Saturday, August 30, 2008

What She Said

Or, On Breakfast At Our House.

We have new cereal at our house. It's called "Mighty Bites" and is produced by Kashi. I love Kashi. Their cereals have lots of protein and insoluble fiber, which are good for me. Anyway, I gave in to the pressure for the Mighty Bites because it has 4-5 grams of protein and some fiber in it so it's not all bad. It does, however, taste like marshmallows. Ick. But the girls like it. Even Annika. And, the cereal is shaped like little men.

Which has produced the following quotes of the day:

"Mom, I want MEN for breakfast!"

"Give me more MEN - I love men best of all!"

For the record, I mix the men with cheerios when I feed them to the kids.

Dagny, who only eats cereal for breakfast (because she loves cereal like I do) has eaten two bowls of "Os and men" this morning. And, Annika has eaten nearly a whole serving of oatmeal. She asked for oatmeal this morning so I made two servings for her, thinking that I would just eat the leftovers. What leftovers? There are about two spoonfuls left in the pot.

Best of all, it's after 8 o'clock and I haven't lost my marbles yet. Granted, our sole accomplishment of the morning so far is eating breakfast, but we did survive a poopy diaper accident and the preparing of breakfast (only 2 timeouts) so that is a victory.

In other news, I also survived my long run this morning (14 miles) but had to stop 4 times for potty breaks. I think I was dehydrated from yesterday and that made my GI issues worse. I mention this only because (a) it makes me feel better to confess, and (b) I know others have this issue and I don't want them to feel alone. Anyway, Doug and I wrote out my marathon training plan (just the long runs) last night and it was very daunting. There is no wiggle room or procrastination space if I'm going to get in enough training to finish without major strain. Gulp.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Stephanie Bites the Dust

Or,

Why You Should Always Make Your Kids Wear Helmets

Today I rode bikes with Doug and our friend Neal. As we rode away from the park, Doug noticed that Neal forgot his helmet. "I'll be OK," he said. "Nah, we'll go and get it" said Doug. "Whew" said I. I didn't want to be the bossy mom. We looped back through Land O'Lakes and retrieved his spare helmet. The good one appears to be missing, which sucks, but at least he had a spare.

After the helmet application, we rode in the nasty drizzle all around Roswell and had a lovely time. I wasn't always able to keep up, but I always reeled them back in at some point down the line. You have to work really hard to REALLY drop me.

We took the big hill route down Pine Grove to turn right on Shallowford Road on the way home. Those of you familiar with the area know that the turn onto Shallowford is tight - you have to downshift in advance and slow down.

Apparently, you have to slow down extra when it's wet.

My rear tire started to fishtail a little as I crossed the bridge and slowed down to turn but I thought I had recovered. I turned my handlebars to the right and all of a sudden I was bouncing and sliding on the ground. Oops.

As far as I can tell, when I turned my handlebars right, my rear tire kept going forward so my bike and I laid down on our sides. As far as accidents go, this was really minor. I only have some road rash on my hip, shoulder and wrist.

However, I'll never forget the sound my helmet made when it bounced off of the ground. THWOP! It's really odd to bounce like that.

As we finished our ride, I was thinking to myself that maybe I wouldn't have to get a new helmet (it's not in the budget right now) because it didn't hit that hard. After all, it only has a minor scrape on the outside.

The inside of my helmet is all cracked, though.

At least it's not my head.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Perspective

So, our friend Paul is racing Ironman Canada today. I've been checking online thoughout the day and scarily enough it is completely possible that Paul has been racing since before we left for church this morning (the race must be on Pacific time) and will still be racing by the time we get into bed.

Whew! And he is fast! That is one long race, people.

Off to bathe my kiddos. Race strong, Paul!

In other news, Dagny just told me that Annika was making her ugly (pronounced ughuhly) by calling her stupid. And that I needed to put Annika in her room. Ha!

And, I saw a snake at the Leita trail today. It was either a garter snake or a northern water snake. Watch out runners!

Saturday, August 23, 2008

I Keep Coming Back Again

Yeah, so we did the "race-plan-testing" ride/run in Cartersville today.

I packed all of the items mentioned in the previous post and we stopped at the clean and tidy truck stop near the Budweiser plant to potty. I also purchased and ate one of a two pack of cinnamon pop tarts. Doug ate the other. Nat had brought her own. I totally copied her because I had to buy something while we used the potty at the stop.

Upon arriving at the Bud plant, we (Nat, Doug and I) suited up and sallied forth into the winds. You could smell the wort from the brewing on the wind. Yummo! : ) That, and the fact that they let us park (for free!) in their parking lot made me really love Budweiser today. On the ride, I felt terrific for the first two hours. My Accelerade tasted awesome and I took a shot from my Gu flask every 1/2 hour. We stopped once to pee, but I didn't stop my watch. Doug was keeping the pace to see if I could hold 17 mph for a ride that long. Until the two hour mark, it was easy. I yelled "whee" down the hills and took in the sights on the beautiful ride. I saw a hawk at the Hawk's Heaven subdivision and a swan in someone's pond and mooed at lots of cows.

However, as we passed the crazy bike-chasing dog (who picked me to chase, by the way) and entered our third hour of biking, I faded fast. Doug had my third bottle of electrolyte drink and he was way ahead of me. I couldn't catch up and spend a lot of time saying bad words and thinking bad thoughts about myself and my riding. It was the Valley of Darkness. This happens to everyone in a race or during training but it happened in a big way today. I kept telling myself that it was just the fueling but upon further reflection, my fueling was fine until the 2 hr point and I still had plenty of Gu and water. Doug slowed and passed me my bottle at about 2hrs 30 mins so it clearly wasn't the fuel. So, the new plan is to (a) start the 3rd bottle of drink promptly upon the start of the 3rd hour and (b) bring some kind of treat to look forward to to help me avoid that bad place. I tried many things but I think an external stimulus (food) is probably better for this than what I tried. So, next bike I'll bring some Fig Newtons or pretzels or ginger snaps to help me snap out of the funk. I even thought about writing my kids' names on my handlebar tape. Maybe just their initials.

Then, even after the new bottle of drink, I got a cramp in my abdomen. Ugh! It could have been the fueling, gas, stiffness at so little change in position for nearly 3 hrs or the constant snot-rocketing that my headcold was requiring. I'm thinking it was the cold or gas. TMI, I know. Sorry.

So we finally finished and I tried to stretch out while Doug (thanks Doug!) loaded and locked the bikes onto our car. We started running and I let Doug and Nat run on ahead while I tried to hold a 9 min/mile pace. After about a half-mile I was able to drink some of my Nuun and even eat one of my run Gus. Therefore, I think the cramping wasn't a tummy issue. Doug and Nat turned around at the stoplight and I planned to follow them after reaching the truck parked on the shoulder. I had even identified a potty location on the way back. Then, I noticed that we were back at the truck stop. Da DAAAAAAAAA! I ran in, took advantage of the clean potties, washed my hands and ran back out, waving to all of the truckers as I passed. Whoo!

There is no way that I'll be able to do my whole race without a potty stop, even with the immodium. It's high time I came to grips with this. So, rather than feeling bad about it, I'll use it as a rejuventation break. Just like the Gallaway method. Perfect!

I was able to hold close to 9min/mile for the rest of my run and even talk myself into going beyond my planned 6 miles to an even 60 minutes, and then exceeding that to get to a good turn-around place. I ended up with 7.01 miles at about a 9:16 pace. Not too shabby. Using my perceived exertion, I could have continued at that pace for a good while.

We learned a lot today. I'm hoping that Doug and Nat got as much out of it as I did.

The girls had a fabulous time with Meghan today. Didn't miss us a bit. They are, however, exhausted from this week so we will all be going to bed shortly.

You've Lost That Bonking Feeling

Anyone who has ever been overweight is afraid of calories. Calories are the enemy. They are the deliciously slippery Hansel and Gretel slope on which we will slide back to the fat pants.

But in longer distance training, particularly half-ironman distance (which is where we are now), those calories are essential. They mark the difference between finishing the race still running and either not finishing at all or finishing in an ignominious shuffle or the dreaded tour of the porto-potties.

So, after the near-bonk on my bike ride a few months back (couldn't find it in the archives - will link if I do), I've been diligent about my fueling. You know the ride - the one where I hit a bump, my hands flew off of the handlebars and I nearly wrecked in front of a car?

Yeah, so, the fear of that condition (the shakes, bad mood, confusion and nausea that we call "low-fuel" at my house) keeps me bringing plenty of electrolyte drink and Gu whenever I exercise. This could be a contributing factor to my ongoing GI issues, but I get those even when I get up and run without consuming anything so I don't think that is it. And, when I eat a Gu, I feel better. Comfort eater, that's me.

But - I've not had that bonking feeling in a while so I think I'm doing OK. I usually bring water and a bottle of electrolyte drink and a Gu for every hour of my bike ride and that seems to work well for me.

Anyway, David Warden at www.tri-talk.com has a nutrition calculator for use in triathlon. You input your weight, your race distance and intensity and it tells you your caloric spend and how many calories you should take in during your race. It's fun to play around with the numbers and compare caloric spend at different intensity levels and race distances. I checked out my sprint numbers as a test and it seemed pretty accurate (given the fact that I won't burn up all of my stored calories in such a short race).

So, according to this calculator, Nat and I (because we weigh the same - I know she's 4-5 inches taller, shhhhhh - we weigh the same!) should take in between 200 and 280 calories per hour. Racing at a higher intensity (87%) gets you to 284 calories per hour and at a lower intensity (82%) is only about 235 calories per hour.

We are doing our training run-through today to test nutrition and clothing. So, here is my nutrition plan for today:

Bike
2 200 calorie bottles of Accelerade on my bike
1 100 calorie bottle of Gu20 on Doug's bike
1 5oz Gu flask with Chocolate Outrage Gu (5 1oz shots of Gu inside)
1 aero-drink bottle of water for sipping

Run
1 20oz hand-bottle of water/Nuun
2 1oz Gus in pocket of hand-bottle

This might be a little low on the calories if I go at a fast pace. If so, for race day I'll replace the Nuun in my run bottle with Gu2O because I can drink that without a problem on the run. The race has hand-ups on the bike but (1) I'm worried that I won't be able to do them, and (2) they are serving Gatorade, which sometimes upsets my tummy. Because I only have 2 bottle cages on my bike, I'll either have to carry the 3rd bottle in my jersey (not a problem, except that my Team Zoot/Gu jersey doesn't have a back pocket) or get a water from the aid station and add my G2O to it in the race. Gu2O comes in single-serving pouches for just this reason.

So, bring on the test.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Grrrr

Just to prove how painful the last miles of my race were on Saturday, here are some photos that my new Zoot/Gu friend David took and sent to me. I met David at the race because we both had on our Zoot/Gu gear. He was practicing taking photos of folks at the finish so he would be ready when his son (also in Team Gu gear) came across the line, and sent these to me. Thanks David!














Racing for the Weekend

On Friday, we picked Annika up from school in the dreaded carpool line. UGH! And continued on our merry way (after the obligatory long wait and identification process from the school personnel) to Cordele, Georgia. We were on our way to the Lake Blackshear Resort for our second running of the Georgia Veterans State Park Sprint Triathlon. I think they've had a race here for several years, but we've only been going for two of them.


Doug's folks took the RV down again and the girls spent the nights with them, which was neat. Here is a photo of Annika playing with the toy RVs in the real RV and Dagny looking at me with binoculars.




That photo makes me smile every time I look at it because she was so happy to see me through the binoculars (which, as you might notice) are not connected in the middle.


Katie kept the dog, for which kindness we brought her a watermelon from the garden and some awesome beef jerky from the store located right outside of the park entrance. "Ew," you are thinking, but don't. These folks know their jerky.


This was Doug's first race last year and my second one so we were interested to see how we would measure up after a full year of training. Here are links to my race report and Doug's race report on Beginner Triathlete. And below is a list of my event times (wow, a blogger/excel interface would have helped here):


2007 v. 2008


Swim=> 8:41 v. 6:49


T1=> 2:21 v. 2:00


Bike=> 43:39 v. 39:16


T2=> 0:44 v. 1:02


Run=> 22:50 v. 22:47


Total=> 1:11:52 v. 1:18:13


Result 4th in AG v. 2nd woman overall



Overall, I'm very pleased with my race. The swim is a crapshoot because the distances change every year. I think this year's course was short or T1 included more of the run to transition because I didn't do my best on the swim even though my time looks faster. The bike was awesome - I'm thrilled with that. Almost hit a 20mph average!! I think I did OK on the run. I'd love to get down to 7 minutes per mile for the 5K but maybe later.


Then, we came home on Sunday and tried to catch up on the housework. Not so successful with that, but that's OK. I got the Mass times mixed up AGAIN (thought it was at 4pm, when it was at 5pm) but Annika, Grammy and I made it to our first Mass in the new sanctuary. It was beautiful and the coolness of having a kneeler helped Annika behave herself the whole time. We will, however, have to sit closer to the front next time because it was hard to hear the folks up front from the middle of the sanctuary. Oddly, the band and singers from the choir loft (it was the teen Mass) sounded like they were standing right at our shoulders.

Annika and I arrived home to find that Doug and Dagny had already eaten their dinner so we warmed up some spaghettios and watched the Olympics until bedtime.


Do you know what that means? It means that I didn't do any exercise for the streak on Sunday.


I'm souring a bit on the streak since Charlie broke his leg with what could have been stress fractures. I was up to 90 days again. Oh well. Nat is clearly going to win that challenge unless she gets sick. I'm thinking up a different idea for a streaking challenge next year and will post it in December.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Karma Police

There will be no more discussion about potty-training success here. After the last post, Dagny pooped on the floor in the bathroom (couldn't get her pants down fast enough) and the next day after ignoring my commands to sit down to dinner or sit on the potty, she dropped trou to poop on the stairs.

Nothing like picking up poop and disinfecting the floor to humble a person.

Seriously, though, it seems to me that every time I get excited enough about something to crow about it, I screw it up. So, there will be no more of tempting of fate on the blog. Dagny is working on her potty and some days are good. But some days still aren't. We visited the potty 4 times at dinner last night with no actual use of the potty.

And, on Friday I had to write my first "Dear Mrs. M" note to school to tell them that Annika would be picked up in carpool. Nothing like writing that note to make you feel like an actual adult. It feels very odd to be the one with the power to write the "Please-excuse-Annika's-absence,-she-was-ill." note - like they will notice that I've forged my mom's name and I'll be exposed as a fraud.

Um, not that I ever signed my own excuse notes so that I could have the maximum number of absences and keep my parking space, or anything like that.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Begin the Begin

It's the first day of school! Annika started kindergarten and Dagny started the preschool program at a local daycare today.

As we trundled Annika out to the bus stop this morning, Doug remarked that it's the beginning of her time. It's no longer in our control and about what we are doing - it's the start of Annika's doings. As you can see, she was pretty excited about it when we left the house but a little nervous by the time we got to the bus stop. Doesn't she look tiny compared to those other kids? That's the Keegan's kid, the Thomas's kid and Maddie (Annika's idol).







Dagny was equally excited to help write her name on all of her stuff and put it in her Wiggles backpack. She digs a backpack.

Here she waxes contemplative in the car on the way to school. She insisted on riding with the backpack on her lap.




To update on the Potty Train, Dagny had zero accidents yesterday and is still wearing the underpants I put her in this morning (Elmo, by the way). If that is not a victory, I don't know what is.

She took to the school very easily and didn't seem to care that it was new or that I was leaving her there. She immediately jumped into the puzzle action and started checking out the kitchen center. The snack was goldfish instead of animal crackers, which was a disappointment but that's the only negative thing we've heard so far.


In other news, since Grammy was out of town yesterday, Doug and I skipped church and took turns doing the Roswell 40 mile ride with Leslie, David and Natalie. Leslie and David did 80 miles! Very fun. : ) I even saw Mark G. out for his run. He's signed up for Kiawah also. Come on, Lotzie . . . you know you want to do it! All of the cool kids are going.

And, I've learned from my social networking activities that two of my old friends are now doing triathlons! Whoo! And my friend Sara called to ask advice as she trains for her first race. I love to hear about the converts. Someone else starting to do triathlons is almost as good as them moving into our neighborhood. One of my cousins will be working at the Forsyth County Northside a few days a week in her new job - she is a more likely candidate for the neighborhood.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Another One Bites the Dust

The Tinkerbell underpants bit the dust yesterday.

Poopy.

Yeah, I know I should have washed them, but who has biohazard clean-up supplies on vacation? Not me. My mom only uses ALL (it's an argument that has turned into a joke, now) so I can't buy Tide for her condo and I didn't bring the Oxyclean. So, those poopy underpants went right into the garbage. Where (amazingly) they will take up less space than a diaper.

Dagny seems to be catching onto the potty for her pee, but not for poop. There is still a power struggle (sometimes physical) whenever we say "time to sit on the potty" but sometimes Dagny will just go in there and sit by herself, announcing "I have to go potty." So, that is good.

But the bad is that all of the "going with the flow" on the potty seems to be using up Dagny's capacity to follow directions. Even if I say "wait right here," she will keep walking as I repeat "wait right here" and "wait right here" over and over. Similar results for "stop touching your sister" and "put your bottom in your chair" and "that's enough crying". Frustrating.

However, if I had made a major life change, not gotten enough sleep and only eaten pistachios, cashews and french fries for two days in a row, I might have trouble focusing and following directions too.

In other news, it looks like a hot one here today. Maybe we will get to actually go into the ocean if those pesky jellyfish are gone. Annika has a new Hannah Montana wave-rider that we need to break in.

Saturday, August 02, 2008

Under Pressure

So, the potty training.

It's going OK. Dagny has only peed in her underpants once so far. She's wearing a pull-up or diaper for naps and bedtime and has wet/pooped in those with no problem. Ha!

However, getting Dagny to sit on the potty to "try" is very difficult. She seems to have a lot of anxiety (uncontrollable, almost) about making anything.

This is the opposite of what we thought would be the problem. Dagny is, shall we say, strong-willed. She likes to be in control. We've been putting the potty training off because we were worried she would simply refuse to do it. And poop or pee in the underpants just to spite us. We can't be on the losing side of that equation, so we hadn't started at all.

So, we are being very supportive about sitting on the potty to "try" and repeating (ad nauseum) that it's OK if she doesn't have any pee. That it's important to try so that the pee doesn't sneak up on her.

No dice.

Maybe she doesn't need to go as often as I do or maybe she can hold it like a camel but it's very strange. We haven't figured out how to defuse the pressure of the situation yet. Singing works, sometimes. Distraction, too. But sometimes nothing does. Maybe some wet underpants will be the thing.

In other news, I rode 56 miles on my bike today. Which sounds a lot more impressive than it is because we are in the flatlands, but still. That's a new record for me.

Congrats to all of the peeps doing the Steelhead half-ironman today in Michigan. It looks like a super-fast race (Dan A. did the race in 4 hrs 04 mins) so we are hoping to see some race reports soon to see how the day went.

Friday, August 01, 2008

All Aboard!!

With apologies to The Gap Band,

Everybody All Aboard, the Potty Train is leaving the station.

Dagny and I went on a meet and greet trip to her new school on Wednesday.

. . where they told me that I need to have her potty trained in oh, 12 days. Yes, usually you don't have to have the kids trained until they are in the 3 year old class but they want to put the old 2s (Sept/Oct/Nov/Dec birthdays) together and if Dagny can't use the potty she will have to go with the younger 2s, whose asses she will promptly kick. Trust me on this.

So, before we went home after completing all of our errands, we assaulted the Target to buy the all-important Elmo underpants. Because, you see, it's important that the kids be invested in the underpants. Who wants to pee on Elmo? He's a good guy! We've had several meltdown-causing accidents but some good success so far. Dagny doesn't want to sit on the potty and she certainly isn't telling us when it's time to go, but this is a good start. We even achieved tinkling in the men's room at a Waffle House on the way down here. If she can pee there without touching the potty, we are home free.

In other news, we have the bikes and are at the beach for a last fling before school starts. Thank you very much to mom and dad for the use of their condo. It's hard to get stressed about school or work or potty training when you are sitting on the porch with an adult beverage listening to the ocean.

Doug and I talked a long time about the upcoming SC HIM race on the way down. He stayed awake while I took my turn driving and talked to me to keep me awake. We've concluded that I am unlikely to reach my 6 hour or less goal at this race. To do so, I'd need to go less than 3 hours on the bike and let's face it, I'm not there yet. Doug is closer to this goal, but not optimistic. I think he's wrong and he will kill it, but that's OK. And, Nat has put in nearly double the bike mileage that I have in the last two months, so I won't beat her either. Before anyone gets upset about the competition thing, please understand that Nat and I are friendly rivals - it doesn't really matter which of us wins. We will certainly share some nice frosty beverages to celebrate finishing and whoever turns out to be the winner. By the way, only 169 spaces left for this race, so register now if it's still on your calendar but you've not registered.

And, last but not least, we've taken the plunge and registered for the Kiawah Island Marathon in December. I've studied my running book and if I can get my long run up to 15/16 miles before the SC HIM race in September, I should be able to do the minimum number of 18-20 mile runs to finish the marathon. It won't be fast, but I think it's doable so long as I don't injure myself. So, speed work, schmeed work. I'm low and slow for the rest of the summer/fall. Anyone else in? Lotzie? Joe and Jerry are in.