Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Sing a New Song

Since Annika was a baby, we've been agonizing over whether to do the private school thing or send her to our local public school. Having swum the sea of mediocrity ourselves, we firmly believe that public school is more "real world" than private school. Nobody holds your hand and makes sure you do all you need to do to graduate in public school. Nobody reminds you at UGA that you need X,Y,Z classes or that you have to take that test. If you don't graduate, tough for you.

When it came to Annika, though, we thought maybe it would be good to be in control of the brainwashing that occurs in school. Sure, religiously-based schools have brainwashing and biases too, but at least you know what you are getting. If you go to Catholic school, you are getting the Catholic party line. It's pretty easy to know what that is. If you go to public school, though, who knows what whims they may be following. Like when my sister was in elementary school and they stopped worrying about spelling - "whole language," I think it was called. Thank goodness for spell-check. . .

Similarly, if you pay for the school you have more say in what the school does. No one is going to put your kid into World Geography instead of Economics just because it is convenient or because "freshmen don't take Economics". Also, you have license to complain if your kid gets put in the class of the teacher who hates her job and thinks that her big writing break is always around the corner.

That's the idea, anyway.

So, we made our application back in the winter, and have been worrying about it ever since. Would she get in? How do we pay for it? Is it the same academic standard as the other school? Would it be OK that we aren't the world's greatest Catholics?

But alas, Annika was not offered a spot at our chosen school. Rumor has it that there were only 8 non-sibling spots available. I don't know if that is true or not.

So, today we registered for kindergarten at our local public school. And it was fine. There was a lot of beaurocracy, but we saw Annika's favorite neighbor (Maddy) and another neighborhood friend whose brother is also starting kindergarten in the fall. Annika is pretty excited because Sarah Anne is also going to this school. And next week, we have the open house.

I think it's going to be OK.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

John Tanner State Park Sprint Triathlon Report

Nuva Nos! It's the first race of the season!





Doug and I dropped the kids at Nana/Papa's house on Friday after dinner and left home at 5am on Saturday to drive to Carrolton, Georgia. In case you didn't know, Carrolton is near Bremen.



I have a new immodium protocol courtesy of my sister and brother-in-law (the doctors) so I ate one before bed on Friday, ate some oatmeal and gulped a half-cup of coffee before we left the house, and ate a bit more oatmeal at 6:00 (2 hrs before race time) - as much as I could stand.



The sun was up when we got to the park and we set up our transition area in a leisurely fashion after the obligatory potty break(s) and another immodium. Race numbers were assigned in alphabetical order, so it was very nice to be next to Doug. We made friends with a nice guy named Daniel A. who gave me good wetsuit advice. In the linked photo, Daniel is the All-3-Sports guy on the right. He looked like a pro and came in 3rd overall in the race. We tested the water and it was 74.5 degrees. Doug never wavered in his wetsuit-wearing decision (on), but I was worried about getting mine off. When we practiced last week, I had to sit down in the water to pry it off of me. Daniel said that if I was a decent swimmer and not good at getting the suit off, I'd waste any time gains from wearing the suit in trying to get it off. That sealed the deal for me. Wetsuit back to the car.



We searched for and met Pop, who is on the BT board and was doing his first race. We saw some of the NAMC crowd and Annika's soccer coach from last fall (Coach Steve). It was nice to see so many familiar faces.



I Gu-ed up (Expresso Love flavor, in the flask) and we picked our way back down the hill to the lake for the pre-race meeting. The announcements were loud and coherent - super organization at this race. We met a woman doing her first race (Heather-Nicole) who was nervous about the swim. She was nice and I only left her when it was time to wade into the water. I seeded myself towards the back (AGAIN) because I wanted to wait as long as possible before getting deeper into the cold water but I miscalculated and was late. So I had to wait for the crowd to clear before actually starting to swim.


Swim




The first 100 yards were tough. I was in a crowd and people were all around me and bumping. I tried to just do my regular breathing and stroke while avoiding the other swimmers. At the first intermediate buoy I realized that I was just chopping with my forearms and not stroking with my hands at all. Well, duh - no wonder I was getting tired. I gave myself a pep-talk with some bad words and switched to a regular stroke and concentrated on finishing each stroke all the way to the hip. The water was very calm so it was a breeze to check position on my breaths without much lifting of my head. Thank goodness I stuck with the bilateral breathing last summer! I still need to work on actual sighting if there are waves. I did much better going around the back stretch and up to the finish line. After I rounded the final buoy, however, I got a big smack to the head/ear. I don't know if it was a foot or an arm, but it hurt! No lasting damage, though, so I was able to stay strong on the back side. There were 2-3 pink caps in front of me at the finish so I knew that I was pretty far back in the pack.


12:47 - almost 2:00 per 100 meters



My transition was slow, as usual. 1:51. What the heck was I doing? My Team Zoot/Gu uniform was already on - all I had to do was apply helmet and glasses, put my flask in my shirt and put on my shoes and socks. Jeez. I'm going to have to practice this.



Bike



So, I was hoping that all of the trainer rides and my recent bikes would have translated into a blistering bike leg. Alas, not so much. It wasn't horrible but I really struggled to keep a high cadence and go fast. I was awesome on the downhills and passed lots of people on those. But those folks almost always got me back on the next uphill. Only three women passed me, but two had 37 on their calves. RATS! I was able to pass the other lady and I think I got out of transition before the two 37s. I also would have been faster if I hadn't had to stop after I dropped my Gu flask shortly after the mount line. Yes, I know I said I was going to mount it on my bike - I've had the bike mount for months, but it just isn't on the bike yet. And, in the last mile, there was girl in front of me in a red shirt with a number 4 on the back on a MOUNTAIN BIKE. But could I catch her? No!



37:36 for an avg of 17.87 mph



The whole last half of the bike I was telling myself (out loud) "shoes off, hat off - shoes on, get visor and number". So this should have helped me get this transition done in record time. Again, not so much. The NAMC folks have advised that I need lace locks so that will be my next gear purchase. Transition to run was 1:11.



Run



I didn't have heavy legs to start the run the way I usually do in a brick. But, my left calf acted like it wanted to cramp up. I didn't stop but babied it a little. The around-the-lake part of the run wasn't bad - it was shady and though the path was bumpy, it was nice. I maintained a fast pace but was at the top of my heartrate range. I know this because as much as I'd like to think that I am delicate and graceful and silent like a panther on the run, almost invariably, the other racers all turned to look at me as I gained on them. I told one guy "I know, I sound like a freight train". I don't think I was gasping or wheezing but I was certainly breathing hard (what's the motto? "In a sprint, if you aren't hurting, not going fast enough!") and my footfalls are pretty heavy. Oh, well. Maybe they could just hear all of the water that I drank on the bike sloshing around inside of me. As we passed the bridge to the finish for the out-n-back portion of the run we started seeing other racers coming towards us. FUN! I yelled for everyone and had a great time. I think the run is my favorite part. I yelled for Heather (NAMC buddy) twice, which I thought was weird. Turns out that the first Heather was actually Rebecca. Oops. Had to apologize for that! I saw Doug and he looked good. Shortly behind him was Coach Steve, who looked very fresh while I was starting to wane. The turnaround was way up a hill and I've never been so happy to see a volunteer. I told the guy so and we laughed about it. I walked through the mile 2 water stop (I know, what a wuss) but I needed to rinse my mouth and the lady with the 45 on her calf in front of me stopped too. The last mile was more rolling but more downhill than up. I yelled for everyone and had a great time. I was redlining the whole time so the run was tough but I tried to ignore that part. I passed a guy from our neighborhood (Danny) whose family I had seen coming out of the swim. He was trucking right along. I didn't tell him about the hills coming up.

I found the mountain bike girl (#4) as we crossed the bridge to the finish. I poured it on but couldn't catch her. Rats! I made sure to stop and tell her how awesome she did.



22:39 for the run which is a 7:19 pace. I can't complain about that at all.



So, my total time was 1:16:06 and that was good enough for 3rd place in my age group. Courtney and the real Heather both did 1:15 or under so I felt guilty getting the hardware when they didn't get it for better times. I was 5th on the swim, 5th on the bike but 2nd on the run. That run saved me in a big way. So, next time I know what to work on. I feel much better about the open water swim, too, so that is a good thing.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

What Happens At Nana's

Our girls spent the night with Nana and Papa last night and played with cousins Sophie and Julia until after lunch today. Needless to say, they didn't sleep much, ate a half-package of Twizzlers and have been napping now for almost four hours.



That's right. Four.



And, Doug is on his way to get our babysitter now so that we can have dinner with some friends.

Methinks that getting to church in the morning will be tough tomorrow.


Anyhow, in other news:


What do you think those prints are?

I saw them on my bike ride Wednesday and thought "Hm, they must have run over something and their tires got it all over the road."

Then, "Looks like butterflies."

However, as I went up the hill out of the neighborhood, I thought of something else it might be and went back for a photo. I know the photo would be better without my shadow, but my heart rate was up from biking and I was nervous about the guy who was innocently doing yardwork across the street.

I'll post tomorrow what I thought they were. Doug didn't agree. You'll notice that the prints are not as regular as you'd think they would be from tires.

And, I got 3rd place in my age group at the John Tanner State Park Sprint Triathlon today. Whoo! My time wasn't awesome (placement depends on who shows up in your age group, obviously and the faster 35-39s must have stayed home!) and the bike and run were HARD, but it was a really fun race and we saw all sorts of NAMC and BT folks and a guy from our neighborhood at the race. Doug beat my bike time by over 4 minutes. He kicks ass. The youngest racer was 13 and the oldest was 87. That is not a typo. That guy is a BAMF. I'll post a race report with a photo of my cool team ZootGU uniform once the official times are up because I still haven't learned to use the multisport function on my Garmin and Doug read my times off to me so I don't remember them.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Nuva Nos!

My Grammy is Ukranian and her husband (Grampy) was Lithuanian. At their house, every time a different vegetable or event occurred for the first time in a season, the family would yell "Nuva Nos!" and smack each other on the forehead with the heel of their hands. It looks like the "I coulda had a V-8" smack. BUT - you have to be the first one to notice the item or event or it doesn't count.

So, it was always a big deal to realize that we were eating the first hamburgers, beets, radishes, corn, etc. of the season so you could be the one to yell "Nuva Nos!" and smack someone on the forehead. My internet searching has not revealed which language this phrase comes from and I'm sure the spelling is wrong, but I'll report back after I ask Grammy.

Anyway, the point is . . .

Nuva Nos! It was the first bike ride of the season today!

I rode from school and got a great 30 mile ride in. It was beautiful outside, no cars tried to kill me, and the Lemon Sublime GU I ate was actually pretty good. The vanilla is always good, but I was a little worried about this new flavor. I'm still afraid to try the Strawberry-Banana. Jerry swears by it, but I'm not convinced.

THEN, after a stop at the Peak Sports Nutrition store to buy some electrolyte drink and use their potty, I ran 3.11 miles and finished just in time to pick the girls up at school. SO much fun! I can't wait until Nat gets her bike back so we can ride together. However, I may need to eat more on the bike. I think I was OK on fluids since I had to stop for the potty break but maybe some more calories would be good. Hopefully my GU2O will get here soon and I can start trying that out.

AND, Doug and I took the girls to the lake yesterday to try out our wetsuits in preparation for Saturday's race. It was the maiden voyage of the new Zoot wetsuit that I got for Christmas. The link is not a photo of my actual suit because mine is not this cool-looking but I felt super-cool in it, not at all like the neoprene-covered cow I was when I tried it on four months ago. When you unzip and roll the top down, so you look like a real pro (HA!), you can still read the Zoot because the logo upside down is exactly the same. I'm sure I looked just as ridiculous and ungainly as before, but it's all about how you feel, right? I forgot my camera to record our swim for posterity, but I'll get a photo at the race.

However, as I flailed away in the lake trying to talk myself into going close to the buoys I wondered what in the heck was I thinking signing up for a 5K swim. Open water swimming is HARD. I thought I was a bad-ass because I've gotten up to a 6,000 yard continuous swim in the pool. Not so fast, bad-ass - more like candy-ass!!

In other news, the girls and I are off to Aunt Jennie/Uncle Robbie's house for dinner tonight to see the baby. Hope everyone had a super day today.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

What We Did for Spring Break

Many of the neighbors went on trips for Spring Break. I know this because there was zero traffic and our neighborhood was a ghost town last week. We didn't go anywhere so we got to enjoy the girls' company all week.

Because I had a giant allergy attack on Tuesday, the girls and I had to bail on Nat's playgroup and do indoor things on Wednesday. We went shopping and baked cookies. Below, you can see my new and improved cookie cooling method - keeps the crumbs off of the counter and the floor. We made a double batch of Nestle's Tollhouse Cookies (the recipe on the back of the package) and did half with chocolate chips and the other half with mini M&Ms and cashew pieces. The cashews were very tasty in the dough but were lost in the finished cookies. I guess their flavor was too delicate or too much like sugary buttery flour.



Our niece, Julia Ann Williams, was born on Tuesday afternoon (April 8). She weighed 7lbs and was 19 inches long. Doug dropped me off at the hospital after we went to the Masters Practice Round in the morning. Julia is my sister (Jennie) and her husband's second daughter. She is very cute and huuuuungry. That's her dad (Robbie) holding her in the photo.



Here are some gratuitous photos of Dagny playing on the playground at Annika's last soccer game. She pulled the clips out of her hair, so it was all aflutter.



In other news, we are the house of pee again this week. On Monday, the dog let loose during her nap and created an ocean under our kitchen table, where Doug, Annika and I were sitting (I was going to call this post "Ocean Sized" but decided against another bathroom-focused post). That's 3-4 loads of laundry to clean the towels we sopped it up with and my computer bag which was also doused.

Then, Dagny's diaper leaked during her nap yesterday and again last night. 2 more loads of sheets.

And Annika wet the bed last night too. 2 more loads of sheets/comforter.

Luckily, I forgot to pack underwear to put on after my swim this morning so I still have clean ones to wear tomorrow because there is no telling when the next load of actual clothes will get done.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Ba-Wit-Da-Ba



What! Camping out for football tickets?
No? What about Rolling Stones or Smiths tickets?
Nope.
Camp.
I camped out for summer camp registration this morning. You know that you are jealous. I arrived at 5:30am in the freeeeezing cold and was number 9. I got all of the camps I wanted (alas, with no price discount for being early) so that is a good thing. Met some nice neighbors and we've already planned who is to bring the warm beverages for next year.
In other news, now that my kids' camp aspirations are fulfilled, we trekked to IKEA yesterday and bought Dagny her new big girl bed. Actually, it is bunk beds. I don't remember if I posted about the harrowing trip to IKEA a few weeks ago in which I picked out linens with both kids and nearly killed myself. Will post photos once I've washed/ironed/hung drapes and removed the extra furniture and cardboard boxes from the room. Dagny is alseep in her big girl room RIGHT NOW only two hours after I laid her down to nap,
And, I scored a big goose egg on the Challenge yesterday because Doug and I spent the entire afternoon assembling the bunk beds and the beautiful blue dresser. My fingers are sore today, though, which should count for something.

Monday, April 07, 2008

God Save the Tween

Annika has informed us that she no longer likes the music in her i-pod. She has requested new tunes.

Out go those darn Disney songs. Ariel, Wiggles and Laurie Berkner - you are chopped liver. You've been supplanted by the offspring of none other than Billy Ray Cyrus.

That's right. We are in the tween world now.

The world of Hannah Montana.

For those of you who have not recently wikipedia-ed Hannah Montana (because I have), Hannah Montana is a show on the Disney Channel about this pop star named Hannah Montana. Only, instead of the rock-and-roll lifestyle, she wants to live like a regular kid. So, she is incognito and living in Malibu as Mylie Stewart and only her family and close friends know. The show is squeaky clean and pretty cute. Mylie is always getting into some kind of jam and making faces at her predicament, which somehow works out in the end. Typical sitcom material. But Annika LOOOOVES it.

Actually, for car audio, Hannah Montana is a good bit less annoying than the Veggie Tales. "So we've got that going for us, which is nice." Don't get be wrong. I really like the message of the Veggie Tales a lot and if Annika wanted to sing "He's Got the Whole World in His Hands" all day - I'd do it. I even sing along. But after one time through that CD, my head starts to hurt.

Interesting, though, is that Dagny can't keep up with the words on Hannah Montana. She is still Laurie Berkner speed. "Hey Victor," "Hey Freddie," "Let's eat some spaghetti." So the "kids" mix on my i-pod alternates between the oldies and the new stuff. That Doug, he is smart.

Anyway, my point is not necessarily that Annika is a tween because i-village says (and you know they know everything) you have to be ten to be a tween, but she WANTS to be a tween. Which is almost as scary. Suddenly, the music on our i-tunes is not the only music she hears. Next thing you know she will be wearing black and listening to the Cure and the Smiths and Bob Mould . . .

Or not, because now all of those guys are old like me. She'll be listening to some other whiney wankers. Sigh.

Friday, April 04, 2008

Wuss

On Tuesday, after my easy swim on Monday and recovery run/walk in the morning I rolled my ankle. No, not the one that I rolled before my 12 miler a few weeks ago.

SIGH. Really, Grace is not my middle name.

Doug and I had just been talking about how the nightly dog walk (he Garmined it at 0.5 miles) with the girls would have me goose-egg free for the rest of the summer, even if it wasn't a "workout" per se. It does make me sweaty but mainly that is because Dagny poops out halfway and I have to carry her. So I don't think it really counts. The ankle went over as I was carrying Dagny on my shoulders down the rocky, pebbly, grass-clippings-covered hill. Doug had followed Annika back on around towards our house (Annika likes to run and beat all of us, which is why we had to Garmin). I thought the shoulders would be better so Dagny's weight would be evenly distributed and so I could see my feet. Dagny disagreed - she wanted to be held in my arms. Turns out she might have been right. Luckily, I was able to keep Dagny on my shoulders so she didn't fall. She's still talking about it, though, so I think it was scary.

No matter. My activity for Wednesday was my endurance swim. Made extra fun because it was only arms. On Thursday morning, I didn't get to run as planned because of the ankle. No matter, a bike ride or a yoga in the evening would suffice for purposes of the streak. Except that my naggy cold symptoms turned into a fever and I couldn't breathe. Thursday was a goose egg. Unless the paint fumes from upstairs stop searing my lungs, today might be too because now it's raining. I know that Nat would have exercised in this situation but today I'm a wuss. Sissy. Wimp.

But tomorrow, boy howdy, I think I'll be able to run. My ankle is still a little swollen but it looks much better and I have a full range of motion. : )