Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Tucson Training--day 2

I left off yesterday at the base of Mt. Lemmon. (check out pictures of this beautiful beast here: )
I was excited with how the climb had gone and was feeling just fine on our way back to the house. A transition run was up next and I was looking forward to strapping on the run shoes. As we pulled up to the house, I was right behind Jen. She took her shoes off, placed her bare feet on the bike shoes and hopped off the bike as if she was racing into T2. Um.....Jen? Do you do that every time?? Yes. She does. '
Note to self: Perhaps this is why you are still clomping in and out of transition with your bike shoes ON your feet. You NEVER practice it!!! I will change this.
I immediately noticed the heat! I had not felt those temps since last October in Hawaii. Actually, Hawaii was 15-20 degrees Hotter but what I mean is I had not felt Any heat since October. I was enjoying it while also noticing how incredibly dry my throat was. No big deal...just a short little T run. Ya right.
We climbed Lemmon, we ran another mountain, we rode long (more later) but comically, that little 30 min T run turned out to be one of the toughest parts of my weekend! Sort of pathetic but...
we were running with Jen. Mary, Jen and I zipped out of the house ready to trot around the neighborhood. I immediately noticed that muscles I haven't used all winter (since I've been stuck to a trainer) were Screaming!!! My shins were on fire. It was as if the muscles were each 3 inches shorter than they should be and each step was the muscle stretching past it's limit. Ouch!! And my throat! I felt like a cat with a hairball. It was dry and my throat was just raw--screaming for water. We were just running along, but to me, the pace was about 45 seconds too fast! But I'll be damned if I was going to slow down the pace!!! Jen is, I'm sure, laughing or shaking her head at this. As Mary and I remarked to each other later, "how stupid. Jen knows every single run we've done for the past few years. she knows Exactly what we are capable of. What on earth did we think we were going to prove during that little T run??" I know. Our competitive little egos weren't yet relaxed enough to just run.....we did all comment about our overzealous pace and yet, nobody slowed down. It's sort of funny now.
The run ended and the day was a success. The 12 housemates showered up and enjoyed a delicious meal at Jen and Jerome's favorite Mexican place. Yum!!!! I was full from that burrito for days after I ate it.
Day 1-Perfecto....
Day 2-- Now we're talkin...... Swim in the Morning followed by a 2 hr run! Yahooooooooooo!!! I was psyched.
We were up early again and at the little outdoor pool by 7:00. I never ever ever get to swim with people any more. I was really happy to have that chance. And to make it even lane mates were Mary, Cheryl (super fast swimmer) and Jen!!! I was really happy Jen decided to hop in with us. The group was a perfect match and we had a great workout. The water was really hot (yes, hot) but since the air was still cool at that hour (40s) it felt very nice. I had a little feedback from Jen and her super swimmer husband Jerome. Apparently, I take a million strokes/length. I knew my stroke count before, but didnt' realize it was so warped compared to others. I'll try to work on it--but I think it's just me.
Someone (Kate?) had an underwater camera. I dont' remember doing that since college. Here's my lane: Jen, Cheryl, me and Mary. I was cracking up!! I was absolutely unable to stay down in the water! I floated away. They all just hung out down on the bottom while I rose up up up..oh well.

After our swim, we headed to a little coffe shop for some grub. We had a few hrs before our next workout...the Sabino Canyon run. I had no idea what that was about to be. All I knew was it was a 2 hr run, in the desert, I had forgotten my fuel belt, and my fellow campers were speedy. So I fueled up well with lots of water, a powerbar, and well, I can't remember what else. Sitting outside in the sun , eating good food, chatting with really great fellow Tri lovers after a swim...well so far the day was just perfect for me. I was missing my 4 boys and yet completely happy to be where I was at that moment. It was proving to be just the right getaway for this Mom.
Time to run. Jen told us it was off road...lots of climbing. Hmmm. Ok. That sounds fun. We drove to Sabino canyon which is a national park. Time to run. After just a little prep we were off. Some were climbing the phone line and others would stay on the main road around the park.
We started down a half paved/half dirt road. Ok. This is fine. After about a mile, a river had crested over the road and there were at least 4 inches of water in our path. Ummm. Jen said, "go through it."
We sat and took off our shoes and socks. Sorry Jen. No blisters for this chica today. Sort of strange to start a run like that. Onward.
Within minutes we began the climb.
Not just any climb. I climb on my runs. This was a run mode.
Zone 6 was on me in moments. Seriously!! I was working my butt was very technical. My eyes were on my feet 100% of the time. Up and over rocks and fallen times using my hands. We were in a line so there was no shoulder to shoulder running going on. After a little while (25 minutes or so? ) the terrain leveled out and my HR dropped to a very manageable place. However, the strength and total focus this trail required was impressive.

(This is the sign that greeted us as we headed up the trails...)

(Our group is headed on our way. Mountain lions don't scare us!)

Jerome, Kari and Melissa took off ahead of the group. For a while, I was running with Mary and Julia. By mid-climb, it was just Mary and I. We had some nice little chats and sort of forgot how hard we were working. You may recal from previous comments, I am afraid of heights. Big time. I hadn't noticed where we were until about 45 minutes up the trail. I had been looking Soley at my feet. Well, I mistakenly looked. #$&*#(&%#@!!!!! We were on a cliff and the path was skinny and there were sharp corners...I lost total focus. Mary was very cool and allowed me to walk and grab the side of the path with my hands as we went along. Ugh. I wasn't happy. Thankfully, before too long the route mellowed again and I could run. My slow trot through the steep spots allowed Jen, Jon and Tracy to catch up to us. I could hear Jen as she approached, "Let's go girls!!!!" Ooops. We met up with Melissa at our turn around spot..she had fallen and was stopping for a gel.
We turned around and began our descent at this point. Despite my little fearful moments, I was having a blast. The sun was out, I was running, I was with Jen, Mary, Melissa and a few other great women. What more??? My agility and confidence grew with the run. I was able to enjoy the descent without walking. I felt like I could run on for hours. It was fantastic.
At the bottom, the entire group found each other and we sat in that "river" for a perfect ice bath. I felt fantastic that day. I was thankful to have the opportunity to run up a mountain, build extra run strenght and skill all at altitude.
Day 2-magnifico...

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Training Camp--Part 1 of Day 1

A few days before I left for Tucson, this is what I was doing. This is Nick, my 6 y.o., pulling his Mom around on a skateboard so I wouldn 't fall. Think I'm ready to climb Mt. Lemmon? We'll see... Despite the snow on our yard, it was in the high 60s that day. I was stuck on my trainer because my husband was on his own March trip in Florida. I set up my junk on the kitchen bar stool and enjoyed the ride out on the deck. Dreaming of Arizona warmth.....

Nick performed for me.

I was super proud of my bike packing job. It was the first time I had done it so I was very careful and cautious! There was no way my bike was going to get smashed up on it's way to Tuscon.

I travelled all day on Wednesday. I left home at 7:30 a.m. and arrived in AZ at 6:30, which was 9:30 Maine time. By the time I got to the house we all shared, it was close to 8:00. Pretty late for all the East coast crew so they were smart and had gone to bed before I arrived. I was extremely grateful that Mary stayed up and waited for me!!! Thanks Mary!
We spent the next hour or so unpacking my bike and building it! All by ourselves! Mary---we have come a long way in a few weeks don't you think! Not long ago we would stress (just a little though) over changing a tire. Now we're bike building pros. A few more campers arrived that night (Jon, Cheryl and Tracy).
We got settled and headed to bed. Day 1 was Mt.Lemmon day. A much anticipated climb.
I climb a lot here in Western Maine. But regardless of that fact, it is not a strength of mine. I prefer to ride fast flats. I seem to excel at that more than climbing. I am not a small person, so this is probably part of the problem. Maybe I can work on that.
We left our house at 8:00 under crystal clear blue skies. It was chilly, around 45 or so, but it promised to be a gorgeous day. I was absolutely savoring this weather. We've had a very mild winter this year but it's rare to have perfect blue skies any time of year in Maine.
This ride was only my 2nd time outside on the bike since October. I felt a little rusty. But I was very excited for the day. We rode an easy 5 miles to the base of Mt.Lemmon. After about 3 miles I turned around and realized the 2nd half of our group was gone! Where were they? Mary? I couldn't imagine. I'm sure she'll tell that story but let's just say she had a little mechanical issue that challenged her confidence. :o) She worked much harder than she needed to for those first few miles. But it allowed her to feel nothing but relief for the rest of the ride. read here: Mary
(if it's not up will be soon.)
Finally we were at the true starting point. Time to climb. Up we go....
I felt fine. Actually, it wasn't too overwhelming at all. I just clicked down into my easiest gear and settled in. The scene was so interesting and different than Maine. Pure desert. Brown landscape with cacti all around. Reddish-brown rock formations and mountains. I enjoyed looking around. The road was wide and easy to ride side by side for much of the ride. We had good chats along the way. The thing about Mt. Lemmon is that it's about 26 miles UP! Regardless of where you live, nobody gets an opportunity to challenge themselves with that type of steady climbing very often.
I rode along with Mary, Cheryl, Jen and Rich for most of the ride. We all took turns pulling each other. There were times that my breathing grew heavier and I felt the fatigue of the climb and other times I felt as if I could continue for days. The grade of the road rises and falls along the way...some miles are much tougher than others. I was feeling muscles that I hadn't felt in a long long time. When you climb in one position for so long you tap into places and tax them in ways that you don't normally do when the terrain changes. I think that was the biggest challenge of that ride.
We stopped at mile 14 for a break. Windy Point. Marco from Recovery Sock was our sag vehicle and had nice snacks for us there. Gatorade, granola bars, luna was a nice rest...until I started again. I'm sure the rest helped but it caused my legs to get a little bit cramped and tight and when we started again it hurt. This time, Jerome was leading us up. He is remarkable. He is the most easy going person I have ever met. He's a lot like my husband that way actually. Jerome is incredibly strong--an absolutely gifted athlete. He climbed the 2nd half of Mt. Lemmon with such little effort. Mary and I would periodically check with each other by asking this, "Are you breathing hard?" reply, "YES!" and then, "Ok, good! Me too!!"
On and on we went. As we got closer to the top, the scene changed and it was almost like home in Maine. Trees were growing and the ground was covered with snow! A lot of snow!!! It was chilly too so I was glad I had stuff a shirt and coat into my pockets.
The final few miles included some descents which felt great. Of course, we would have to actually climb a bit on our way back down the mountain.
A little picture tour:

Here's Mary. This was on our way down. We stopped a few times to take pictures.

Mile 14 stop. Kari, Ange, Mary, and Cheryl.

Here's the entire gang at Windy point. At the top...check out the snow. This is Melissa in pink (checking her email? :0) , Jen and I think that must be Rich.)

The descent was not as scary as I expected. (afraid of heights....and going fast down hills because I have smashed into the ground while riding two times & both times I was seriously scarred me for life. (mentally) I was slow going down but that was fine with me. I braked on and off and just enjoyed the ride. Mary and Cheryl bombed ahead and a few other group members went by me too. All my competitive work fibers were gone by then and I just thought, "see ya at the bottom."
That was that. I climbed Mt. Lemmon and enjoyed the entire thing. I felt strong for most of the ride and honestly, I can't wait to do it again.
We rode back to the house and prepped for a quick Transition run.
I'll write about that...but right now I need to do today's workout!!

Monday, March 29, 2010

Tucson Camp!!!

I had a fantastic long weekend of training with amazing people and fabulous coaches out in Tucson, Arizona!! It's all one big blur right now but over the next few days I will sort out my stories and start blogging about all the great training we did.
Right now, I'm in a fog. I'm not entirely sure what day it is, what I should be doing with myself, or what time it is.
I miss my new Tri Camp friends and I'm thrilled to be home on one piece. Yesterday was travel day with a little swim thrown in to start. Here's how it went down.....
Alarm buzzed at 5:30 a.m. I hopped up, called home, ate some food, finisihed packing, stuff bike box and suitcase in car and was in the water by 7:00 a.m.
One more beautiful outdoor swim under the cloudless sky. The water was warm, the air cool, and my lane mates were inspiring. I was lucky to swim with super swimmer Cheryl Stine and rockstar Coach Jen Harrison. A huge highlight of my weekend was meeting Jen and her husband in person for the first time. Swimming with her was icing on the cake. More on that later...
I hopped out of the water and scrambled to dress and make myself travel-ready in 15 minutes. The taxi picked me up and off we went. About 10 minutes before we arrived at the airport I decided to get organized. I looked in my wallet to get the cab fare and flight info and that's when I saw it. The little window where I keep my license was empty. OMG! My ID. It was NOT there. I did my best not to panic and convince myself it had to be Somewhere. I knew I had taken it out of my wallet for dinner the night before..I had zipped it along with cash and a CC into a little pocket of a purse. I had the cash. Why not the ID?
I really needed to get home. I'd rent a car if I had to.
Once on the sidewalk I unzipped my bag, located the purse, and phew...there it was. Ok. Back in business.
The next few hours were typical travel stories....I was on the plane and flying by 11. My next flight was at 3:40. We were due to land at 3:00. We did land but then we rolled around for 20 min. Long story short... I had to RUN!!!!!!!!!!!!! The plane was almost fully boarded and they were about to close the doors when I came along. Thanks to Mary and Mel to stalled them!!!
Miraculously, my bike and suitcase also arrived in Boston despite the close call. My amazing parents picked my up there and chauffeured me to Portland. After that, one more hour north to home. There's nothing better than getting home to your family. I was wired at that point and was awake until at least 3 a.m. Today, I'm in a fog.
Next blog will start the stories off the great training I enjoyed out in the sunny southwest. One thing has happened....I can't wait to get back on my bike. I am not sure what caused this change but I'm going to go with the feeling and see what I can do. I love swimming and I love running. I can ride alright but I haven't really loved it yet. After climbing mountains all weekend I can't wait to see if I can attack these Maine hills with a little more finesse.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Alina ROCKS!!!

I'm so proud of my friend!!!! This is us....way back in the beginning. Alina is in the foreground with the striped suit and no goggles. I'm next to her. (My Mom is right behind me with the white shirt..timing the race. Is that Mary's Dad next to her?) This was the beginning of our competitive swimming days. We were on Nautilus Swim Club in Cape Elizabeth, Maine. I think we were about 10 or 11 here. I wish I knew what event this was. But look at her now!!!! This is so cool!!!

She's top 10 in the WORLD in the 50m Free!!!!

[35-39]50m Freestyle Women Short Course
RankFull NameCountryTime

CRAY ZoeGBR 26.37

ABERG HelenSWE27.06
SCHUBERT ManuelaGER27.16
BRAUN ErikaUSA27.28
PEREZ MariaESP27.29
FORNI MaddalenaITA27.33
VERGANI ValeriaITA27.39

These are the TOP 10 Swimmer in the the 50 m free in the 35-39 age group in the WORLD!!!!!!

Alina Perez-Smith is one of my best friends in the whole WORLD!!!!! We've been friends since we were 5. We started swimming together at a very young age and I am so so proud of her. What better way to ring in age 40 later this year!

Seriously impressive.

Alina has a Master's Championships meet next weekend in Boston. Check out her blog for results!!

p.s. Mary posted this too...I had to do the same. I want everyone to hear about our super speedy friend.
p.p.s. Next up: Tucson. I'll try to post pictures and stories from our adventures in the Southwest!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Time flies by

As we sat at the dinner table tonight talking through various issues, one of my kids was reminded of something in his past and begged us ( begging needed) to watch old movies from when they were little. (smile here....while they're growing by the minute, they're still our little guys..) We pulled out the videos and settled in. Mark randomly grabbed a tape and we were whisked back to the past. What started playing? The day Nick came home from the hospital. March 21st. Does that mean something? I don't know. But today is March 21st. Pretty stunning to sit on the couch with my 3 10, 8 and 6 and watch their little tiny faces and voices fill the screen from exactly 6 years ago today. I should have a picture to post here of them at that age. But I am not taking the time right now to find one and scan it. I'll get to that later. But here are my sweet hearts now. Watching them grow before my eyes always makes me stop, take a breath, and appreciate what I have going on here. That seems like a good segue into some of that events that have been distracting me lately. Clearly, I haven't been blogging!
Nicholas turned 6 a few weeks ago... We had a fun birthday weekend for him. My kids didn't enter this world quietly......each one had their own wild and crazy and rather scary story. Nick was a preemie. He was born ~6 weeks early via emergency c-section. I am certain we had an angel looking down on us the day he was born. It's a long story. Let's just say I never forget how lucky we are to have this healthy little boy running around us each day. We celebrated with friends and family with a Dragon Party. Below is my attempt at a dragon cake. I think I did alright! Even my kids were impressed and little Nick himself admitted he was surprised I did it! (I have failed at a few other attempts in the past.)

Meanwhile...I was training hard. Right now, I can't for the life of me remember any of the workouts. I just know that for 3 weeks my volume and intensity picked up and I loved it. But my legs and body were definately ready for a break. The last big workout before my rest week was a 1:45 run. It was fantastic. It was remarkable really. When I thought about that run the night before, I couldn't imagine how my legs would hold up. How they could possibly get me Up over the hills. Instead, I felt like I was walking on air. My legs were so strong. I had one of the easiest long runs I can remember. I loved it.
Tuesday of last week, my husband said Adios to all of us and hopped in his little Cessna 185 and departed to Florida. We are in Maine. He was flying to his little plane. Let's just say I was a little on edge that day. I stayed very busy all day and before I knew it, he was there. He had a tail wind and sunny skies. It took him 3 of 4 legs and he landed by 5:30 p.m. I was relieved and ready to tackle the week.
It was not a quiet week in my house. First up: ST. PATRICK'S DAY!!!!!
I'm curious to know if this was a major holiday in anyone else's house. Yes, we are Irish. But this is not why it was such an event. You see...back in preschool, my kid's teacher had them all construct Leprechaun traps. Somehow, they even caught the little buggers. I think they had little statues. But when the kids went out to play, they ran away. Not sure. I really need to call Shirli (their old teacher) and ask. Because you see, my kids are STILL On a mission (and I mean Mission!) to Catch a leprechaun. We have always dropped food coloring in their milk and pretneded they jumped in. We've made green pancakes. You name it. The Irish mischief makers stteal gold out of their traps, leave glitter footprints around teh house, you name it. But it is Not enough. Especially for Tommy, he vows that next year is the year. He will create the world's best trap and it will Happen next year! Deep sigh...I need to come up with something.
That little game took up a bunch of Wednesday.

This is a splotch of green that was left behind by a leprechaun in one of the kid's traps.

And a note written by Tommy-- he left a gem as a lure.

So much more happened last week. I hurried around and missed my husband day after day. I have a story about some fitness testing and a lactate threshold run test I had done but I think I will write about that tomorrow. Rest week is over now...and I have a swim at 5 a.m. So this post needs to end so I can get ready for bed.
Mark arrived home last night and our family is happily together again. For 3 days.
Now it's My Turn!!! My plane departs from Boston on Wednesday afternoon and I'll fly of to Traning camp in Tuscon, Arizona!! I'm not a big fan of travelling so far alone but I am super excited to arrive there, meet Jen, the other campers and have a fun weekend with my friend Mary.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Just a little bit of rest

Most of us hate to admit when we're tired. When our legs are fried. Toast. Burnt.
I've been working really hard for a few weeks. I've loved it. Many of my workouts have been challenging and pushed me beyond that comfort zone I spoke of a few weeks ago. Ironman training has been pushed under the rug and I'm now a short course athlete again. For now. Yes, I have a few half ironmans on the race schedule this season but honestly, those seem like short course to me.
So I'm working on some speed. I'm relearning how to turn that pace from long and steady to strong, powerful and fast. It hurts a bit.
Friday morning I was up and on the trainer before 5 a.m. By the time my husband left for work at 7, I had logged 2 solid hours of riding with some tough main sets. I was standing and pushing big gears and after the week prior, my quads were shaking. Truly shaking.
I shifted gears (yes, pun intended here) and ran upstairs to take over with breakfast for the kids. I packed 3 lunch boxes, helped the guys choose their clothes, and continued to scurry around for another hour before we drove off to school. Ithink I ate a bowl of oatmeal while I did that. I am sure I had some coffee. And of course, a lot of water. I rushed home, worked on training plans for my athletes, and then hopped in the car for the drive to the pool. I had a rice cake with some peanut butter on it for the ride. That's my favorite snack. I was distracted with thoughts and plans that are in the works right now. I was thinking about this workout I was heading was challenging. I wasn't thinking about, or counting, calories.
Time to swim. The workout was short but it was hard. I had 30x100 on the agenda. The first 10 were IM. I started out feeling great. I had plenty of rest. I was working on a steady pace...determined not to work these too hard. I really wanted to make the tough intervals that lie ahead. But when I got to #5 or 6, something was wrong. I had trouble focusing. I was almost dizzy. Mostly it felt like my brain was scattered. I couldn't control my arms...
I was bonking.
That hard 2 hour workout + oh, about 350 calories was NOT enough! Foolish. I know better than that. I was out of energy and really needed some help before I swam the final Fast 23 x 100.
And then I rememered I had a gel in my bag! It's been floating around in the bottom of my swim bag for times like this. Or maybe it was just forgotten one day. Regardless, I had seen it! I jumped out of hte water and ran to the bag. I pawed through it getting everything in it wet.. but where was the gel?? Oh no. I remembered. I had it during my 5000 yd swim the week before.
LUNA! I had a luna in my purse. I can't remember the last time I Ate during a swim. But I was desperate. I unwrapped that little stick of energy and jumped back in the water. I missed my interval by a bit but I made up for it. I ate that bar in pieces over the next few 100s and prayed it wouldn't sit in my stomach like a brick. Remember this girl...Eat next time!
The rest were free. The send off interval got faster and faster. I was feeling much much better and focused on the workout once again. If I swam the same pace, my Threshold pace, for every single 100, I would make them all. The final 3 were on that Tpace. But the trick is to Hold that pace with less and less rest. Yes, that was the trick.
Did I do it? Yes. I made them all. Check...nailed that one. But it was close. I nearly fell apart. Luckily I recognized what I needed and I fixed the problem. Lesson learned. I Must fuel my body or I can't get the job done.
The next morning I ran for 80 minutes. It was a nice solid run. On my hills. I ran strong and solid. And when I walked in the door, all I wanted to do was go to bed. I was trashed.
But instead, I ran around the house getting myself and the boys ready for our ski day. The sun was shining, it was warm, and a full day of spring skiing was headed our way.
Deep breath.
I was really really tired. The fatigue from the past few weeks of tough workouts was building.
The ski day was great. It was warm and we had a blast. But all I wanted to do, all day, was sleep. I did not feel well. It was an overwhelming feeling and I really almost left Mark and the kids so I could go recline in the car. But I didn't. I held on.
Should I cry Uncle? Ask for a break? Not yet. Let's see what I can do.
I ate a healthy meal full of protein for the next few days. I went to bed about 45 minutes earlier.
While Sunday was a moderately hard bike, Monday was just a swim and some lifting. Again, last night I went to bed nice and early. Today was an easy day too. I had an easy ride with high cadence work. And this afternoon, a run. An easy-moderate run.
It was as if 10 lbs were off my body. ( and trust me, they aren't) But I felt so light and relaxed. With a little extra sleep, a few days of workouts that weren't quite so tough, and a serious focus on healthy foods, I made it through. I didn't have to give up and stop. It just took me listening carefully to my body and smart planning by Coach Jen.
And now, I'm ready to finish up this week with strong workouts.
Listen to your body, it knows what it needs. Train smart.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

I'm Hungry!!!!!!!!

I can't get enough.
I want more.
I have had a little bite and find my appetite increasing. I am not getting full.

For once, it's not peanut butter I'm talking about.

I'm talking about running. It's reigniting my engine. It's giving me that feeling again.

The feeling that has kept me in competitive sports for 30 years or more now. It's that feeling you get when your body responds. When it reacts to the training. When it moves smoothly and freely. You might have a pain, you might even suffer, but it feels amazing. It gives you life. It wakes you up and makes you feel strong. You have no limits. You can do anything you decide to do.

I have had bites of that feeling. And it's delicious.

It's not handed to you when you wake up in the morning. Or when you pass by the mile 2 telephone pole. It requires time. Patience. Discipline. Patience. Hard hard work. Yes, most of all hard work. Yes, I said patience twice.

Late fall I fell prey to the dreaded stress fracture injury. So I had to stop. I was forced to be patient. My motivation faltered at times when I wasn't moving forward as I should. Instead of giving up, I waited. And waited. And rested.

I have been unleashed again. The steps were heavy and slow for a long time. Could I get back to the real me?

Hell ya....and then some.

I'm starving now. I've had a taste. This is one craving I am Not going to fight.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

They make me Smile

I had a crabby day on Sunday. But I'm much better now. This post isn't particularly inspiring or exciting but I felt like posting a few pictures I've taken at home recently. It's hard not to smile when I'm surrounded by all this goodness.
My husband and I turned 40 about a month ago. Our good friends Nat and Mary-Lou gave us a a personalized bottle of bubbly. Mary Lou is an artist and designed a label. I don't have a photo of the front but it's a picture of me swimming andMark flying over me (he's a pilot) with a banner behind the plane reading GO ANGE. It's hard to read the label on this so I'll write out what it says. (Note: I'm from Cape Elizabeth and he's from Paris.)

Classic Cape and Parisian vintage have aged together, blending unique and lastinag flavors with a genuine robust quality...sturdy, powerful and energetic.
This traditional bubbly has forty years of bouquet faithful to it's roots and devoted to generations of future.
Flavors swim with ease and fly with grace, playing together while continuuing to defy age.
Celebrate and treasure a youthful life!
Isn't that great? We'll save this bottle forever.
Here's Nick hard at work baking a cake for his easy bake oven.


Cameron chillin' on the chairlift.

Nick getting ready to tear up the ski trails.

Mom with her guys on the Gondola.
This is what a 5 y.o. looks like after playing with his brothers in the snow for 10 minutes. Seriously, it only took 10 minutes.

The green bear takes turns going home with each child from the Kindergarten class. Nick took his job as caretaker very seriously. Tommy couldn't even put his Harry Potter away for snack time.

100th day of school hat.

We had a sick house last week and weekend. Tommy's favorite bear seriously "injured" during the night with a sick little boy. Thanks to the advice of some friends, we saved him. Boy and bear and happy once again.

And with that I'm off to run. This one should be interesting. I needed a little "you can do it" from Coach Jen this morning. She said I could so, here I go.

Monday, March 1, 2010

It's not always easy

Yesterday was a hard day for me. The reasons aren't particularly stunning. I didn't have too much to complain about. And yet I managed to find plenty of things to moan and whine about just the same. My mood was rotten and I wasn't motivated to do anything. Least of run.

Here are a few things that got me started on my bad mood. The kids went back to school last week after their second winter vacation. However, Monday, I had my little one home sick. Tuesday and Wednesday they all went to school but Thursday and Friday they were home again. School was canceled Thursday because of....rain? Slush? Yes, I'm being cynical here. I apologize but this is Maine and we used to be able to handle a little junk on the roads. It was foolish to have the kids home that day. They should be at school learning. We hadn't had snow since it rained on Jan. 18th so it seemed they canceled school quickly when it slushed that night. Grrrr..... Mostly I was upset because my youngest was home throwing up that day. I didn't need all three boys home. Not to mention, I had an important doctor's appointment an hour from home and had to drag my husband out of work to help me with kids. It' was a pain. So I became crabby. I had my little one home again Friday. Poor kid. He was miserable.
Meanwhile...I trained hard. My week was full of juicy intense workouts. I handled it well but the disruption in our home schedule made it trickier and trickier. Ihad a lot of work planned and really wanted to accomplish some important things for my new clients. Having the kids home 3/5 days after a week vacation made it tough. I love all my time with the boys...I cherish it. But they were bored silly being stuck inside on a rainy day and unable to go anywhere with a sick brother. It got tough. They bickered. A lot. And Mom hates bickering.

Saturday morning our home was healthy. And... there was SNOW!!! Beautiful white snow was covering the trees and ground instead of the ugly premature mud season we had been enduring. Yippy!!! We were starting fresh and we could move out of last week's ickiness. A full ski day was in order! I was up at 6:00 working through my 2+ hour brick so we could head to Sunday River nice and early.
The skiing was fantastic! However, I will admit that my legs were burning by the end of the day. The snow was thick and heavy. After years of hard work on the part of my husband, these little boys are now strong & independent skiers and we hit up all trails including a few black diamonds. Go Nick! My little 5 yo just might be the next Bode. We had Olympic fever....
Saturday night I was done. My legs were screaming and I was ready to chill. We stopped and had a nice family dinner on the way home from the Mtn and then got the kids in bed by 8:00. Things were great. Mark and I were having a nice relaxing night and smiling about the fun day we had had with 'the guys' and planning another fun outing for Sunday.
And then... my 8 yo ran into the bathroom in tears. Oh oh. Not again. Tommy was sick. He had thrown up all over his bed, the rug, his special stuffed bear, his pillows, his comforter, and himself. He was pale and shaking. I hate seeing my kids like that. We were up most of that night helping him. It was sad... Tommy is the most vibrant person I know. He was sparkless that night. A true sign of a bad germ.
Sunday rolled around and of course, we were staying home. No more skiing. Darn.
This was unfortunate...but would be ok because I had a long run on the schedule.
A long run that I drooled over all week. I couldn't wait. I love my long runs. I love long runs with some hard effort mixed in.
I love them.
Keep saying it Ange. Maybe you'll convince yourself.
I was NOT in the MOOD!!! Why NOT??? I am not kidding when I said I drooled over this run all week. It was my favorite thing on the schedule. And yet, I run! Insert little pout face, a girl in a pony tail with her arms crossed and stomping her feet.

I was so groucy yesterday! I was sad for Tommy. My legs were tired. I think my stomach felt bad too. Or was that in my head? I feel like a ticking time bomb waiting for this gastro bug to invade me. At the slightest indication of discomfort I would declare myself hit. And then it would clear. I was fine. I wasn't sick. Not at all. I was just in another person's head.
I came up with every possible scenario to avoid the run. And that is not the real me. Typically I come up with every possible scenario go get the workouts Done at all costs.
I could do it Monday! All I had was a swim and some lifting. I saw the forecast....snow. It would be another snow day if I put off my run. And Tommy...he might still be home sick. That wasn't going to work. Plus, I was supposed to run on Sunday. Period. I couldn't put my long run too close to my next hard run. It doesn't work that way. Don't worry Jen... I respect the order and knew I shouldn't mess with it. But I can't tell you how vehemently I was against that run.
In the end, I changed out of my perfectly comfortable Sunday-at- home- sweats and donned my running gear.
Why was I so so against this run? I just did Not want to do it!
I kissed the kids and Mark and walked out the door.
Fine. Just go.
I ran. I ran pretty slow. And then, I smelled the fresh air. I looked around and the snow covered trees. My legs turned over a little faster. I got pelted with snow clumps falling from the trees. I glided up the first hill.
hey...The legs are loosening up!! Maybe I can do this. Mabye it won't kill me. Maybe it'll actually feel....good?

I was no longer milling around the house feeling grouchy. I walked away from the endless job of cleaning stinky laundry after a sick night. I was outside and you knowhat, it didn't feel good. It felt Great!
As the run went on,I felt better and better. It was a progression run in which I was to run hard for the last 3-4 miles. You know what ? I nailed it. I made the turn at mile 5.1 and poured on the steam. I pumped my arms up the big hills and ran a strong steady faster pace for the rest of the run.
My heart was pumping and I walked in the driveway in a whole new mood.
I knew I loved those runs.

I have been doing this stuff in one form or anther for years and years. My goals are not the same as everyone else's. However, I struggle at times just like anyone else. It doesn't matter if you are a beginner, a person training for their 5th Half Ironman, or a seasoned elite athlete. Some days are Tough!! Some weeks are tough! You will have to reach to a place that is unfamilar to you most days and find the strength to walk out the door. You have to search inside to find the reason you are doing it. Nobody else can find that for you. When you work through that rough patch and emerge on the other side, you will be stronger. And maybe that is why you are doing it.