Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Great [Vacay] Expectations

As we approach our vacation, and furiously line up our shoes and underwear and stash all the necessary medications a family of fourteen would possibly need for seven days, there is no question, no DOUBT, who is more excited than anyone going on this cruise:

 the hubby. 

And as is his style, where there is hope and excitement, there is also anxiety:
"There is no WAY this is going to live up to last year."
That was our first cruise. It was our first DISNEY cruise.
And now we know: we love cruises, and we love Disney.

But we didn't have to fly [and thus pay for flights.]
We didn't have to worry about packing less than 4 oz of all liquids.
We carried our liquor straight on with one of the carry-ons.
We didn't know what to expect, and so our expectations were zilch-to-none.
We didn't know how great the food would be, or the excursions, or the shows.
We didn't know we'd have breakfast dates, and afternoon dates, and alone time so often!
We didn't have any sea-sickness due to a lucky bout of calm seas, as we were informed.
We were BLOWN AWAY. And it was easy to do so.

Now we are flying [and thus paying for flights.]
We have to be cautious of packing liquids.
We have to find time to purchase our liquor in the post-flight and pre-cruise timespan [poor us, I know.]
We are looking forward to the great food, the excursions, and the shows.
We are looking forward to our couple time.
We do not think we will have rough seas, by any stretch of the imagination.
We have GREAT expectations.

But LEST WE FORGET! The bad times. The meltdowns. The compromises. The interruption of dinner to run back to the room for our precious sippy cups. Our precious blankies. Our dry clothes after a potty mishap.

Like a pregnancy, and childbirth, and newborn-dom, there is a certain part of the brain that gets swept aside in our memories, so as to make us want to brave such an undertaking again [poor us, I know.]

You see, the little dude had had three straight beach days.
We were headed to Cape Canaveral in 90 degree heat.
He started to wane. He wanted to sleep in the stroller.
He was hot.
We started the tour.
We stopped the tour.
We had them call us a cab back to the ship.
The boy was not well.
A view you could live without while cruisin' : the infirmary.
We got to the ship infirmary and he spiked 105 temp.
They tried water, pedialyte, they tried a popsicle.
Forget ibuprofen.
He wouldn't budge. Wouldn't take a drop.
They looked at us; we looked at them.
We had actually been through this before with the boy.
He gets fevers and there's a point of no return.
We held him down. They administered IV fluids.
He started to get color in his face.
We took him back to the room, held the little guy, and laid low the rest of the day.
We watched the Disney Channel from our tiny room while he slept.
We saw the Lorax several times. We watched the "making of" the Disney Fantasy and were in awe of the engineering feat that it is. We watched the promo video for the Disney Vacation Club and considered signing up 503 times.
We marveled at the emptiness of the ship at port.
We heard the masses return at midnight from the glory of the Disney World they had just left.
And by the magic of Mickey, the next morning, the little dude was himself again.

But you better believe, mommy needed another "drink of the day" that day. 

And it certainly provides a good amount of anxiety every time we travel.

But it saves me from the anxiety of "is this going to live up to last year." 

Yeah, no, that doesn't really keep me up at night...

Ummmmmm, should I even remind him??

Ok, ok, enough already....on with the guest posts...

They are starting to come in, and I think you are in for a treat!!

And anyways, I'm sick of y'all, too...

Monday, July 29, 2013

You can't call it a taper when it's just your normal training week :Weeks 3 & 4 & 5 & beyond

So I think I missed week 3 recap of training?
[See recaps 1 here and 2 here.]
And now it's week 4?
Or is it week 5?
Ok, well I have composed this post fifty times and 
now I'm 6 weeks away from race day so here's the phase of 
"well I only spent $X amount of dollars on registering so if I bail it's not that bad..."

Oh Lord, Spazzes R Us and Sloperators Anonymous just called and they would like me to be their presidents. Both. At the same time.

And it's totally ok with me because neither is organized enough to have any meetings.

Anyways, here's what I've been doing training-wise, in prep for the half-iron:

Going Backward:
Week 3: Kids out of camp [total: 7 miles]
This was my first week of real 'summertime' schedule and no kid-less time. We also headed to my brother's in the mountains so I was travelling a bit.

I did: 
  • One long-ish run
  • One long-ish swim
  • One strength session
  • One yoga session
Week 4: On Florida time [total: 12 miles]
Yay! The beach! OWS in the ocean! Flat roads! Oh wait, sh**, it's hot.

I did:
  • 2 long-ish runs
  • 1 short swim
  • 1 yoga session
Week 5: To Taper or not to Taper [total: 25 miles]
My friend asked me if I planned to taper before the 5k swim on Sunday.
"Oh? Taper?
Well, my normal training week
looks like most people's taper,
so...I guess no, would be my answer.
Yea, no."
Cramming as much as possible early in the week so as to prep for a 48-hour road trip right before I swim 5k for the first time. Yeah, try that. So. much. travel! Even hubby was getting annoyed, even though he was only home for about 4 hours out of every 24, he still missed his laundry being put away.

I did: 
  • spin (so basically a fast, sweaty, sprint-y, bike)
  • strength (mostly chest, arms, back, abs)
  • 2 runs (mini-brick of 1 mile, sprint work session)
  • 2 swims (1 medium, 1 being the 5k)
Week 6: Forgot to recover [total: 34 miles]
I planned to BUILD BUILD BUILD because the kids had camp again this week. But oh yeah, recovery's a bitch. I didn't expect to need any. Whoops. Took the first two days off.

I did:
  •  1 long bike (30 miles recon)
  •  2 short runs
Week 7: Prepping [total: 80 miles]
Two weeks before long family vacation [cruise] in which I will not be able to bike [but they may have spin classes], and certainly not swim [unless scuba counts.] I will be able to run on a treadmill, but will likely not be interested in running on a treadmill for two hours during vacay.

I did:
3 monster workouts with days off in between. This training method was working for me very well...hmmmm...curious...could this pay off for a weekend warrior like me? Want to explore more.
  • 11 mile trail run
  • 50 mile bike (checked my legs afterwards; could have run if I had more time)
  • monster spin followed by sprinting 2 miles and strength & abs session
  • short swim (check-in before Aug 18 race day)
Going Forward...
Week 8: Crunch time
I really want to leave that 50 mile bike as it was. It built so much confidence for me because I maintained race pace and then some over the course. It's kind of like when you do marathon training and you have a spectacular 20 mile run but then are afraid of the 22 mile run? Going into my vacay I want to feel like I've built a good foundation.

I plan:
  • long run; short run
  • long bike
  • swim or yoga
  • strength
Week 9: On cruise
Lots of running; there is even a 5k at one of the ports. Try a spin class. Try not to gain 10 pounds.

Week 10: Sprint Triathlon race prep [IronGirl, Columbia, MD, August 18]

something special about 6 am sweat
Weeks 11 & 12: keep it light; recover; try to write a musical with this woman

Week 13: Half-Iron race prep [Diamondman, Bear, DE, September 8]

This is my best training and fittest summer ever, 
although, the half-iron was, as usual, overly ambitious.

But: I am going to finish. it.

I read that if you finish the bike by 12:30 they will let you finish the run.
That gives me about 5 hours [depending on wave start] for both the swim and bike, 
and unless I flat, I should make that.
And if I don't make that, well then, that will have been a nice Aquavelo for the day.

Next summer I'm totally going to rock going back to the Olympic-length!

worf laughing
P.S. One of my guest bloggers may be addressing the issue of staying active while traveling or on vacation...stay tuned!

Sunday, July 28, 2013

While I'm away...I have a surprise for you.

You guys. 

I'm going away.

On *another* Disney. Cruise.

Commence screaming.

No, seriously. Cover your ears.


[Don't hate. You know I'd take you with me if I could.]

But I have a really fun, couple of surprises for you! 

I asked some of my favorite ladies to write guest posts! I really didn't think they would say yes, but they did!! They are all coming from different points of view and unique perspectives. It doesn't mean there aren't other favorite people, bloggers, and friends out there I wouldn't love to guest on my blog. But I really wanted to start with these friends who have such a different voice than my own.
  • One of these ladies I have slept with [just in the same bed, nothing more, you pervs]
  • One I have never met in person
  • One was my first lifeline in Philly
  • One is my daily lifeline in Philly
  • One is one of the most poised and polished women I have ever met, and
  • One lives in a world many of us know absolutely nothing about.
[Oh, and none of them is a triathlete!! So you get a break from that sh**, too.]

I hope you enjoy your vacay from TwynMawrMom.

The fun starts at the end of this week.

And you know, I'll be inviting you to share in mine when we return!!

Friday, July 26, 2013

Shush children! The muse is visiting. #funforFriday

So remember this pile of fabrics from earlier this week... 

Well yesterday morning I just up and started cutting it.

This happened very quickly. 

But as usual, not very cleanly. 
I tidied it up a bit, with the girl's direction [she wanted shorter.]

And I didn't know this may have been divinely inspired by the Princess Kate's homage to Princess Diana's polka-dotted dress upon the arrival of Prince William? 
So sweet! Pics here.

Here's the fun part: I wasn't making this for the shop, just my little girl. 
And by love and chance, I got the inspiration.

I thought I was done. 

But then this started coming together...


She wanted a pink layer next in the twirl skirt...
A Christmas layer...
I was determined...

Let it be ALL supehero ladies.

[ok I gave her a little Christmas in the back.]

For a little guidance, I looked at the pictures of McCall's pattern M6549. 
I still can't follow a pattern to save my life. *spazz*

Those of you on my Facebook page will have already seen some of these pics, 
but you need to know the story. 

I have let slip before, I'm occasionally possessed by a crafty ghost.

I'm not kidding. 

I get jittery. 

I get giggly. 

And I can't cut, piece, assemble, or sew fast enough.

I suddenly have answers to questions I never even ask. 

I make quick decisions about design and structure without a second's hesitation. 

Everything comes together and I can't hear, breathe, or even pee until the project immediately before me is complete. 

I instinctively know that I do not have much time in this plane, and if I stop in the middle to revisit later, I will no longer understand how to finish it. 

It's crazy, y'all!!

The kids start yammering at me in the middle and I just take one little girl, stand her on the coffee table and rip her shirt off to fit a bodice on her; I take one little boy and shove a monkey yogurt in one hand and a video game in the other. 

Then I can no longer hear them. They may be asking me something but I can't see them. My brain has been taken over. I've lost all sense of time and responsibility for anything else.

But...but...two dresses later...I start wondering what kind of seance I can hold to bring these bitches back to visit again sometime!

Or maybe it's just the start of another season of Project Runway invading my subconscious. 

P.S. now the boy wants a Batman dress.
Ummmm....let mama get back to you on that one...


Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Recon mission: 30 of 56 miles Delaware Diamondman swim - bike - runcourse

If you preparing for a race, you gotta do a little reconnaissance. 

So I spent one morning while the kids were at Art Camp to drive down to Delaware at the site of my upcoming Half-Iron distance race, The Delaware Diamondman Challenge.

They learned about dragons, mommy faced her own personal dragon...

The location in Lums Pond State Park in Bear, DE, which is not far from Newark, DE, is about an hour's drive over mostly highways from the Main Line.

I arrived just before the park opens at 8 am, so I drove through the campgrounds and made a potty stop [plumbing, yay!]

I drove back out of the campgrounds and straight to the boat ramp entrance as I knew that's probably where the swim will begin based on previous athlete notes. They have not yet published the athlete note for this year.

Looks harmless enough. I looooove lake swims. You may have some reeds to contend with, but little to no current. I have definitely seen some race reports mentioning some muckiness. I walked on some soft squishy mud to the entrance and can foresee some need for rinsing afterwards.

So I self-paid my entrance fee, detached the parking stub and placed it on my dash, and felt comfortable leaving my car there at the boat ramp while I headed out on the bike.

When I returned two hours later, only one other car was parked there on a weekday summer morning.

Now, onto the bike. I was following the athlete note of the original 'one loop' as is indicated, from the 2008 athlete note. After the first five miles I stopped to snap this pic, as it reminded me, 

Why do all my bike races look like this??

A fellow biker babe passed me at this moment and I thought: 

"Yay! Not the only crazy out here in this 100 degree heat!
But wait...she is likely finishing at this hour...awwe-oh..."

 I loop back around the start/finish line and then head towards the river. 
You pass down through this small town which provides a tiny bit of shade
after a heavy dose of sunny exposure. 

I head another few miles, to another small town where you make a sharp right and head up this: 
And seeing as I was at mile 20, nearing my time limit to turn around, and none of the cars on this bridge were expecting me that morning, I didn't attempt. 

But good to know! Good. to. know. There's a freaking hefty-a$$ climb in the middle of this thing. 

They say that it is a one mile steady climb, and that being as such that it is long, it is not that steep. 

Well I'll have to save the answer to that for another day.

And that day may be September 8th.

 I take a shady break and admire how much faster I was able to go with my GPS right in front of me through this bag/window I mentioned in a previous post. 
I also admired the way I was able to prop my pedal onto the curb to stand up my bike! 
A gentlemanly fellow rider in my Tour de Cure showed me this trick on a rest stop.

I sweated the return.

I could feel the heat steaming up off the asphalt. 

I'm disappointed I didn't get to the route beyond the Reedy Point Bridge, but I was able to ride 30 miles of the total 56. And at no time did I see my speedometer dip below 16 mph, so I was feeling good about the flat-thing. At one point I was really struggling and I looked down to see 21 mph. 
Oh, guess the coffee was kicking in...

 I seriously considered taking a shower in the campgrounds facilities but was running out of time. 

I quickly drove the start of the run route, which leads from transition [staged at the campgrounds] to the C & O Canal via Old Summit Road. From what I can tell, this will be the out and back run route.
The entry ramp to the canal run. I am already cursing it upon my 69th of 70.3 miles. 
If I get that far...

Parts of it are paved, and parts of it are on gravel. These are two views from the fork at the bottom of the entrance ramp, so I don't know which way you turn. In any case,  I'm going to continue the majority of my long runs on a local trail for practice.

Recon mission: satisfactory.

Thoughts: scared sh**less!!

Do you do recon for your races? 
Or do you prefer the element of surprise??

UFO's all OVER the place and nothing's getting done*

Oh my goodness is it that time of the summer already?

The kids are constantly fighting with each other, I'm constantly at my nerves' end with them, we can't get enough activities but we can't have too many because we will go bonkers, we are sick of the pool but wouldn't want to be anywhere else, we sleep in at random and we wake up early at random, we can't go to bed before 9:30 because the sun is still out, we want to be in a constant state of vacation but we are in a constant state of craving structure, and we are all around sweaty messes!?!

All I can say is, I thought a lot more would be done right now.

I'd have had my last build cycle polished and rounding around to the finish line/month of training before my half-iron.

It's just beginning. The training has been there, but not an intense-build-thingy as much as I'd like. Why did I think I'd still have at least one 'extended day' like I did during the school year to get in the long workouts? Why didn't I plan for two long workouts a week? Why didn't I plan to just get up at 6 am everyday? Kinda like I do already with one of my monkeys, but only, with my workout clothes on and ready to run??

Um. I am still a member of a quilting bee, aren't I? Just finished 1 1/2 of 2 requested blocks for April. APRIL, PEOPLE!! And.....I SCREWED THAT UP ROYALLY. Currently taking a break from May/June blocks to cook dinner and, oh yeah, blog...and then there's July/August blocks, waiting for me in the wings...
My screw-up cuts for April on the left for Block #2; managed to make 1 complete block on the right
Directions for May/June Blocks : Missouri Star
Looking pretty good for block #1 of 2; except; it's supposed to be 8 1/2 inches instead of 8!! DOH!
[I typically just don't like to sew in the summer. I took the ETSY shop off vacay mode for a day to allow a repeat customer to sneak a purchase in, and two more came out. Soooooo....I guess I'm sewing in the summer. No getting around it...

Sooooo....maybe I should just go ahead and get started on that Wonder Woman dress my daughter has been would be kinda fun....]
The girl's fabric choices for THE dress
The house. Weren't we going to tackle a few more things around the house?? I was so looking forward to posting pics of the finished patio, but alas! It's not exactly finished!! The lighting fixtures are stacked and ready in the garage, going on two months now...

I started to hang a toilet paper holder in the main powder room today, out of complete frustration at the free-standing one that just leans like the tower of pisa at this point. No go; the anchors that already exist in the wall are too far apart, and the screws don't seem to fit into the anchors that came with the set either. I'm too shy to force them [or I have learned over the years that I am dangerous at forcing things]. So I'm stifled. No surprising hubby with this project today. Let's see what he says at the mess. Or if he notices.

And then there's the lightbulbs in our master toilet room. Ummmmm....they burnt out weeks ago, and we pee in the dark. Or hubby walks in on me. I finally got the ladder out and looked inside the fixture and the bulbs are weird. They are like medium sized bottoms but small tops. I tried to get regular medium sized bulbs and then the glass doesn't fit back over them. So I'm peeing in the dark again until I get the right bulbs. 
Hard to see the problem, I know...CUZ IT'S DARK!
Now why didn't I unscrew and investigate the situation before I went to the hardware store? Well: 
  1. I didn't plan on going to the hardware store
  2. I didn't expect it would be anything but normal inside that thing
  3. You are lucky I didn't break all 6 bulbs in the box attempting to force the issue, only 3.
Summertime slows.

What are you getting done, anyways??

*UFO's are "un-finished objects" in quilt-speak. Don't say I never taught you nuttin'.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

sUn-edited: oh boy I walked into THAT one!

Oh! It's been awhile since I have posted un-edited for Sundays. Welcome back!

So...I got a little taste of some kind of different kind of mean-girls action.

Boy I am really good at attracting this kind of stuff!

Remember adult bullies? My being blocked on facebook?

Here's the latest story.

I love the blog Mama Laughlin. I don't know, something about her writing style, really draws me in. She has gotten a lot of followers because of her weight loss, but I think people stay for the funny. Actually, I find that most blogs I enjoy is because of the funny.

She shared in a "Blog advice giveaway" a few weeks back with several other bloggers.

It was kind of annoying - you had to follow everyone's blog to gain more entries into the giveaway, and you didn't really know what you might end up with - which blogger might be the one giving you advice - and in which type of format you would get the advice - skype or emails or maybe a phone call...

But I entered. I was excited. I thought: "this is it! I NEED this!"

But then weeks went by - I don't remember seeing a post about who won - so I figured I just missed it. It was still kind of on my mind, so I just Google'd to see who had won - if it was posted at all - and I came across another type of web forum that ... well, for lack of a better phrase, made fun of a "Blog advice giveaway" from "bloggers no one even knows."

So I commented and got in on the fun. [uh-oh, it is contagious...]

Then....noticed that I was receiving a lot of 'hits' from this site - and couldn't imagine it came from my one little comment - and it didn't.

Someone had posted the link to my blog and asked for 'thoughts'...which turned into a little snarky bashing...

"hate the name" ; 
"anything with main line in it makes me blech..." ; 
"is she a blogger or performer? opening herself up to ridicule by mixing the two..."


You got my adrenalin up for a second, and made me want to change something about my blog!! Like...a girl in high school making a side comment about my hair so me going home and trying to cut it myself. I even considered just...stopping...

I would post the link for you all but in true mean-girls-induced-fear I don't want you to link through and have them getting hits from my site that would alert them to the fact that I was *gasp* gossiping about them and bring them back here for more!!

So then I remembered why I do this. To chat. Even if it's just with the computer. 

I don't think I need to be snarky or clever to have a blog. I don't think it's entirely vanity. I think it's a great way for like-minded-peeps to get together when they can't physically get together because, say, three children are bouncing off and tugging on various body parts while we try to have a conversation.

So grab a cup of coffee and I'll see you at our coffee spot. 

Next time.


Friday, July 19, 2013

Some funny sh** that happened this week #funforfriday

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The boy said:
While catching a bit of Harry Potter at the doctor's: "wow that Grandma just turned into a cat!"
While "reading" about Thor in his superhero book: "hammer guy uses his hammer to ham things."

And then he put this on: 

The girl said:
While swimming with me for what would ultimately amount to six hours that day: "you never spend any time with me anymore"

And then she and her friend disciplined purple: 

The hubby said:
Upon arrival at home early one night, having spent the prior two weeks with quarter-end blinders, stepping over diapers on the floor, children on the stairs, and wives in the bathroom: "this house is a disaster inside and out!"

[How do I explain to him that that's how the house looks exactly 30 minutes before he comes home every day, he just happened to come home early for once??]

I didn't said:
While getting acquainted with Google + and coming across the "Singing Quilter." [Huh? Did she trademark that sh** yet??]
She posted this:

Why is Canadia weird. And why do I like love them.

Happy Friday!! 
What got said to you this week?

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Why every woman should do a triathlon

I know I've been posting a lot about my summer training and it gets so tedious for you non-tri-enthusiasts, but let me tell ya, I think it's great to TRI just once, if you can, for many reasons: 

Cross training is better for the body
I guess Cross-fit is a new trend, there are half-and-half fitness classes now and 'shock-the-body' type workouts like Insanity, P-90x, etc... So the word is out: make your body do different things and you will see results (toning, strengthening, waist-whittling...) Well swimming-biking-running is totally the original cross-training. There is a bike in your garage, there is a pool at your local school/university, and there are your running shoes. Free. Go train. No need to buy the videos, no need to hit the gym. And if you need some guidance or you are the type of person who needs a plan, hit Or see my slacker training plan (after a couch-to-5k, you could do this 5k-to-Sprint Tri.)

Swimming is a sport you can do in your 80's
Most people marvel at the swim. And even if you once swam, most people question how they would find a pool to put in the laps. You'd be surprised. Here, in Radnor Township, we get a special deal to use the facilities at Villanova University for $25 a year, and let me tell you, I have never seen the pool crowded in the summer time. I remember a similar opportunity for community members at the University of Maryland where I used to work. There are pools if you want to find them. There are even swimming coaches/lessons if you are looking for a great workout that's easy on the joints! And if you are a really good swimmer, there are Masters Swimming programs, usually with annual memberships, that allow you use of the pool during their specified training scheduled times. In fact, the U.S. Masters Swimming site is also a great place to start to browse workouts and find pools and all levels of practice swims near you.
Ok, you got this isn't during's where I hope to spend my golden years.
All the bike paths are sausage fests
Seriously, ladies. A gaggle of men go whizzing by with their matching pretty pink jersey get-ups and I think, we can get in on this. Don't let me go it alone.

Women are social
Triathlon is such a great, social, sport, because everyone works at a different pace, is in a different wave, and has a different strength or favorite in 1 of the 3 disciplines. So you help each other out. You see each other on race day but don't know what you or your friend's finish time is really going to be. In fact, the organizer of my fave race, Steelman, offers a free registration for the following year's race if you 'compromise' your race to stop and help someone [for instance, change a bike tire, etc.] You wave during the bike, you may meet on the run, but you don't have to be competitive, because you don't know when you started based on your neighbor, especially if there are two races going on at once (a Sprint and an Olympic-length), and/or if there are wave-starts to the swim (meaning, a new age group starts every 5 minutes, rather than everyone piling into the water together.) You'd like all the #trichat. You can't just put on your running shoes and go alone. You want to link up. Women are good at this.

Putting on a bathing suit in front of 1000 people will take away all your other fears
This one speaks for itself. No one, outside of the U.S. Olympic swimming team, looks good in a speedo. We all just laugh and share butterflies before the race begins. That never happens at a marathon.
My first tri-buddy (on the left) and I will be reuniting at this IronGirl event next month.

Running races are crowded
Speaking of marathons, it is not very cost-effective to run a race without 1,000 or so participants, and yet, there are plenty of triathlons with less than that. Triathlons take a lot of planning and a lot of mapping out and water - road - run support, so they may be a little more expensive, but it's such a fantastic community, and this need for organization is key to making a more enjoyable experience.So most of them are super detailed in their execution. It makes for a more comfortable approach for newbies.

Shopping for gear is like, well, shopping
You want to talk about retail therapy? How about, recovery retail therapy?? You know you could've rocked the swim course yesterday if you only had that hot $150 suit ... or a $350 bike helmet...or $3000 wheels...I mean, one of my add-ons this year was this bike pouch that mounted at the base of the handlebars with a smartphone touch window so I can scroll through and read my GPS map rather than stopping every 5 minutes to check where the eff I am. Could not be any more in love with this than a Coach bag. Changed. my ride.

Most people will think you've done an Ironman
When the average person hears "triathlon", they immediately think of the most widely publicized race: the World Ironman Championships in Kona. Oh, people are starting to catch on, they are starting to ask for the distances of each discipline, but even still, they will picture the grueling faces they see in the annual event, and maybe even remember once seeing this woman and her stumbling mad-like into the finish line from the early days.

And you will explain to them that Kona is a championship race, and you have to qualify, and of course they will ask you how you are going to go about the process of qualifying, and then a baby will spit up and everyone will be distracted and you will be forever in their minds qualifying for Kona. Nice.

What about you? 
Anything you feel people MUST do that you like to do?

Monday, July 15, 2013

Steelman OWS 5k, or why I can't walk down to my mailbox today

Can you see ALL the buoys? No, no you can't. Cuz it's too damn big.
 I'm hurting today y'all.

That was a LOT harder than I thought it would be. 

My right thigh is locked up. Won't move. 

The back of my neck, "sight" muscles- burnt to a crisp. 

Massive headache. 

Some other, non-fun stuff (wearing the same bathing suit for 10 hours? [because we had a kids' pool party directly afterwards] *NOT* recommended.)

Why do I do this again? 
pre-race. Scurred.

Quick & Dirty Recap / Blog post titles I composed in my mind while 
1-2-3 stroking for the 2+ hours it took me to complete my 5k: 

  • "Why I'm not a racer" [answer: because I am slow and my muscles don't care to go faster. Just. always. finishing. never racing! Am I starting to get frustrated at this??]
  • "So I thought I was a swimmer..." [seeing the 40-something-year-old ladies with arms bigger than my thighs - but cut like a steel pipe - really put this crowd in perspective]
  • "Letting the fear take hold" [because I spent the entire second loop asking the kayak-ers if they were going to pull me out because I timed out, or if I was last] [they all said no.]
  • "Why racing with men sucks." [because they are all agro and sh**]
  • "You can't call it a taper if that's your normal training week" [maybe not 200+ miles of driving and 2 parties post-race to prepare for in the same week of your race]
  • "DND - or Did Not Drown - Did not finish last - #winning"

Slow & Painful Recap
(but probably not as slow as my swim was yesterday)

I must admit I did not train much for this. I've said many times, I could swim all day. I really do love to swim. But as with most things I love, I tend to forcefully intensify said love beyond the brink.

I'm so good at taking things too far. I really wish it was a gainfully employable career path.

The most I swam in preparation for this 3.1 mile swim was about 1.5 miles, twice. I also swam a couple of 1 mile practice swims, and in the past, I have swum up to 2 miles at a stretch with no problem.

But those were all in the pool. 

I have swum this particular lake for all of my triathlons post-babies, and know it very well.

But not that far out into the middle of the lake, when, say, a current was a blowin'.

So they gave us a triangular route and each leg was approximately .5 miles - one was a little less, one was a little more, and 2 loops would end up equaling 3.1 miles. They started us at 9 am in 5 minute waves - starting with the 3.1 men, the 3.1 women, then 1.5 men, 1.5 women, and relay teams.
From Steelman athlete note.
They gave the 3.1-ers an option to take a breather half-way through with a little refreshment table set up around the start/finish line. As I rounded around the half-way point, I saw a couple of guys in the wave ahead of me stopping to do so. And I just couldn't. I knew if I stopped, I might not get back in. And I knew I was leading the back of the pack, and I didn't want to keep the race director waiting in his car, packed up and trying to head home.

This is also my biggest fear for my half-iron in September. I imagine myself picking up the trash with the organizers so that they don't hate me for making them keep the finish mat plugged in.

Anyhoo, the first leg I felt good. I was staying with my wave, and yet letting them kick ahead of me. I like to have a little space around me.

Before I got to the first .5 buoy I was starting to be passed by the 1.5 male racers. Stupid men. They are like effin ZOMBIES! I hate them. They start to crawl up on your legs like they are going to eat them but you start to kick your feet at them faster so they actually see you and they back off but then hover along side you like they are going to eat your brain instead. You see their mindless faces breathe on you as they pass by. Gross. To quote Dirty Dancing:
"This is my dance space. This is your dance space. I don't go into yours, you don't go into mine."
Let me clarify my prejudice was proven before the end of my second side of my triangle, when the 1.5 female racers started to pass me, and I did not get bit or mindlessly breathed on. I can't wait for IronGirl Columbia next month with my tri sisters.

I was checking my time and I hit the first two sides in 22 minutes and the next, 20 minutes. Not great, not even good, actually, but this was:
a) open water and
b) more crowded than I thought it would be and
c) I was in it for the long haul. Just keep swimming.
"If you do the first 1.5 in 60 minutes you can still finish the whole thing in 2 hours," I said to myself.
The third side was a little marred by reeds. The race director warned us there would be 'a little.' I would say there was a little more than a little, but my brain was already wandering by this point so I started imagining I was in Harry Potter's world and if I just had some gillyweed I would be golden.

The disorientation did rear its ugly head towards the end of this first loop, but I reminded myself I had only swum a mile and change, and that is usually a piece of cake for me. Stay focused, sight the dock, finish 1.5 then pull yourself together.

The sighting on the second loop was the most disconcerting. I did not plan/train for this, and it's why the point in between my two shoulder blades up to the base of my skull feels like a concrete sidewalk that's been broken up with a jackhammer and left to bake in the sun. There were not as many buoys as I remember, and I suppose that's because it was just feeling longer in between them. There were also 1/3 of the racers, so I didn't have other swimmers to sight on the sides of me and I felt incredibly alone. At first I enjoyed it! I wanted the lake all to myself. I wanted to imagine that I was just on a lovely morning swim with ten of my favorite kayakers at the ready to give me a lift should I get tired.

But then I started to be afraid the race was over. My mind was really playing tricks on me. The wind picked up and the current was against me. Before the first .5 was over I asked one of the kayakers if I was last. She laughed and said,
"No. Plenty of people behind you."
I'm pretty sure she was lying but at least she wouldn't be mad at me for keeping her out here so long.

I rounded the first point on the triangle and it took me 27 minutes. I knew this for a fact because I had passed the halfway point at exactly 1 hour and 0 seconds. I thought that was incredibly helpful, even if slow.

27 minutes versus 22 minutes was the difference the current made. And a little bit of fatigue, but I typically speed up during a swim so I was pretty sure it was the current.

My thighs are starting to spasm as I type. Funny. They don't like this story.

On my second leg in my second loop I think I asked three more kayakers if I was last, and if they were going to pull us out because the race was over. I tried to make it 'ha-ha' funny but it came off as 'scared', I guess, because they all offered to let me hang on their kayaks for a breather [one even made sure I knew it was legal.] I did not want a breather. I wanted to not be last! I shook them all off and went about my swim.

As I rounded the last point on the triangle and headed home I started to sprint. This is when I take these huge shoulders of mine and burn them into the water. I know this pattern well. I scoop the water with my arms like an excavator and let my legs almost go limp. I pull myself to the finish line with nothing but chest and shoulders.

But my arms didn't go. They just continued their up and flap down onto the water like two whale fins on a ride around the bay.

So I called on my thighs, my massive thighs, to kick it up a notch and burn my arms into the finish line.

But my thighs didn't go. They just swiveled and swished, and did their little kicks like they've been doing for an hour and forty five minutes. No one wanted to work with me. No one wanted me to beat the 50 year old woman in front of me.

So I just swam in, and I stopped my timer. I made it before the awards ceremony started, which was my goal.

I picked up my towel, bag, and flip flops, which were just sitting in a nice spot by the lake. No one in this crowd was there, in the middle of a state park at 11 am on a Sunday, to steal my stuff. To find my car key and walk around the parking lot to steal my car. Which, incidentally, had my bike racked on it without a lock in case I had to bike to the start line from another parking lot. No one was there to steal that either.

I love tri people.

In fact, at the start, two women were talking about the fact that it was one of their birthdays, and I chatted with them a bit. I gave her a birthday hug and told her it was more for me because I was so nervous. She laughed about it being my first time, and said, "it is a long swim." But this year she was turning 60, and  'moving up an age group', so that meant: 'she was YOUNG again!' I thought that was a fantastic emotion.

I guess this is what keeps me going back.

I am proud of my endurance level, my fitness level, my accomplishment.

But my training, well, yea, gotta work on that...

Post-race. Ready to start my mommy day.

Thursday, July 11, 2013


As you may or may not know, running is not my favorite of the three sports that make up my tri habit.

But it is becoming more of an enjoyable sport for me every year. 

I think my #favoriterun is the one at the end of my favorite tri. Yup, you guessed it, the Steelman at Lake Nockamixon in Quakertown, PA.

I've run the route four times. It was the first 10k I ever ran [whoops for training runs.] It was the first race I ran after having children.

It's a tree-lined paved path that borders the lake. It is not too skinny, not too fat. It has one incline. On the way back, that is the one descent.

It starts out from the transition area into the sun, into the marina boat launch. You start to realize that you just swam, and biked your a$$ off, and now you are running. You are going to need another gel. You are going to need to stop running and start walking. You don't know why your legs are running other than the fact that you just put on your running shoes. Your feet are in the right place and are moving one in front of the other but your thighs are going to walk. But then you see the race photographer. And you round the circular point at the marina for the first turn-around and you smile and give the thumbs up for what is sure to be a kick-a$$ race photo.  And now you start running.

After the first turn-around you get to view the entire lake you just swam. And it is now mid-morning, and you have been through a world of hurt before now. You take a breath and you realize you have another six miles to the finish line, even though you are just about the pass the chute on your right.

You head onwards, pass that chute, with your friends. You feel a sense of comraderie. Some friends are headed to the finish line, some friends are passing you, and some friends are letting you pass them. There is no way to know which wave they started in, which distance they are racing, and which pace they are striving towards, so you are all just in it together. You are starting this leg together.

You head another mile and a half along the trees until you reach the next opening view of the lake. And you know you have another mile to the turn around. But you enjoy the view. You remember a shorter race you swam from this point in the lake. You remember a point in time when you thought a two mile run was challenging.

Another run through the woods and the half-way point awaits. You are completely exposed to the sun as you round the circle and cross the mat and hear your chip-timer beep. You have three familiar miles to go. It is getting later in the morning. You are looking forward to getting back to the shade.

One mile to the descent. It is crowded now. Everyone wants to finish and the sprint-distance friends are on the course. You are ready for this. You take the downhill like your hubby-the-coach told you: take it. Let your weight fall. Do not stop yourself. Take the speed that gravity gives you. 

You take that momentum and you gain in speed for that final mile. You know you can sleep later. You can walk later. You can take that cold, cold orgasmic shower they have waiting for you at the finish line. There is so much water. So much food. So much happy. Waiting for you.

There is a sign telling you to turn left to the chute. It is still .2 miles of gravel to the finish line. Why is there .2. Why don't we do k's. Why are we weird. There is no more pavement. But there are people. There are non-racing people lining the chute and rooting for strangers because they are awesome. And you are awesome! You are finished.

You hit 'stop' on your timer and your run is finished. And your race is finished. And your medal is upon you. And the cold, cold, awesome shower awaits.

My #favoriterun.

misszippyfavoriterunbutton #Favorite run

Linkup: True confidence & the bikini pledge

I have received an overwhelming response from my post this week about my little weight loss. And well, frankly, my little bikini! Ladies, we should ALL be wearing them.

It has inspired me to make you. Listen to my story. 

My mama says I was born with it but I didn't beleive her until I had a daughter. I always attributed my confidence to the way she raised me.

When I was in high school I typically wore a size 8, and felt that that was fat because I knew many girls who wore a size 0, or even 00 [*ahem* my stepmom]. Frustrated and sweating in the fitting room at The Gap, I still knew I had something special about my body.

When, at 21, I was hitting 5 auditions a day and not getting very far, my mom quietly brought up the idea that I didn't necessarily look like the showgirls on Broadway. 
"But mom", I said, "look at Barbara. Look at Bernadette. I look like them. There may be no shortage of chorus girls, but there are only a few stars."
Don't get me wrong; I have bad days. I have fat days. I've cried over my body. Who hasn't? I've had supportive boyfriends and I've had idiots for boyfriends. But I soon learned who the idiots were. I had the ability to blame clothing manufacturers, when I couldn't find a pair of trendy jeans that fit me. 

As I've mentioned to you all before, I'm an incredible self-rationalizer. 

At my core I have always been blessed with this false confidence. Believing I could make it on Broadway, I could swim the English Channel, I could make it into a blurb in the Encyclopedia (literally wrote that as a goal back when encyclopedias existed.) I am in charge of my destiny. 

Because of this, I sometimes get myself into situations I shouldn't be in. Like, racing a half-ironman, for instance. Falsely confident. We shall see. 

On the other side of the confidence spectrum lives my husband. He started taking control of his weight gain this February. For years I have tried to persuade him to join me at the gym, do a race with me (he did once), and eat smaller dinners. He didn't budge. He needed to do it for him. 

His weight gain (and mine) started during our infertility journey. We indulged in candy and video games, lots of dinners out and extra buttered popcorn at the movies. We called it our second childhood. We didn't want to call it anything else. 

I think that was the first time in my life that I realized I was no longer in control over how my life was going to turn out. I'm sure any parent, whether you've struggled with infertility or not, can relate to that. 

So we got fertile. We had kids. It was twins. We spun around for two years. Then four years. We kept the weight. We made strides to lose the weight. Me first. Now him. 

But when he started getting the kids involved, and telling them to help him wake up and get on the treadmill, his insecurity came out, too. 
"Look at Daddy's big belly. It is TOO big. Daddy's got to get rid of this belly."
In a playful way, of course. 

After a few days of this, my daughter, looking at me through the bathroom mirror at her nightly bedtime tooth-brushing, turned to me, slapped my belly, giggled and said,
"Mommy your belly is TOO big!"
To which I replied, lifting up my shirt, and without missing a beat,
 "Nope- my belly is just the right size. My belly is perfect."
So of course the kids both lifted up their shirts, looked in the bathroom mirror and said "my belly is just right - just right - hahaha" and proceeded to rub each other's bellies. 

And I just about slapped my husband into next Tuesday for bringing that insecurity into my daughter's vocabulary. 

There is no reason we can't teach her - or hell - just not eff up - the confidence she was born with to get through this world without losing her personal navigation system. 

And the little boy, too, while we're at it.

It starts with us parents. 

It starts with ourselves.

If you can't give your image in the mirror a smile, how will your children know how to? 

Fake it. Falsify it if you have to. In their minds, if you say it is, it will be true. 

Who's to say my false confidence isn't true? 

Please, take my pledge. 

Wear a bikini. Show some gusto. Be body confident. Be image confident. Show me your post. Show me your pic! Grab the button. Don't be afraid. Link up. Tweet it. Mark it with a B. Stick it with a pin. Put it in the oven for all our girls. 

Watch the collective confidence cake rise. 


We'll find you here at the linkup, or if you tweet/Facebook/google plus a pic with the hashtag #bikinipledge, or pin it or grab the button and link to this post. Comment and add your link!
Happy beach-combing my bikini-clad sisters!!!! 

If you are on board but not ready to post a pic, plaster my muffin-top all over the universe, that's perfectly fine with me. 

Grab button for THE BIKINI PLEDGE
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