Thursday, September 27, 2012

Three Things Thursday ...

Feeling the Burn - Over the past few months, I have been using P90X for strength training. I love it. I love Tony. And I love that I can see results.

But, I am bored to death with it. I could probably do the workouts without watching the videos. I know every cheesy joke that is made. And the timing of every horrible grimace that got caught on film. Obviously, we need to break up for a while.

In search of a new routine that I could do quickly, with what I already owned, I turned to Pinterest and found a workout that I was so convinced that I wouldn't like that I didn't even Pin It. And now, I can't find it anywhere. I have no idea what I searched or who's board I saw it on. Luckily, I had the sense to write it down.

The torture workout goes like this:
  • 100 squats with overhead weight hold
  • 90 alternating back lunges with bicep curl (45 each side)
  • 80 single leg deadlifts (40 each leg)
  • 70 lunges with triceps extentions
  • 60 bridge lifts with chest fly
  • 50 calf raises with back fly
  • 40 plie squats with upright row
  • 30 skater lunges with in and out hammer curls
  • 20 dips with alternating leg raises
  • 10 pushups
 I first completed this workout (which takes 45-60 minutes) on Tuesday. When I woke up on Wednesday, I couldn't straighten my legs. By last night, I was so sore that going to the bathroom was a chore. So, logically, I repeated the workout today. I'm sure tomorrow's 12 miler is going to be epic.

Disney - We are headed to Walt Disney World again on Tuesday night, our fourth trip in 10 months. (Yes, we are obsessed. No, I don't see anything wrong with this.) This vacation will likely be our last to the Big D for quite some time (we're most likely not renewing our annual passes), so we are going to make it count.

The two things I am looking forward to the most? "3D" Disney Dessert Discovery and when we finally tell the girls where we are going (right now, they don't even know we are going anywhere). I just love how excited they get.

New Experiences - If you didn't know, G, my training wife, is injured. And in nursing school. And our schedules really aren't meshing right now. Unfortunately, that means we haven't really run together in months. And when G and I don't run together, I usually don't run with anyone at all (the rest of our posse is running way faster and longer than I am right now).

Usually, I don't mind. I'm basically besties with my treadmill. We have a nice little thing going on. But, since school started and the weather has become more fall-like, I want to run outside. I just don't want to do it alone. So, I did what any sane runner would do and I stalked some other runners.

For a few weeks, I had noticed that a mom from Doodle's dance class had been running with a few women through my neighborhood. Although I had no idea of how far or fast they ran, I decided that I was going to find a way to invite myself to join them. So, I casually mentioned that I always saw her running and I wanted to know what she was training for. She told me she was running the Richmond Marathon and that she ran through my neighborhood on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. Leading me to ask, "So, do you ever pick up stragglers?" (See, I knew I could work my way in.)

She was either genuinely excited to have me join or too nice to say no. Either way, I met up with her group (which included two runners who have joined my posse in the past) for 8 miles yesterday morning. And it was awesome. The pace was perfect. They showed me a brand new route. And just for a little excitement, we had our run interrupted by a sheep.

Yes, I said it. A sheep. Apparently, it was refusing to be herded by its owner and our running was distracting it. The owner, being a quick thinker, asked us to stop and then decided to use us as bait and asked that we run in the direction she wanted the sheep to go. It kind of worked. Well, at least until we got too far past the sheep then it just walked off into the woods. It may have been one of the oddest things to happen to me on a run.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

remove to improve ...

Although I have been extremely kind of vague about the details, I've mentioned that I have been feeling "off" for about 11 months now. Initially, the symptoms were minor and I brushed them off, thinking they would pass in a few days. When they didn't, I started to try to attribute them to my training load and accepted them for the time being.

For months, I was affected my the following symptoms:
  • Weight Gain (15 lbs in 9 months - while actively working to drop that gained weight)
  • Constipation
  • Severe Fatigue (like "hurts to keep your eyes open" fatigue)
  • Night Sweats
  • Irregular Cycles

The whole time, I assumed that once I cut my training back all of the symptoms would alleviate themselves. But, that didn't happen. In fact, they got worse.

Having had enough, I went to the doctor thinking that they would find that my hormone levels were completely out of whack or that I had some crazy illness that could explain all my symptoms. On the surface I seemed fine. I was the picture of health, but I knew that something was going on.

Unfortunately, the first doctor didn't think so. All of my blood work came back completely normal. Sure, I had low Iron stores and had been unable to build up my Vitamin D levels (even with supplementation), but those two thing shouldn't be causing all the issues I was having. Stumped, the doctor suggested I try a cycle of hormone supplements.

I thought this was insane. First of all, she wasn't an endocrinologist and she didn't seem too sure of what she was suggesting. And second, I have Leiden V Factor, which increases my risk of blood clots. And do you know what else increases your risk of blood clots? That's right. Hormone supplementation. It just didn't seem like a smart move.

So, I went for a second opinion with my OB (because I truly value her opinion and she is the doctor I see on the most regular basis), who immediately shot down the idea of putting me on hormones. She reviewed the bajillion tests I had already had done and she came to a similar conclusion:

I am perfectly healthy. Except that I am not. Something else is going on, but she felt it was outside her area of expertise.

She suggested that I go see an endocrinologist and a rheumatologist. And before I left, she noted one last thing.

From the looks of my blood work, it seemed that I was fighting off a low level infection or had an increased level of inflammation in my system, but she couldn't pinpoint from where it was coming.

I left both satisfied and disheartened. I was so over visiting doctors and being told that I was healthy. I didn't want to spend any more money having tests that wouldn't tell me a thing. So, I decided to ask a few people I trust and love how they overcame their health woes without a firm medical diagnosis.

And everyone said the same thing: "I eliminated certain foods from my diet."

Feeling like I had no other options, I decided to do the same. I figured that it couldn't make me feel any worse than I had been, so I really had nothing to lose.

I did some research and found that both gluten and dairy can lead to the symptoms that I had been experiencing. And although I don't have the typical symptoms of Celiac disease or a dairy allergy, there was still a chance I could benefit from removing them from my diet.

So, that's what I did. I went completely cold turkey. And do you know what happened?

Within a matter of a few days (like 2-3 days), my symptoms were gone.

No more fatigue.
No more night sweats.
More frequent bowel movements.
And a 4 pound weight loss in the last two weeks.

I feel like a new person.

Eventually, I will probably try to reintroduce a small amount of dairy and/or gluten into my diet, but I am not sure when or how much. Truth be told, I would never let it cross my lips again if it means I can feel this good all the time. But, I am human. And I am sure I'll make mistakes, but hopefully I can find the balance that works for me.

Have you ever tried an "alternative" method to curing your ailments? How did it turn out?

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

(mostly) Wordless Wednesday: Bada** Ballerina ...

Doodle is strong.





And if you watch her play soccer, you'll see that she's epic ...

But, somehow, at the same time, Doodle is graceful.





And if you watch her dance, she is epic in a whole other way ...

 She's our bada** ballerina.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

cut and dry ...

I'm not the kind of parent who gets pushed around. I know how to stick to my guns, even if that means I upset/disappoint/baffle my children along the way. I set rules and stick to them. Long story short, I am the bad cop. (Note: That would make J the good cop, a role which he is totally happy to accept.)

It's always been this way. Well, at least for the nearly eight years I have been parenting. Honestly, I don't mind it. I'd rather be strict and overbearing and have my children appreciate it when they are adults (and parenting their own children), than have them always get what they want and for them to be happy with me 100% of the time.

The thing is, I am NOT their friend.

I am their mother.

I make the rules.

I have the authority in this relationship.

Yes, we are a team. Yes, we give each other endless amounts of love and respect. But, at the end of the day, I am in charge and my word is FINAL, regardless of what they may think.

Recently, Dilly has become immune to this fact. Take today for instance. We were shopping and she asked if she could buy some fruit leather. I told her choose one and I would get it for her. Simple, right?

Of course not.

Dilly proceeded to repeatedly put the wrapped fruit leather in her mouth. I repeatedly asked her to stop putting it in her mouth. She failed to cooperate. I told her that she either stopped or I would not purchase it for her. Again, she ignored my request.

So, I grabbed it from her and told her she wasn't getting it. *ensue meltdown*

That's when it got ugly.

Dilly started screaming, "But I'm hungry. Give it to me now! But, why?!?!" Completely over her behavior, we left the store. It was awesome! Best part may have been that she proceeded to scream for the entire 20 minute drive home.

Unfortunately, this is not a one time occurrence. For weeks, I have caught her putting her hair in her mouth (she denies any such activity occurred). And for weeks, I have been telling her that if she continued to chew on her hair, I would cut it off so that she couldn't.

She didn't believe me. And because she didn't, her hair went from this ...

to this ...

Six inches gone and if we are being honest, she's lucky I didn't just shave it all off. Wait, I might have to if she doesn't start to understand that I ALWAYS mean business ...

Monday, September 17, 2012

Endorphin Warrior Bracelet Winner ...

Remember my awesome Endorphin Warrior Bracelet?

Well, right now, one of you is about to win one of your own. There were 173 valid entries submitted, and thanks to, the winner is ...

#76 - Elisabeth Waller-Scott @ ...With an S

Congrats Elisabeth! Please email me at racingwithbabes (at) yahoo (dot) com to claim your prize.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Three Things Thursday ...

Trial and Error - (Note: I'm about to be cryptic) For about 11 months or so, I have been a little "off" health wise. To the general public, I probably seem fine, but those who know me have watched me grow more and more frustrated. I've had a billion and one tests run. And although I have learned a lot about myself and my health in the process, I have been left with no answers. Not sure where to turn next, I've decided to turn to some non-conventional methods for curing my ailments. It's been a few days and although I am not ready to say I'm getting better, I have noticed some differences and am feeling optimistic.

Disco Ball - This just showed up at my house. I seriously cannot wait to wear it. (Look, for me in lane two at the Y tomorrow. Like you'd be able to miss me.)

It's epic and the picture does not accurately depict the shimmer of this suit. I know you're jealous.

Outdoor Running - I haven't done a lot of outdoor training in the past year. Between J's travel, a schedule that didn't seem to mesh with my run group, my aforementioned health woes, and some freakishly hot temperatures, I have opted to be buddy-buddy with my treadmill. It's fine. It's not about how you get it done, it's just about getting it done.

But, thanks to the return of the school year (my first kid free time in 7.5 years!) and some fall-like temperatures, my little sister, G, and I rocked it out yesterday morning.

post-run glow ...
And I even convinced her that talking while running is possible and enjoyable. Oh, and despite her fears, she's going to crush her first half marathon next month.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Patriots Sprint Triathlon Recap ..

Location: Williamsburg, VA
Date: 9/9/12
Temperature: 65 degrees @ start
Official Time: 1:39:18
Place in Division: 3/8 (Athena)
Place in Gender: 103/218
Overall Place: 320/532

The Good:

My Mental State: Leading up to this event, I had a lot of mixed feelings. In recent days, I had switched from the Sprint distance to the Half Iron Distance and back to the Sprint and was left questioning whether or not I had made the right decision. It wasn't until the day prior to my race that I was confident that I did the right thing. But, when I woke up on Saturday morning, as my friends raced the Half Iron event, I wasn't jealous. I didn't feel like I was missing out. If anything, I felt relieved. Proof that I was supposed to race the sprint.

post-race glow ...

The Bike and Run Courses: I absolutely loved the last two legs of this course. The bike was mostly flat (or false flats) with a few gentle rollers. It was totally suited to my giant quads and to my personal preference of not liking to have to haul my 160 lb frame up hills. The run course, as described, was PANCAKE flat. After a slight climb out of transition, we ran an out and back along a bike path. Other than a lack of shade in some sections, it was ideal.

My Bike Speed: Although my bike split indicates a speed of 17.2 mph, I actually averaged 18.7 while moving. The combination of a long run from T1 to bike mount and slick conditions that had me fumbling while clipping in, ate a huge amount of time. Let's just call it as it is: Transition FAIL.

My Run Split: I had two goals heading into the run. First, don't give up. And second, hold the pace I run in training. Having not raced a Sprint in over two years (and even that was a joke), I wasn't sure of the pacing and just wanted to feel strong. There would be no blowing up after the first mile of the run. I was controlled and consistent and I averaged an 8:49 pace - exactly like in training.

Beating the Pain: I'm not really sure that a half Ironman is any more challenging than a Sprint. I think you just approach it differently. Kind of like how a marathon and a 5K can be equal in many respects. When it comes down to it, regardless of distance, you just have to beat the pain. You have to outrun it or silence it or ignore it. I accomplished that on Sunday, something I haven't been able to do in quite some time.

Podium Finish: When I finished racing, I was psyched. I felt good. I raced strong. Then, I found out I finished 3rd in my division. It was just icing on the cake.

yes, I realize none of us really look like Athenas ...

Awards ...

The Bad:

Transitions: The transitions in this race were crazy long. A quarter mile run from the swim (thankfully in grass). A considerable run to the bike mount. I know that logistically, it couldn't have been set up any other way, but still ...

Open Bike Course: I know it can be a challenge to completely close roads during a race, but it would have been nice. On two separate occasions, I got caught behind a slow moving vehicle (as in slower than my bike) and couldn't get around. Kind of frustrating considering that a few seconds can make all the difference.

The Ugly: 

My Transitions: Um, yeah. For all my training, I really suck at transition. I nearly fell mounting my bike. Perhaps, practice once in a while would help.

The Swim: This open water swim was supposed to be 750m. Not a single person that I talked to clocked less than .6 miles. Personally, I came in at .658, which is 1060m. Thing is, I didn't swim off course. I literally hugged the buoys. Oh, and then there was the chop and the cross-current. Needless to say, the swim wasn't the highlight of my day.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Three Things Thursday ...

Racing Day -  On Sunday morning, I will be racing Patriots Sprint Triathlon. It will be the first time at the sprint distance that I will be showing up on race day trained to race. In the past, I failed to execute a single day of my training plans (apart from running) and I'm kind of psyched to see what I can do.

Even better, my previous sprints have been pool swims of 300-400m, while this race is 750m in open water. So, what does that mean? Well, obviously, it's an instant PR. And I really like those.

The only downside to this whole thing is that it's looking like rain for Sunday morning. And if you've ever met me and my bike, you know that we have trust issues. And I trust TigerBlood even less in the rain.

School Woes - Dizzle and Doodle are mildly obsessed with going to school, which, as a total nerd, I love. I was the same way as a kid. In fact, I once made my mom drive me to school during a tropical storm, so that I could keep my perfect attendance that year. (Note: the school district had officially made school "optional" that day. As in, there would be no buses, but if you could get there you could go. It wasn't "optional" in my book.)

Anyway, they are completely rainbows and unicorns about the whole experience. Except when they're not.

Like yesterday, when Doodle cried because she did NOT have homework.


I guess my mentioning that Wednesdays are homework day in Kindergarten got her really excited and when the teacher didn't deliver, tears were shed.

I tried to console her and told her to go get a workbook and do a couple of exercises, but it was no good. She told me that was "fake homework."

Duh. I should have known that.

Break It Down - Dilly heads back to the ortho today to check on the status of her break.

She freaking loves her cast ...

There are two things that annoy me about this ...

1. Our appointment is at 2:40 p.m., 25 minutes after I pickup of Dizzle and Doodle from school. The office is approximately 20 minutes from the school, which means that I am going to frantically rush over there. Then, since they are always running late, I'll have to wait (with 3 small children) for over an hour to be seen by the doctor.

2. Dilly's break was pretty severe. It went completely through the bone (think one bone in two pieces) and she only avoided surgery because the doctor in Rhode Island set it so well. And although miracles can happen, we (and her doctor) are pretty confident that three and a half weeks in a cast isn't going to be long enough to heal it completely. Despite knowing this, the ortho we go to ALWAYS removes the cast before taking a follow-up x-ray. Then, if the break isn't completely healed, they recast the injury. Do you see where I am going with this?

Apparently, they would rather torture my kid with a cast removal than take the x-ray with it on. (Note: you can take an x-ray with a cast in place. They did it multiple times after they set it in the ER.) I'm pretty sure they only follow this procedure to be able to charge you/your insurance for another cast. And casts aren't cheap.  Trust me. We've been charged for five in the last three years ...

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Wordless Wednesday: Back to School

My not-so-little 2nd Grader and Kindergartener ...
Dizzle, Kindergarten vs. 2nd Grade
Doodle, Preschool vs. Kindergarten
 They grow up way too fast ...

Monday, September 3, 2012

August Rewind ...

Run Miles Ran: 96.25 miles

Bike Miles Rode: 248.4 miles

Swim Meters Completed: 17150m or 10.65 miles

Rest Days Taken: 7. Surprisingly low considering how off my training game I have been feeling.

Highest Run Mileage Week: 8/20-8/26: 27.25 miles

Highest Bike Mileage Week: 8/6-8/12: 86.1 miles

Highest Swim Volume Week: 8/6-8/12: 6650m or 4.15 miles

Long Runs Completed (10+ miles): 3

Current Book: The insane amount of traveling I did in August really cut down my reading time, but I did still manage to finish two and a half books of the Hunger Games Trilogy. Despite not seeing a preview for the movie prior to reading the first book (and totally having a different picture in my head), I so get what all the hype is about.

Current Shame-Inducing Guilty Pleasure: Vampire Diaries. My sister and I just watched the entire third season over three days (obviously, I wasn't sleeping much). And now that we finished, I'm kind of ticked that I have to wait another month until season four begins.

Current Colors: Orange and Pink. Much like my current wrist wear ...

Current Drink: Grape, Banana, Lemon-Lime and Strawberry Lemonade Nuun. Can't get enough of that stuff ...

Current Song: Pound the Alarm - Nicki Minaj

Current Triumph: We survived summer and all the craziness that went with it. I learned what I can handle and what I can't. I came to appreciate that you don't have to do something just because you can. Reaching your goals shouldn't be at the detriment of others. Sometimes, you have to be realistic about the sacrifices you make and how they affect those around you.

Current Goal: Be a better me. Each and every day. And to crush my sprint triathlon this upcoming weekend ...

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

Current Excitement: Let's see. Where to start? Patriots Sprint Tri is on Sunday. The girls start school tomorrow. We go back to Disney in 29 days. Lots of exciting things in the next few weeks and if we are being honest, I just have a good feeling about the next few months.

2012 To Do List Update:

  • Take 70.3 training day by day. Don't get caught up in what is coming, but rather focus on what is. Trust that it will get you where you want to be. - CHECK
  • Find the strength to NOT add races to your schedule during 70.3 training. That is your focus, don't screw with that because of FOMO (fear of missing out). - CHECK
  • Cross the finish line of your first 70.3 in less than 6:57:59. - CHECK. Goal crushed. 6:39:39.
  • Maintain at least one day of cycling and one day of swimming per week, post 70.3. Give J some proof that a new road bike would be a good investment. - CHECK. I'm crushing this one.
  • Log 4,000 miles, swim, bike and run combined. - As of September 3, 3349.1 miles completed
  • Race a 10K with a finish time much faster than your very dated current PR of 53:17.
  • Set a new PR in the Half Marathon, currently 1:57:06 (or 1:56:18, if the half split from the NYC Marathon counts). - Next opportunity, October 14 - Seaside Half Marathon
  • Race a Fall Sprint Triathlon. Actually train for the event, unlike in years past. - This weekend!
  • Add strength training to the routine. - CHECK. 
  • Eat like an athlete. Be mindful of the nutritional value of your food. - I've been killing this. But, apparently my scale doesn't care.
  • Consume no more than 18 desserts from either Shyndigz or Two Sweet Cupcakes (approximately 1 dessert/3 weeks) - As of September 3, 15 desserts consumed. I need to just face the facts with this one.
  • Cut out snacking on the girl's leftovers. Just because they don't eat it, doesn't mean you have to. - CHECK
  • Only say yes to the projects you REALLY want to work on. - CHECK
  • Throw away the credit cards. Stop repeating history. - CHECK
  • Ignore your impulses. Take time to process the true value of the things you are filling your space/life with. - CHECK
  • Declutter and Organize using this calendar. - CHECK
  • Continue to balance family life, training and now, work. - CHECK
  • Prioritize and be a good example for the people in your life. - CHECK
  • Help and support J and the kids in reaching their goals. We are a team and that must always be the primary focus of our lives. - CHECK