Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Deja Vu

Things I'm NOT going to do:
1) Get down on myself 
2) Be disgusted with my body
3) Injest food that provides no nutritional benefit
4) Feel sorry for myself
5) Apologize for where I'm at
6) Stop fighting

Things I AM going to do:
1) Be patient with myself
2) Be proud of all my body is capable of
3) Drink water like its going out of style
4) Move my body
5) Eat purposefully and nutritiously
6) Trust the process
7) Keep fighting

Nearly six years ago, I remember having this crippling pain in my side.  At times it would take my breath away.  I just toughed it out for a few days.  I didn't know what else to do.  Eventually I freaked myself out enough to make a doctor's appointment and get it checked out.  I went into the doctor's office and told him I had this mysterious pain on my left side for the past 5 days, and didn't know what it was.  I got a full battery of questions, tests, pokes, prods, etc.  Still nothing.  Well, let's do a CT Scan and see if its kidney stones, or what.  For some reason, a CT Scan seemed so serious- was that really necessary?  So into the weird tube I went.  I had convinced myself I was dying by this point.  CT Scan came back with nothing.  Not even a kidney stone.  Verdict?  Diverticulitis.  Treatment?  Take some Advil and rest.  Awesome.  Five days of pain and $900 later, I take some Advil and rest.  

I suppose this was a turning point of sorts for me though, I remember when they weighed me at the beginning of the appointment, seeing a number I had never seen before.  This little "scare" pushed me to start taking better care of myself, and about 2 weeks later I started this blog.  

Fast forward to this weekend.  On Saturday I started coming down with a headache.  I didn't think too much of it, took some Advil, and went on with my day.  By middle of the night, and into Sunday, it was unbearable.  I couldn't sleep, I couldn't open my eyes, I just wanted a new head.  Soon the nausea kicked in, and I couldn't even keep water down.  Of course I had myself convinced I had a brain tumor or worms eating my brain, and I had days left on the planet.  All I wanted was to cuddle with my son, but all he wanted to do was shriek in my face and bounce on my stomach.  By the end of the day, convinced things were just not right, I had the hubs take me to Urgent Care.  Some anti-nausea meds, a shot in the butt, and a script for Imitrex, I was good to go.  Until the middle of the night and my headache returned with a vengeance.  I decided a trip the to ER was in order- something just wasn't right.  Blood work, morphine IV, and CT scan- another CT scan?  Really?  This time only my head went into the ring but I was pretty out of it.  I couldn't keep my eyes open.  Verdict?  Everything looked fine.  Treatment?  Rx for some fancy Aleve, rest, and water.  Awesome.  Worst headache ever, $1000? later, I take some Aleve and drink water.  

This is another turning point for me.  I wanted nothing more than to feel normal when my head was about to explode.  I kept thinking it all had something to do with how I've been treating my body the last year, and how if I were at a more normal weight, I wouldn't be dealing with this.  I never want to feel like that again.  With that pain fresh in my mind, I've been making good decisions.  I want to continue to make good decisions, for me, for my body, so I can live the longest life possible and enjoy every shriek and stomach bounce thrown my way.  There is nothing greater in my life than absorbing the energy of my 2 year old, and feeling my best to accept it.  

Monday, August 17, 2015

First-Time Mom Fails- 3 Day Potty Training

I've been meaning to get back to this space for some time, but I don't know where the time keeps going.  I wake up each morning, and its a new month.  Part of my hesitation is deciding what I want to discuss here.  Initially I used this blog for accountability with my quest to be the healthiest me I could be- I am still on that quest, I use Instagram more for that now since that's about all I have time for (@imissmycollarbone).  I've also shared other life anecdotes as I saw fit.  I got married, had a baby, and moved half way across the country, all shared on this blog- but I don't want this to turn into a mommy blog, or working mom blog, or mom getting fit blog.  I think I'll just come here when I have something to say.  This weekend was a big learning leap for me.  

Up until a few weeks ago, potty training was not even on my radar, despite near constant reminders from my mom that I was potty trained at 16 months, and my sister at 15 months.  But then I started seeing friends around me with kids similar ages posting stuff on Facebook about potties and successful potty incidents.  I began to panic, thinking I was behind the curve (first time mom rule #1 broken- comparing my kid/parenting to others).  Around that same time, a friend of mine clued me into a 3-day plan she would be trying when the time was right for her.  

I read through this popular 3-day method guidance, and was intrigued!  It sounded legit.  I wanted to get on board with this method, and be done with diapers!  First time mom rule #2 broken- unrealistic expectations.  Even though reading through the book gave me some serious side-eye at times, I thought, "hey? What do I have to lose?"  The book claimed that 22 months is the ideal age to potty train any child, boy or girl.  They don't even have to show signs, or even know the words for potty yet.  This was the first side-eye moment for me. The next was where it said throw out all the diapers in your house.  I had at least $60 of diapers.  I was not going to throw them away.  Hide them, sure, donate them, sure.  Toss them?  No.  Deep down, I knew my kid was not ready for this.  I bought two potties- one for the upstairs bathroom, and one for the downstairs bathroom.  I looked at the calendar, and I saw that in August, the daycare had 2 mandatory shut-down days for end of year maintenance.  The squirt would be nearly 23 months!  I decided that is when we would go for the 3 days.  I would take Friday off work, and we would have a potty staycation, and on Monday our son would be going to daycare in underwear.  

For the month leading up to the staycation, after the potties showed up, our son successfully used them here and there, when we could tell he had to go.  There was no pressure- just getting him used to the idea.  A few days before the 3-day training, our son was in the habit of stopping at the potty on the way to bed, peeing, and then I would put his diaper and PJ's on.  Oh, he's soooo ready I thought.  First time mom rule #3 broken- overconfidence in your/your child's abilities.  The Thursday night before I planned to start, I went to Target and bought 19 pairs of little boxer briefs.  The hubs was on board with the program, but he had to work all day on Friday, so I would be alone.  I made sure to have easy to eat snack on hand, and mentally prepared to be cleaning up accidents, frequent underwear changes (for son) and tons of laundry. 

Friday- Day 1.  I decided to keep a diary of potty events for the day.  Verbatim, this is what I had:
8:10a- diaper off, had (sons name) ceremoniously throw in trash, underwear on.
10:27a- peed on kitchen floor when I went to the bathroom (4 feet away with door open)
11:37a- peed in high chair during lunch
12:19p- pooped outside- seems to fear potty
12:27p- peed outside, carried him to potty
12:40p- put down for nap (no diaper/pull-up)
3:25p-   woke up, had peed at least twice, soaked head to toe.
4:48p-   peed by his toy hot dog cart in living room.
6:35p-   bath
7:00p-   put him in a pull-up, and put to bed.

Not mentioned above is the number of times I said "tell mom when you need to go potty."  Or asked him "are your underwear dry?" (I estimate both were in the 100's)  Both received no response, no reaction.  The guidance assured me that was normal- it was sinking in even if child wasn't acknowledging.  First time mom rule #4 broken- taking parenting advice from someone that has never met you/your child.  After the kiddo was asleep, and I was doing laundry for the next day, I thought "that wasn't so bad."  First time mom rule #5 broken- never assume you've seen the worst.  If so, you WILL see the worst.  Sure, it was exhausting doing nothing but watching my son all day, never leaving the house, and following him everywhere, BUT there were only 6 underwear changes all day.  And, the next day I'd have my hubby home to help with the watching.

Day 2 went NOTHING like Day 1:
6:18a- woke up, took off pull-up, had him sit on potty- nothing
7:20a- started to pee in kitchen, brought him to potty.  Done by the time we got there.
7:35a- pooped in undies in the sunroom.  He gave me a heads up, but then refused to go to the potty.
7:50a- peed in the kitchen after sitting on the potty for a few seconds with dad.
8:00a- peed a little on couch- walked himself to bathroom, underwear change
8:10a- peed a little- changed underwear in bathroom
8:16a- peed in front of window waving bye to dad- changed underwear in front of window
8:50a- peed on bathroom floor- wouldn't sit on potty for more than 2 seconds
9:16a- peed on couch, brought him to potty.  Changed underwear
9:18a- peed on kitchen floor- residual holding from few minutes prior?
9:40a- peed on kitchen floor while I was switching laundry- dad was in kitchen "watching" him

And then I stopped documenting.  12 underwear changes before 10am, and I just didn't have the patience to keep a diary on my phone.  We kept up with the protocol- watching him to catch him in the act, taking him to the bathroom, telling him wet underwear were not where it was at, quizzing him on having dry underwear, reminding him to tell us when he had to potty.  It was exhausting.  But I was keeping my eye on the prize.  First time mom fail #6- realizing something is not working and stubbornly continuing.  We somehow made it through the rest of the day...nap time was in a pull-up, and we went swimming for 2 hours in the afternoon- the only out of the house activity we could do where peeing himself wouldn't ruin for all of us.  Two days of following the protocol to a "T" and we had zero pee in the potty.  I had a much better record not doing anything at all.  

On Day 3, I went rogue.  I stopped following the stupid guidelines in the book and kept my kid on the potty till he finally went pee.  I celebrated like crazy.  I let him "wash" (he's obsessed with washing his hands).  It was fun, he was happy (during and after the celebration, NOT while on the potty).  I kept this up throughout the day, and he peed a whole bunch in the potty.  I could clearly see that he wasn't making the connection though between any feelings he had, and what ended up in the potty.  He liked the celebrating, but had no idea why we were celebrating.  He went to sleep in a diaper, I made the hubs go out and get ice cream.

I was mad at myself.  Not for trying this out, but for abandoning everything I already learned in my first 6 months as a mom.  I learned quick that what works for one kid may not work for another.  I learned that everyone approaches things differently, and that is ok.  I also learned, most importantly, that kids do things on their own time, when they are ready, and more often than not, it is easiest to just let them guide the way.  I know all these things.  Knowing all these things has kept me relaxed as a parent, and my kid super happy (for the most part).  Luckily, another thing I have learned is that kids are super resilient, and this will all be water under the bridge.  

Who is teaching who here?  :)     

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Grandma and her Gardenia

"How many buds are on the gardenia plant now, Fred?"  My 92 year old grandma asks my uncle in her southern-now-east coast accent.  "The same, Ma" my uncle responds back.  This was a frequent exchange, daily.  In addition, any new eyes that came to the house were asked to do a check for buds on the gardenia.  My grandma was obsessed with this plant ever since last year, when it had over 30 blooms on it at one time.  It was her prize plant, and she wanted frequent daily updates as to whether or not the buds were blooming since was unable to look for herself.  For weeks, the plant held green buds, but none of them had opened.  She was concerned the green buds were just going to fall off, and wanted multiple counts, daily.   

Half of my mom's side of the family is Italian (her father/my grandpa).  Although it feels like all of the relatives in the small Connecticut town are Italian because my grandma was a lone wolf when she met my grandfather.  My grandfathers family was dominant in numbers, dominant in opinions.  My grandfather had two siblings, a sister and a brother, both of which married and produced a few cousins for my mom and her 5 (now 4) siblings.  Of course those cousins had little ones, which became third cousins for me, my sister, and our first cousins.  The majority of this family still resides in the dilapidated coastal town that saw its heyday in the WWII era.  Just as is traditional with Italian families, everyone lives close together (real close), eats a lot, and needs to have their voice heard.  

My mom fled the small town when she was 18 to join the Army.  After the Army, marriage, college, and starting a family, she moved back to Connecticut, but to a neighboring town.  After I was born, my mom, dad, sister, and I moved to a different, but still east coast state- Massachusetts.  We lived there for a bit before moving to the West Coast, where we pretty much remained.  I think my mom got a lot of flack for moving across the country, but she and my dad had their reasons, and personally, I'm happy they made the choice they did.  I would have a very different life if we had remained on the East Coast living so close to all the family, and all the drama.  We made frequent trips to Connecticut, I'd say at least once a year.  

I remember when my grandfather died in 2003, I became aware that my family and trips to Connecticut as I knew them would not be the same.  Since we would visit once a year, everything was always the same- we would see the same people, do the same things.  It's just how it was there.  And it was comforting.  My grandfathers funeral was low-key and well attended.  It was like a mini-family reunion, albeit sad circumstances.  My grandpa's sister Londie was the last remaining pure Italian relative from that side of the family.  My great-aunt Londie was very close to my mom and my mom's siblings.  They enjoyed her company immensely, and even more so after the passing of their father.

Early in January of this year, my mom took a trip to Connecticut to be with her mom.  My uncle lives upstairs in the house the family grew up in, my grandma has the bottom floor.  One of my aunts lives in a house across the street built on land my grandfather owned.  One of my other aunts used to live next door in a house built on the same land, but now her son (my cousin) lives there, and she lives a few blocks away.  Like I said, everyone is close.  My grandma started having a more difficult time caring for herself, so up until my mom arrived, my uncle and aunts were doing the majority of the care taking, along with some weekly home visits from hospice.  My mom spent a good 3 weeks getting bossed around by my grandma, feeding her, bathing her, and counting the gardenia blossoms. Throughout January, my mom would send me updates on my grandma, and when my mom cancelled her return flight to California at the end of January, I knew things were taking a different turn.  

Early Sunday morning, 2/1, my mom informed me great aunt Londie had passed.  Monday morning, 2/2, my mom informed me my grandmother had passed.  Just like I had in 2003, I contacted my sister to try and coordinate flights arriving into town around the same time to minimize people making airport trips.  Well, 12 years had passed since the last time we had to do this, and so much had changed.  I was in Kansas City (actually on my way to the airport headed to Texas for a meeting) not in Seattle, and my sister was in Portland.  Coordinating was just too difficult, so I let my boss know I'd be leaving the staff meeting early to fly to Connecticut.  

When I arrived in Connecticut late on a Thursday night, I walked into my grandma's house, and it was filled with relatives.  Even the full house couldn't compensate for the emptiness that was hanging in the air.  My grandma was a fierce red-head and her presence was always felt.  Friday morning was the funeral for Londie.  Saturday was the funeral for my grandma.  I had a long couple of days in front of me.    

Grandma's funeral was almost identical to my grandfathers, but with more people making their way through the funeral home to say good-bye.  I thought my grandma looked amazing, and so at peace.  In her hands she held two perfect, white, fragrant gardenias.  I learned at dinner after the funeral that my uncle went over to water the gardenia on Sunday, the day Londie died, and there was one bloom that had opened up overnight.  My uncle went into the room where my grandma was still alive, but in and out of consciousness to let her know.  The next morning, when my mom found my grandma had passed, another gardenia blossom had opened.  Sometimes, it is so hard to be present in times of grief, but stopping to think about how amazing it is that my grandma got to take those two perfect gardenia blossoms with her forever makes it just a little more bearable.  

RIP Madeline.  

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Ad Astra Per Aspera

...where we left off, our heroine was packing up the family and moving some 1,900 miles east.  

I wanted to come here to write many times immediately after our epic eastbound journey, to document the various cathartic moments along the way, but the longer I delayed writing them, the more I wanted to keep them to myself.  The best I can say now is that the trip provided closure on so many different levels.  It was unexpected, and utterly grand.  I was able to set foot in this new place to call home with 100% confidence I was doing the right thing,

We have been here 3 months now, nearly to the day. It has been an adjustment, but for the most part, things have gone relatively smooth.  After an initial 2 weeks in a extended-stay hotel, we signed a short apartment lease to give us time to house hunt.  The hubs has been a stellar SAHD, taking care of the millions of annoying things that crop up during the day when relocating to a new area.  Had we both had new jobs here right away, I don't think our transition would have been as smooth.  He was able to tour apartments while I was at work.  He was able to receive the moving truck of our belongings while I was at work.  He was able to update the dogs rabies and licenses so we could sign the lease while I was at work.  He was able to unpack our belongings, do all the grocery shopping, make meals, take care of the kid, ON and ON and ON...while I was at work.  

For the first time in the history of our relationship, we've had weekends off together, and have been making the most of those by exploring our new surroundings.  But now we are settled.  The rental apartment walls seem closer everyday.  The hubs is desperately missing adult conversation.  The kid is going stir crazy and is need of stimulation only early childhood educators can provide.  So, after 15 months of the kid being watched by either myself or the hubs, we enrolled him in part time day care.  Now the hubs has 2 kid free days a week to play Xbox (or look for a job).  Once Dave gains employment and knows his schedule, we can plan for more serious daycare, and buy a house.  I know these things take time.  I know in a few months it will seem like an eternity since we moved here and were living in a hotel (although, those first 2 weeks seemed really loooong).  I know soon we will have a house, and friends, and routine.  I'm working on enjoying the process, and trying not to rush things.  

The past 6 months have been all about the new job, and the move.  I've had my moments of getting my crap together eating/exercising wise, but nothing that I could hang on to for very long.  I'm not going to beat myself up about it, I'm done doing that.  What I am going to do is forgive myself, and start focusing on taking better care of me.  Through trial and error the past few months, I've realized the only time I can consistently get my workout in is in the morning.  So, 5am it is.  Through trial and error over the past 30 years, I've realized what foods work for me, and what foods don't.  I will be adopting a more "flexible eating" approach, tracking my protein, fat, and carbs to match specific targets each day.  Yes, it means tracking, weighing my food, and math.  But, it doesn't mean restriction, regret, or refusal of any food.  To me?  That sounds healthy.  

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Kansas City Here I Come

It's hard to believe that a little over one year ago I was deep in the throes of childbirth.  I have such spotty memory of that day (days) and the subsequent year that brings me here.  The past 12 months have been great and new and educational and hard and full and fleeting.  Just when I think I have something figured out, something changes.  

I've been quiet here for quite some time, numerous reasons for that- I have very little time to myself these days to do things like blog.  I am currently not in the fitness "zone" so I feel I'd be doing a disservice to try and talk about eating good things and awesome workouts when I'm not.  I also got a promotion at work that has not only been kicking my butt, but has me relocating 1,800 miles from Seattle to Kansas City.  Kansas.

The past 5 or 6 weeks have been nuts.  Getting our house ready to put on the market, trips to Kansas City to look for new housing, putting our house on the market, meetings, deadlines, new projects, interviews to fill my position in Seattle, selling our home, packing, and planning the logistics of a move that will take at least 4 days with a one year old and a dog.  

We make the move in less than 1 week.  We are ready.  We will be ready.  We have to be ready. 

I have mixed feelings about leaving Seattle.  I notice on one hand I keep trying to focus on the things that I don't like about the area.  This is probably a way of me trying to distance myself from this place and make a clean break.  On the other hand, I find myself incredibly nostalgic for a place that has held so many important milestones and life events for me the past 13 years.  

I moved here September 15, 2001 after I graduated from college.  Like any fresh college graduate, I thought I knew everything and was going to change the world.  Luckily, life handed me my ass over and over and my learning REALLY began.  I met my now husband in 2004.  I bought my first property (condo) in 2006.  I got my first "real" job (in my degree field) in 2007.  My now husband (then bf) bought our first home in 2010.  I got a new job with a huge well-respected company- the kind of company one stays with for their entire career in 2011.  I got engaged in 2011.  We married September 15, 2012.  Our baby boy was born September 22, 2013.  All here in Seattle.  That is a whole lot of life.  And these are just the MAJOR things.  Infinite significant experiences happened between and during these milestones.  Friends made, friends lost.  Friends moved away, friends returned.  Vacations, road trips, BBQ's, parties...way too much to wrap my head around.

Now we move to Kansas CitySeptember 30, 2014.  I'm excited for all that is in store for this new chapter in our lives.  I've decided that good-byes here are hard, and awkward, and I wish I could avoid them.  

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Sprint Tri Re-Cap

A little over 16 weeks ago I closed my eyes and jumped.  I registered for a sprint triathlon.  With about four months to prepare, I figured it was on the edge of do-able.  I immediately put together a training schedule and figured out a way to get swim workouts in.  Afterall, I knew I could bike 12 miles.  I knew I could run a 5K, the only unknown initially was how a 1/3mi swim would be.  Oh, and then combining all of those events. 
When I posted about registering for the sprint tri, I noted how typically registering for events like this has the opposite of the intended effect- instead of training dilligently and being at the top of my game, I tend to do nothing and then panic at the last moment.  This experience was slightly different, but I was still very panicked the last 3 weeks leading up to the event, and considered bailing on it altogether many times. 
I've lived in Seattle now for 13 years.  In my time here, I've done many events.  Too many 5K's to count, a half-marathon, a 69-flight stair climb, a mud/obstacle run, and now this sprint triathlon.  Of all the 5K's, I think I was in shape/properly trained for maaaybe 2 of them.  But, 5K's are short.  You can walk one in under an hour.  I've written before about my half-marathon disaster.  The stair climb was pure hell, and the mud run I badly sprained my ankle on the first obstacle and had to be carried off the course on a race volunteer's back.  Not my finest moment.  Of all the events I've done that I've been ill-prepared for, this was by far the most painless. 
The first 2 1/2 months of my training schedule went great.  I did everything as written, I was feeling good about my pool swims, my runs, and my bike. I just needed to put road tires on my bike, and then I would be good.  Around 4th of July or so, my scheule hit some bumps as I began traveling a lot for holidays and work.  Some other life stuff hit mid-July and continues now, so to say I had a lot on my plate is an understatement.  I still tried to find time to fit in workouts when I could, but I wasn't getting in all the elements evenly the last 3-4 weeks before the event.  This did a number on my confidence.  Also?  I hadn't lost a single pound.  Not one. 
I began to doubt myself, my training, I was worried about the size of my body and how I would look going into the water, coming out of the water, and along the course.  Just general stupid stuff.  I wrote before about the challenges I was having with swimming in open water vs. a pool.  I decided that a) I would just go through with it, b) just focus on one element at a time, c) realize that this is where I'm at right now and own it, and d) just get through the swim. 
The day before the event, I met my friend down at registration where we picked up our race packets, bibs, timing chips and racked our bikes.  As I was in line to get my stuff, I was blown away at all the shapes, sizes, and ages of the participants.  My self-consciousness began to fade.  I had to force myself to remember all the work I did leading up to this event, and not get caught up in the fact my body was still the same size it was prior to training.  I had been in a pool or lake at least once a week for 15 weeks leading up to the event.  I had run at least 2 twice a week for the 16 weeks leading up to the event.  I had biked enough to know I could do 12 miles just fine.  Could I have done more?  Maybe.  Was it possible for me to do more given all the circumstances?  Not likely.  I was as ready as I was going to be. 
Race day I woke up at 4am, made coffee, got all my stuff ready and headed for the shuttle.  I made it to the bike transition area a little before 6a, and set up my station.  My friends that were doing the race found me, and we chatted for a bit.  They began kicking us out of the transition area at 6:15, and herded us to the boat ramp for the swim entry.  The first wave (oldest) participants began at 6:45, and my start wasn't until 7:15.  So we had an hour to just hang out and wait to get in the water.  The sunrise was beautiful, and many friends/supporters were there to talk to.  Finally it was time to line up and start easing towards the water.  No turning back now.  As my group was called into the water, we waded in and listened to the countdown.  We were off.  I hit start on my watch.  It was a sea of bubbles and legs and arms.  I just gently breast-stroked my way along and got used to being in the water.  The remainder of the swim, I did a combination of breast stroke and free-style.  There were people doing all sorts of strokes, all different speeds.  I felt pretty good about the swim.  When I emerged from the water I checked my watch -16:24.  Not bad.  I jogged sopping wet to my bike, wrapped a towel around me, sat down on my other towel and dried my feet- putting my shoes and socks on.  I ripped off my swim cap, took off my wet tank top and put on my tech shirt with bib attached, stood up, put my helmet on, and walked my bike out of the transition area.  I looked at my watch, 22:00 so T1 took me 5 minutes.  Not bad. 
There was a sign marking where we were allowed to mount our bikes and start the ride.  Some competitors behind me were riding out of the transition area and were told to dismount until the proper riding area.  Ha.  I began the 12 mile ride and immediately started passing people, and people were passing me.  I felt good.  Just out for a bike ride.  The bike portion had a few good up hills and corresponding downhills, which were reversed on the way back.  I hit the turn around point at 46ish minutes according to my watch, so it took me 24 minutes to get there.  I figured I was on track for 48 minute total ride.  The ride back seemed a lot longer.  I remember the last mile or so thinking "it didn't seem this long on the way out."  I passed a girl really close to the end of the bike ride, and when I was in front of her I heard the distinct sound of a tire popping.  I felt bad for her, but at least she only had 1/4 mile to walk her bike.  I dismounted my bike where I was told, and walked into the transition area.  Holy cow, walking after all that biking?  My legs were like lead.  I racked my bike, took off my helmet, and headed out.  I didn't need to change shoes or anything in T2. 
My jog was slow and pained.  My lungs felt fine, it was my legs...they were so heavy.  I had done one training workout where I did a 30 minute bike ride, then a 15 minute run, so I sort of knew that after a bit my legs would feel better, but WOW, this was so much more intense.  By the time my legs felt better, my lungs were now struggling.  I just wanted to keep moving.  I was going slow, but jogging.  I was passing people/people were passing me.  The sun was hot on my face.  I had to keep reminding myself that I had swam for 15 minutes, then biked for 50 before doing this...of course it was going to be hard.  About 1/4 mile after passing the 2 mile mark, there was a short steep hill.  I jogged up as much of it as I could.  Husbands and boyfriends of other competitors I knew were BBQ'ing at the top of the hill.  I waved, they cheered me on.  It was nice.  Once I reached the top of the hill, I knew the rest of the race was all down hill- figuratively and literally.  I promised myself to jog the whole way, and that is what I did.  I looked at my watch when I crossed the line, 1:54and change.  I was very happy with that. 
Given the circumstances, I was calculating a 2:30ish worst case finish time, and was happy to come in under 2 hours.  I could possibly see myself doing another sprint triathlon.  The distances for each event were just right, and it is nice not just doing one thing for a long time- i.e. running for two hours.  If I do another one, I will for SURE get a road bike, and work on my bike-run workouts more.  I was happy I went through with the event, and didn't succumb to my insecurities. 

Friday, July 25, 2014

Open Water Swims

My triathlon is 3 weeks and 3 days away.  I'm really feeling the crunch now and the doubt is creeping in.  Somehow I thought I'd be so much farther along at this point.  But, that is just my head getting the best of me because I know that I have been doing more exercise wise in the past 3 months because of this event than I would be if I hadn't signed up.  That's the whole point, right?
Last week my friend that talked me into this business wanted to go test out an open water swim.  I thought that would be a good idea since all of my swims so far had been in the pool.  Finding a time that worked for both of us was tough- she is ridiculously busy all the time, and I have a baby to watch pretty much whenever I'm not at  Anyway, we finally figured that5:30am on Fridays would work. 
We met at the swim spot last Friday on a cool morning when the previous days had been in the 90's (cruel trick, Seattle).  We found an entry point to the lake and discussed our plan of attack.  She was in a wetsuit, me in my mom speedo suit.  I could see the lake plants growing up from the bottom and pooling at the surface.  There were mosquitoes buzzing around.  I stepped into the water, and it was warm.  Like, bath tub warm.  So, that was nice.  I pushed out and we started to breast stroke out to deeper water.  The whole time plants were caressing my bare legs and arms and it was freaking me out.  We got to a place that was deeper and seemingly less plant-y.  "Alright.  On the count of three.  Let's try to make it to the end of that dock."  I put my head down and began to free-style.  When my head went into the murky water, I could see nothing but murkiness and plants below me.  It freaked me out.  I kept trying to swim, but now my breath was all out of sorts.  I stopped.  My friend had stopped.  "This is creepy" I said.  "Don't look underwater" she said.  Yeah, too late for that. 
We would swim a few strokes, stop, catch our panicked breath, and keep going.  We were never able to get away from the plants, and the whole thing was just hard without any sort of direction.  "I'm over this she said."  Thank god I was thinking.  "Me too!"  So we swam to the nearest dock, climbed up the ladder, and that was that.  I would hardly call it a workout, more of a fact finding mission.  I began to get really nervous for the swim portion of the race.  The part that I was least worried about suddenly became my biggest nightmare.   
A few hours after this first swim, we exchanged some text messages.  "I think we just need to suck it up" she said "next Friday try again?"  "Yes" I shot back.  I then asked her if she knew of a better area we could go from that maybe wouldn't be so inundated with water plants.  She said she would think about it.  A few days ago she messaged me that she had a new location to try, and let's meet on Friday (today) at 5:30am
That is just what we did.  The new location was on the other side of the bay from where we were last week.  The water was deeper (and much colder) but there were no plants.  It was pretty much iconic "Sleepless in Seattle" as we swam in front of the fancy houseboats.  Today was SO. MUCH. BETTER.  I don't know if it was because I knew what to expect?  Or if having a row of houseboats next to us was comforting and also gave us something to sight off of?  Or if it was the plant-less water?  Either way, we were able to get a solid workout in.  One that we could both be proud of. 
On the agenda for me this weekend is getting my mountain bike tires switched out to road tires, a run, and another lake swim on Sunday.  I will get through this event.  I will get through this event.