Tuesday, January 31, 2012

To My Dearest Run ...

Dear Run,

How have you been? I've realized that we really aren't seeing each other that much anymore. Wasn't it like three months ago when we were spending 8 or 9 hours a week together? I mean, I really felt like we had a connection, but now, you're barely make an appearance in my training plan.

Seriously, Run, I'm not sure what's going on here. Only 12 miles this week? I'm used to 12 miles in a day. I think it's time for you to man up. Bike is dominating this place and you're doing nothing about it. How are you going to let the new guy come in here and steal me away for 150 miles this week while you just sit there? And don't even get me started on how you've let Swim replace you too.

I can't be the only one fighting. We both knew that my attempts to add a few miles here and there were only going to last so long. You either needed to make an appearance or realize that Bike and Swim are here to stay. And if we are being honest here, I kind of like the new guys and I'm really not missing you all that much.

So, what's it gonna be, Run? Are you going to show me some love?

Yours in endurance,

Monday, January 30, 2012

getting back on the saddle ...

The last time I rode a bike outdoors, I finished the ride looking like this ...

yeah, that's a complete AC Separation
and this ...

Road rash from Hell
and this ...

It wasn't pretty.

After my injury and subsequent surgery, it took me a while to get to where I really believed I was ever going to ride on the road again. Plus, my trainer is really comfy. Why would I want to leave comfy? Oh, and then there were my million and one excuses.

At first, I couldn't ride outside. My arm didn't have enough mobility to safely steer and balance the bike.

Then, I just got scared. It was probably better for me to wait.
And then, winter rolled around and it got too cold out to ride. Oh, well.

But this weekend, that all changed. I knew I had to start riding outside. My arm was functioning. The weather was gorgeous. All that was left was my fear. And I was going to have to get over it.

I know it may seem silly, but this was a big deal for me. Crashing scares me. Cars scare me. My clipless pedals that I had yet to use scared me. My new wicked fast bike, TigerBlood scares me. There was a whole lot of fear going on.

Fear that I conquered. Mostly.

I still fear cars.
And crashing.
And the speed that I can produce on my wicked fast bike.
But, I already got that "everyone falls while unclipping" thing out of the way. So, I really came out ahead.

After Saturday's ride, I'm less scared. And I know it will get better.

And if it doesn't, I will just ride really slowly on race day.

Friday, January 27, 2012

And then you were three ...

Dear Dilly,

Tomorrow you will be three and I am not entirely sure how that happened. OK, maybe I know how it happened, but it feels like it flew by. Like one night, you fell asleep a baby and woke up a preschooler. I swear your sisters didn't grow up this fast.

Dilly - One Day Old
Dilly, present day

But I guess that's what happens to third children. They age beyond their years. And, you've always been that way. You have a sense of maturity and an outgoing nature that have been evident since day one. I've always said that you were the most easy-going of my children, and that is still the case.

You wait your turn.
You follow my rules.
You understand my logic, even if you don't like it.

It makes parenting you easier in a sense. It's uncomplicated and straight forward. I don't fear that a parenting misstep on my part will result in a full on tantrum like with your sisters. Yes, I am aware that this will eventually change. But, please do your best to not let that happen.

Dilly, there are endless things that I love about you, but today, on the eve of your third birthday, I want to share with you those things that make you so very perfect in my eyes. The things that define who you are and shape who you'll be.

I love the way you say "I don't know" whenever you are asked a question. I've never heard another person convey so many different emotions and meanings with the same three words. Just by listening to how you say it, I can tell if you are feeling shy, angry, devilish or just plain silly.

I love the way your face lights up whenever you are happy. Whether you've just found out you are going to Disney or that you get to eat cake, you show such joy and excitement. Your eyes light up in a way that few others can. I hope that never changes.

I love that are brave and strong and that you only pretend to be shy. You hang with the big kids and you hold your own. You never let anyone tell you that you can't. Hold onto this trait, it will get you far in life.

I love that when you speak, you sound like a cartoon character. Your voice is high and squeaky and beyond adorable. Whenever you talk, I want to cover you with a thousand kisses just for making me smile.

I love that you relish in being our baby, at least for the time being. I know that one day, you'll want us to see you as grown up, and that's fine. But until then, I am going to soak up every second with my Baby Boo.

I love that you think that "toot" is the funniest word out there. You throw it into conversation whenever you can. It's kind of hysterical, although I'd never admit that to you.

I love that when I tuck you into bed at night, you want to tell me about your entire day from start to finish. You don't care that I was there for all of it. You just want to remind me of how much fun it was. It always makes me cherish those quiet moments I get to spend with just you.

Dilly, I love you for everything that you are and everything that you will ever be. 

Happy 3rd Birthday, Baby Boo!


Thursday, January 26, 2012

Three Things Thursday ...

10 Day Pledge - I'm not sure how I stumbled upon it, but last week I found the blog, 100 Days of Real Food. It chronicles a family's quest to eat real foods in a processed food world. On the site, they pose a challenge to readers, a 10 Day Real Food Pledge, to be exact (There are other mini-pledges too.)

As soon as I saw it, I knew I wanted to try, but I was going to need a partner-in-crime. I pitched it to J. He wasn't feeling it. So, I did what any sensible person would do. I threw the idea out to my running friends and luckily, a few took the bait. Beginning February 1st, we will eat no processed food for 10 days. I am confident that it will be harder than I think. If you are interested in taking the pledge too, you can find all of the "rules" here.

Three - My baby, Dilly, turns three on Saturday. How the heck did my baby get to be three? And while we're at it, how do I have an almost seven year old? No longer having an infant or toddler in the house makes me feel so much older than turning 30 does ...

Early Risers - J's new position has him working insane hours. Not only is he going to be traveling pretty much every day in February, but yesterday he went into the office at 8 a.m. and he didn't get home until almost 9 p.m. It's crazy.

In order to get some quality time with the girls, he has taken to waking them up a half-hour earlier than usual. This is awesome. I don't get to sleep in, since I workout in the morning, but it has seriously dropped my stress level. In the past, J has slept through most of our morning prep, leaving me to manage the girls by myself. This results in me wanting to punch someone by the time we leave the house for the day.

When everyone gets up earlier and J handles breakfast, it makes my morning so much easier. 

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

11 things ...

The amazing EMZ tagged me for this "random things about me" post/game and I couldn't wait to play along. (Seriously, I was bummed every time I read one of these posts and I wasn't tagged ...)

Here are the rules:

1. Post these rules.
2. You must post 11 random things about yourself.
3. Answer the questions set for you in their post.
4. Create 11 new questions for the people you tag to answer.
5. Go to their blog and tell them you've tagged them.
6. No stuff in the tagging section about you are tagged if you are reading this. You legitimately have to tag 11 people.

Here it goes ...

1. I may have once told my kids that I am allergic to dogs and cats, simply because I have allergies. This is only partially true. Both cats and dogs aggravate my allergies, but not so much that I can't be around them. The truth is, I really don't like cats and dogs and I really don't like animals living inside the home. Leading my kids to believe that I am allergic stops them from constantly asking me to get a pet. I'd rather them believe this lie than have to tell them no on a daily basis.

2. Although I haven't eaten meat for over a year, every once in a while I get the urge to take a bite of my kids' hot dogs. Odd, considering I don't really like hot dogs and they're not really meat ...

3. I can not resist sweets. The only strength I have against them is that I WILL NOT open the container they come in. For example, if we have a bag of M&M's, they will sit on the shelf for months. I won't touch them. But the second someone else opens the package, all bets are off. I'll probably eat them all in one sitting. The same is true for sweetened cereals, whipped cream, and nutella.

4. I am often praised for my organization and planning skills. And while I thrive on being "on top of things," it's really a curse. I can not shut my brain off. If I get even a few minutes of "down time," I can't help but obsess about what I needs to be cleaned, what could be better organized, what project I should be working on. It runs through my head from the moment I wake up until the moment I fall asleep.

5. I have never seen Star Wars. Or Indiana Jones. Or the Godfather.

6. When I was in high school, my parents set up a trip for me and my friends to visit the set of Dawson's Creek and meet the cast. IT.WAS.AWESOME. And my teenaged self bragged about it for years.

7. As a kid (elementary through high school), I played on traveling soccer and basketball teams, year-round. I have zero clue as to how my parents handled that. Having my own kids shows me that it is not only CRAZY expensive, but totally time consuming. 

8. I have two tattoos. I got both of them within 18 months of turning 18. I have always wanted another one, but couldn't figure out what. Just last week, after almost 10 years of pondering, I finalized the design. But, it will probably be months, if not years, before I get it.

9. I firmly believe that adding chocolate or cheese makes anything taste better.

10. I sleep on the left side of the bed. I have for the last 10 years. Except when J is out of town. Then I sleep on his side of the bed.

11. I turn 30 in 13 days. Feel free to send gifts.

EMZ's questions:

1.  Do you love or hate the treadmill and why? Love. For one, my treadmill is epic. Who wouldn't want to run on it? I also kind of loath running solo outdoors. If my friends are around, I'll take an outdoor run any day, but the thought of running a cold, dark run myself just makes me cringe.

2.  Describe yourself in three words. Driven. Organized. Awesomesauce.

3.  Describe your best friend. - I have 7 people I consider to be my best friends. Three of them are blood related and the others are my best friend from elementary school, middle school, college and adulthood. All of them are like sisters to me. They get me, even if they don't agree with me. They tell it to me straight and would do pretty much anything for me. Some of them are in my daily life and some I only see every few years. Regardless of how often we talk, I know I can count on them and that when we are together, we will have an amazing time.

4.  Text or call? Call. I kind of hate to text. In fact, prior to June, I didn't even have it enabled on my phone.

5.  Favorite place to eat? Chardonnay's. It's a restaurant in Seekonk, MA. Obviously, I don't get to eat there often.

6.  Where did you first see your wife/husband/significant other? On my recruiting trip to Cornell University. I was 17 and J, who was a sophomore at the time, was my student guide for the day. He took me to class with him and on walking tour of the campus. After that, I didn't talk to him again for two and a half years. When we reunited, I knew pretty much instantly that I was going to be with him forever.

7.  Do you buy lottery tickets? Nope. I hate the idea of spending money on the very slim chance that you might win some money.

8.  The first thing you do in the morning - Pee.

9.  Favorite recovery drink. - Nuun. I'm kind of obsessed.

10.  If you could have any car in the world, which would you buy? Bugatti Veyron. Just kidding. I only said that so J would be impressed. I would probably get a Nissan Armada or Chevy Suburban. I have absolutely no problem driving around in a tank.

11.   What do you collect? Christmas ornaments and coffee mugs.

My questions:

1. Birthdays. Love them or hate them. Why?
2. Get your purse/gym bag: What are the first five things you pull out?
3. What is the one meal you can make better than anyone else?
4. You get one wish. No restrictions. What is it?
5. Cake or Pie?
6. What's your secret talent?
7. Early bird or night owl?
8. Biggest pet peeve?
9. What's your favorite weird food combination? (i.e. ice cream and pickles)
10. Which would you choose? No social media for a year or no working out for a month? Why?
11. What are you sending me for my birthday?

And now for the lucky few ...

G @ Neurosis of the Stay-at-Home Marathoner
Shannon @ Tough Chik
Tricia @ Endurance Isn't Only Physical
Jill @ Running to Sanity
Mel @ Tall Mom on the Run 
H Love @ Keep On Keeping On
Jolene @ Journey of a Canuck Mom on the Run
Rachel @ Running Backwards in High Heels
Jess @ Pace of Me
Carrie @ Maine Mom on the Run
AJH @ Age Groups Rock

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

eating healthy on a budget ...

J and I recently assessed our financial goals and although we are killing it in some areas (yay retirement fund!), we are totally sucking in others.

Can you say entertainment, recreation and groceries?

The first two categories present less of a challenge as most of the things that fall into those categories aren't really necessities. We can cut things and significantly reduce the amount of spending that falls into those areas. Sure, I like to race a lot, all over the country, but do I need to? No. I'll have to learn to live without it for now.

Groceries, on the other hand, are kind of crucial. I'm feeding three growing children, an endurance athlete and a budding runner, who happens to be a 6'7" man. Needless to say, we go through our fair share of food. And it ain't cheap.

We currently spend in the neighborhood of $900 a month to feed our family and stock our home with household goods (i.e. toilet paper, paper towels, laundry detergent, etc.). I am looking to cut that down to $750 a month, with $650 allotted to food and $100 allotted to household goods. That's a pretty big cut and I'm not really sure how to go about it.

  • We already use coupons. Although, most of our food is perishable and thus, hard to get a coupon for.
  • We already "shop around" to a certain extent to find the best prices.
  • We are not willing to have a diet consisting of mainly processed foods.
  • We don't purchase any meat.
  • We almost NEVER have food waste. 
So, what should we do? How do you save on your groceries? Is it possible to feed a family of 5 for $150 a week? Is this a lost cause?

Monday, January 23, 2012

active recovery ...

As a coach, I am a big proponent of taking adequate rest days. For some people, this means taking an entire day or days off. For others, it means a short duration, low intensity workout. I have found that finding the correct ratio of workouts to rest is really dependent on the individual, their endurance base and their injury history.

But regardless of what my clients' schedules have laid out for them, my number one goal is ALWAYS to get them to the start line, injury-free, so that they have the opportunity to reach their goals on race day, whether it be to PR or to finish smiling.

As an athlete, I am less than successful at taking adequate rest days. I've been known to push the pace during recovery runs and I may have skipped a rest day or two. I'll be honest. I suffer from "more is better" mentality. I always have and fortunately, it has yet to come back to bite me.

I know that having this mentality when it comes to endurance training is 100% wrong. I know that in most cases, the best athletes (best being subjective, of course) do the least amount of training that will produce the largest amount of gains. This does not mean that they skip workouts or cut things short. Instead, they fine tune their workload to produce the biggest results. They push themselves hard enough to make strength, speed and endurance gains, but not so hard that they break. And perhaps most importantly, they find the balance of workouts and rest that helps them excel.

I am trying to find that balance.

Over the weekend, I had my longest ride to date (45 miles) and my fastest 12 miler since October (1:47:37). It wore me out. All I wanted to do was eat and sleep. I know I need to recover. And so does my training plan. This week marks the end of Build Phase I and the first of two active recovery weeks (the next one is in five weeks).

I've been dreading this week since I first saw my plan.

I mean, an active recovery week seems like pure torture to an endurance-aholic like myself. Three full rest days, one strength day, and an hour of each discipline seems like nothing. It's a third of my normal volume.

But, as hard as it may be, I am going to do it. If nothing else, it will be a test of my mental strength. And at least I'll have fresh legs for what looks like a soul-crushing week when Build Phase II starts next Monday. Wish me luck ...

Friday, January 20, 2012

Live Like the Honey Badger: Principle 1

This is the first in a series of posts entitled, Live Like the Honey Badger. Each week, I will address one aspect of developing confidence, self-worth, a fearless nature and the like.

Principle 1: Honey Badger Don't Care

The honey badger does what he wants, when he wants, without regard for what will be thought of him. Simply, he is not controlled by external forces, like many of us.

Think about it. When was the last time you second guessed what your wore, how you styled your hair or whether or not you should make an attempt at greatness based on how you thought others might perceive you?

Be honest. It was probably recently.

We live in a society where we are judged by our peers and unfortunately, ourselves, for just about everything. All too often, we view the often unattainable images seen in the media and throughout popular culture as perfection. We try to live up to standards that can't and perhaps, shouldn't, be reached. And if you are constantly striving to be what others want you to be, somewhere along the way, you are going to lose who you are. Don't do it.

  • Don't live for someone else's happiness in sake of your own.
  • Don't hold your true self back just because others might show negativity towards your choices.
  • Don't change who you are or who you want to be because you are afraid that those around you won't support you.

The people who love you are going to love you regardless of whether or not they agree with how you choose to express yourself. That's what support systems do. They support. And if you are constantly faced with opposition for your life choices, perhaps it's time to reevaluate who you surround yourself with. 

I know it's not easy to look past the judgements and I know it's not easy to put yourself out there, but believing that you have the right to live your life as you see fit and believing that you have value will make it easier.

Sure, you will face negativity. Haters are going to hate. But their reaction to you, probably has less to do with you and the way you choose to live your life than you think. I have often found that when people negatively judge your choices, it's not because of the choice, but rather how they think the choice with affect THEM.

  • Perhaps you make them uncomfortable. 
  • Perhaps you make them question how they have been living.
  • Perhaps your choices scare them.
  • Perhaps they fear that what you do will somehow be used in another person's judgement of them.

One thing rings true in all of these scenarios - IT HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH YOU. It's all about them. And you can't let "them" be in charge of who you are.

Realizing this is the first step to living like the honey badger. If you give yourself permission to be exactly who you want to be, regardless of who likes it, you'll build a strong foundation for self-worth and confidence. You won't be dictated by external forces. And each day, you'll get one step closer to being the best version of yourself.

The honey badger don't care. And you don't need to either.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

3TT, money edition ...

Money, part 1 - I know that everyone says that triathlon is an expensive sport. And it is. I mean, I spent $265 just to register for Ironman 70.3 Texas. And since I decided I was actually going to train for this, I had to get a pool membership. Then there was my bike. Yes, we got a great deal on it and yes, it was technically a birthday gift, but it was still paid for out of our family budget.

But, once I had the bike I was all set, right? Wrong. Then I needed water bottle cages and a new bike computer for the trainer. Oh, and let's not forget the bento box or the fact that I am still on a quest for the perfect goggles.

But that's it. I had everything I needed (except the goggles) and all I needed to do was drive to Texas. Well, that was until we decided NOT to drive to Texas. Now, we need to purchase a plane ticket (or use a bajillion frequent flyer miles) AND ship my bike there.

Do you know what it cost to ship a bike? It's not pretty. There's always the option of checking it with my luggage but the cost really isn't that different. And with either option, I still need to have some sort of case or reinforced/padded bike box. The sheer thought of all this money makes me want to cry.

But, if nothing else, this has taught me a lesson.

Only register for triathlons that you can DRIVE to in 12 hrs or less.

That's why this race is on my radar for next summer. It's only like an hour and a half from here with ZERO chance of a need to ship my bike.

Money, part 2 - It's no secret that we are Disney-aholics in this house. We've visited Walt Disney World four times since March 2010 and our next two trips are already planned. I mean, we need to put those annual passes to good use.

Anyway, we have always wanted to take the girls to eat with the princesses at Cinderella's Royal Table, but we've never been able to get a reservation. Until now. Somehow, when I searched the Disney Dining reservation system two days ago, there were four available reservations during our trip in February.

You know I snatched one up. And you know that Disney gladly took my arm and my leg to cover the cost.

Money, part 3 - A big part of why we have visited Disney so often is that children under three are admitted free, not only into the park but to any paid attraction, including character dining. Considering that we've had at least one child under the age of three for the last seven years, it was a big money saver.

That's about to change. Dilly turns three next week, just in time for our next trip. I'm less than thrilled at the prospect of purchasing her annual pass. She, however, could not be more excited. Just yesterday morning, we overheard her talking to her sisters about our upcoming trip and the fact that she'll have her own pass.

"Doodle, I'm not three yet, but when I am, I am going to have my own ticket and then I will get my own FastPass. We are going to go on the Tower of Terror and the Yeti."

Obviously, we've brainwashed our children. But, at least they have learned the importance of FastPasses.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

operation organization ...

I am slightly obsessive compulsive.

My daily schedule shows it. Day in and day out, I do the same things in the same order. When things get thrown off course, I get upset. When others mess with things I like done in a certain manner, I get annoyed and then I fix what they've done. (Note: J no longer does laundry because he does not fold to my standards and I have to refold it anyway.)

I also have an issue with accomplishing a task in parts. When I read a book, I usually read it in one sitting. When I start a project, I find it necessary to finish it before moving on. When it comes to my training plan, I want to add more workouts, mileage, etc. And when it comes to organizing my home (using this nifty calendar I found) I want to jump ahead, to finish a week's worth of tasks rather than a day's.

My obsessive nature, that calendar and my love for Pinterest have led to Operation Organization in my house.

In the last few weeks, I have completed all of the January task on that calendar.

But that wasn't enough, so I organized our pantry and laundry room.


I made some wall hangings.

I transformed our standard desk into a storage station by removing the table feet and replacing them with two bookshelves.

Look at all of that storage ...

I made a command center for the girl's backpacks, ballet bags and soccer gear, complete with a morning checklist to help them get out the door.

I mounted crates to the wall and made bedside bookshelves for the girls.

I found a storage solution for our broom and Swiffer.

I organized our shoe situation and found a place for all the things we need to grab as we leave the house.

And I removed the broken closet doors in Dizzle and Doodle's room and turned them into a headboard for our bed. 

I can't stop myself. It like organizational overload over here ...

Monday, January 16, 2012

16 days ...

I haven't taken a rest day in 16 days.

It's not that I set out to do this, but rather, life necessitated it.

At first, I had to shift workouts around to fit my schedule. Then, J was out of town for a few days and single parenting drove me insane. An insane TMB needs some stress relief. And since we don't have any chocolate in the house, I ran. Or biked. So before I knew it, two weeks had past with no days off and I still had two more workouts on my training plan before the next rest day. Oops.

By the time my weekend sweat sessions rolled around, I could see the light at the end of the tunnel. Rest was on the horizon, but first, two big workouts stood before me.

1600 meters in the pool, my furthest swim yet and a 12 mile run, my longest since my double marathons in November.

I was apprehensive about both. And I crushed both.

1600 meters in 37:08. 1 mile. No stopping. Total confidence boost.
12 miles in 1:51:39. Proof that running fewer miles isn't killing my endurance or speed.

In the last 16 days, I swam 6600 meters, biked 133.07 miles and ran 62.32 miles.

But today I rest.

I've earned it.

My muscles know it.

And that's why I'm rocking compression tights all day.

Friday, January 13, 2012

live like the honey badger ...

After I wrote my post about beauty and self-worth on Tuesday, I got what may be my all-time favorite comment ...

Initially when I read it, I couldn't stop laughing. All I could think about is this video (if you haven't seen this, take three minutes and watch it. hilarious!)

But, then I realized that Jason was right. I am a honey badger. And I am proud of it.

I don't give a sh*t about what others think of me.
I have enough confidence in myself and my abilities to quiet the naysayers.
I defy expectations and chart my own course.
I don't sweat the small stuff.
I am tough.
I am strong.
I am powerful.
And I raise my pack of little honey badgers to be the same way.

Armed with the realization of my inner animal, I've decided that starting next Friday, I will write a series of posts on the topic I get the most emails and comments about.

Confidence and self-esteem.

Otherwise known as, "How to Live Like the Honey Badger"

I have a list of subjects to cover, but if you have a specific question or idea for this series, please leave me a comment or email me at racingwithbabes (at) yahoo (dot) com.

I know my inner animal. What's yours? Why?

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Three Things Thursday ...

No Friends - On Monday, Doodle and Dilly were talking about friends. I interrupted their conversation to ask a question, but instead, Dilly turned to me and said,

"I have no friends because I have no preschool."

Between her sad expression and the immediate thought that I had prevented her from meeting kids her own age, I could barely hold the tears back. All I could do was hug her. Unfortunately, I realized in that same instant that she was 100% correct. With the exception of one person, Dilly really doesn't have any friends. At least any friends her age. In fact, I just sent out the invitations for her birthday party later this month and with the exception of her one friend, the party guests are ages 5-12. She's turning 3. Oops.

KDUB's 70.3 Birthday Challenge - Last week I participated in a virtual, cumulative 70.3 race for Karen @ Working It Out's birthday. Here's how it worked. You had from January 1st to January 11th to cover the total distance of a Half Ironman. Easy peasy. Especially when your training plan calls for you cover that distance anyway. My total time was 5:52:45 and it broke down like this ...

swim - 42:55
bike - 3:07:56
run - 2:01:54

Not too shabby. And wicked fun.

Mini Streak - I looked at my training plan yesterday and I realized that after I finished my run last night, it would be my 12th day without a rest day. Oops. I didn't really plan that.

While it's highly likely that my mini streak will end on it's 17th day as I have an off day scheduled for Monday, who knows? Maybe I'll keep it going. Surely, not for 600+ days, but maybe until my birthday. It would be kind of cool to finish out my 29th year on a strong note.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

fresh start, new challenges ...

On Monday, J got a new job. OK, not really a new job as much as a different position with the same company. This new position, not unlike his old one, will require extensive traveling. We're used to this. Although, things had quieted down in the last two months of 2011, the girls and I have grown accustomed to not seeing J much during the week. Truth be told, even when he's not traveling, his schedule doesn't allow for much daddy-daughter time during the workweek.

This new position, however, will consist of mostly end of the week/weekend travel. He'll be working at expos, events, concerts and festivals. All things that rarely occur during the week. (In essence, my new gig with Tough Chik is just like J's job, just on a smaller scale and in a totally different industry.)

Initially, I had mixed emotions about what this new position meant for us. I'm not a fan of J's long hours and travel to begin with and more travel, on days that are not normal workdays for him didn't seem ideal. Plus, I already have a lot on my plate. I manage our household, our three daughters' schedules, year-round endurance training, a coaching business and I just added the responsibility of being East Coast Event Manager (a.k.a. Lt. Awesomesauce) for Tough Chik. All I could think was, "How am I going to do all that with less backup then I have now?"

Then as fast as that thought crossed my mind, it faded away. I realized that we will make it work, we always do. Life is about balance. You can have everything you want and need, you just have to find a way to make it work for you and your family. And once you know what is most important to you, the rest will fall into place.

Right now, J is giving up some of his time with us to provide for our family and to allow us to live the life of which we have become accustomed to. Hopefully, it won't be that way forever. But if it is, we will make it work. We are a team and we have to do what's best for all of us.

Of course, I will give up some things too. My training and my sanity are the most likely to suffer. And I am OK with that. Here's how I see it.
  • My kids are going to drive me crazy, regardless. What's a little more drama going to do to me? Probably not much. It might even make my workouts that much more rewarding.
  • I am fortunate to have both a bike trainer and a treadmill in my house. If nothing else, I will always be able to complete those aspects of my training. Sure, the hours might not be ideal. But, I'll get it done. Now if I could just get that indoor pool installed ...
  • J is really excited about this new position. I am crazy excited for him too. He always does everything in his power to help me accomplish all I set out to do. And I would never consider doing anything less for him.
  • J has a job. A really good one. Some people aren't as fortunate. None of us should take that for granted.
We can't fail if we work together. That's a fact. I have faith that we'll find our balance. We always do.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

chained to the scale ...

The other day, G, wrote a post on self worth. It was fabulous, and reading it reaffirmed to me that I am not lacking in self worth. 99.9999% of the time, I truly believe I am the sh*t. Yes, like everyone, I have doubts. Doubts about what I can accomplish. Doubts about where I am going. Doubts that I am doing everything I possibly can to be the best me each day. But, rarely do those doubts ever creep to my physical perception of myself.

Truth be told, I am beautiful because I believe I am beautiful and I don't let anyone tell me otherwise. My beauty comes through in my powerful quads and strong shoulders. It can be seen in my eyes and my smile. But usually, I notice it in my freckles and the dimple on my cheek - both which remind me daily of my father.

And do you know what?

I saw all of those things when I weighed 220 pounds.


They've always been there. I did not become beautiful because I lost weight. What losing weight changed about me was my health, not beauty. It doesn't work that way.


But, even though I have, perhaps, an excessive amount of self worth, I am still to some extent tied to the number on the scale. Not because I need to weigh less or even want to, but because I fear that if I don't stay chained to the scale, one day everything I have worked so hard for might not be there anymore.

I fear that I could slip up and gain all the weight back. I think anyone who has lost a considerable amount of weight does. And it's a valid fear. Most people can't or don't maintain their weight loss over the long haul.

I have, with the exception of pregnancies, been maintaining for eight years. And I will do my best to maintain until my last day. But I promise, that no matter what lies ahead, I will still be beautiful. Because I allow myself to believe in my beauty.

Monday, January 9, 2012

first brick ...

In case you didn't know, although I have raced triathlons before, I have never trained for them. I even wrote a note to myself about how I did the exact opposite of what I should have done. Call me lucky, but somehow, I still somehow manage to place well. And since I've never trained for a triathlon, I also haven't completed a brick (yes, I have biked and then used a run as a cool-down and run than leisurely pedaled, but no bricks).

At first, I thought my workout was going to be a piece of cake. 65 minutes on the bike followed by an eight mile run. No big deal. But then, after five days of thinking that was my scheduled workout, I looked at my plan again.

Oh, crap.

It wasn't 65 minutes on the bike. It was 110. Apparently, I can't read the word repeat.

So, I regrouped. I changed my plan of attack. Three hour and 20 minute brick is kind of like a 22 mile run - at least in time. And I run 22 miles, like ALL.THE.TIME.

Um, yeah. A three hour and 15 minute brick (my actual time) is not the same as 22 miles. When I run 22 miles, I'm usually laughing with my friends, having a great time and I feel bada**. Yes, when I finished the brick I still felt bada**, but I had my butt kicked. I couldn't even stand when Dizzle took my picture.

Lesson learned: Half Ironman training is not marathon training.

Friday, January 6, 2012

spoiled brats ...

To the spoiled brats that live in my home,

I'm sorry that things have gotten to the point that I have to address you in this manner, but I can not stand silent any longer. Please consider this letter to be my formal complaint against the three minors residing in my permanent residence.

For too long, I have been your maid, your chauffeur, your personal chef, your nurse, your everything and I am done being abused.

I take care of you when you are sick.
I clean up after you approximately once every 7 minutes.
I bathe you.
I help you with your homework.
I financially support your way of life.
I cook you three healthy meals EVERY.SINGLE.DAY.
I drive you to and from school and all places in between.
I am your shoulder to cry on and your strength when you are weak.
I know when you need a hug and when you need to be told to "suck it up."
I surprise you when you need a pick me up.
I protect you while doing my best not to hinder the person you are.
I encourage you to play to your strengths, but remind you to do the things that scare you too.
But above all, I love you unconditionally.

You, however, seem to be oblivious to all of these things. Instead of thanking me, or even respecting me, for all that I do, you choose to give me an attitude, to yell at me and to call me the "meanest mommy in the world." I promise you, I am far from the meanest mother in the world.

I'd like to remind you of how good you have it here. So, when you misbehave and I take away one of your prized possessions (like your iPod, for example) please keep in mind that you are fortunate to even have such things and that screaming at me to give it back to you will not help your case. Neither will hitting, biting, name calling, stomping, crying or whining. I will not tolerate any of that and it will most likely lead to an extended separation of you and said prized possession. Additionally, I'd like to note that living in my home is not a RIGHT, it's a PRIVILEGE. Remember that.

Your Mother

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Three Things Thursday ...

Twitter - When I created my Twitter handle, I didn't want to tie the name to my blog because I so often think about going "dark" (a.k.a private). Or what if I just stop writing all together? I think it would be kind of stupid to have a handle that once matched a blog, but now doesn't. I guess I just didn't want to be tied to this blog forever. Who knows?

Anyway, a few weeks ago, I noticed that someone I follow changed their Twitter handle. No interruption of service. One tweet had the old handle and the next one was updated. Easy peasy. It got me thinking that it probably made sense for me to unite my Twitter account and Racing With Babes.

So I did. You can now tweet me HERE (@RacingWithBabes). And if you aren't following me already, you probably should.

*UPDATED* Birthday Gift - For months, I have been hounding J with emails of potential 30th birthday gift ideas. 99.5% of these emails contained links to bikes. Yesterday, he must have finally had enough, because he told me that I could pick out a new bike as my birthday gift. I wasn't quite sure that I heard him correctly or if we had the same idea of what "pick out a new bike" means.

But, he was for real and his budget gave me more wiggle room than I expected. So, I looked around for the best deals and this morning I ordered this ...

2011 Fuji Aloha 2.0

Isn't it beautiful? Plus, it was on closeout for an awesome price. I'm kind of excited right now!

Tough Chik - If you still want to join Team Tough Chik and haven't done so yet, you are running out of time. Registration is open until Saturday. Even in just the first few weeks, the 100+ members have formed a great community that I am excited to be a part of. Plus, our uniforms are wicked cute. You know you want in, just click HERE to learn more.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

training plan vs. desires ...

Some people do not know how to self motivate.

I, however, am not one of those people.

All I need to get to me out the door is a little piece of paper.

That's right. All I need is my training plan telling me exactly what I have to do that day. To me, that little bit of black ink on the calendar is the "end all, be all." There is no questioning the plan. It was written that way for a reason.

My current training plan is epic. I have faith in its ability to produce results (it worked for Irondiva and she's a freaking Ironman) I feel like it's balanced and challenging without being so daunting that I want to stop.

The thing is, the plan is so balanced and challenging that it's messing with the game plan I have in my head.

You see, I like to run. OK, I love to run. But the disciplines are so balanced in this plan, that I usually only have two runs (and two bikes and two swims) each week. Sometimes, I get really lucky and there's a brick and I get a bonus run. At times, it can be torturous.

For example, this week, I have 15 run miles scheduled. 15? That's insane. I like to run 40+ miles. 15 just doesn't work for me.

My head is telling me to run. My plan is telling me to chill the heck out.

Confession: I do a little bit of both. On my "shorter" and strength days, I add a 3-5 mile run. It calms me. But, unlike my official training plan, these "penciled in" runs do not have the same power over me. If I miss them, I miss them. If I am feeling good, I brave the cold and log the miles. If I'm tired from the day before (like this morning), I choose my warm bed over the run.

In some ways, this inability to follow the plan in my head is disappointing to me. I have such high standards for myself that missing these self-prescribed workouts make me feel like I am letting myself down. Self guilt can be rather motivating.

But usually, that self guilt fades quickly. I know that too many "bonus" miles are going to start to take away from the training I am focusing on. I am learning to remind myself that the number one goal is a 70.3 finish, not "see how many other things I can do while getting a 70.3 finish." I need to remember that less run miles is not making me a weaker runner, but rather more diversity in training is making me a stronger runner.

For me, triathlon training is a road untraveled. I will find my way. I just need to trust the plan.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

triathlon confession ...

Confession: I am a runner who is really loving triathlon training.

Confession: Swimming doesn't suck. Sure, it isn't easy, but I actually look forward to my swim workouts. Well, other than the 4:30 a.m. wake up call.

Confession: I have serious bike envy. Sleeper does the job, but this $190 bike is giving me an inferiority complex.

Confession: Running less while maintaining my workout volume is making me love running more. I appreciate every mile.

Confession: I registered for a Fall Sprint Triathlon. I can't wait to see what I can do when I actually train.

Confession: Once all of my kids are in school, I will be an Ironman. It might be in two years. It might be in 10. But it will happen.

So, what are you hiding from the rest of us?

Monday, January 2, 2012

December/Year End Rewind ...

Run Miles Ran: 115.43 miles

Bike Miles Rode: 128.15 miles

Swim Meters Completed: 5700 meters

Rest Days Taken: 5

Highest Run Mileage Week: 12/26-1/1: 29.2 miles

Highest Bike Mileage Week: 12/5-12/11: 37.34 miles

Highest Swim Volume Week: 12/26-1/1: 3000 meters

Long Runs Completed: 4

Current Book: Do instruction manuals for new toys count?

Current Shame-Inducing Guilty Pleasure: Food. All food. December was like a month long binge.

Current Colors: lime and purple

Current Drink: Dunkin Donuts Mint Mocha Coffee. I am perpetually cold and it is the only thing that warms me up.

Current Song: Stereo Hearts - Gym Class Heroes

Current Triumph: Did you catch that part that I swam 3000 meters last week? I'm a total rock star. All joking aside, 2011 was pretty epic for me and I'm just trying to appreciate that fact.

Current Goal: 70.3 domination. That is all.

Current Blessing:
I feel like my whole life is one big blessing and I am entirely grateful.

Current Excitement: Half Ironman training cycle is going fantastically. My 30th birthday is in 36 days (in fact our whole family celebrates birthdays before June). We are going back to Disney in 54 days because we are obsessed to run the Disney Princess Half. Lots of exciting things happening in the next few months.

2011 Goals - Status Update:

  • Clean up my diet - I was pretty good with this one until after my back-to-back marathons. Once I finished those races, I kind of forgot that my training level wasn't so intense anymore.
  • Eat no more than 25 cupcakes - 23 cupcakes eaten
  • Pay off our consumer debt by the end of the year - This didn't happen. Life did. But we are back on track and making strides to get where we want to be.
  • Spend $0 on clothing - $278.50 spent - I caved and bought some stuff from Lululemon and a pair of jeans from eBay when my lone pair ripped.
  • Run 2,000 miles - 1915.52 miles run.
  • Run a sub 1:55 half marathon - Set a new PR of 1:57:06 and recorded a half split of 1:56:18 at the NYC Marathon.
  • Take 30+ minutes off my marathon - Completed - 11/12, Richmond Marathon, 4:12:52, 36:46 PR.