Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

more than just an athlete ...

I'm entirely confident that if you were to ask most people who know me they will say I do nothing but exercise. In fact, in an informal poll I took at my sister's wedding this past weekend, 9 out of 10 people mentioned my training schedule at some point during our conversations. The only people who didn't were my grandmother and my brother-in-law's sisters. Even J mentioned how I have a tendency to make our entire house reek of chlorine during my post-swim workouts.

Most of the time it doesn't bother me. I train hard and I don't mind having that fact acknowledged, but the further I get into my Rev3 Cedar Point 140.6 plan, the more it seems to get under my skin. It's probably because the deeper I get into training, the more I struggle with balancing everything and the more I feel guilty about this whole process affecting my family life.

Also, just for the record, I do a heck of a lot more than just swim, bike and run.

Most weeks, I am a single parent at least part of the time. That means I shuttle my kids to and from school (no school bus riding here), play dates, soccer, dance, doctor's appointments and on errands. I volunteer in their classrooms - excessively. I'm Doodle's class mom and the V.P. of licensing at Dilly's preschool. I do everyone's laundry (because I hate the way J and the kids fold), the vast majority of meal prep and aside from their personal belongings, I clean the entire house - every day.

On a typical day, I am up by 6:30. I spend the next hour getting Dizzle and Doodle off to school. Then, I try to squeeze in a workout before I drop Dilly off at 9:00. Sometimes, it works, sometimes it doesn't. Once everyone is out the door, I finish (or on unlucky days, start) my workout. I then proceed to clean the house and occasionally shower. By 12:40, I am rolling out to pick up the girls from school. I don't return to my house until 2:30 at which point, I help the girls do their homework and get ready for whatever activity/errand we have to run that day. We usually stay busy until 5:00 when I put a hot dinner on the table (every single night). At 6:00, I am getting the girls ready for bed and packing their lunches for the next day (I've calculated that I will make 7620 school lunches by the time they all graduate). The girls are in bed by 6:30 and I am left to finish whatever I didn't manage to get done earlier, whether that be more chores, an increasingly infrequent blog post or my workout. Then, and only then do I finally sit down (some days I don't even sit down to eat). After some TV or a good book, I am usually in bed by 10.

It's hectic and stressful, but I love every moment of it (well most of the time). And honestly, I'm not even complaining about it. I like being busy and finishing a day feeling accomplished. I just wish that on occasion, someone would say, "You rocked the sh*t out of that meal prep" rather than, "I don't understand how you exercise so much."

Because last time I checked, I was more than just an athlete ...

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Three Things Thursday ...

Swim Props - On Tuesday morning, I hit the pool for 2500 meters. My main set was 12x100 meters  at 1:45 with a 20 second rest. I was feeling strong. I was feeling like I was working. Right before my last 100, the guy in the lane next to me asked if I was doing intervals (he was). I said yes. He asked what my workout was and I told him at which point he turned to me and said,

"Oh! You're a real swimmer."

Part of me wanted to laugh and say, "Obviously, you don't know any real swimmers." But, instead, I just said, "Thanks," and went back to swimming. It occurred to me later that his comment was a huge compliment and that until then, I really didn't consider myself a real swimmer. Kind of like the person who says their not a real runner just because they haven't done X, Y or Z or because they don't run a certain pace.

Truth is, I am a real swimmer. Sure, I've never had a day of instruction in my life and the first time I swam 50 meters continuously was only 15 months ago. It doesn't matter. I'm owning my epicness ...

Mouth Muscles - The other day Dilly and I were driving to pick her sisters up from school. Halfway there, she started a conversation with me about exercise.

Dilly: "Mom, did you know if you exercise you have more energy?"
Me: "Sure do. I exercise every day."
Dilly: "Me too. I can exercise when I am on the couch."
Me: "Um, OK."
Dilly: "And Dizzle is always exercising her mouth muscles ..."

Yup, she said it. Dizzle never shuts up ...

Here Comes the Bride - This afternoon, we are headed to Pennsylvania for my sister's wedding. While I am very excited for the actual festivities, I am really not looking forward to the 7+ hour drive or the fact that the high temperatures are expected to be below freezing and it is currently snowing there. I moved south for a reason and part of it was so that I never had to wear a strapless gown in the cold.

Honestly though, I know we'll have a blast even if we are going to, as Doodle puts it, "a wedding in the middle of nowhere ..."

Monday, March 18, 2013

1000th post giveaway winners ...

I just want to say thank you again to all of you for reading my ramblings for the past five years. And now to what you really want to know - the winners of my giveaway.

There were 191 entries and thanks to, the winner of the Yurbuds prize is ...

#26 Kortni @ Our Daily (G)races

And the winner of the Spibelt/Socks prize is ...

#74 Erika @ This Spartan Will!

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

Friday, March 15, 2013

Six ...

Dear Doodle,

It happened again. I closed my eyes and you woke up a year older. Six. When you are older, six years will seem like no time at all. One day it will be just a piece of you, but right now it is all you know. It's you in your entirety. And I am thankful for every second of those six years. Even the ones that left me questioning my abilities and, perhaps, my sanity.

Doodle, 3 days old ...

Doodle, six years old ...

I won't lie and say that you've been a perfect child. You haven't and I don't expect you to be. But you are perfect to me - all of your strengths and weaknesses make you exactly who you are, exactly who I love and exactly who you should be. And today, on your birthday, I want to celebrate everything you are. Good, bad and in between.

Doodle, you are a beautiful and intelligent child. Don't ever let anyone tell you otherwise. And more than that I want you to remember all the things that make you that way.
  • Your eyes are the most amazing shade of blue. Like "stop you in your tracks" blue. Combined with your curly blonde hair, you will be a force to be reckoned with as a teen. No doubt your dad will be chasing the boys away.
  • You are the most well behaved child. You follow the rules and you thrive on structure. Your perfectionist tendencies will take you far in life.
  • You are the most challenging child I have ever met. You can go from angel to devil in an instant. Your tantrums and freak outs put your sisters' to shame. Fortunately, your shining moments are so much more prevalent that I can look past your outbursts and see them for what they really are - an attempt to be in complete control.
  • Your athletic prowess is stunning. I know you would excel at whatever you set your mind to. Remember to follow your passions, not mine (although I hope they align).
  • Your competitive streak is something fierce. Don't let that die down. Sure, people may call you pushy, driven or controlling. Don't listen to them. Just remember to only compete with yourself. I promise you that your drive will push you to your limits and show you all that you can be. And Doodle, my dear, you can be anything that you want.
  • Your compassionate nature is second to none. Embrace that. There is nothing wrong with showing emotion. It doesn't make you weak. It makes you human.
Doodle, there is an endless stream of things that have made you the person you are today and I just hope that you always stay true to yourself regardless of the outcome. Celebrate your uniqueness. It's worth celebrating, today on your birthday and every day in between.

I love you my little butter bean. Happy 6th birthday.


Thursday, March 14, 2013

Three Things Thursday ...

Race Day - I got a notification from my countdown app that the Flying Pirate Half Marathon is a month from today. It is likely my only stand alone half marathon this year and thus, my only chance of a new PR. After I nearly surrendered to the course at the Seaside Half Marathon in October, I am itching for a good race.

The thing is, with all this Z2 training I am doing, I am kind of doubting my ability to run fast. OK, I lie. I know I can run fast, but I'm just not sure for how long. All these two hour runs at an 10:30 pace are kind of killing my mojo. I just keep telling myself that I'm doing the work for my "A" race, Rev3 Cedar Point 140.6 and that what will be, will be. I guess we'll see. Either way, I get to spend the weekend with some of my favorite running friends, G, Kim and MCM Mama (who also happen to be pretty awesome bloggers too). It's highly likely that the weekend won't suck.

Bikes - Speaking of a weekend that probably won't suck, Doodle turns 6 tomorrow. Yeah, somehow that happened. Since J is traveling this week, we are celebrating on Saturday, but before we do I am headed up to Rev3 Headquarters for a bike fit in hopes of getting a sweet Quintana Roo CD0.1. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that it all works out.

Epic Cuteness - Over the past week, the girls have been getting their costumes for this Spring's dance recital. We still have two more to get, but I'm totally convinced that my kids are pretty much the cutest thing ever.

I'm right, aren't I? Go ahead and admit it. I won't tell your kids.

Monday, March 11, 2013

1000th post giveaway ...

I started this blog just over five years ago (February 12, 2008 to be exact) and since then, I have rambled on about everything from how not to train for a triathlon to how to crash your bike and destroy your shoulder. I've taught you how to put things in perspective and how to embrace your inner Honey Badger. I've poured my heart out to my children in their birthday letters (there have been 13 of those posted so far) and I've shared the antics of our everyday lives. And for some reason, you all listened.

So, to thank you for sticking around, today's post, number 1000, is a giveaway. Two readers will each win a prize pack.

Prize #1 includes:

  • A yurbuds INSPIRE sweat towel
  • A pair of purple yurbuds
  • A yurbuds Sweaty Band
  • Samples of Sport Shield wipes, KT Tape and Nathan Shower Wipes

Prize #2 includes:
  • A three-pack of Reebok Sports Socks (a personal favorite)
  • A purple SpiBelt
  • Samples of Sport Shield wipes, KT Tape and Nathan Shower Wipes.
Not too shabby for a non-sponsored prize pack, right?

Obviously, you want to know how to enter.

Required: Be a follower of this blog (I mean that's kind of the point. I'm rewarding you for reading.)

Bonus Entries:
  • Be a fan of Racing With Babes on Facebook HERE
  • Follow me on Twitter HERE
  • Be a fan of Rev3 Triathlon (my awesome sponsor) HERE
  • Post this giveaway on your Facebook page or Tweet it ( Sample Tweet: I want to win a sweet prize pack from @RacingWithBabes )

The Rules:
Leave a SEPARATE comment for each entry (I will not count incorrectly submitted entries)
Entries will be accepted until 11:59 pm Eastern on Sunday, March 17
Winner will be randomly selected and announced on Monday, March 18

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Three Things Thursday ...

Preview - Over the past week, I've had a lot of kid time. Between Dizzle having Strep, J traveling and school closings due to snow, I haven't had any kid free time since last Friday (when I abandoned Dizzle in the clinic for two hours because I didn't run with my phone). And as much as I love my children, it gave me a little dose of reality when it comes to Summer vacation and training for Rev3 Cedar Point, where I hope to cement my standing in the Rev3 Age Group Series.

It's going to be hard. Like epically hard.

When it comes down to it, I really strive to keep my family time and my training time separate. I will wake up early or stay up late. I will use every second of my kid-free time (school, play dates, etc) to train. I hate to make the girls or J feel like I am neglecting them because I have decided to take on a 140.6. This is my dream and while I need their love, support and help, I don't think they should have to suffer for it.

So, I do what I have to do. I train early. I train late. I train during school and play dates and practice. I try my best to keep everyone happy. Sometimes, it all goes perfectly. And sometimes, like this morning, it's a complete disaster.

Dizzle and Doodle had a two hour delay today (Dilly doesn't go to school on Thursdays). Knowing we had some flexibility, I fed the girls breakfast and had them ready to walk out the door before 8 a.m. Perfect. That gave me an hour and twenty minutes to run 45 minutes on the treadmill. I told the girls my plan and asked them to stay in the living room while I ran. They said OK, so I reminded them to behave, not fight and come get me if they needed anything.

The peace and quiet lasted for 11 minutes. At that point, Dilly had already come into the room I was in crying. I paused the treadmill and told them to come watch TV in the room with me so that I could watch them. All that did was move the fighting closer to me. Within minutes, Doodle was sent to her room. By the time I finished, there was complete chaos and I was left thinking, how the heck am I going to do this all Summer?

Snow Day - This morning's dramatic episode aside, our little snow vacation from school was pretty awesome. The girls and I had a blast hanging out with each other and after the three hours it took for us to put on all our winter gear, we spent our morning in the snow.

it was kind of bright out there ...

It's the moments like this that make me appreciate that I get to stay at home with these little buggers. Even if they drive me batty ...

my snow babies ...

Cutting the cord - J and I are seriously considering cutting our cable service. We pay a fortune, have a zillion channels we NEVER watch and we know there are better options out there. Currently, we have DirecTV and have for nearly a decade. Our current home does not have cable jacks, so if we go with a non-satellite option, we would have to have them installed (even if we went with FIOS, which we have for internet and phone). Oh, and we don't have a HD TV, meaning that Apple TV is not an option for us.

Anyway, I (since I am the one doing the research) am leaning towards a Roku box and getting Netflix, Hulu Plus and Amazon Prime subscriptions. If I am calculating this correctly, aside from the purchase price of the boxes, it's going to cost us $271 a year for streaming video ($8/mo each for Netflix and Hulu Plus and $79/year for Amazon Prime) or $367 a year if we also decide to add the DVD rental option to Netflix. That's a $900-$1000 a year savings. Seems crazy to me to keep what we currently have.

So, I want to know, have you cut the cable cord? What do you miss? Do you have any recommendations on boxes or subscription services?

Monday, March 4, 2013

It's in the details ...

J and I are best friends. We are partners. We are teammates. We know exactly how the other is going to react to pretty much every situation. And in almost every situation, we are going to react in completely opposite ways. Honestly, as much as it can annoy me at times, I like this difference. We balance each other. We balance our family.

J is a big picture guy. He's quick to assume that things are either good or bad. Positive or negative. Amazing or catastrophic. I often think he can't see how an event, mishap or experience could be both.

I'm nothing like that. Yeah, I can see the big picture, but it always seems so far away to me. Instead, I focus (maybe obsess) on the details. I know that it's the details that are going to come together to build the big picture. Things aren't win or lose. They aren't black or white. And most of the time, I can see that everything that is thrown at us is a positive. Even if you really have to struggle to find the good.

This weekend was a bust. Dizzle was sent home from school on Friday (after sitting in the clinic for two hours because I don't run with my phone) with Strep. On Saturday, I got a call that Doodle had her fourth UTI in three months (don't get me started on how long it's taking to get in at the urologist). We were trapped in our house tending to whiny, stir-crazy kids.

Somewhere, in the middle of all that, the negative floated away.
  • Doodle proved once again that she is my daughter. I found this little gem when I emptied her backpack after school.

  • Dizzle and I spend hours snuggling. Something my "I'm too old for this" seven year old, often doesn't want any of.
  • Dilly once again proved that she's got a unique style. I'll never quite know why she paired that sweatband with that outfit.
  • Doodle read Are You My Mother? from cover to cover by herself. Pretty awesome to watch your five year old do that.
  • We slept in (yes, 7:30 is sleeping in) and all crammed in our king sized bed for the morning.
  • I still managed to train hard, proving yet again, that with my family's support, I will be ready for Rev3 Cedar Point.
  • The kids made a mess and it almost didn't bother me. Their laughter and friendship seemed to make it all OK.
  • We acted like goofballs.
  • My little sister, G, found a house (or two) to put an offer on. I hate to see her go, but it's kind of awesome to know that I've been able to help her establish herself.
  • J and I made a plan to get our home to where we want it to be. It will take time and a lot of work, but I'm excited about the potential.
  • We talked to the girls about their hobbies and interests. It always amazes me to hear what they value and how that compares to what we are telling them they should value. 
  • We spent hours doing nothing at all. And it was blissful.
During those 48 hours, there were so many amazing moments that the fact that our weekend was a bust became irrelevant. Instead, I was once again reminded that our life is in the details ...

Friday, March 1, 2013

February Rewind ...

Miles Run: 63.92 miles.

Bike Miles Rode: 79.9 miles. All on the trainer.

Swim Meters Completed: 12400 meters or 7.7 miles.

Rest Days Taken: 10. Taking a week off before 140.6 training began was probably the best decision I made all month.

Highest Run Mileage Week: 2/18-2/24: 20.6 miles

Highest Bike Mileage Week: 2/18-2/24: 34.4 miles

Highest Swim Volume Week: 2/18-2/24 and 2/25-2/28: 5000m or 3.1 miles

Long Runs Completed (10+ miles): 3. All two hour runs - My longest since the Seaside Half Marathon in October (otherwise known as the worst race of my life).

Current Book: Right now, I am reading Eat What You Love, Love What You Eat by May. But I also finished a few other books in February. (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.) 

  • The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Chbosky
  • Before I Fall by Oliver
  • Blind Spot by Ellen
  • Crossed by Condie
  • Days of Blood and Starlight by Taylor
  • Cleaning House: a mom's 12-month experiment to rid her home of youth entitlement by Wyma
  • The Host by Meyer
  • Pandemonium by Oliver
Current Shame-Inducing Guilty Pleasure: Jumpin' Jack Doritos. I probably haven't eaten Doritos in 10 years, but I saw this throwback flavor (which was my favorite as a kid) at the store the other day and I had to have them.

Current Colors: Charcoal Gray, Yellow and Pink
Current Drink: Hot tea with a touch of sugar. It's freaking cold here right now.

Current Song: Carry On - Fun.

Current Triumph: As much as it is killing me to do, I am eating 2800-3800 calories a day. I'm deathly afraid to get on the scale and other than the fact that I am constantly questioning the whole process, I do feel great and my workouts have been killer.

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: I swam 12x100m @ 20 second intervals yesterday with an average lap time of 1:45. That's 12 seconds per 100m faster that I have ever swam ANY 100m. Not to mention a set of 12. It was kind of a big deal. And maybe I won't be the last one out of the water at Rev3 Cedar Point.

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 February. Only one true strength training session.
  • 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. - 59 days in and adjusting quite well.
  • Log 4,500 cumulative run, bike and swim miles. Up 485 from 2012. - As of March 1st, 328.54 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.- Registered for Flying Pirate Half in April.
  • 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 March 1st, 5 desserts consumed. I may have eaten more than one piece from my own birthday cake.
  • 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. Although TigerBlood rocks my socks, I am in the market for a sweet Quintana Roo ...
  • Figure out what to do with my hair. Keep the mohawk or grow it out. I'm taking opinions on this one.- I totally ate my words on this one. Thought I'd let it grow, but I had it trimmed last week. Oops!
  • 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!