Monday, March 31, 2008

A few random thoughts

I don't have too much to talk about tonight but a few things are on my mind.

Thanks to some encouraging words from fellow bloggers regarding my last post, I have a few ideas that I want to try. I am thinking that somehow I can start small training groups for this new Triathlon in my town. I could hold small group runs, rides or swims. In theory, that sounds easy enough. But do I have the guts to do it? I am not qualified or certified to do any such thing. I am just an athlete who does triathlons now. I used to just swim. I used to just run. I have taught swimming lessons and even coached but I have no credentials. What makes it ok for me to do this? I imagine I could somehow find a few days/week to make this happen. I have no idea where to start or if this is even reasonable to think possible. However, it may be step 1 for me. I would love to turn this new passion of mine into a career somehow and follow my dream. I do feel that my calling is in the area of fitness/ wellness. It's what makes me tick.

I have a hard run in the morning. It's the same 10x 2 min uphill that I did after a 2 hr ride last week. I am anxious to try this run without dead legs. I wonder if I'll go further and feel better or if I'll miss the bike warm-up. I do always seem to run faster off the bike than cold. Does this happen to anyone else?

I'm tired. I have been having this period of time each day during which I just can't keep my eyes open. From 2-4p.m. I am a zombie. I know waking up at 4:30-4:45 is early, but I've been doing it for a while. I really want to eliminate this tired part of my day. It makes me snack more than I should and crave coffee. And lately, everyone seems to be telling me to give up coffee.

On that note, I'm off to bed.

Watch out for April Fools everyone!! And please, for us Northerners stuck in a snowy winter rut, THINK SPRING!!!

Sunday, March 30, 2008

A WHOLE Conversation!!!

Last night my husband and I hosted a party for about 50 of his employees here at our house. It was a stressful week for me. I was very busy trying to prepare and make it a nice evening on top of 11+ hrs of training, caring for my 3 boys, and throw in a Stress Echocardiogram to rule out pulmonary hypertension on top of that.
Needless to say, I am very glad it's over and today is a nice relaxing Sunday at our house.
The party was fun. However, the most notable thing for me to share is that I actually had one whole interesting conversation about----Triathlons!!! At Mark's company party!? Wow. I was psyched.
Last week the headline of our local town paper read: Norway to host Annual Triathlon!
I almost dropped to my knees. I was half overjoyed and half heartbroken. I did know this might be coming. I had heard rumors and even talked to the man who is overseeing it all. However, to see it in print as the Top headline of the paper just threw me into a tizzy. You see, this is not an extremely active town. Many in my neighborhood know me as, "the one who runs." I live in rural Western Maine. The area needs a serious kick in the a-- to be honest. There are many many inactive and unhealthy folks in this part of the state. It's sad. I am determined to one day change that. I'd like to turn my passion into some type of job some day and help get some people into an active lifestyle out here.
I strayed for a bit but you can see why the notion of a triathlon here in Our town (ok, the next town over but it's all one big area that joins together) just made me giddy.
The sad part is we can't do it!!! For the next two years!!! The race will be held on July 19th. We will be in Lake Placid, NY with my dear friend (you all know her as Mary: Ironmatron) and her family registering for IMLP 2009! I'm totally psyched for that big weekend but now I'm sad to miss this. Very sad. There just aren't enough weekends!!!
Back to the party and my "conversation."
A man who has worked for our company for years and his wife came to me and asked if I would be racing in this new Tri. I told them why. ( I will try to get over the fact that when I mentioned registering for an Ironman they didn't even flinch.....that will come later I imagine. Just weird though isn't' it?) George then spoke about seeing me running up our hill-several times- the other day and actually asked about that workout!! (note my last post) He then told me about the time he did the Tri they held here in the late 80s and early 90s! I had no idea he had ever done anything like that! He told his story about being prepared for the swim, or so he thought, but when he got out there he was overcome by fast swimmers and had trouble swallowing water and choking etc. He told about how he talked to himself and convinced himself he could continue. He got on his bike and actually passed people. He then went on to say that the "most amazing feeling" was coming down the hill on Route 119 with the road lined with people screaming. "They were all screaming for me!" :) We talked about that being a big reason that these sports are so "fun." The feeling you get when you over come the low point in a race to come back with a high point. There's nothing like it. They agreed. This couple would both like to get back into physical activity. George talked about making it a regular part of the day. It has to just be an automatic thing you do at a certain time each day regardless of how you feel. YES! He said that when he was running before and felt bad some days, he would just run shorter. But he never regretted getting out there. You never stand in the shower post-run and say, "I wish I hadn't done that." They are considering making a team to do this event in July. I will be so proud of them. I hope it will get a lot of people excited to get active.
I was thrilled to have this conversation. They were genuinely interested in talking about this sport. It made my night!
check it out:

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Not exactly relaxing....

but still a great day for Me!

Yesterday afternoon was my day "off."
I started my day at 4:00 (woke up early) and then headed to the pool at 5:00. I swam an easy 2100 yards and then hurried home. I had 2 kids on the bus 45" after running in the door and then 15 minutes later, Nick and I hopped in the car and I drove Back to Lewiston for his turn in the pool. (it's a 35 minute drive. I had to do it twice yesterday a.m.) So, Nick swam and did great. Our big goal for the day was for him to get his hair wet. Nick's 4. He often gets out of swimming lessons and his hair is 98% dry!!!! I tease him about this every time. This time however, he jumped in and actually went Under the water! Yeah for Nick. He was proud and smiled at me. It's the little things.
We went from there to the store to shop for some party supplies. We got home around 11:30. I unloaded the car and then we basically turned around to get "the guys" as he calls the other two boys. I grabbed them from school at 12:30 and booked it home to Daddy who was ready in the kitchen with ski clothes on! Woohooo!!!!! He knows that part of why I'm sick of skiing is that I'm sick of the whole lengthy process of getting ready. Everyone needs 15 items of clothing, snacks need to be made and packed and then for some reason, there seems to be even more outerwear to put in the bag. So, he took over and I set my bike up on the trainer and changed my clothes. By 1:18 I had started as I waved out the window to my little gang.
Time for some fun.
I was a little incredulous that I was choosing to spend my Entire time alone training but....that's what I like to do and the time to do it without feeling guilty is rare.
I rode for 2 hours. It felt good. Not great but good. I found that I had to take in a lot of nutrition. I thought I was well fueled before I started but apparently not. I ate 1/2 power bar as I began. At 45" I had 3 clif shot blocks. I was drinking tons of water. Thirty minutes later I took a gel. I don't usually require so much fuel but I really felt like I needed it. I watched my taped 2007 Hawaii Ironman....again. Marni, I saw you!! :) Finally the ride was done. I did a relatively quick change and got ready to head out. It was tricky because I was soaked with sweat as I always am on the trainer but it was only 38 degrees outside. That's a pretty mild temp here right now but not when you're already wet. I wasn't sure what to wear.
I had a specific run from my coach that I had to do. It wasn't going to be easy. But it was my fault for cheating and adding a 2 hour ride in front of it! I did 2 easy miles to warm up and then started the workout from hell. It's a good one but it nearly killed me yesterday. I live on a hill. When I run up it to start each run it takes 4+ minutes. It's a long hill. My workout was 10x2" up hill jogging down easy between. Each interval was to be done with greater effort than the one before.
I started #1. OMG
I truly thought I might throw up.
I didn't.
I marked the sand in the road so I could see how far I went each time.
I jogged back down. In the wind.
The way up was HOT and as soon as I turned it was cold. Kind of hard to regulate the clothing for this run.
#2 was better. I went further. I can do this!
#3 still ok.
#4 Dead again. Totally dead.
I spent the next 4 having some serious discussions with myself.
"Just think how strong this is making you. Nobody gets faster without working hard. This is the stuff that makes you able to hang on when you have nothing left in a race."
Great stuff like that. I was hanging on for dear life and just dreaming about my shower and some FOOD!
#9 was tolerable but I wasn't going up as far anymore
#10 GO! I hollered to myself on the last one. I dug deep and went further than any of the others. I bent right over and panted like a dog after that one.
I trotted home and clicked off on the watch. 1:04 run. I have no idea how far that was. It was hard though.
I did 3 hrs and 34" of training yesterday.
I was absolutely toast after that.
I did have a small smoothie immediately after the workout. I was thankfully able to take a shower and begin dinner before "the guys" got home. They had a blast. It was a good day for all. My husband took my 4 year old on a black diamond trail and then wondered why he was falling down for the last 2 runs of the day. Jeez. It's sort of like riding 2 hours and then expecting to crank out a hard hill workout after!!! Duh.
It was not a relaxing day but it was My day. It was a breakthrough day. It was my first hard brick of the season. It gave me confidence.
It also made me realize how much work is left before I'm really ready for the season.

Monday, March 24, 2008

The possibilities are Endless.....

I have quite an opportunity coming my way tomorrow. I am going to have 4---gasp---4 hours to MYSELF!!!!!! It's true. My kids have a 1/2 day at school and my husband wants to take them all skiing! I could go....but he offered to take them alone. I have a blast when we all ski together. The kids are all independent on skis now so it's really a thrill. But, we just skied Sunday. Also, it's spring and it's still cold and I am just not in the mood for it anymore.
The question is....what should I do???
I could relax....take a nap? That would surely do me a lot of good.
I could read.
I could make some phone calls for the mini job I have with my Dad. Or I could make calls that I need to make for my effort to bring a pool to our community.
I could certainly do laundry. And even fold it.
Mop floors?
I could shop for stuff we need for the company party I'm hosting here Saturday. Yikes. I definitely could start cleaning up for that.

I could read blogs and aimlessly surf the net for a crazy amount of time....OR
I could fit in a big giant workout!

Any votes?
Any guesses which one I'll pick?

I am really never alone. I am going to savor it. And you know what, I am going to miss the little guys and probably be calling them late afternoon to find out if they're almost home!!

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Great workout to share

Happy Easter to all!

I had the best workout on my trainer yesterday that I just had to share. It was a fairly long 2 hour ride. It was broken down into 3x10minute blocks that were repeated 4 times. Here's how it looked:
10" at ~90 rpm
10" with 10 seconds Sprint 50 sec. Aerobic zone
10" at ~80 rpm test speed---at a fast pace that I did my time trial at other day.
Repeat x4
It was a workout designed to work on leg strength. It kept my mind busy and off the clock. I was able to ride 2 hours without feeling totally bored and brain dead from staring at the same spot on the wall.
I am so anxious to take my bike outside but the winter has not cooperated for that. The snow is mostly off the roads at this point but now they are covered with huge amounts of sand and the potholes are atrocious. Soon. I will get out of the house soon.
I had a beautiful albeit cold run today too. The wind was whipping and it was only about 20 degrees but the air was clear and the sun was bright. I felt strong and easy for the run. It was a great way to start this Easter day which involved way too much gluttony!!! Back to fruit and veggies tomorrow and I think I can honestly say I don't want to see any more chocolate for a while!!! That's right! I'm Off chocolate! :-) At least I'll try.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Proof Positive

These are the kinds of days I want to share with my friends and family who think I'm nuts for waking up pre 5 a.m. to run/bike/swim. I woke up around 3:15 a.m. today with a brain splitting headache. For about 1 week/month this is a normal occurrence. It's quite annoying. I can't sleep whenI get these headaches. I have a special medicine to take for these migraines. I squirt it up my nose! It looks like I'm doing serious drugs. Anyway, the med works great but it makes me whacko for a while. So I try not to take it at the start of a day.
These are the mornings during which your mind can play games with you. "Stay in bed. You need sleep. You'll feel better all day if you get more rest. You can swim tomorrow..." Those thoughts have won before.
Today, I didn't listen. I got out of bed at 4:44. I stumbled in the dark to my pile of clothes, kissed the hubby, filled a water bottle, got a mug of coffee and headed out the door and into the 22 degree wind filled air. brrrr. It's March 21st isn't it?
I was exhausted and light sensitive for the whole 30" ride to the pool. I had to let the cars behind me go by because I couldn't see with their lights at my back and this awful migraine piercing the right side of my brain.
Finally I jumped into the water and cranked out 7x400s with each one faster than the one before. I felt strong and solid. I felt better in the water than I have in a week. And guess what? My headache is GONE!!! Hello New Day!!! I'm ready for ya now!
I hurried home and shifted gears. I brushed the kid's hair, brushed their teeth, checked over homework, packed the backpacks, wrote a note to Cam's teacher, threw in load of laundry, washed my face of the chlorine smell, filled lunchboxes, drank a cup of coffee, made a few beds, put Tommy's Hat Day hat in car and after this I will take them to school. When that is done I will come home, set Nick up with some toys or maybe Dora the Explorer and crank out a good run.
My day turned around and it's all because I got up and moved my butt.
I do wish I could convince people who don't workout that this really can be the answer to so many daily woes. You don't have to train for triathlons or marathons or any race at all. You don't have to do 3 different sports. But it really does work.
Get out there and MOVE!!!!
Happy Friday to all.

Thursday, March 20, 2008



A Races
B Races
C Races

I understand this concept. I have picked my A, B, and C races. I accept this? I was at my Tri shop yesterday trying out a new saddle for my bike. I started chatting with my friend about how fast Maine's big Beach2Beacon 10K road race filled up this year. My husband and I just barely signed up in time. It closed the first day of registration! I told my friend that I am actually not 100% sure I am going to race it this year. There are several reasons. One, I am very excited about a sprint Tri the next day. For the past 2 years I have raced the 10K Saturday and the Sprint Tri the next day. It's doable but not ideal. I am very fired up about the Tri. It's very close to my home. The first year I competed I was 4th. Last year I was 2nd. I really really really want to catch this girl who wins almost every race in Maine. Plus, I was unknowingly challenged. Last year after the race, a woman whom I know from Tri racing in ME said to me, "Oh, Catherine was first? Yeah, no one in Maine can beat her." Game on. That was it. I would like to race this race with fresh legs. Second reason not to do B2B 10k is that these races are only a few weeks out from Timberman Half Iron and I don't want to have to "waste" training time recovering.
So back to the point of this post. After I told my friend that I might not run it and explained my reasons, he said to me, "Can't you just run it for fun? Can't you just go easy, run with friends who aren't as fast, and consider it part of your training?" I smiled.
Uh, NO!!!!!
He was serious.
He doesn't know me very well yet.
My husband and I have discussed this double race weekend time and again and he frequently says, "you know you can't run it easy. You know you'll go as hard as possible."
Well of course!!!!
Is this bad?
I am the first to admit that I am incapable of such a thing!
After all...this is B2B! In my Home town! And to boot, it's the year of our 20th High School reunion and there is No Way I want to have a time other than my best posted in the paper. Or worse, that night at the party have to say some slow time when someone asks me how I did!
I know. I have it BAD!!! I am so completely engulfed in competition. It's really pretty sick isn't it.
Back at the store, our conversation moved on to A, B, and C races. He never did get a straight answer from me regarding his idea to "take the 10k easy..." Never Tim, never.
So I will train as appropriately for the ABC plan. I will not peak for my June Olympic race or for the late July race. I will not even be fully ready for my first Sprint Tri in 6 weeks. But you can bet your ass that I will give every single race I enter 100% of my effort.
It is absolutely not in my soul not to go at each event full speed ahead.
I love to race. I love love love it. I get so fired up when I'm out on a course and I see someone just ahead of me. I do love to chase others out on the course. I love to kick in the speed for the last 1/2 mile and rip past some unsuspecting athlete. It's fun. It's a rush. I feel strong and ageless. I do not feel like a 38 year old stay at home mom of 3 boys. Don't get me wrong, I am Super Proud to be a stay home Mom to my amazing boys....but.....I also love to feel like a strong firey woman who can still do well in races and make her boys proud.

I'm a competitor. And if I show up to the starting line on 8/2/08, it will be to run harder than ever before.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008


I was at several family gatherings this weekend. A couple of people did say, "So how's your training?" They were two of the shortest conversations I had all day. Why?? If I hear about someone else's interest or new hobby or new endeavor I will ask lots of questions and really talk with them about it. At least I try. This does not seem to be the case with my life's passion. It is sport. It is "working out" to some. I do not think people realize it is an entire new way of life for me. So why won't I tell them?
Am I ashamed?
Am I worried I'll appear conceited?
I do not know!
I always give the shortest possible answer to these questions.
"It's going well. I am enjoying it a lot."
They reply, "good." That's that.
But wait!!!! I have so so much more to say! I'd love to tell them about my awesome hill repeats last week or the 2 hour ride I did that morning. I'd love to give lots of crazy details about the 100x100 workout I swam with my brother last week. I could talk about how amazing I feel at 6:20 a.m. when I've finished a 1.5 hour workout and the rest of the house is just starting the day. I could talk about how incredibly hard it is to hear the alarm beep at 4:42 a.m. and know you just Have to get up to train. I could go on and on about the amazing feeling I get when I finish a triathlon. I am proud that I am setting a good example for my boys. Not only an example of staying fit but I'm showing them how to set goals and work hard to achieve them. I could talk about that.
But I don't.
And they don't ever ask more.
I wonder why no one is interested unless they do it too.
I am interested in my cousin in-laws piano recital she put on the other day even though she's a busy pediatrician in "real life."
Is this ever going to change?
I am not sure I feel that I have to hide what I do, but I do not feel comfortable talking about it.
Why do I feel like I need to justify what I do?

Monday, March 17, 2008

Time to test my speed

Happy St. Patrick's Day!!

After almost 3 months of work with my coach, it's time for a new round of time trials. I'd be lying if I didn't say I was a bit nervous. I want to do well!!! It's merely a way for us to see how I'm responding to the training. To tweak my heart rate zones and to make sure I'm training at the right pace. But it's also a boost of confidence if I do well or a kick in the butt if not. I find it hard to just head out and "go fast" all by myself. Especially in the pool.
Tomorrow I will do the run. I'll warm up and then do a 3 mile test. I did it back in January and my time was 20:39. I feel confident I can go faster than this. The big question.....road or treamill. In a way, I feel like I'm cheating on the treadmill. I can set the pace and do my best to stay with it. On the road, you have to get to that pace on your own and while you're running you're not 100% what pace you're going. I'd prefer to go outside and run the same 3 loops I did in January. The problem? It'll be pitch dark. My workout time is pre-dawn and now it's dark dark until well after 6:00. I wouldn't be able to see my foot placement and therefore I'd risk wiping out. I think I'll try to get outside anyway. I want to keep the test true.
Tuesday I'll do a 30 minute time trial on the bike and a 1000 yard swim TT. I am super curious to see if my swim is faster. It seems impossible for it not to be faster but again, it's so hard to do it alone. Marni? Want to fly up?
Last week was a rather mellow blah training week. I had the big swim Monday, a few short bikes and runs in the middle and then a long bike. There was nothing too interesting. I had a few days that I was pretty neutral about the whole triathlon-thing. I guess every now and then the mind needs a break from thinking about it just like the body needs time to repair muscles damage and recover. I am over it now. I'm excited to work hard again all week. I hope I can pull out some fast times.
I wish I had some interesting stories. Time to go set a leprechaun trap.....:0 )

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

50 beats

That's a pretty good resting heartrate/min. for an adult athlete, not so good for a 34 1/2 week old baby. That was Nick's heartrate that morning, 4 years ago today. I am counting my blessings today as I savored my little guy's birthday with him all day long. We enjoyed every single minute together. It was a good day. His last words as I kissed him..."I'm so happy for my birthday. And I'm so happy about the cake Mommy made for me."

My 34 week check up was scheduled for 10:30. I dropped my 4 year old at preschool and my 2 year old and I went to visit a friend. We chatted for a while and then I left to get my husband at his office so he could come to this appointment. I was going weekly at this point in my pregnancy. But, I was fine. Totally fine. So I thought.

The doc was running late b/c he was in surgery. I felt sorry to have my husband out of work so long. My doc was usually very timely. Of course I understood. I felt that I had no need to be there to fill up his schedule. Since, I was fine! I was just there a few days before after all. I was moments away from going to the desk to tell the lady that I would be happy to reschedule my check up for Monday. It was Friday. I sat tight however. Thank God. Literally. Thank you God for keeping me in my seat that morning. I do in my heart believe I had an Angel looking out for me that day.

They called me in minutes later. Jamie, my nurse, started the familar routine that I loved oh so much. Stand on the scale Ange. WHY?? Why do they make us do that so much? Yes, I gained More weight! Of course! There's a child growing inside me! I would have been happy to just write in the big fat number on her paper for her after weighing myself at home.

Next, she squirted me with the gel and began to check the baby's heartbeat. Oh cool, there it is. That usually take about 15 seconds. She held the thing there longer this time...she didn't say much. Then she left the room. It was about 11:00 now. My Doc came in briskly and did the same thing. Then he held my wrist and took my pulse. He calmly told me that he was trying to distiguish between my heartbeat and the baby's. Ok. I was totally at ease for some reason. I had been through a LOT with my 1st and 2nd babies. I was a pro at this stuff. I was an "experienced Mom." Yeah right. Big difference that made! Now I was told to walk to the next room so they could hook me up to the fetal monitor. Ok, not so bad. I've done this about a million times too. But wait, this was different. The doc didn't leave the room for an hour while the numbers printed away. He stood there. He was deep in thought. He looked at me and said, "Ok, the baby's heart rate is very low. It is staying there. We do need to do something. I need you to head to maternity Now. Don't dawdle." Crap!!!!!!! What the hell was happening???? The maternity wing is about 300 yards down the hall. We took off. It was me, Mark, my 2 year old and my oh so small little baby inside whose heart wasn't working right. Panic struck me. How could something be wrong? Again. (save my first born's story for another day.) I forgot every single phone number I knew as we tried to call someone to come ASAP to the hospital to get Tommy. Finally, we got my husband's sister. But she would be a little while. I worried for a long time if the next 30 minutes traumatized my little boy.
They put me on a bed and what seemed like 20 nurses scurried around me with machines and IVs and catheters. I'm not sure what else. We still didn't know what was happening. It was about 11:20 now. I called my Mom from the bed and tried not to scare her but told her, "I might be having a baby now. Can you come here today, like Now, and help with the kids?"
My doc arrived and explained that he was trying to determine if they had time to send me via ambulance to Maine Med where there is an amazing NICU or if they had to do a C-section Now. (other 2 babies were born naturally-I did not know what to expect here.) Within 2 minutes I was on my way to the OR. Maybe my hubby could be there for the birth. If there was time. If they had time to do a spinal instead of general. I was so scared. So so scared.
Much of the day is a blur. I remember sitting on the bed getting the spinal, quickly. That meant I could have my man with me. I remember laying on the table feeling like I would throw up and now having a Clue what was about to happen. I can vividly hear my doctor saying, "Let's go let's go Let's go!" That's not a good thing to hear. I felt like an elephant was standing on my chest. I couldn't breath. I felt tugging. The pediatrician said, "oh I am so sorry Angela." Why is she SORRY???? I was hysterical. So was my husband. Nicholas was born and he was saved. He was taken away from me. Time of birth 12:05. That's the last thing I remember about the OR.
The next memory I have is being burried in heavy blankets in recovery because I couldn't stop shaking. All I wanted was my baby but I had to "earn my way" out of the recovery room. Yeah, I know I just got cut open, but I really needed to know what was going on.
The rest of the day was a mixed bag of emotions. For a long time we were told he was "ok." It's a transient heart issue in some newborns and all would be fine. "Can we stay here? Do we have to go to Portland?" We were told yes, we could stay. And at that point, I was great. I was ok. It wasn't going to happen...again.
Then the ball dropped. My pediatrician, whom I adore and trust with the lives of my children, arrived. Her shift started. She made phone calls. She knows the guys in Portland, she used to work with them. The cardiologist saw his xrays and wanted him in the NICU asap. Plus, did we forgot, he was a preemie. His lungs weren't developed. He couldn't breath on his own!! That tiny detail hadn't been shared with me for some unknown reason.
My meds were wearing off. I had been in a wheelchair all day long so I could look at him through the glass. I was starting to get emotional and the reality of it all was hitting me. My hubby went home to get my bag. To say goodbye to the kids. To explain a little of this to them.
Meanwhile, the crew from Angel 1 appeared. They are wonderful however....I wasn't prepared. Angel 1 is the special ambulance that travels around to get tiny babies and transport them to the NICU. We have seen them before. The nurse told me all about what they would do for him. Blah blah blah blah......I was numb. Brain dead. Sad. Scared, oh so so scared. Was my baby going to die? Then she had me sign papers after hearing "what would happen if the ambulance crashed.....or lost power." That's it. I broke down. I was done. Please make this go away.
I held my baby for the first time right before they left. I held him for about 1 minute. His O2 sats dropped and he needed more air. I was devastated. I needed my husband so so much. The nurses were trying to call him. Poor man. He was pulled in too many directions at that point.
I followed him in my own ambulance several hours later. It was the most painful ride of my life. My husband drove down in a third vehicle. We finally reunited in some strange room at MMC. Tired, scared, and in a lot of pain.
The nurse came in at 1:00 a.m. ( an old friend of my husband's from H.S. ) and told us that Nick was having trouble and they would have to intubate him. Again, I was numb. Ok. How could this be happening?
For two weeks we stayed by his side. I was eventually discharged on my own and had to stay in Portland with my parent's so I could get back to his side at the crack of dawn. I would have to leave at night. I saw my other boys a little, but not much. They were such incredible troupers. I was so very proud of them. They were shuffled from family member to family member and did so well.
Nick started his stay in the middle of the room in the NICU. When he arrived one morning and he wasn't in his spot, we nearly dropped to the floor. But wait, he was over by the wall. We then learned that this was a graduation for babies in the NICU. The ones with less intensive care were moved to the outside of the room. That was a good day for us.
I sat vigil with my tiny little man day after day. I stared at him and prayed that he would grow to be a big strong healthy boy. I feared long term issues. I feared short term problems and challenges. No one could predict if my fears would come true. I listened to the silence of that room day after day. I memorized the beeps. I knew what each change in tone meant and when to discreetly turn my head from the flurry of doctors scrambling to save the life of the baby next to mine. It was intense.
I pumped breast milk every couple hours, labelled it and put it in the special fridge they had. When he was ready, he could get my milk via a tube in his nose. You do what you gotta do. Finally, the big day arrived when I was allowed to try to nurse him. He was 1.5 weeks old. It was so tough. He was so small. And weak. I had a special nurse helping me even though I had already nursed two other babies. This was different. Preemies are different. He sucked a little and did ok but again, his O2 sats dropped and we had to stop. Maybe tomorrow. Maybe not. There was no rushing this process.

Nicholas arrived home a few weeks later and never looked back. He is 100% healthy. He is so strong and smart and well, just perfect in my motherly opinion. I am so proud of his toughness. He and I know what those first few weeks were like. We held strong and made it. I know he's always going to be a little fighter.

Here's to you Nick. Happy Birthday baby. I love you.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

One for the Log book!

It was a marathon swim. A long long long waterlogged day. Swimming 1o, 000 yards at one time is a Rare occurrence. Even for those of us who swam competitely for 14 years. I swam double practices for years and years and for that reason we didn't need to squish so many yards into one workout. Yesterday was Hard!!!! But I'm proud to say, I did it. I did every single last yard of it.
I was so nervous before it started that once again, I thought I would throw up. I got there so early!! One of the first guys on deck was the fastest Triathlete in Maine. I know him a little bit. He isn't the best swimmer though so I was actually psyched to swim near him and see if I could keep up with him (or ahead of him? ) for at least 1 of these 3 sports we tackle. He declared that he was only doing 4500 yards and this and that and then he said something like, "But that's ok. Swimmers don't win triathlons." He is quite sure of himself (with good reason) and since we were in that type of mode, I reminded him in an oh-so-friendly way that, "yeah maybe, but I won one last year." :) He smiled and admitted defeat. I also reminded him of the speedy swimmer girl in ME who wins nearly every triathlon around. Again, he smiled and realized his error. Gotcha. Never underestimate a swimmer.
The deck filled with lots of big studly swimmer MEN!!! Where are the other women? Finally, there were 4 women and about 25 men. I chose to feel proud instead of intimidated. I tried anyway. Then they announced the first set.
It was:
8x100 on 1:25!!!!!!!!!!! Where the HELL is WARMUP???? I was completely expecting the first 10 or so to be SO slow!!! I was pissed to be honest. And I was psyching myself out. To continue with the first set (it gets better) it was the above 8x100-
6x100 on 1:20!!!
4x100 on 1:15 Holy crap!!! Touch and go from hell!!!! but break yet
5x100 on 1:25
5x100 on 1:20 I'm panicking now because I had NO idea how long we would keep going before a Break!
4x100 on 1:15 Not yet...
5x100 on 1:25
4x100 on 1:20
3x100 on 1:15

100 EASY!!! I skipped this. I needed air. I needed to regroup. I needed to eat a GU, some salt, some water, fix the goggles and to get my SH$^&$T together !!! Time to stop feeling frantic and time to swim. I wasn't even sure how many we'd done!! I am not even sure if all these I'm listing add up to 100! I'm not going to count again either. I did make that 100 easy up at the end of the workout. I promise. I wasn't about to do 9900 yards!
3 min break
Next set: let's see if I can remember. It was 30x100 as:
8x100 odd IM even Free on 1:30
7x100 kick,drill, moderate, pull 1:45 Ahhhhhhh!!! so nice!
6x100 75 free 25 stroke on 1:30
5x100 decend # breaths per 25
4x100 on 1:25
100 EASY
I was much happier now. Granted, my calves were threatening to lock up on nearly every push off the wall. Many of us were grabbing our legs throughout the workout. The 2nd set was a good confidence boost. I had really doubted myself during the first set and just felt like I thrashed around a lot. I was able to focus and really swim during this second group. I started as the 3rd swimmer in my lane but the guy ahead of me (another graduate from my H.S. I must add....there were 4 of us from Cape there....2 sets of siblings...) anyway, he was having some trouble and stopped a lot. Finally he moved to the lane next to me and I was 2nd in my lane. That went well for a while. Until the woman behind me decide to get speedy on the next set.
Last 24x100:
5x100 on 1:30
4x100 on 1:25
3x100 on 1:20
5x100 on 1:30
4x100 on 1:25
3x100 on 1:20
200 easy
I was toast. I was Starving!!!! My feet were waterlogged for hours after !!! I kid you not. The group seems to be a nice bunch of people but there isn't a lot of chatting going on. I swam about 5000 yards before I had a second to say Hello to the woman behind me in the lane. (She ended up passing me for the last set. That's ok. We all took turns feeling strong and weak.) By the end, I was so happy to be done but I was feeling ok. I had been able to suck down about 4 salt tabs, 1/2 gatorade, about 30 oz of water and two gels! I felt strong for some of it and so very tired through a lot of it too. It was a tough day but a great day for my confidence.
I'm so glad I did it and I'm so very glad it's done!

Sunday, March 9, 2008


That's how many yards I will swim tomorrow!!!! All at once!! I am not sure what I have gotten myself into but I am voluntarily joining my brother's Master's team again for another monster workout. 100x100 Woah. I just hope my arms are functioning well enough tomorrow night to write something about it!!

This has been a sad weekend for me. On Friday, my husband's Grandmother passed away. She was 103! She clearly had lived a very nice long life. She was really healthy and cognitively "with it" right until she died. She was amazing. She lived her entire adult life on a dairy farm in the Western Mountains of Maine. She lived alone in that house until just a few months ago! At 99, she had a stroke, recovered, and went home. Amazing. She was a very impressive and interesting woman and will be missed by all. It was her time. She was not happy in her nursing home and with spring approaching it would have been harder for her.

Today I took my husband to the airport and said goodbye until Thursday. I just cried and cried!! I know it's not that long. But, he rarely goes away and I am just a wimp about being without him. I am lonely already. We really do everything together. Sure, it's a workout to take care of the 3 boys solo all that time but I can handle that. We have our routine and I really do enjoy them so much that it's fine. I am just already sad not to have my goodnight hug and my mornign kiss and my friend to hang out with each evening. I know lots of wives husband's travel A LOT so I really have Nothing to complain about. I'm not complaining. I'm just sad. However, I guess I am happy that after almost 10 years of marriage and 14 yrs of being together, I still miss my man and want him here all the time. I'll go to bed with that thought.

I had to rearrange my workouts this weekend to accomodate his trip. I am usually very strict about sticking to my schedule but this is where that flexibility comes in. You do have to give in to "life" at times and do what works best for the family. I was supposed to do an 11 mile run today but I did not want to sacrifice all that time away from hubby on the day he was leaving. So, I did it yesterday. The great part abotu that was I got to run outside! I ran between storm systems. Literally. One freezing rain system left here at 6 a.m. and another rolled in at 2:30. I got a nice long run in mid morning and it was great. Today, I set my bike on the trainer in our bedroom and pedalled away for an hour or so while he packed. It was great. 6 a.m. we were up, exercising and enjoying each other's company but still getting stuff done. It worked out well.

My littlest boy turns 4 in two days. He is so incredibly excited. I am also sad that Daddy will still be out of town that day. As a result, the little pumpkin is going to have So many birthday celebrations!! Of course we'll do something on the official day, we'll have a cake on Thursday with Daddy and then a party on Saturday!! He's goign to make out just fine. I wonder what his brothers will think. :) Probably, "YEAH! MORE CAKE!!"

Friday, March 7, 2008


My husband and I scurried around the kitchen this morning while my 3 year old bopped his new red balloon that I blew up yesterday around the house. Here's one of the day's first conversations:

"Daddy, I know why these balloons don't stay up."

Why Nick?

"Because they don't have strings."

To which my "know-it-all" 8 year old replied, "No Nick. It's because they don't have calcium."

Love those kinds of conversations. They give us all a good smile inside don't they?

Then the day got interesting. I headed to Portland with little Nick in tow. He's such a trouper. He goes everywhere with me. I love his company and will miss him dearly when he's at preschool next year.
Anyway, we head to see a Pulmonologist. Last time I checked, I was a super healthy-- 10+ hr/week of training-- athlete.
Last fall I had some odd symptoms. I had some trouble breathing. I had trouble getting a full breath. I rarely had trouble while active. It was the at rest times that gave me stress anyway. After my first Half Ironman, I was basically hyperventilating. But I think that was a combination of a 5+ hr race and total overwhelming happiness at my success. Not mention I was Tired and kicked my a-- the final mile. So that was all reasonable.
After the Chicago marathon I had trouble too. But, again, it was over 90 degrees and very humid. I pushed hard for over 3 1/2 hours. I just could Not get a deep breath until I got into A/C though. It was just different for me.
From time to time I continued to have that feeling. I would be driving along or talking or sitting on the couch and I just could Not get a deep breath. I was a tad concerned to be honest but I ignored it nonetheless.
Then reports came out (not sure if they were true or not) that the man who died during the Chicago marathon had Mitral valve prolapse. Alert! I have that. Was that why he died?
Well, I knew that a conversation with my Dr. was a must. I just wanted reassurance that I would be fine and that I would not become one of those people with an underlying condition who dropped mysteriously during some endurance race. I could not pursue my Ironman dream with my 3 kids at home without that answered.
And so the fun began.
All in one day I had:
A Stress Test
An echocardiogram
A respiratory function test
Chest XRays and
Some pulmonary function (?) test to see if I had blood clots in my lungs!!
All that alone was enough to make me have trouble breathing.
Diagnosis: Pulmonary hypertention??? What does that mean? Ugh.
My Doctor is absolutely wonderful. He actually saved my husband's life back in 1997 and I trust him with my life as well. So, I knew he was doing what he felt should be done. Despite the diagnosis, he was not alarmed. No blog clots (BIG phew), No more mitral valve evident (oh, that's good but that's WHY I came in the first place!) and all in all good stuff goin' on inside me.
But....there is this increased blood flow within your lungs.
That was in November. I saw the pulmonologist today for my followup/consult. Clearly it wasn't too critical or we wouldn't have waited this long. I have been asymptomatic for a long time too. Today was kind of a nuisance. I have to have Another test.
You see, the normal #s are 5-10 (not sure what they represent) and mine was 45. Hmmm, that's not so good. I am just a mild/maybe case however. He is not too worried. He thinks I'll be a great "case" for the cardiologists since I am so active. Lovely.
I was also informed I have 60-70% Greater lung capacity than normal!!! Cool!! Right? Well, not always. Sometimes it is the signal of a problem and that could cause these symptoms I've had. However, he said that swimmers often have greater lung capacity. And since I was swimming all through my developmental years, that could be the reason.
So, according to his nurse, I need another "echocardiogram ASAP." Why asap? I thought they weren't worried. I will be using a recumbant bike while they do an ultrasound on my heart. That will be pretty cool to see I admit. Not that I can understand what I'm looking at.
I want this over.
I KNOW I am ok.
It is another reminder for me to appreciate health and life in general though.

I hope you all breath easy tonight.


Wednesday, March 5, 2008


Remember the old saying, " No Pain No Gain." Or "Pain is Great!" While coaches these days argue that there is no good pain, I do feel the meaning in those expressions. For example, today while running my 9th hill repeat at a faster pace than the first 8, I had some discomfort that one might call pain. It was mostly just a kick ass workout that hurt. But pain is the word that has been used over time to describe the feeling at these moments. I think we triathletes, all athletes for that matter enjoy this feeling. In part, it was why we do it. At least, it is why I do it. I love that feeling you get towards the end of a workout when the muscles are aching and the heart is beating hard. You have to reach down deep and push yourself past the desire to stop. You "die another day" as Madonna sings to me on my MP3. I love that rush. That "pain."

But "bad pain," now, that is not so fun. I don't get any satisfaction from working through that. You see, today wasn't quite as glorious on my new ride. ( sorry...she's still waiting for a name) Don't get me wrong, I love my zippy little lady and she's going to help me achieve my goals this season. Buy Oh MY God, there has to be an answer to this saddle issue!!! Ladies help me! It just flat out hurts to sit on something that hard and in that position for that long! I find myself sitting up and standing up just to get a small dose of relief. Is there some magic bike seat out there that allows those ladies to ride for 6 hrs in an Ironman without permanently destroying critical soft tissue? This I feel, is Not good pain!

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

She's a keeper

I christened my new bike today. I love her. It was my best ride on a trainer I dare say. She is just awesome. I don't have a name for her yet but I'm working on it. She is so smooth and quiet and FAST!!!! My ave speed was a good 3mph faster today. Mind over matter? I'm not sure. I know there has to be some gain even before I reap her aerodynamic benefits on the open road. What a thrill. It was fun to feel so cool.....

Things are coming together. I am starting to see improvements and that is rewarding. I did a run the other day that was 5 x 3 minutes POE (parcelled out effort.) In other words, your effort and therefore speed should be greater with each 3" period. This was embedded in a 45" run. It a so smooth. I was able to keep my heartrate in the Aerobic zone until my pace was just under 7:00/mile. How can that be? I ended the effort on a 3" at 6:30 pace. Then I slowed down to a 6:58 pace to finish the run. It just felt easy.

I am also finally seeing some gains in the water. I have my stroke back. I feel strong again. I am able to repeat 200s and bring the time down a lot faster than last year. I have been trying to keep myself strong in the water for my big workout next week. 100x100. I am looking forward to it in an odd sort of way. I do think it'll be fun. I like big challenges like this and what better challenge than one in the water?

Here's an interesting experiment I've been playing with. I can run along at a steady pace in my Aerobic zone and feel very consistent. However, if I start daydreaming and imagining myself finishing a race next to a competitor for example, I find that my heart rate has gone up a good 10 beats even though my speed is the same. If I lower my arms and focus on an easy pace my heartrate goes down again. I feel that if I can gain some good mental focus and learn to control my emotions during a race, I could really keep my heartrate in check. Yeah, that would be nice. It'll never happen. But I can keep experimenting during training and who knows...maybe I'll get there.

Forecast for tonight: Ice storm in the foothills of Maine. Hmmm....sounds interesting. We'll see what tomorrow brings. Right now, it's a glorious springlike 54 degrees!!! I know I know, but it's all relative.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

The decision has been made.....

Today was a big day for me. I finally decided on and purchased my new bike. It's so hot. It's so light! I can' t Wait for the snow to melt so I can ride it outside.

I headed to Peak Performance and spent 2 hrs on this today. I'd say 90% of that time was spent going back and forth from the Cervelo P2C and the P3C to see which fit me better. My friends at the shop were so helpful and patient. They moved seats, raised bars, and wiggled me around to make sure I knew all the possibilities. It was a big deal. This is a huge purchase for us and it had to be right. When I bought my first bike in 4/06 I got the least expensive bike out there so I could test this sport. I am now officially hooked and today made that even more certain. Now I just hope I can live up to my bike. It has the reputation of being a "fast bike." I hope now I can ride it fast. My new baby is the Black, silver and red Cervelo P3C. I love it. I am so so happy. I got some new sidi shoes to go with it. My old bike shoes were a whole size too small and my feet always went numb on my rides. I'm not sure how that happened.
It's going to be a fun year out there on the roads. I can't wait to get this season started.