Thursday, May 30, 2013

Three Things Thursday ...

Update - Just about two weeks ago, I saw a nutritionist in hopes of figuring out how to stop the weight gain I have experienced (in addition to all of the other symptoms). I left the appointment feeling optimistic. She suspects Adrenal Fatigue is to blame. Apparently, your body can only take so much stress before it revolts. Who knew? OK, I did. Not the point.

Additionally, my electrolytes are crazy low and my Vitamin D levels are the opposite of good. Fortunately, she believes all of this can be corrected and once we get back the results from my Cortisol and DHEA test back, we should have a better idea of my adrenal health and what we can do to get it back on track. However, if this test comes back normal, I will likely punch a hole through a wall. The brick wall I keep hitting when it comes to getting a diagnosis. (Note: I will be seeing an endocrinologist on June 26th regardless of the results I get from this test.)

In the meantime, I have been put on an eating plan and told not to stress about the amount of calories I am taking in. And while, I have followed the plan almost perfectly (Dizzle's birthday cake aside), I still obsess. It's just part of my nature. Unfortunately, I haven't lost an ounce. But I haven't gained either, which I guess is something.

Schedule Overload - May has been a hectic month for us. Between J's travel for work (and leisure with Doodle), the girls' activities and my work with Tough Chik, there hasn't been a lot of downtime. This weekend is our last overscheduled weekend for quite some time and I am feeling anxious about getting everything done.

Tomorrow morning, I will be heading to Annapolis to run the Tough Chik booth at ZOOMA Annapolis on Friday and Saturday. J will be taking over at home, shuttling the girls to and from school and to play dates. On Saturday, he has to take Dilly to soccer and then prep the girls (i.e. hair and make-up) for their dance recital's dress rehearsal in the afternoon. I will most likely have to meet them all at the venue as soon as I get back.

a preview of their costumes ...
Thankfully, my sister is going to be here to help with their hair and make-up, but I'm mildly afraid of the logistics of it all. We are going to be there hours upon hours and it can be a lot for me to juggle and I'm used to it. J doesn't usually have to handle this sort of stuff and I am thinking it might stress him out a wee bit.

On Sunday, the girls have back to back shows to perform in and by some twist of fate, I have one child in the very first dance and one child in the very last dance. I am going to stay optimistic that everyone is going to love every second and that I won't have to deal with any meltdowns. I can dream, right?

Vacation - Last week, J and I booked a trip for all of us. We had toyed around with going to Australia next year, but when the price tag started to skyrocket, we started thinking of alternatives. We talked about visiting Europe (and I'm still hoping we can make it to France next summer), the Caribbean, and a few places scattered throughout the US.

When it came down to it, the only place we really considered at any length was Hawaii. The timing (and pricing) seemed right, so we jumped in and booked. 10 days on the island of Oahu in October, only four months and 20 days from now. Not that I'm counting ...

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Wordless Wednesday: Time Flies ...

First day of school and today, the last. They grow up too fast.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

find your path ...

It's really hard to be a parent.

Sometimes, I wonder if there are easier ways to go about it all, but I really don't think so. Sure, I could parent more. Or I could parent less. I could relinquish control. Or I could run a dictatorship. I could tackle everything myself. Or I could ask for help.

Ultimately, you end up parenting in a way that is absolutely perfect for you and for how you envision your family to be. No two people, not even spouses, parent in the same way. And even if you try to, you can't parent two different children in the same way either. Each parent-child relationship is unique, like fingerprints or snowflakes.

I like to think I have a firm grip on my children's lives. I give them freedoms and choices, but I guide their values and when it comes down to it, my word is the law. I establish rules and expect that they be followed. I create an environment where they are expected to contribute. I do my best to stress that there are no entitlements in our household and nor should they expect to receive any in the "real world". They know the value of a dollar and the reward of hard work.

Do they hate me at times? Yes.
Do they whine and beg like spoiled brats? Yes.
Do I let that affect how I parent them? No. Never. Not for a second.

I'm sure that some people don't parent this way. I know that my methods aren't perfect, but' I know, without a doubt, that they are perfect for us. I have complete faith that all of the decisions I make for, and with, my children are exactly what they need to be for us at any given time. J and I don't make decisions on a whim. We research (or I research and he gets a synopsis from me). We weigh the pros and cons. We make choices based on what will be best in the short term and the long run. And we realize that things in life are trial and error and that making mistakes is OK. Because sometimes, you may make a wrong turn, but if you follow your heart, you'll find the path you were meant to be on.

For us, that path is leading us to homeschool the girls next year. We do not feel like our children's needs are being met, they are not being challenged and we all need a change of pace. So, we (as a family) are committing to one year. After that, we'll see. Maybe it will be nightmare and we'll all want out. Or maybe it will be the most epic thing ever and we'll keep at it. But, regardless of what the future holds for us, I know that this is the parenting move we need to make.

Yes, it's hard to be a parent, but it's even harder to not follow your path.

Monday, May 20, 2013

birthday wishes ...

Dear Dizzle,

Dizzle, one week old ...

Dizzle, on the eve of her 8th birthday ...
Eight years ago, you entered my world and I instantly realized how little I knew about love and sacrifice and what really matters. Everyday I am given the opportunity to love more than I ever imagined, sacrifice more than I ever thought I could and surround myself with the people, not the things, that make life worth living. I am given this chance everyday because you are in my life.

It would be easy to sugarcoat it and say that every moment since your birth has been magical, that with everyday I have been the perfect parent and you, the perfect child. The thing is, that would be a boldfaced lie. I am not perfect. I yell. I throw tantrums. I fumble. I fall. Sometimes, I get so lost that it's not clear who is the adult in our relationship.

And I'm sorry.

I'm sorry for all those moments. I'm sorry for forgetting that you're just a kid. And I'm sorry for treating you with less than 100% respect. I am your example and I should give it my all, every minute of every day.

Over the past eight years, you have given me a fair share of trouble. From food fights in your toddler years to fashion fights now, you've always managed to make yourself heard. You've never caved or accepted that you should be anyone less than exactly who you want to be. You are stubborn and passionate to a fault - a fault that I love.

My daughter, I have cherished every single second of the past eight years and I look forward to all we have in store. I know we will face numerous challenges, but the moments of bliss will outweigh any negativity life can throw our way. We both need to remember that.

Dizzle, today, on your 8th birthday, I have a wish (or a few wishes) for you.
  • I wish that you'll never forget who you are and who you want to be. People will try to sway and discourage you. Don't let them. Belief in self will get you far in life.
  • I wish that you never believe that you're too cool to hold my hand or kiss me goodbye. You never know when it will be your last chance to do so, so don't let a fear of embarrassment hold you back.
  • I wish that you could always have faith that things will work out for the best. Just because things don't look great now, doesn't mean that it will stay that way. Everything happens for a reason. Trust that life will give you an explanation when you are ready to receive it.
My love, I could never express what you mean to me and I wish you endless happiness, not only today, but for all of your days. Dizzle, I love you to infinity and beyond, forever and ever. Happy birthday!


Thursday, May 16, 2013

Wanted: Relaxation ...

I have a hard time relaxing.

I'm always thinking of the next thing that needs to get done, before I've even tackled the first. Messes to be cleaned. Projects to finish.

I look at the world around me and I don't see how great it is. I focus in on how it could be better.

It is a horrible feeling. It sits in my throat like a hunger.

I wish I could be more like J sometimes.

I'm sure he sees all the same things I do, but it never bothers him. He doesn't care if the kids have toys everywhere. He doesn't think twice when there are dishes in the sink. I've always thought that he wasn't bothered by these things because he knew they'd be taken care of eventually (most likely by me). But, I'm starting to think that it's actually that those things just aren't important to him. If they aren't impeding his life in any significant way, he'll take care of them later. Even if later is so long from now that it eats away at my soul.

Every night, once the kids are in bed, I clean the house. I make sure everything is put away. All the dishes are done. Lunches for the next day are made. The laundry is folded. The floors are swept. I literally can not sit down until I've run through my checklist. At the same exact time, J can grab his iPad and "decompress" while I run around wrapping up our day.

I have never, in the nearly 11 years we have been together, been able to understand this.

I wish I could just forget that there are things to do.
I wish I could make an entire meal and leave the mess to be cleaned up after we eat. (This is often why I eat cold food.)
I wish I could walk by a pile of papers without wanting to sort through it.
I wish that decluttering wasn't my favorite pastime.

My habits are so ingrained in me that I don't know that I'll ever be able to let them go. But I so want to.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Monday, May 13, 2013

success and failure ...

The two hardest things to handle in life are success and failure. - Unknown

That was my senior quote. At the time, I felt like it pretty much summed up my entire being. 13 years later, I would have a hard time arguing differently.

There is an enormous amount of pressure (whether self-imposed or external) in either scenario. The way I see it (which may be completely unfounded), if you succeed, you need to continue to live up to the standard that you've set for yourself. And if you fail, then you have to exceed what you've done in the past. Either way, you're really in the same place - expecting more and more with every attempt.

I know this is a Type A trait.

And I know I am textbook Type A.

(I'm sure anyone who doesn't classify themselves as Type A is probably shaking their heads thinking, "Why would anyone ever see life that way?")

This whole success and failure relationship has been eating away at me lately. I know I am not functioning at 100%. In fact, despite test after test that tell me I am the picture of health, I walk away knowing that something is going on. There is a reason I am not refreshed after 10 hours of sleep. There is a reason that I go through every workout feeling like I raced the day before. There is a reason I have almost every hypothyroid symptom out there, but my blood work is "normal". There is a reason I have gained 25 pounds in the last 18 months despite meticulous food journaling/measurement and intense training. There is a reason.

I just don't know what it is.

I have suspected for some time that my training is amplifying my symptoms. Last week's episode at the pool was the final straw. I've been pushing through workouts for months, so I know my mental game isn't failing me. My body is. As a last ditch attempt, I decided to take a few days off to see if I felt any better. Now, five days later, I would say that there has been very little improvement. Yes, I am not sore, but I still don't feel strong. And my fatigue, well, let's just say that if I closed my eyes right now, I'd be out in five minutes.

So, after many tears and a few meltdowns, I accepted the hand I've been dealt. This is not my year for 140.6. I will not be toeing the line at Rev3 Cedar Point FullRev. Instead, I will tackle the HalfRev, with the most basic training plan I could find. One that peaks at a volume lower than I am currently at. It will be a race for fun with no pressure of finishing times or placement.

Because ultimately, my health is too important. I need to figure out what's going on with me and get back to feeling the way I did 18 months ago. And unfortunately, I know that training 13 to 20 hours per week isn't going to allow me to do that.

Maybe I'll get to that start line next year. Maybe I'll get there in 10. Or maybe, it's somewhere I'll never go. Right now, I'm OK with that. I know it's the smart thing to do. And I know that no matter how many times other people tell me that I can make it through the training and all the way to the finish line, I know they are wrong. I can't get there without sacrificing things that I am not willing to sacrifice. And that's OK.

At first, I saw my decision as a failure. A failure to finish. A failure to see myself through something I had set out to do. A failure of my word. But, with acceptance, I'm starting to see that really, it's a success. A success to choose the path that's right for me. A success of letting go. A success to make the best of what I've got.

And that's exactly what I am going to do.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

adapting vs. abusing ...

When it comes to endurance training (or really any physical activity), you need to challenge your body to go beyond what it can currently do. Sometimes that means more time. Sometimes it means more distance. And sometimes it means more speed. Doing all of those things can cause change as your body adapts to the stresses you place upon it. Think about it. If you're not challenging yourself, you're not making change.

But, at what point does your body stop adapting? And at what point do all of those stresses add up and start abusing your body instead?

I've been thinking about this a lot lately. Currently, my body is revolting. I add more and more stresses upon it each week and little by little it fights back. I'm tired. I'm gaining an ungodly amount of weight. I'm never fresh. Sure, the 10 to 12 hours per week of training (which will double in the coming weeks) is making me fitter. It's building my endurance. But, at the same time, I feel weaker and weaker.

Don't get me wrong, on occasion I have those "magic" days where workouts seem effortless. But, more and more, I am fighting to get through. Pushing myself past the voices in my head and the weakness in my muscles to finish.

I think it's hard to know when to stop. There is something to be said for pushing through fatigue. It can pay off huge during those ugly moments on race day. And let's not forget those workouts where you feel fine but you lack the motivation to give it your all. Those are the workouts that you need to push through to shut your mind up and show it that your body is stronger.

But, what if you can't tell the difference? I've had a hard time figuring out where to draw the line. And an even harder time determining if I am doing myself any good or whether it be best to stop the abuse and call it a day.

During my swim this morning, I called it quits. I knew I could finish it. But, I knew that if I did continue it would be a half-assed effort. Eventually, as I held back tears with each lap, I knew that my mind and body were weak and I couldn't take much more.

It's workouts like this (and others over the past few weeks) that have me questioning why I keep pushing myself so hard. Why I even want to tackle 140.6. And when my body is just going to say enough is enough.

Ultimately, I come back to not wanting to quit. I feel like I have something to prove, despite having no one who expects anything from me. I know that no one will feel let down if I stop or be disappointed if all my free time wasn't spent training, eating and sleeping.

I know it's just the voice in my head telling me that changing my own game plan isn't OK. But that little voice is hard to ignore ...

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Three Things Thursday ...

Creepy - J and Doodle are currently on vacation at Sea World celebrating her sixth birthday. It's a tradition we have that when you turn six, you get to go away for the weekend with Dad to any place you would like. Dizzle went to Disney. Doodle picked Sea World. I mean, if it were me, I'd pick something like Rome. Or Paris. Or London. But, apparently my children don't really grasp the whole "anywhere you want part" and they choose places they would have probably gone to anyway.

Back to my point, since they've been gone, J has been sending me random photos of their adventures. About an hour ago, he sent me this one. It's pretty much straight out of a horror film.

Creepy, right? Oddly enough, I think it's equally creepy and beautiful. Like I am scared she might kill me in my sleep, yet I can't look away ...

Health Drama - For about 19 months, I have had a whole slew of symptoms that have kept me from functioning at 100%. Basically, I look like I have a classic case of hypothyroidism, yet all of my blood work has been and continues to be within the normal ranges. When I stopped eating gluten, the intensity of several of these symptoms died down, but they never fully went away.

Recently, my symptoms have been getting worse and in the last eight weeks I have gained 10 pounds. I don't care who you are, gaining 10 pounds in eight weeks isn't normal or OK. Especially, when you eat pretty well, track and measure all of your food and train 10+ hours a week. Because of this, I went back to the doctor to try to get some answers and was yet again hit with a brick wall.

My doctor agrees that something is going on. She swore up and down that it had to be my thyroid. But after another round of blood work, I'm still in the same place. I am as healthy as healthy can be and all of my hormone levels are within normal ranges.

Someone shoot me now.

Now I'm being sent to an endocrinologist to see if she can shed any light on my situation. I'm frustrated and I'm over it and if I can't get some answers and figure out what's going on, I might go insane (and be 20 pounds heaver for my 140.6 debut).

I can't possibly be the only person who has faced a situation like this. Anyone have any insight?

Summer Break - I know this is going to sound insane, but I am literally counting down the days until Summer break. I over the shuttling back and forth. I'm over the homework. I'm over making lunches. I'm over my children coming home with more doodles than graded papers. I'm over it. Done.

Or maybe I just want to be able to sleep in ...

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

April Rewind ...

Miles Run: 87.61. A slight drop since half marathon training is over ...

Bike Miles Rode: 267.1 miles. And I even rode outside for some of them ...

Swim Meters Completed: 27300 meters or 16.96 miles. Seeing huge payoffs thanks to the increased swim volume here.

Rest Days Taken: 6.

Highest Run Mileage Week: 4/8-4/14: 26.6 miles

Highest Bike Mileage Week: 4/22-4/28: 78.3 miles

Highest Swim Volume Week: 4/22-4/28: 9400 meters or 5.97 miles

Long Runs Completed (10+ miles): 1

Current Book: Right now, I am reading Torment by Kate. But I also finished a few other books in April. (Note: For those of you who have asked, if it's on this or any of my lists, I would recommend the book. If I don't like the story or the book doesn't grasp my attention, I don't bother finishing it, thus it wouldn't be listed here.) 

  • Wake by McMann
  • Altered by Rush
  • Crash by McMann
  • Fade by McMann
  • Fallen by McMann
  • Gone by McMann
  • Homeschool Your Child for Free by Gold
  • If I Stay by Forman
  • Inexcusable by Lynch
  • Love in a Time of Homeschooling by Brodie
  • The Ultimate Guide to Homeschooling by Bell
  • Home Learning Year by Year by Rupp
Current Shame-Inducing Guilty Pleasure: Friday Night Lights. Why didn't I realize how epic this show was when it was on? Also, On Demand is amazing ...

Current Colors: Pink and Yellow. Like super bright pink and yellow.
Current Drink: Hot tea with a touch of sugar. I'm cold all the time.

Current Song: Just Give Me a Reason - Pink and Nate Ruess.

Current Triumph: I crushed the RTC Sprint this past weekend and it's got me feeling confident heading into Rev3 Williamsburg.

Current Goal: Be a better me. Each and every day. And tackle my 2013 To Do List head on.

Current Blessing: Health, happiness and love. I've got all three.

Current Excitement: We are working on planning some big things over the next year and I am just excited by the possibility of all that is in store for us.

2013 To Do List:

  • 140.6. That is all. - Registered.
  • 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. - Yeah I kind of sucked at this in April. Does moving furniture count?
  • 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. - I love it and I hate it. 
  • Log 4,500 cumulative run, bike and swim miles. Up 485 from 2012. - As of May 1st, 1093.73 miles logged.
  • 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. - No progress on this one.
  • 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.- Fail. Epic fail.
  • Run a 5K with Dizzle and Doodle, even if that means tricking them into it. - The kids have been running quite a bit recently. Probably going to aim for the fall.
  • 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.- On point, like usual.
  • Find the race day (and training) nutrition plan that works for me.- Eventually ...
  • 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. - As of May 1st, 9 desserts consumed. Only one birthday left in our family this year, so we should be cake free for a while after that.
  • Drink at least 100oz of water per day.- Oh, heck yeah!
  • Only say yes to the projects you REALLY want to work on. An honest no is much better than a halfhearted yes. - Check.
  • Stick to our budget. We've lived credit card (and credit card debt) free for five months. No reason to go back now. - Double Check.
  • Ignore your impulses. Take time to process the true value of the things you are filling your space/life with. - Yes and no. Lots of pondering this one recently ...
  • Figure out what to do with my hair. Keep the mohawk or grow it out. I'm taking opinions on this one.- I am really going to grow it out this time. And right now it's in a seriously bad place ...
  • Continue to balance family life, training and now, work.- Check.
  • Prioritize and be a good example for the people in your life. - Like quadruple 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. 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.- I would never waiver on this one!