Saturday, May 31, 2008

Curses, Foiled Again!

Last week Esmerelda and I headed out to try the course for the Tri to Win triathlon we are doing in two weeks. She did the race last year, we are both doing it this year. It will be my maiden voyage. Last week I had a major bonk on the first hill and felt like trash for the rest of the ride. Its been in my head all week, I really needed to ride it today to get the bad mojo out of my head and feel better about doing the race. My friend from work is the race director's wife and lives near the course, she said she'd love to ride this morning. I left the house at 7:15 to meet her at 8AM. Get on the highway on ramp and remember that I don't have my helmet, circle back and pick it up. Hit go on the Garmin and it says I will have 7 minutes to spare. Yeah, except it was the WRONG place it took me so I ended up 8 minutes late. When I got there D was there and 4 other women were getting ready to ride so we headed out together. I got out onto the highway and the ride felt bumpy. Is my tire low, yeah, kinda.

Yeah, kinda was a serious understatement--TOTALLY FLAT! I put the new tube on and then struggled to get the tire on. One biker whizzed past us without even a look. Then Dewey Tri Guy and Eagleman happened upon us and helped me out. So Eagleman got the tire on and we tried to inflate it, no dice. Apparently somewhere in the putting on of the new tube I put a hole in it as well! Luckily we were no more than a mile from the start so I didn't have to drag my bike too far. If you can't bike--RUN!

We ran the 5K for the tri, D was a great pacer. We ran the first mile in 10:43, the second in 10:49 and the third in 11:35--the last mile the sun came out and we had to go back UP the hill we started out going down. Back up that hill is pretty grueling, D assures me that with the crowd cheering it'll be a piece of cake!

Tomorrow the bike goes to Race Pace for a pre-race tune up and obviously a new tube put on by guys who really know what they are doing!

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Think Thin Thursday Random Thoughts

Today I ran at lunch time--5.26K or almost 3.3 miles. Six months ago I couldn't have run that distance, let alone done it at lunchtime and come back to work for the afternoon. Best of all it was comfortable, nothing hurt, unless the hill was steep my breathing wasn't labored, and I averaged a little over 11 minutes/mile. I know all those numbers because I bought one of the Nike+ iPod sensors and it keeps track for me. The thing is too darned cool, today Lance Armstrong came on to congratulate me on my longest run to date. I don't do Nike running shoes so I sewed a piece of elastic to the tongue of my shoe under where the laces start. It works perfectly to keep it in place, my only worry is a big rainstorm and face it, I don't mind running but I do mind being icky wet.

My first Tri is in 16 days, I feel ready on some fronts but after bonking on a trial run last Sunday my confidence in my hill climbing ability is a little shaken. I also broke a cardinal rule in not fueling well enough before the ride/run so the effort on that hill also made me a little sick and it took the rest of the ride and a package of Jelly Belly Sport Beans to be convinced I would live. I was sure there was no way I was going to be able to run. I told Esmerelda that I probably wouldn't run the whole 5K. Much to my surprise after getting going the run was OK, I walked a little up the first hill and the last 100 meters uphill to the parking lot. A total time of 38 minutes, which considering how bad I felt 30 minutes before was stellar. We followed up the brick with a trip to the Outlets and did some serious retail therapy. Mostly work out stuff but also the chance to spend my Christmas gift card from Coach for a cute baby blue purse and fun printed wallet. All in all a perfect day, hard workout and then shopping and hanging out with Esmerelda--it had been a long time since we had more time than a hurried lunch in Subway to catch up. HUGE props to Gman for playing babysitter for the WHOLE day!

At my weigh-in today I lost another 2 pounds to put me at a total of 20.6 pounds in 8 weeks. I am closing in on 10%!

Monday, May 26, 2008

Maven Says: Barrettes that WORK

My oldest daughter has lots and lots of hair. My youngest daughter is not nearly so lucky. She was nearly three before she had her first "real" haircut because I just couldn't bear to see her curls disappear. Despite the fact that Boobah has so little hair I could never bring myself to put corn syrup in her hair and stick a bow to her head. Most of her life she's spent with just plain hair. My ill fated attempts to put barrettes or pony holders in her hair generally end up with lost hair-dinis (the Gman term for girly hair stuff!) because they slide out of her hair. For a girl who likes to be girly, this is a tough thing.
Then, in rides Maiden America and Parent Bloggers Network to the rescue! The cute barrettes come in singles and "pony pairs" to use with a pony tail holder. I ordered one set in a size small so that both girls could wear them and the other in the XS just for my younger daughter. As soon as they arrived in the mail there were many ohhs and ahhs and demands to have them put in their hair immediately! I was thrilled that the barrettes snapped easily into place and STAYED PUT! Unfortunately they don't require a combination to get them undone, four year old Boobah did manage to get them out of her hair and into her mouth during the day and I ended up with a soggy flowered barrette at the end of the day. My seven year old loved the way the barrettes looked and we could secure a small piece of her heavy hair in the pretty barrettes.
I know I will head back to the site the next time there is a special occasion, the barrettes and headbands are just begging to be worn to a wedding, dance or any occasion that requires Fancy Nancy clothes. They are a great combination of beauty and function and a great solution for thin, fine hair that refuses to be tamed by regular hair-dinis.

Friday, May 23, 2008

I'd lose my head if it weren't attached

I have always had a hard time holding on to things, I lose my keys, papers and my mind on a regular basis. Generally its nothing of great value though. Now I seem to have misplaced two rather pricey items--my camera, which I haven't seen since Christmas. I know I took it to Ohio to visit the folks, haven't seen it since, but its GOT to be here somewhere, tucked away in a bag or something. I haven't put a lot of energy into finding it--probably because I haven't needed it too desperately since I have Gman, picture taker extraordinaire, to take all my pictures for me. Its always bad when you realize you haven't seen something in a long time, in our house that is that much longer to get buried in piles of stuff.

The newest item to pull the disappearing act--my heart rate monitor transmitter and strap. I know I wore it to spin class on Wednesday, I took yesterday off and today, I can't find it anywhere. I checked the lost and found at the gym, no dice. I went through the lockers I thought I might have used on Wednesday, no dice. I checked under the seats in my van, completely emptied my gym bag, searched all my coat pockets, nada. Now this little gem I use nearly every day. I thought I'd gotten really good at doing the same thing with it every time I took it off, apparently in my hurry to get back to work I didn't. The only thing I can figure out is that perhaps I threw it in the dirty towel bin and its getting washed with thousands of gym towels. I guess the one I "won" for fundraising for my first tri might actually come in useful!

Think thin Thursday update, the downward trend continued although not on the pace I'd like. But at least it was .6 pounds in the right direction.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Maven Says: Girls Dig Bugs

One might think that having two little girls bugs might not be a popular topic at my house. How wrong you would be, my girls dig bugs. Most everything else makes them whine or shriek, but not bugs, worms or caterpillars. The Discovery Store's Bug Net Launcher combines two of (much to my chagrin) the girls' favorite things bugs and shooting stuff!

I must admit, I love the toys that we've had the privilege of reviewing for Parent Bloggers Network. The Bug Net Launcher is no exception, well made, great directions, fun colors and a response of "cool!" from the kids--a response for which $24.95 is a small price to pay. We had lots of fun trying to track bugs in our basement but had little luck, we are, thankfully, pretty bug-free these days. We will continue to hunt down the occasional spider and once its warm and dry enough that the kids leave the back door open I am sure the Bug Net Launcher will be employed to rid our house of flies (ick!).

Outside the luck was better--we are unfortunately being overrun by tent caterpillars this year, they move very slooooooowwwwwwwly and make good targets. Earthworms are equally slow. I have a feeling the girls may be disappointed when they encounter bugs with a bit more get up and go.

I can't wait until my nephews are a bit older, I can guarantee that out in the middle of nowhere where they live they would find countless things to trap! For now I'll put it on the short list for summer birthday gifts for adventurous boys and girls turning 6, 7 & 8.

Friday, May 16, 2008

All growed up

We got big news at our house this week, five years of worrying has been put to rest (yes, I was worrying about this before she was even born!). Boobah was born on September 3. The year she was born the state declared they were moving the age for starting school back from the end of December to Sept. 1 with the phase in of full-day Kindergarten. After months of filling out forms, testing and waiting (mostly waiting) we got word that she has been accepted to Kindergarten!

I think she is so ready to go to school and she is a really tall girl so I had visions of her being a head taller than her classmates if she had to wait another year to go to school. She is a kid who gets bored and finds something to keep herself occupied and it isn't always what others would want her to be doing--learning to pee standing up for instance. There is also the small issue of money, we are now spending a boatload of money to send her to the World's Second Most Expensive Preschool (BuilderMama has us beat with THE most expensive). I love the place and she has really flourished there but another year of a tuition bill for preschool equal to what my parents paid for a year of private college makes my stomach churn just a bit.

On the other hand I have what I would guess is typically mommy doubt--are we pushing her into something because it saves us money, we are convinced she is brilliant and are sure she can handle being with kids who are generally older than she is? My friends have been reassuring that they think we'd be crazy not to have her tested. A few people with kids who are a few weeks or months younger than she is are a little surprised we would have her tested because they want their kids to be the oldest, biggest, smartest in the class and see waiting as an advantage (or course most of them also have the luxury of a parent at home full time). Oh The Joys had a post about the trend to "red-shirt" Kindergartners--hold them out if they have a birthday in the summer and send them to school when they are six rather than five. Her post generated a lot of discussion (144 comments!) among her loyal fans. If you Google red-shirt and Kindergarten there are articles from the New York Times to TIME magazine on the subject of the "right" age to go to Kindergarten so at least I don't feel alone. But I do feel confused and maybe even a bit guilty.

The questions, oh the questions. Am I making the right decision? IS there a right decision? Am I disadvantaging my child by sending her to Kindergarten and making her among the youngest, if not the youngest child in her class? Will any of this matter two years from now? If I waited would she be on the fast track to Harvard?

My gut says this is the right decision for this child at this time. The system says yes, this child is ready to go. The child says, yes Mommy I am ready to go to Kindergarten. The only part that nags me now is the little part of my heart that is releasing my baby to the wonders of public school and giving up yet a little more control to her and other adults.
In other news, the Think Thin Thursday Update is minus 3.2 pounds for a grand total of 18 pounds in five weeks. Honestly I am stunned but certainly not unhappy! I got to go shopping in my own closet yesterday for clothes that hadn't fit in awhile. Training continues to go well, need more time on the bike outside if I can get the weather to cooperate!

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Maven Says: Required Reading

For seven long years I was a college residence hall director. I had an apartment in a residence hall, better known as a dorm but those of us in the profession would never utter that four letter word. One year was in co-ed suites, one year in a hall full of snooty women, and the other five years were filled with the joys of sharing space with hundreds of adolescent boys. If only Christie Mellor had written Raised by Wolves: Clues to the Mysteries of Adulthood a decade earlier, I might have bought hundreds of copies to bestow on my charges. We had fires in the oven from ill-attempted cooking, were always totally grossed out when we went through rooms during breaks at the funk growing there, and cringed at the pathetic mating rituals of drunk young people. Mellor pretty much hits the high points on cooking, cleaning and behaving in the presence of alcohol. I think that a pocket sized version of the main points in each chapter would be a fabulous addition to the goody boxes handed out to everyone who moves into a residence hall at the beginning of the year (or used to, now everything is probably done by e-mail). I might also have used it as a text when I taught an orientation course at a state university.

Now life is a little more tricky, unfortunately the people I know who could really use the book would never, in a million years, think that they were the target audience. How exactly do you let them know it would be a good read--put it down on the porch, ring the bell and hide in the bushes? I think the only time I could offer it as a gift would be to a recent college graduate heading off into the "real" world. Although I fear that having put four (or five, or six) years of heavy reading behind then and thinking of nothing but independence and making money they probably wouldn't read it. The simple and straightforward advice on things like buying a house, budgeting and taxes are things I wish I'd had when I was moving out of my extended stay in the residence halls into my own apartment for the first time when I had to buy furniture, food and pay the rent--it wasn't pretty! Another hot target audience might be parents who have adult children returned to the nest--leave a copy in the bathroom for light reading after reading it yourself and noting the good parts to drop in conversation with your kids.

With only about 330 days left of my thirties I skimmed through the chapters on cooking and entertaining. I've spent enough time in the kitchen and hosting gatherings from potlucks to sit down dinners to birthday parties for 20 5-years olds and hosting Thanksgiving dinner for in-laws to feel pretty confident in those areas. I cringed reading about cleaning up for company, my husband and I are still guilty of hiding things more than cleaning when we have company coming and time is tight. Once he even stuffed a closet full of things and used a baby gate to keep it all from tumbling out when the door was opened--I definitely love him for his ingenuity. Thankfully I am old, smart and financially secure enough to have someone else clean the things that I never get around to, although it was a long, long time getting here!

Mellor's style will win over readers who pick up her book. The quirky, entertaining prose are fun to read even when hitting a little too close to home.

Thanks to the Parent Bloggers Network for the chance to check out Mellor's (author of the Three-Martini Playdate) new book Raised by Wolves. You can head over to PBN to check out what others have said about the book and lots of other cool stuff!

Monday, May 12, 2008

One perfect mother

Saturday was one of those days when you just want to call a do-over. My children just about drove me over the edge with the whining, complaining and non-stop demands. Gman sent them to room when we sat down to eat because they were bickering again. Boobah spent the next 5 minutes screaming "I am STARVING!" Finally we made it through dinner, I told them all I really wanted for Mother's Day was a day without whining. I am not proud of myself, I yelled and I wasn't very nice.

Sunday morning the girls had cards and presents for me and Gman had the family pictures we had done before the holidays framed for me. Unfortunately the no whining didn't last past 8AM but the day was infinitely better overall. I went for a run, we went to church. The children's choir sang and they were great. Then during the children's moment the minister asked if anyone had a perfect mother. One lone hand shot into the air--it was PDQ. A good laugh rolled through the congregation. Afterwards she told me I was the best mother ever. Lovely to hear but also a bit guilt inducing after the prior day. My friend Lisa told me that she was writing it down and when PDQ was a teenager she would be happy to remind her that Mother's Day 2008 she had declared that I was perfect.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Think Thin Thursday Update

Last week I didn't write a "think thin" entry because I wasn't, I was thinking fat, feeling fat and weighing in fat--up 2.6 pounds. You can imagine my amazement when I gained 3 pounds overnight! Today was much more of a think thin kind of day. I have been getting my work outs in, this is supposed to be a recovery week and my body is feeling like it needs to recover. My lunchtime spin class has moved from 60 to 30 minutes and it is a great way to get in a swim/bike combo in the middle of the day and also practice riding the bike wet--nothing like being squishy! The numbers for today, drum roll please, down 5.6 pounds for a grand total of 14.8 pounds in 4 weeks.

My Ironman+ totals for the month so far:
SWIM: 2400/8000 yards
BIKE: 33.5/120 miles
RUN: 8.1/30 miles

Trolling the Internet in the last month I've stumbled across some incredibly inspiring triathlon and weight loss blogs. Check them out if you get a chance Athena Diaries, Half of Me, Tridolph, Nancy Toby: Run Big, and Waddling.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Rapelli Rocks

My house is one where toys are begged for and then after a few days they get tossed aside for a few old favorites, baby dolls and coloring. When I opened the box for Rapelli from the Discovery Channel Store my kids were ready to immediately dive into the brightly colored box. What *is* it they wanted to know. I told them it was a new game for them. Little did I know it was going to land on the short list of favorite things.

We got out the game and set it up in about 2 minutes flat with only minimal reading of directions on my part. Then Boobah and I read further through the directions to figure out how to play. The directions were easy to read and a piece of cake to explain to my four and seven year olds. After we'd played for a bit our babysitter for the evening showed up and the girls taught her how to play in no time. The next babysitter a few weeks later also learned quickly to play the game.

Its now several weeks later and the game has been played at the kitchen table, on the patio outside and in the basement. The kids have drug it out to play with babysitters, grandparents and friends. I love that they love the game and that it was easy to learn but isn't so childish that adults don't want to play with it. No annoying noises is another HUGE bonus for me. My granola crunchy side is also satisfied with the all natural materials. I like the simple design and bright, colorful pieces. It will definitely end up on my list of go-to birthday gifts!

Go on over to Parent Bloggers to see what others have to say about Rapelli and lots of other cool stuff!

Traffic Hell

Really, my commute to work is only about 8 miles, the first drop off is only 4 miles from the house, really what is the idiots per mile ratio today? I had to slam on my breaks twice in that first stretch because people turned out right in front of me. The second time she saw me at the last minute and managed to pull onto the side of the road instead of right in front of me, otherwise it would have been really, really ugly, no way I could have avoided her expensive sports car. After those near misses there was another car who felt it necessary to speed through the left turn only lane to cut in front of the truck in front of me saving herself at least 2 seconds. I've said it before, driving around here scares the crap out of me but its nothing compared to the fear on the bike!

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Trying the Tri

Today was glorious, not too hot, not too cold, a bit breezy, blue skies, a few puffy clouds. One of those days that just BEGS you to go outside. For me, outside was already on the agenda. Today was the last of my 14 weeks of triathlon training class. Nothing like bonding with people over sweat and pain.

This morning we did a mini-tri, 15 minutes in the pool, then drive to the park (which was freaking gorgeous today) ride 17.5 miles and then run 3.4. Piece of cake, oh no, that is what I feel like I earned today, not what it actually was. Remember that little breeze I was talking about? It would occasionally gust so hard as a cross wind that you could feel it moving your bike, a little scary with traffic and hundreds of cyclists on the road. I managed to grind my way through my ride. Very early on my back started bothering me, all I wanted to do was get off the bike, stretch my back and adjust my shorts (gee, I feel like such a GUY!). I let myself get off for just a minute at our turn around in the school parking lot. As soon as I got off the bike-relief! The hardest hill is in the first third of the ride, really by the time I got off the bike I'd done the hardest part, then some. Word of warning, when a street is named Mt. anything, be afraid, VERY afraid. I think I finished last on the bike, there were a couple of people behind me but I never saw them again, I am guessing mechanical issues. The bikers are for the most part really friendly, letting you know they are passing, shouting words of encouragement, saying "hi" as the race by. I even got a glimpse of Es as she headed past me in the other direction.

Made it back to the park and was SO happy to get ready to run (a very foreign feeling for me). I stood around longer than I should have shooting the breeze with one of the coaches and some of the other tri folks. I downed a Double Espresso Clif Shot, it wasn't that bad and it gave me a little caffeine and carb pick me up to get me through the first part of the run. I never, in a millions years, believed I would be doing any sport that required me to EAT while doing it! I didn't do the whole 3.4 miles, I did about 3, not taking the extra out and back hill in the middle of the course--my back was feeling the run by that point and no sense hurting myself.

When I was done I felt an overwhelming sense of accomplishment. I've done all but a little bit of the run for my big race. I've done ALL of the bike course. The only thing left to do is swim in open water and that can wait until the open water is quite a bit warmer! I am not fast but I did grind it out. Wa hoo! 6 weeks until the first of the real thing.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Ironman in a month

There are some people who are so into triathlons that they do the grand daddy of all tris, the one you see on TV, the IronMan. You know, just a day in the park that happens to include a 2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike and THEN a marathon 26.2 miles. I can't get my mind around the marathon alone, let alone doing it after swimming and biking for ridiculously long distances.

So, some of the ladies over on the Weight Watchers message board are doing an Ironman Challenge for the month where you try each month to complete the iron distance in your training. Its good for me to be accountable to someone else, especially now that my triathlon training class is ending (we had the last butt-crack-of-dawn swim session this morning!).

For April I managed to eek out my miles on the bike, it meant over an hour last night on the trainer in my living room but I finished. That is pretty much what I think I'll feel like at the end of my tris this year--eeking every little bit out but getting it done nonetheless.

SWIM: 9350yd/4200yd
BIKE: 112.7m/112m
RUN: 26.5m/26.2m