Monday, September 22, 2014

     I am less than a week out for my big race! I am officially in what "they" call taper mode. Its kinda crazy. Taper means, I now have time to cook, clean and do laundry. I also have an enormous amount of time to practice my finish line smile, or pose! Come on, you know you do that too.. I mean I always have an idea and then all of my pictures end up with my mouth half opened, my hair stuck to my head in awkward positions, and my shirt either pulled up so my muffin top is showing, or my shoulders slouched so I look a hunchback! haha I wish I could have enough energy at the end to jump, or have like this awesome accomplished look on my face, but the truth is instead of looking cool, or tough, I look like I am sitting on the toilet trying to ,well you know!
    Anyway, as I look back at these last 9 months, I realized how much I have learned, how much I am ready for race day, and how many people it took to actually get me here. I thought this race would be all about me, and I have found even though it started out that way, it has become something so much bigger than that. I  am amazed at the things you learn while training for any race, and how with each one, there is so much more life lessons to learn, about people, and yourself.  I could not have done this on my own, and if it would have continued to be only about me, well I would have given up long ago. You don't realize it, when you begin ,but you are reminded of it at the end.
     I could not have  trained for this race without the love and support from the Captain and my kids! The time they have put into this has been insurmountable. From getting up with me to do long rides, to changing plans so that I can train, to going without a homemade meal, clean laundry or house, they have been my rock. I have witnessed first hand unconditional love, and feel grateful for the family that I was blessed with. I have a husband who continually surprises me on the depth of his love for me, and my children's selflessness has been overwhelming at times.
     My friends and family that also have encouraged me, believed in me, and listened to hours of details on aches, pains, nutrition, and courses even when they want me to shut up, but wait patiently for me to finish. Even strangers that have somehow found out about it, the lady at the park in general conversation, the moms I run with, my swim group, my Augusta FB 70.3 page have all played a role.
   Through this whole process, I have been reminded that we are all the same, only different. The interest, the encouragement, and the advice that was so freely given. I have seen people that look at me with hope, inspiration, and pride. Not because of me, but because of what I am doing simply reminds them, that anything is possible. Maybe it isn't a race for them maybe its going back to school, its a painting class,  its a tennis club, staying single, getting married, or maybe just permission to be something other than what life decides for us to be. Whatever it is, I am happy that I have been able to allow other people, women especially, to see that the potential for us, the limits we put on ourselves for whatever reason, can be overcome. I am just an Extra Ordinary woman, living an extraordinary life, I am no different than anyone.
At the beginning of the race, I thought it was only about me and my personal reasons, but now it has become all about you, all about us. Everyone of us, that was told we can't, to settle, to accept, to  endure, to submit. For all of us, that thought we couldn't , or we shouldn't. Those of us who believed the lies that  we will never be good enough, fast enough, determined enough, or strong enough.
We are all in the bigger race together, this race we call life. We have one common goal, to get to an imaginary finish line, a job well done, a feeling of self accomplishment, an accolade, a renewal, survival. We need each other, we can not get through life alone, just like this race, life was meant to be shared with people. We are "in this" together.  So thank you to all of you. Although,I will be the one doing the race, you are all there in my heart, and as I cross the finish line, I know that each one of you carried me along the way.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Final Countdown

    There are only two weeks left until my big race! I admit I am totally scared, more like terrified! I go from being super excited to completely anxious . I can feel totally ready in one training session, and then find myself questioning my sanity during another. The endless amount of energy of turning this race over and over in my mind is completely exhausting. I am already losing sleep.When I am not training, I am thinking of ways to train more efficiently, or about race day nutrition.  I am scouring the web to find any and all information on things from what glides to use, to what bars to eat, lens colors on goggles, and hydration systems. When I am finished gathering all of that information, I am busy devouring blog posts on other people who have done a 1/2 iron man, from the elites to the novices'! I am officially on information overload. I need the race to be here, and I need this race to be another month away!
     Now that I am at the end of my training, (this will be my last intense week), and then I will start tapering.. Oh yeah, I guess I will be researching on what that even means this week! I am realizing its not enough to have your  body physically ready for this, but I need to start training my mind. I have been told, on many occasions, that I am my own worst enemy. I now need to start believing I can do this race.  All this training will have been for nothing, if I don't believe it.
       What am I afraid of? I have been asking myself this question a lot lately. I mean I have done every one of the distances I need to do for this race(1.2 mile swim.56 mile bike.13.1mile run) maybe not all at the same time yet, but enough combinations to know that I can do them. I know in my heart I have used my training time the best that I could. I have fallen many times on my bike, and have had road rash, skinned knees, and swollen wrists. I have had shin splints, and double plantar fasciitis in my feet. I have had aches, pains, bruises, and blisters in places that I don't need to mention. So I am not afraid of pain, that is part of this whole process! So is this fear even justifiable? I don't know.
      Yes, I have been asking myself this question a lot lately, you do that on four hour bike rides, and two hour runs!. So, here it is, I am afraid of, putting in all this hard work, and not being able to finish the race. Disappointing all my friends and family that have supported me and believed in me. Not making the cutoffs. Dead bodies(for some reason I worry they will be in the river)! Even how I will measure up to the other athletes.
     But, here's the thing, at this point in the game I have two choices 1.Give up or  2.Go to the race. that's it. I mean realistically, most people wouldn't care, some would be happy that I just shut up about it, and the only person that I would be giving up on would be myself.
     However, I realize despite all of my fears for race day, I have an even bigger fear. Not knowing. Not knowing if  I could have done it. Not knowing if I would have been strong enough, determined enough, or brave enough. and that is why #1 isn't an option for me. You see, I would rather go and know , then quit and wonder. At least if I go and am not able to finish, I will learn and  grow, as an athlete and as a person. I will know what worked, what didn't, and how I can improve for the next one. I understand that even the most experienced athletes have to be a little afraid, because on race day there are too many unknown variables, it is unlike training.
      However, what makes us different isn't that we aren't afraid, its that we continue to race in spite of our fear. Its the "what ifs" that drive us, that motivates us and why we keep signing up again. We channel our fear into energy on race day. We understand that crossing a  finish line is not the only way to win our race. Having the courage to keep showing up, and giving it all we've got, regardless of failed training plans, injuries, the nah-sayers, and even our own self, that is the real prize.
    Too many people would rather live in the wonder years.. I wonder if I could, I wonder if I can, I wonder how they do that, I wonder if.... I want to live in the know. I want to know what I'm made of, I want to know what I'm capable of, I want to know that I own my life, and that I live it unabashedly without regret, I want to know that I am stronger than even my own fear.
      So yeah, maybe in spite all of my hard work, I won't be able to finish this race but,I won't have failed, because failure would be not trying in the first place. I am in the final countdown and as far as I'm concerned I already have my prize, now I just need to go get that medal!

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Third TRImester!

      I am now in my final TRImester of training for my half iron man! Okay well, technically only 8 weeks to go, so I am writing this a little later than anticipated,but hey.... I am training for a half iron man, so I've been a little busy.
        Training for this race has taken me out of my comfort zone, it continues to stretch me further than I ever thought possible. It has exposed areas of my weaknesses',and unveiled  my strengths. I am so excited and scared all at the same time. I have tried new things, met new friends, and gained new insight to my ability to adapt. It has drained me emotional, physically and mentally. I cry randomly at times, not knowing if its because I am so sore,so tired, or a combination of both. I eat more than I care to admit,my laundry consists of running shorts, bras, and tanks that reek of butt, and boob sweat! I do my wash separately with special detergent, because my laundry room smells like a boys gym locker room. I have had chaffing in areas that well.... TMI! I have had pulled neck muscles, back spasms, and  plantar fasciitis so long, I think its my running partner! I have decided to pull out of this race 66 times and that was just in the last week. Every day I eat, train, eat , train, and sometimes ,I remember to feed the kids! I have felt guilty of how time consuming my training is, however, when I take a rest day, I feel guilty I am not training..I  belong to more clubs(running, swimming, and tri) than my high school daughter, and can name most muscles in my body. I have become an expert on hydration, nutrition, and may market my new hair color, its called chlorine! I  can change a flat tire faster than a NASCAR mechanic, wrap my knee or foot with duck tape, and eat fig newtons on the move! I have watched the sunrise(swimming) and the sunset(running) all in the same day. I have successfully swam in a lake at midnight, and can do a mile in 8 mins(only 1).
      During this journey I have learned so many things that I didn't know. I  did not know that I would find swimming, once my most dreaded leg of the training, to be my most favorite. That I would learn what an IM was, or a flutter kick or how to do 400's on the 1's..I didn't know that the bikes sessions would be uninterrupted quality time spent with the Captain,exploring new places in Orlando.And I didn't know running with other mothers would become one of my favorite nights of the week.
          Every day I get to be thankful. Thankful for my health, I do not take it for granted that I am able, when some are not. Every day I get to be grateful. Grateful for my family who, without their continued love,support, patience and belief ,I would have given up a long time ago. Every day, I get to be hopeful. Hopeful that I will be able to watch my dream ,become a reality.
     Training for this race has forced me to accept that there are many variables that I cannot control, in this race and in this life. It has taught me that even under my best laid out  plans, that things can and will change. I don't know if I will ever feel 100% ready for this race. I think I will always want more time. But, where I am now, is not where I was 7 months ago.  I do know where Ill be in two the starting line ready to TRI and give it my best shot!

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Stuck in the Middle

      Yesterday, I snuck off with my son,Nolan, to spend the day at Disney! We left the little ,and the Captain at home! It was such a different experience going without a stroller, a backpack, and extra clothes etc. I had wanted to spend time alone with Nolan . I know that at 11 yrs old, its still okay to hang out with your mom, but the time will come when those days are few and far between.I want to embrace the few years I have left!
     It was fun to spend some quality, one on one time with him. Sometimes, well most of the time, our life is so busy, and I know that if I don't make it a point to spend time with each of my children individually, it will not happen. When you have a little brother (4) and a big sister(16), the days and events we do as a family can get dictated by them. Yesterday, I wanted Nolan to be able to control the events of the day, and get to do all the things we put off doing( the things he wants) when we go to the parks. Sometimes, its so unfair  to be stuck in the middle ! He gets juggled in-between, teenage drama and little brother meltdowns! He handles it well, but I know that occasionally, he can feel the burden of being stuck in the middle. I try to be sensitive about it,and aware of it, however I have to constantly be conscience of it.
       I enjoyed my day with him, so much! I got to actually see a hint of what his behavior will be like when he goes on his first date. But more importantly, I got to witness the young man he is growing into.  All day I he kept reminding me of someone. The thought plagued the back of my head. He was attentive, opened doors, carried our food trays, and he didn't  monopolize the conversation. He asked me questions, and was interested in my answers. When I told him it was his day, we would do whatever he wanted, he promptly corrected me, and told me it was our day, and we both get to pick things we want to do! He even held my hand as we were walking through the parks! yes,tears have just formed in my eyes.. As the day came to a close, I knew without a doubt who he reminded me of... his father.
     You see our sons, are watching their dads.They pay attention to the way they treat their mothers.Nolan sees the way the Captain treats me, he  listens to the way the Captain talks to me, and he witness' how openly the Captain loves me. The Captain has taught Nolan many things, but the most important one, is what it really means to be a Godly man, and the Captain only uses words when necessary.
     Our sons will choose wives' that reflect the women that they have been around their whole lives. So, Mothers' be the kind of woman you want your son to marry, set the bar high ,so that he chooses well. Our sons will  want to be the kind of men they have seen as a child. So, Fathers' be the man that you want your sons to become. When you treat your wives with love, honor and respect, you have raised a man who will have a successful marriage, and understand one of their roles as a husband.
      I am so proud of the young man Nolan is growing up to be, and I am more proud of the man he is to become, because I know without a doubt, he has had one of the best role models around.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Second TRImester training

 I am coming to the end of my first month in my second TRImester! Time is moving quickly, only 5 months til go time! In the first three months , I'll admit I was flying by the seat of my pants. In the beginning it took sometimes hours for me to encourage myself to get that  run, swim or bike in. Many days I tried to find an excuse. I allowed my negative thoughts to creep in, I mean What the hell was I thinking? I am not by nature an athlete, I have to fight for it , every single day, it does not come easy for me. I feel like I have to push harder, work harder, and practice more, than other women. or maybe I don't. I sometimes put so much pressure on myself, that I have to remind myself to get out of my own way. The first few months were rough, my body fought me for awhile, but I kept training. I had people with negative comments, looks, I kept going. I did develop an injury in both my feet towards the end, and have had to take off two weeks of running(which is terrible for me, because as much as running is my solitude it is also my nemesis!) But I pushed myself with my swimming, and biking.
     And then something switched, something in my body turned on. Now going into this second Trimester, it has become much easier. Instead of excuses not to train, I make my schedule around my training. Once  dreading one workout a day, I have begun two a days! I am no longer trying to get out of my training days however, now I try to find reasons to train during rest days. My body was fighting me, now my body seems to be catapulting me forward.  I can feel my body getting stronger every day, and I love the new muscles that are forming! My legs, once too skinny, are actually becoming muscular. ! But, the most important part is, I am having so much fun!  Did I say that? Yes, I am having the best time training for this race.
     I have joined a swimming group, which has really helped me improve not only my distance, but my strokes and speed too. I am faithfully getting to my spin classes,(  the Captain also joins me,when in town). I have been getting more time outside on my bike, so getting in and out of those clips are becoming easier. I was able to start back running this week, and I was surprised that even though I had to take a break, I am not that far off from where I left off!
     I am still battling the "mommy guilt" of having to leave the kids more often,or drag them to the gym constantly, and needing to lean on Regan when the Captain is out of town! But, I am trying to let that go, if its possible. I keep reminding myself that my kids are fine,and they are learning a lot during this whole process too.
     The training schedule is more intense than I thought it would be, however manageable. I was able to go watch the 1/2 iron Florida this past week, and support my friend as she completed her second one. It was a great experience, and gave me more knowledge about race day. I also feel more confident in my ability to not just  finish the race, but be a contender as well! So, now when someone asks me," Why are you doing this?" I look at them and reply, " Its not why am I doing this..Its why aren't you?"


Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Sweet 16

     This past month, I have been planning my daughters sweet 16. It has been such an emotional time for me. I don't know why, but her turning 16 has been harder on me than when I turned 40! It has taken me a bit by surprise, actually. Maybe its the fact that I have been scouring through old pictures, trying to find the perfect one for her bday invite, and in doing so, I have come across a snap shot of her life.It has gone by so fast. Or maybe its because she is my oldest child, my only daughter. Or simply, the older I get, it seems the easier I cry. It really could be any of these things. All I know is that I can't help but feel this bday is bittersweet.
     I can remember the day when the Captain taught her to ride her bike. I can still hear her screaming, "Don't let go Daddy, not until I am ready!" and I knew he would hang on, "I got you baby girl, I won't." and yet, that was a lie. She wasn't ever really going to be ready, but when he felt she was, without her even knowing, he took his hand away from the seat. Sometimes you have to believe in your child, before they can start believing in themselves. She flew past us,smiling, laughing ,the wind in her hair "Look I'm doing it all by myself!", and just as quickly as her excitement rose, off she toppled to one side skinning her knees, her elbows, her face,"I told you I wasn't ready!" screaming through the tears. In a split second we went from her hero's to zero's!
We ran towards her, checked her over, and once the tears dried, "Do you want to try again?" We can see her contemplating it. This is the moment when you get a glimpse of what your child is going to be like in their future self. Will she let her pride stop her,  or will she push towards her goal? Will she  manipulate the drama to her advantage? We wait. She doesn't smile, a simple "Yes, I can do it." she stood ready for more. It would take her five more tries, more scrapes, more bruises, but when she finally did it, she would wear those scars proudly! Fast forward ... now,we are teaching her to drive.
      As I look back onto her life, I can't recall an age or stage that I have not truly enjoyed. She has brought so much joy, love and laughter into my life. My daughter has taught me about myself, my limits and my courage. She has shaped me into the woman I was called to be. She humbles me,strengthens me, and encourages me to be a better person. She challenges me, tests me, and sometimes enrages me. My daughter gave me something to fight for, her. 
     As she continues to grow into the woman she is to become,and time continues to speed by, I daydream about all the possibilities, and opportunities that await her. I have no fear of the path she will choose, opportunities she will take, or challenges she will face. Because, along the way we will be holding on to the back of the seat, and we wont let go until we know that she is ready. And then we will watch her fly,with the wind in her hair, smiling and laughing, grabbing on to her dreams,wherever they may take her.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

9 Months.. 3 TRImesters

 I have 9 months before my half iron man race, its like being impregnated with half iron man training! I will look at this training in trimesters,which is fitting because, the half iron man is a triathlon! So,for the first three months of training (Jan-March) I know what I should expect(kinda). There already has been a range of emotions from excitement to what the heck was I thinking?? There has already been a few times I have actually puked, from training. Ok,so I didn't exactly puke, but continuous dry heaves are much worse! And I know people can look at me and think is she or isn't she... training for a race? Because,really at this point my body hasn't made any significant changes,so people can only guess. My level of exhaustion has increased due to the fact that I am doing more training. My appetite has even increased, like I'm eating for two! This first trimester is going to be a time for getting used to my new schedule, my new clips(I already have visible injuries ),  changing my eating habits, taking better vitamins, and getting much needed sleep. Whew, did I miss anything? Oh yeah, my boobs... well, those haven't changed much,but here's hoping! haha
  During my second trimester (April-June),which was by far my favorite trimester in all three of my pregnancies,I know my energy will  return. As my body becomes accustomed to my training, it will  actually start to crave it. People will begin to see the changes in my body, as it grows more defined and strong. They will start to be bolder with asking me questions like, Are you training for... and then once I say yes, they will be only too eager to share with me all of their own stories of races past, and training schedules!I will probably start to look for my new tri outfit, and be able to eat guilt free, because of my training schedule.I will also see the exhaustion subside, because I will be getting well deserved rest.Less accidents on my bike, because, I will be used to the clips. I will start swimming in the open water, without the fear of drowning., and I will be doing shorter races for practice.
     My last trimester(July-Sept) I will actually break up into two 6 weeks.The first part of this trimester I will be starting to anticipate the race. I will be using this time to make sure my hotel is secure,buy new shoes if needed to break them in, checking my equipment, and doing the last of the long bricks. I will start to see that the end is near. However, by that last 6 weeks, I will be ready for this race to come so that I can complete it. I will be tired of hearing everyone else's stories and want to have one of my own. I will start getting scared, and having doubts about whether I made the right choice. I will start to wonder if I  will be any good at it.All of these mixed emotions, with anticipation for race day. I will  want to get back to a "normal" routine, eat the pizza, drink a beer!I will be over getting up early for a swim, while everyone is sleeping. Biking in my living room long after the little's have gone to bed. Even running the same route will become mundane,I will just want it to be over!
     And then the "BIG DAY" will arrive! All my hard work, all my sacrifices, all the long hours of training will be on autopilot. During the race there will be tears of joy, and tears of pain.There will be moments when I want to give up from pure exhaustion.There will be thoughts in my head .. Why? I will be reminding myself never to do something like this again! I will be cussing at the Captain, for even encouraging me ... and then after hours of racing, I will cross that  finish line! They will call my name and  I will  know.. IT was all worth it!.. I will  look down at that beautiful medal, representing all that I have accomplished, and in an instant, I will  forget all about the sweat, the tears and the pain.  I will only remember the feeling of finishing my race, and I will  turn to the Captain and say... SO... "When's the next One?!"