Tuesday, April 22, 2014

We've always done it that way ...

Life can be overwhelming at times.

Every morning when I wake up, I run through everything I need to do, everything I should do and everything I want to do. Some days, I think, "I've got this!" and other days, I wish I could pull the comforter over my head and ignore the world around me.

But, I don't. I get up and tackle everything that awaits me.

Am I the busiest person in the world? No. Do I have a hard life? Not at all. Could someone else step in here and do exactly what I do each and every day? Absolutely.

I'm not anything special. And I hate to hand it to you, but neither are you. We all have our challenges, responsibilities and expectations. We have the things we want to do and need to do and even those things we feel like we have no choice in at all.

That's life.

You take what's thrown at you and make the best of it. Or maybe the worst of it, depending on your outlook. Ultimately, you dictate how and what gets done. You choose the path that works for you, whether you forge a new trail each day or click on auto-pilot from the get-go.

Last week, I decided to shut off auto-pilot. I chose to ignore my daily schedule which tends to be dictated by doing things because "we've always done it that way". I let the girls decide how they wanted to spend their spring break. We stayed in bed late, we spent hours upon hours outside, we ate ice cream for lunch.

It was fantastic.

And it got me thinking, why do I do things the way that I do? Why are some things set on auto-pilot? So, I decided to be honest with myself. I evaluated why I go about my life the way I do and do you know what I learned?

Well, I learned that I do a lot of things because "we've always done it that way" and it's just easier to keep it going. And then there are the things I do because I think they are expected of me. There are things in my life that fit me (and my family) at one point, but now the fit is off. And I'm going to change that. I've already started implementing some changes, while others will take a little longer to manifest themselves. But, I know for sure, one thing that's going to change is this blog.

For the past 6 years, I have chronicled our triumphs and tribulations. Our laughter and our tears. But, as the girls get older and our lives get more and more hectic, I find that I have less and less to say here. I no longer need this journal to keep me motivated, the girls don't want me to share as much about them and I find that our life on the go is better captured through pictures and snippets of information that I tend to broadcast elsewhere. With time, my presence here will diminish and eventually, I just won't write at all. And that's just fine, we've evolved as a family and to keep doing what we've always done wouldn't do our story justice.

Oh, and if you're so inclined to continue to follow our journey, we will be here occasionally (at least for the time being), but most of the action will be found on our Instagram and Twitter accounts.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Three Things Thursday ...

Marathon - Back in 2011, when I ran three marathons including two in one week, I was burned out. I had no desire to ever run another marathon again. I felt like all I ever did was run. And it probably was, logging 45-60 miles per week when you are as slow as I am takes a lot of time.

So, I kicked marathoning to the curb. My focus shifted to triathlon, which in case you didn't know, isn't any less time consuming. Over the past two and a half years, I have watched my friends continue to tackle 26.2 miles and I just sat back and thought, "I'm kind of happy I'm not them." Training (and racing) that distance is draining. And even if you love it, there are days where you just don't. 

But one day last year, I started to miss those high mileage weeks. I wanted to experience running 20 miles in the morning and then rock compression socks all afternoon just to make it through the day. I longed to run for hours with my friends as we prepared for a day of a 1,000 variables and no guaranteed outcome. The grip of the marathon had caught me and was pulling me back in.

So, I did what any logical person would do and I started researching races. When I had it down to three or four options, I took them to my running wife, G, who I knew I could convince rather easily to join me (truth is, she was already thinking 26.2 too). We chose our race, convinced some friends to join us and finally on Tuesday morning, we registered.

Nearly three years to the day since my last 26.2, I will be toeing the line at the Steamtown Marathon. Right now, my only goal is to run a negative split. I'm not the runner (physically or mentally) that I was the last time I did this and I don't really know what a realistic time goal is, so I'm just not going to have one right now. Maybe that will change as the race approaches, maybe it won't. Either way, I'm going to savor the run.

Spring Cleaning - So, I have this thing where I can not sit down and relax in the evening until my house is tidy. Everything needs to be put away. The dishes need to be done. The laundry folded. It's not like I scrub my floors every night, but when things are out of place I feel uneasy, so I make sure nothing is lying around.

What's atypical for me is an undying urge to dust and scrub every surface at 10:30 at night. On Tuesday night, I went upstairs after finishing my book and got ready for bed. Somewhere in the next few minutes, I got it in my head that both the master and hall bathrooms needed to be scrubbed from top to bottom. I tried to stop myself after I did the master bath and even got in bed, but a few minutes later I was back at it in the hall bath. Who does that? Seriously, just thinking about it now makes me want to find something else to scrub.

Plans on Plans on Plans - We are super busy during the school year. The girls have activities every afternoon except Fridays and they have games, meets and rehearsals on the weekends. It's hectic. We love it. During the summer, we usually chill out. The girls have never gone to camp. Our only scheduled activity is usually swim lessons, and that's really a recent occurrence.

This year, however, is completely different. Between vacations to North Carolina and Rhode Island, visits with the grandparents, swim lessons and summer school enrichment programs, we have exactly one week where we will all be in the same place with nothing on the schedule. How does that happen? One day you have a bunch of toddlers vying for your attention 24/7 and the next, they are off doing their own things? And yes, I realize it's only going to get worse.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

March Rewind ...

Miles Run:  70.68 miles. Running is hard ...

Bike Miles Rode: 112.5 miles. My bike trainer and I are so totally BFFs ...

Swim Meters Completed: 17450 meters or 10.84 miles

Rest Days Taken: 6
Highest Run Mileage Week: 3/3-3/9: 27 miles
Highest Bike Mileage Week: 3/3-3/9: 29.7 miles
Highest Swim Volume Week: 3/3-3/9: 4300 meters or 2.67 miles
Long Runs Completed (1 hr+ miles): 4
Current Book: Right now, I am reading Sacrifice by Kluver. But, I finished a few other books in March. (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.) 
  • When It Happens by Colasanti
  • Bitter End by Brown
  • Lemonade Mouth by Hughes
  • Origin by Khoury
  • Marked by Cast
  • Betrayed by Cast
  • Chosen by Cast
  • Untamed by Cast
  • Hunted by Cast
  • Tempted by Cast
  • Burned by Cast
  • Awakened by Cast
  • Destined by Cast
  • Hidden by Cast
  • Revealed by Cast
  • Minders by Jaffe
  • All I Need by Colasanti
  • Vengeance by Miranda
Current Shame-Inducing Guilty Pleasure: Reading food labels. Well, maybe not the reading part, but rather the feeling of utter satisfaction when I get to the end of the list and realize that I can actually eat whatever is in my hand. It's the small things people.

Current Colors: Orange and Gray.

Current Drink: Hot tea with cream and stevia. All day, every day.

Current Song: Ain't It Fun - Paramore
Current Triumph: I haven't had a trace of any of the allergens that I reacted to at my appointment in early March. It may not seem like a huge deal, but I LOVE some of those foods and soy is in freaking EVERYTHING.
Current Goal: Be a better me. Each and every day. And crush 2014 goals ...
Current Blessing: Health, happiness and love. I've got all three.
Current Excitement: There are just 25 days until my first triathlon of the season - RTC Sprint. And yesterday, J and I booked tickets to Texas for a wedding (and kid-free weekend). It's kind of a big deal.
  • Get back to running 30-40 miles per week. For most of 2012 and 2013, I focused on 70.3 training. The only way for me to improve my cycling and swimming was to spend less time running. Eventually, my strongest discipline became my weakest and honestly, I am kind of over it. This year I won't race longer than an Olympic distance triathlon. Hopefully, this will allow me to balance my training loads and life a little better than in the past. - Getting there. I peaked at 28.25 miles last month. And ran 27 miles this month.
  • Strength train two times per week. In the past, I have dropped strength training as my training volume went up. I'm not letting that happen in 2014. - Crushing it! Haven't missed a day.
  • Run 1,400 miles. A huge jump from 2013, but far less than what I used to run. - As of April 1st, 241.77 miles logged.
  • Bike 1,400 miles A huge drop from 2013, but if I am going to find time for those run miles something will have to give. - As of April 1st, 352.2 miles logged.
  • Swim 140 miles. Pretty much where I finished up in 2013. This will probably be the most challenging mileage to hit. - As of March 1st, 48,300m or 30.01 miles logged.
  • Race a 10K with a finish time much faster than your very dated current PR of 53:17. I never managed to register for a 10K in 2012 and I'm not sure where it will fit in this year, but it's on my radar. As it has been since 2009. - I ran the 10K. It was painful and ugly. I may have negated the fact that I have gained 20 pounds of muscle since my last race and I am running much less now. No PR, but it was a good gauge for where I am at. Which is kind of pathetic.
  • Run a negative split marathon. I'm not looking for a PR. Just a well executed race. - Registered!
  • Run a 5K with Dizzle and Doodle. I'm thinking a Rev3 Glow Run for this one.

  • Only say yes to the projects I REALLY want to work on. An honest no is much better than a halfhearted yes.
  • Stick to our budget. We were at about 90% with this last year, but I have a good feeling about 2014. - So far so good.
  • Take a picture a day for a year. - 91 days in and going strong. You can see all my #project365 pictures on my Instagram account HERE
  • Read 150 books. - As of March 3rd, 32 books read.
  • Go the entire year without cutting my hair (unless I start to get a mullet, at which point a trim is required). - Haven't cut it yet! But, it's getting incredibly hard not to!
  • Relearn Spanish. Just letting that Rosetta Stone course sit on the shelf isn't helping anyone. - I started the lessons and am 1/4 of the way through the first level. I realized that I have retained quite a bit of my former knowledge, but I still struggle with pronunciation, which was always my weak spot.
  • Blog at least two times per week. 2013 left me uninspired and stressed when it came to blogging. I'm hoping a new perspective will change this. - I've only missed this one time so far.
  • Have a date night with J, once a month. Considering that we only manage about two dates per year at this point, I'd be super impressed if we pulled this off half of the time. - Three months down and still on track!
  • 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.