Friday, February 28, 2014

Random Facts Friday ...

1. I am a total book nerd. Add that to the fact that it takes me about 60 minutes to read 150 pages and I can crush a book in a few hours. Already in 2014, I have finished 29 books. If you're doing the math, that's about a book every two days.

2. This morning I was supposed to do a 13 mile run. I woke up not feeling great and my quick attempt to see how I would hold up was an utter failure. Ultimately, I bailed. At first I was frantically concerned that I wouldn't get my long run in (J's traveling this week), but then I remembered, I'm not racing anything longer than a 10K until October, so I probably don't need to stress about missing a long run now.

3. I've decided that I'm over trying to force my kids to learn things they are not interested in. Pushing the issue makes it harder for everyone. For example, Dilly potty trained herself in one day. I told her we had no more diapers and she never had an accident again. The timing was right for everyone and there were no tears or frustrations.

Recently, this whole "waiting until they're ready" thing has made another appearance at our house. For months, J and I have been trying to teach Doodle how to ride a bike. It's been less than successful and usually, someone walks away upset. But on Saturday afternoon, something changed. Doodle asked to ride her bike. J got it out for her and then he started doing yard work. A few minutes later, he found Doodle zooming around our cul-de-sac on two wheels with no help from us. Proving, yet again, that kids are not going to do anything until they want to do it.

4. On Monday, I am visiting an allergist. For a few weeks, I have had this itchy rash on my arms and legs that comes and goes with no real explanation. And since I haven't changed any of my skin care products or detergent, I figure it's probably something that I am eating that is causing the problem. I'm really eager to get some answers, but I swear if they tell me I am allergic to chocolate or peanut butter, I might have a coronary.

5. I am never going to understand why anyone would willingly choose to forgo whole milk and butter. I love them both endlessly.

6. The more that I train, the more that I realize that I would be perfectly happy if I never raced again. I've come to learn that I don't train to perform well on a single day. I train because I just really love to do it.

7. We purged the girls' rooms of all the toys that they had broken or outgrown this past weekend. I found the activity extremely energizing and would have gotten rid of even more had J not set limits on my cleanse. The crazy thing is that we removed a huge amount of stuff and you can't even tell.

8. I haven't eaten gluten in almost two years. I know that eating it would make me feel horrible, yet every once in a while, I consider what food would be worth feeling that bad for. Almost always, I think it would be a meatball parmesan hoagie. Trust me, I realize that there is a such thing as gluten-free bread (and meatballs), but it's not the same. Not even close.

9. I just wrote my second to last check for preschool. Knowing that I only have one payment to go is an incredibly exciting thing.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

head-on collision ...

Being a parent has to be one of the scariest things you can do.

In your life before kids, you only have to worry about yourself. You may care about what happens to the people around you, the people you love. But, it's not the same as when you have children. The worry and concern you will feel for them can be overwhelming, crippling even. Trust me, you can't avoid it, it's instinctual and all-encompassing.

As a naturally anxious person, I always feel like I am on high alert when it comes to my kids. So, when Doodle was flying around our cul-de-sac on her two-wheeler (which I might add she only figured out how to ride on Saturday), I was a broken record of phrases like, "Slow down!" and "Doodle, be careful!"

And she was careful. She navigated her way through the other six kids riding around with her. They were all having a blast running, riding and scootering (not sure that's a word) the afternoon away. But, suddenly, that all changed. I was looking the other way and hear my friend say, "They are going to run into each other." And just when I turned to look at what she was talking about, it happened.

Doodle was riding her bike at close to her top speed and Dilly was running in the opposite direction. Apparently, they both misjudged the situation or neither one of them was paying attention and they collided. Doodle fell of her bike and cut her knee, but Dilly was thrown back from the force. I heard the sound of the hit. I watched her fall back like it was slow motion and I was terrified.

She instantly started crying but didn't get up. When I saw that she was moving her hands and feet, I picked her up out of the street and laid her on our walkway. She just kept telling me that her whole body hurt and that she thought her legs were bleeding. It was heart-wrenching to watch. But, seeing Dilly lying there in tears was nothing compared to seeing the look (and tears) on Doodle's face as she watched this all unfold. She was so scared that she had hurt her sister. It was probably the most heartbreaking thing I had ever seen. (Note: Part of me really hopes Doodle remembers that feeling every time she gets behind the wheel of a car. If so, she'll be the safest driver out there.)

After a few minutes and a quick assessment, I decided to take Dilly to the ER. She was refusing to put pressure on her leg and her thigh was pretty swollen from the impact. On the drive there, a million questions ran through my head. "What if she hadn't been running with her helmet on? Would we have a serious head injury? What if her thigh hadn't taken the brunt of the hit? Could she have internal injuries? If something is broken, will Doodle forgive herself?"

Dilly just before she was discharged ...
After an hour or two, it was clear that Dilly was just fine and that she escaped with just a few cuts and bruises. But, I think I was the one who was really suffering. I just couldn't shake the "what ifs" and thought that even with best intentions, we can't protect them all the time. Things are going to happen. They are going to do things when we aren't around and even if we are, there are no guarantees. We just have to roll with the punches and be there to pick up the pieces.

Friday, February 21, 2014

fED Review ...

Y'all know I'm a girl who loves her food.

Protein. Carbs. Fats.

I don't care what it is as long as it tastes good.

I mean, I might as well have #eatallthethings tattooed on my forehead. That's the kind of love I have for food.

That's me inhaling BBQ roasted turkey breast from fED...
Fortunately for me, I was recently given the opportunity to review a Paleo meal delivery service here in Richmond called fED. And I have to say, I was not disappointed.

As you probably know, Paleo eating consists of eating lean meats, vegetables, fruits and nuts, the way humans did before the onset of overly-processed, artificial foods packaged in boxes; food that needed to be hunted or gathered. This food lifestyle avoids eating all grains, processed sugars, dairy and legumes.

Do I eat Paleo all the time? No.

But would I if I had someone to cook and prep all my meals for me? Sure thing! (A girl can dream ...)

And do you know what? fED offers exactly that - tasty, ready-made paleo meals.

fED was founded by a group of athletes at CrossFit RVA while participating in a Performance Nutrition Challenge. Trying to improve body composition, lose fat, increase athletic performance and better overall wellness, they followed a strict Paleo Diet. Eating well and sticking to the program was made easier by planning out their meals for the week and preparing them ahead of time. As a result they benefited from weight loss, reduced body fat and improved athletic fitness and general lifestyle well being.

They soon made healthy, delicious, ready-made meals available to the Richmond CrossFit community by delivering meals directly to the gym.

All of the meals are cooked and packaged by restaurant chefs in Richmond and delivered fresh, not frozen. fED's goal is to support your healthy eating habits by making these meals available to you through a weekly pre-order service and advocating the education of nutritional wellness.

a weeks worth of lunches from fED ...

Such a great idea, right?

The meals were absolutely delicious and uber healthy. With only a handful of ingredients and nothing artificial, fED offers a fantastic alternative to your standard ready-made lunch or dinner. Each meal will run you around $11.50 and side dishes/soups are on the order of $4-6 each. What I love is that this service is an excellent tool for meal planning. Plus, there are no contracts, so if you are traveling or don't like the menu options, you can skip a week. 

Bacon wrapped chicken breast. Delicious.
So, I know you're wondering how it works. It's really quite simple:

1. Sign up for their weekly newsletter HERE

Menus are posted each Sunday evening for the following week. You'll receive and email each Sunday to let you know the new menu is available. You have until Noon on Wednesday of that week to submit your orders for the following week. Space is limited at each drop location so get your orders in early.

2. Select the items you’d like for the week.

There is a minimum of $55 for all orders. (But, you can combine orders with a friend).

3. Check out and pay for your meals.

All orders are personalized and delivered to your selected drop location on Sunday evening and available for pick up during open hours starting Monday.

So what are you waiting for? You know you're hungry!

Disclaimer: I received a week's worth of meals free of charge from fED. However, the opinions stated here are 100% my own.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Three Things Thursday ...

Date Day - Thanks to the numerous snow days my children have had this winter, the school district decided to revoke the President's Day holiday. At first I was kind of bummed because I like having the kids home and I'm not really a fan of schedule changes (it messes with my OCD).

But, then I realized that J's work did not get the memo and he still had the day off. So, we took advantage of our 6+ kid free hours and went on an all-day date. Our morning started with a swim and a little strength training. Afterwards, we went to a local pottery studio, where we each made glass plates.
Can you guess which one I made?
Then we had the most delicious and guilt inducing burger lunch ever at Burger Bach. It was so indulgent that we didn't eat dinner that evening. It was such a fantastic day. But, I have to admit that it is such a rare occasion that we have a whole day without the kids that I'm sure we could have stared at the wall and had a good time.

Swim Speed - Dizzle had another swim meet on Saturday afternoon. She placed 5th in the 25 back, but was feeling a little bummed that she didn't PR (note: she missed her PR by 0.08 - critical much?)

But, later in the day, she had the 50 back on her schedule. She must have been really ticked about the 25, because she went on to win her heat (finishing 4th overall) and PR'd by just over 14 seconds.

I'm confident that she'll be schooling me in no time.

Leg Power - There was a time in my life that I could bench press 220 pounds and squat 250. I also happened to be 17 and quite a bit heftier than I currently am. After college, I stopped lifting heavy, in favor for 15lb dumbbells for "lean muscle" (not that there is anything wrong with that).

However, in the past six months, I decided heavy lifting is where it's at. I rock a 50lb kettlebell for most of my sets. I load the bar up with weights to deadlift, clean and press. And today, I rocked out my own body weight for 4x5 sets of back squats.

That's 170 pounds lifted 20 times. Yeah, it's not the 250 I used to be able to hoist, but I'm getting there. And I kind of love it.

Friday, February 14, 2014

love - it never fails ...

I've never been big on Valentine's Day. I'm very anti-greeting card. I really don't like flowers. And it's not like I need an excuse to sit on my couch and devour an entire box of chocolates. It's a commercialized holiday (much like every other holiday) and I don't see the point in perpetuating the idea that it's the perfect opportunity to tell someone that you love them.

Because guess what?

You need to be telling the people that you love that you love them ...




Whether you are in the early stages of a friendship or have been married 60 years, you need to let your love be known. Don't assume that the other person already knows. Don't assume that having said it before is enough. Don't assume that they are going to say it first.

Scream it out. Let it be heard.

It doesn't matter if you're in a state of bliss or if you've just had a major fight, tell the people that you love that you love them.

Before you walk out that door in the morning.

Before you go to bed at night.

And every opportunity in between.
One of my moments ...
Cherish the little moments. The silly moments. The moments that make life worth living and the ones that make you question everything. Because throughout all of those moments the one thing that holds true is your love. It never fails.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

it's worth it ...

I knew it was inevitable.

At some point, you just can't fight it anymore.

Eventually, you lose all your free time and money to your children.

It's a sad, but true, fact.

When I was growing up, my parents fostered our talents and passions. If my sisters and I wanted to pursue something (within reason, of course), we were given the opportunity to try. At the time, I didn't think of the time and money that went into these endeavors. But, what my parents pulled off was simply miraculous. Honestly, sometimes, I don't know how they did it all.

As a young child, I took dance lessons (as did my sisters). Eventually, those lessons were replaced with soccer and then around age 9, travel soccer. When I was in the first grade, I started to play basketball (and so did my younger sister). By the fourth grade, I was playing on a traveling team for that too.

In fifth grade, I took up the clarinet and in seventh, I joined track and field (Note: I was still playing soccer and basketball on travel teams and at school). This all continued into high school, until junior year, when I decided to focus solely on track and field, as that is where I was getting the most college recruitment interest.

During those years, my sisters also had their interests. They both played basketball. One was a crowned beauty queen, who dabbled in field hockey and equestrian. And the other followed me into the throwing circle.

Our schedule was insane. There were a lot of long weekends spent on the field or court or pageant stage and I know now how much my parents sacrificed to make it all happen. Was it worth it? I think so. We are all well rounded individuals, and I ended up with my pick of top universities with multiple scholarship offers. Not a bad payoff for all those lost weekends.

Recently, I realized that we are about to venture into this same territory with our own kids. Starting this fall, they will all have three activities each week (some with multiple days of practice) and with all those activities comes a hefty price tag. We will spend hours upon hours supporting the girls and their passions. And as much as it pains me to write those checks, I have to admit that I think that ultimately, it's worth whatever sacrifice in time and money that we have to make.

It's worth it to watch them succeed and take pride in themselves.

It's worth it to watch them struggle and learn that they can push past their own limits.

It's worth it to watch them learn that hard work pays off and that sometimes winning doesn't necessarily mean that you are the winner.

Sure, it's completely unlikely that they'll truly appreciate what we are doing for them now. But, I know that one day, they will look back and understand that we are their ultimate support team. And in that moment, everything I do for them now will be completely worth it.

Friday, February 7, 2014

Random Facts Friday: Birthday Edition ..

1. Today, February 7th, is my 32nd birthday.  Unlike some people who dread getting older, I've been counting down the days since February 8th of last year.

2. You can't deny it. Some things just get better with age - wine, cheese, and obviously, me.

That's me shortly before my first birthday. I was even awesome then ...
3. When I was little, I hated having a winter birthday. I can recall at least one time where my party was, in essence, canceled due to snow. I'm still bitter about it. My sisters, on the other hand, were born in May and September. Their birthday parties always kicked off and ended Summer and were epic events.

4. When I turned seven, my mom made a cake for all of the guests and then a separate, smaller cake for me. And by smaller cake, I mean, it was probably still enough cake for 4 people. I ate the whole thing myself. It's probably where my cake obsession began.

5. On my 10th birthday, I had a sleepover party and my parents gave me my first CD player (boom box style) and a membership to one of those CD subscription things. It is still one of the best gifts I have ever received and I love that my parents had shared a love of music from an early age.

6. Remember that MTV show, My Sweet Sixteen? Well, my 16th birthday was a less extreme version of that show. My parents rented a venue, decked it out and all my family and friends celebrated in our best formal wear. It was like a prom. A prom to celebrate me.

7. At midnight on my 21st birthday, my college roommates and I walked next door to the bar (seriously, we lived next door to a bar) and we had one drink. It was an amaretto sour. 15 minutes later, we walked home and went to bed. Five hours later, we were dressed and sitting on a bus headed to an Indoor Track and Field meet. Obviously, we were party animals.

8. On my 29th birthday, I decided I needed to stop half-assing this whole triathlon thing, so I decided to register for my first 70.3. I figured it would force me to learn to swim and to actually get on my bike once in a while. It worked and I've never looked back.

9. J threw me a surprise party when I turned 30. He mostly surprised me, but I am a naturally curious and annoyingly detailed oriented person, so when things seemed a little odd that day, I put two and two together. Even though, I was on to them, it was an amazing party, spent with my very best friends and family.

10. Today, I am celebrating presence on this planet with a birthday run with friends, followed by lunch with my mom and sisters. Tomorrow, we are going to have the most epic gluten free cake ever made. And while I won't have it today, J and the girls got me this beautiful Quintana Roo CD0.1 Ultegra as my gift.
I am a lucky girl.

Monday, February 3, 2014

January Rewind ...

Miles Run: 73.66 miles. My highest mileage in pretty much forever ...

Bike Miles Rode: 113 miles. My bike trainer and I are so totally BFFs ...
Swim Meters Completed: 14,800m or 9.2 miles
Rest Days Taken: 6
Highest Run Mileage Week: 1/13-1/19: 20.33 miles
Highest Bike Mileage Week: 1/20-1/26: 28 miles
Highest Swim Volume Week: 1/20-1/26: 4800m or 2.73 miles
Long Runs Completed (1 hr+ miles): 2
Current Book: Right now, I am reading Fragments by Wells. But, I finished a few other books in January. (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.) 
  • Champion by Lu
  • The DUFF: Designated Ugly Fat Friend by Keplinger
  • Vitro by Khoury
  • Unbreakable by Garcia
  • Faefever by Moning
  • Wonder by Palacio
  • The Offering by Derting
  • The Essence by Derting
  • True by Duff
  • Mind Games by White
  • Kiss and Blog by Noel
  • Paper Towns by Green
  • A Radiant Sky by Davies
  • Bloodfever by Moning
  • Darkfever by Moning
Current Shame-Inducing Guilty Pleasure: Lost. J and I started watching the series at the beginning of January and are currently five episodes into season 4. We are watching non-stop since the episodes will be deleted from our OnDemand account on the 22nd of February. I still have no idea where the show is going, but it cracks me up that J and I are obsessing about something that was relevant a decade ago ...

Current Colors: Orange and Navy.

Current Drink: Hot tea with cream and stevia. All day, every day.
Current Song: Pompeii - Bastille
Current Triumph: I ran 10 miles yesterday. My first double digit run since Rev3 Cedar Point HalfRev.  Oh, and I totally let my kids split the last piece of Dilly's birthday cake rather than eat it myself. Trust me people, that's huge.
Current Goal: Be a better me. Each and every day. And crush 2014 goals ...
Current Blessing: Health, happiness and love. I've got all three.
Current Excitement: My birthday is 4 days away! Best day of the year!
  • Get back to running 30-40 miles per week. For most of 2012 and 2013, I focused on 70.3 training. The only way for me to improve my cycling and swimming was to spend less time running. Eventually, my strongest discipline became my weakest and honestly, I am kind of over it. This year I won't race longer than an Olympic distance triathlon. Hopefully, this will allow me to balance my training loads and life a little better than in the past. - Getting there. I logged 24 miles last week.
  • Strength train two times per week. In the past, I have dropped strength training as my training volume went up. I'm not letting that happen in 2014. - Crushing it! Haven't missed a day.
  • Run 1,400 miles. A huge jump from 2013, but far less than what I used to run. - As of February 3rd, 83.66 miles logged.
  • Bike 1,400 miles A huge drop from 2013, but if I am going to find time for those run miles something will have to give. - As of February 3rd, 113 miles logged.
  • Swim 140 miles. Pretty much where I finished up in 2013. This will probably be the most challenging mileage to hit. - As of February 3rd, 16,600m or 10.3 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. As it has been since 2009. - I'm registered! That's further than I've ever gotten on this goal.
  • Run a negative split marathon. I'm not looking for a PR. Just a well executed race.
  • Run a 5K with Dizzle and Doodle. I'm thinking a Rev3 Glow Run for this one.

  • Only say yes to the projects I REALLY want to work on. An honest no is much better than a halfhearted yes.
  • Stick to our budget. We were at about 90% with this last year, but I have a good feeling about 2014. - So far so good.
  • Take a picture a day for a year. - 33 days in and going strong. You can see all my #project365 pictures on my Instagram account HERE
  • Read 150 books.
  • Go the entire year without cutting my hair (unless I start to get a mullet, at which point a trim is required). - Haven't cut it yet!
  • Relearn Spanish. Just letting that Rosetta Stone course sit on the shelf isn't helping anyone. - The course is still sitting on the shelf.
  • Blog at least two times per week. 2013 left me uninspired and stressed when it came to blogging. I'm hoping a new perspective will change this. - Made this happen thus far!
  • Have a date night with J, once a month. Considering that we only manage about two dates per year at this point, I'd be super impressed if we pulled this off half of the time. - Got our date in for January. Fingers crossed on February!
  • 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.