Thursday, December 31, 2009

Hard to imagine....

Here comes 2010. The past 10 years have been Huge for me. Huge. I turn 40 next week. One week from tomorrow. Gulp.
So rewind 10 years. Mark gathered all my best friends and threw a big surprise 30th for me. It was fun. I had a 4 1/2 month old baby in my arms and I a husband of 1.5 years... we were just starting out.
Clearly, I can't write about all the events that soaked up the first 10 years of this millennium. They were my 30s. My 30s came in with the year 2000 and are about to be gone. I'm not sure how I feel about that!
Let's see.... my little Cameron was a baby. He grew and grew into a toddler. I worked as Speech-Language Pathologist at the time. When we realized we were expecting our second baby, I left my job. Indefinitely. A decision I have never regretted. Tommy was born in 2001. A few months after 9/11. I remember clutching my stomach as I watched the twin towers fall. We had two boys and our world was full of diapers, and nap times, and sweet baby boy snuggles. Mark took over his Dad's business in 2004. A few months later, little baby Nicholas was born.. Frighteningly early. After a dramatic emergency c-section we were sent to Maine Med for several weeks. As you can see by my pictures and stories, everyone is fine. Little Nick was tough and never looked back once we got home. We will never stop appreciating how fragile life is and how lucky we are that all 3 boys are healthy. (rough start for Cameron too but that was in 1999 and didn't make this decade!)Since then, I have spent my days taking care of these 3 boys with all my energy.

In 2006 I discovered a way to enjoy some personal time. Triathlon!!! I was hooked after my first race. I did that race with sneakers on the bike and with hope that someone would stop to help me with my dropped chain! Ha! But somehow I finished 14th oa and decided to do more. And then, a few weeks later, Crash. The bike went down hard---with me on it. Say goodbye to Season #1! I had surgery 5 months later and started the painfully slow recovery of a torn rotator cuff. A victory in my first race back made all the hard work of rehab well worth it.

Now, triathlon is a major part of our lives. My daily training routine is an understood and accepted activity. My boys have learned so much about healthy living and keeping their bodies moving. I have raced my first Ironman and made it to Kona. All before turning 40. Cool. I just wish it made turning 40 a little easier.

When I think about the last 10 years and realize how big they have been in our lives...I can't imagine what the next 10 will bring. It's a little overwhelming I dare say. Ten years from now, when we get ready for 2020, I will have a 20year old, an 18 y.o. and a 15 y.o!!!!!! I can't even stand that thought. Just forget how old I will be at that time! I plan to fight the aging process every step of the way.

So for now, one day at a time.

I suppose I have my resolutions. However I work off goals all year long so January 1st doesn't really change that for me.

It's been an amazing 10 years....I'm excited and curious to see where the next 10 take me.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

24 Hours

It rained a few days ago. It poured. We huddled in the house all day and wished for snow. Last night, we got our wish. The sky started dumping big fat beautiful snow!! Maine is much prettier in the winter with snow on the ground And it is guaranteed to entertain little boys for hours and hours. After dinner, Mark told the kids to bundle up and head outside with him. The mission was to shovel the deck...but to them it was 100% fun in the snow in the dark!
7:20 rolled around and I put the 'bad guy' face on and pulled them in the house. I always keep the kids on their regular bedtime schedule (8 p.m.) even during vacation. Sure, we make exceptions, but when they get up early regardless of bedtime, I stick to the early hour.
The kids were half way in the door, dripping wet & cold, and the kitties ran down the stairs (quickly...) to greet them.
At that moment...there was a Crash. A clunky crash. A soft yet noisy crash.
OH NO! Mark and I bounded up the stairs.
The Tree. Our big (we get Big trees...) Beautiful Christmas tree was in a pile. The water in the dish was oozing over the gifts on the floor. The ornaments....what was wrecked?
Of All the fragile ornaments we have on that tree, only one broke. Lucky?
Quite the opposite. It was the glass ornament my little boy made me for Christmas this year. I was devastated. He was heartbroken. Tears and sadness. I would smash almost all the other ones to salvage that for us.
We spent the next few hours trying to clean the mess. The tree was propped precariously against the wall while I ripped everything off it in a manner much faster than they deserved. Our family takes it's time hanging the tree and while taking it down isn't quite the same, we wouldn't have shoved it all aside like we were forced to last night. Sigh.....

That was done and the mess was cleaned. I headed to bed too late...10:30. I was back up at 4:35 and off to the pool. The 4wd car was out of I had to take my little gas efficient 2wd. But the roads were covered with snow so it took me about 15 min too long to get to the big deal. I got my swim in and got home without sliding off the road. All set.

I told the boys they had to eat breakfast Fast and get outside asap because the temps were forecasted to plummet today. They were happy to oblige and by 8:10 a.m. they were bundled and out the door. 24 degrees. By 10:00 it was 14 and windy and they were Still out. They built a fort, climbed their frozen snowmen, did some sledding and tried to avoid throwing snow in each other's faces because Mommy made them promise not to.

Meanwhile, I enjoyed 2 quiet hours. I drank coffee. I cleaned a little. And I got ready...for the test.
The Bike Test. Ouch!
Turns out I should have done it while the little ones played but since it is rare for them to stay outside for more than 15 minutes without some type of issue.... note: I have to go to the bathroom!! Can I have a snack? He won't give me a turn on my sled!! I have a bloody nose. (yes, a lot) He threw snow on my face! What time is it? The dogs are chasing me. Can you help me find my yellow shovel? I think it blew into the woods!

Back to the bike test. Jen gathers our HR data annually. Today was bike test day. I even cleaned my bike's chain and greased it to prep for this. I had music ready. I had my big towels handy to sweat on, water, HR monitor, and my attitude. I was ready to suffer.

The boys came in and I let them watch The Incredibles. I told them they had 30 minutes to chat with me if needed and then for the next 30 minutes I couldn't be interrupted unless someone was hurt. Is that bad?

Thirty minutes in....I cranked the tunes. I started pushing. Ten minutes after that and the HR monitor clicked on...twenty minutes to suffer. Oh and I did. My legs were pulsing. The sweat pouring off me might have rivaled my look on the Queen K back in October. I just covered the time clock with my towel and pushed....
max Hr 182! wow. I get it up there don't I!

Back to reality. I got cleaned up and we had lunch. I realized that I hadn't really left the house since before Christmas. Ok...I Rode to bethel for dinner on Sunday night and I drove to the pool this morning. But that's it. And I was beginning to feel like a slug. So I told the boys we had to go do some errands. We'd get the mail, gas up the Tahoe, and go to the grocery store for a few basics. Not a big shopping day. The wind was now whipping and it was sub 10 degrees. Painful cold. I tried to go through the drive through at Walgreens for a prescription. The window wouldn't go down though. So I drove on. That's fine.
I got to Hannaford. The grocery store. Final stop. Two boys piled out one side and the other hopped out the door behind me. He commented on something that I didn't understand. And then, I got it. The door. It was frozen inside. It would Not shut! how can this be? What do I do? I piled them back in the car and called Mark. He looked at his door (same make) and tried to explain to me how to wiggle the hard black plastic thing so it would swivel when you pulled the other side up and then....what? Nothing worked. Well, we're here. We went in, got our milk, yogurt, cereal and other necessary things and headed back into the arctic air. We did a slow shuffling run to the car with our hats over our eyes and our heads down. I feared opening other doors...what if they didn't shut? I piled the kids back in...I started to put the groceries in. And then, rip! &$#$%$%*#$. Yes, I swore. Sometimes Moms swear. Sometimes their kids might hear them. I try to apologize to them and all that....damn. I hate when I do that. But it happens. Right? Is that bad?
See, the grocery bag broke and tons of little yogurts rolled all around the parking lot and UNDER the Tahoe! It's a big car and I can't get Way under there!!! So the food is all over the place, the boys are being boys and crawling around the backseat tossing each other's hats at each other, it's 8 degrees but probably -2 with the wind, and the door won't close. deep breath Mommy deep breath.
I gathered the stuff, apologized like I do for my sometimes inappropriate language, and crawled in the backseat with them. I attempted to tie the seat belt around the door handle and then tie it to something else to keep it "shut" on the 5 mi ride home. It didn't work very well. But, nobody fell out. And nobody froze. We all lived and now the groceries are in the fridge.

I fed them an early dinner and then hurried off to Cameron's basketball game. We saw his old soccer coach who has been in Iraq for 7 months. He has a 2 week vacation and then he'll go back for 5 more months. He has an 8 y.o. daughter and a 10 y.o. son. Suddenly my car and grocery woes seemed insignificant.

And then we got home and I fed them again. Early dinners usually just mean two dinners. My boys eat a lot. I also learned that my uncle was in the hospital. Again, the problems from my day weren't really problems at all. Just something I had to handle today. But in the end, my day was just fine. I spent my hours hanging out with my favorite little people. I can't ask for more than that.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Christmas at the Bancrofts

A short recap of the past few days....I actually didn't take enough pictures. I did take a lot of video however. It was crazy, it was fun, it was exhausting, and now, it's over. And I am suddenly L-A-Z-Y!!! I was moving 100 mph for too long and now my body is saying STOP please! So I'm listening. The past 2 nights I was in bed by 10:30 and up after 8:00!!! Unheard of....
Here are my little ones trying to settle down on Christmas Eve. We always give them new PJs that night. They love it. Here they are modelling. That night wasn't as relaxing and idyllic as I'd hoped. I spent the day baking baking baking and cleaning and wrapping and basically trying to pull together all the last minute things. Thankfully Mark made a Second trip to the grocery store for me. It was packed so that saved me a few hrs. I worked hard to re-bake my Mom's famous homemade rolls and I think I dare say the 2nd time was much much better. The little dough pellets from batch one were replaced with something a bit more edible. At least my family was polite and ate them at dinner on Friday. I had a special Christmas eve dinner planned for just the 5 of us. Scallops, rice, haddock, a nice salad and well..that's it. Nothing too fancy but a nice quiet meal. We also planned to attend Christmas eve Mass at 6:00. That is about the worst time possible for a young family ....if you ask me. It's Right at dinner. My boys are Excited to go to bed on Christmas eve but that really got in our way. If we ate before church it would be like an afternoon snack but after was too late. We still ate after. Church was fine but my boys were ansty. Nick took a nap on my lap so I had to stay in my seat the whole time....I felt silly while everyone else stood. I'm still glad we went. We got home and immediately tracked Santa on NORAD. He was in Ireland and a slight degree of panic went over the kids. I assured them we were all set. But the frenzy had begun. They saw lights in the sky...heard was fun. We sprinkled the reindeer food they had made on the front lawn, put cookies by the fireplace, and inhaled my nice meal. Oh well. We headed upstairs to bed and to read Twas the Night before Christmas at a pace that would have made Rudolph shutter. It was almost 9 p.m and the kids were Anxious to get all 5 of us to bed so Santa could come!!!
Here they are.....

My fruit pizza for Christmas appetizers....Marni's recipe! thanks Marn!!! So yummy!

Christmas morning with the 5 of us was Fun! The kids were super excited with every gift. They loved their stockings. They were fairly patient watching their brothers and parents open their gifts. This is later in the day with my parents ( mom in background), brother and his family here...

Mom and Dad got me a cool gift....a huge mounted poster of me on the Bike in Lake Placid. Fun!!!

Last night...Nick modelling his 2nd set of new pjs.

this is pretty much all we've done for 2 days. It's 10:00 and none of us are dressed. Our beds aren't made. We just ate. They are totally enthralled with their legos and erector sets. Tomorrow is back to the 4:33 a.m. alarm. But for now...we rest.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Stay true to yourself

This is advice that was given to me last week. It struck a chord with me. Last week I was feeling a lot of stress and was unable to fully focus on the things that count the most. I had to make a few decisions that were tough.
Over Thanksgiving weekend I was elected as President of a new Triathlon Club that we were planning to create. I was honored my friends would choose me for this role and I was very excited. I was prepared to devote whatever time was necessary to help create something for the Tri community in Maine. Unfortunately, a number of circumstances caused me to seriously reconsider. As much as I wanted to lead a group to see this goal to the end, it became more and more clear that it wasn't going to work for me. If I had stayed in that role at this time, I feared I would grow to resent the sport I have grown to love. A sport that has fulfilled something for me on a personal level. So, I had to stay true to myself. After I resigned, I felt a combination of peace and sadness. As the days have passed, I know I made the right move. I do hope a successful club is formed and I will be an enthusiastic member. For now, that is where I belong.

As I eluded to in my last post, I turn 40 soon. Two weeks from tomorrow actually. My husband turns 40 exactly 7 days after me. As strange as it sounds to me, it's really a pretty cool thing. I have accomplished great things in my life. And so has my husband. We are very happy with where we are and we have a lot more ahead. Most of all, I have my wondeful 3 little boys. We have a great family of 5 and for that I feel lucky. We both have our health and high levels of fitness. There is no way a number is going to slow us down.

I ran 4 miles today. For an endurance athlete who conquered two Ironmans this past season, it seems almost comical to talk about. But to the woman who has been sidelined with a stress fx since Halloween, it was one of the best things about my week. It was 20 degrees and sunny. My husband came home at noon to reprieve me for 30 minutes. Those of you with little ones at Christmas understand. My kids are Fired up!! I love it. I dread the day when they are Not. However, 3 boys = noise and running and sliding and hiting and some whining and some grabbing and lots of food and .....That run was Exactly what I needed. I attempted to make homemade rolls from scratch today. I spent from 11-7 trying to do this. When I say scratch I mean you start with yeast and sugar and warm milk and a lot of little steps that have to be done Just right or the dough doesn't rise properly. It has to rise 3 x during the day. It took foreeeeevrer and then they came out as heavy little balls of dough. Here's what Mark said when I took my first batch out, "it's ok. They dont' look like your Mom's but they're fine." FINE? I got on the phone and ordered two dozen from our local bakery. I tried. So yeah, that was about the best 4miles ever.
I had a busy start to the week too..but got a little Christmas gift in the process. On Monday, I was up early at 4:30 to swim. I got home by 7 and the boys and I did stuff around home all day. I drove them to swimming lessons at 4 that afternoon. After that, we continued on to my parent's house (an hour from my home) where I left them for the night. After that, I drove south another 30 min to my friend Heidi's house. I've been friends with Heidi since 2nd grade. There were 6 of us that became friends during grade school and remained friends through the years. We have lost touch here and there but have always been able to hook back up again and reconnect. I am very very lucky to have these beautiful women in my life. They are all true friends and I know we can all count on each other to be there for one another no matter what. Perhaps turning 40 is hitting us all a little bit. We are realizing what we have done in our lives and who we have in our lives. True friends are hard to find. These guys are the real deal. what a great night.
In the picture from left to right are Julie, Mary, Alina, Ange, Chris, and Heidi.

So while I sit and enjoy Christmas with my family and head into my final 2 weeks in my 30s, I will stay true to myself. I will continue to live my life the way I want to lead it. I will be honest to myself and do what I feel is right.
And maybe, just maybe, before my next big birthday I will finally learn to play the drums. And be in a band. And.......I have a lot left to do...

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

This post might not make much sense!

I have been so busy and scattered lately!! I can't seem to remember what I need to do from one minute to the next. When growing up, I remember hearing comments about 'avoiding holiday stress.' I couldn't imagine! Christmas was the BEST season ever!! I loved all the hoopla! And for the record, I still do. I love the lights and the songs and the excitement over Santa. I get into it. But as a Mom of 3...I now understand the stress. My goal each year is to CHILL OUT and just go with it. Yah.....that doesn't happen with me too much. I'm just way too type A and revved up most of the time. I can't deny that. As I approach 40, one thing I can Not do is deny who I am. It's just me.

I can't compose a meaningful post today. I have too many random things going on right now. So I won't try. A few bullets from my brain these days.

  • I'm not ready to be 40. It doesn't sound right to me. I did an Ironman in July this year so I could say I was an Ironman before I turned 40. It didn't help.

  • I hope Tommy and his friends had fun at the Secret Agent party last weekend. I worked really really hard on it. I'm not a creative person and it took me many hours to put the activities together. Many of the things I had planned, we didn't even use. The kids couldn't focus that long. That was a bummer. But most of all, I really hope my little boy had fun. He said he did. I hope he was being sincere and not polite.

  • My foot is better. I can run 2.4 miles without pain now. But I'm so slow. SO SLOW! I see the doc on Friday and Pray he says I'm good to go. I really really need to go outside and run without fear.

  • I am realizing I don't kick very much when I swim. When I pull 100s I am only a teeny bit slower than when I swim them. Hmmm. I think it is actually ok for triathlon swimming. I save my legs for the biking and running. However, I will be racing Faster this summer and think I can step it up a notch with the ole' kick. I need to work on this.

  • I love my new Splish suits. I wore one today and it made me feel faster in the pool. there is nothing like a tight new suit.

  • One of my favorite things is coming down early early in the morning, when the house is still dark and quiet, and turning on the Christmas tree lights.

  • why can't I ever get my shopping done? Perhaps it's because I don't love shopping.

  • I wanted to run the 10 mile road race in Cape in February. I was very unhappy with my race last year and had hoped to hit it hard in 2010. Now, I'm not so sure I can do that. This stress fx injury has really hit me hard.
  • The High school kids who practice when I swim in the morning really need to learn how to do push ups.
  • Maybe I can get all my shopping done before October next year.
  • I can't wait to watch the Hawaii Ironman on Saturday. I'll never watch that race the same way again. It wasn't long ago that I would watch that while wrapping Christmas presents and just be blown Away by how Anyone could ever do such a crazy event. And now, I can say I DID IT! You just never know what life will bring.
  • 40. Nope. It still doesn't sound right.
  • Sometimes,the person who can handle everything, can't. Sometimes the person who is on top of things, isn't. Sometimes, the person who is tough and strong feels weak and miserable. I'm just saying. Sometimes that happens.

  • Substitute teaching is really really hard. And tiring. Hats off to teachers who work with the little ones every day. I appreciate my own children more and more every time I go in there.

  • I hope Christmas is a happy and magical day for my boys. They deserve it. They are really special little people. I will work hard to make next week amazing for them.

Friday, December 4, 2009

What's next??

I couldn't decide if I wanted to write about the upcoming 2010 season or ---- turning 40. They both happen at about the same time.
Racing won. I am still compiling my thoughts on the 40 thing.
Here goes. Hmmm. 2010. I am still trying to get over 2009 quite frankly. My motivation is still waxing and waning. But here it is. I have a plan for now.

First---heal stress fx. This is almost done. I am actually running. Or shall we call it jogging. Short distances. On the grass. With walking mixed in. But it's Something! I'll take it. I'm afraid of my foot. It's annoying because I always have some pain whether I have a stress fx or not! So now, when I am running, I have to be certain that the pain I feel is the old everyday chronic pain and not an unhealed fx. I made the mistake of boasting to a friend that I was planning to run and swim my way into the new year. Immediately after Kona, fine, for a Month or so after Kona, I didn't want to look at my bike. But...the foot cracked on me and threw that plan away.
I had originally planned on hopping into all the little 5ks for the winter. I would turkey trot, jingle bell run, ho ho ho run (not sure if there is one of those) you get the drift.
Insteeaaaaaaaad....I will settle for a 2.7 mile trot around the block today.

Back to the current adjusted race plan.

Cape MidWinter Classic 10 mile road race-I've been doing this race on and off for years. I think I did it back in the early 90s with my Mom actually. I grew up in Cape so although I've been away for 20 years (back to that almost 40 thing...), it's still a home town race. Tons of good friends run it. Friends from the Tri world and friends I know from Cape. It's often cold and icy but always a great test of fitness early in the year. I hope my foot is 100% soon so I can do this and do it right.

PolarBear 5K-I'll probably run this race. I won last year. That was a surprise! I never win road races!! Must say it was a fun was to start '09. It's on Valentine's day.

Tucson Training camp!! I'm heading to Arizona for a training camp with coach Jen!! I can't wait to meet her in person and spend a fun long weekend in the sunny southwest climbing Mt. Lemmon and running hard with the other athletes.

PolarBear Sprint Triathlon--I love this race. It's the first Tri in Maine for the season. And..It's a pool swim!!! That's a great twist for me. It's fast and furious. Takes just about an hour. ok, I have yet to break one hour but in '08 my time was 1:00.01. no joke. So of course my goal is a nice fast 59 min day.

Rev3 Half Ironman --I'm heading to Connecticut for a June Half Iron. I'm excited for this. Around 20 Mainers are heading down and staying at the same hotel. My sister in-law lives nearby so we'll crash with her too. My family can entertain themselves at the amusement park that is open only to spectators that day. Meanwhile, I hear it's one of the hardest 70.3 courses out there. Bring it on!

The middle of the summer is a little unscheduled right now. I am not sure what I'll feel like doing. And you know, that's the beauty of next season! Last year was so incredible structured and serious due to Ironman Lake Placid and then Hawaii. There was no room to throw a random race in here or there.
I just found another race I can do!! June 13th is the Pirate Tri at Sebago Lake. Right near camp!! My husband is fired up for this and I'll be sure to hop in to the fun too. And best of all, there's a kid's aquarun! perfect family. I think we can even drive our party boat over to the venue!

If the Norway Sprint happens and it's convenient, I'll do it. that in my current home town.

Portland Urban Epic. Same as above. We'll see.

Beach2Beacon 10K road race. Back to Cape Elizabeth. This is a huge world class event started by Joan Benoit Samuelson. I think it's limited to 6000 runners now. if you knew our small coastal roads in Cape you'd realize why this is so remarkable. It's a great even that started in 1998. I hope to get on the registrants list for this one. I had to skip it last year...still learning how to walk after LP.

Maine State Tri --- another small sprint tri close to home. I have loved this race. They changed teh course and it's no longer a ridiculous climb over small nordic ski trails in the woods or through knee deep mud holes in the fields. Again, missed it last year due to Lake Placid. I hope to go back. I've placed 2nd in this race over and over. Maybe this time...? :)

Timberman Half Ironman! This will be my other A race. (along with Rev3) I have decided I LOVE the Half Ironman distance. I can really race that distance and yet still enjoy a pure endurance event. Timberman is where it all started for me. It was my first Half in 2007. I love this event. Keith Jordan does a fantastic job. I can't wait to go back. And...there's a CHANCE my husband will join the race! (if he hasn't already missed the registration window..)

Lobsterman Olympic race--this is a beautiful ocean race in Freeport, Me. I feel like I say 'hometown' race a lot. however, my Grandparents lived here, my mom and dad do now, and our cottage is here. So again, it's like home. I love this race. The water is usually disturbingly cold but the course is hard and fun so it's a great end of the season race. Plus, they have beer, lobsters, and a kid run after.

I hope to jump into a few more at the end of the season. The CELT sprint in Cape. It's a pool race and yeah...back to home. And I grew up in that pool so it would be especially fun. Do I dare say the Maine Marathon?? not sure. really really not sure about that one. If not, probably the half marathon.

You can sense my tone. Fun for 2010. Fun and Fast! I can't wait for Jen to train my legs to have zip and speed again!!! I'm excited.
At the same's tough to get my fire right now. Everything is so far away. I am doing all my workouts and working hard but...I'm just waiting for the big drive to kick in again.

I think that'll happen when that big 4-0-hits.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Everyone Has a Story


While many of us go out and race with others on a regular basis, we don't always know the inside stories. We can read the race results and see who won. We can find out our friend's splits. We might be lucky and read about the conditions on race day. But as we all know, triathlons are more than that. Each and every athlete has as story every single time they race. They experience highs and lows that are worth listening to. They go through moments of succes, periods of suffering, and hopefully they experience the pure joy of crossing that finish line. These stories are all worth sharing.
I have a friend who has a new blog. I want to share it with you. His last entry inspired this post of mine. He wrote about his 2009 race season. I watched Bob race at many races this year. He had a fantastic season and topped it off with a super fast day at Clearwater. He worked as hard as anyone I know to earn that spot and then conquer that day in Florida.
While reading his stories, I realized what an incredible person he is. Now, he is my friend and I already knew this, but there was something different here. It's worth sharing...

In his first race of the year, his goal was to win. I like that goal. Why not go for it, right? The race was a duathlon On the first loop of the run, Bob's competitors took a wrong turn. He was in 3rd at this point. Instead of continuing on the right way, and slipping easily into first place, Bob stopped. He hollered to the guys who were ahead and steered them back the right way. He even allowed them to get back in front of him. As he said, a win is not a win unless you are the fastest. He didn't want any freebies. He wanted to win honestly. Click here to find out if he won or not. Bob's Story

First place or not, I'd say Bob was the winner that day. Wouldn't you?

One of the reasons I have loved Triathlon is because of the people. I have experienced amazing sportsmanship in this sport. I come from a long history of competitive sports and this has not always been the case. This sport I am enjoying as an adult is full of hard core training, racing until I can't see straight, and some of the most inspiring people I have ever known.

Reading each others blogs allows us to peak into the stories out there. The special moments that make this sport great.

Thanks for sharing that Bob. You earned everything you got that day.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Looking Back

It's Thanksgiving week. Where has the year gone? It was only a year ago that I was recovering from Clearwater. It seems like just yesterday when I was starting my first training plan with Coach Jen. Just yesterday when I began training for my first Ironman.

And yet, so much has happened. It's been a huge 12 months for me in the sport of Triathlon.

I decided to look up the numbers. We all love numbers and stats. Here are mine for 2009 thus far.

616.5 hours of training
390, 483.6 yards of swimming
3,658.7 miles of biking
897.1 miles of running
2325.9 miles of Bricks
432.1 miles of Racing
The past year was different for me. It was all about Ironman. ALL about Ironman. I raced a few sprints and a few olympic distance races but I was forced to swallow my pride and accept that I was racing on "Ironman legs." I geared all my training to my two A race Ironmans. Was it worth it? Yes. I learned a lot about myself this past season. First, I learned that I can do anything I set my mind to. I kind of already knew this about myself. I am typically very focused and ready for challenges. However, I was intimidated by the 140.6 mile race. I will not lie. I had no idea if my body would let me do that. With amazing guidance and training by Jen, unwavering support from my family, and complete determination and dedication on my own part, I did it. I am an Ironman. I love that. I love that I fought through long long days on the road alone, in cold rain, with aching legs and a tired mind. I love that I fought the demons that told me to stop along the way. I was nervous. I was scared. But I also knew I was prepared. I was strong. And I was not about to step back when the going got tough.
My first Ironman day was the most challenging athletic event of my life. I had to reach deeper inside my soul to pull out the strength to get to that fabulous finish line. But you know what, my second Ironman day, a mere 10 weeks later, was much tougher. Much much tougher. And yet, I did it.
The satisfaction that comes with fighting through those moments is irreplacable.
I will look back at my year a lot over the next month. I need to remember all that hard work and success. It is what will motivate me for 2010. I am sitting here feeling gross. Feeling frustrated and a bit depressed. This stress fracture is really getting to me. I need to run. I really need to run. I feel my fitness slipping away. For some reason, it is the running that makes me feel most fit. Ironically, about a week before my foot gave into the long season I gave it, I said to a friend, "I am going to swim and run my way into 2010." Ooops. Spoke to soon. (yes, kona did me in on the bike....that ride was just way too long that day.)
I will sit back and behave with my foot. I will swim, and bike, and lift. I will also keep things in perspective and remember all that 2009 did for me. It boosted me to a higher level. So once this foot is healed, watch out. I'm ready to hit 2010 full force. The new Ironman in my soul is ready to see what's next.

Friday, November 20, 2009

More Kona pictures!!

My friend and fellow Hawaiian Ironman finisher, Mary Lou Lowrie, just forwarded me a few more photos from Kona. I had to post and share a few more memories.

A relaxing meal two nights before Ironman.
Enjoying the Hawaiian sunset with Mark,Nat,Matt and Mary Lou. (taking the picture!)

Carol and I squeezing into our speedsuits before one of our morning swims that week.

The Coffee boat...(orange flag) The Hula girl on the beach directed us there...and if we missed her you could see the giant sign laying on the clear ocean floor. Coffee ------500 yards

Head down and don't breath yet!

I'm stuck at home with my little sick guy right now. It's pouring outside. Absolulely pouring. I love love love being home when it's raining. I had planned a big Christmas shopping day today. The boys were even going to take the bus home so I could have until 4:00. Instead, I am here. Making lists. Planning for next week. Next week is full of good stuff...but all that good stuff takes a little work. So I am planning that work since I can't go out and get the stuff I need to do it.

I've been thinking about swimming a lot lately. Hmmm...wonder why! It seems like it's all I've done for training this week! It's all relative though. I swam 4x times this week. In reality, that's nothing. Nothing!! I was a swimmer swimmer way back. In college, we practiced 11x week. And each practice almost double in yardage what I do at one these days. But that was all I did so it's ok. So now, as a Mom who does Triathlons, swimming 4x week is a lot. Especially because the pool isn't nearby. I've been swimming. I also watched the Swimming World Championships on DVR the other day while on my trainer.
You know what I Love about guy swimmers? Alright, this could be a long list but I'm going to focus on one thing here. They are very very Hot! No....that's not what I am going with here. But yeah....gotta love those swimmers huh.
No, they take their form very seriously. I find that hot quite frankly. I love that they know they must respect the water and use their bodies smartly in order to go fast. They push off the walls so incredibly tight. They are streamlined and they kick cleanly and efficiently. Their strokes are amazing. Their egos don't preceed form in the water and therefore they fly.
I hear my old coaches yelling or grimacing almost every time I push off the walls these days. can you say Lazy?? It's bad. And it's slow. Sometimes I'll be swimmign along, feeling strong and fast, I'll hit my turn and before I even pass the flags I'm pulling and taking a breath! Ahhh!! that is Bad! I realize that Most of my races are in open water now...but as a swimmer this shouldn't matter. That's just a bad turn. It's slow and lazy and messy. Jen's workout for me the other day involved working on distance per stroke. The final challenge of the workout was to descent 3x100s while keeping the same stroke count. It was a stroke count that was just below my norm. It wasn't too hard for me. You know why? I decided to suck it up, hold my breath a little, and hit those turns like I used to. I pushed hard, streamlined like an arrow, and then pulled out my secret weapon. My dolphin kick. (x-butterflier here...) I kicked like mad and hit that turn like a real swimmer. The result? A 1:10 100 yard swim with a low # strokes. Cool. it all the time. Sheeshh....see what happens when we get lazy and sloppy? We get slower. We get lazier. If you practice the proper form all the's easy to use and you will be faster when you race.
This is the same for biking and running too I believe. You must practice. Constatnly. Ride like you want to ride when you race. And run like you want to run. I dont' mean race each ride, run, or swim. Of course not. But be smart and use your skills. Dont' get sloppy. Because as soon as your sloppy, you are reinforcing that in your brain. When you hit mile 8 of a half marathon, or mile 34 in a half ironman, or 500 yards in a 1.2 will be tired on some level and your body will fall back into the bad form you reinforced while training.

My new mission is to hit all turns next week like a real swimmer. This used to be a strength of mine. Good starts and good turns. So I will get that back. No more laziness off the wall. Details, yes. But it matters.

back to the planning.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

A snapshot of my week...

This has not been a dull week in the Bancroft house.
Let's see....Sunday afternoon the boys headed to a cool birthday party with Daddy. It was a Survivor theme. I kind of feel like I'm living my own version of Survivor right now. I didn't join them. Instead, I hit up the grocery store for what seemed like enough food to feed 3 families. But alas, it's just right for my 4 boys. (including Dad in the count.)
I went to bed Sunday night ready to hit the week running. However, 3 a.m. came along and apparently, I was done sleeping. It drives me nuts when that happens. The alarm was set for 4:30 but I was already up. 4:45 out the door and off to the pool.
I swam a strong 3000 yards and hurried home. Monday was my day to Substitute 1st grade at my kids' school.
Let me just say this. It is NOT easy to jump into someone else's classroom 25 minutes before the kiddos arrive and prepare for a day! Not at all. I think I could write 10 pages about that day. I did have fun. The kids in the room were adorable. They really are just little tiny people. However, they are busy busy busy!!! It seems that perhaps the classroom model these days is much more flexible. The kids don't all sit in their seats quietly and listen. Ahem...or was it me? I've had others tell me that it's just that way now. Of course, I am sure a big part of it was me. I was the Sub. I was, "Cameron, Tommy, and Nick's Mom!!!" I was instructed by one child how to do every single thing in the room so I would be Just like his teacher. I was even told which side of the board to stand at! Cute at first...and then...well....not so much! The kids told me about many of their trips to the bathroom, they told me each and every move the child sitting next to them made and better yet, they told me all these things in unison. Yup, 4 or 5 arms tugging on me at a time. Unreal. I don't know how teachers do it!! Seriously, hats off to you guys. It's a tough job for sure. I even had to SING! My kids were horrified when they heard this. They spend most of our car rides to swimming lessons (40 min away) trying to get me to Stop singing with the radio. And yet I went to school and Sang to their Friend!? About the environment? And bees, and plants, and animals. Oh Mom how could you??
I surived and I will go back. The kids won me over in the end. Despite being in a cold sweat with a dry mouth (drank ~70+oz of water while in there/I kid you not) all day, I had a good time and enjoyed the little ones.
After school Monday, the boys and I jumped in the car adn drove Back to the pool for their swimming lessons. (remember its' 40 min away and this was my 2nd trip that day.) And to boot, my husband had a meeting so he wasn't home at night. It was a busy day for us.

Tuesday-again. repeat. Groundhog day. I taught special ed groups in grades 4-6 instead. It wasn't as hard. That night my son had basketball until 8 p.m.

Wedneday-the day started with a swim. Again. I am putting in some serious yards in the pool.
that is one good thing about this stress fracture. Oh yes, the stress fracture. I have been feeling Better lately!! So yesterday I spoke to my doctor. I am allowed to start my functional rehab now. What does that mean? Over the next few weeks, I will be adding some running back in. First, I will walk 1mile. After that, I'll alternate running/walking for a short distance. I need to build the strenght back in my bones before I can pound on them again. It's a Start and I'm happy!!! I also hit the gym yesterday. What is the deal with the pullups!!! Why can't I do them?
I got on the machine with the assisted pull ups. A man stopped and watched me. I had it on zero assistance. I basically just hung there with a red face while I tried to heave my body up. He said, "Oh! I was wondering how you use that machine!" I laughed. Was he serious? I didn't Do anything! I'm blaming it on the machine. The handles are very wide. I need my hands closer together I think. I woudl like to try that but we don't have a pull up bar like that. This is my goal. One pull up by Tommy's birthday. I just picked that randomly. It's Dec 13th. Seems like a good time frame.
Last night at home was nice. No after school sports & no meetings. We had a nice meal and some good "play time." Tommy entertained all of us by reading stories he had written at school. The favorite of the bunch was called, "The Giant Baby." He might have a future in this.
All seemed normal until I headed to bed. I went in to kiss all the boys and when I got to Nick, I knew.
He was burning up. 102.8
I was up several times in the night to check on him and to give him soem medicine. I even saw 104 at one point.
So here it is Thursday. I didn't go to the pool because I was up half the night with Nick and quite frankly, dont' like leaving home when one of my kids is sick. His temp never went down. We have talked to the doctor and she said it is most likely H1N1. Seasonal flu has not made it's way to Maine yet. The fever probably was lower with the motrin than it woudl have been...she said it was most likely still rising. poor guy. He is miserable. He is hot and achey and he has a headache. He is so so sad. Which makes me sad.
There are 5 of us. I hope we all dont' get hit. Time will tell. For Mom hat is on. I can't worry about whether I get sick. All I can do is help the little guy feel better.
Training will happen if it fits in. I am sure I'll figure it out.
I can't wait to get this little guy back:

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Cameron and Tommy's First Race Report!

Yesterday was the big day. My two little boys ran their first 5k!! I took the boys for 4 or 5 training runs before my stress fracture happened. The three of us ran easy 1 or 2 miles after school a few times. They weren't overly prepared, but knowing these two and their 1) energy level 2) natural abilities and 3) unavoidable innate competitiveness, I knew they'd be ok.
We started the day at home with a prerace meal. They downed oatmeal, yogurt with fruit, milk, hardboiled eggs, applesauce and a bowl of cereal. Yes, that's normal. My boys eat a lot. Every single meal. That's another subject....
We hopped in the car and drove the hour ride to beautiful Freeport, Maine. Freeport is almost like home to me. If you've been reading my blog for a while, you might remember me gushing over our cottage on Wolf Neck this past summer. And last summer. And the summer before. Anyway. My Grandparents used to live there and now my Mom and Dad do. So, it's like home.
This 5K is a new race put on by Maine Teen Talk. A non profit organization that teaches Healthy Relationships education to high school students in Maine. It was a fairly low key event. Perfect for my kid's first time. You might notice in the background of the pictures a barn. The starting place was at a farm. The kids ran around the barnyard before we started and watched the goats, sheep and a rather large bunny.
Mark and I were very happily surprised to see our friend Nat there to help time the event. The last time we saw Nat was in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii!! A slightly different event I must note. Only 1 month later there we were, in Freeport Maine with our winter hats and ear muffs. And just as happy.
The boys were just themselves that morning. They were excited and yet didn't seem nervous. Tommy asked me a few questions about running in the woods. Cameron was worried about starting with everyone and not just the kids.
My Mom and Dad came to watch. I wish someone had taken a picture, but I was the typical Mom. I had my camcorder. My 35 mm Cameron on my shoulder and my digital camera in my hands. I finally had to give up and put one down. I looked extremely cool when you combine that image with my large stress fx boot. yup. cool.
The story in photos:

Our family.

Pre race scene. (can't you just feel the stress? )

I'm not sure why Nick is always tipping sideways in pictures.

Mark and Nat chat before the start (note the barn in the background)

The Athletes. Ready with bibs and race clothes.
But they're still brothers who just like to 'pick' at each other...
Focusing for the pre-race meeting

Lining up for the start. At this point, Cameron announced, "Butterflies in my stomach!!" in a sing-song tune. He was quite proud to be wearing Mommy's "racing watch." You can see him (in black) getting ready to push the start button.
Littlest brother Nick rolls around on ground while big brothers get all the attention that morning.
They started off looking strong. It seemed like a long long time before they came around for the 2nd loop. Once they got there, they looked great. Tommy yelled to Nick, "Nick, take my gloves" in a serious-all-business voice. I watched them gallop off and hoped loop 2 wouldn't result in lots of walking and cramps. You never know. Cameron trotted along with Mark. Tommy, oh Tommy. He is the most spirited little boy you'll ever meet. And his energy is endless. I watched him run zigzags along the dirt road. His arms were up and down in the air. He jumped along like he was playing ball in the backyard. I smiled and knew they were doing just fine.
Mark later told me that they ran the whole time. The course was tricky. It went in and out of the woods, over wooden bridges that were at 45degree angles (boys had to reach down and use their hands a few times), they maneuvered over rocks and roots.
And get this! They negative split the race! Mark wore my garmin so he could keep them in check. The first mile was around 9:40, 2nd under 9 and 3rd mile in the 8min/mile range. I don't know exactly.
They came running up the homestretch looking fast!!! Mark let them go. Cameron took off. I am sure he wanted to finish ahead of his younger brother. But, the excitement got the best of him and apparently he wasn't' 100% focused during that pre-race meeting. (aren't we ALL guilty of That! :o) ) He thought he had to run back to the starting line instead of making the turn to run under the flags for the finish. ooops. Little brother got ahead and beat him by 1 second.
They were 4th and 5th in their age group. I think that might have been 12& U but I'm not sure. It doesn't matter.
They had a Great time and asked when they could do it again. Success.

More photos:
Final 300 yards. Cameron made the break from his little brother. He was going for the big 'win.'

Ooops....Cam missed the right hand turn to the finisher's chute. Little Brother took the lead. Despite all our yells to redirect him, Tommy got him by 1 second.

They did it!!!!!!! 30:35 and 30:36. Amazing job guys! We're so proud of you!!!

this picture is out of order....the 3 boys are coming around for their second loop. Mark wore his day glow yellow so Mom could spy them from afar. It worked! Note: Little brother Tommy is in the lead.
post race smiles....
Love the red faces :o)

CONGRATS BOYS!!!! Mommy is PROUD!!!!!!!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Race Tomorrow!!!!!!

While many are down preparing for the 70.3 World Championships in Clearwater (GO JEN! GO BOB!!!! ) in Paris, Maine we are preparing for the First annual Wolf Neck 5k!!!!

Clearwater was great. I was there last year and tomorrow's event is bringing back lots of great memories.

But this year, November is my Off season. Big time. I am OFF the foot and about to go mad.


Why a 5K you might wonder?

It's not for me. That's right! We have a race morning and it's NOT for Mommy! OR Daddy!!!

It's all about the little ones this time! How fun. And for me, sad.

You see, Plan A was for Mommy to run a fun little 5K with her 2 big boys (Cameron-10 & Tommy-7). After I recovered a big from Kona, the boys and I began our training. We ran 2 miles at a nice pace a few days/week after school. Nicholas (age 5) would ride his bike along with us. We were psyched. I was Thrilled to do this event with my kids. A teeny little way for me to share my love for a healthy active lifestyle with my litttle ones. Plus, it was Perfect because it's being held at Wolf Neck...where my family's cottage is and my favorite place on earth.

But then the foot. So...I'm done.

The boys still want to do the run (not really a race). So they will do it with Daddy. And that is fine. (But I'm still sad.... next time I get it! )

GO Cameron and Tommy!!! I'll scream louder than all the other people there.

I'm already proud.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

The Off Season

I am not very good at the Off season. It just isn't my personality. I admit this fully. I am Not good at rest.
This past summer was super intense however. It was intense physically and mentally. I had to keep my head together for a long long long time. I think I did this fairly well. I staggered a few times. I was down and mopey and sick of some of the training, but I held it together.
While out for my final 110 mile training ride before Lake Placid, I dreamt of the off season. June and July were cold rainy months here in Maine. Despite summer on the calendar, I was dressed in coats and gloves while riding for hours in the freezing rain. I had HAD it. But I showered, ate some good recovery food, and got overly excited for my first Ironman. Off to New york and Score! I hit a home run. The day went beautifully. (we'll skip all the stories of pain and suffering that day. Because in the end it Was a homerun! )
The next season did not begin my off season as I had expected.
Instead, I was off to Kona. For this, I was grateful. And thrilled. And ...nervous of course.
The next 10 weeks were tricky. First, I had to recover from said first Ironman. That was not easy. It took time. A lot more time than I wanted. But the body needed to be nurtured and respected. So I was patient.
After a few weeks of very little, I started again.
I pushed and pushed and kept my head in the game. And once again, on that final 100 mile ride, I was done. I didn't want to do it anymore. It was time to shower and pack for Hawaii. No more training.
My Kona experience was fabulous. Indescribable. Unforgettable. So tough. I am a stronger person now.
Once again, I wished for the off season. I was ready. I needed to lose the structure. To run when I wanted or not at all. To leave the bike at the shop and pick it up...later. I ate when and what I wanted. I stayed up late. I didn't set the alarm for 4:33.It was fun. For about a week or two.
It wasn't that I missed my 5 hour bricks or the rush to drop the kids off and immediately hop on the bike.
I just missed Moving. I missed feeling fit and strong and trim.
However, I behaved and didn't push it. I stayed true to myself and took the break.
And then....the foot. The foot had to go and break. I have no idea why, how or exactly When this happened. I am guessing it's my body's way of saying, BACK OFF! I was ready to go go go again.
Triathletes tend to be very motivated and always ready for what's next. We must respect the fact that our bodies need to heal and rest and think about other things. Perhaps for more than 3 weeks/ year. perhaps 3 little weeks just wasn't' long enough for me this year.
I will be ok. I am feeling unfit and less than trim. I feel weak and slow and lazy. yes, I am swimming. And biking. And Lifting. HOwever, for some reason, missing that run piece leaves a hole in my week. I miss it to the core.
I love to go for runs. Not always to train....just to run.
Sometime I write my posts to convince myself of something.
This season has been a huge learning experience for me. And now the off season is a learning experience again. We must step back, move away, take it easy, sleep in, and sometimes just skip it. If it's not in your heart...November is the month to let it go and know it's ok.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Enough of That!

I was feeling icky when I wrote my last post. The unexpected bad news left a sour taste in my mouth. I'm sure it will stay there a while.
I've had enough of it it's time to move on.
I went out side on my TT bike for the first time since Hawaii. I had an invitation to ride with a few men in my neighborhood who go out together a lot. I couldn't pass it up. I needed an extra kick to get out there. It was an unseasonably warm sunny day. There won't be many more of those.
Not only was it my first time on my Bike since was the first time my HR has gone higher than...well....low. WOAH! I had to struggle at times to keep up. And of course, my competitive ego didn't want to be dropped! No way! By the end of the ride I had a groove and I kept up with no problemo. It was nice to get out there.
Today I will swim and lift. Tomorrow....more swimming. And more biking.
I am missing the run for sure. I really really miss it. However, my foot is still sore and I must respect what that means. I will be patient and just try to feel lucky that I have hte other sports.
THis post is boring. I have to go now...time to swim. I just wanted to move on from the sour note over the weekend.
Our new Tri Club (whatever that may be) will prevail. I have no doubt about that.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

The End of Something Good

Maine Multisport had a tough day yesterday. Our local Tri shop closed it's doors. Unexpectedly. It was shocking and rough for many.
It leaves a hole in my heart--- it feels like a part of my life is gone.
I bought my first bike from a neat little shop a few years ago. I bought my wetsuit down the street at another fun little Tri shop. A year later, they merged. The result was a big friendly triathlon store that became home base for a wondeful family of friends.
I met so so many wonderful people through this shop. It wasn't about the merchandise to me. It was about the support, the comraderie, the unit. I grew to love Triathlon very quickly. It filled a void in my life that I didn't realize was there. When people ask me why I do this and what is so wondeful about this hobby.....many times I come back to the people. There is something very special about the people in this sport.
Even though I live an hour from this little mecca, I was there almost each week. Not because I needed gear, but because I needed to see my friends. Some days the shop was filled with 10 friends and sometimes only 2. But there were always friendly faces eager to chat about the race last weekend or the one coming up. It was filled with people just like me. People who love to live this lifestyle. Healthy, energetic, enthusastic people.
Living out of town is tough for me. It's not always easy for me to stay in touch with friends. I don't run into them at the grocery store or while out for a run. But I could always see them at Peak. And when I didn't see them, I read about them on their site. There was always an event coming up or a social on the calendar. We had a community.
And now our home base is gone.
The guys at Peak watched me start from nothing. They watched me dive in with no experience and in a few years find my way to Kona. They were there to help me. To advise me, to encourage me, and to pat me on the back. Thank you!!! Perhaps I could have done it alone, but I doubt it. And I Know it would not have been nearly as fun.
They supported all the local tri races. They were on site with support and smiles. I took Total advantage of Nat's experience and knowledge with bikes before Every single race. Now, I don't even have to ask. He sees me coming and knows I just need one more reminder of how to fix a flat. Or, like at Lobsterman two years ago, when I rode my new disc for it's inaugural warm up and flatted! I was in prerace panic mode Before that!! I simple looked at Brendan and Nat and sure enough, they took good care of me.
Many of us have talked in the past 24 hours.
One thing is clear. Real frienships last forever. A bond was made between many and I am sure we will rise above the loss and stick together.
Sad to see it all go. Big loss for Southern Maine and I will miss it very much.

Thursday, November 5, 2009


Metatarsal Stress fracture.
I am writing in red because that's how it feels. Red hot pulsing aching pain.

I'm not going to take a lot of time feeling pity for myself. I was fairly depressed about this on Monday and Tuesday as I came to realize this is probably what was going on. I felt sorry for myself. I cried. I slammed a few things around. (not the foot though! )
Now, I guess I have to stop and feel lucky. I competed in Ironman Lake Placid and basically had the race of my life. I had a few strange pains after that-switched to deep water running-and held whatever was going on in there off for a few more months. I continued to run hard and long for a few more months. I got to the starting line in Kona.
And I did it. Every day I smile at my finisher's medal.
This annoying injury could have struck me on July 10th. Or October 3rd. But it didn't. It waited until November. And Hey! it's hunting season in my back yard so I guess running wasn't meant to be right now anyway! But seriously, it is November. I am ok. I will be just fine. I can swim. I can bike. I can do lots of core work.
I caught it early and it will heal.
From here I move forward. I will hope for the pain to stop. I will take lots of Vit D and Calcium and my Multivitamin of course. I will eat lots of healthy food. I am off my off-season splurge fest.
Tomorrrow...I am off to substitute teach in a 4th grade classroom! Wish me luck!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

This can't be good

I'm feeling pretty discouraged rigth now.
I am in pain.
My foot aches. It actually aches a lot. I have no idea why. I just took 3 weeks off...almost completely!!! I did a few slow and easy runs and two 1000 yard swims. WHY would I have an injury NOW????
it's the off season and while I am ready to start back in to things, I know this is the best time to have an injury. IF there is a GOOD time.
It started Sunday night. I ran that day--an easy run. Nothing notable. Just a 5 mi jog. My feet were sore in their typical way. Nothing to note.
That night my left foot began to ache. On top. In one area.
I know. Not good.
It radiates at times....on and off. But for the past few hours, its' been on. It's making me a little nauseus. Sounds like a stress fx doesn't it.
I see the doc on Thursday. I am afraid of what I'll learn.
This can't be good. I wish I had just dropped a can of soup on it and that would explain things. But I didn't.
And WHY after all that time off?? I don't get it.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Soul Searching -Time to turn the Page

Ironman is done. That chapter of my life is closed. For now. Time will tell if I pull that book down off the shelf again. I have a feeling I will. Someday. When the time is right.

While Ironman is done, Triathlon is Not. The pages of that book are flapping all over my living room table. Major opportunities and challenges staring me in the face.

Since October 10th, many people have asked me the question, "Now what?"

That's a loaded question in my eyes. Are we talking about racing? What are my goals for 2010? I expect that this is what they mean since we are discussing my Kona experience.
However, to me, the question means a lot more. I have been asking myself the same question lately. Now what? I am at a bit of a turning point in my personal/professional life. It is time to make some decisions.

One thing is a constant. I am a Mom. Of course, this is my 1st job if you will. I am very lucky. I was able to leave my work 8 years ago (that long??? wow, time flies) to stay home with my little ones. At that time, I had a two year old and was expecting my second. Now, I am blessed with three spectacular little boys. Yes, they really are awesome to me. They are my biggest successes in my life.....

Ok. That is figured out. I'm Mom.

I'm also Mark's wife. Clearly, that is figured out too.

Family priorities-check.

My oldest turned 10, my littlest is 5, and I am about to turn deep breath gulp stand up straight and smile 40!!!!

There, I said it. 40. Forty. Four x Ten = 40! however, you look at it, January 8th is approaching.

But the big change in my life is actually that little Nicholas has made the trek off to Kindergarten. I no longer have any kids home with me from 9-3. That has left me with some new choices, opportunities, decisions, and yes, Time. I had Ironman training to completely fill that void for the first few months. Since then, I have been trying to catch up on various things that I put off while training for those two Ironmans. I have yet to be bored. I can imagine that is hard to imagine for some, but trust me, when you care for 3 boys during all the other hours of the day, things get put off and there are things to be done.
Despite that lack of boredom and down time, I crave more. I have some ideas and I am very excited. And they would fit perfectly into our life.

It's time to follow my heart. That is easier said that done. When you have a passion for do it. Right? Or is taking risks....foolish? Are you foolish not to stick with the safe and secure option? I do feel the need to go for it. I feel the need to try something that drives me. If you do what you love-you will do it well. I firmly believe this. If you are happy in your work-you are happy in your life. When I make the final decisions about the next part of my life, I want to be sure. I want to be sure it is just right for me. For my children. For my husband. For all of us.

How do you know? How do you make that step away from what is your safety? Your skill? Perhaps you have another skill. Perhaps that skill is something that you have worked for all your life without realizing it...and now you have a chance to turn it into more.

I think it's time for me to turn the page. To dive in. Head first....with my sparkly new anti fog goggles on of course.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

The weekend in pictures

After spending some time thinking about a more serious blog I was about to post, I decided my brain was not ready to put it into words. It's really not as intense as that makes it sound, but I am pondering a lot of new things that are important to me. Life changing decisions. Exciting prospects. And at the same time, a tad scary.
Instead, I decided to post a few pictures from our weekend. I have not been training. At all. Not even a little. I did go for a few super short and ridiculously easy runs. Or actually jogs. Trots? You get the point. I get up no earlier than 6:00. I shower in the morning. Sometimes, gasp, as soon as I get out of bed! I did that today and it was weird. For those of you on the crazy triathlete training plan, I know you understand. Some days I shower2 or maybe 3 times when I'm training. But Never upon waking. Never ever. Amazing how this simple thing can result in an entire paragraph. Saturday was cold, dark, and rainy. We planned ahead and reschuduled the soccer game. (benefit of being the coach) I saved all the Halloween 'tasks' for Saturday. I captured most of them in the shots below. What got left out? Well, while cleaning up the mess from project #1,the faucet handle pulled off the sink? I was standign there with the faucet in my hand calling (ok, hollering) for my husband to HELP! About 2 minutes after that lovely event, the power went out. Three boys, cold / rainy day, many projects ahead that had to be done 'or else' and suddenly no lights. Grrr. I tried to smile. I admit it was hard at first. Luckily, all of these problems were fixed before anything was too serious. close one. I also forgot to record my costume making efforts. Half the day was spent making a Robot costume for Tommy. We'll be sure to get pictures of that on Saturday.
Elizabeth ( posted some pictures on facebook last week of some ghost cookies she made. I told her I was going to copy them. And I did. YUM!!! Nutter butters...indulgence #78 I've managed to enjoy during this 'break' from training.

A nice easy Halloween treat for the kids to make.

We didn't have mini M&Ms. The boy's uncle mistook them for frogs. oh well. They tasted really good.

our new kittens are good friends and apparently these boys tire them out! Harley is gray and Fireball is yellow.

Pumpkin carving is serious business in our house. It causes little boys to strip their shirts and get serious. Nick is proud of his "scary pumpkin." Mommy was just relieved she did it right!

The final results. Pretty creative bunch huh. :0)

Tommy's last soccer game. Mark coached his team this year. That's him jumping in the air with the red 'pinny' and below looking into the sun. It's tough to get good action shots on the soccer field when the kids are all 6 & 7 years old. They travel just travel in one big pack.

That's that. I'll organize my brain for the next post soon....

Wednesday, October 21, 2009


I'll start with a few random pictures from our trip.
We left the boy's names in the lava with coral from our beach...

At the expo getting my legs loosened up with a compex machine...not sure what it was called. It's supposed to remove the lactic acid from your legs. It felt good at the time..who knows..

The beach Mark and I relaxed on the day before we left.

Ange and Nat cooling off with iced coffee from Lava Java.

Mark collecting coral for the boys

My poolside post race indulgence. Yummy! And oh- so bad.

Life post Ironman.....

Things have really changed for me in the past week. Eleven days ago...I crossed the Finish line in Kona. I donned that Lei and that beautiful medal and smiled a very satisified smile. I walked through transition to pick up my bags, my bike, and at last, the post-race pizza. I sat on the ground and just smiled. I did it.
The truth of that day--it was tough. So tough. Gruelling really. But I put my head down and got to that finish line.
Was the day perfect? No. Did I reach my full potential? Probably not. I can pick apart the race piece by piece and find places that I could have executed differently. Of course, I have done this. But the Truth is...I did the best I could do that day. I trained for two Ironmans this past year. Only one was planned. The second was only 10 weeks after the first. When I walked down those famed green steps into the waters of Kailua-Kona bay...I forced myself to remember this. I travelled around the world from Maine to Hawaii and prepped for an Ironman in 4 days. The honest truth is that that is not easy to do. I am proud of myself for holding it together and performing as best I could that day.
And that is my truth.

Mark and I drove back to the hotel that night for a shower and some food before heading back to the finish line. Throughout the week I had thought I was fighting a cold. I had a slight sore throat but convinced myself it was irritated by the salt water during my morning swims. My body let down all it's defenses during the 11 hrs of work on the lava fields and I was instantly sick. My tongue was swollen with cankers so badly that I coudln't eat. Within the next few hours I had a massive sore throat and cough. I had held on just long enough.
We drove back to town Just in time to see my friend MLou heading towards the finish line. I hopped out and Ali'i drive.
What a party scene that was!!! I had so much fun standing at the finish watching more and more tough athletes make their way to the glorious end. Chrissie Wellington was dancing around wiht the volunteers placing leis on age groupers heads. I give her credit for this. She was there for 2+ hours enjoying the scene with all of us. Great music was blasting, the crowd was unbelievably energized and the athletes were all incredibly pumped to cross that line! I had a blast. One of the best parts of the day. I had perched myself on a wall overlooking the spot just after they went under the clock. Perfect...until some woman in front of me climbed up on the wall and Stomped on my foot!! I almost passed out the pain was so bad. My feet were already aching beyond description. The toe she hit is now a gorgeous shade of black and purple-the whole toe.
The next few days were spent relaxing, drinking coffee and eating pancakes at Lava Java, lounging on a deserted beach, watching manta rays in the moonlight, and then travelling hours and hours back to our children.
It was an amazing trip. I am so lucky that I had the support of my husband, my kids, my parents and my in-laws so we could make this trip happen. I have the greatest coach-Jen Harrison-who trained me so thoroughly so I was able to have the race of my life in New York and earn my spot in Hawaii. And then she miraculously took my beaten up body and retrained me for Hawaii just a short 2 months later. Amazing work Jen!! You kept me in line and made me believe when I thought I wanted to crawl into a pile of sand. My friends were so supportive as I travelled and hit the lava fields. I can't thank you all enough for the encouraging words and nice words after I crossed the line. And a giant thank you to you guys who stayed up Half the night to watch me cross. I tried to get before midnight...oh man did I try.

Now I am home and on break. I have had the question, "now what?" or "what are you doing next?"
Am I anxious to train again? Yes. I miss my workouts. Am I secretly thinking about triathlon? yes...It's hard to let it go. It's on my mind. Am I planning 2010 and making goals? Of course. I am.
The truth is...this is who I am. It drives me. It make me feel good.It gives me something just for me.
I love this sport and I can't wait to go at it again. Next season will read much differently. I will race shorter and faster and more frequently. I can't wait....
I made a promise to myself to be smart now. To savor this break. It is important. It is what will make 2010 successful. I wll continue to sleep in past 4:30, I will take showers when I get up, and I wont' schedule family events around my 5 hour bike rides for a long time.
The truth is...I need this break.