Monday, May 30, 2016

Active Rest

If you are lucky enough to have today off, Happy Second Sunday!

More importantly...today we remember all those who gave their lives in our armed forces...Happy Memorial Day.

Rest Days

For today's post, I'm gonna take you back to yesterday, which was a designated "Rest Day" on my training schedule.

I have issues with rest days. I'm not very good at doing nothing, it just puts me in a bad headspace. Yesterday was the perfect example, because I went to bed knowing I had very little planned for Sunday. Then I woke up at 5:30 and had a thought:

"I have way too many workout clothes in the drawer. I should clean it out."

Which lead to the next thought:

"Actually...I just have too many clothes. I bet all the drawers and the closet could be cleaned."

Which lead to thought number three:

"This room is so small. Hannah's coming soon. Wouldn't it be great if the dresser was in a different spot so there's more room for an air mattress?"

And the final thought:

"You should really pack up those DVDs and books for when you move. Just clear out that bookshelf and store everything until the fall."

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is why I spent over four hours yesterday doing a total clear out of my bedroom.

I packed the books and DVDs. I went through some random box of stuff in my room that my mom gave me over a year ago (that had some cool stuff in it). I went through my dresser and closet and decided what to donate and what to toss. Three and a half boxes of stuff to store, two boxes (one entirely of shoes), one bag of clothes, and a desk chair to donate.

At one point I went downstairs for something (I think?) and ended up cleaning out the den closet too. I store all of my hamster stuff (as well as some other random tidbits) in there, and it was looking chaotic. So that got done, and then I headed back to my room.

Stuff that has been sitting in my room for ages waiting to be brought downstairs (for whatever reason) is now put away or filed. I even started looking for medal hangers so that my book shelves will look a little more reasonable. I stopped though, because I can't justify the cost right now. The $40 for the hanger I wanted wasn't bad, but it pushed near $60 with shipping. I'll just have to wait on that one!

Spring cleaning came a little late for this girl, but I finally did it!
My tiny room in the last stages of clearing out.
I felt so accomplished. Something about rearranging furniture does that. Now I just have these piles of things to do stuff with...

I'll get right on that.

Work

And not the work you might think! Kind of at the last minute on Saturday I decided to accept an appointment for an old client - well, two kids in the same family. I haven't seen this family since my shoulder surgery over two and a half years ago, and I don't normally accept clients anymore, but they were always really good to me so I decided to go.

First up...holy crap, kids grow a lot in two years. The one is now taller than me (by a good bit), and has learned how to drive. The younger one is suddenly super talkative (he was all tiny and shy before). But...holy crap did it make me feel old!

I really like them, and their whole family is really into tennis. The kids are very good, especially the older one. That said, I was super shocked to find out that he has a US Open qualifier tournament in two weeks! Like...he is playing to qualify for the US Open. I didn't even know kids his age could do that!!!!

So yeah, color me shocked. After talking to their mom a bit about my training schedule we've decided to see how we can fit in some regular appointments for the kids. She was really understanding about my schedule too, and even when I offered to give them a friend's number she made a face and was like, 'No...I want to stick with you.' That made me feel really good about my decision to keep my license.

So throw one more thing on top of this summer's craziness! That said, I can't wait to see how he does at the tournament, and I get to earn some extra money for Europe at the same time. Woot!

Last but not least...

You know what else I did yesterday (and am continuing today)? I turned my phone off. I kept it off most of the day, only turning it on every few hours to see if Cam had texted me from Scamp.

At breakfast, I read a newspaper instead of scrolling through Facebook.

I found three (kind of recent) issues of Runner's World to read during lunch or when I'm bored and looking for something for my brain to gnaw on.

I went from thinking, 'Man, I never have any time to read,' to realizing...I definitely do...I just don't really pick things that are worthwhile.

It was nice to unplug for a while. It's really so easy to get caught up in the internet and all of the things and people that are on it, and so easy to forget to live and see what's right in front of your face.

Anyways...I have nothing more about that, it was just an observation and a fun little challenge for myself these few days. Have you ever tried "disconnecting" from your phone? It wasn't until I didn't have it next to me all day that I realized how often I instinctively reach for it!

Now...off I go! Enjoy your Memorial Day!


x

PS...funny story. I was at Target the other day and had a coupon for $10 off a purchase of $10 or more. When I gave it to the cashier he said, "Oh my god. This is incredible!? Is this even real?!" I thought it was so funny that the cashier reacted that way!! Hah! Alright...off I go for real ;)

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Ducklings

I might have to end up doing another twofer for my workout post, because I've been way too busy to write up last week's so far!

The good news is, I have been keeping at it, and I even have a story to tell!

Bike Riding
I really wanted to get a long ride in this past weekend, so I asked Cam if he would be up for it on Saturday. He agreed it'd be good to get one in before Summer Camp (a music festival he goes to every year), so we met up Saturday morning after a bit of running around.

Aside: I stopped at Dicks to pick up a new Camelbak bladder for Cam, and while I was there I decided to see if they have the Brooks Uplift sports bras that I really like. And they did...ON SALE! Like, cheaper than on the Brooks website! I was thrilled, so I snagged two of them. I've been so sick of doing laundry every other day (the Uplift is the only running bra I wear now), so it was a good buy.

After my little errand we met up in the parking lot of the DQ right next to the trail we rode last time, but we were way further south. Only about 4 miles from our turn around point last time.

Let me tell you guys, it was a great day for a ride. The weather was great - the sun was out and there was a breeze so it didn't feel like the sun was trying to beat us to death with its rays. I was also looking super chic in my TriFe shorts, which I'm happy to say I've gotten very...umm...accustomed to, given all the trainer rides I've done. (Seriously, all I can think about right now is Meredith Atwood's post on "The Queen". Just go read it.)

Anyways. I was looking snazzy, I adjusted my seat (not enough though), and we slathered ourselves in sunscreen then hopped on our bikes for the ride.

We ended up doing 26 miles in just under 2 hours (moving time).

In actually though - the ride took nearly 3 hours. As we were coming back through Elgin (about 6 miles from our start point) along the river, we rode past three ducklings loudly chirping on top of a storm drain. As we sped by, the got scared and tried to run off...and one of them fell down the drain!

Operation Duckling Rescue
Without even hesitating Cam and I pulled over and ran back to the drain, only to see two ducklings paddling away in the water. Cam pulled the cover off the drain and we decided to see if we could fish the little guys out.

I called public works to let them know, and they did send a police officer over, who seemed really annoyed that he was spending his Saturday rescuing ducklings (and I can't really blame him). He kept saying things like, "This happens every day out in the wild" and "This is just the course of nature"...so clearly we shouldn't have bothered calling public works. Next time I'll call the fire department.

But while the officer said these things, Cam managed to fish one of the ducklings out using my helmet (no, I did not wear my helmet for the rest of the ride, storm drain water is GROSS). I took him over to his siblings and they spent the rest of the time we were there hiding behind a dumpster before coming out to look for the one duckling still in the drain.

Running over to his siblings.
Sadly, we weren't able to rescue him because he wandered down the pipe attached to the drain. At one point I used the police officer's flashlight ('Please don't drop it, those are expensive...' ...I didn't drop it) and hung down into the drain to look down the pipe. That's right, my TriFe, spandex spangled ass was sticking out of this storm drain as I hung as far down as I could, looking for a lost little duckling.

During all of this, people were stopping as they drove, biked, and walked by, making sure we were okay, and applauding our efforts to save the little buggers. It really surprised us how many people stopped to see if they could help in some way. It put to rest the fear that no one will stop to help me if I get a flat or injure myself during a bike ride.

Oh yeah...and people on their balconies were taking pictures of us doing all of this. I hope they enjoy those pictures of me in my spandex.

Unfortunately, the little guy wasn't anywhere to be seen, so after more than half an hour we decided to give up the rescue mission. :(

However, the question remained...what to do about the other three? Momma duck clearly wasn't around, and there was no easy way for these guys to find their way back to the river. We decided to round them up and go look for other ducks to leave them with.

We lucked out in that a woman passing by offered to help us. She scooped up one of the ducklings, and while Cam and I chased after the others (they are fast little suckers!) she wandered off. Later we found out she had done exactly what we did...

Found them a new momma.

As we walked along the river holding on to the ducklings, we looked for another group of ducks to leave them with. We saw some, crossed the river, and then I hopped down to the bank to let my little dude go. He was adorable and cute and soft and fuzzy, and I named him Harold during that short walk...and I seriously considered taking him home. But honestly, wtf would I do with a duck?!

So I set him on the ground and gave him a little nudge, and he ran off into the water before swimming to the other group of ducks further down the bank. I went and got Cam's duckling and repeated this, except he ran right over to the other ducks. For a second, the momma duck looked at him like, "What the..." and then seemed to just accept that she had two more children now.

Sidenote: I did actually read an article a few weeks ago about how the "don't touch baby animals, the mom will reject them if they smell humans" thing isn't really true. If I could find it, I'd post it, but I can't remember where I read it. I'll keep my eyes peeled for another one!

I crawled back up the bank and then wandered down a little until I could see them, and their new momma was smelling and preening them. I wanted to make sure they wouldn't be attacked since the ducklings in this group looked like they were a week or two older, and especially because I'm sure the little guys smelled super ripe after Cam and I had been holding them in our sweaty mitts. But they didn't give one lick. They were accepted, just like that.

It was a happy ending to our little rescue saga, though I'm still a bit sad about duckling #4 :(

After all that, we hopped back on our bikes and struggled through the six miles back to the car...at which point we went to the gym to make use of the hot tub. And then we got some ASS (that would be Algonquin Sub Shop). The perfect end to a long ride!


Other things...
Totally unrelated to my duckling story...I made this huge mental slip up and I thought I'd mention it. For the last few weeks I've been telling people that my training plan starts May 30th. And my triathlon training plan does...

...but the marathon plan? Hah. That started Monday. Good news though, I've nailed the first four days (so far...I still have three miles to run after work today, and I did legs this morning...).

I also got my #TeamRMHC packet in the mail yesterday, and the reality that I'M RUNNING A MARATHON IN OCTOBER is settling in.

Speaking of...I should post about that!

Maybe next time though, eh? Have a great end-of-your-week, and I'll be back this weekend with something interesting!


x

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Weekly Workout Recaps (Monday 2nd - Sunday 15th)

This update is going to be a bit different from those in the past, simply because there is so much to recap. Two weeks of posts?!? Yikes. Here goes!

Week 1
(Monday 2nd - Sunday 8th)

Monday, May 2nd - W6D1
Monday started off the same as it has for the last 5 weeks - with Couch to 5k. We ended Week 5 with our first "long" run (20 minutes), but the plan backs off a bit (back to run/walk intervals) in Week 6. Our intervals were:

  • 5 minute warm-up walk
  • 5 minute run
  • 3 minute walk
  • 8 minute run
  • 3 minute walk
  • 5 minute run
  • 5 minute cool-down walk

The run went perfectly, Susan has been doing great, and we had our whole little crew for this run too.

Also, right as we set out, a goose honked at me and I said, "Uh rude!" to it...and then all four of the geese it was hanging out with decided I was a jerk and were very vocal about it. They honked me all the way out of sights!


And if you look back, Sunday the 1st was paintball day with the boys, which I was tired and sore from on Monday, so I decided to skip the swim in lieu of laundry and meal prep. Not a bad decision - the pool will always be there later!

Tuesday, May 3rd - trainer ride, lifting
I've been pretty good about getting up for Trainer Tuesdays. I hopped on for 30 minutes last week to warm my body up, get a sweat on, and prepare for the day:

30 minutes, average HR of 131
After work the lifting happened:
Not too bad. Still pissed about my bench. I'm actually working on a plan for that.

Wednesday, May 4th - W6D2, 3 miles
The morning started again with C25k. Intervals were:

  • 5 minute warm-up walk
  • 8 minute run
  • 5 minute walk
  • 8 minute run
  • 5 minute cool-down walk

I was meeting Papa Bender for dinner after work, but I had enough time for a 3 mile run. Guys...this run felt hard, even though my heart rate stayed pretty steady:
3 miles, average HR 150.
I know it felt hard because the day before I did deadlifts and lunges, but it was definitely a mental game to get these three miles in.

Thursday, May 5th - lifting
I've kind of given up trying to get up for anything on Thursday mornings...my body just needs a day to sleep in. So Thursday was a lift-only day:
Also, this day was supremely annoying. Cam and I met at the "other" gym location, which isn't as big and doesn't have as much equipment. Every single squat rack was being used by someone who was:
  1. Doing arm lifts
  2. Doing nothing
I kid you not - when we first got there some guy who looked like he was set up for deadlifts was talking on his phone. We went and changed, came out and he was still chatting away. Cam was in a bad mood and finally went and asked the guy if he was using the rack, and the guy acted all surprised that someone would ask, and then stood their on top of some 45s laying next to the bar, with his foot on the deadlift bar...still talking on the phone. In the other rack, some gym-bro was helping his lady friend do...shoulder presses. Don't get me wrong, they were buff and she looked like she was prepping for a competition...but why the eff would you do that in one of three squat racks when they're a perfectly good military press instead? After nearly half an hour (when they were between sets), Cam went over and said, "Hey, are you guys using THIS SQUAT RACK?" And they got all embarrassed and hurried up to finish their last set.

The box squat rack was also being used by someone doing rows nearly the entire time we were there.

#ragequit

Okay, not really, we did the rest of our stuff and got out. Although, as you can see, we didn't get to do our decline bench because the effing leg restraint was broken so #gahhhh.

Friday, May 6th - W6D3, dog sitting
I got up Friday morning and made it to C25k, although Susan (our only 'new' runner, couldn't make it). I ran the 25 minutes with one other person (I seem to remember taking a short walk break because my friend needed it, and a few stops for shoe ties :P), then got ready and headed up to my desk:
I ended up working pretty late on Friday (til 5), and went over to my aunt and uncle's because I was dog sitting this adorable fella:
Dex the Best!
Cam and I took Dex for a walk over to a Mexican place that ended up being SOOOOOO worth it. My burrito was the size of my head (though my head is less football shaped :P):
Sunglasses for scale.
I only ate half of it (with some extra avocado I found in the fridge...thanks Aunt Cathleen!), and then promptly fell asleep:

Saturday, May 7th - nada
Well...I did take Dex over to the forest preserve for a walk in the morning...
It was supposed to be a run, but Dex pulls A LOT and I missed the trail entrance, and my ankle started bugging me...so I threw in the towel.

Other than that, Saturday ended up being a shopping day. Cam needed some new clothes and shoes, and I needed to get some Mother's Day stuff (and an impromptu gift for my godson, Miles, to throw in his birthday package, which I just posted off to England) so we went to the mall and spent a good few hours cruising around.

Sunday, May 8th - gardening
Sunday was Mother's Day, and I ended up being too busy for anything. I left Cam's early (not that I had to stop and buy Mother's Day cards or anything...) and made it home in time to get ready for an early lunch and a movie with my mom and brother. When we got home we stopped at my grandparent's for a while (they live next door), and I suddenly felt like gardening!

I texted my brother to pick up some extra topsoil for the garden, and when he got home and I spent a good hour getting things weeded and prepped for planting. I sweated and lifted heavy bags of dirt, so I'm counting it towards my physical activity for the day ;)

Week 2
(Monday May 9th - Sunday May 15th)

Monday, May 9th - W7D1, 1800 yards swimming
Week 7 of C25k is when you go from doing run/walk intervals, to only running, and the Week 7 interval is 25 minutes each day. Susan and I were the only ones there, and she told me that when she did W6D3 over the weekend she only got to  17 minutes before she had to stop and walk for a little bit. So I pulled our pace back...and she got to 18. Truth is, I should have pulled it back just a little bit further, so that was me being a bad coach. We walked for about 90 seconds before we picked it back up for the last few minutes, during which our pace soared again because we had to run through sprinklers. Not even joking.

The uptick in pace is evident in our total distance - 2.7 miles, which is about a quarter mile further than we usually travel during these sessions:
After work (which included overtime) I got myself to the pool. I wasn't excited about it, but I did it. 1800 yards, a majority of which were kick drills. I did a few drills using my fins, and holy crap, I feel like this swim actually made a difference. Although to be honest, I think I need to start swimming more to really make the improvements stick. Since I started running again I haven't spent nearly as much time in the pool and I can feel it.

Anyways...the workout and recap:
Workout Source


Tuesday, May 10th - trainer ride, lifting
I got up slightly later than I'd hoped (whoops, slept through that first alarm) and had some dishes and lunch packing to finish before I left, so I only got 25 minutes in. Honestly, I could have tried harder - my heart rate was a little low during this ride, but I was really dragging from the kick drills the day before:
25 minutes, average HR 129
After work, there was lifting:
I guess my bench is getting a bit better, but I'm still stuck in the 60s and 70s. *sigh*

Wednesday, May 11th - W7D2
Per usual...C25k in the morning. This was such a good run for Susan, because we pulled the pace back that little extra bit, and she excelled through the whole thing - no stops at all. It was a pretty refreshing run for me as well, and I felt good even after dead lifting the previous evening:
Before bed on Wednesday I devoted some time to foam rolling and stretching with some slow yoga flows. And then...

Thursday, May 12th
I slept in on Thursday. I was going to try and get up an run since I didn't set my trainer up Wednesday night (not that I ever use it on Thursdays anyways)...and I just wanted to sleep. So I slept the extra 20 minutes, and then got up and got some chores done and puppies loved on before leaving for work.

After work (and more OT)  I went and lifted, alone this time because Cam was working late. I decided to pull a workout from Thinner Leaner Stronger. I bought the book last summer and never implemented the workout, but I decided to try it out to see if it will help my bench to use this guy's theories. To be totally honest, I should probably give the book another read through as well.

Anyways, here was the workout (exercise>sets by rep>poundage lifted). I did not do deadlifts because I did heavy deads on Tuesday and my hamstrings didn't want to do more:

Friday, May 13th - W7D3, hot yoga
We had our whole group for W7D3, and though our pace crept up just a bit, Susan made it through all 25 minutes again!
I managed to not work OT on Friday, and squeaked out of there just in time for hot yoga. The normal teacher is on vacation right now, so we had a sub...not that it matters since I haven't gone in ages. However, because Joy wasn't teaching, the class was way smaller. Like half the size, so that was weird.

It was definitely a leg/ab heavy class, and I struggled through it since I'd just done a lot of legs and abs. My everything hurt the whole time, but I got through it.

Saturday, May 14th - Tai Chi
I woke up on Saturday and laid in bed for a good half hour simply because I was sore. After yoga the day before, I did not feel like going to another yoga class, so I decided to hit up my normal yoga studio for Tai Chi with my mom instead.

It was great! The class was small, and there is so much to focus on in your breath, movements, and body. In life, I do a lot of things quickly. I waking up early to swim, bike, run, and lift, my job is fast paced and I always have somewhere to be...but there is a lot that can be learned from taking a minute to slow down and feel your body shift between the movements you're doing. I truly enjoyed the class and am hoping to make it back for the remaining 4 classes in the session. And go ahead and add Tai Chi to the list of things I'd like to learn more about!
This is right outside of my studio...as you enter and leave it is a great reminder of what life is really about.
Sunday, May 15th - bike-run brick
I ended the week with a bike-run brick (I went straight from riding my trainer to running). It was a nice day out so I could have ridden outside, except that my bike is at Cam's and I'm using my mom's on the trainer, and it's wearing out the tire.

So I did a little over 50 minutes on the trainer (I had some watch issues which is why it doesn't show that much), and then a 2 mile run.

Check out my ghetto laptop setup:
And my poor dogs, napping beside me:

Bike:

52:00 minutes, average HR 132
Run:
Once I found my legs that first mile felt fast, and I needed it. But afterwards I pulled it back to something that felt more sustainable.

Overall, we'll call it a success...and preparation for the many bricks to come.

I will say though...I did not want to do this training session. I had a terrible week, and I wanted to do nothing. As a matter of fact, at 12:10pm, when I started this brick, I looked at my watch to see a grand total of 981 steps for the day. At noon.

I got up at six.

The workout helped me feel better. I zoned out a bit and it helped clear my head. It didn't solve my problems, but it allowed me to think about them a bit differently.

To Wrap Things Up...
My training program starts in 15 days and goes straight through the first week of October. It's going to be hard in so many different ways, but this week I truly saw the virtue in pushing through every single workout because it's what you need to do. I had so many reasons I could have skipped the gym and just gone home straight after work and crawled into bed.

Instead...I showed up at the pool or to running group or to the weight room, and I put in my time.

And that's exactly what I'll keep doing until I'm across those finish lines.


x

Friday, May 13, 2016

Random Things on a Thursday (#10)...on a Friday

I've got a shorter selection of randomness for you this week, and it's a bit late, but I'm sure you'll all manage ;)

Ned
Ned has been acting really weird for a few weeks. Hasn't been eating well, very fidgety, seems moody, has been trying to burrow all over the cage, not pooping...all of the stuff you want a pet to do normally, Ned has not been doing.

Wednesday night Cam texted me and said something was seriously wrong with Ned, and that Cam thought his anus was prolapsing (I kid you not, that's a thing that happens with beardies). So I'm saying I'll take Ned to the vet after work and stuff, getting all worried and thinking about putting sugar paste on his inside-out colon...

...then Cam's mom calls me to say: Ned is a girl!

It turns out bearded dragons are really hard to sex (which we knew), and we guessed wrong with Ned. And all of this weird behavior the last few weeks? Well it's because Ned has been getting ready to lay eggs, and SHE has now laid like 10 eggs.

I would have been moody too. Anyways...Nedette and an egg:


#TeamRMHC
Hi there, I'm running a marathon in LESS THAN FIVE MONTHS. I have to start fundraising for said marathon.

So keep an eye out for that post, because it's coming, I promise!

Vegetable Gardening
Good weather has come just in time, because I need a weekend off from everything to just reconnect with the basics. I'm going to be planting my vegetable garden again this weekend, and I couldn't be more excited!

I have yet to decide what I'm planting, but I'll be reviewing last year's post for all of those notes I made (see, I knew it would come in handy!).

Music
I've been on the search for new music lately. I've been in a total mind-funk, and music is helping to ease me through the day and keep me from thinking too much.

If you have any suggestions, send them my way! I'm open to just about anything, but no Justins (Timberlake or Beiber) and absolutely NO Green Day.

If you have a favorite workout song or something that pumps you up, please post it in the comments!

Allegiant
Quite a few weeks ago I went and saw the movie Allegiant with my friend Kate. She's a YA librarian and we've made a habit of seeing many of the movies that are based on YA fiction, and we both love the Divergent series.

Obviously this is a big enough deal to me that I'm blogging about it so it's totally possible that you don't care but bear with me

OMG, they changed so much! It totally diverts (hah) from the book. Like, in a huge way. I spent a good chunk of the movie wondering if I was mis-remembering the book. Then at the end Kate was like "WTF" and I was like "WTF" and we decided they just went wild and stopped caring about the story.

Also of note - neither of us realized there is going to be a 4th movie! We thought they were going to end the film series with this one, not split it in two (a la Harry Potter and Hunger Games), but sure enough, there's going to be another one. Which just confuses me even more, because it feels like they've already told the whole story.

Maybe I need to go back and read the book again?

Harvard Health Blog
I've posted about stuff from the HHB before, but I found this post about nutritional strategies to address anxiety and stress really interesting. It goes with that old adage 'food is medicine'. It is not the only medicine, but what we eat really does have an affect on how we feel and act.

Speaking of Healthy Eating...
I've been pretty good about prepping my breakfasts and lunches for work during the week. I have Greek yogurt with honey, berries, and cinnamon for breakfast - I mix up the yogurt on Sunday and add nuts at my desk). For lunch, it's salad with baked chicken - I make the salad and then put some of it on a flour tortilla - and I drink a La Croix with that.

It's working for me because I've found that since starting my new job and with C25k I'm so busy. I'm working overtime without even realizing it. I'm still running and lifting and getting ready to train. Things are crazy right now, and this makes my life just a tiny bit easier!

This picture is from a few weeks ago, but it hasn't really changed. So here's my fridge on a Sunday night:

In the mornings I just grab what I need (for one day or two, if I'm going to Cam's), throw it in my lunch bag, and go!

Annnd I think that's it for the week!
I'm busy, and there's tons going on, which is why I need to get going :)

I'll be back on Sunday with a two week round up of workouts, since I've really been slacking on posting about those lately!


x

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

A Mother's Advice.

I know this is a little late, but I was super busy on Mother's Day celebrating the best mom ever (and I've been busy since then too), so I beg your pardon and hope it'll earn me some slack!

This entire post is going to be a giant wall of text. Sometimes things happen and because it's my blog I want to write about it and process it all as I go, and my poor readers (you) end up with a long-winded intricate story with multiple pieces involved. I know there are two types of readers: Those who will give up at the end of this paragraph, and those who make it through the posts, struggling valiantly until the end to better understand one more person on this planet and how one person's experience can help us reflect on our own lives.

I'll let you decide right now which person you're going to be today - and I don't blame you either way!

Here Goes.

In what turned out to be a fortuitous timeline of events, I ended up needing some motherly advice and affection right in time for Mother's Day, and thought I'd share it here, since it's kind of a continuation of some other events and feels that I've blogged about in the past, and because my mom was happy she got the opportunity on Mother's Day.

I also want to share it because it fits in with my triathlon journey...with my race journey. With my drive to continuously challenge myself. Things I do because my mom always told me I could do anything if I put in the effort.

I'll start by saying that, just as I have a blog to write in, I also read lots of other blogs for various reasons. Two of those things are Running and Triathlon - I know, you're shocked.

I read a lot of blogs written by people I don't know and will probably never meet, a few written by people I consider "internet acquaintances" and sincerely hope to meet, and another small group written by people I know in real life (ranging from "Best Buds" to "We went to high school together"). The particular blog post that caused this dilemma was written by one of those high school people.

I feel like it's obvious why I wouldn't post a link, but if it's not, I really bear no ill will towards the writer. She's accomplished some great things with running and triathlon, her blog is fairly upbeat, and that's what I subscribed and was reading it. I don't want people think I'm hating on her or that I'm jealous - how can I be jealous of what someone else has done when I've got my own path to walk?

I will say, the one time I reached out to her for some tri-centric advice, I wished I hadn't. It wasn't that her advice was bad, per-se...it was that she was totally un-encouraging, which I've never encountered with any triathlete ever before. Everyone is always encouraging and helpful. However, she basically let me know that my "A" race for the season - the international/Olympic distance for the Transamerica Chicago Triathlon was too lofty and ambitious. That I'd be scared by the crowds and transitions, that I should start smaller first...those kinds of things. Honestly...it seemed weird that she would not encourage someone to do what other people once encouraged her to do.

After that, I decided to never ask her for advice again. I can figure this tri thing out without her, that's for sure.

Anyways...to get to the point, I unsubscribed from her blog the other day. I've mentioned before that I was kicked out of a wedding party a few years ago because..well, go read the post if you need to know.

The tie-in here is that the aforementioned blogger was also in that wedding party. I need to throw in some additional story here, but I promise I'll get to my point, and back to what this has to do with this other girl's blog.

Since I "broke up" with my friend over two years ago, I've pieced together this weird little puzzle and realized she was actually lying to me a lot, mostly when I was trying to spend time with her. I would try to call her and hang out with her and her (then) fiance, and she would always tell me they were "staying in to save money for the wedding".

Like a sucker, I bought that line every time.

It turns out she was, at least sometimes, going out with her 'other' friends. People I did actually know and got along with (they just weren't in my immediate circle of friends). Call me unreasonable...but if you knew your "best" friend was going to be alone on a Friday or Saturday night and if they called you to hang out...wouldn't you invite them along? If your plans were just to hit a few bars with people, why would you leave them hanging like that?

In the past I've wondered if she thought I wouldn't fit with them, or if it boiled down to her just not wanting me there...and the truth is I will never know. Which sucks.

About a year ago I realized all of that was happening towards the end of our friendship, and it hurt. Like...that's a really, really sucky realization, even after the friendship was long dead. That my "best friend" kept me out of the loop for years before the friendship ended...I wish I could have seen that writing on the wall. She was keeping me at arms length, and roped me back in with the whole bridesmaid thing, and because I was a loyal friend I went trotting back to her.

*sigh*

It happens that one of the other friends my ex-best was hanging out with was this other bridesmaid/blogger. Honestly, at the time (and still now) I'm a bit confused by their friendship. I'm not saying this to be petty or judgmental, but I was so surprised when I found out this girl was also going to be a bridesmaid. I didn't realize they were that good of friends (but clearly now I know I was missing out on all the nights at the bar that established this friendship). I know, it sounds catty...but I don't know how else to say it. I was even more shocked, because my friend didn't invite her cousin (who she always said was like her sister) to be in the wedding, and I'm friends with her cousin, so I was a bit pissed off about that too. I fully admit I never did (and still don't) understand any of those decisions.

I'm including all of this so when I say what I'm about to you understand my frame of reference, and why I was so hurt by what I read over the weekend.

Because on Saturday I was sitting there, getting caught up on blogs, and this girl's blog comes up on my feed about how she won a free entry into an Ironman, which is a pretty big deal. Ironman (and everything that comes with it) is expensive and time consuming. Winning a free entry is incredible, and I was genuinely glad that she was going to have the experience to race the National Championship at IMTX (Ironman Texas).

Until I kept reading. Because it felt like someone stabbed me in the gut and twisted the knife when I read a sentence that went something like, "...and two of the best friends I could ever ask for X and X [my ex best friend and her husband] bought their plane tickets to come watch me race!"

It hit me so hard right then: My ex-best friend replaced me with someone else. Just like that.

Do you know what my first thought was after that? What I asked my mom when I got home the next day?

What the fuck did I ever do to this girl that, 20 years into our friendship, she couldn't even ask me how I was doing after I had surgery, but she's willing to fly to Texas for someone she's only been friends with for four years?

And because my mom is my mom, and because she is amazing and awesome, we talked it out.

I'm sure you want to know what she told me:

You did not do anything wrong - there was always something about you she could not get past.

She explained to me some details from the past that I never even knew about. She made her observations about how when we were little and would fight, the things this other girl would be mad about. How as we got older, my mom pointed out that this girl always chose other friends over me.

And it all clicked. My mom was so right. It was never something I did, it was a problem with who I am. That in some ways, I'm unbending. I am upfront and honest, I do not placate people to make them feel better about themselves, or congratulate mediocrity. (That's not to say I don't celebrate accomplishments or encourage development. I totally do.)

And, perhaps most importantly, I don't claw other people's eyes out for one person's attention. I do not believe in walking all over other people to get where I want to be, or to build relationships with "important" people. No one is ever so important that someone else needs to be shoved out of the way for them.

But this "best friend" always set me aside when another girl was willing to "do more" (or shove me aside for attention).

Bridesmaids dress shopping was a great example.

We went to a big-box store, I tried on a few and wrote down the styles and sizes (we didn't all have to have the same dress). I told my friend I was going to check some smaller boutiques, but that I would order a dress by the following Saturday (six days later). I found a better fitting, better quality dress for a better price, ordered it, and had it delivered and altered before anyone else even got their dress.

Apparently this made me "difficult".

Some of the other bridesmaids though? They were falling over themselves to pay first at the big-box store, when it was 100% obvious that the quality and customer service was pretty crap, and that the attendants didn't know what the hell they were doing. I honestly wondered why they were so eager to drop 200+ non-refundable dollars at what felt like a scam-house.

The point is...I wasn't willing to be that person. I wasn't willing to go into debt to prove my friendship, and I was not going to make my mom pay for me to be in this wedding (which I think my friend expected me to do), because my mom was already paying for my surgery.

And that was the rub. That was the "problem". That even after 20 years of friendship and some good times, I wasn't willing to do absolutely anything. That I wasn't willing to bow to some unreasonable expectation for a friendship.

That I wasn't willing to let myself be walked all over to hold on to someone who kicked me to the curb time and time again for 20 years.

And all it took was my mom pointing it out.

My mom's advice is what helped me see through 20 years of abusive "friendship".

And that's what mom's do.

They wait until they know you're ready, until they know you can handle what they're about to say, and then the let you in on the piece of information you've been missing your whole life, because you're finally ready to hear it.

And then things make sense, and you're ready to pick yourself up, try again, and be better at it.

I know I just posted this, but I really, really love this picture. So thank you Mom, for all you do and have ever done for me. You are the one person I know who has always been my example and my hero, who will always be there for me, love me, encourage me, and pick me up when the world is trying to tear me down.

Happy Mother's Day.



x

Saturday, May 7, 2016

Sombreros, Stripes, and Strolling down memory lane...

Every Thursday my department has a theme we all try to dress by - yesterday it happened to coincide with Cinco de Mayo, hence the title of the blog!

And here's where I tell you I'm really lame, because I didn't get a picture of my striped dress and sombrero for you. Whoops...

The latter bit though, that I have pictures for!

A few weeks ago I found out that my old elementary school, Indian Prairie, was going to have an open house to celebrate it's 25th anniversary. I went to three elementary schools when I was little, and this one by far had the most positive impact. My mom worked there for a few years too and we both decided it would be fun to go back to look through the pictures and see some of the old faculty.

So after work (and lifting) my mom and I went over...and I was totally amazed by just how many pictures there were. Mr Kelley (the principal, who is retiring after this year), has taken thousands of pictures throughout his tenure, and I think they were all hung up for this event.

Every room was dedicated to one of the 25 school years since the school opened (ie 92-93, 93-94, etc). There were two tri-fold boards covered in pictures, that year's graduating yearbook, and a slide show playing with different photos and music from that year. In addition, outside every room was a board with different facts on it - who the president was those years, the price of gas and milk...stuff like that. It was a total throwback to what was going on in the world during each school year!

I only went to Indian Prairie for three and a half years (K-3), and my mom worked there for 4 or 5, so there were only a few pictures of me and my mom (and I did find one of my brother too!) but it was still fun to go through and name all the old classmates I could remember.

Here are the pictures we found. I don't remember what any of these were from, except the one of me and my mom in matching shirts - that would have been tie dye day!
My brother is on the left in this one.
The girl in the red sweatshirt under 1998 is one of my best friends, Danielle, who now lives in Germany. Seeing this picture made me miss her so much!!
In the center picture, my mom is helping someone in computer class.
Me (in my favorite-ever Cleveland Indians windbreaker) and my grade school friend Taryn.
Me and Roxy Viger...who I just saw recently! And oh, Tweety Bird...you were all the rage back then!
My mom in one of the faculty pictures (third from right).
 And finally, my favorite photo from the excursion - my mom and me in matching tie dye t-shirts:
You don't have to say it, I know I was a totally adorable child.
I also took a few pictures when I felt nostalgic. Here's my old third grade classroom:

Back in the day we were arranged in pods of 6, and mine was all the way towards the left, where the end of the front row is. I sat between Guy and Tim, and I accidentally stabbed Tim with a pencil and gave him one of those little black scars you get from graphite.

Ahhh nostalgia.

I also decided to take a picture of the library, and for a very important reason. Harry Potter didn't come out until I was in 5th grade and I have my wonderful 5th grade teacher from another school to thank for introducing me to the series. But in the books, whenever they went to the library, I always thought of Indian Prairie's library...just with taller bookshelves.

When I was a kid, this library seemed HUGE, and I immediately thought of Hogwarts when I walked in.

So here's the library! Two notes about this picture...my friend Steffi's mom is all the way at the bottom, I totally cut her off. She's the art teacher at IP now. Also...bonus points if you can spot the Harry Potter shelf!


Next up - Wolf's Den! This was the "publishing company" the school had for all of us students who really liked to write. I probably wrote a half dozen+ books when I was a student there. We would write our stories, then a teacher or parent volunteer would help us edit them before typing them up on blank pages we could illustrate. It totally pulled at me to see that they still have this for kids.

I took one last picture simply because it was so crazy to see...

You're probably like, "Uhh...?" Well. 'Ms Tech'....is one of my friends from high school! She went to Indian Prairie all through gradeschool, went to college and graduated, and then was hired to work at her old elementary school. I saw her during the open house as well, and we were talking about how - even to her - it is cool and strange to work at your old school. She said she thinks part of her will always feel like a student.

When we walked by her classroom I couldn't help but take a picture of her name on that door, simply because it was so surreal to see!

The very last picture I took for the night was right before we left. Just a quick selfie, back at our old stomping grounds...

Walking around, the school felt just like it did back then, but it was very weird seeing different teacher's names on doorways as I walked through and thinking, "No, this is [old teacher's] room!" and silently resenting the name now posted on the door. I forgot how, when you're a kid, you don't realize your teachers also have homes and lives they go to outside of school...it just seems like school is where they always are.

But now, pretty much none of those teachers I knew are there! And I still expected to see them, just 'cause.

Of all the teachers who were there when I was, the only one I can remember who is still at Indian Prairie is Mrs White, who I now know as Pam, and she's the one who invited me to the open house. I'm about to sound very adult here, but she gets her nails done at the same place I do, so I run into her every so often and that's how I knew all this was happening.

So there you have it...a little bit of a trip down memory lane. I didn't actually get to see any of my old teachers, but I did see a number of teachers I knew, and teachers my mom worked with. I also found out that various people I've known growing up now work at the school and I never even knew!

It was a fun little way to end a work day, and I'm glad we were able to find just a few pictures to snapshot and show off.

So here's to 25 Years from Indian Prairie, Mr Kelley, and all of my old teachers - who made it the best elementary school ever.


x

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Weekly Workout Recap (Monday 25th - Sunday 1st)

Sorry I'm a bit late with this one! How is it already Wednesday?! Eep! Here's a catch up of what I did at the gym (and on the road, and in my garage) last week!

Monday, April 25th - W5D1, 1800yd swim
I got the week off to a great start Monday with my C25k group. Susan continues to rock it, and she's making me a very proud coach!
Not too shabby for a Monday morning!

After the work day Cam and I met again at the gym for a swim. I picked a longer (to me) distance workout for this, focusing on breast stroke and crawl. Here is the one I used:
Changes I made: I took almost a minute to do each of my 8x50 crawls, so I took a 10-15 second break after each, I only did a 6x50 breaststroke on 1:30, I did not do the breast stroke windsprints, and I only did a 200 yard cool down. That said, I still got 1800 yards, because the total yards listed on the workout is wrong. My Garmin also jipped me 50 yards during my 200 crawl, so it only shows 1750:
It was an okay swim. Nothing to write home about. I'm realizing that a strong breast stroke will be an asset during the race if I get tired, and I'm also learning I really need to work on my kick because it's very, very weak. My pulls are almost as strong without the kick, which means all my kick is doing is wasting energy and winding me.

So...something to work on!

Tuesday, April 26th - 20 min cycle
On Tuesday afternoon I had to take my hamster to the vet (which usually takes a while) so I knew I had to get on the trainer in the morning. I hopped on for a quick 20 minutes before I left for work. Nothing too exciting (and nothing but heart rate stats, again, because I haven't taken the time to get the bike computer to work):

Wednesday, April 27th - W5D2
Wednesday started with more C25k running. We're building up to the first long run with no breaks, which will be on Friday (20 minutes!). Today's intervals were 8 min run, 5 min walk, 8 min run. Our little team crushed it, and one of the other coaches is back from her week in Switzerland so our little group was a little bigger!

Thursday, April 28th - lift
Thursdays seem to be the day that I intend to get up and cycle, and then I don't. It's nice to sleep in one day a week!

We still lifted after work though, and I feel like Cam and I deserve some props for that. Cam got off work late (actually, I worked some OT too) and then he was stuck in really bad traffic for nearly twice as long as it normally takes him to get to the gym. So we didn't get our workout started until almost 6. In case you're wondering...that's when we're normally leaving the gym.

We made it count though. It was a tough workout, I was tired, but I left feeling decent about it (except for the bench...*le sigh*).
Pardon all the chicken scratch - Cam kept confusing me. For pull downs, I did wide arm and he did close, in case you're wondering.
Friday, April 29th - W5D3, Umbridge 13k
I had a PTO day on Friday (go me, for skipping out on month end :P), but I still got up for C25k. It was our first "long" run - 20 minutes without stopping!

I just want to take a minute to talk about mental conditioning: I knew that after C25k I was going to go home and run 10k, but I still feel nervous about the 20 min+ runs from C25k. When I did Couch to 5k (multiple starts, and I don't think I ever actually completed the entire program...) I would always get really nervous about the long runs. That 20 minute run was something I was scared of for so long, and didn't think I could do. And now, I still have that feeling about the 20 minute run! I was actually nervous about it beforehand, and I shared that with my group. I would always psych myself up about it and think I couldn't do that, and even now that I'm actually a "distance runner" that 20 minute run makes me nervous!

Anyways - we made it through, and I'm continuously more proud of Susan for sticking with us through every run!
After our 20 minute run I drove home, grabbed Nigel, and headed out for 10k more. I wanted to make sure to hit the 8.08 distance to account for the Umbridge run. Around 4.5 miles I stopped at home to drop Nigel off (and guzzle some water) and then headed out to finish the remaining two. I was a bit sore when I started (thanks to deadlifts on Thursday and then the first running session, followed by sitting in a car for 40 minutes) but the full six miles felt pretty good, and was only 50 seconds shy of my best 10k pace.

Lesson here? I'm never letting Nigel poop during a run again. Or at least I'll pause my Garmin if he does! If that first mile matched the others I would have PR'd the distance!!

And in finishing that 10k, I earned this big ol' medal from the Hogwarts Running Club for the Umbridge 13k:
It really is that big, and true to the books, the cat on the plate moves!

Saturday, April 30th - Active Recover (best yoga class yet!)
I hit up the All Level yoga on Saturday to recover from my run, and it was a great class. Part of the reason is because the class was small - only 5 of us - but the asanas and flows she walked us through targeted everything in my lower body that was sore and fatigued from Thursday and Friday, so I was extra appreciative.

There were a few poses and flows I specifically wanted to remember (so I wrote them down):

  • Everything was slow: We counted 6-8 breaths when moving between every pose, and did a lot of down dog>plank>chaturanga>up dog flows with this breath count. It really makes you focus on your breathing and concentrating strength and stability in certain muscles!
  • Extended Triangle Pose with the toes lifted off the ground: This one really got into my calf and hamstrings, to the point of breathlessness. It was such a great, deep stretch!
  • Legs Up the Wall with sandbags: This was a Restorative Yoga pose we did at the end as part of our shavasana. We placed a blanket under the low back, and then the instructor placed one 10-lb sandbag around each foot, compressing everything from the legs to the hips. We stayed like that for about five minutes, and I felt like I was floating when I left class. It was like it made the entire practice sink in to my bones and I loved that!

Sunday, May 1st  - Paintball
We capped the week off by going paintballing with a few friends (my brother came too!). It wasn't the best experience ever - Cam and I had a few problems getting our guns to work and finally just traded them in for rentals.

It turns out the place we went to (Paintball Explosion) had switched from winter paint to summer paint, but it was still just a little too cold for the summer paint. This meant that a lot of rounds would burst as they were fired (instead of kindly waiting until they hit their targets), which made for frustrating and messy play. One of the reasons we switched to rental guns was so we wouldn't have to keep cleaning our own.

We played about five rounds before calling it. I think we were all sore and tired from lugging our guns around, getting covered in mud, and being out in the cold. I was happy to get home and shower off, check out my bruises, and even went to bed early!

There will definitely be more paintball this summer though - we're planning another trek out in June.

And that's it! A full week of activities. I'll try to be better about posting sooner, I'm just soooo busy!! Back to it I go!


x

Currently Reading
Skin Game - Jim Butcher (audiobook)
(I'm still working on Compendium 3 of the Walking Dead, but they didn't get as far this season as I thought they would so it's kind of on hold now)

I finally finished Cold Days and OMG. I literally only have one word to say: MOLLY?!?!?!

Also, I'm really missing Kinsey (The Sue Grafton novels) and I can't wait to get back to those!!