Thursday, June 27, 2013

Rev3 Williamburg Olympic (and Glow Run) Recap ...

Date: 6/23/2013 - Olympic, 6/21/2013 - Glow Run
Location: Williamsburg, VA
Weather: mid-70's and overcast at start - Olympic, mid-80's and cloudy at start - Glow Run
Time: 3:13:31 - Olympic, 10:54 - Glow Run
Swim Split: 34:17 (1500m)
T1: 5:10 (includes .25 mile run)
Bike Split: 1:23:18 (40K)
T2: 1:05
Run Split: 1:09:40 (10K)
Category Place (Athena): 5/13
Gender Place: 122/216

The Good:

The Glow Run - Rev3 takes pride in making all of their events family friendly and part of what goes into that is having events for a racer's support team, such as the LittleRev Adventure Race and the Glow Run 5K and 1 Mile Fun Run.

As soon as I said "glow", my kids were in. So on Friday afternoon, we loaded the kids in the car and headed to Williamsburg for the Team Rev3 team dinner, followed by the race. Since no one has been running much lately, we opted for the 1 Mile Run.

After decking out in our glow gear (which paled in comparison to some people) we headed to the start line. J and I split up the kids and let them set the pace. I ran the first half with Dilly, who runs super slow and then wicked fast without much warning. She was incredibly hard to stay with. Just after the turn around, I switched off with J and ran with Dizzle and Doodle. With about a quarter mile left, they complained that they couldn't run anymore and that they couldn't breath. Somehow, I convinced them to sing "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star" to distract them and they ended up screaming it at the top of their lungs, proving that they weren't all that out of breath.

Just under 11 minutes after we started, the race was over. Everyone had a blast and the kids were already begging me to sign them up for the next one.

Hanging with my teammates - Since J is awesome, he let me spend the whole weekend in Williamsburg, which gave me the chance to hang out with my teammates, as well as, help out at the expo and post-race.
Brittney and I finding the only gluten-free dining options ...
Tracy, Jen and me goofing around with the green screen photos ...
It was a blast. I seriously love my teammates and feel so blessed to a part of this team.

The Swim - If you've read other race reports, you might have heard that the swim was rough. There was a strong current and a lot of chop. I've heard that around 100 swimmers were pulled from the water. I watched the pros swim off-course. But, I didn't have that experience at all. In fact, I had my best open water swim to date.

Since the tide was still coming in, racers were forced to walk pretty much to the first sight buoy. Once I started swimming, I found my rhythm rather quickly. Twenty strokes with each arm, then I would sight. I never really drifted and for the most part I stayed out of traffic.

As I approached the swim exit, I stripped off my wetsuit before exiting the water knowing it would probably save me time in the long run. I glanced at my watch and noted it was reading 33:XX. I was so psyched. Last September, I swam 750m in that same location in 23:23. I never expected to get out of the water in under 40 minutes. It was a killer way to start the race.

The Bike - As you may know, I don't ride my bike outdoors very often. And if we are completely honest, my handling skills aren't the best - mainly because I am afraid of crashing. When I woke up for the race, it was pouring. Part of me wanted to take a DNS because I didn't want to ride in wet conditions.

But, I knew the rain was going to stop and that I could ride conservatively if I had to. And that's exactly what I did. I never pushed the pace. I never got out of my big ring. I never got into aero position. I rode the brakes on the descents. I squeezed the handlebars so tight that my hands went numb. I was a big fat chicken. But, I still averaged over 17 mph. It kind of makes me optimistic for a race where I don't act like a big baby.

The Finish - I can not express enough how excited I was to see that finish line. After being scared for my life on the bike and suffering during the run, that finish line was pretty much the best thing I had ever seen.

Seriously, just look at my face ...

The Medal - It's just awesome ...

The Bad:

The Wet Conditions - I don't like wet roads. That is all ...

My Nutrition - I knew what I needed to do during this race when it came to nutrition, but I didn't really execute. The plan was to take in about 300-350 calories on the bike and another 100 as I started the run (and to drink Gatorade while running). However, it didn't really happen like that. I had a PowerBar Energy Blend in T1. Then I didn't eat at all on the bike because I was so deathly afraid to move my hands from the handle bars. Knowing I couldn't eat a ton in T2 and still run, I grabbed another PowerBar Energy Blend as I headed to the run course. Two miles into the run, I was done and it was ugly.

The Ugly:

My Wetsuit - Basically, I should have checked if the wetsuit, I purchased 25 pounds ago still fit. The answer is not really. At least not well enough to swim in. Fortunately, I have an awesome friend who was gracious enough to swap wetsuits with me for the day.

The Run - I admitted prior to racing that I was severely undertrained for this event. In the last two months, my longest training session was just about two hours long. The thing is that training at an easy pace for two hours is not really the same thing as racing for three hours. Add that to the fact that my nutrition was sub-par and I had nothing left when I had to run. I was just willing myself to move forward and cursing myself for not doing the Aquabike.

Literally moments before I hit the wall ...
The only good thing is that at the end of the day, I set the bar in a place that should make getting a PR at my next race pretty easy.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

all I've ever wanted ...

When I was 20, I met the person I wanted to be with for the rest of my life. And despite being so young, it didn't take me long to come to this realization. In fact, I knew pretty much instantaneously and I have never once, second guessed myself.

When I was 21, he asked me to marry him after just 10 months of dating. Truth be told, I would have married him the second we stepped foot back on American soil (we started dating while on a trip to England). I'm sure that our parents thought we were crazy. I was a junior in college and he had only graduated a year prior. We had no "life experience". We didn't have a closet full of skeletons. We didn't have pasts full of heartbreaks. He was my first long-term relationship, and I was his. It was kind of perfect.

And it still is.

Then when I was 22, exactly nine years ago today, we were joined by 80 of our closest friends and family members in Nassau, Bahamas for our wedding. It was everything I hoped it would be, even the moments that didn't go exactly as I had hoped.

At that time, I had dreams for what our life would be like. And although there have been hiccups along the way, my reality is pretty much how I pictured it back then. We have a happy, healthy and beautiful family. Our daughters are amazing beyond words (yes, I realize I'm biased). And I love J more each and every day I spend with him.

Over the past nine years, I have realized how everything that's said about marriage is true.

It does take work.

And compromise.

And patience.

You need to understand that sometimes, it's OK to "lose" an argument, even if you're right.

You need to realize that you should never sacrifice yourself for your partner, but that nothing you do should weaken the other person.

And no matter how hard you try, you can't change someone unless they want to be changed. Sometimes, you just have to accept that he's never going to fold the laundry the way you want or "let go" of things that you don't see the value in.

Ultimately, marriage (and family) is all about teamwork. Our strength lies in numbers and our successes and failures are intertwined. It everything I've ever wanted and all I could ever need.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Take Two ...

Rev3 Williamsburg - In three days, I will be racing finishing my first Olympic distance triathlon at Rev3 Williamsburg. I am the first to admit that I am severely undertrained for this race. My new HalfRev plan for Cedar Point allowed me to really cut back on my volume while I sorted out my health issues. But, in doing this I feel like I've lost my racing edge. The rest of my races this season are likely to be for fun and not speed. Honestly, though, I'm cool with it. I am willing to have one less than stellar season if that means I can come back next year feeling stronger. Plus, there is that little detail of the instant PR, it kind of eases the disappointment of my training cycle.

Racing aside, this weekend promises to be awesome. I get to hang with some of my Team Rev3 peeps, many who I have not seen since the team retreat in January.

So proud to be part of this amazing team ...
And I get to race with my kids. Tomorrow night, J, the girls and I are running the Rev3 Glow Run 1 Mile Fun Run (I had dreamed of the 5K, but no one else is really trained for that). The kids are so excited. But, I'm thinking it's probably less about the actual running and more about the glow-in-the-dark tee shirt and late bedtime (the race starts at 8:25, nearly two hours after their normal bedtime). Either way, it's going to be epic.

Swim, swim, swim - The girls are about to head to their fourth day of swim lessons and I have to say I am crazy impressed by how much they've picked up already. I guess when people say that they'll learn when they're ready is really true. We tried swim lessons about four years ago with Dizzle and Doodle and it was a total nightmare. They (more specifically Dizzle) would not get in the water. There was crying, screaming and the occasional vomiting for everyone involved. It was just rough.

my little fish ...
But, now at 8, 6 and 4, the girls are much more accepting. By the end of the second day, Dizzle, who could doggie paddle with the best of them, was jumping off the starting block and swimming 25 meters continuously (mostly). Doodle, who hated going underwater, was jumping into the deep end and Dilly was doing everything the instructor asked, despite the tears. The best part is that they are suddenly really confident about their abilities. They keep saying that pretty soon they are going to beat me in a race, which is probably true.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

making progress ...

I'm not fat.

I realize this.

I also realize that 18 months ago, my scale displayed a number that I liked a whole lot better than the one it shows me now. I'm not blind to the fact that the huge little number that flashes at my bare feet can really distort my self-perception. It can be really hard to accept reality when the "facts" are staring you in the face.

I've been working with a nutritionist for the last 33 days to figure out why I have been feeling so horrible, despite being the picture of health. We have been tackling my health first and my weight (which she keeps saying is a non-issue) secondly. She performed the test that determined that I suffer from hypoglycemia. She gave me a meal plan to follow and with a little tweaking, we have found the nutrient ratio that keeps me energized and feeling well. In so many ways, I feel like a new person. My workouts aren't sucking. I don't feel like I constantly need a nap. I am starting to recover like I used to. The night sweats have stopped. The weight gain has stopped. The body temperature fluctuations have stopped. The vast majority of my symptoms have gone away.

The thing that remains is that number staring me in the face when I step on the scale. In the 33 days since I started the journey, I have only lost 1.3 pounds. I broke up with peanut butter and hummus for 1.3 pounds.

I can't lie, it hurts a little. To put in all that effort and feel like nothing is changing.

But then, I was given a reality check.

In the past 33 days, I have lost 5.5 pounds of fat and gained 3.5 pounds of muscle. My body fat percentage has gone down 3%. That's actually pretty impressive.

But the biggest realization came when my nutritionist told me my goals are unrealistic. That thinking I was going to get back to 150 pounds just isn't going to happen and the only way to get there is to lose a considerable amount of muscle mass. She said that 165 would be realistic and 160 would be a reach.

At first I thought, "You're insane. I weighed 150 for seven years. I can so get there again."

But then, I really thought about it. When I weighed 150 pounds, I was 24% body fat, which gave me 113.7 pounds of lean mass. Right now, at 170 pounds, I have 24% body fat, which gives me 128.86 pounds of lean mass.

That means in the last 18 months, I have gained 15.16 pounds of muscle. Over 15 of the 20 pounds I have gained was pure muscle - which is just nuts. Suddenly, 150 pounds did seem really unrealistic. I don't want to lose that muscle and all the strength that goes with it. Giving that up for a number on a scale is just not worth it to me.

So, instead, I'm going to keep working to get to my new goal weight and I am going to keep working to keep myself feeling well. And I might just have to accept that a new pant size just comes with the territory.

Monday, June 17, 2013

the unlazy days of summer ...

Today marks the first day of summer vacation (The weekend didn't count. Weekends are nothing like Monday mornings). It was the first morning we didn't have to wake up to get out the door by 7:20 a.m. And the first morning I didn't have to yell at someone to "hurry up and get dressed."

The day had so much promise. We could stay in bed all day. We do whatever we wanted, whenever we wanted. Except ...

We couldn't.

Just when I think we will have nothing to fill our days with, we have so much more than any of us could ever wish for.

The girls were up at the cheerful hour of six. This in itself puzzles me, as I literally have to drag them out of bed at 6:45, 180 days a year. After convincing them to quietly lay in bed with me until 7:30, we made our way downstairs before heading to the YMCA.

I had a glorious plan for our morning. We would get to the Y by nine. The girls would go to Child Watch while I did my 3000 meter swim. After finishing around 10:30, I would pick them up and they would get changed for their swim lessons which ran from 11:00-12:00. With a snack and a drink for all of us packed in my bag, I had success in the palm of my hand.

Until, I didn't.

Things started out well. I was in the pool by 9:10. But as soon as I got in, I knew there was trouble. My normally quiet pool (it's usually me, two lap swimmers and a water aerobic class) was bursting with energy. Swarms of children (and their parents) overwhelmed the pool deck. About 15 minutes into my swim, the lifeguards reduced lap swim down to one lane. Suddenly, I was circle swimming with two backstrokers and a breaststroker, who completes one length for every four of mine. Fed up with the traffic jam, I cut my workout short. Only problem was there was over an hour before swim lessons started, we didn't have time to go home and I had three, less than patient, children to deal with.

I swear I answered the question, "How long until it's my turn?", a thousand times.

Just before the tears ...
Eventually, it was their turn. Doodle and Dizzle were champs and Dilly cried through pretty much the whole thing. It played out exactly as I expected. Then, after three long hours, we were able to leave the Y, with a new appreciation for swim lessons and a bucket full of bad attitudes.

Once in the car, Dilly scarfed down her bagged lunch on the way to an afternoon play date, while Dizzle and Doodle complained that they would be "so bored" since they didn't have anything to do. Never one to disappoint, I hooked them up with their own play date of sorts - a play date with school work. Nothing like an hour of mathematics to give them something to do ...
A little multiplication and addition ...
Now it's 3 p.m. and they are creating a behavior chart for themselves, complete with rewards and consequences and I have five minutes of peace for the first time today. And I was concerned that we'd have too much time on our hands this summer ...

Friday, June 7, 2013

small victories ...

So often, life is just monotonous. We do the same thing day in and day out. We get up at the same time. We work the same hours. We eat meals at set intervals. Give it long enough and you'll start to feel like you're getting no where. I know it happens to me every now and then. I find myself stepping back and looking at all the work I have done over a week or a month or a year and think, "Wow, that was quite the effort to keep things exactly how they are, to keep the wheels spinning and the gears moving."

And that realization can be frustrating.

It's in that frustration that I can usually see past the monotony and understand how many small victories I have each day. It's almost as if I have to embrace the sameness of things to really comprehend the progress we've made and how important that progress is.

This morning, I've decided I'm taking a moment to celebrate in our small victories and to bask in all their glory.
  • I didn't feel like strangling any of my children this week.
  • We cut the girls' hair this week. Since then, they have done their own hair (with a little guidance) everyday. I can see how close I am to freedom in this respect.
  • Speaking of hair, mine was amazing yesterday.
  • The girls chose and made their breakfast everyday this week. Sure, on occasion, it was just a PowerBar and milk, but at least they are becoming a little less dependent on me.
  • I crushed, I mean demolished, my swim on Wednesday.
  • I took Doodle back to the children's urologist this week and for the first time in seven months, her initial urine screen came back clear. A huge step forward in our battle with constant UTIs.
  • Dilly started spelling the words "spell" and "diva", not overly important in the grand scheme of things, but very useful when she then yells, "I'm waiting, D-I-V-A!"
  • I went back to the nutritionist and got the results on my cortisol and DHEA tests. My cortisol levels are out of whack, but (and this is a big but), it's not extremely severe and isn't being caused (although, it is being aggravated) by excessive exercise. The test results showed that I am suffering from hypoglycemia and that the low carb eating style that my last nutritionist put me on has only been worsening the situation. Basically, I've been digging myself into a metabolic hole and now I have to climb out of it. In order to do that, I am changing the proportion of my carbohydrate, protein and fat intake in hopes of fighting off the hypoglycemia. I am taking a Super B Complex to help with my energy levels. And I am drinking coconut water (bleh!) to restore my severely lacking electrolytes. It's going to take time, but I am already starting to feel better. Hopefully, this is the answer I have been looking to find for the last 18 months.
What small victories are you celebrating today?

Monday, June 3, 2013

May Rewind ...

Miles Run: 44.95. The run and I aren't on best terms right now. It drains me horribly.
Bike Miles Rode: 195.2. All on the trainer ...
Swim Meters Completed: 25500 meters or 15.84 miles. This is the only thing that doesn't totally kick my butt right now.
Rest Days Taken: 13.
Highest Run Mileage Week: 5/1-5/5: 19.25 miles
Highest Bike Mileage Week: 5/6-5/12: 56.2 miles 
Highest Swim Volume Week: 5/20-5/26: 9000 meters or 5.58 miles
Long Runs Completed (10+ miles): 0. Like I said, I'm not feeling the run.
Current Book: Right now, I am reading Everlost by Shusterman. But I also finished a few other books in May. (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 Hormone Diet by Turner
  • Master Your Metabolism by Michaels
  • Partials by Wells
  • Torment by Kate
  • Period 8 by Crutcher
  • The Perfect Diet by Aziz
  • Num8ers by Ward
  • Num8ers: The Cha0s by Ward
  • Nobody by Barnes
  • Feedback by Wells
  • Australia by Pike
  • Fracture by Miranda
  • Hysteria by Miranda
  • Through to You by Hainsworth
Current Shame-Inducing Guilty Pleasure: Sleep. I could do it 24/7.
Current Colors: Neon Orange. Is there anything better?
Current Drink: Hot tea with a touch of sugar. I'm cold all the time.
Current Song: Still Into You - Paramore
Current Triumph: We survived our final weekend of scheduling craziness. ZOOMA Annapolis was awesome for Tough Chik and my girls rocked it out and their dance recital.
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 am racing (or finishing, not really sure right now) Rev3 Williamsburg Olympic. It's my first Olympic distance race and I get to hang with all my Team Rev3 peeps. I'm super pumped.
2013 To Do List:
  • 140.6. That is all. - Yeah, not going to happen this year.
  • 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. - I've been too beat to do my regular workouts. Strength training is taking a backseat right now.
  • Switch to time-based/HR training. Despite my knowledge of training paces, I have a hard time sticking to them. I'm hoping this will help me train more effectively. - I love it and I hate it. 
  • Log 4,500 cumulative run, bike and swim miles. Up 485 from 2012. - As of June 3rd, 1348.61 miles logged.
  • Race a 10K with a finish time much faster than your very dated current PR of 53:17. I never managed to register for a 10K in 2012 and I'm not sure where it will fit in this year, but it's on my radar. - No progress on this one.
  • Set a new PR in the Half Marathon, currently 1:57:06. I totally blew this one in 2012 and will likely only have one good shot at it in 2013.- Fail. Epic fail.
  • Run a 5K with Dizzle and Doodle, even if that means tricking them into it. - The kids have been running quite a bit recently. Probably going to aim for the fall.
  • Eat like a gluten-free athlete. After struggling with health issues much of 2012, removing the gluten has been key in alleviating the symptoms. Don't be swayed by the lure of wheat. Or cake.- On point, like usual.
  • Find the race day (and training) nutrition plan that works for me.- Eventually ...
  • Consume no more than 18 desserts from Shyndigz. This number worked well in 2012 and helped me cut back on my serious cake addiction. Plus, their gluten-free menu is limited, so I shouldn't be tempted as often. - As of June 3rd, 11 desserts consumed. Since all the birthdays have been celebrated in my house, this should slow a bit.
  • Drink at least 100oz of water per day.- Oh, heck yeah!
  • Only say yes to the projects you REALLY want to work on. An honest no is much better than a halfhearted yes. - Check.
  • Stick to our budget. We've lived credit card (and credit card debt) free for five months. No reason to go back now. - Double Check.
  • Ignore your impulses. Take time to process the true value of the things you are filling your space/life with. - Yes and no. Lots of pondering this one recently ...
  • Figure out what to do with my hair. Keep the mohawk or grow it out. I'm taking opinions on this one.- I caved and cut my hair. I have no willpower when it comes to growing it out.
  • 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!