Mommy Sick Day

Standard

Moms do not get a sick day. It doesn’t matter where you live, whether you work or stay home…there is no break. Gone are the days when you wake up feeling cruddy and get to curl up under a blanket and be miserable while your mom fetches you liquids and cuddly things and entertainment for you. Now you still have to tend to other people…and take care of yourself…when you just want to lay as still as possible and be miserable until it passes.
I’m sick. Some nasty head cold that leaves my days filled with body aches and lots of mucus. But there is no break. My sick day has consisted of taking the kids to and from school, making sure they’ve eaten, and caring for basic physical needs. Nope, I have no idea what we’ve eaten in the past few days and I’m fairly certain its nutritional value was negligible…but I do know we’ve eaten. They’ve been bathed occasionally so that they don’t smell too bad. They’ve arrived at school and did stuff there.
But it’s when your sick that everything has to happen. Murphy’s law in action…when you want to do absolutely nothing, that’s when everything needs to be done. It’s when you end up dumping cereal all over the floor because someone put the box away upside down. It’s when two light bulbs burn out in your laundry room so you can’t see anything until you replace them. This is also when the door to door salesman decides to stop by again, and won’t go away. Or when two doctor offices call. Or when the blood donation place calls to ask you to donate blood. Did I mention most of these things happen when you’re trying to grab a quick nap because the kids are actually being quiet?
During my sick day, my child’s IEP meeting that only happens once a year happened. But of course I was in such a funk I completely forget. Thankfully Urpling’s teacher is an understanding and gracious person, and after calling several times over a half hour I finally answered and she agreed to a phone conference. Bless that woman! It’s also when King Toot ripped the top part of his nail off leaving a wound that caused him to cry suddenly and loudly every few minutes. But when I tried to put a bandaid on it, he screamed like he was dying and ripped the bandaid off.
Of course, potty training has taken a back seat, but I did manage to stick King Toot on the toilet and he pooped a poop as large as his head. I was extremely grateful to see that go in the toilet and not his diaper….until it plugged up the toilet and caused it to overflow…twice. My friend called three times until I finally answered. She asked me to watch her kids for 10 minutes because she had to leave and her husband wasn’t home yet. I explained I was sick and she was desperate so I agreed to watch them for 10 minutes…and the husband arrived about 40 minutes later. Around that time is when King Toot was banging on his door to get out. But when I tried to let him out, I discovered he had locked himself into his room. Sure, we have a safety knob on the inside of the door that is taped over so it should be physically impossible to lock his door now. But he did. I went to go get the screwdriver to remove the knob..but the lights were burned out in the laundry room so I couldn’t see. I replaced the lights, got the screwdriver, released the kraken…er…child, and then turned the knob around so it locks from the outside. During the past two days, I have stuck my kids in front of the TV a lot. Judge me, I don’t care, I want to die right now anyway. But the netflix played so long it stopped and asked if we were still there or something. Urpling decided to make it go again by herself, and proceeded to lose the remote. The only way to control our Apple TV and she hid it in some special place I couldn’t find. I cleaned the house looking for it. I was tired, cranky, and upset by that point so I just sent them to bed before I overreacted (more than I already had). Sir Smiley found it buried in the love seat when he got home that night.
So I ask one thing…when you see a mom who looks near death, dressed like she changed in the dark, with circles under her eyes…pity her. Send a little prayer up for her mental health and sanity, and maybe buy her a coffee…she’s gonna need it.

That-which-must-not-be-named

Standard

Sir Smiley gave me the idea for the title of this blog. When I asked him what I should title this blog, he told me it should not be mentioned in the first place…and in popped the Harry Potter reference. This post is about poop. If you dislike poop or any mention of poop, then you should stop reading now. If you find nothing humorous in “potty jokes” then that’s a good indicator that you also should stop reading now. In fact, if you are squeamish in any way…go find a blog about ponies or unicorns because this may scar you for life. Consider yourself warned, and I bear no responsibility for any offense or vomit that may ensue after this sentence is complete.

I needed to write this post as sort of a cleansing…a cathartic exercise. My family has had some stomach issues in our home for weeks. The kids struggled with it for a couple weeks and now seem fine. Sir Smiley and I have been struggling with this since Christmas (literally Christmas Day…as some of you may have read about in this post) but it never actually got better. We would have a day or two where we thought we were finally over it and then either Sir Smiley or myself would get sick again.

The last straw was this past Thursday. It got so bad that I could barely leave bed except to go pass enormous amounts of liquid from the wrong hole and then crawl back into bed. I didn’t eat anything solid for well over a day and a half…closer to two days actually. I lost six pounds in a one day period. So I finally caved, called the doctor, and got a last minute appointment to find out what was going on.

Why did it take me close to six weeks to finally go in? Well, because this is a GI issue. There’s really only one way to truly check and see what’s going on and that’s through a…STOOL SAMPLE. I have never had to give one but it sounded fairly ominous. But in I go, and meet with a complete stranger (my regular doc was already booked up…although to be honest I’ve only met her once too) and then start having to graphically describe my symptoms. No, not a runny nose…a runny butt. I feel gassy, gross burps and such. Yes, that includes flatulence and lots of it. Yes, it does have a distinct odor. How frequently do I need to use the bathroom? How best to describe that one….too frequently? As often as a student checks the clock at the end of class? As often as a pregnant woman in her third trimester? I got the third degree and by the end I felt a bizarre mixture of relief and mortification. Mortification at all the embarrassing information I just had to relate in only a few minutes, and relief that this doctor actually cared about figuring out what was going on and was going to run the full gamut of tests to figure it out. If it wasn’t a virus, she was going to find out what it was.

So I headed to the lab to have blood drawn. Simple enough. I still did not know what would be required of me to give a stool sample. I had a vague idea that I would have some kind of container I would have to poop in and then I would turn it in. I was mainly concerned about the size of the receptacle I would need to take a dump in.

After I finished giving blood, they brought over a big bag. The tech asks me if I have ever given a stool sample before. I can only imagine the look of apprehension as I shook my head no…staring only at that huge bag. So she proceeds to then describe to me the process…and my mortification only grew with each step. First, she shows me these hard, clear, plastic tubes…about two or three inches wide. It had some unknown (and shall remain unknown) liquid in it. She shows them to me closely and points to a line across it (I also see on the label in huge letters…”Do Not Drink!” and could only think, “Dear Lord, did someone actually drink their sample and now they include a warning label?!). Apparently I am supposed to put exactly enough poop in these tubes to fill it up to the line and not above. I was seriously praying that the bag contained some other tools to help in this, as I doubted I could poop into something so small and still be so precise. She informs me that these must be stored at room temperature. Mmmkay. Then the tech pulls out some clear, coffee mug sized jar (Why, oh why are they all clear?!) and then tells me to fill this one at least a quarter full and adds that it needs to be refrigerated. Say what?! I am supposed to store this…in the fridge? With my food? I was appalled.

Moving on from storage, we now enter the procedural part of our tutorial. The tech pulls out something she calls “the hat”. What an unfortunate name. Why they call it this is beyond me. it vaguely has the shape of a hat I suppose, but you wouldn’t want this anywhere near your head. This has a lip to hold the bucket part in place on a toilet…right under your butt. Then you poop in it. I thought “Sh** pit” or “Crap Trap” were more appropriate names for this device. I did experience temporary relief at the size of the hat…at least it was large and I didn’t have to worry about aiming or precision. But that relief was short lived as the tech hands me gloves and a plastic spoon. A. Plastic. Spoon. Apparently this was to help me “ladle” the poop into the tubes. The hat (or shat hat as I took to referring to it) had a nice little spout on one end to aid in pouring…so it would in theory help you get your poop into the larger jar. I just stared at the tech in horror as she asked me if I understood what I was supposed to do. I answered to the affirmative and walked in a daze out the door.

I was successful in collecting my….specimens. I will not traumatize you with details, but I honestly think I would rather have diarrhea the rest of my life then go through that ever again. It was emotionally scarring…and I will be haunted by the memories for the rest of my life. Hopefully in the next week we’ll have nailed down what’s wrong though, and my life can finally start to have some semblance of normalcy after months of health issues.

20140208-132918.jpg
“The Hat” in all its glory…

Betterness Part 3: Health

Standard

I’ll be honest here. I am not an expert in any of these areas. My dad is a doctor. My mom is a food scientist. But, unfortunately, their knowledge was not passed along to me by genetics, osmosis, or anything else. I have picked up bits and pieces from their conversations with each other…but even the vocabulary is up here *gestures with hand a foot above my head* and my understanding of what their saying is down here *lays on the floor wishing I had a basement to better illustrate the lowliness of my actual knowledge in this area*. That being said…I have been gifted with some semblance of common sense, experiences at various levels of “health”, and the random bits and pieces I’ve read along the way. So I want to impart what I’ve managed to make sense of.

Health is impossible to define. I’ve heard some people rant about needing to lose weight and others rant about how we shouldn’t strive to be so skinny. I’ve heard about the evils of eggs and the glories of eggs. The food pyramid is touted as the second coming of Jesus by some and the arrival of the antichrist by others. So it leaves most of us average joes floundering around trying to figure out what in the name of heaven above we should be doing/eating/avoiding. So here was the best thing I did. I chucked all of it out the window. Life has taught me that I’m a skeptical and cynical person. I, out of a combination of sheer mule-like stubbornness and a healthy skepticism, avoid fad diets. If you tell me you lost 13 pounds in a week, I’ll call it a pile of something stinky and back away slowly. Plus, I chucked the notion that I needed to be focused solely on losing weight. There was a scientist who decided to try losing weight through calorie deficit alone. He ate McDonalds, hostess snacks, Mac and cheese, etc but only ate about 1700-1800 calories every day. He lost weight, his cholesterol went down as did his fat percentage (you can read more about this here). But was he healthy? I would venture to guess he probably wasn’t.

After several years of working to lose weight, I finally decided health was an overall quality of life that should include activity level, eating well, and a good mental state. But even more than what I eat, I’ve noticed what I do affects everything else. When I keep a good workout routine, I feel better. I feel accomplished, happy, and thin. Nothing else needs to change, even my weight, to create this change in mood. This also means I eat better. I no longer need comfort foods to comfort me. Do I still enjoy them. Ummmm….yeah. Double yeah. Triple dog yeah. I LOVE food! But I no longer feel a NEED to eat junk. Which is a huge difference!
So, basically, I workout and it makes me feel better about myself. I feel better about myself and so I eat better. It works.

I’ve now spent just over 4 years slowly trying to improved my health. It is a journey that is far from over, and I am not to my goal yet. but I have picked up some little tricks along the way that I wanted to pass along:

count calories. I don’t think you need to weigh every last molecule. But it is amazing how knowledge is power! Knowing what it was that I put in my body helped me make better choices and weigh the consequences. There were all kinds of things I didn’t even really like but ate because they were there. But once I knew how much that was adding up, I was able to cut out the things I didn’t even like, and still enjoy the treats I did like.
get workout stuff ready the night before. It’s hard to get yourself up and doing something that (especially at first) can be unpleasant. But I found if I had already spent the 15 minutes assembling clothes, getting bottles filled, packing gym bags, etc. that it gave me the extra push out the door. I didn’t want that time and planning to be wasted.
– speaking of planning, plan out your meals for the week, and when you will be going shopping. If I have a game plan and already have the ingredients purchased, I avoid the whole, “Crap! It’s 5:00 and we only have crackers and old celery in the house and we have to be to our scheduled activity at 6:30! Guess it’s McDonald’s again…” situation.
get a good iPodish device and make a playlist for working out. Music makes the workout for me. It doesn’t even have to be rocking and loud. But it puts me in my own happy place where no children are screaming for me.
– Speaking of screaming kids, join a gym where they watch your kids. Want motivation to work out? How about people taking three small kiddos off your hands for an hour or two? Now THAT is motivation!
try new things, and often! I’m on a break from my triathlon training. So I’ve tried a spin class, Pilates class, and a Zumba class. I’ve loved them! Don’t be afraid to try new things or look dumb. These trainers are just happy to have people show up to their class! They could care less what you look like. (Also, who cares what you look like at the gym? Anyone who does is a class A douche who is only there to strut around flexing in mirrors…and trust me, everyone else there dislikes them as much as you).
do what feels right. When it comes to eating and working out, trust what works. If you cut out gluten and feel a million times better, then go for it. If you discover that it doesn’t work and you secretly binge eat because you miss all your yummy bread…then it might not be the best route for you. Try something else.

Getting healthy is a lot like parenting: everyone has an opinion, if you wait long enough someone will tell you the opposite of what you just heard, and you will feel like you’re doing it wrong if you focus on doing it “right”. Instead, just try things, see what works, and then smile and nod at any advice given after that and keep doing what you were doing. But as long as you stick with it, good things will happen!

Betterness Part 2: Weight

Standard

So a couple days ago I posted a bit about my betterness journey. How I finally decided sitting around watching Dr. Who and eating junk was probably not the best for me or my family (shocking, I know). This whole journey really started after I had Urpling. Mainly because I gained a LOT of weight with her.

I have written about this previously so I won’t get into lengthy detail tonight. But basically, I gained about sixty pounds after I had her. Part of that was my thyroid being a douche…but part was my lifestyle. So for the first time in my life I started paying attention to what I was eating. It was shocking. Ignorance truly is bliss. I always knew this stuff wasn’t good for me…but I had no idea how bad it was in terms of calories, fat, sugar, etc. Now, I am not opposed to the yummy comfort foods. But I knew something had to change. So I joined myfitnesspal, and then decided I should start working out. When I was in middle school I started gaining weight, and stemmed the tide by joining the swim team. But this time around I had no gym membership, and no pool, so I decided to run. I registered for a half marathon as motivation…and the result was a massive weight loss. Not down to my goal weight…but I was no longer disgusted when I looked in the mirror.

Here’s what I’ve learned while trying to lose weight:
-Everyone is different. What works for one person might not for someone else. Don’t be afraid to try different things. If something doesn’t work for you that doesn’t mean you’re a failure, it just means you need to find what does.
-How I feel plays a huge part in how I look at myself. For the past couple of weeks I haven’t been working out. I gained no weight but I started to get a negative self image. But then I worked out this week and now I feel smokin’.
-It’ s a lifestyle change. I hear that a lot. It’s a nice sound bite and basically means that short cuts don’t usually work. I wanted to be able to maintain this for the rest of my life. So that meant I accepted the fact that I will probably never be someone who grows her own food, never eats sugar, and loves vegetables. But it did mean I started looking for ways to add more veggies in my diet, snacks that were proportioned so I didn’t engorge, or snacks that were healthy substitutes. It also meant I still give myself fun days. thanksgiving? I engorged until my pants were ready to burst. I did it, and felt no guilt, because my regular lifestyle has improved. If this is for life, I still want to have fun…or what’s the point?
-Small steps. Whenever I tried to changed everything at once, I lasted a week. But when I made one small change, it easily and quickly became a habit.
-Go by how you feel…not how you look. I finally had to stop weighing myself every day. I became obsessed and my mood would revolve around my weight and waist measurements. But after I get a good workout, I felt great about myself and the extra energy I got from it. This doesn’t mean you still don’t maintain goals and work towards them. But there should be a balance. This should be about your overall health…not just your weight.
-Never quit. I have bad days. I had homemade toffee for lunch…multiple times. But you accept the failure and move on.
– Don’t give excuses. If you’re overweight, you’re overweight. It’s not healthy, and it hinders from being able to enjoy life as fully as you could. I finally realized that I didn’t want to live this way, and that I deserved something better. Not only that I should lose weight, but that I COULD lose weight. I stopped blaming lack of time, lack of resources, lack of money, health issues, or genetics for my weight. That was the real turning point for me.

If you’re struggling with your weight, change it. It will be slow, long, and often frustrating. But it can be done! Just remember, you are worth the effort and sacrifice. You are beautiful, you are worthy of good health, and it’s not about looking good…it’s about having the ability to live life to the fullest.

Betterness Part 1: Self Image

Standard

So it’s been over a month since I last wrote anything. There were a lot of factors. I was having some minor health issues that were slowly being worked out (and finally everything seems to be working properly!). Also, for the three months between October and January, every single kiddo has their birthday, as well as Halloween (which we always have a party at our house), Thanksgiving for the family at our house, Christmas, and New Years. That has kept me busy, as well as a wonderful visit from my in-laws. Finally, for three weeks in a row I had my final races of the season. So for three consecutive Sundays I had an Olympic distance triathlon, a half marathon, followed by another Olympic distance triathlon. Did I mention I got a nasty head cold right after my half marathon…only to then develop Strep Throat on top of that the day before my final race? That final race I performed with a head cold and strep throat. So basically, in a nut shell, I’ve been busy, and the ol’ blog here took a back seat for a while.

I have been in a four year struggle with my health, weight, and self image. It’s been a long and slow journey…and I’m still not where I want to be. But I did these three fairly difficult races all in a row and I succeeded…and it has left me excited to see what the future will bring next. So I figure I will kick off these next set of blogs with my random thoughts on these areas…health, weight, and self image. (If you, for some inexplicable reason, want more detail on my slow journey to betterness…I have included links to three different blogs I have written since King Toot was born that talk about different aspects of my journey. You’ll find them at the bottom of this post.)

Tonight I’m going to start with self image. I do not consider myself an athlete. I never have. I swam on my swim team all through high school and even made sectionals several years in a row, and never felt like an athlete. I worked hard, trained hard, and that was that. I have always felt too tall, too gangly, too heavy, and definitely too accident prone to be an athlete (as proof, I ran into the side view mirror to my car today and have a nice big bruise to show for it. Sir Smiley has banned me from ever going on the roof or other high places for fear I will fall in some epic way…to my certain death). When I first started attempting to train for my first half marathon, I bought a decent pair of shoes, and that was it. I never bothered with types of training methods, drills, sprints, cruise intervals, hills, etc. I didn’t get any sportswear, or fancy gadgets. I had an iPod my hubby had won for me years ago in a raffle…it was the kind with the big circular button and the old school black and gray screen. I had to hold it in my hand. I didn’t bother with food nutrition or, as the sporties call it, fuel. That stuff was for athletes…which I was not. It wasn’t until I started reading The Triathlete’s Training Bible that my perspective started to change. I set up an annual training plan, and then actually started following it. I realized that fuel wasn’t just for athletes, it was to keep your body going when it works for long periods of time…no matter what you look like or how fast you are. I started trying different things, GU gels, accelerade, Gatorade, GU chomps, stinger waffles, cliff bars, protein drinks, etc. I found what I liked and started to improve.

The best part of tracking your workouts, is seeing what you’ve accomplished at the end. The author, Joe Friel, encourages the use of a training log. (no..I am not being paid to endorse his book. I just think his book is freaking amazeballs! It has transformed the way I think about myself and how I approach my workouts.) I tracked all my hours and distances that I did throughout the year. He compares training to climbing a mountain. You make a plan, and follow it as best you can…making adjustments for weather, health, terrain, etc. If you stick with it, you’ll reach the top, look back, and see how far you’ve come. That is what I experienced. Forget weight loss or pant sizes…I felt real success. Not only did I complete my first Olympic triathlon, I completed three of them. I dropped 24 minutes in 3 months worth of training from my first to my final Tri. I dropped 21 minutes off my best time in a half marathon. But even more awesome was the improvement off my last half marathon. I completed it six months after King Toot was born. It was awful. My lungs and heart were fine, but my joints and muscles were aching so bad that it slowed me down to a walk. I felt like a thin person trapped in a fat person’s body and I cried for the last two miles while Sir Smiley tried to encourage me along. I dropped 40 minutes off of that time. It was a feeling of redemption! Then I look at my total training. I swam for 2133 minutes, biked for 2293 minutes, and ran 3112 minutes for a total of almost 153 hours. I swam 47.5 miles, biked 1370 miles, and ran 240 miles for a total of 1657.5 miles. I feel amazing looking at that.

I am the the poster girl for “if I can do it…anyone can.”. I couldn’t even jog half a block when I started. I felt slow, awkward, and jiggly. The chafing….oh the chafing! Body Glide quickly became my thigh’s best friend, I ran at night so people wouldn’t be able to see me as clearly. I was also 40 pounds heavier. I knew nothing about running or biking, and it had been years since I had really been swimming. But I look at what I accomplished, and I want only one thing…for others to experience that feeling too. Nothing beats it. It doesn’t have to be triathlons (but I will say, triathletes are the most amazing, welcoming, and friendly people). But find a sport you really can get passionate about. Don’t worry what other people think. Research, read, and…most importantly…keep track. Keep track, so you can look back at what you’ve accomplished and get that same exhilaration…whether it’s your first 5K or an Ironman. Be proud that you did it!

Next time: weight…duh duh duh (say that in your head as an ominous interlude)

Reference 1: My thyroid problems: Click Here

Reference 2: My post on triathlons…which includes links to previous posts about triathlons. So my basic athletic journey: Click Here

Reference 3: My post on eating well as connected with weight loss: Click Here

Give it a Tri…a follow up

Standard

I survived my fist Olympic Triathlon and enjoyed myself immensely. I’ve had a lot of people asking me how it went, so here’s the Cliff Notes/Reader’s Digest version. The pros and cons list of my weekend (mainly this is an attempt to keep myself from rambling too much. We’ll see if it works).

Pro : Leaving the kids with the grandparents. Everything was a bazillion times easier without three children to try and keep track of in a strange place. Especially during the couple of hours between when my race finished and Sir Smiley’s race finished. Instead of chasing small children around, I was able to focus on recovering.

Con: not double checking everything on the bikes BEFORE we left. We had all our tools and such, but the night before the race my gears decided to act up and so Sir Smiley spent a good hour or two fixing them before we could head to bed.

Pro: driving the bike and run course. We got up there with plenty of time to attend the meeting, pick up our packet, and then check out the course. So the next day I knew what to expect and it was one less thing to worry about leading up to the race.

Con: making your hotel reservation for a hotel in a different city. In an attempt to be savvy I used some hotel site that pulled up the prices of all the hotels in the area and then booked the cheapest one. Didn’t realize that they randomly threw hotels from neighboring towns (and I use the term neighboring loosely as the hotel I booked was about an hour away) in with the mix. Thankfully, The hotel let me cancel. We had to check about three or four hotels before we found an opening and all they had was the king suite. So for about 10 hours we lived like kings…but instead of saving a bunch of money I ended up costing us a bunch. *sigh. Lesson learned, when you triple check the date…also triple check the location…

Pro: Eat a high quality breakfast. I felt good during my entire race!

Con: Eat a high quantity breakfast. Sir Smiley ate more than me and had such an upset stomach he ended up puking a bit during the swim. Unpleasant doesn’t begin to describe that.

Con: Not getting up early enough. We got up at 3:30am, but it still was barely enough time to get to the start line before the race actually started. I would prefer to have plenty of time to calmly set up my transition and get all my items assembled in the morning. Starting the day stressed does not help the race.

Con: Not warming up in the water. That water was a shock and when you add that to my chest cold (another con), I struggled to breathe the first few minutes. As I acclimated things went smoothly but it was freaky way to start.

Con: Having a chest cold and that time of month during a long race. Not much control over this really, but it seriously drained my energy stores for this race. By the run I was lagging and never really could push myself the way I wanted to.

Pro: practicing open water swims and sighting before the race. I knew exactly what to do, and wearing a wet suit and looking ahead of me to see where I needed to go were habit instead of hindrances.

Con: never ending hills. I climbed and climbed and climbed a hill and just when I thought I was about to die…I reached the peak. Only to see the next hill climbing up above me. I almost died.

Pro: never ending hills. I then turned around to head back and was going fast enough that I couldn’t even peddle fast enough to keep up. In my previous post here I referred to how insane it was that Sir Smiley stated he went 41 mph last year. Ironically, I glanced down and saw that on this hill I was going 41 mph. Who says God has no sense of irony? I also thank God I didn’t crash and die.

Pro: meeting new friends. There was another never ending hill on the run. I walked it. Not ashamed to admit it. During that walk I was with another triathlete and we found out we lived right next to each other. We will be running together on occasion now. I also finished a few hours before Sir Smiley so in the interim I spent the time talking to other random people. Everyone is so friendly at these events that the time went by quickly and I had made several new friends. (another pro…running back down the never ending hill).

I managed to finish in 3 hours and 36 minutes. I was 75 out of 95 ladies and 13/18 ladies in my age group. Not too bad for my first attempt while sick. I have another one in a few months and now I’m really looking forward to it!

Give it a Tri…

Standard

See what I did there? Clever huh? This post is about triathlons, and how they are awesome, terrifying, and something everyone should try once.
For a little backstory of my adventure, this is the post I wrote the day after trying to ride a bike with clipless pedals for the first time. This is also my account of first deciding to do a triathlon. Another post would be this one which I wrote just before I had my first triathlon ever.
Rereading these and it is both amusing and encouraging. First off, how normal having my feet attached to my bike has become. I sometimes have those moments where it takes a few tries to get my foot clipped back in but for the most part it’s almost second nature. Also, describing a bike as an object that goes 15 mph…as that was a fast pace for me then. Now my average is usually around 18 mph. I no longer struggle to get water bottles in and out of their holders…I even use the aero bars with quite a bit of competence. Six miles is not even part of my shorter bike distances anymore. I go between 12-25 miles during an average bike ride. The gains I have made are amazing. The thing about triathlons are that they are both competitive and not at the same time. What I mean is…when the race starts you do your best and race hard against everyone. But everyone is encouraging, and never once was I made to feel less because I didn’t have the gear, the knowledge of the body of a triathlete. I had expert triathletes come ip behind me and cheer me on, telling me I could do it or that I was looking good. It is family friendly, and many have mini triathlons for kids so the whole family can participate. Everyone cheers everyone on, I get great tips at each race from more seasoned racers, and there people at all levels competing. I’ve passed 20 year olds and then had the smug look wiped off my face as some 70 year old breezes past me like I’m standing still. It’s fantastic!
Triathlons are much more about accomplishments than competition. I do them not to impress others but because of how awesome it feels to buckle down, work hard, and see results. To see my times drop each race, to see how comfortable I have gotten both in biking and running. It’s amazing.
I have now been in at least four sprint triathlons, earned metals in all but one, and I am now packing to head off to my first Olympic triathlon. This is longer than a sprint, but shorter than a half ironman. It’s about a .9 mile swim, a 24-25 mile bike, and finishes with a 10k run. This is the same triathlon I was talking about that Sir Smiley did last year, only the Olympic distance. I’m feeling the very familiar feeling of butterflies in my stomach. When I first started swim team a million years ago, I came home crying because it was so hard. The practices lasted for three to four hours and I didn’t think I would survive. My dad told me we paid for it, so I needed to stick it out until the first swim meet. After the meet, I was hooked. The energy from competing is amazing. Trying to best your old times, pushing yourself and seeing success, there is nothing like it. It was something I missed for a long time and have gained back in this. I’ve been training hard and now am in the midst of that nervous excitement. How will I do? What little bumps will happen along the way? I’m excited because it is up in the mountains and will be significantly cooler with amazing views…but also nervous about how the altitude will affect my performance. Excited because I’ve been working hard, but nervous since there is no Athena group so I will be competing against the teeny boppers my own age. I’ve been planning out each move and transition, working through all the areas I need to work on and reminding myself of what to do (or not to do). This excitement will last long after the race is done and launch me into planning my training leading up to the next big race.
I never considered myself an athlete yet here I am. Looking back at the gal who couldn’t even jog half a block and now thinking about the 10k I just jogged for practice this week I feel empowered and good. I’m actively doing something that will improve my health both physically and mentally, and it’s passing on a legacy to my kids that isn’t diets or negative self image but health and wellness.

Okay, rambly and somewhat preachy post is now done. But I think everyone should try out at least a sprint triathlon. It is an amazing experience. I’m off to finish packing.