Monday, October 26, 2015

It will be okay

Life has been an insane whirlwind this month...I cannot even believe it is November in five days.  This is my favorite time of year and I feel like I may have missed it.  Those perfect cool days are going to be quickly replaced by freezing cold ones and I know the dreaded white stuff will arrive before we know it.

My days are very much groundhogs day....wake up and run, shower if there is time, wake up G3 to get her to eat a bagel in 45 minutes-how does it take her this long??!!??-, and grab G4 before heading out the door to take G3 to school while G4 eats cereal in the car with a spoon...spilling a large amount on the floor of an already messy messy minivan.  We run to the big three on any given day, Target, Costco and Wegmans.  I am bound to see a fellow mom or dad out getting their errands in...I am hoping I remembered to brush my teeth before I left the house.  G4 is genuinely a happy little buddy to have with me on my morning circus ride and makes the run around fun for the most part.

Last week we managed to get some errands done in the morning and then actually made it, just a tad late, you should not be surprised, to G3's school for the firetruck day.  I knew G4 would be more psyched about this than anything...he had his firetruck book in tow and his firetruck socks on...ready to show the "woo woo guys" as he calls them.

As I was standing out in line to see the truck another mom from a different class came up to me and asked me my name.  She reintroduced herself and said that last year when she was pregnant with her fourth child I was sitting by her in the church during a preschool activity.  I had asked her what number this was for her...and she told me four.  My next phrase to her was..."It will be okay."  She told me that this phrase has stuck with her as she now has a one month old on top of three other littles all under the age of 5.  She continued to tell me how she would see me at the Trunk or more thing for a parent to stress over...and I did not decorate my car but rather was there in my minion costume handing out candy from a plastic pumpkin...nothing fancy but there with all my spirit.  She said she looked at me and will be okay.  She said with the Easter version of trunk or treat happened again...let's tax these parents two times over the course of the school year...again I did not go all in for the decorations but was there with rabbit ears on and a smile on my face...she would say would be okay.   She continued to tell me that over the course of last year and this year she would see me in my craziness knowing that I have four kiddos as well...and she would look at me and say to will be okay.

Well she made my day!  I came home and told my husband this story and just started to cry.  We all know and feel the pressure coming in every direction for us to be as "perfect" as can be.  I guess I have resigned to the fact that some days...heck most day...I, nor my children, are perfect.  They are happy, smiley, loved, healthy, silly, and far from perfect and that is okay.  I know that I put pressure on myself to keep up the good front but then there are days like today that I slept in my sweatpants that I wore Sunday afternoon and its' 11:40 on Monday and I am still wearing them.  I realize that perfect is not a reality and whatever I am living feels pretty darn amazing.

The piles of clean laundry that line my upstairs hall, the basement that has a floor covered with toys, the bins of clothes I have ready to rotate in or out or consign, the many random piles of school papers and restaurant coupons in the hopes of maybe making it out to dinner some day cover the dining room table and are shoved into many a drawer when people are coming over, the coolers that were used two weeks ago that still sit in the path to the garage yet are not put away, the beautiful fall centerpiece my mom bought for me but the reality of there ever being a spotless table to let it stand out on its own is minimal, the three huge bins of legos someone donated to us and the kids LOVE to play together with but where does one store these things when they aren't, oh the list can go on.

So I want to thank that mom that shared with me that my words help her get through some days because really, it will be okay.  We just need to love the ones we are with, give them the best of us on any given day, and take deep breaths even though that doesn't always work, and help someone a little bit each day.  Perfect is overrated, too hard, exhausting, and not fun...being exactly who you are is really the only way to go and that will be okay.

Embrace the Suck...choose you...and breath.  

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Post race recap...Beach to Battleship 70.3

Well the day came and went and it was truly amazing!  Everything about my first 70.3 Half Iron Distance was more than I dreamed up in my head!  Yes I said first...there WILL be more...I am addicted!

As you may remember the logistics around this race were not exactly as we had initially planned.  My husband was racing Ironman Maryland 10/3 however the threat of a hurricane pushed this race to 10/17...the same day as Beach 2 Battleship.  He wanted to be there to enjoy in the celebration and watch the three people he coached over the past six months reach their goals...however his goal had to be met as well.  We divided up our children and with the amazing help of family and friends figured it all out.  I headed to North Carolina on Thursday morning and he would head to Maryland on Friday...we would make this work.

Arrived to the convention center on Thursday afternoon after a long six and half hour drive and it was pretty quiet as most people arrive to packet pick up on Friday.  Grabbed our packets and left with an amazing orange trucker hat.  I was pumped.  The atmosphere was pretty tame but still got my juices flowing for what was in store.  We went to the house we rented for the long weekend and hit up the grocery store.  My training partner and I did a quick three mile run through the streets of Wrightsville Beach, we could tell this was a fun place to be.  Pasta was made and we relaxed on the porch of our was a great day.  

Friday morning we went to the swim at your own risk meet up at the channel we would be swimming on Saturday.  There were about 60 of us and it was a great stress reliever.  After our .8 mile swim with the current I felt like Saturday would not be an issue, swimming is not my strongest leg but I knew I could power through it.  That afternoon we packed up our transition bags, marked them with bright orange tape and was ready to drop them off at the transition areas along with our bikes.  The weather was supposed to drop in temp for Saturday morning so I made some sleeves out of old socks and felt ready for whatever was going to happen.  

Friday afternoon we had a late lunch in the town of Wilmington and we sat next to a couple who were also triathletes.  The woman was racing on Saturday and she looked like she was going to take names...sure enough she was the 4th female finisher...third in her age group.  I was impressed by her before the race even began.  It was not until my conversation with her that I realized I was probably going to go a bit faster than I thought on this course...I was getting excited!  We headed home to relax and have a calm dinner.  We spent the afternoon on the beach in the beautiful sunshine.

I went to bed at 9:30 and was up for about an hour and then fell asleep...I slept until 6:15.  It was a great night sleep.  I talked with my husband before he headed into the water for his swim...we wished each other all the best and final I love yous were spoken...It truly sucked so badly to not be together for these races...but we embraced the suck and pushed through.  My daughter rolled over and wished me luck on my race as I headed out to get my tattoos on and breakfast in my belly.  My training partner and I decided we would walk to the start from our house even though there were shuttles, our house was positioned in the middle of the two.  It was a beautiful calm morning and we were both in a great place mentally...very relaxed.

We stood in a parking lot as we watched the full swimmers start their day and then the 8:34 start for my training partner was up...he headed to the other side of the road and was was going to be a great day.  My group was 8:54 start time...I waited for my other friend and we walked over together.  Standing in the water and waiting for room for us to get in for our wave I started shivering and just wanted it to begin.  I went out to our starting point and positioned myself to the I knew I would have a left hand turn at the buoy...clearly this was everyone else's plan as well.  

The swim started and I felt goggles were not as tight as they should have been and water started seeping in pretty quickly.  I was feeling a bit overwhelmed by all the swimmers around me but knew I just needed to find my lane.  The goggles were not getting any better and I knew I could not handle it for thirty plus minutes.  I decided to flip onto my back and kick and take off my goggles and fix them.  I did this but seeing all the swimmers coming from behind freaked me out a bit.  I quickly turned back over and found my groove.  I made it to the first turn buoy and the current made it very challenging to make the turn as I was already to the left of the buoy.  I made my way around as I didn't want to get dinged for not going around it.  The rest of the swim was issues and no anxiety.  I was in my lane, my groove and I felt great.  Made it to the ladders and out to the strippers and to the swim mat 34:35.

It was probably a quarter mile to the transition area but I made sure to stop in the warm showers to rinse some of the salt water off.  I ran up the street in my bare feet chatting with the other woman around me complaining about those horrible first five minutes of the swim and how the water was so choppy.  We made it and was happy that portion was behind to find our bikes!  My cheering crew was there to greet me as I entered T1...gave me huge smiles and high fives.  Well, I thought I knew that mine was in the row by the tree and in the middle of all the racks on the left side.  Well when the front racks are now empty my visual was all messed up and I was freaking out that I could not find my bike.  My training partner's bike was gone from our rack and I finally did find mine and was debating on going to the bathroom but decided to just power through and get on the bike and go.  T1 was 5:55.  A bit longer than I wanted.  Next time will go in the am and get my shoes and helmet out and on the bike ready to go so I don't have to open the bag and find all that stuff.  I would then only have to put my wet stuff away.

Off onto the bike.  This part was making me the most nervous...I am lucky to train at home on a great trail when I get outside but never really feel like I maintain a high rate of speed for that long.  I trained at 50 miles in about three hours.  The bike was feeling amazing.  My legs felt fresh and ready to tackle these 56 miles.  I had no clue if I would feel like death when it came to the run but I was just going to push as hard as they would let me.  I also realized while going out to bike that I had hit stop on my watch instead of I was all messed up there but finally got it to show me my speed in a rotating was annoying but I was seeing what my output least every three screens.  So we were in town for a bit and then got out onto a highway...that is when the headwind was in full was crappy but I keep pushing.  The faster folks in the older age groups that started the swim after me were plowing past me...but then I was passing some of those younger age was a give and take on the bike. I found my training partner at mile thirty...gave him some encouraging words to keep going.  When we did the turn around and headed back to Wilmington we now had a tail wind...I was flying and legs still felt great.  I had eaten three gus on the bike and kept very hydrated with my profile design mounted water bottle.  Our final little bridge into town I was behind another woman from Florida...she was so funny complaining how there are no hills in Florida and that this was not a flat race...We made it over the grates on the drawbridge, our second bridge like that and turned into town.  We cheered each other over that was a great ride....managed 2:49:47.

Headed into the convention center for our next transition.  Right at the dismount line my cheering crew was there...all smiles and waving and high fiving.  Made the hard ride worth it!  Ran my bike up and then a volunteered grabbed it.  They called my number to help me find my run bag and headed into the changing tent.  Debated the bathroom again but decided to just go and start running. Sneakers were on and I had my gus and orange visor on...I was ready to go!  Headed out of T2 and saw my cheering crew again...3:09.  

The run started great...I knew the turn around was at mile 7 and it would take a lot of work to get there.  The first mile was a fast one at 7:52 which was a little add on loop right outside the convention center.  Took a bit to make the legs feel human again but was working through it.  There were a few hills to get out of downtown before we ran along a nice shaded path in a wooded area.  It was a great spot and the volunteers were awesome at the aid stations.  I felt like it was a false flat all the way up to the turn around.  I saw the first woman coming back and was just amazed...they were hauling!  I caught up with a 28 year old and tried to hang with her as best as I could....I needed her help to get me to that turn around.  Finally the turn and run back...I had taken my first gu at mile 3 and then my second at mile 9.  I was taking water at every station, dumping one on my head and one to drink.  I was starting to feel a chafe on my left armpit was just trying my best to not think about it.  I did have the thought that my husband and I were now running at the same time, and I saw a guy running in the same kit he was made me feel a little better on the last half of the run.  

Taking the turn back into town was wonderful...I knew it was less than three miles til I was done and on any given day I can run three miles.  One of the last turns to get along the water and there was a woman that was going strong and she told me to stay with her, that I could do it.  I love this sport...I love the community...she helped through that last mile.  Made it to the final left and there was a girl ahead of me...I had to get in front of her and I did.  Saw my crew in the shoot with their hands out and lots of waving and cheers.  Crossed the line and finally could stop...Run was 1:52:43...Total time 5:26:07.

I didn't know what my time was until I got over to the after party area where they were flipping through the results.  I found my two slices of pizza and some cookies and grapes...lots of water and a seat.  I sat with some people and discussed the day, the chopping start, the crazy headwind and the false flat of the run.  I then asked if I could track my husband on their phone to see where he was in his race...and he was crushing it!  Made it back to my crew after I felt a bit rested, got some Vaseline for my chaffed armpit and got lots of hugs and congrats while we waited for my training partner to come in.  

We grabbed our bikes and bags and wobbled back to the car.  It was a long day but one we were very proud of.  I would do this race again in a heartbeat.  The community was amazing and the level of sportsmanship from all participants was awesome.  We drove back to our house to finally get a shower and put on cozy clothes...was able to watch my husband finish his full due to awesome technology...3rd in his age group, next day a Kona slot he had worked so VERY hard for was handed to him.

Goals are not always clear when you start something but as you progress through the process of training, and you feel yourself working so very hard, those goals become crystal clear.  The daily training and time away from my people was tough, doing a swim at 5:30 in the morning not ideal, not feeling my toes after a long ride on the bike hurt, getting a sore bottom from a super duper long ride...all these things are worth it.  It is not about winning or being the fastest but about testing yourself and see what you are truly capable of.  As adults we don't get to have weekends filled with soccer tournaments and field hockey matches.  It is so very thrilling to go through the training and work, hard hard work, and get to "play" and see what you can still do.  I think it's very important to remember to play and always keep testing yourself.

Thank you for reading my ramblings and hopefully this will encourage you to start move towards a set that big nasty huge audacious goal.  You will fail, it will be difficult, but it will be so very worth it when you make it!

Embrace the Suck....Choose You!!  

Feel free to follow me at OrangeVisor on FB or

B2B 70.3 10/17/15
Swim 34:35
T1 5:55
Bike 2:49:47
T2 3:09
Run 1:52:43
Total: 5:26:07

Thursday, October 15, 2015

On my way to what I don't know

Leaving today to head to North Carolina to take part in my first ever half iron distance triathlon.  I have never done this before nor in the previous 36 years of my life did I think I would.  I started training in April of 2015 and here we are 26 weeks and ready to go.

It's funny that you do all the pieces of this race puzzle separately and hope come race morning they all fit together.  It's a lot like everything else in just work here and there and before you know it you have these amazing things in your life, trips planned, children born, marriages celebrated...all bit and pieces you work on every day to on one given day sit back and reflect on your hard work.

I have no idea what to expect for this race other than it will be amazing...there will be stories that I will hear that will inspire me and some that will make me cry.  I am doing this race with two amazing people that together you would not tag the three of us as people to tackle a half iron distance triathlon.  And there in lies the true beauty of this sport.  It is for the every person.  There is no cookie cutter for those that choose to participate in this experience and put their body and mind to the ultimate test.

So I am scared and excited...normal emotions before any big thing in your world.  I will have my cheering crew there...and I will have my orange visor on. I will channel my husband as he pushes through a full Ironman on the same day.  We will be in each other's head and in each other's heart.  We will both be scared and excited and at the end of it all...we will be amazed.

I don't know what the next adventure will be but I look forward to embracing it with open arms.  Keeping your body and mind engaged makes you capable of amazing things.  I can't wait to share my story with you next week.  Please feel free to say a little cheer/prayer/positive vibe for all those racing on Saturday morning...the hard work that people put forth to reach these goals is crazy business...and happy to be apart of it all!

Embrace the suck...Choose You!

Monday, October 5, 2015

The Dash

I was lucky enough to spend the day with a former coworker, a strong woman I call a friend, celebrating the life of her mother.  My dear friend was everything for her mother and father as they were for her.  It was a wonderful day filled with tears, laughter, silly stories and amazing people.   I was honored to know her mom and so glad that she today brought me back together with her daughter as it has been just too long.

I haven't been to a funeral for many years and today I was introduced to the poem called "The Dash."

It's funny how things come into your life at different times and it's not until later you realize why.  I have been feeling all crazed with hubby's and my race now on the same day and trying to accept that things are going to just have to find a way of working out.  I was getting wrapped up in the details of the whole thing and not remembering the work and dedication that we have taken to get to this point and that no matter what, it will be amazing.  I was focusing too much on the beginning and the end and forgetting about the all together process...the space between.

Life is a not always fun, joyful, times of celebration, success, happiness and laughter.  Everyone is not given a good hand of is not always all aces.  I feel though that no matter what hand you are dealt...those that have the most success are the people that are diligent to make those cards work in their favor.  It is the dedication that people put forth in these times of struggle and unrest that amazing stories are created.  These are the moments between the two dates, the times within the dash, that family and friends and those that loved you so much will reflect upon with a smile.  It is that drive that others can see and feel and want to grab a hold of that will leave the impression with them forever.

When those successes and good vibes start to appear you find a way of forgetting about the crap hand you were dealt and you start to feel more proud of what you were able to achieve with what you were given.  It is that sense of accomplishment that feels better than any perfectly dealt hand.  I am not just saying this either.  Sure being purely gifted at something and always being successful probably has it's pluses however, I feel more satisfied with my growth as an individual for what I was able to overcome in the process.  Testing myself with each challenge I uncover for me is the reason I keep pushing on.  I need to know what I am capable of next.

So is that the legacy I am currently leaving for my children and those that know me?  Is this one moment within my dash about challenge, change, dedication, and growth???  I hope that I continue to wear a smile a little bit more, love the people in my life like never before and try to understand the way other people feel.  I think it's important to try to remember we are all living in the dash...and all trying to do it to the best of our ability.  If there is ever a moment where you feel that you can help someone shine and light a spark within it...and you will feel the shine as well.

So my dear are living your dash beautifully and thank you for letting me share in this day remembering someone you love and will miss so very much.  She is looking down on you and smiling with a full heart and of course multitasking while washing a sippy cup!

Embrace the suck...choose your dash!