Sunday, July 31, 2011

Picture Post

Erica was kind enough to share some of the wonderful pictures she captured at the race yesterday.








Saturday, July 30, 2011

Fish tackles His First Tri

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This morning was an exciting day in our home as Fish became a Triathlete! Actually, we aren't quite sure what to call him as he was ready to be a triathlete but, because of the rain, the officials decided to cancel the bike portion of the tri for safety reasons. Since he was prepared to do the entire thing, we are calling him a triathlete, especially since he wants to register for the next one in two weeks!

It was an early rise for him, but he was ready to get his groove on! As we walked out the door, the skies opened up and a deluge overtook our town for about 45 minutes straight. Thunder, lightening, and heavy rains as we made the short drive to the race site, had both of us wondering what would transpire in the next hour or so.

As soon as we arrived, we had the privilege of running into The Best Swimming Teacher Ever, aka Erica and her awesome kiddos!

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This is Fish and Miss Mini E.

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Mr. Mini N.

We collected his race packet and timing chip and then headed out to the transition area as soon as the rain died down. I was a bit sad that the bike portion had been canceled as Fish and I had practiced transitioning in the front yard this week. I reassured Fish that there would be other days to ride the bike, if he decided that he wanted to do that.

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We began to head to the pool to line up and saw another rainbow! This month I have seen several and was so excited to capture a few pictures such as this one.

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Erica and her son, Mini N, Mark, the kids, and I, grabbed a coveted spot near the pool and stood as far out of the mud as possible.

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The race started late secondary to the rain delay, but did finally get started. First we cheered for Miss Mini E! Then we waited for Fish's age group to come through and about 45 mins later we were cheering our hearts out for him!

He looked so comfortable in the water. Taking long, slow, strokes with long slow breaths. It looked to me as though he was purposely slowing himself down to pace himself. When asked about it later, he shared that he was taking the long slow breaths and strokes because, "it looked cool!" I loved his ability to enjoy the moment, not stress about the swim, and simply embrace the experience.

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(Thank you, Richard, for this picture!)


After the swim, he headed into the transition area and donned his shoes for the run. It was quite muddy. Heaven for me, maybe not so much for Fish and he hasn't done any running off road.

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It was scorching hot, humid, and quite brutal by 9:00 am. I knew that this was going to be one long half-mile.

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He ran out strong, about half way through the run, he had to walk for a bit, but he pulled out a nice strong finish and made me one proud mom!

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Late Night Long Run

I had to get my long run in on Friday night this week because Fish was participating in his first ever triathlon this morning.

The run was the longest since Rocky, which in hindsight, was probably way overdue. I had 20 on the schedule and came up a bit short just for Tommy! I couldn't see my watch and in spite of adding on a bit here and there, came in at 19.22 which drives me insane. At 11:30 pm, and knowing I had a 5 am wake up call, I wasn't much up for a fight.

The run went well, only the last 2 miles were a bit of a struggle due to leg fatigue. I hydrated well, ate every hour and kept the S-caps on board. Some new tunes on the mp3 kept my mind occupied as well. The new Third Day CD and Shawn McDonald went well with the mood of my run.

I was greeted within the first 3 miles with a beautiful sunset which illuminated the sky in a fantastic pink hue. Through the clouds, a rainbow dangled in the air and gave me a reason to smile.

The run was fairly uneventful, with the exception of the two pantless guys who rode by me in the dark. One on a scooter, one on a bike, followed by two fully clothed guys, obviously making sure they were making good on a dare or a bet they lost. Both had on shirts, but were absolutely naked from the waist down. And people are afraid of trail runs?

The first loop out was 12 miles. Came back in for a fill up. The Nathan vest which had been collecting dust since February made it's appearance. I couldn't wait to strip it off. It felt wrong from the get go which is strange because it has always worked really well. After I emptied the bladder about half way, it became more comfortable, but I still opted to leave it home for the 2nd loop and carried my hand held instead.

All in all, it was a great night for a run. Ran it is 3:15. Pace approx. 10:08 using the 8/2 method.

I can't wait till the 20 milers feel like an easy run again.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Thresholds

We were able to get away this weekend, just Mark and I. As I prepared the house, schedules for the kids, menus for their meals, and myself for an impromptu get away, I found myself frustrated with the loss of training and mileage that I was going to be experiencing. Then I found myself frustrated with myself for being frustrated about these things. My head knows that training only comes because I am given this gift by first God and then my family. Yet when trying to plot out some sort of training plan for an upcoming race, I am trying to develop and maintain a level of consistency that will put me within the threshold of being ready for the goal event.
I have been making great gains with consistency on my weekday training, yet with two getaways in the last month, my weekend running has been less than what I would like it to be. Amidst my inner pouting fest I recalled this particular scene from the movie Evan Almighty. It is my favorite scene. It is the one that speaks directly to my relationship with God.
In the scene, Evan is pleading with God, played by Morgan Freeman. Evan says, "but I had all these plans!" God gazes at Evan with a pregnant pause and then just laughs and says...."you had plans?" Yeah, that's me. Daring to explain to God my plans...
I wonder how often He laughs at me?
I settled into the thought of revising the "plan" and allow my body a bit of recovery for the week and then come back next week ready to hit the weekends with rigor over the next 8 weeks. This appeared to be quite reasonable and it seems my body agreed as every workout was a struggle to get through. From lack of energy to waning motivation to outright hamstring revolt when my legs began to cramp before hitting 2 miles. Both legs...with a vengeance. I'm sure it was just a little reinforcement to remind me of the new plan.
We arrived at the lake house Friday evening and I think both of us were a bit unsure what to do with ourselves. It wasn't till we talked about it on the way home from our trip away that we realized we had not been away together, just he and I, in over ten years. That's a long time. And with six children that we have been raising the last twenty years, we had just lost track of time.
Don't get me wrong. We have loved raising our children and spending time with our family. We have enjoyed family vacations with our immediate family as well as with our extended family, but we have not had time or made time to get away together, just Mark and I. So, when we arrived at the lake house, alone, nothing to do, no one to care for, chase after, cook for, clean up after, drive somewhere, console, encourage, etc, etc, etc, we really did not know how to behave.
We headed out for some dinner and supplies and then settled down for the night catching a great movie from the Red Box, The King's Speech. We had not seen it yet, (seriously, who has time to watch movies these days??) and we really enjoyed it. For some reason we also rented Rango. I guess we had to feel like we had one for the kids too...
Saturday had us up and out early to take care of the nice nail that decided to impale our tire. Thankfully, it was easily repaired and we continued with our plans to explore the Big Thicket.
What an amazing place! We took in a beautiful 3 mile hike in the heat of the day, and thanks to the canopy of the forest, we had quite a bit of shade cover. It was so nice to spend time doing nothing together. Matthew Kelly refers to it as carefree timelessness. It is important to have this with your kids, and I am convinced now, it is just as important if not more important to have this with the one you love.
The rest of the day we spent sipping coffee and reading books. This may not seem like a big deal to most people, but to us, this is something we have never done during daylight hours together. To sit and to read together. This was a new threshold for us. We were both in two different worlds, yet sitting right next to each other, enjoying the solitude and yet, not feeling alone.
Mark read Laura Ingram's new book, Of Thee I Zing. Pretty funny read. I dove into a book sent to me as a gift earlier this year from a good friend. Marshall Ulrich's Running on Empty was an excellent read that I pulled several things from. Somehow it was perfectly timed to this time in my life.
Ulrich makes it obviously clear that despite all of his accomplishments, and there are so many amazing ones that it makes my head spin, his one regret is that it came at the expense of his relationships with those he loves/loved.
His run across America was truly inspirational, moving, and enlightening. I was captivated the entire book reading about his journey. And my heart ached for him when the struggles of life hit him head on.
What I took away most from reading his journey was this. No matter what, no matter how much I love to run, to be out in the woods, to be away from "the world", I can not let that come before the people in my life who mean the most to me. My family will always come before my need to run.
I also came away from his book with a renewed commitment to running. Yes, I just said that my family will always come first. This, in turn, places the challenge of properly scheduling my training and races with my vocation as wife and mother.
I have managed to do a fairly decent job of this thus far, so I believe that most of the changes that will be made will be internal. Having a better mind set and remaining flexible with my training especially if it has to go "off plan" for some reason.
I have written about this topic before. Yet, here I am again sorting through it all. Obviously, I haven't perfected it. Doubt I ever will. I will try to embrace it all as part of the bigger journey in my life. The journey that will hopefully lead me to the person He is calling me to be.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Training Update

I've been able to get a few solid weeks of training in over the last few weeks. Feeling strong, pushing through to that next level of "fitness" that I hope to carry to the start line in October.

I've really enjoyed delving more into swimming and Yoga. I know people have told me time and time again that I should incorporate both into my regime, and I finally have. Trying to juggle those with the higher mileage is proving to be a bit of a challenge, but because we are not schooling right now, I've only got to worry about pool time with the kids, laundry, curriculum planning, laundry, seeing clients, laundry, grocery shopping, laundry, and working out, oh, and the occasional load of laundry. Another aspect of training which I have more faithfully adopted are consistent overall strengthening workouts. From 120 push ups at a time, to Jillian Michaels Abs and Workout DVDs, I'm trying to keep it fresh and keep it doable. I have rather enjoyed getting down and dirty with the rowing machine at the Y. All in all, I feel much more balanced, if you will, as an athlete.

Summer around these parts is very hot, so outdoor training has to be timed properly else, one could sustain a serious case of heat exhaustion. I have been care to either run early in the am, or later in the evening to avoid this condition. Even after the sun sets, temps are still in the mid to upper 80s. I can't even pretend to know how this is possible.

Last summer, I missed several opportunities to run because I did not want to run on the treadmill. The few times I tried, I loathed it. I dubbed those runs "Dreadmill" runs, as they were definitely something I dreaded.

Now, having a bit more experience under my belt, I understand that a run on the treadmill is better than no run at all, especially if I want to be in shape to run in October this year. Therefore, from now on, my Dreadmill runs will be recoined, Happymill runs! Afterall, shouldn't I be "Happy" to run no matter what?

Run with Joy in your heart and a smile on your face!

Get Away

A few random candid shots from the kids' perspective over our little time away last weekend.

This is the new definition of plank. I don't get the appeal.

I have no idea.

Still no clue.

Getting hammered in Uno by Boo...again.

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Fish, in the midst of a Midnight Marshmallow Battle to the Death!

He used to be a good kid...

This should help get him back on track. If not, Hannah, the dog is ready to take control of the situation.

Lem went with bangs to help people be able to tell the difference between them.

I'm feeling shorter and more pale by the minute.

Boo getting ready to shoot some slobbery marshmallows at his siblings.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Speaking of Social Networks

Great Commercial I love how perfectly timed this was for me.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Life is More than a Status Update

Some of you may have noticed that my profile has disappeared from the world of Facebook. Most of you probably haven't, and that's okay too.

I thought I'd give a brief explanation as to why I am on a hiatus from the FB community.

When I created my account a few years ago, I really had no desire to delve into that world. I was merely trying to keep up with my high school daughter and her friends. I very rarely ever checked the thing and when I did, I usually didn't have a clue as to what to do with it. It didn't make any sense to me.

Then the FB bug hit me when I began to connect with people from each aspect of my life, running, church, hometown, high school, work, college, etc. Soon, I was in deep. Really, really deep. I really do like Facebook. It's a great way to communicate, keep in touch, share pictures, and my favorite part about it is the way that friends who are in need of prayer can ask and receive it instantly. Of late, there have been tragic situations that I have been able to drop to my knees for immediately and I am so thankful for that.

For me, however, among all of the positives that Facebook can offer, there have been some negatives. The most concerning thing from my perspective, is the amount of time I am able to waste while imposing the deadly sin of procrastination upon each day. Though I have wrestled with trying to balance it into my daily life, last night, while on my run, I heard loud and clear, "GET OFF FACEBOOK!" When I hear things like that, I tend to listen. I don't know if this means I won't get back on it again, but for now, I am taking a break from it. I suppose the fact that I feel I have to even explain this demonstrates how ridiculous all of this is.

A few things went through my mind about my adventure on FB. I think it helped to solidify my decision to follow through with the decision.

1. I joined FB to keep up with my children, but has it made me a better mother?
2. I reconnected with old friends, made new friends, and introduced people to one another, but has it made me a better friend?
3. I used the cute little "Married" indicator that FB provides, but has it made me a better wife?
4. I have read inspirational quotes, the scriptures, and stories of faith and love. I have even posted some of my own, but has it made me a better Christian?

To all of these things, I would have to say, "No". Sure, it may have added a bit to a given day along the way, but in the big picture of life, I would have to admit, that Facebook, and more correctly, the way I use Facebook, does not help me to become the things I am striving to be. So for that reason, I am now listed in the Facebook files as "deactivated".

Life is more than what I am thinking in any given moment in a day. It is more than a status update. I hope to live my life that reflects this.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Blast from the Past

A post from my old blog has me realizing how much I miss real blogging.

I may need to begin a blog resurrection. Remember how video killed the radio star? Well, Facebook killed the blogger.