Friday, December 30, 2011

Closing out 2011

It is definately true that times goes faster the older you get. Another year is just about over. I'm sad to see life move along so fast and yet, it's hard for me not to smile as I think back over the past year and what might be ahead for 2012. I refuse to think about my children's ages and what that means in terms of "years left" with them at home. I just can't go there. It makes me too sad.  I pull my hair out day after day but when push comes to shove, there is nothing on earth that makes me happier than time spent with my boys.  In the Triathlon/ racing world, 2011 might have been my best yet.  I feel so incredibly proud to say that. After all, I'm only 10 days away from turning 42.  I am on a mission to prove to myself that age doesn't matter. I know I know, eventually it does. And truthfully, I've been feeling a little creaky lately.  But..... 2011 was an awesome year for me in the world of racing and that's what I'll head into 2012 thinking about. 

Here are a few snapshots of different parts of our year.  Wouldn't it be cool to have a photo, just 1, from all 365 days? Maybe I'll do that some time.  Ha... not likely. But to somehow capture the Whole year...that would be cool.

 @ the Luau in Kona, Hawaii
 My race bib from the Charleston Marathon 1/15/11 - big PR day for me 3:10.  Now I can put the marathon up on a shelf for later...
 XC skiing with the kids. ( we Need some of this snow again!!)
 One of many fun ski days at Sunday River
 Lunch break on a ski day
 last day of school 2011 ( heading into 6th, 4th and 2nd)
 what is Up with my hair? it looks like I have a mullet
 We enjoyed  many sunset water ski runs at camp last summer
 The boys with my Dad at Wolf Neck on the 4th of July
 swimming at the Neck...
 Post- Mooseman Half Iron--
 Ange & Mary on the podium at Mooseman ( 1st and 3rd age group)

 post- long run cold water soak at wolf neck....the perfect recovery
 while the boys searched for sea creatures I enjoyed the view.. .heaven on earth

 Check out this sign-- Does it get any better? Not for me.  This was out on the Ironman Lake Placid run course. 
 Pre Ironman Lake Placid with Mary
 Deep into the day... reaching inward for whatever I needed to get to that finish
 my Hug
 skipping ahead! Post - Season night out with Mark and great friends!
 still digging in Lake Placid...up up up that hill one more time
 From my Neice Audrey :)
 Ahhhhhhhh..... I did it. Quite possibly the BEST finish line feeling of my entire life.  10:18 , 2nd overall. 

 Now I'm out of order... pre Jingle Bell 5K with the gang
 Island memories!!!


It's been a great year. Our family is all healthy and we're together most days.  I don't think  much else matters!!  I'm excited to head into 2012 for more fun and success for everyone. I hope!! That's my plan so I'll do my best to make it happen.
As I said, New Year's is not only the start of a new calendar year but a few days later I turn a new age. It always makes me stop and think about what I'm doing and if I am happy with how I am doing it.
Time for some goal setting and planning for what's next.
For now... I get a few more quiet unstructured days with my kids. Next week, I'm excited to be travelling south to Puerto Rico with my husband. A week alone with Mark? I honestly do not remember the last time we did this when a race wasn't involved.  It's not a full vacation. There's some business involved. However......  I think we're pretty lucky for this quiet getaway so we can step back and regroup for what's ahead. Life with 3 boys and 2 businesses is always hectic and always interesting. I'm going to use these days alone to take a deep breath and get ready to give them all I've got for the year ahead. 

Happy New Year!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  

Thursday, December 22, 2011

I need some snow...or something

December 22nd....

I should be feeling all ho ho ho and jingle bells and searching for mistle toe. Instead, I'm feeling a bit wrathy. Is that a word? If not, I just made it my word. 

It's not really the typical everyone-feels-it Christmas stress. Though, I'm sure that is playing a roll. It's a culmination of things all piled into one and I thought surely I was going to crack this morning.  Let's see.....  one of my boys  is sick.  He's 10. That just makes me sad. It's Christmastime and there's fun to be had!!!  He missed the last day before vacation because of a high fever.  Poor baby. As a result, we cancelled a nice evening with our best friends ( a whole family) for fear of infecting them and overdoing it for Tommy. It was the right thing to do. But now, my table is covered in it's prettiest Christmas coverings, an 8 lb roast is waiting to be carved and wasted because it's far too big and my kids are all very sad.  Yesterday was my last day of the week to work and be productive.  I worked start to finish on Monday. Tuesday I had Christmas errands and a swim lesson. Wednesday was my day. I had a teeny tiny workout planned and oodles of time to get things Done before the kids have school vacation for 11 days and then I leave on a 6 day trip. Instead, at 10a.m. the texts from school started buzzing. Early dismissal. 11:30. Nooooooooooo!!!!!!!!!!!!!   ( possible ice storm...didn't really happen until around 4-5 p.m.... just sayin...but hey! They were in the school for 2.5 hours so that counts as a full day of learning! Huh? Really? and how is that best for our kids??  Don't get me started...remember, I'm wrathy.)
deep breath.
So....that was that.  All productivity and final Christmas shopping and secret planning and prepping ended as of 11:15 Wed morning. 
I try, but I am not a go with the flow kinda girl. So a mini panic attack ensued. 
You see, I plan. I have every hour planned out most weeks. This week, I had to toss it all away. and since it's Christmas week, and it's crunch time, this was not the week for losing 1.5 days you thought you had to be working!!!

You'd think as a mom of 3 I'd be better at spontaneity. Nope. It's just not me.

Perhaps it's my new role. I'm no longer a stay home mom. I"m a stay home mom that works from home. And, it's tough. Not only are my hours available to work completely unreliable ( read above paragraph) but many people seem to not count working from home as actually working.  Perhaps that's just my perception.

Early this morning, once the other two were off to school,  I was over it. I was enjoying my 1:1 time with Tommy even if the poor guy was sick. It's nice to be able to talk to my kids in peace once in a while. The Christmas trees are beautiful. We're all going to be together all weekend. I feel very lucky.

But more things keep surfacing around the perimeter that are ticking me off.  They are completely unrelated to Christmas. They are unrelated to family. They are situations that have been handled unprofessionally and with ulterior motives. And, it upsets me. I need to let it go. if I could, you know I would if I could I would, let it go.....

I love Christmas. I love everything about it. My children aren't greedy or asking for things that are too expensive or hard to find. They write nice letters to Santa and ask how the Reindeer are this year and if he's feeling good as he gets ready for the big night. We decorate the house with lights and wreaths and santas and nativity scenes. We sing songs and bake cookies.  But woah..............I Do feel the pressure to make sure I do all those things and continue to make nice memories for them! I have fear that I'll forget something that is a favorite of theirs or just run out of time.

I know I know....I put too much pressure on myself.
This shot of my guys goofing off in Hawaii......that's what it's all about. Those smiles. That's all I care about seeing for the next 3 days.  ( ok, longer that that but I'm going to focus on this holiday weekend right now.)

My mission is to LET GO all the other junk that's bothering me. Forget it all. Turn it all off.  By morning, Tommy will be ready to rock. Nobody else will be sick. We'll go caroling with the neighborhood parties, we'll wrap presents, eat that giant roast, make Santa's cookies, go to mass, and then welcome my awesome family here on Sunday! Truly, it is a wonderful sparkly time of year with great memories to be made. 

There....the thereapeutic write about it post let allows me to get all those abstracts problems off my chest, onto paper so I Can LET IT GO!

oh Hmm... here and there! I'm swimming a bit, running and biking too!! But it's still December and after a double Ironman season, I'm not overly stressed about any of that SBR stuff yet. But it's coming along and 2012 is going to be Fun!!!


Now....where IS that mistle toe???

Thursday, December 8, 2011

My quiet dark drive---

All of this started when I was eight. I joined a swim team. I loved it. I loved every single bit of it. So I lived it with all my soul until that final swim meet in college at the Unversity of Delaware. I still remember my last race. Then suddenly, it was over.

Years and years later, after college, after grad school, after I got married, and after I had 3 children, I wanted it back. I finally missed swimming. 

The only problem is I live in a town without a swimming pool. Not only is my town lacking a pool but all the surrounding towns are lacking a pool as well. I won't get started on that rant.  But, it is a sad and tragic ( maybe a strong word) fact for all the children in this region abundant with lakes that consistent swim lessons aren't available.

Moving on!

I made the decision to race Triathlons years ago ( another story) and that meant I needed to swim. How? How was I going to pull that one off?
My husband leaves for work at 7 a.m.
At that time, my boys were 2, 4, and 6. I was home with them all day long.
I thought and thought. I found a pool in a town 25 miles from here that opened at 5:20 a.m.
I can do it!
All I needed to do was set my alarm for 4:25, drive for 35 min, swim, leave there by 6:25 and I could make it home by 6:58!! perfect!

Did I say 4:25 a.m.?
Such a lovely hour. I hadn't seen that hour regularly since my babies were crying for me all night long.

Seven years have passed and I'm still doing it. Usually three times each week. 

Why? Because I want to swim. I want to swim fast. I want to swim faster than the people I'm racing. And, I love it.

The Worst part about the 4:25 alarm buzz, is the night before. When it's 9:45 p.m. and I just can't get myself to bed any earlier, it weighs on me. I pull my swim bag from the closet, throw in a towel, put my workout on the index card in a baggie and into the bag. I get out my water bottle, put the coffee cup on the counter and try not to think about it.
The alarm goes off and I think NO!!!!!!!!!!! Already????
Without thinking, I get up. My sweatshirt and sweatpants are at the foot of my bed.I put them on, kiss my husband goodbye and he always says, "be careful." And with that, I'm off.
After that first 60 seconds, the pain of it is gone.
I walk down the stairs, say Hi Kitties as they inevitably run by my feet, I go into the kitchen and turn on the lights. I pour the coffee that's hot and ready, grab my phone, swim bag and head down to the car. Sneakers on, coat on, coffee in hand and I'm outta there.
I turn the same station on the radio before I'm out of the driveway.
It no longer feels like 4:45 a.m. It feels like My quiet time!
I am alone on the roads.  The drive that is busy and slow during the daytime is 100% free and clear. The roads aren't lit except by my headlights. I hold my coffee, sip it slowly, listen to talk radio and think of nothing important.
It's a nice time of day to be honest. I'm ahead of everyone. I'm beating the rush.
By 5:22 I'm in my suit and on the deck. I admit, it takes me too too long to actually dive in. The 5 or 6 other ladies at the Y jump in Instantly. I don't know how they do it. I stand there. I stretch. I stretch more. I reread the workout. And finally, I tell myself, "you didn't get out of bed so early to Waste your time standing here!!" And I dive in. 
That's that.
As soon as I'm done I start rushing.  I rush to get dressed, to drive home, to say by to Mark, to say Hi to the kids, to make their lunchboxes, to clean the kitchen, brush their hair, make sure homework is in the bag, and so on....and it doesnt' stop until all 3 guys are tucked in their beds 13 hours later. 

And that's the silly little story of how I get myself to the pool all week!!!

that's me... back in the Cape pool as an 'old lady' at a Master's meet a few yrs ago.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Here comes Santa Claus

I have no idea how it happened. But guess what? Christmas is 3 weeks from Yesterday!??  It's true. Santa is coming very very soon and I quite sure, his elves aren't fully prepared.  It's time for them to get busy!!!!

So....where have I been? Hidden away behind my desk working like a little elf. 'Tis the season of preparation. I'm busy working away putting together thorough annual plans for the athletes I'm coaching right now. I love seeing the grand plan all laid out. However, moving through the calendar week by week just reinforces to me how fast time flies. Speaking of which, only 50 minutes until I pick up my 3 little boys. A few quick stories/ updates before I start the next part of my day...

Yesterday was a 1st for our family. All 5 of us ran a race together. The Jingle Bell 5K in Freeport, Maine and we had a blast! At least Mom and Dad did. We were super proud.  It was extra fun because my parents were there cheering us on along with my 8 yr old neice. My brother ran with one of his sons too. It was a great family day.  As I told a friend, my kids enjoyed it and did a great job but honestly, I think they mostly loved the free access to the post-race food for athletes. I can't tell you how many races I've crossed the line and been greated almost instantly with, "Mom! I'm hungry! Can I just get one of those cookies? " And so on... I admit. I sneak post-race food for my kids sometimes. I'm guilty. Not yesterday! They earned it!
Team Bancroft pre-race
Tommy (red shorts)& Cameron in black 10 steps back

ready to go...

post-race lunch at Grammie & Grampa's

Nick in the orange shorts w/Daddy in yellow...

The Small-Bancroft Team

I've decided my shirt is a bit too orange. I definately won't get shot by hunters on my training runs though!! 

awards--1st age group, 2nd overall
Jack finishing (in blue, bent forward in front of guy in white (my brother) with Nick and I cheering him on.

Tommy won 2nd age group with a 23:45

The race was a blast!  It was a beautiful day with sun and warmth.  I must say, I wasn't sure how I'd pull out a fast 5K. Since Kona, my training has been light and pretty easy. As it should be!! I have been 100% FINE with a relaxed frame of mind since that awesome October day. That said, I compete hard every time I race. Tommy,  Cameron and I lined up in front. Mark and Nick were back a few rows.  I told the kids to just do their thing and I'd see them at the end. They were nervous and excited.

Off we went!! 5Ks are just hard.  I went off Fast to start!!! My legs responded and turned over quickly! In fact, I have a one minute period that I was going sub5. Ha!! I got passed by a woman right off who was absolutely flying. I looked at my garmin, 5:28 pace.
Ok Momma...slooooooow down.  I guess I got a little excited.
Within the next minute, I could hear myself breathing. I was wheezing and sniffing and gasping and just .....running as hard as I could. I knew it would be over before too much could go wrong.
I made the lollipop turn and came back towards the other runners. I saw Mark and Nick and Nick and I High Fived! Then I slapped GO JACK to my little nephew! Cam and Tommy weren't far behind since I didn't see them on the turn around. I was 2nd woman and just decided to hold onto that.
Up a hill, HI To Mom and neice Audrey, Hey there's Dad, woah there goes a KID that looks younger than my son...up the hill....look at the watch 19:45.
I laughed out loud. I had asked coach Kurt whath to shoot for. I've only run 2 or 3  5Ks in my life and since this is Not what I'm out training for I had no real clue what to expect or hope for. He said, "how about mid 20?"
So...I crossed the line in 20:42. there.
good deal.
I turned around and ran back to see Tommy FLY over the hill for the finish. He was RIGHT there! He looked so fast.
Cam was right behind him in 24:15. He told he me he had to stop to fix his shoe at one point. So...little bro beat him. :)  No big deal. He handled it with a calm cool and collected attitude.
Nick and Mark were only minutes behind in sub 28!
Jack and Jeff were right there only minutes after!!!!
THe kids were all so proud but not as proud as their parents!

I know that running this distance at these ages isn't necessarily the best for the athletic future. There are better things to focus on with children at this age and I intend to do just that. ( Less focus on endurance and more focus on speed,agility, balance etc....). This isn't something I've focused over the years because it didn't cross my mind. Now, it's important. I'm being taught just how important and I'm grateful for that education.   However, this one day was a great family bonding time.  It was nice to have the kids wear the race numbers and be just as much a part of it as Mom and Dad. I'll keep teaching them to be active, eat well and to have fun moving around a lot. But long distance racing (which is what a 5K is to a small child like Nick for ex) won't be happening too much until they're older.


Thanksgiving was at my house this year. I had 30 family members and friends over and we had a blast. ( at least I did. )  I won't lie. It was a TON Of work leading up to it. Tons. But, I pulled it off. Except for the fact that the antique chair I was sitting in at dinner BROKE and left me in a heap on the floor. I'm pretty cool aren't I? Yes, other than that it was a lovely day.

yes, I am posting this hideous picture of myself. It's good for a laugh. right? I was chopping onions and my eyes were KILLING ME!!!!!! I have my goggles on. Yes, I really do. and, It helped!!!
Mark and his Dad carving the turkeys ( we ate 2 x 22lb birds in one sitting!)

Mark's parents with all their Grandkids

Mother Nature was awesome and gave us 15 beautiful inches of snow the day before --making a fun distraction for the kids

Cameron played his trumpet for the whole group!!

my guys

And that's that!!!! Time to go buy Christmas wreaths and get the kids!