Tuesday, July 13, 2010

I Wanted to Tri, but I'm Still a Du'er

Hello everyone! This past weekend was supposed to be my first ever triathlon. This non swimmer, biker and runner started training in January, so needless to say there was quite a bit of excitement and anxiety surrounding this event. Alas, the local river is highly volatile and thanks to a persnickety Mother Nature, the swim got cancelled. The event turned into a duathlon with a two mile run, seventeen mile bike, followed by a 5K run. Stupidly, I have never run more than 4 miles consecutively, so I wasn't sure how running five (even if it was broken up in two parts) was going to go down. I'll cut to the chase and tell you that I finished with control of all bodily functions. For the first time out, this was the only goal. After all of the anxiety over potential crashing and burning on my bike, getting dehydrated, or just discovering the hard way that I am incapable of being a multi-sport athlete...those never came to fruition. Here are the the snippets that made the event memorable and also forced me to laugh at myself.
1. Packet pick up the day prior in the rain. The place was a freakin swamp especially in the area in front of the port a potties. EVERYONE goes to the bathroom before the race. The thought of waiting in standing water (in the sneakers I'm supposed to race in) for port a potties is enough to make me break out in a rash. I'm thinking there's no way the area is going to be sufficiently dried up by race day. I come up with the brilliant idea that I'm bringing my wellies to navigate this marshland. The practicality of this was in the idea alone. Triathletes look pretty sleak and techy and there I am lugging a pair of wellies (which I never wore - ground was pretty dry after all). Hello stupid.
2. The transition area. This is where you come back to after each portion of the race to change out equipment for the next leg. It is not a spa. You want to get in and out of there as efficiently as possible. Some people bring balloons to mark the end of their rack so they can easily locate their bike. I did this, but probably didn't need to as I was the only one with a pair of wellies sitting with her bike. I was nervous about setting up my area correctly. It turned out to be no biggy, but a special shout out to the girl who showed up late, pushed the bikes over to fit hers in, and consequently knocked over my bag allowing ants to get in and attack my nutrition bar.
3. My bike. The only change I made to my entry level mountain bike was taking the child seat off the back. I didn't even take off the metal framing that supported it. Being a triathlete is not a cheap hobby. Seeing as it was my first time and I needed swim lessons, gym membership, tri clothes, etc., I decided that this was one area that I would cut my investment. When comparing my bike to the others in the race, I would say it was like Titanic vs. a speed boat. If I had to do it over, I would have left the child seat on, planted a doll in it and placed one of those "Baby on Board" signs on the back just so everyone else could be in on the joke. I will own up to stopping once in the race because I seriously thought something was caught and dragging in the back of my bike. Nope, the dang thing is just that heavy. I've already been to the bike shop to buy myself an early birthday present.
4. This was an all women's triathlon, but I didn't expect Mother Goose to show up. Nope, not the writer, the damn bird. One was crossing the road during my bike ride. There was another rider to my left and the curb to my right so my choices were few. Perhaps the bird saw that my bike weighed 500 lbs and could do serious damage and therefore decided to slow down and prevent a collision. I congratulated myself on saying, "Oh Damn!" instead of some other choice four letter word. Very lady like if I do say so myself. My fear of crashing is what prevents me from taking a hand off the handlebars to pat myself on the back.
5. I have tried several times to become a runner and failed. However, after pedalling a mac truck for seventeen miles, I have never been so happy to start running in my entire life. I actually felt energized knowing it was the last part of the race and started to enjoy myself (maybe it was because it was here I started passing a few people). I also enjoyed seeing the gals who chose to wear tiaras, a boa and even a tutu. Rock on ladies!
6. The finish! Wahoooooo! I did it! The husband came down with the two older kids who made a "Way to Go Mom - We Love You!" sign. It was a mental snapshot I will not soon forget. I am reminded that I started training when my youngest was three months and who is now nine months. I was able to do this nine months post partum...nothing to feel bad about there.
So, I have been renderred victorious in my first multi-sport event. I will cop to disappointment that it was not a triathlon. Still, I was extremely happy with my duathlon experience. I feel energized and more upbeat than I have in months. It has made me want to be overall healthier and work to improve. I came home and signed up for another triathlon taking place later this month. I really want to get in a tri...I did train for it. The bike shop just called saying my new bike is ready. Happy birthday to me! In conclusion, I have to say that all of the thinking and anxiety beforehand was erased as soon as the race was under way. It amazes me that sometimes doing something is easier than thinking about it. So if there is anyone out there who can't imagine doing a duathlon or triathlon, I assure you, I used to be that person. Sometimes you just have to stop thinking and start doing. I am crazy happy that I did. Have a great day everyone and if you have a chance, make like Nikey and Just Do It!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

I'm Not Feeling the Justice

Hello and happy heat wave! It's a doozy, that's for sure. I've seen at least three or four postings on Facebook that show people's car thermometers with temps over 102 with some caption marveling at the oppressive heat. Mother Nature has been working the power play all year (first the crazy winter and now this). Girlfriend needs to go on vacation and take a load off. So what does one do when it is actually too hot to go to the pool? When I posed this very question to my almost five and a half year old daughter "K" she promptly answered, "Can we go to the mall?" I contemplate this. Lately the mall has been dangerous. A while back it used to be our favorite hangout. We would get a little lunch, visit the pet store (free), toy store and Disney store (free, with a large dose of will power), and a visit to the rides. The rides can potentially suck quarters out of your wallet at the speed of light, but luckily K was happy to just jump on and off the rides without a single quarter going in, so they were free too. It used to be the perfect two to three hour outing. Fast forward a couple of years into a crap economy...pet store, closed. Toy store, closed. Rides, getting too old to care. So now I equate the mall with the money pit and/or full deployment of meltdown management skills as I say, "No" to everything K wants to buy. However, on this occasion I have two birthday presents to buy, so I say, "Okay, let's go have some lunch and buy our two gifts, but NO Disney Store!" I recall our last "free" visit which culminated in our buying a pair of shoes for $7.99 (but not before she begged for everything else in the store). I justified this because they were cheap and had every color of the rainbow which means they would go with almost any outfit. K would sleep in these shoes if I would let her, but at the end of the day, I caved and bought her something when it was supposed to be a "no purchase" zone. I feel my authority as a parent go down the drain as my follow through on my "no purchase policy" goes out the window. Back to the present. We head to the mall and enjoy a girls' lunch (I have nine month baby girl "A" with us too) and then head out to buy our gifts. Gift number one is a visa check card, no fuss no muss. Done. I head to Ann Taylor Loft for gift two. There's a good sale and I am pleased with my second gift purchase. Done. Now what? We walk along, I ignore the request to go to the Disney store, and then we see them...peace signs. Lately K is obsessed with peace signs. Anything emblazened with them is instantly cool. The store is Justice which incidentally is where I buy all of my niece's gifts, so it's not like I'm unfamiliar. I'll sum up the store this way - sparkles, and tie dye, and peace signs oh my! Truly, it is the peace sign mother ship. Mylie Cyrus' "Party in the USA" is playing confirming we are in tween universe. I usually don't set foot in the store without a 40% off coupon. Just our luck, today the entire store is 40% off with no coupon (even then...it ain't Target). Up till now, K has been too little to fit into their clothes so I was pretty safe outside of the webkins, junky jewelery, fuzzy covered notebooks and other tween treasures (nightmares) they sell. K resembles a pinball machine bouncing from rack to rack as she spots each peace sign. I agree to the matching back pack, lunch box and water bottle (appropriately blinged out and peace signed) as they are school necessities. Then we start eyeing up the clothes. A feeling of dread hits as I realize I have been sold out by a growth spurt...their smallest size now fits. It's not like we're short on clothes, but K has grown out of some of her things. A peace sign bathing suit and pajamas (the pj's totally make her look like a teenager - tank top and lounge pants - I want to cry) later we find ourselves at the checkout counter. It is here we spot the peace sign head bands and pony tail holders. Why stop now? Throw them in. If I find these in pretty pony hair at any point I am going to kill myself. Tally it all up and we have our new hundred dollar store (that title was previously reserved for Target, but at least then it was groceries and other "necessities"). I am somewhat mullified by what I "saved" with the 40% off, but there is no way in hell I'm ever buying anything in there without it. K walks out carrying her Justice shopping bag looking like a scene from Pretty Woman. She is beside herself with joy. I can't get out of this mall fast enough. An effort that is being hampered as Baby A keeps grabbing everything that is sparkled and in arms reach (which is everything by the way). As we finally make it to the exit, we pass Abercrombie. The manequin is sporting a skirt the size of a postage stamp and a plaid shirt tied above the naval (and it's not looking as innocent as Mary Ann from Gilligan's Island either). Maybe I can live with over priced bling and peace signs after all. Stay cool everyone...even if it means a trip to the mall!