Monday, August 29, 2011

Swirling, panicking, rearranging, regrouping and not quitting

That's me right now. Trying not to quit. I'm trying trying not to give up and quit. 

Jury duty. I had the next month planned. It was all set. I was ready to put the kids back in school, clean up the summertime bags, and train my heart out. 

Last week I escaped from real life for 3 days with my husband and our two great friends. Their anniversary was yesterday and ours is today ( 13 years! ) so we decided to head off for a little getaway.  It was a blast.  We went to Newport, RI.  The days were spent, dancing, eating, laying on the beach, lounging in a rooftop hot tub, laughing about many things and not fixing snacks for the 5 boys  we have between us.  It was blissful. 

On Saturday and Sunday I paid dearly for my choice to sleep in. I needed to sleep in however. While our time in Rhode Island was a blast, we were up quite late and I was wiped when we got home.  I don't think I budged Friday night once I hit the pillow from 9:30-8:30. Ahhh...those mornings are rare.  However, I had a 4 hr ride + run + swim and my family took off for the island. ( our camp)   I didn't show up on the dock until almost 4:00!! Torture. I hate missing Saturdays.  We tied down boats, took in the toys and crossed our fingers as Hurricane Irene blew north. 

Sunday morning, I slept late again. It felt sooooo good to turn the clock around and leave the alarm off!!! But.... by the time I got up and ready for my 90 min run, the skies were swirling.  The rain came in bursts. I headed out and by the time I was 1/2 mi from home it Opened up. Serious serious downpours. It was comical actually.  It's just beyond normal rain.  But then, it mellowed. Then,  I was making a turn and caught something out of the corner of my eye. A Skunk!!! Why? Aren't they nocturnal??? Why was this guy up? Some guy saw me stop in my tracks and hollered to me from his window. "Everything ok???"  I gave him the thumbs up and told him I just had a skunk to dodge. Forget the hurricane, I didn't want to get sprayed!

I got by the skunk and then the rain came again and came on hard. Then the winds got narly. I was pushed back and forth. My 7:30 effort read 9:00 on the garmin. Lovely.  I just ran round and round so I could be close to home in case it got too wild. It was tolerable for the most part until the sky got Very dark and a massive thunder rumbled. I flew home.  Giant crackling lightning hit and more thunder.  Good timing. 

The day was a bit wild but not too bad. My family headed out for school supplies and groceries. Once home, the lights flickered. Mabye 5 x over an hour.  I hurried to vacuum, do laundry, choose 1st day of school outfits. 

And then, Crack! We heard somethind it was down for the count. The lights went off.

They just came back on a few hours ago.  Fun Stuff. The first day of school was cancelled. Snow day.  August 29th and we've used 1 of our 6 snow days. Pretty comical. 

Thirteen years ago right now, Mark and I had just said our I-Dos. We had a great wedding. It was a blast. The best day of my life for sure.  Of course,  I delivered 3 babies and those days top all but without my wedding to Mark, those babies wouldn't be here! So.... our wedding remains #1.   Our marriage is great and of course, like any other, requires work.  It requires patience and sacrifice too.  Just like they say, it's not easy. And yet, in the big picture, it's pretty easy to be married to Mark. I'm lucky.

However, instead of today being a romantic celebration of that best day of my life, we started it without electricity and 3 boys staring at me with that "what do we do today" look.

It was supposed to be a school day guys! A day for Mom to regroup after one helluva fun yet onthego summer. 

I decided to take them for new books at the bookstore with a coupon Tommy won at school last year. And Cameron to Olympia to spend his birthday gift cert from our friends.  On the way, I got the mail. And my panic attack began.

jury duty -  please report september 14th.


and....they may use me 15 days???!!!!! 

No need to tell me that it's my civic duty and all that. I'm fine with that. I requested a change of date. She barely looked at me.  I explained that my huband is out of town for a week during that time and I have no other childcare for my 3 kids. Big deal.  Yeah, big deal.  They're my Kids!  And, I explained that I will be leaving for a giant trip before that time period is over. Whatever lady.

People ask me how I manage all this training. I work from home. I train in the wee hours of the day. I balance it by getting things done while the boys are at school so I am not absent all weekend. My husband runs a business and is often gone until 9-10 p.m. and he leaves by 7 a.m. each day.  I am the one here.  This duty starts as he departs for a week.  So, I have no available wee hours or after duty hours. I have no after school childcare before I am their after school child care. And yet, this duty goes until 5:00.  Cool.  That weekend, I am coaching a soccer game for our youngest. My oldest has a game out of town that same day.  My middle and oldest both have games on Sunday. And yet, they are in different towns at different times. And now, I'll need to fit in nearly 11 hours of training those two days. With my husband out of town. Hmmm....  

Last spring, I was mailed questionnaire about jury duty. I had a feeling it was imminent.  I was clear and said, "I would be happy to serve. Please give me any dates after October 17th."
Yeah, September 14th. Thanks guys. 

I cried. And I panicked. And I decided I was screwed and my race on the Big Island wasn't to be.  I need the hours to train if I'm to do well.  It's the final two weeks and they've stolen my time.  All so I can sit and decide why someone did or did not do something terribly wrong. 
That just feels wrong to me. 

Now, I'm a bit less panicked but more irritated.   I am guessing there are many who just try to get out of it. People who are dishonest.  I am being 100% honest and willing to serve, just simply a few weeks later.

Trying not to let my head swirl too much.  Instead, I will do what I can do. 

It Will be ok. As Nick told me, in his 7 year old wiseness, "Mommy. It'll be ok. Things always seem to be ok and work out." 

Why is it that kids are so smart?

Monday, August 22, 2011

USAT Age Group Nationals

Burlington didn't let me down. Mostly because I exited the water to the familar and comforting voices of my husband and one of  my dearest college girlfriends, Martha.  It was a great start.
I guess I should back up a bit.
I'm not going to get too into the nitty gritty of this race. I don't have tons to say to be honest.  I was unsure what I'd be able to do on that day. I wasn't about to claim I was unfit or talk too much about this new foot injury I'm dealing with. But the truth is, I have spent a lot of time resting since Lake Placid. After all, that is exactly what I needed to do. I also spent a week or so nursing a pretty impressive case of plantar fasciitis.  It's annoying.  That stuff aside, I am fit. After all, I raced a solid Ironman less than a month ago and my fitness is super deep from that. I'm experienced and I love to compete. So, I put aside my insecurities about this day and just went for it.
The boys and I drove to VT on Friday. We got ourselves settled in the hotel, met up with Mary and Steve at the expo, we racked our bikes, nearly ran out of gas, had dinner with the kids, Steve, Kurt and Mary and then finally found my husband at a secret little airport just out of town.
That was that. Time to race.

I admit to being a little surprised at how big the race was. I don't know why it surprised me. But there were tons of people there. It was hard to find my friends. But I did manage to see most of them. I met a few cool new people, reunited briefly with Kari that I met at AZ training camp in 2010, and even somehow found my gang of boys before the start.

The swim start was strange. It was aggressive and crowded. I got clawed by some woman for a long time and finally decided to KICK her off me. I was highly irritated. I swam and swam. From time to time I realized I was in Ironman pace lala land and reminded myself to get Moving!  I caught a few waves that went off before us ( my age was wave 11!!) and got caught up in that cluster. A little commentary. I know that we have drafting perks by starting with big groups and in back, but I am convinced I could pull off a much more impressive swim time if given the chance to swim a course without weaving in and out of so many others.  I had to stop and do breaststrokes multiple times because of the huge clusters of people. Whatever, it's part of the sport. 
The water was refreshing and clean and cool.  I swam fairly hard into the chute.  I was stroke for stroke with a few other red caps in my wave. 
Out of the water and as I said, I hear Martha!! and Mark! I hadn't seen Marty in years but I knew it was her and it made my day.  She's an old college swim team friend and we heard many GO GO GO screams from each other over the years.  I recognized her yells in a second.

I struggled to get the wetsuit off. I'm just lousy at that.  It was the only race I had to do it myself for all summer! No practice = lousy technique. remember that Ange and practice.

Off on the bike.
Yup....  I'm riding. Come ON body. GO! It took me a while to warm up. I felt ....fair. Not bad, not good,  just...fine.
I was having fun riding through Burlington though!
I turned onto Spear Street and started to smile.
Because within a very short time I saw more of my Girls!!! Kath was holding a big sign and all I could read was MAINE. But I knew....
HEY! I hollered to them and instantly Wendy, Kath, Gina, and a few other ladies started jumping around and cheering!!
THAT is why I wanted to race this race so much.  My college years in B'town were some of the best of my life because I honestly had ( still have ) the worlds most devoted and loyal and honest best friends. These women are the kind of women that are there for you come hell or high water. I might 1, 3 or even more years without seeing them and it makes No difference. It's just like it was yesterday back on south Union street when we are together again. I smiled for miles after riding by them. They all dropped everything on their Saturday to be out there for me. 
Thanks girls. It meant a lot. 
I rode and rode and felt fast and strong here and there.
At mile 13 ish we made this crazy hairpin turn. I saw teammate Carrie on the move. Before I could even think about it, she flew by me. Go Carrie!!! I yelled 'good job' and hope she heard me.

There were some faaaaaaaaaaaaaast women out there. I must say.
Finally, around mile 17 or so, I felt pretty good! I was warmed up! The problem? It was ending at mile 24+. Oh well.
The last .5 or so was a cluster. I could barely ride it was so crowded.  I know I lost a little time there. 

It was kind of hard for me to get into the mode of FAST moving everything. Ironman is so methodical. I went fast through things but allowed myself time to think too. Not in an Oly.
I was in and  out for the run and feeling pretty good.
I heard Martha a few more times though T2.

The boys and Mark were on the big hill out of the run. I high 5'd them and headed off. I felt fine! Actually, I felt good!
I hit the flat and just cruised. I maintained a sub 6:40 pace with what seemed like little effort.
Ok, don't get me wrong Kurt. I used a Lot of effort that day. that's not what I mean... but it did feel easy. 

After a couple miles, I could see Carrie up ahead. I felt myself catching up. There were tons of people on the roads... I picked them off one by one. A few men flew by as if they were running the 400 yard dash and all I could think was, "where have they been??"  Strange.
I passed Carrie back at mile 3 or so. She looked strong and was having a great day. 

And then, before I knew it, I could hear the finish line. I cruised in as fast as I could. Until, some chick came up beside me. Damn. I totally cranked my head over to read her leg. All I saw was a 4---. that's MY group! nope. Sorry hun...I have a little in the tank. I sprinted even more and saved my spot.
6th in the age group. 
total time 2:16
swim- 22:xx bike 1:09xx run 41:xx.... I am not sure of the exact seconds.
but I'm happy!!!  My run was great and I made top 10 for this big race full of lots of hot shots.
The rest of the day was perfect!!!!  The girls and I gathered our families and spent the afternoon on Lake Champlain at one of their family's homes.  It was just right.


Thursday, August 18, 2011

Speed laces!

Summer summer summer. It's been a wild and crazy one for the Bancrofts this year. Loads and loads of fun. That also equals loads and loads of laundry and packing and rarely more than 3 days in the same place. Today is another pack day. The kids have learned all too well what that means. They get their little list from me:   2 x underwear, 3 x socks, 1 nice outfit, 3 tshirts, 3 shorts, bathing suit...and on and on. I wish my list was that simple. This time, we're packing up for another race. Surprisingly, this is only my 3rd race of the summer!!  When you train for and travel to an Ironman, it seems like more. This race is new and exciting for me. It's at UVM!!! Ok, it's not at UVM but it's in Burlington which is my old college town. Some of the best years of my life were there. I had ( still have ) the best friends from those years and a handful of those lovely ladies still live there!! I can't wait. But, wait, I do need to race first.  This isn't straight back to partying in my college town. 
So, I am digging out the piles of gear that were shoved aside from Lake Placid. Honestly, I haven't looked at some of that stuff since July 24th at oh...about 7 p.m.  How does one pack for a short distance Tri? What do I need. I sat and stared at my stuff for way too long this morning.  I have no idea if I have what I need.
For that matter, I have no idea if my body can do what it needs to do for a race moving race like this!!!  I'm nervous about that. The quick hard intervals I've tried to dig out of myself this past week have huuuurt. Oh boy. They hurt bad. And, what's worse? I was pushing that intensity for about 6 minutes. Not an hour +! And that's just the bike! Despite that, I am excited. I'm feeling fired up to see what I can yank from deep inside on this one.
USAT Age Group nationals moved from Alabama to Burlinton, Vermont this year. How could I pass that up?? It's in my backyard!  A 3 1/2 hour drive is like my back yard when it comes to big races.  So, even though it's a wee bit too soon to ask my body to fire up and go Faaaast after that little 140.6  last month, I'm going for it. And at the last minute this morning, as I grabbed my running shoes, I remembered: Speed Laces! close one

 Instead of on short course racing- here's a snapshot of where my mind's been since Ironman.

playing in the rain after dinner

These are the stairs leading from our dock to the camp at our Island. They grew steeper the week after Lake Placid.  

Wolf Neck wharf jumping. A sunset swim with the cousins.

My little boy-- doesn't get any better than jumping in the mud flats.

Nick's smile wins me over.

Nick's first jet ski lesson from Daddy

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

The day in pictures and a few thoughts to go with them...

 Here are a few shots from the Lake Placid  through the eyes of my husband. More to come....
I can't stop reliving that day so bear with me through a few more posts on Lake Placid. The transition to Kona training is underway.....

Tommy's awesome sign. I have great kids. (these are out of order..)

The scene all along the roads of Lake Placid

My Neice Audrey wrote this. Her Mom found it in her room the night after the Ironman race.

our kitchen---note the cool pink poster on the door. It was a "surprise" from my 'big kid' that said,"Get out there and KICK BUTT! from Cam" 

Ange and Mary--the drop off on race morning. No turning back now. Thanks for the early morning ride hun.

Left-Right: Cameron, neice Audrey, Nick, twin nephews Jack & Griffin, and Tommy (wake up Tommy!! :) ) The BEST crew of IronKids ever!! thanks for all the cheers guys! 

The hug 'goodbye'. My husband rocks as Iron spectator. He really really does.  100% all day long for me. Ok, there were many days before that too. And after.

gives you an idea of the masses

The two separate entrances: one for wetsuit wearing racers and one for non-wetsuit racers

My boys

Isn't this the best sign!!!  Thanks Small Family!!! xoxo
making my way through town -loop1 I'm sure. I'm still looking like I know how to run.  Not sure what loop 2 Looked like but I know how I felt. 

Nick's read: Your Gunnu win this thing! love Nick GOGOGO! I just love the way they held them over the fence for us to read on our way by. 

Post-race with great friend Bob Turner who had a fantastic day himself.

On the podium- 40-44 yr age group   1st place. Mary two over in 5th place

post-race with coach Kurt Perham. Thanks soooo much Kurt!!!!

Ange and Mark- love you!

The dust is settling on this race. The soreness has dissipated. (does that work Mike? heheee-inside joke-nevermind) The bags are slowly but surely getting unpacked. My bike is washed. The excitement is, ok, that's not gone. I remain overly thrilled with how my Ironman turned out. I'm actually in a bit of shock over it too.  Did I really do that? I think I sort of transform when I get out on the race course. My body responds and does what I ask it to do and my mind goes to a place that is reserved only for racing. I become aggressive nothing is going to stop me ange. I finish my race, I go back to my home with my family, and I wonder what just happened. I feel somewhat like one of the many movie characters that have two personas. You know, the ones that only have a foggy memory of how they became that crazy person who did thisthatandtheotherhing in their spare time.
Yeah, I kind of feel likek that. Who was that person? Was that really me? Because,right now, I sure dont' feel like I did or could run another 10:19 Ironman.

And yet, in 9 weeks, or is it 8 1/2 now, I will be toeing the line again. This time I'll be half a world away. I'll be in the water with 1800 other athletes that did what I did to get there. The World Championships.
Time to get ready!!!
Except, I need to recover too. 
This is a hard place to be. I'm hearing about all my friends from around the U.S. who are in midst of crazy Ironman training! They're riding 120 miles. They're running for hours and logging miles and miles each week. 
I ran 30 min the other day! And it felt Bad! I did swim twice this week though!! That's ok!! 
Alright... don't worry. I DO know that this is absolutely critical and if I have half a chance of channelling that other side of me on 10/8 I must must must fully recover. I get that. I don't question it and I'm not really stressed about it. 
It's just a strange place to be right now. Two Ironmans in 10 weeks. I'm still fllying off the last one. I'm still in semi-I can eat whatever I want, stay up late, relax and forget about hard training for a while mode until I look at the calendar and realize, uh uh, not so fast girl. You must Train!!!  You must get your head back into focused-mode and do this Right!!!
I did start my day off with about the nicest compliment however. At the pool today a lady whom I met yesterday said, "So, how old are you anyway?"
A bit odd to ask but whatever. "I'm 41."
"No you are NOT! No! Are you kidding? "
"(laugh...) yes, I'm really 41."
"We thought you were 23 or 24!!" 
She went on and on. She heard I had 3 children and got even more incredulous. Made my day.
Guess I'll channel my 24 year old self for some spark and energy and try to ride this Lake Placid high all the way across the Pacific so it can carry me up that steamy Queen K highway.