Sunday, April 27, 2014

Yikes- big time starts Monday

Crazy to think in 16 weeks I will be participating in half-ironman. 1.2 mile swim, 56 mile bike and 13.1 mile run.
The last part of this past week I did a lot. Swam quick 850 yds with kids Thursday night, Friday ran 5 miles in morning, later rode to wellness center (8.5 miles) and swam 1500 yds, then biked home (7.4 miles). Saturday biked 26 miles (my longest bike to date), and then ran 7 miles this morning.

This all is great and a great base, but a little eye opening for where I need to get. Last week I ran 15 miles, biked 42 ish and swam 2350 yds. I did this over 7 days- when I do my race in August I'll be adding some miles to the bike and just subtract a few from swim and run and doing it all within one day. This amazes me and of course overwhelms me. But I will take it day by day and I've found I will need to focus on the bike- my 26 miles took me 2hrs and 5 min. I will need to go faster to not be on the bike all day at Pigman 70.3. I will have to continue on bettering my time and distance/endurance in pool and of course keep a good strong running base (not to mention figure out how to wear a wetsuit and swim in open water, figure out "transitions", fuel properly and better, and fit in some weights/strength training so I don't get injured).

Oh did I forget all my normal "to-do's"- nope. I will figure it out and let you know how I do it. Pray for me- no I'm not kidding. If you believe in any higher being ask for safety/protection for little old chatty natty and this new adventure -70.3.

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Thursday, April 24, 2014

World Book Night and Luna Fest- all in one day!

This week has been really kind of up and down for me. 

Sunday weighed myself and was horrified at the scale- now probably not the smartest time to being weighing myself- after the weekend of indulging, but I wanted to see the honest truth- and the honest truth was I'd gained back quite a bit of the weight I'd lost back in January.  Could it be the sugary treats, cookies, candy, alongside the adult beverages, and added carbs (although most whole wheat, still more than I probably need).  Now one friend was kind when I was telling her this and asked could it be muscle weight- maybe it could be, but I think based on my overall guilt for my poor eating habits of late I'd have to lean towards the weight being more likely due to eating not working out.

So then Monday flew by as it always does and by Tuesday morning when I went out to do my 5 mile run and could only do 3 because the outside of my right knee was irritating me- a pain I couldn't quite put my finger on. I knew Tuesday was going to be not the best day.  My mood was so "Debbie Downer" that day.  I even told my hubby that I was so frustrated with my mood because I have it so good- great family (hubby and kids- both have been great lately :), beautiful home, great extended family and wonderful Peeps, a job, and hobbies I love (reading, training, and writing). I also had a great day ahead of me on Wednesday- lunch with some NP students (love being around students, because most of the time they remind me about how exciting my profession is), World Book Night- giving "Wild" by Cheryl Strayed away to 20 Iowa City Shelter House clients, and ending the night with 14 of my friends watching Luna Fest films- films made for, made by and about women- fundraiser for one of my fav causes: "Girls On The Run"- Eastern Iowa.   So what was my deal.  My "black and white, Mr. Logic" hubby's answer- "Life has its ups and downs".  Guess Tuesday was a down day.

Wednesday started off better.  Rode the trainer for 30 minutes and watched music videos on MTV- yep they still have music videos you just have to watch MTV at 5:30 a.m.  Then off to work, followed by lunch with the NP students, and then back to work, and quick stop at home before the World Book Night and then back out to Iowa City Shelter House.  When I got there they had a little Welcome sign and clients were waiting my presentation.  I had made my own cookies as an added "lure" into reading/ wanting the book.  I have to say they were pretty good Monster Cookies and two of the guys took the book, I'm pretty sure just for the cookies, but they are in the hands of someone who otherwise wouldn't have had this book or any book for that matter.  It was a wonderful experience and I feel selfish in the way in which the giving of the book made me feel so good- it was suppose to be about giving and passing on my passion of reading to others, but I left with big smile on my face.  I introduced myself and the point behind World Book Night- you apply to be a giver by stating what book you would like to give (they have a list of about 40- ranging from nonfiction, fiction, poetry, and YA), you then write where you would like to give your book and why.  Then I decided what better way to get a person to read a book, but by telling some of the story.  So I read the back cover which recaps briefly what the book is about, but then I read about the first 3 pages of the Prologue.  Several of the women I gave the book to thought it sounded interesting and I truly believe they are going to read it.  I loved this story and so went so far as to offer to come back to have a "book club" with the clients about the book.

Then off to Luna Fest.  It is such a fun and positive event.  The appetizers were wonderful (cupcakes, fruits, veggies, cheese, salsa, etc) and adult beverages :).  But the best part of the night, other than these great short films ( go to to watch the trailer) was the meeting of many different facets of my life: church friends, bookies, training buddies, work friends.  So fun to see them all interact and enjoy each other's company.  Plus it was a great way to support my love for running along side empowering women to be strong and independent.  Girls on the Run Eastern Iowa has 28 school currently involved in the program and it is amazing to think about where many of these GOTR girls will end up in the future having had this great experience to participate with others and not only become a runner (goal at the end of the 10 week session is to run 5K), but also to build on friendships with girls, while also building a girl's own self esteem and knowing her self worth.  The films were superb too.  All very different, with different messages/themes, but you could pull from each of them some echo of empowerment, understanding, communication, camaraderie and friendship that is so needed if a girl. 

Up and Down life goes, but so lucky to have so many more Up days then Down. 

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Time Management- We all Probably Need it- or maybe I'm the only weird one...

I think this is one of those issues that is an ongoing and likely life long problem that I will seek the answer for (just like eating healthy).  I truly believe that those things important to a person the person should be able to find the time for.  Just as I have never appreciated the excuse "Sorry I haven't called, I'm just too busy" from a friend you haven't talked to in awhile.  Well they probably are busy, everyone is busy, but the difference is if someone is important to you then shouldn't you make the time.  Like friendship self-care is one of those things I think people let slide, but instead should really be making a priority.  You have to take care of yourself before you take care of others (Nope I didn't think that one up- heard it somewhere).  It is true, but how do you/I fit it all in. 

I have these great goals/ideas/dreams and it seems like they all seem to flood my noggin at the same time.  I'm in the midst in trying to bike, swim and run train, along with continue my love of reading with my children and myself, eat healthy (less of a priority lately and it is evident in how I feel), spend time with those I truly love and enjoy (I'm doing better at this and have had some great social times with friends), keep in contact with those that don't live near (I did really well with this last year through my year of writing letters- which I still need to post about) but now that the letter writing goal is over I feel like I'm doing less of that- shame on me, spending time with hubby (quality time just the two of us and quality time with our kids- the four of us). The list could go on and on and then last week I go to this wonderful writing conference and I kept hearing "just write, just write, just write".  So another goal/dream to add to the list of the weekly "to do's".  So below is something I found and I think you could switch out writing for running, parenting, reading, calling a friend, etc and the message is the same- make the time.  So even if you aren't a writer maybe the below will remind you as it did me of ways to make all those "to do's" work so goals/ideas/dreams come to fruition.  

Below taken from Sarah Selecky website:  check her out if interested in writing...

Your writing doesn't take time, it makes time.

Time is the substance from which I am made. Time is a river that carries me along, but I am the river; it is a tiger that devours me, but I am the tiger; it is a fire that consumes me, but I am the fire. – Jorge Luis Borges
Your life is busy. More than usual – more than ever.
People depend on you: your partner, your co-workers, your children.
You work long hours/ you just moved/ you just started a new job.
You already wake up early to meditate/work out/ practice yoga/ commute.
You have rescue dogs/elderly parents/a newborn/376 emails in your inbox.
You’re on the board, you belong to the book club, you are your sister’s wedding planner, you’re renovating your kitchen, selling your boat, revising your resume and looking for a job, Occupying the streets.
Forget about cooking dinner and doing laundry.
There are a finite number of hours in a day. Most of yours are non-negotiable.
These are not excuses: this is your full and beautiful (sometimes overwhelming) life!
How are you supposed to find time to write?
Here are five things I know about time:
  1. Einstein proved that time is relative. It feels absolute, but it isn’t. You make time. It comes from you.
  2. You can’t do everything for everyone and write. (You can’t do everything for everyone, period.)
  3. You are in charge of setting your own priorities around time. Your life is your own because you built it that way.
  4. When you complain about not having enough time to write, you are actually complaining about the decisions you have made.
  5. Balance is a verb, not a noun. Your life balance can’t be graphed on a pie chart – not if you’re living it.
Time for writing will not appear for you if you are not writing. You have to make it. You have to rebuild your life so that you write in it. There is no other way.
When you make time for writing, it will probably feel, at first, as though you are breaking your life. That’s okay. Think of your life as a glow stick: you have to break it to make it illuminate.
Try this experiment. For one week, write instead of doing something else.
Write instead of checking your email.
Write instead of meditating.
Write instead of reading the newspaper.
Write instead of phoning your parents.
Write instead of grocery shopping.
Write instead of going to work.
Write instead of taking a shower.
Do this every single day for one week, and tell me what happens.
One more thing: in my experience, thinking about not writing takes more time than writing does.

Friday, April 11, 2014

I'm just... I'm not just

I've spent the last two days at a writing conference called "The Examined Life Conference. Writing, Humanities and the Art of Medicine".  It has been a great experience and I'm always amazed at how our different life experiences can very much change who we are- I know "no brainer", but I also take it a step further and think if I didn't do certain things I wouldn't meet certain people- really strangers- and I wouldn't hear certain words or ideas that light up that "light bulb" in my brain. 

I'm so thankful for what I've experienced over the last couple of days and the people I've met and the words I've heard. Here are just a few examples...

"Fiction is blurred lines, not all is made up."

"Change and Celebrate your child"... this spoke to me in regard to how we look at our children.  Things that are needed and important to change in and for your child you should do, but also be good about "celebrating" who your child is.  Pick your battles and move on- what you can change, should change and will change.  I need to do more "celebrating" of my children instead of feeling like I need to "change" them.  (now we all know, we or at least I, want to change them, because I don't want them to have the 'worst' of me- just the best parts- however, some of my 'worst' parts I'm growing to love and understand as I age and is what makes me who I am: passionate, emotional, sensitive, loud, energetic, easily frustrated- this one is hard to see in my kids, but as I age I can see how having kids makes me less easily frustrated,unless tired/sleep deprived- yep not enough sleep just doesn't go well with being a perky/smiley mom). 

My friend, who introduced me to this wonderful experience and conference, said she was at a talk and asked about interest in really writing, getting it done... do you need a Master in Fine Arts (MFA).  He said "you need to read 40 books a year, 30 short stories and write- 'That is your MFA''.  LOVE THAT- thank the lord I don't have to pay or try to get back in school :).  It's like training for a half iron-man, I can do it on my own, maybe not easily, but "with a little help from my friends" (Beatles) aka freebie training schedules and great "words of wisdom" I can get it done- maybe I can do the same with writing?

I also was exposed to some GREAT writing prompts, and exercises:
1. Newspaper Poem- take a newspaper or magazine at home and pick out some words and take a Sharpie and blacken the rest of the words not of interest in an article and that is your poem. 

an example- not mine
2. 6 word memoir. Write a 6 word sentence for each day- here was my example:
Nickname is chattynatty but today quiet. 

Once asked to write a full story in six words, legend has it that novelist Ernest Hemingway responded: "For Sale: baby shoes, never worn."  Yep- he is concise, clear, and these 6 words are super heavy!

There are numerous other writing exercises and so numerous I just really can't write them all.  But it was the people I met that really made the "experience"...

Here is just one example:

This lady (really she was a 'big wig' someone who is an 'executive writing coach' from D.C.)  who said "Stop saying 'I'm just'".  She was calling me out.  I had said out loud in one session,  "I'm just writing for fun, I'm just a mom, a marathon runner, I'm just a triathlete..." yada, yada, yada.  "You aren't Just a Mom, You are a Mom, You aren't Just a Runner, You are a Runner"-  I think she caught herself knowing she was talking to me directly and knew it  "This really means something to me", she almost said in apology... but this really did mean something to her... "You say 'I'm Just' long enough and you start to believe it".  I realized, yep I was being self-deprecating, I was being what I hate seeing in other women, men, children- self-defeating, feelings of un-worth, and this unbelief and lack of seeing whom they are... Wake up and stop saying "I'm Just".  my "Oprah Winfrey- Aha Moment!"

Thanks life for letting me meet these people and experience your greatness. 

However, more so than the two days, thus of writing and listening and "light bulb" moments were the awesome realization of great "Peeps" in my life.  The friend I've become close with through "sweating it out at the gym" on Wednesday mornings and the great lady I met and aspire to be like through my triathlon group I joined this year, and my super smart sister and best friend.  These three women have added immense meaning to my life and taught me so much.  The one has taught me or told me: you are passionate, you are energetic, you are motivational, you are goal-oriented- all these words I need to hear, I'm not sure why, well I know why- self-esteem, self-worth, feeling like "I make a difference, I'm liked".  This friend sees a different me- and I appreciate her sharing what she "sees in me".  We all need to do this for each other.  We should tell each other "the person we see" more- not the inflation type of talk or the BS talk, but the real beauty we see in each other.

My sister, whom I love dearly and wonder pretty often "how was I so lucky to get her to follow me into this life".  She is going back to school and I've been thinking of her new "road to travel" and can't seem to stop smiling with utter happiness and extreme pride in her following a higher education route, doing something for just her, and of course the added benefit of having Doctorate of PT in her credentials.  Super proud of the mom, women, sister and best friend you are!  I'd love you no less if you weren't doing this, but alas- I hope to live vicariously through you and your return to school and sing your praises as "DO IT ALL" Mom. 

Lastly, is my triathlon buddy/mentor/'wise one" I spent most of the evening with. Besides doing this writing conference I also went to a "get together" for people involved in an open water swim group in my town.  I know it sounds like all I've done the last few days are things for me- which in all truthfulness- I kind of feel is the truth.  My husband is awesome and took up a lot of the "kids" duties over the last few days, which meant it truly was "me time". I've honestly not done all the "workouts" I need to be doing, and thus will pay for it, but also feel that these "life experiences" are worth the lack of hours in the pool, bike and road.   So I went to this meeting and it was fun.

How did I know this person-   She was someone I met in spin class through triathlon group and ended up doing a swimming evaluation of my husband and I, and also a great mentor and educator on swimming and triathlon.  However, as so many things occur in life, she has become more.  Tonight my 'best time" was spent driving to and driving home from the meeting with her because our conversations were so rich, real and non-petty. Great conversation with someone who is real!

 Sometimes I do a better job recognizing these life experience than others.  I don't know if it is all the writing I've done in the last two days, but I hope I've been able to collect these great life experiences and can look back on these few days, during not good days, or frustrating/less than "stellar" days and think wow- how lucky!  how grateful!

Friday, April 4, 2014

March Training

I really feel kind of like an "old soul" when I write "I can't believe how fast the time is flying by".

It is a couple of days into April and I'm about a month away from the 1/2 marathon, 2 months away from the Spring tri and 4 months 2 weeks from the 1/2 Ironman. 

Although the weather is starting to really grate on my nerves and training happiness looking back at March I feel, even despite my two weeks of back to back travel I did well and put in some decent training time.  One area I did not meet my goal with was the 30 day "Arm Challenge".  I did pretty good for the first 1 1/2, but then I just kind of got tired of my arms hurting so bad and never knowing if I would make a good swim of it or potentially drown due to fatigued arms.  Didn't trust myself to swim through the discomfort and the fear of drowning or needing assistance was enough to steer me away from doing arms the day before my swims.  This month is a 30 day "Core Challenge" which I find is much easier and less taxing on my body, plus the core is needed in all three Tri sports so it benefits them all, but doesn't prevent me from getting swims, bikes, and runs in like the arms seem to do.

This months mileage:
Swims: 8,000 meter= 5 miles
Bike: 61miles of spin + 2 hours and 15 minutes on trainer (don't have anything set up to figure out mileage yet when on trainer- maybe goal of next year purchase)
Run: 53.7 miles (yep I count every last tenth per my nice Nike GPS watch or treadmill)

Due to travel and not keeping with my training of 6 days/week when away from home either due to inability to get my butt out of bed or fit the workout in to my conference schedule or the 2nd travel when it was me and the kids all day long and they just aren't old enough that I felt safe leaving them in friend's house alone while I ran in a city I'm not familiar with.  So I had to get my act together and double up with workouts many days this month and really it worked well.  When you have a work day worth of time in between workouts it doesn't seem that bad or taxing.  The shorter period of time between workouts the harder it is, but this will need to be done over and over again to get my body ready for some crazy back to back to back mileage once in the race. 

My eating/nutrition is going o.k.  Some days better than others.  Me and my darn moderation issues.  I think that will be a life long work in progress. 

One thing I did com to realize this month that my expected training schedule of three swims, bikes and runs/week once 1/2 IM training starts is going to be pretty tough and part of me wonders if I will need to scaled it back a little.  I know sacrificing less workouts will mean sacrificing training and possible performance, but part of me thought about maybe just doing the same "mileage" required, but longer workouts.  Will keep you posted on that one. 

Lastly, had a couple of interesting conversations with some more experienced women triathletes recently.  They have been participating in endurance sports (one does lots of swimming, the other does lots of biking), and they both feel like with getting older they feel the desire to perform at their best- they want to improve and be at the top of the podium when they participate in races.  It got me thinking about my own philosophy... I am more all about "the challenge" and less about the "podium placement".  I also think that if I don't sign up for something I really am not good about keeping on track with workouts, and become more lax.  I would never think of doing two a days or brick workouts in just my general physical activity, but this makes me do more and expect more of myself.  At the end of the day I feel better, although sometimes a little sore and a little crabby if I don't get enough sleep or don't eat well or plan my time, but really the times I go multiple times without workouts I noticed an unease/unhappiness.