Saturday, February 26, 2011

A day of Ups and Downs

Today has been one of those days. I'm not sure which way to turn.

Let's see. I woke up late with another great 9 hrs logged. Perfect. Race day tomorrow so one more lazy morning was just what I needed. I had 1 cup of coffee and then completed my 30 min pre-race run. I felt good. I had some zip in the legs. I visualized each mile and made a real race plan. I wasn't 100% ready for this 10 miler 3 weeks ago when it was originally scheduled. It was just a bit too soon after my January marathon. However, I am ready now. I also have this major itch to race again. My blood is simmering. I have game face all over again.

After that was done, it was time to head to Sunday River for a ski day with the boys. I made a plan to just ski super easy and potentially cut the day short. My kids are little ski bums now ( love it ) but we ski pretty hard when given the chance. I didn't want to leave the mountain with that rubbery feeling the day before this race. (I love this race in my hometown and I really want to do well.)

It was about 10 min before leaving the house and I headed back into the kitchen for one last trip. I had a bunch of things in my arms. Since it's a kitchen, and not a playroom, I didn't see the need to Look Down and watch my step.
MiSTAKE when I have 3 boys rolling around. I should've known.

I FLEW into the air after stepping on this ball left rigth in my way. I was airborn. I have no idea what happened but my full coffee cup when flying along with whatever else was in my arms and I Slammed down on my knee. It hurt. I screamed. My boys actually acted concerned for their poor Mother laying in a heap almost crying.

Ouch. It still hurts. It's clearly quite bruised. But, I'll live.

Next, I talked on the phone to my poor little brother. He trained hard and was supposed to head south for a marathon tomorrow. Only yesterday, he came down with a nasty stomach virus that's circulating. He's down for the count. I feel just horrible for him. At that point, he hadn't made a decision. But things looked pretty grim.

Off to the mountain. It was cold and windy but the snow was Amaaaazing! I skied with trepidation but had to fight the urge big time. I just wanted to fly with the boys. I held back.

At this point, I began to hear a little chatter. A little this and that about some more snow in the forecast. So what? Just a few inches? big deal! right????
Well, not to the Cape E Police. They are watching this race with hawk eyes. If there is any precip tomorrow at race time, it's off. Of course, they have to decide before that. So, by 6:30 tonight, the call will be made. No race if the snow plows are expected out.

I was sitting back inside the condo 'resting' my legs while the kids and Mark took a few runs without me.

What to do, what to do. If I stay in, my legs won't feel like jello. However, there may not be a race and I will have wasted a perfectly good afternoon with my family on some super nice powder.

I went back out. At the unanimous advice from my FB friends, I went back out and enjoyed the rest of the day with the kids. We hit up the mogul trail 3D and had a blast.

Now, we're home. I'm waiting. Do I pack? Do I get the kids ready to go to their grandparents? Do I roll and stretch? ( probably not a bad idea anyway ) MOre importantly, do I get that game face back on? It's Hard to lose it and then grab it back and then be wishy-washy.....

Up and down all day. Up in the air, down on the kitchen floor, Up for the race tomorrow, Down about Jeff, Up the ski lift, down the trails.....

We'll see what happens. One more hour and I can relax or work to get that race feeling back again.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

I'm digging out my Rally Cap

It's time for me to post something because I'm no longer sitting here paralyzed by exhaustion. And yet, I don't have too much to write.

It's vacation week at our house so the routine is out of whack. I admit, I thought today was Monday. It's not. It's Thursday. In my defense, my husband took a few days off and went back today. I started my morning at 4:27 so I could go for a swim. So in my mind and body, it's Monday.

In addition to school vacation, it's a rest week from training for me. As a Mom of 3 boys, I must admit that those two phrases are a bit oxymoronic. It's pretty tough to truly rest when three little guys are running around day and night. Yes, at night. My littlest monkey became inflicted with his first ever ear infection around 2 a.m. this past Saturday. It worsened with each passing day until Tuesday when we were finally able to begin treatment. Poor guy is better now but that was an unfortunate start to the week.

Despite the busy home of vacation week,I am rallying!! Yes, I have managed to log some decent hours of sleep at night. I've cut waaaaaay waaaay back on my hours in the pool, on the bike and on the roads. I did have a nasty suffer-fest on Tuesday however. First, I scared my family out of the house while I busted out my power test on the bike. It's remarkable how much something like that can hurt. My quads were roaring with pain when I finished. I had about 10 min to shower and recover before I buzzed my son to that aforementioned doctor appointment. From there, I drove my weekly 1+ hrs to see my personal trainer for more hurt. She whooops my sorry butt every week I must say. She has managed to come up with a new routine for the past 5 months now. By the end of my hour with Kelsey this past Tuesday, I collapsed on the turf nearly in tears. Good stuff!!

Yesterday, I spent the day with my gang of boys whizzing 13 miles across Umbagog lake which is north of Grafton Notch in New Hampshire. We were lucky enough to experience a true day of dogsledding with beautiful and impressively strong Alaskan Huskies. It was amazing.

I'm just living my life with my kids and husband, finding fun vacation activities, and resting. I feel the spark growing inside again. I know I'm going to recover just fine from that little hole I was in.

To top the week off, I'll be racing my 2nd race of 2011 on Sunday. The Cape Elizabeth 10 mile MidWinter Classic is this weekend. It's one of the best races of the year on the coast of Maine in my hometown. I grew up running on those roads and I love going back. I hope my legs can fire up and be ready to rock out there. No no no...let me restate that. I Know my legs will be ready to rock and I plan to wear my rally cap and keep looking forward.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Strange Day and trying not to be spooked.....

It's Saturday and I'm home. The house is quiet, for the moment.

This is a rare thing in the Bancroft home. I think I can count on one hand how many Saturdays are quiet "stay home days." Ok, maybe one hand is an exaggeration but still, it IS rare.

It's winter in Maine which means you can usually find us on a ski slope by this time of day. Or, at a basketball game. But really we are never home on Saturdays. But alas, my husband is off on a male-bonding weekend with some friends. Actually, my friends. They are his friends too now. But I wish I was there. They are all awesome people. Tons of fun and incredibly loyal. They are one of the reasons I love Triathlon. Most of them are people I've met along this journey. They make the sport fun. I am realizing more and more how much these people are partly why I continue with this sport.

Back to my strange day. Mark left yeserday. Last night I went to bed at my normal 10:00 hour and then read for a little while. I am sure my ligths were out at 10:30. I didn't wake up until almost 8:30!!! My boys were all up and starting to raid the fridge for breakfast. They are awesome the way they just do their own thing and let me sleep on the few days that my schedule allows. I was up at 4:30 the past few mornings so 8:30 felt amaaaazing!! We stayed in our PJs for a while, I drank coffee, I made them pancakes, and after a little while, they bundled and went outside to play.
And I, gasp, Took a SHOWER!

Don't get me wrong. I do shower daily. In fact, I usually shower 2 or more times/ day!!! And it's never the 1st thing I do after breakfast. Because of course, I have my training! I may swim first, shower (just a rinse though), and then run followed by a shower. Or I bike (shower) and then head to my personal trainer and shower again! I get sick of showers. But today! I just rolled out of bed, mozied around in my PJs and then, took a shower! No workout first!
It's the simple things.

Today is a day off. If you read my post yesterday, you may remember that I am shredded to pieces. I "played" in a parent-kid basketball game last night with my boys. {I have mastered many a sport but basketball is NOT one of them. Sorry Dad.} I moved slowly and I didn't try very hard. I did make a few breaks and even got a basket or two but I was hardly the star Mom of the game. However, just my gentle sauntering down the gym floor made my legs achey.

And now, here I sit. My kids are still outside. My husband is having a blast snowshoeing miles around a beautiful northern Maine lake. I am staring at the walls. I am looking at my book I tossed on the couch. I just broused the athleta website for cute workout clothes. I rubbed the cats. That's about it. Oh, I ate breakfast. I haven't dried my hair and I may not. Why bother. I just pull it up anyway.
My to-do list is right here next to me. I have no fewer than 11 post-it notes stuck around my desk and on my laptop. I have lots and lots I could do. The kids are off school all week so my time to work (at least in peace) will be limited. We plan to ski, I'll travel to see my trainer, we are going on a dog-sled trip and who knows what else. This is the ONLY quiet day I have Monday? February 28th? And yet, here I sit.
Paralyzed with laziness.

And herein lies my conern.
Why am I so tired?
I slept a TON last night! I only swam yesterday. I am doing nothing today. I am grateful that the wind is blowing 50mph so I had an excuse not to take the boys skiing alone. I could have done that very easily. Instead, we are going to a movie. I have no energy to ski.
I feel exhausted.
Sure, I am at the end of my 3 week build and I deserve a rest week. I deserve my achey legs.
And yet, I feel more tired than I think I should feel. Or am I imagining it?
The past three weeks weren't That hard. I didn't train as many hours as I have in the past or I will in the future as my Ironman training really kicks in.

I guess I'll just go pick up that book and try to embrace the fact that I need this rest. I just hope that's all I need.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Shredded Wheat

That's all I could come up with.
While I was running today That is the phrase that popped into my head to describe how I feel.
My legs are shredded. Trashed. Torn up. Heavy. Sore. Done. I cry Uncle.

I rarely cry uncle. Right Jen? It's not my thing.

It's very interesting how I can see when other people need to rest and can easily rationalize why they are feeling tired and sloppy. But to admit it in my own life is nearly torturous.


I think I was 9 when I learned a lesson about toughening up and fighting through. I was on the swim team back in Cape Elizabeth. I loved swimming!!! My parents let me join the swim team when I was 8 after my friend Sherri pleaded with them. I completely remember the conversation. "Paleeeeeeeeease Mrs. Small!!! Can Ange swim on Nautilus with me?" Or something very close to that. Swim team was a big committment. And I was young. It meant daily practices and lots of long swim meets. I swam year round too. Swimming in Cape was 'the thing' and it was taken seriously.

Here's what happened. I went to swim practice one afternoon after spending the day at the beach. I was sunburned. Badly. Back then we didn't seem to use sunscreen. I remember swimming up and down the pool thinking about how badly my back hurt because my bathing suit straps were rubbing on my sunburn. After a little while, I climbed out of the pool and told my coaches, Pam and Tom, that I had to call my Mom and Dad. I told them it hurt so I had to go home.

Baaaaaaad move Ange. Bad. Very very bad. My coaches didn't say too much. Or if they did, I can't remember the words. What I vividly remember is the Feeling I got. I Knew I had made the wrong decision. They told me to call and don't come back until I was ready to swim the entire practice. Something horrible like that.
And it didn't end there.
My parents were Not proud of me.
I got out of practice for a SUNBURN??? Seriously?? That had wimpy move written all over it.


I'm sure it wasn't the first time my parents and others taught me to be tough. But it was clearly a moment in my childhood that I realized it was not cool to let a little thing like a sunburn stop me.

Point taken.
As a result, I don't let myself off easy. And quite possibly, at times, I'm the same way with my kids. I definately take care of them and help them when they get hurt. Don't get me wrong. But, I also expect them to get over it when it's time to get over it! Yesterday, one of my kids stubbed his toe at the pool. One was having a lesson and the other two do laps during that time. Well, his toe hurt too much to swim. He sat there and chatted with me for the 30 minuntes instead. He seemed ok. I suggested he try again. Nope. "The pressure of the water hurts my toe."
I had flashbacks from my sunburn.


I had a workout yesterday that almost brought me to tears. Not because it was so so hard....but because I was so so miserable during it! It was long. I'll give myself at least that. It was possibly my longest workout since last summer. But it wasn't that long. I just had no energy. I had nothing. I ate and ate and drank and drank and still could not get into the groove.

I had visions of retiring myself to a single sport person again or maybe just taking a year off.

Ya, ok Ange. That lasted for a few hours and I got over that silliness.
Today, I awoke with a new attitude. I had a decent swim. I ate a great breakfast, did some work, got organized for the next few weeks and then dressed for my run.

Out the door for a lovely 10 miler. I'd throw in a little speed here and there. Enjoy the dry roads. Feel the warm sunshine.

That last part sort of backfired. I dressed for February. Only today, it was April. I was Not ready for that! I had emerged from my coaching cave behind the computer, donned running tights, gloves, a headband, a long sleeve shirt and a jacket.
One mile in I was desperate for my shorts! It felt like 60 degrees out there! I think it was actaully 50 but the sun was on me and I was HOT instead of savoring it! That should have been my first clue that I was Not on my game.

I ran through my sore glutes and hamstrings and waited for them to loosen up. I warmed up and did a little bit of speedy stuff. Nothing spectacular but I had mountains to climb over while attempting that 10K pace stuff...
It was all good. For a while.

And then, I was done. Nothing left. How can 3 miles possibly seem That far. I thought I'd Never get home. Shredded wheat. That's what my legs are now. They're shredded. I'm sure of it.

So now is a smart time for me to admit my fatigue. My need to rest.To stop and heal. Now if only I could go lay on a beach somewhere like I did when I was 9. I am Sure that would help me rest up.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Keeping it Real

I think by now, many of you know that I am a pretty serious athlete. By that I mean I am serious about my training and how I perform. Training for Triathlons and road races is a way of life for me. I am very lucky to have enough time in my life to dedicate many hours each week to the sport I love. I organize my days around my swims or my bikes or my runs. It's just part of what I do. I am a Mom to my kids, I coach my athletes, I train myself and I am a wife to Mark.
I do my best to go to bed at a reasonable hour and eat foods that support my very active lifestyle and keep my body healthy and ready to rock.
I do my best.
I care.
A lot.

Where am I going with this??

I think it's interesting the way so many of us seem to forget who we are. We can only do what we can do. I put my heart and soul into my training and racing. And yet, I know there are things I do wrong. The training I do calls for a Lot more sleep. Hey, I think there's even literature out there that would claim I even require Naps for optimal performance!
Ya right.

I am also quite certain that I am not at my perfect race weight. I will do my best all season to get there. I don't eat junk food and I rarely eat out. But don't get me wrong, if there are warm freshly baked chocolate chip cookies in front of me, I will eat one. Oh who am I kidding. I'll eat three or four. Aren't I baaaaaad!!!

I am struggling to write this blog. I am just throwing it out there that I think it's important to keep it real. I need remind myself of that from time to time. I am a busy person for many reasons. Not just because I train for many hours/ week. I am doing the best I can do to keep all things balanced but at the end of the day, I am Not a profesional and can't expect to live the lifestyle of one.

Balance--- that' all I can say.

Moving along..

I think I might start growing gills. It would be helpful anyway. I'm Back in the water and swimming and swimming and swimming!!! Jen promised me I'd remember how to swim when I grumbled quietly about my slow times last fall. She was right and she's making sure I never complain again!! [Right Jen? :o) ] I was in the water 1-2x week during my marathon training. Phew... I'm making up for it now! Don't get me wrong, I LOVE to swim!!! But my shoulders are screaming right now. And I think, they have grown even bigger in the past 2 weeks. I am laughing as I write this though. Back in the day, when I was 'just a swimmer,' I swam 11x week. We practiced 2x / day and then again on Saturday morinings. It was very rare for a workout to be less than 5000yards. My big swimming lately has been ~ 4x week with 1 or maybe 2 workouts at 5000. It' all relative though. Obviously I'm doing more than swimming so 3-4x is Just fine.

After running all fall, my body is readjusting again. I added my strength program back. I've increased my swimming and biking and continued with running. And, my body is tired!! I am getting stronger again though and that is worth the fatigue. I will rest soon and recover and be even stronger again.

I am also convinced that my boys are at the toughest ages they've been yet. They are now 11,9 and 6. They have not had a full week of school since Christmas ( maybe 1??) and as a result, I can't catch up around home. These boys are incredible. I've said it a million times-- I think they're fantastic little people. But WOAH! They ARE boys and they ARE loud!! There is contant action and issues and hunger!! It's just 100 mph all day long. My middle guy truly does not seem to be able to walk anywhere. He is in constant motion. Usually in the form of jumping or rolling or galloping. I just took a deep breath thinking about it..... Even when behavior is A-ok.....they are just busy. The house is rockin'..... it's a lot of work. I know you other Moms get it. When they were babies, and smaller children, it was different. Busy-yes. Loud-yes but in a different way. Their voices were baby / small child voices. It was physical for me. I carried them everywhere. I lugged huge bags and cribs and carseats. But now, they are BOYS! It's different and It's wild. And, I do love it. But I'm TIRED!
I know I know...wait 'til they're teenagers.
You know what I'll do then?? I'll take them on 10 mile runs with me and make them keep up. teeheheeeee.. they'll love that.

How' that for a random post!?

time for a ride.