Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Today: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

The Good:

I rode outside today!! The roads were dry and I got in about 2 hours. I had a couple of intervals to do and during one 20 minutes I averaged almost 20 mph! SO GOOD!!

The Bad:

It was super windy (see above wind-aided split - did you like how I left that part out?), so after I turned around it was slow going. I decided that since it's been such a long winter I refuse to complain about the wind, but I did get blown around quite a bit out there today. Not that I'm complaining or anything.

The Ugly:

How is it possible to not have a cold or allergies and still have so much snot in my head? Just call me "Snot-Rocket Girl" from now on.


Monday, April 29, 2013

#Project30Days: May

I am officially declaring my first #project30days a success!! I have learned so much about myself this month by doing this, and I am already looking forward to beginning another 30 days.

I was thinking this morning about what my projects for May would be. A couple were very easy.

1.  Make my bed every day. 

I'm not really a bed-making kind of person. I'm definitely in the I'm-just-going-to-get-back-in-so-why-bother camp, but I was struck last week by the feeling I got when I completed just one small chore before the boys got up. I also read here that making your bed helps you to be more productive and also boosts happiness. I could use some more of those for sure. So, starting on May 1, I will have a made bed every day for 30 days.

2.  Take a picture a day.

This is something I've been wanting to do for a while, and now that I have Instagram on my phone, I really have no excuse. I think the hardest part of this project will be to just remember, especially at the beginning. Hopefully I won't have a ton of pictures of my living room at night! LOL!

The last one I chose is not one that I am particularly looking forward to. The thought came to me this morning as I was thinking about this and as soon as it popped into my head I immediately dismissed it. NO WAY! Then I realized if I was that reluctant to try it, there is probably a VERY good reason for me to do it.

3. Do not weigh myself.

So I realize this is about NOT doing something for a month instead of doing something for a month, but it is just something I need to do. I'm pretty sure there is no time in the past 5 years that I have gone longer than a week without weighing myself. These days I get on the scale daily. I tell myself I do it to hold myself accountable, but the more I think about it, the more I realize I just have an unhealthy relationship with the number on the scale. Why does the number matter if I know I am eating right and exercising? I am taking a stand right here and now and saying that my health and fitness will not be determined by a number. This will be a particularly hard month to do it because I have Rev3Quassy the first weekend in June. I'm actually not worried at all about gaining weight, I am just scared to NOT KNOW!!

So there it is. I plan on continuing my daily reflection and early rising although I may sleep late one day a week! I also plan on posting a lot to the blog, but probably not every day. There are just some days I really don't have much to say. Can you believe it?

One of the best things to come out of #project30days is the community. There are quite a few of us on twitter and I am considering creating a facebook page for those of you not cool enough to have a twitter handle yet (don't worry, I still love you!).

Are you ready to dive in? May 1st is a beautiful day to start something new!

Sunday, April 28, 2013

A Few of My Favorite Things - April Edition

Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens. Bright copper kettles and warm woolen mittens. Brown paper packages tied up with string...



Man, I love me some Sound of Music.

I don't have a song for you, but thought I would share some of my favorite things from this month. I am not sponsored or paid by any of these companies and haven't been given anything to say how much I love them. I just do!

On my phone:

Instagram. What's not to love? Why did it take me so long to jump on this bandwagon? I find it very beautiful and stress relieving to just scroll through the pictures in my feed. It gets my creative juices flowing and is something I just really look forward to.



Color Note. I used to use it for to-do lists, but found something new for that. Now I am just using it to jot down quick ideas as they come to me. I also use it to keep track of my 365 moments and other little things I want or need to remember.




Gentle Alarm. The best alarm ever!! It has a pre-alarm that you will only hear if you are already awake. The regular alarm starts really softly and gradually gets louder and you can choose from many different sounds. I love that it doesn't scare the crap out of me every morning. The free one doesn't work on Wednesdays (which is really funny), so I spent the couple of bucks for the upgrade.



MyFitnessPal. If you log your food, this is the best site out there in my opinion. Easy to use, lots of stuff in the library, and includes a bar code scanner (although if you are not eating a ton of processed foods you won't have too many opportunities to use it.) I have recently become obsessed with how much fiber I am eating, and I love how it breaks everything down in a very easy to read form.

On my computer:

TED Talks. Seriously, if you want to get better at anything or think differently about any topic, or just get inspired, you have got to check this out. I have been watching some on the trainer every now and then. I really enjoy them.

StayFocusd. I loaded this to my computer so I would not fool around instead of working. (I also loaded it onto my phone, but there are some kinks that I don't love about it.) It's hard core. Don't use it if you really aren't serious about it. It blocks certain websites (or everything if you choose), for certain periods of time that you decide upon. It can also block certain websites after you spend a set amount of time on them each day. For example, on weekdays I have it set to block Facebook after 10 minutes. It has really helped me cut down on wasted time fooling around on the internet when I should be getting work done, and I'm pretty darn sure I'm not the only one who does that!

At home:

My Journal. It is beautiful and getting more so each day as I fill it up with my thoughts and fears and hopes and inspiration. I love flipping through the pages that are written upon already and then turning a crisp blank page to start the day. The edges are starting to get a little worn and I dog-ear the pages that I return to often., but that makes it feel even more like mine. Kind of like putting on your favorite sweatshirt from college that is frayed at the neck and sleeves and way too big, but you love it anyway because it is just so soft and right.




Verismo. I got this for Christmas and it has totally been a huge part of my success in getting up early each day this month for my #project30days. It has helped me cut down on my heavy cream consumption because I am much more inclined to have a second cup of coffee if I make a whole french press full. Also, it is red and matches my kitchen and makes me feel all cool while I am drinking my americano each morning.




Chia Seeds. I went through a chia seed phase a few years ago when they first got super popular, but after my supply was gone I kind of forgotten about them. However, with my new fiber obsession, I was looking for something to up my grams for the day and my teammate Alisa reminded me of them. They have 5 (!) grams of fiber in a tablespoon!! I sprinkle them on my yogurt and fruit and put a spoonful in my smoothies. Super easy and I don't even notice them.

What are you loving this month? Please share!


Saturday, April 27, 2013

Just Like Riding a Bike

Today I was supposed to ride and swim. I got my ride done indoors while Kel was riding outside. I chose inside because it was a hard interval ride and they are sometimes just easier to do on the trainer (no lights, cars, etc.). As of this morning I had still not ridden my bike outside this year! THIS YEAR!! It's been very cold and snowy, but the truth of it is that I am always just a little bit nervous about riding outside for the first time each year. The past couple of years I blamed this on my bike accident, but while that certainly has something to do with it, I think I am always just a little bit nervous because it's been so darn long since the last time I rode it outside.

What if I have forgotten how to ride my bike?

What if I get out there and everything feels shaky and weird?

What if I get a flat tire?

What if I get lost?

What if something happens and I am not home in time to get the kids off the bus and nobody knows where I am?

Obviously, all of these questions have totally logical and simple answers, but there is no denying I might have put this ride off a little bit later than I had to. I like for Kel to be home while I am out on that first ride "just in case." I don't want it to be a super long ride "just in case." I don't want to have to ride hard "just in case." Just in case of what I have no idea, but my illogical fears seem to betray my desires in this case every single year.

So, I rode inside this morning. Then I went outside at 4:30 and thought to myself that it would be a sin, a SIN, I tell you, if I did not ride my bike outside today. The Lord would look down upon me in sorrow and disappointment if I did not get my bike on the road. So I marched in the house, declared to Kel that this would be the day for the first ride of the year, bagged the swim, switched out the trainer wheel and off I went.

It was one hour and six minutes of pure joy. At one point I was so happy I literally screamed with joy (I admit, I did wait until there were no houses around before I did that, and even then still felt a tiny bit embarrassed). The roads came back to me like old friends, constant and unchanging, picking up things right where we left off last fall. The sun shined down on me and the wind blew against my face. My pedals were smooth and sure, and after months of going nowhere I felt like I could ride forever. Even the bugs smacking into my face and my constantly runny nose were a welcome reminder of what I had missed all winter long (and we have had a winter that has lasted practically a year. Seriously. A school year, anyways.)

It was...just like riding a bike.


Friday, April 26, 2013

Discoveries: #Project30Days Update


Here we are 26 days into our first #Project30Days! My projects for this month were to get up early, spend some time in quiet reflection, and post on my blog each day.

The other morning as I sat down on the couch with my journal I felt so content. I had a cup of coffee in my hand, the fireplace was on, a blanket was wrapped around me, the sun was streaming through the window warming my face and my heart, the sound of the washing machine wiping all the dirt away from the day before was playing in the background, and I had just called my husband at work to wish him a happy birthday. I took the time to think about where this contentment was coming from and was surprised to discover that all of those little things added up to this one great feeling. The ritual of the coffee, the connection with my husband, the feeling of being wrapped in warmth, the beauty of the sun and the fireplace, and the feeling of accomplishment from a chore already completed for the day seemed to be a magical combination, and I took the time to acknowledge it and savor it. (It was soon thwarted by the peanuts in the peanut butter meltdown, but it was so good while it lasted!)

I have discovered that taking time with the little things in my life and paying attention to how certain things make me feel gives me an amazing amount of control over my sense of contentment, achievement, and happiness. There are some days when I have not been able to do these things in the order I would like, so I am also learning that flexibility in my projects is key. If I have to stay up really late for a concert than getting up early might mean getting up at 7 instead of 6. If my kids decide to get up at 6:15 and I don't have time to get my quiet time in before they go to school, then I use that time to get other things accomplished (this morning I put in a load of laundry, cleaned the bathroom, and got all of the stuff ready for my long ride today) and then I can get some quiet time in after the bus comes. #Project30Days is not about  being rigid it is about discovering what works and what doesn't!

I am already thinking of my projects for next month! How are you guys doing? I'd love to hear what you have discovered. If you have a blog post, please put the link in the comments!

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

What's for Dinner: Easy Crockpot Salsa Chicken

Do you ever wonder sometimes why it seems like everything is much harder than it needs to be? Yesterday morning I made Noah an english muffin with peanut butter and honey on it. He came to the table and proceeded to have a phenomenal melt-down because the peanut butter had peanuts in it. This from a kid who can eat like half a jar of peanuts in about 10 minutes. I scraped the offending nuts off, but that was not good enough. I offered every other possible breakfast choice we had in our house, but he wanted none of it. I told him to go brush his teeth and he screamed at me, "But I'm hungry!" 

Seriously...why does it have to be so hard?

Well, there are some things in life that are just easy. Sleeping late, eating chocolate cake, deciding whether or not you should have a coffee in the morning - so easy. Procrastinating, letting 10 minutes on Facebook turn into an hour, staying up past your bedtime - super easy! 

You know what else is easy? This dinner. Seriously, SO EASY! (Sorry no pictures of actual food because it's hard to get good ones, but how about a picture of a crockpot...easy!)



Crockpot Salsa Chicken

Ingredients:

1-2 lbs boneless chicken thighs (I use Wegmans organic)
1 16 oz jar salsa
optional:
lime, sour cream, cheese, avocado, tortillas

Put chicken in crockpot. Pour jar of salsa on top. Cook on high for 3-3.5 hours or low for 5-6 hours, just pick whichever is easiest!

Shred the chicken with a fork (it will just fall apart) and eat it however you want it - in a salad, in a burrito, in a bowl with some sour cream and avocado on top with a little squeeze of lime, in a tupperware for lunch tomorrow - you pick.

EASY!

The Non-Athlete's Guide to Becoming an Athlete

If you were a swimmer in high school this post is not for you. If you ran cross country or played varsity soccer or were a member of any sports team you can move along. This post is for all of you out there whose "sport" might have been marching band. Maybe the closest you got to any teams was the Science Olympiad or the Math Team. This is for all of you where were proud to call yourself the captain of the chess club or the honor society, but have never, ever called yourself an athlete.

I was one of these people. I had half a season where I tried to run track in 9th grade. I think I did it because even back then I had a deep desire to just run. The coach put me in the mile and 2-mile race. At our first meet I PR-ed the mile and was still so far behind the other runners they had already started another race by the time I finished. When I twisted my ankle and decided to drop out for the rest of the season, I really think my coach breathed a deep sigh of relief. Growing up and even into college I identified myself as a lot of things: the smart kid, the band nerd, the honors student, the goody-two-shoes, but athlete was never one of them.

I ran my first 5K 9 years ago and after that my perspective started to change. I started racing triathlons and longer running races including a half-marathon the next summer and a local 10-miler that all the "real" runners do in Syracuse. All this time, though, I just considered myself a mommy who did a few races, but I did start to wonder if maybe I was an athlete too. Maybe I was a "real" runner and a "real" triathlete.

In September of 2008 I decided to do my first olympic distance tri. At the beginning of the training season I bought a RoadID and there is a spot on it where you can put a motto or a mantra. I thought a lot about what I would put there. What was it that I wanted to remind myself of? What would help me in those hard moments? For me, it was a phrase I wasn't quite sure I believed: "I am an athlete."

Everywhere I rode and ran that summer my wrist reminded me of something that my head and heart had not quite accepted just yet. I wanted to believe it. I wanted to feel it, but I just wasn't there yet. For me it was kind of like trying on clothes that I hadn't bought yet. I was wearing them, but I didn't own them yet.

During that olympic distance tri that fall, I wore my RoadID. Not because I was worried that someone would need to identify me if I fell over dead from the effort, but because I needed to remind myself yet again, that I was an athlete. During the run, I remember I looked down at my watch and realized I was going to finish well under my time goal and it was at that moment that I became an athlete in my heart. I actually started crying it was so moving to me (then I realized it's hard to run another 3 miles while you are crying, so I stopped.) I looked at my wrist and saw truth. I am an athlete.

Being an athlete is not about how fast you go or how much you train or how often you win. Being an athlete has nothing to do with how long of a triathlon you have completed or if you have done a marathon or an ultra. Being an athlete doesn't have anything to do with how big your watch is or how fancy your workout clothes are or what kind of bike you have.

Being an athlete is about what you believe about yourself in your heart. It is about the way you see your strength when you look in the mirror even though what you see is not perfect. It is about looking at that race photo and recognizing that even if you think look terrible, you are strong and beautiful and you are doing it!

I am an athlete.


Sometimes you have to try it on for a while before you really start to own it. I call all of the people I coach "my athletes." A lot of them identify with that, and some of them are still getting there. For those of us who didn't grow up as athletes, we have to practice at being an athlete for a while before you realize that you have been one all along!

I have a new RoadID these days, but it still reminds me daily of what I know: I am an athlete.


Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Instagram Pics of the Week

The trees are finally starting to bud and I think all the trees look like they have  halos of green or red or pink around them.

St. Paul's Cathedral in Syracuse, New York. My office for a couple of days last week while playing with Symphoria.

An amazing lunch in Jamestown, New York.


The rainy view from the cafe.

Crouse College at Syracuse University...can't believe this is where I work!!

Monday, April 22, 2013

Double Digits!


On this day 10 years ago I became a mother to the a wonderful, quirky, smart, handsome, funny, interesting little man. Mothering my son has been the most wonderfully hard thing I have ever done. It has taught me more about myself and the world than all my years of education. It has opened my eyes to see people in a completely different light and to understand myself more than maybe I even wanted to! It has flipped my perspective upside down more than once and showed me over and over that expectations are nothing compared to reality.

Dear, Ryan, 

Thank you for being you. Thank you for filling my heart with a love I never thought possible. Our first decade has been both the longest and shortest of my life, and I cannot wait to see what you will be like in another 10 years...well, maybe I can wait a little bit, buddy. Don't grow up too fast. 

Love,
Mommy

Sunday, April 21, 2013

thoughts


  • I'm so tired. 
  • How is it possible to feel powerful and weak at the same time?
  • Can I give them away?
  • Why can't I get anything done today.
  • I love Brahms.
  • A yo-yo, really? What's wrong with the yo-yo you bought YESTERDAY?
  • Why can't I get moving today?
  • Is it Monday yet?
  • Can I give them away?
  • I'm late! I'm late!
  • Okay, I'm not as late as I thought.
  • No parking...I'll be late.
  • Okay, I'm not late.
  • One day I will learn to not even wonder if I will be late.
  • Maybe.
  • Another blog post...is anyone even reading these?
  • No one will notice if I skip a day.
  • Can't skip a day.
  • It's so quiet in my house when my children are sleeping.
  • How is it possible to love someone so much even when they are driving you insane?
  • I guess I will keep them.
  • I'm pretty sure I couldn't give them away, anyway.
  • Mmmm...chocolate.
  • I wish I had an off switch for my head.
  • Today was a keeper.
  • The end.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Essential Tri-Training Equipment for Parents

There are three things that I believe help me in my training as a trimommy more than anything else. As a working parent of two boys that are not old enough to be left at home by themselves the best training equipment saves me time. You won't find anything in this post about a heart rate monitor (although I use mine for every workout) or a fancy GPS watch (although I own one) or a power meter (although I would love to have one). My essentials are utilitarian pieces of equipment. They aren't fancy, but they get the job D.O.N.E.



Here in the snowy (yes, even in April...don't even get me started) northeast a trainer is a triathlete's best friend during the winter. But it is my number one piece of training equipment that I use YEAR-ROUND. A lot of times people will say to me, "I have some money saved up. Do you think I should get a heart rate monitor?" If they are parents I will say, "Do you have a trainer? If not, that is what you should spend your money on." 

If I had the money I would probably get a Computrainer, but I bought this CycleOps fluid trainer used on Craigslist for $100 six years ago and it is still going strong. Even during the beautiful days of summer I don't always have the freedom to just hop on my bike and go. Many days you will see me on the trainer in my driveway or garage while my kids ride bikes in the cul-de-sac or play basketball in the driveway or cool off in the sprinkler. (Funny story: last year while I was on the trainer, Noah asked me why I wasn't wearing my helmet.) Quite frankly, I don't know how parents train without a trainer at home. Even though I don't always love being on the trainer, it is essential equipment for me.


My next most-used piece of equipment is my treadmill. I was fortunate enough to be able to buy this used gym-quality treadmill from a place I used to work for only $200. Kel and I both have gotten so much use out of it. Obviously in the winter it gets the most use, but again, like the trainer, it is just so easy to get a quick run in while I am at home by myself with the boys. Kel and I both feel pretty strongly that night-time running and running in bad weather is just not very safe, so this really keeps our options open. I will always choose an outdoor run option if that works, but if it doesn't I'm never stuck. I can always run in place at home!


Okay, I realize this is not a piece of training equipment, but I swear I'm just not sure what I would do without my crockpot!! I make one or two crockpot meals a week, which usually give us leftovers for another meal or two, and believe it or not, they are healthy and tasty! I don't know about your house, but that time right before dinner is always the craziest at my house, and I find if I am trying to cook the boys start bouncing off the walls and we all end up mad. I would much rather get homework done then go for a walk or play some basketball right before dinner. It works the best on nights the kids have activities between school and dinner. I just pop the meal in the crockpot in the morning and don't have to give it a second thought until 5 minutes before we sit down. The hardest thing for me about using the crockpot is just remembering that I need to get things going in the morning. Sometimes I will prep it in the removable crock part and keep that in the fridge over night so all I have to do in the morning is just put it in and turn it on. If I don't have time for that the night before, I will at least take the crockpot out and put it on my counter so I have a strong reminder in the morning about what I need to do.

So that's it! Obviously these aren't only for parents, but they are definitely essential for parents! I would love to hear what your most essential piece of equipment is!

Friday, April 19, 2013

My Heart Is Breaking

I'm having a difficult time getting any work done today. Like everyone else, I have been absolutely riveted by what is going on in Boston right now.

I keep thinking about families that were probably woken up last night by the sounds of helicopters and sirens and gunshots. I am thinking of how Boston parents could have possible explained why their kids can't go to school or go outside today. What do you say to a six-year old when the swat team comes knocking at your door? How do you explain to your 10-year old that there are people who hate us just because of where we live? How do we protect our children and at the same time teach them, especially if we can't even begin to understand it?

I am not in Boston and I don't pretend to know what this must be like, but I can't help but take all of this personally. It is not happening to me, but I feel like it is. I am anxious and worried about my friends and family that live in the Boston area. I am angry that evil people have the power to make me feel this way. I am saddened that I probably won't ever be the same again. My kids are growing up in a country that doesn't feel as free as it did when I was a kid and there is nothing I can do about it.

No, I will not live in fear, but my heart is breaking that I have to be realistic about the changes I see in the world. I can't say it won't happen to me because I don't know that to be true anymore.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Peace


Today I went for a run in a huge old cemetery in the town I am staying in for a concert. The whole time I was there I just had this feeling of deep peace and of knowing that I am protected and loved.

I am so thankful I took the time for this run and so thankful I can run.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Around the Web

Here are just a few things that have caught my eye around the web lately.

1. Check out these amazing women that are racing across America this summer. Can you believe I have friends that do stuff like this? Neither can I.
2. I can't even wrap my head around this. It's like all my favorite things in a COOKIE!!
3. I was totally inspired by this video. Worth the time if you have it.
4. Speaking of inspiring and amazing, here is another great story of people coming together in sport for good.
5. There have been a series of posts on Mark's Daily Apple about health integrity that I have really been loving. It's real talk that we all need to hear.
6. This website makes me smile. We all need more of that.
7. Speaking of smiling...

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Use Your Words

This morning Noah decided he didn't want to take yogurt for lunch anymore because some had leaked in his lunch pail. I washed it out and then gave it back to him to fill up. When he said he didn't want a yogurt (which, in addition to a Larabar is pretty much all he usually eats for lunch) he started to put the lunch in his backpack, so I took a quick peek only to find a chocolate-covered Powerbar in there.

Now don't get me wrong, I love Powerbars and there is a reason we have them in our house. The boys both know Powerbars are food for exercising. They are not for casual eating. Well, Noah was none to happy about me telling him a Powerbar was not a healthy lunch and proceeded to have a melt-down right in the middle of the kitchen. You know the lay-on-the floor-and-cry-until-mommy-almost-loses-it kind of melt-down.  (It was at precisely this moment that I wished I had just let him have it.)

I have noticed with my beloved son that part of the problem is that he is having trouble putting how he feels into words, and I have been working on trying to help him get better at this. I find myself saying things like "Use your words" and "I can help you if you tell me what is wrong, but I can't if you just cry."

All of this talk of using words, though, has really gotten me thinking about words in general and how we use them. Maybe it is just me, but I find words to be very powerful. In my #project30days morning reflections I include a Bible verse and a quote, and I am constantly amazed at the power a few simple words have to motivate me, to inspire me, to lift me up, to help me understand things and more. The Bible says "death and life are in the power of the tongue" (Proverbs 18:21). I think this is very interesting.

We can build up with our words, yet we can also tear down. How often do you say to yourself something like this: "Ugh. I'm so stupid" or "I'm so fat" or "I'm so slow" or "Why is everything so hard?" or "I will never be/do ____________." If we are constantly streaming words over ourselves that tear ourselves down, what will that do? We start believing them and start acting on them.

Likewise, if we wash ourselves in a waterfall of positive words we begin to embrace those. Instead of "I'm so stupid," I can say "I am so smart. I'm surprised that got by me!" Instead of "I'm fat," I can say "I am working hard on being healthy every day." Instead of "I'm slow," I can say "I am a runner." Instead of "I will never be or do," I can say "I am."

The other part of this is about what the people around you say. Do you surround yourself with positive people or do you find yourself in the group trying to see who has it worse in life? The amazing thing about positivity is that it is infectious! Unfortunately the same is true of negativity. You can choose which camp you will be in.

If you are serious about creating a life that is fulfilling and positive, I have some advice for you.

Use your words and use them well.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Never Take It For Granted

I walk out my door every single day and take it for granted that I am safe, that my children are safe, and my husband is safe. I drive my car to stores and don't give a second thought to walking inside. I sit in a coffee shop with my latte and my computer thinking I have so much work to do and wondering how it's going to get done, but never do I consider the window might burst in at any moment. I go to races to cheer and to run and to have a good time and don't even consider the remote possibility that someone could take it all away from me in an instant.

I will never understand why anyone could have such disregard for human life that they would purposely aim to kill people. I will never be able to wrap my head around how dead a person's spirit must be that they could press a button knowing the outcome of a single push of their finger. 

What I do know is that we cannot take anything for granted. Every day, every smile, every hug, every tear, each minute whether it be hard or easy, is a gift. I will live a life of gratitude for the gift I have been given and never take for granted that it can be taken away in an instant.

My heart and prayers are in Boston tonight. May God grant us all peace and comfort during this time.


"And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." ~Phillipians 4:7

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Is it Triathlon Season Yet?

It is April 14. Last year by this time I had ridden hundreds of miles outside already. This year I have ridden exactly 0 miles outside so far.

The weather here has been absolutely dismal. Rainy, snowy, cold and gray. I'm not usually one to complain about the weather because complaining generally doesn't help the bad weather go away, but I am so ready to ride outside!!

Despite the fact that the Syracuse weather is NOT cooperating, triathlon season is here! I have been building up my base over the winter and working hard to shed the winter layer! I'm down to a bit below my pre-Cedar Point weight from last year, which makes me very happy. I still have a bit to go, but the progress is nice.

I have been spending a ton of time on the trainer and am just itching to get outside. Some people in these parts have already done it, but I really don't like to ride when it is below 50 and windy, so I haven't made it out yet. Hopefully this week. If anything, all this trainer time is making me mentally tough. Fingers crossed that the results will shine through on the road.

If you've taken a look at my race schedule, you know that I have Rev3Quassy HalfRev coming up in about 6 weeks. I have started to think about all those hills, and yesterday ran the training run for the Mountain Goat Run, which is a local hilly 10 miler. I felt great, although was slow, but I felt great!! I have done the HalfRev at Quassy twice, the first time as a relay where I swam and ran, and the second time all on my own. It is by far the hardest half I have ever done, and I really want to PR this race this year! That is a tall order, but I say go big or go home.

I have been swimming strong. My new mantra while I swim hard is "Relaxed and strong." I find when I try to swim fast, I actually don't go that much faster, but when I swim strong I go faster with less effort! Wow, the things we find out about ourselves when we actually think about what we are doing!! I am doing a lot of hard intervals trying to get my top end speed up a little.  This is the kind of stuff where every second I eke out is a victory. Hard? Yes. Worth it? Absolutely.

In July, I'll be headed to Musselman again, which is a great local half. Kel is racing too, which is always fun for both of us! Will this be the year I finally go under six hours? I have been chipping away at my PR every year, and last year I ran 6:01 with a fantastic thunderstorm for about 45 minutes of the bike.

And in September I'm headed back to Rev3 Cedar Point for another FullRev. Yep, I'm doing 140.6 miles again. It was just so fun last year I have to!!

Will I be seeing any of you at Rev3 events this year?

Saturday, April 13, 2013

365 Moments: 54-62

54.

Watching Noah and his friend dance to Thrift Shop. Every time they saw me watching, they would stop and try to act all cool.

55.

Dying Easter eggs.




56.

During spring break week I am headed to the pool at 7:15 p.m. and I realize I am giddy at the thought of being alone for a couple of hours.

57.

Sitting quietly with Kel by the fire on an early Saturday morning before the boys were up. An unplanned benefit of #project30days.

58.

Building a birdhouse with Noah.



59.

I saw a shooting star.

60.

Watching Noah ride his bike down a hill at top speed and yell with joy.

61.

Hearing the birds sing as I woke up.

62.

Noah started karate and had to try his gi on as soon as he got home. (He wouldn't let me take a picture.)

Friday, April 12, 2013

Time-Saving Tips for Triathletes

If you are training for a triathlon, especially long course, chances are you are constantly trying to figure out ways to balance work, family and training. Oh, and I guess some of you might like to have some fun every now and then, right? I think one of the hardest things about serious training is the time issue. We only have so much of it, so how can we use it in the best way possible? This post is not about how to train in less time, but how to use your time around the training in the most efficient way.

Be realistic about how much time you actually have to train. If you work 60 hours a week, have a family, own a house, like to sleep more than 4 hours a night, and don't want a divorce any time soon, you should probably think twice before signing up for a FullRev triathlon anytime soon. I wrote a little bit about that in this post. There are all distances of triathlons, most of them don't require you to train 10+ hours a week, and they are super fun and rewarding. Find a distance that fits your life and everyone in your life including you will be happier for it. If you feel overwhelmed with figuring out a training schedule that balances with your life, a good coach can help you with that.

Plan ahead. If you are waiting until you wake up to decide how you are going to structure your day to fit everything in, you are already a step behind. I find if I spend a little bit of time planning ahead I save tons in the long run because I'm not figuring it out on the fly and getting caught unprepared. I usually sit down each weekend and figure out the when, where, and how of all my workouts for the coming week. That doesn't mean I am not flexible if something comes up, but at least I have a general idea of what each day is going to look like. One of the things that helps me with this is connecting my Training Peaks account to my Google calendar. By doing that it automatically puts my workouts right into my calendar, so when I am making appointments or scheduling meetings, I have an idea of what kind of time I'll be spending that day training and plan accordingly.

Another way to plan ahead is to pack the bags and get the nutrition set up the night before your workout, especially if you train in the morning. I have no idea why packing my workout bag in the morning is so darn difficult, but if I do it at night I rarely forget anything (don't even ask me how many times I have left the gym commando or dried off with paper towels after a swim). If I have a long ride the next morning, I'll get all my bottles filled the night before and leave them in the refrigerator and put all my nutrition/HR monitor/RoadID/sunglasses/etc on the counter ready to go.

For some people with unpredictable schedules it is a great idea to keep a bag in your car with some running shoes, running clothes, swim gear and nutrition, so if the opportunity presents itself you are always ready to get in a quick run or swim.

Streamline your life. Think about what you spend the most time on and figure out ways to reduce the time you spend there. This is different for everyone. For me, I spend a LOT of time figuring out what to cook for my family and all the chores that go into that like shopping, looking for new recipes, making grocery lists, prep and cooking, and a lot of times simply deciding what to do on any given night.

Again, if I plan ahead here, my life is so much easier. I have recently switched my shopping day from Monday to Friday because my Fridays are typically a little less stressful and more free. (This is itself was monumental for me and took about a month to fully switch over. I was just so accustomed to planning with the shopping day on Monday.) Before I shop I sit down and plan out the dinner menu for the entire week. I have a little white board that I use.


I put the dinner in the first column, any notes about the next day in the second column (like taking things out of the freezer), and whatever I need from the store in the third column. Then I make my grocery list from this. I also use the lower right hand corner to add things I find I need during the week, so I don't forget. This isn't so much about not forgetting as it is about not going to the grocery store three or four times a week, which takes TIME.  You can also see I usually plan at least one crockpot (CP) meal a week and plan for leftovers a couple times a week on days that I know I am particularly busy. (When I am planning a crockpot meal I find it helps to put the crockpot on the counter the night before so I don't forget to get it started in the morning.)

If you are not the cook of the house, this may not be where you streamline. Maybe you drive a lot for work and tend to be in a different place every day. A great way to streamline is to figure out all the of the pools in the areas you travel so you can always just get a swim when you have a chance instead of having to trek back to your home pool.  I have about 5 pools that I know I can swim at whenever I am in the area. Sometimes it means stepping out of your comfort zone a little, but a swim is a swim and time is time. Same thing for running errands. Do them all on the same day and swing by the gym or pool for a workout while you are out. That way you are getting stuff done on the way there and back and not just spending time ONLY driving to the pool and back.

Another way to streamline is to set up your training gear in a way that you can reduce the amount of time you spend getting ready to train. Seriously, sometimes I feel like it takes me 30 minutes just to get ready to go. Have your bike ready to go, with tires pumped the night before, bike shoes right next to it, helmet on the handle bars, training fuel prepare the night before, clothes laid out the night before, sunscreen and lube right where you need it, sunglasses in the helmet, and shoes laid out for a brick. It takes a little bit of time the night before, but is so worth it when you want to roll out on time.

I also train from home as much as possible. A four hour ride can easily turn into a six hour chunk of time if you have to put your bike and gear in the car, drive out to a different location, take everything out, and then repeat the process in reverse to go home. I'm not saying I never do this, but I do try to limit how much this happens because it just takes up A LOT of time. The longer the ride, the more likely I am to ride from home and to ride by myself.

Have a dedicated place for everything. How many minutes do you spend looking for your Garmin and your heart rate strap? Do you then have to wait around for it to charge? Do you know where the clean water bottles are? Do you ever search for your workout gear?

Set up systems and rituals that ensure all your stuff is where it's supposed to be, charged and ready, when you need it. Here are a few of mine (and I would like to give Sonja credit for several of these!)

Who needs drawers? Folding is overrated. 
All tops including sports bras in the top bin, running bottoms in the middle bin, and cycling bottoms in the bottom bin.

Swimsuits live in the laundry room. 
I take them out of my gym bag and hang them up, then they are ready to go for the next swim. (Aren't you jealous of all my shimmer?)

Water bottles live on top of the fridge.
Big bottles in the big bin. Small bottles and tops in the small bin.
If you have bottles you don't use for whatever reason, throw them out.

Electronics bin in the kitchen. 
It looks messy but it works and it only cost me $5. Inside are phone and Garmin chargers plugged into a power strip. You will also find my HR strap, my RoadID, some headbands, ear phones, my camera, the camera battery charger, and ipod charger cords. As soon as I walk in the door from a run, everything goes in the bin and gets charged if needed. Kel uses this for his electronics as well.

I'm sure all of you have great time-savers too, so please share your best tip!!


Thursday, April 11, 2013

What's for Dinner: Italian Sausage Stew

The other night I was going to make some soup and then realized I didn't remember to buy chicken stock at the store. (And, yes, for all you foodies out there I do know it's super easy to make my own and freeze it, blah, blah, blah, but sometimes just buying a carton at the store is a lot easier.) It was even on my list, and somehow I overlooked it.

Instead of trying to figure out something else to throw on the table last minute, I just decided to wing it, and the results turned out to be a new family favorite. Even the boys asked for seconds and ate the leftovers the next night! If you have kids, you know that when that happens you have a new meal in the rotation. Add in the fact that it only takes about 15-20 minutes to throw together, it's like the newly crowned king of good recipes.

(Somebody please teach me how to take a good picture of food...)

Italian Sausage Stew

Ingredients:

1-1.5 lbs Italian Sausage (if I weren't cooking for kids I would use hot)
1 Tbsp. grass-fed butter
1 onion, sliced
2-3 cloves garlic, minced.
28 oz. can diced tomatoes (I like the fire roasted kind)
6-8 cups fresh baby spinach
fresh basil
salt and pepper
parmesan cheese

1. Squeeze sausage out of the links and brown on medium high heat in a big pan or soup pot.

2. Remove sausage from pot and add in butter and saute onions until brown. (I added in a bit of water to deglaze the pan.)

3. Add in the garlic once the onions are brown and cook another minute or so.

4. Dump in the entire can of tomatoes with the juice, and then add as much spinach as will fit in the pot. (The first time I made this I used a smaller pan so couldn't get as much spinach in. That is the one that is in the picture. The second time I used a dutch oven and put in a lot more greens.) Give it a stir and cover until the spinach cooks down a bit, about 5 minutes.

5. Add in the basil, salt and pepper to taste, and then put the sausage back in and give everything a good stir.

6. Serve with a little sprinkle of freshly grated parmesan cheese.

7. Sit back in amazement while everyone eats every bite in their bowl. (I did have to tell Noah that the green stuff was basil...I conveniently left out the fact that most of it was spinach.)




Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Affirmation

Today I will be confident in my God-given talents and abilities.

I will love what I do and use this time as a moment to share that love.

I will be full of energy and life.

I will be thoughtful and kind and respectful to all I encounter, but I will not give more than I need to seekers of attention.

I will be calm and know that everyone wants me to do well.

I will spend time seeing myself be capable and victorious.

I will channel my energy in a positive way.

I will be confident that the outcome is meant to be, and that I deserve to win.

I am ready.

I am strong.

I am here.


"Believe in yourself and there will come a day when others have no 
choice but to believe with you."
~Cynthia Kersey

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

thoughts and questions


  • How does putting one foot out of the covers cool down your whole body?
  • What are the secrets of being without stress? Are there parents who are never stressed out?
  • Isn't it just amazing how good coffee tastes first thing in the morning?
  • Will I ever get tired of watching my children sleep?
  • I finally heard the birds singing this morning and wondered why I never miss them in the winter until I hear them singing in the spring.
  • Yesterday something that I was expecting to be difficult turned out to be a very easy and pleasant experience. Do I just feel like everything is going to be hard, or are most things in life actually hard?
  • Making playlists overwhelm me. Is there an easy way to do that? Please, tell me if there is...or you can just send me your awesome workout playlists. I will say thank you.
  • One unexpected perk of getting up early has been getting to talk with my husband before he goes to work.
  • Why does it surprise me that when I really work at something, I get better at it?

Monday, April 8, 2013

#Project30Days Update


Happy Monday!! Mondays always feel like crazy town to me. Do they feel like that to you? It seems like no matter what I do to try to make them easier they always end up being crammed with stuff that HAS to get done before I go to bed. I don't know if this is reality or if I have somehow created the Monday monster, but I'm really going to have to explore this!

Anyway, just a quick post today to let you know how my #Project30Days is going! My three goals are to get up early each day, spend some time in quiet reflection and write a blog post every day. So far I am right on track. The hardest has definitely been getting up early. My alarm goes off at 5:45 and I allow myself a single snooze. Then I fool around on my phone for a few minutes while I wake all the way up. I was noticing that the fool-around time can become quite long, so I installed an app on my phone to shut me out of anything I would want to get into at 6:00. Problem solved!

My quiet reflection has been an absolute revelation to me! I am loving this time to myself, so much so, that when my kids get up earlier than expected I am a little disappointed that it gets cut short and a couple of mornings have found myself up even earlier so I get that alone time in. I have also found it just really sets the tone for the day. I am much more in the moment and reflective throughout the day if I begin the day this way.

Blogging has been going well! I find the more I write, the more I have to write about! Isn't it funny how life is like that in general?

I am definitely learning a lot from my projects, and will keep you posted. One of the best things that has come out of it is that I have really been digging into my productivity. I have a blog post coming soon about some great things I have found to help me, because I need help in that area!!

One of the best things about #project30days is that a great little community has popped up of other people doing projects. @SensibleFlutist on twitter even created a list (although, I don't think everyone one is on it yet.) People are posting their updates using #project30days. If you are intrigued, please join in! This will not be one and done for me! I plan to continue with other #project30days throughout the year.

Please leave a comment with your twitter handle and blog URL if you want to join in! I am totally inspired by everyone's commitment to this, and it really helps to have that accountability!!

Sunday, April 7, 2013

365 Moments: 46-53

46.

Kel made coffee and brought it to me in bed.

47.

Seeing an athlete I am coaching make huge progress in his swimming.

48.

The amazing blue sky.


49.

The moment my car started while I was waiting for AAA.

50.

Laughing out loud on the trainer while watching Pitch Perfect.

51.

A perfect bite.


52. 

Frozen yogurt for dinner. Sometimes you just have to break the rules.

53.

Noah's note to the Easter Bunny asking for a trampoline. The Easter Bunny was NOT on board with that.


Saturday, April 6, 2013

Opportunity

If you are the parents of boys (or maybe even girls) between the ages of 8 and 14 you probably know what Minecraft is and how it takes over your house. If you don't know what Minecraft is, first thank God in heaven above and then check out this link if you really want to know.

Ryan is totally addicted to this game and it's driving us all crazy! All he wants to do is play it, and when he isn't playing it he wants to watch youtube videos about it, and when he's not doing that he wants to talk about it. As far as games go, I guess it could be worse. Minecraft definitely encourages creativity and problem solving. Ryan has designed some pretty amazing houses and other things in his worlds, and I am always amazed when I see my children navigating computers with such ease.

We have tried many different solutions to the screen time issues in our household all to no avail. We have limited screen time which resulted in a whole lot of arguing day after day. We try to reward good behavior with screen time, which ended up turning into a big wheel and deal every day. We've tried letting him self limit...uh, definitely not ready for that yet. Nothing seems to work. 

It worries me to see him staring at a screen for so much of the day. I've noticed when he plays more he doesn't sleep as well and his eyes get all bloodshot. Not to mention the fact that he isn't doing anything active! The problem has been magnified this week since the boys were on spring break. Kel and I have been at our wits' end trying to come up with solutions together with Ryan that get him off the computer and doing other things, but it turns out that instead of focusing on limiting the computer time and figuring out the screen time problem, what we should be doing is offering opportunities for other activities.

Isn't this so true of everything? I'm spending all this time and energy trying to get him to stop playing instead of suggesting and putting into action other possibilities for him. This realization hit me like a ton of bricks yesterday, and I am still struggling with some guilt around it. However, instead of wallowing in guilt which will just make me feel bad, I jumped into action. 

It is true that often I don't want to do things with my kids. Yes, I just said it. This is real talk, not fluffy Facebook talk about all the crafty things I did with my kids today. Let's face it, sometimes it is just way less stressful to let your kids veg out in front of a screen. If you are not guilty of that you are way better than me! When I really think about it there are a lot of reasons for this. It's hard to find things to do that both Ryan and Noah want to do at the same time. In the past when I tried to do things like this with them it has ended with Ryan melting down in public which is very difficult and not something I care to repeat. Sometimes I chalk it up to expense, both in time and money. A lot of the things that they would really love to do are just expensive. Why do science museums have to be so darn spendy? During weeks like this I am still trying to manage my normal workload on top of having the boys home all day, so time becomes just as precious as money. All of these are valid reasons, however they still don't excuse me from trying to figure out ways to solve this problem.

Kel and I talked with Ryan about it and he came up with a really great solution. He would choose 4 things that he wanted to do each day. (I don't think we will need to do this on school days but definitely on days when we are home all day.) Today he chose go for a walk, play on the playground, go swimming and family game night - all doable and free! 




(Don't worry, he didn't fall.)

As I was thinking about creating opportunities for my kids I also realized that I also need to create opportunities for myself. Today I took my TRX to the playground and got a strength workout done (2 down 6 to go!) while the boys pretended (kind of) to do Parkour on the jungle gym. I was able to watch them while they showed off for me ("Mommy, look! Mommy, watch me! Mommy, check this out!" "Mommy, look how high I am!" "Don't worry, I won't fall!!") and get a much needed workout in at the same time. That's what I call a win-win!


We all need to get out their and start creating opportunities for our kids and for ourselves, and all the better if those opportunities are one and the same!!

Friday, April 5, 2013

Motivation for Strength

I have been struggling lately with getting my strength workouts done. Maybe lately is not the right word. More like forever.

For some reason, as easy as it is for me to get motivated to do my other workouts, I moan and groan about even a short core workout and, more often than not, usually end up finding some reason not to do it. I have been wondering lately why it is I do this. 

An excuse I often use is time, which really is just a load of crap. A core workout or a quick TRX workout doesn't even take half an hour. It's definitely not a time issue.

I think I am a little bit scared - I know it's going to hurt!! I need to remind myself that it is only temporary. I also think strength workouts remind me of how weak I am!! Maybe I need to focus more on how much I really need to do them!

For some reason, the idea of becoming stronger just doesn't seem to be enough motivation for me. As much as I want to be toned and see my abs, it still doesn't get me going. In this case, I think I might need a little more extrinsic motivation. 

A couple of ideas that came to mind are:
  • hiring a trainer. I actually think this would work best for me, but unfortunately it is just not in the budget right now.
  • finding a workout partner that I can lift with once a week.
  • taking a class at the gym. This would probably be fairly easy, but then there is the whole time thing.
  • creating some sort of online accountability through twitter or facebook.
  • give myself a reward for completing a certain number of strength workouts.
So, with the exception of hiring a trainer I think all of these are going to be avenues I will pursue in my quest for strength starting with a reward. I put out a question yesterday on twitter asking people what splurge they would give themselves. Apparently my twitter friends are very fond of wine and pretty toes, but I don't think that will do it for me! I tried to think of something I have been wanting for a while, but just haven't gotten because I didn't really need it, and it came to me!


I have been wanting a wall decal like this for over a year to put in my hallway. We were at Target yesterday and saw a similar picture and it jogged my memory, so the challenge is on! If I can complete 8 strength workouts in April, I will reward myself with this House Rules sticker for my wall! I have already completed one this month...only seven to go!! I'll keep you posted!

What motivates you to get your strength workouts done? 

"She girds herself with strength (spiritual, mental, and physical fitness for her God-given task) and makes her arms strong and firm."
Proverbs 31:17 Amplified 

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Crockpot Chicken Cacciatore and Parmesan Mashed Cauliflower

Have I ever told you how much I love my crockpot? I don't love it quite as much as my beautiful Kitchenaid mixer, Ruby, but as much as I love Ruby, my crockpot (which does not have a name) gets used quite a bit more.

Lately I have been trying to use my crockpot at least twice a week. It's really convenient on busy days, and if I time it right, we usually have leftovers on days that I don't get home in time to cook dinner. I have quite a few go to recipes some of which I have on my crockpot Pinterest board, but every now and then I take a favorite recipe and try my hand at turning it into a crockpot recipe. I also try to turn most recipes into grain free sugar free recipes as well.

Last week I was totally victorious! And by victorious I mean I recreated a regular recipe into a no sugar , no grain crockpot recipe and on top of that, every single person in my house loved it and even asked for it again on leftover night!!

So here it is. I have a tendency to not really measure, so you can kind of go by feel. It's pretty hard to mess up, I think! Also, I am clearly not a food photographer, so don't judge by the pictures too much! I hope you enjoy it as much as we did!!



Crockpot Chicken Cacciatore with Parmesan Mashed Cauliflower
(adapted from Real Simple)

1 lb(ish) skinless boneless chicken thighs
olive oil
salt and pepper
3 carrots, diced
3 stalks of celery, diced
1 onion, diced (I dice all the veggies in my food processor)
4 cloves garlic, minced
3 sprigs fresh thyme (or ~1tsp dried)
1 bay leaf
1 28-oz diced tomatoes (I love fire roasted)
1/3 cup red wine (or ~1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar)

for Parmesan Mashed Cauliflower
1 head cauliflower
~1/2 cup fresh grated parmesan cheese
many cloves of roasted garlic (I get these at the olive bar at Wegmans)
1 Tbsp. grass fed butter

1. Heat olive oil in a pan and brown salted and peppered chicken thighs on both sides. Put into crockpot.

2. Saute carrots, celery, onions, garlic and thyme in same pan. (You can add a bit of water if things start to stick.) Put into crockpot.

3. Add tomatoes, bay leaf and wine or vinegar to the crockpot and give everything a nice stir.

4. Set crockpot on low for 8 hours and walk away. Don't you dare open that crockpot!!

5. When you walk in the door from work, your mouth will begin watering immediately. Quick! Make your mashed cauliflower. While the cauliflower is steaming, shred the falling apart chicken, remove the bay leaf, and give everything a nice stir. Serve over the cauliflower with a  sprinkle of parmesan on top.

for Parmesan Mashed Cauliflower

1. Cut cauliflower off the stalk and steam until tender ~10 minutes. (I do this in the morning while I am preparing everything else and just leave it in the steamer basket over a pot of water, so all I have to do when I come home is turn on the burner.)

2. Once tender, puree in the food processor with butter, parmesan and garlic (I add salt and pepper as well), until smooth. If you don't have a food processor I think a mixer or a potato masher would also work, it just probably won't get quite as smooth.



Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Instagram Pics of the Week

So I finally got my act together and figured out Instagram, and I am LOVING it!! I'm a little bummed I didn't join in sooner. Sometimes I like to just look through all the beautiful pictures...it is very soothing to me.

I think I am going to start posting my own favorite pictures every now and then. If you want you can follow me @trimommykelly


The view from my deck on April 2. Not funny, God. Not funny at all. 


A little daily dose of inspiration.


Proof that the sun does actually shine every now and then. I almost felt like I was outside.


My early morning companion for #project30days.


Noah and I made a beautiful birdhouse yesterday.






Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Are you ready for your first 140.6?

I did my first triathlon in 2005. After my glorious finish, one of my thoughts was the people who do a full triathlon are crazy!

I ran my first half marathon in 2007. As I was showering off my sore aching muscles I thought to myself that people who ran full marathons must be out of their mind.

I did my first 70.3 in 2008. As I was finishing the last few miles of the run I couldn't even imagine what how it would be possible to still have another 13+ miles to go.

In 2010 I ran my first 50k. After I was done I started to get it.

There is certainly a progression to ultra endurance events - marathon, an ultra marathon, and a full distance triathlon (140.6 miles - often referred to as an ironman although all the cool kids know it will one day be commonly referred to as a FullRev). A lot of the progression is about perspective. And the other part of the progression is fitness. They go hand in hand...as fitness grows, perspective about what you think is possible changes and grows with it.

For some people they know before they even do their first triathlon that 140.6 is their goal. Sometimes I see these people jump in too soon and pay a heavy price. Now I'm not into the whole "you gotta pay your dues" stuff. What I mean is that an ultra endurance event of any kind takes a particular depth of fitness that only comes with time. The more time you put into that fitness, and I'm talking years, the deeper it becomes and the more you are able to stretch yourself without as much risk for injuries and overtraining syndrome.

Another price people sometimes pay is more personal. Sometimes I see people jump into an event that requires a lot of time to prepare for without having thought out the life logistics of that. How will this affect your job? How will this affect your kids? How will this affect your spouse or significant other? Let's face it, training for a 140.6 takes time...a lot of time.

So, here is a little list of things I think would be good to have checked off before you check the box on your first ultra endurance event.

  • Is your spouse/partner completely, 100% on-board and supportive?


This is a no-brainer for me. If Kel didn't support me in my efforts towards my first 140.6 last year, there is no way I could have done it or would have done it. I will not coach people who don't have the support of their spouse. That's how important I think it is. You need to know that your person is not going to resent you being gone, but they are going to be excited for you while at the same time having to pick up the slack from your hours spent training. This is doubly important if you have young kids because your spouse is the person that is caring for your kids during your training most of the time.


  • Are your kids old enough?
This is a very individual decision and probably varies depending on your family situation and if you are a mom or a dad. For me, I felt very strongly that I would not do a full until both my kids were in school. That way I could do a lot of my training during the time they were at school and not miss out on things. I was tempted to start when Noah was 4, but I am glad I waited. Kel actually did his first full the year before me, and it was exciting for me to watch him prepare and it worked fine for our family.


  • Do you have time?
This is a tricky one because everyone has different ideas about how much time you need to devote to training for a race like this. My general answer is a lot. It can range anywhere from between 10 and upwards of 20 hours per week depending on your goals, fitness and the kind of athlete you are. Is this going to work with your job? Is this going to work with your family? I have a fairly flexible schedule so I am able to get most of my training done during the day. Kel has a more standard type of job. When he was training for his full he would go to work before any of us were awake and then leave work around 3:00 (since he got in so early) and then get a great workout in and be home for dinner as usual. This worked really well for our family and we didn't feel like we were missing him any more than usual. It's really about evaluating your lifestyle and seeing how the puzzle will go together: job, family, training.


  • Is your body ready?
And by ready I don't mean ready to go do the race, I mean ready in terms of health and fitness. Do have a lot of weight to lose? Training for a full is not a great weight loss strategy. It is much better to get ready first than train for it. Is your body healthy and whole? If you are struggling with nagging injuries, now is not the time to dive into a 15 hour training week. As a coach I often recommend a two or three year plan leading up to a full. I like this because during that first year of training you can really focus on the limiters (weight, injuries, fitness) and then build up to the full distance slowly, safely and with health and happiness.


  • Do you really want it?
You have to want it. Period. End of discussion. If you aren't sure, you are not ready. I don't mean if you aren't sure about if you can do it. Everybody is unsure of that in the beginning. I mean if you aren't sure you really want to do it. You have got to want it.






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