest x-ray to rule out pneumonia and the black lung. It came back clean. So, I left with a prescription for Levaquin and an inhaler (which I will probably never use since I can breathe just fine).

I was excited to have a course of action and an antibiotic strong enough to kick this thing.

Well, that was until I read the side effects of Levaquin ...

TENDON RUPTURE

I immediately called the pharmacist to see if I could exercise. She advised against it. And noted that if I do, it should be super easy and short. I wanted to know who's "super easy and short" we were talking about. So, I called her back. 

It wasn't my super easy and short.

So, thanks to this stupid mystery cough and Levaquin, I am being forced into 10 days of complete rest during one of the most stressful times of the year. I'm sure that the people who live under my roof are going to be really happy with me the next few days. (Yes, I realize this is a small price to pay for my health and to prevent tendon rupture.)

Guess that's what I get for complaining about life being dull ...

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Three Things Thursday ...

Trapped in the Everyday - Last night, Gina came home from work and asked me if I ever had a moment when I just sat there and thought, "Wow, this is my life. I do the same thing day in and day out."

Um, yeah. A lot recently.

I feel like since the girls went back to school, I am doing a whole lot of nothing. My schedule is jam-packed. I rarely sit down. But, I feel as if I am accomplishing very little. It's part of the reason I've been quiet here. I don't write this blog to catalog my workouts or what I ate. I don't care to log every mundane event of our lives. I don't want to read about those things, so I wouldn't expect anyone else to either.

Right now, we are going through a boring phase, which is really just a blessing in disguise. It means we're stable, grounded and functioning at our highest level. And although it may be dull at times, I much prefer it to some of the alternatives.

Feeling Festive - I am kind of a Grinch. Christmas is not my favorite holiday. My decorations are minimal. Christmas music makes my ears bleed. And it eats away at me that I am continually lying to my children about Santa. All in all, I just hate all the pressure and drama that seems to surround the holiday.

But for some reason, this year, I'm feeling a little less jaded. Maybe it's the sheer excitement my children are thrusting upon the world. Maybe, I just don't feel like putting up a fight. Either way, we got an early start on the Christmas joy this year.

We went to see a Christmas light extravaganza the day after Thanksgiving ...

origami chandelier
 

Sushi Tree ...
Waiting for the illumination ...
our little clan ...

Complete with S'mores.


And my Christmas tree was up this past weekend. In November. A big no-no in my book.

ornament explosion ...
 




I'm not sure what to think about this. It's clear that my kids are turning me into a big softy.

Hungry - Recently, Doodle has been taking it upon herself to go into the pantry and get some food. But instead of asking to have it and eating it at the table like a normal person, she sneaks off and eats it, hoping we will never find out.

Unfortunately for her, we ALWAYS do.

Like on Saturday, when I went to make the girls a snack and found this in the pantry ...


I knew it was Doodle from the start. She didn't want to fess up. So, like any normal parents, J and I matched the bite marks to know for sure. By the time we got to Doodle, she had run off to her room to prevent us from checking. Doesn't she know that the guilty always run?

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

HCA VA 8K recap ...

Location: Richmond, VA
Date: 11/10/12
Temperature: 38 degrees
Official Time: 41:00
Place in Age Group: 23/369
Place in Gender: 128/2264
Overall Place: 480/3587

The Course:

Fast and flat. Out and back.

This 8K course takes a straight shot up Broad St., which has a gentle grade, for the for the first two miles of the course. Just after mile 2, participants turn left and make their way over one block to Grace St., where they head back towards the finish. Runners are greeted with a the only climb of the course at mile four. It is smooth sailing after that, as the course flattens out and turns right onto 3rd street where the runners are greeted with a steep downhill into the finish.

(Note: This has been and will continue to be my favorite course in Richmond.)

The Good:

The Course: I love this course. It is PR friendly and easy to navigate. And the downhill finish is KILLER. And since they changed the finish this year to an even steeper downhill, it's better than it's ever been.

My Pace (initially): I wasn't quite sure what to expect going into this race. My run volume is down significantly from the last time I ran an 8K (20 miles per week now vs. 50 miles per week in 2010). I knew I could probably finish comfortably with a pace between 8:00 and 8:20, but I would have preferred to run sub-40. Honestly, I wasn't even sure if I was going to attempt to race until I got to the start line and then I wasn't really convinced. I decided to just run hard and see what happened.

Things started out well.

Mile 1: 7:45
Mile 2: 7:53


Two miles in and I was actually two seconds ahead of my pace from my 8K PR. That's when the wheels fell off. I have had a deep cough for about a week and a half. Once I got warmed up, things started moving around and I started hacking. So much so, that I couldn't run and cough at the same time. I am positive that I left part of my lung on the course.

Mile 3: 8:28
Mile 4: 8:54

Once I hit the mile 4 sign, I just told myself I could do anything for a mile and I hauled it in. 

Last 0.99: 7:57

I finished at exactly 41 minutes with an average pace of 8:15. Right where I assumed I would be.


Racing with my sister: Can I just mention how much I love that my sister is a runner? It took me years to convince her to join in, but now that she has, it's pretty much the best thing ever.

Pre-race, not really feeling it
With a post-race glow ...


My Music Selection: For the first time in pretty much FOREVER, I changed my race playlist. And then, I set it to random before I ran. Yet, somehow, the PERFECT songs came on at the PERFECT moments. I was pumped throughout the race and there was a song during every mile that reminded me to push myself.


The Weather: It was 38 degrees at the start of my race. And I dressed perfectly for it. By the end of the race, I was warm, but not overheated. In fact, I wouldn't have minded if it was a little colder.

The Race Length: Even with all the coughing, this race reaffirmed to me that the 8K is my favorite race distance. I love it and wish it was offered more often.


The Bad:

Missed Alarm: Since J was traveling and Gina was also running, I had to wake my kids up crazy early to take them to Earth Momma Mer's house. The plan was to get up at 5 a.m., get ready and then wake the girls at the last possible minute. Unfortunately, I failed to wake when my alarm went off. When I sprung out of bed at 5:30, just 10 minutes before we needed to be out the door, I found out that Gina wasn't up either. Obviously, we weren't really stressing about this race ...

My Mental Game: Despite the fact that this my favorite race, I really wasn't feeling it going in. I considered taking a DNS on multiple occasions prior to and including race morning. I knew I could run five miles, but I didn't feel like I could race five miles as hard as I would have liked to. And racing without giving it your all doesn't really sit well with me.

Considering that I already didn't feel strongly about this race, I also didn't really care if I had to stop to cough up a lung. Had I felt really prepared heading in, I may have tried harder to run through the cough. Basically, I was just disappointed in where my head was at. However, I did leave feeling like I wanted to up my mileage and get back on track.

The Ugly:

My Cough: I can not stress how bad must have looked along the course. My cough was (and kind of still is) deep and loud. And I was spitting out gunk left and right. I feel bad for anyone who happened to run near me. I am sure they are convinced that they were going to catch some sort of deadly infectious disease.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Three Things Thursday ...

Beautiful - We got Dizzle and Doodle's school pictures back yesterday. My, um, confident, children were completely enamored with themselves. Shocking, I know.

Before I even had a chance to look at how the pictures had turned out, I heard Dizzle in the third row of our car take out the photos and say,

"Wow, I really am beautiful."

Obviously, my children have no issue with self esteem.

And although I told her she should learn to be modest, I couldn't help but agree with her when I finally saw the photos
Doodle, Kindergarten
Dizzle, 1st grade (left) and 2nd grade (right)

Honestly, I'm not really sure where my babies went. They are 7 and 5. It scares me for what things will be like in a decade.

Embracing Potential - I am the first to admit that I am very hard on my children. I expect a lot from them. I have visions of what they "should" be and at times, I'm not very open to accepting what they are. More often then not, I see them as little versions of myself.

Athletic. Intelligent. Sensible. Composed.

The thing is, sometimes, they're not. Sometimes, they have interests outside of what I am comfortable with. Sometimes, they are blubbering messes and frankly, I don't always know how to deal with it. It's a process. For all of us.

Most of the time, Doodle and Dilly are easy for me to process. They usually excel at the roles I've laid out for them. I can read them like a book and I know exactly what to expect from them.

Dizzle, on the other hand, is complicated. She's emotional and raw. Her strengths lie outside the physical, competitive and driven bubble I seem to force my kids into. She's graceful (despite her clumsiness). She's artistic. She's a thinker. She writes poems and songs, some with a depth, I'm not sure she really understands. Basically, from the time she could walk, she has been singing and dancing her way through life. And I don't know how to handle or foster that.

Yesterday, she spent the afternoon practicing a song they are singing at school. She had such a nice tone to her voice that I felt compelled to record her. Immediately upon finishing, she begged me not to post it to Facebook. Too bad that until she's 18, I'm the one with the control over that issue and her plea was denied.

Oh, and I also shared it on YouTube for the whole Internet to see.

I think she's pretty good and I should probably embrace her passion. Oh, and I'm confident that she'll forgive me. Eventually.

Where's My Race Mojo? - I am registered to run the HCA 8K this weekend. It is my all-time favorite race. The course is flat with a downhill finish. The distance is the best one out there. And historically, I have run really well at this event.

But, this year, I am SO NOT FEELING IT.

I'm not really sure why, but my head is not in the game. I don't feel ready (or willing) to race. It's kind of annoying. At this point, I may race. I may run with my sister. Or I may just stay in bed. I don't really know.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

pv.body review and 20% off for you ...

Remember when I got to try out Kona Kase? And do you remember how cool of a concept it was to get a variety of endurance nutrition samples for a fraction of the cost of the full-sized options?

Well, now imagine that the same service only with workout apparel. Think Lululemon, Nike, Lorna Jane and numerous other companies that you may not even be aware of. What if every month you could receive a new, complete workout outfit (top and bottom) valued at $150 for only $39.95?

Well, now you can, thanks to PV BODY

Never heard of it? Well, here's a little about the company's mission from their website:

"Why should you pay $130 or more for yoga pants? That’s just not right! So we’ve embarked on a journey to bring you the best quality active wear that we can find at a fair price. We’ll be curating brands large and small, new and old. So enjoy the selection, we’re positive you’ll love it!
We've built relationships with the manufactures of the biggest names in the business - and great new ones you've probably never heard of - so we can bring you an amazing value. With new items arriving each month we make it easy for you to always get cute new gear.
We want to inspire women to live their best life through active living. That's why all of our pieces are hand selected and designed by women, for women, so we can bring you clothing that makes you feel great and look great. Living healthy and actively is a way of life, and we want to look fabulous while doing that. So enjoy the selection, we’re positive you’ll love it!"
If you know anything about me, you know I like to look good while I work out. So, obviously, this service appealed to me. And getting started was easy.

I took a simple survey about my workout and personal style, entered my sizes, created my profile and was done. A few days later, I received my first outfit.


Inside was a Lululemon Zippy Run tank and Nux core low rise capris. 


Wicked cute and totally my style. But what if it hadn't fit or had totally missed the mark? 

That's not a problem, PV BODY has a fantastic return and exchange policy which you can check out HERE. And, if for some odd reason you don't love receiving a box of new clothes each month, you can cancel your subscription at any time. No questions asked.

Basically, I am in love.

And if you are interested in giving PV BODY a try, you can get 20% off your order by clicking HERE. That means you'll get a complete outfit valued at $150 for only $31.96. It's like the deal of the century.

So, what are you waiting for? Try it HERE now!

Disclaimer: I received this PV BODY box for free and I am also an affiliate for PV BODY. However, the opinions expressed here are completely my own.

Friday, November 2, 2012

October Rewind ...

Miles Run: 71.1 miles

Bike Miles Rode: 160.4 miles

Swim Meters Completed: 8600m or 5.34 miles

Rest Days Taken: 8

Highest Run Mileage Week: 10/22-10/28: 23 miles

Highest Bike Mileage Week: 10/29-10/31: 38.8 miles

Highest Swim Volume Week: 9/10-9/16: 8600m or 5.34 miles

Long Runs Completed (10+ miles): 1

Current Book: Right now, I am reading The Taste of Tomorrow by Josh Schonwald. It's a look into where our food comes from now and where it's headed in the future. I also finished the following books this month ...

  • Let's Pretend This Never Happened by Lawson
  • Seating Arrangements by Shipstead
  • Why Calories Count by Nestle
Current Shame-Inducing Guilty Pleasure: Stalking race websites. Planning my race schedule for 2013 and early 2014 is getting me all excited to get back to having a training plan.

Current Colors: Charcoal Gray, Turquoise and Orange
 
Current Drink: Lots of tea. It's cold here and it warms me right up.

Current Song: Die Young - Ke$ha

Current Triumph: I tackled my fear of Crossfit. And freaking loved it!

Current Goal: Be a better me. Each and every day.

Current Blessing:
Generally, I feel like my whole life is one big blessing and I am entirely grateful for that. I don't take anything for granted. Not even for a second.

Current Excitement: Um, obviously, Thanksgiving. It's the one day that you are expected to overeat. It's like a fat kid's dream. And since I was a fat kid, you know that I'm down with that ...

2012 To Do List Update:

Fitness:
  • Take 70.3 training day by day. Don't get caught up in what is coming, but rather focus on what is. Trust that it will get you where you want to be. - CHECK
  • Find the strength to NOT add races to your schedule during 70.3 training. That is your focus, don't screw with that because of FOMO (fear of missing out). - CHECK
  • Cross the finish line of your first 70.3 in less than 6:57:59. - CHECK. Goal crushed. 6:39:39.
  • Maintain at least one day of cycling and one day of swimming per week, post 70.3. Give J some proof that a new road bike would be a good investment. - CHECK. I'm crushing this one.
  • Log 4,000 miles, swim, bike and run combined. - As of November 2, 3779.61 miles completed
  • Race a 10K with a finish time much faster than your very dated current PR of 53:17.
  • Set a new PR in the Half Marathon, currently 1:57:06 (or 1:56:18, if the half split from the NYC Marathon counts). - FAIL. Better luck in 2013.
  • Race a Fall Sprint Triathlon. Actually train for the event, unlike in years past. - Rocked that. Finished 3rd Athena!
  • Add strength training to the routine. - CHECK. 
Nutrition:
  • Eat like an athlete. Be mindful of the nutritional value of your food. - I've been killing this. But, apparently my scale doesn't care.
  • Consume no more than 18 desserts from either Shyndigz or Two Sweet Cupcakes (approximately 1 dessert/3 weeks) - As of November 2, 17 consumed. I need to just face the facts with this one.
  • Cut out snacking on the girl's leftovers. Just because they don't eat it, doesn't mean you have to. - CHECK
Personal:
  • Only say yes to the projects you REALLY want to work on. - CHECK
  • Throw away the credit cards. Stop repeating history. - CHECK
  • Ignore your impulses. Take time to process the true value of the things you are filling your space/life with. - CHECK
  • Declutter and Organize using this calendar. - CHECK
  • Continue to balance family life, training and now, work. - CHECK
  • Prioritize and be a good example for the people in your life. - CHECK
  • Help and support J and the kids in reaching their goals. We are a team and that must always be the primary focus of our lives. - CHECK

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Three Things Thursday ...

Halloween - I'm kind of a big fan of Halloween. And although I don't really get into the whole "decorate your house and scare the crap out of people" thing, I truly believe there is no age limit for wearing a costume.

If you are trick-or-treating with your kids, you should be wearing a costume.
If you are handing out candy, you should be wearing a costume.
If you are going to the grocery store, you should be wearing a costume. If for no other reason than to freak people out.

Every year, I try to coordinate my families outfits. Back in 2009, we were BBQ themed.

Hamburger, Hot Dog, Pickle and Ketchup Packets ...


Last year, the food theme reappeared ...

Hot Dog, Cupcake, Ice Cream Cone and Chef ...

This year, I couldn't convince anyone to go with my "Fairies" theme. So, instead we were a mishmash of recycled costumes ...

Princess Dancer ...
Spider ...

Sushi Roll ...
Rainbow (Note: I didn't purchase anything for this costume. All of those things are part of my actual wardrobe.)
Witch ...
We may not have been coordinated, but we had a blast.

BOO!

Candy Overload - On a separate, but not completely unrelated note, I may be a parenting genius. Heading into trick-or-treating, I came up with a deal for my kids to deal with the massive amounts of candy about to enter our home.

The girls were allowed to trick-or-treat like normal. We were out for 2 hours and they could get as much candy as they wanted. When we got back, I sorted and counted the contents of each of their bags.

Today, they will be allowed to choose up to 40 pieces of candy (one piece for each of the next 40 days). Then, I will purchase each remaining piece of candy for $0.05 each. They do not have to keep 40 pieces and I will pay them the five cents for each additional piece they give me. J also started them each off with a dollar for agreeing to this arrangement.

For example, Doodle got 125 pieces. If she keeps 40 and she "sells" me the remaining 85 for $0.05, she will have $4.25. Then, she'll also get $1.00 from J. Giving her a total of $5.25.

This morning, I gave the girls a final option. They could sell me their ENTIRE bag of candy and I will triple their payout. So, in Doodle's case, she would get the $1.00 from J, plus $6.25 for the 125 pieces of candy in her bag. Then I would multiply that by three for a grand total of $21.75.

I think this is a pretty sweet deal. At this point, I am not sure what they will pick, but they have until they get home from school to decide.

Quote of the Week - Recently, I have been trying to help J better manage his time. The other day, I asked him to finish washing the dishes after dinner. When I woke up the next morning, the sink was still full. When I reminded him of his chores, he said, "Well, at least I ran. I am taking baby steps," to which Doodle replied,

"Dad, you're not a baby. Walk like a normal person."

There you go, J. Put in your place by a five year old ...