Monday, December 31, 2012

2013 To Do List ...

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

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

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

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

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

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Year in Pictures ...

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

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

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

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

Ate s'mores ...

Celebrated together ...

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

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

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Three Things Thursday ...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Shannon sent me this awesome ornament ...

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

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

reflections of rest ...

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

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

Obviously, I suffer from delusions of grandeur.

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

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

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

During my training hiatus ...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Wordless Wednesday: 20/20

And suddenly, everything is clear ...

Monday, December 10, 2012

unforced rest ...

10 days.

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

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

I thought wrong.

None of that happened. But something else did.

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

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

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

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

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


For seven more days.

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

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Three Things Thursday ...

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

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

Not the case.

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

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

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

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

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

*me banging head against wall*

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dizzle's new specs ...

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

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

Good news, right? Wrong.

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

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

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

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

Monday, December 3, 2012

November Rewind ...

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

Bike Miles Rode: 94.2 miles

Swim Meters Completed: 15150 meters of 9.41 miles

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

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

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

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

Long Runs Completed (10+ miles): 0

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

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

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

Current Song: A Thousand Years - Christina Perri

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

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

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

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

2012 To Do List Update:

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