Thursday, December 10, 2009

Tentative 2010 Race Schedule

I thought I should put this out there just to cheer myself up. More later, but these are races that pique my interest right now.

I'm adding weight loss goals to this list. While I admittedly would like to get faster, I'm not sure whether it is realistic. I'm not I'll even be able to train enough to do these distances. I feel like I can realistically decide to lose weight, though, so even if I can't run as fast or as far as I want to by then, I can at least be happy about meeting some fitness goals. If I can't run fast, at least I'll look better in my race clothes.

Feb 7, 2010 - Superbowl Run, Santa Cruz - Lose 8 Lbs by then. I'll be at my initial Weight Watchers goal weight, be Sub-Athena for most races, and at my Hawaii 70.3 weight from May 2008.

April 11, 2010 - Santa Cruz Half Marathon - Lose 13 lbs by then.

May 2, 2010 - Wildflower Triathlon - Olympic Distance - Lose 18 lbs by then.

Late July - Wharf to Wharf - Lose 23 lbs by then. This will put me at a little less than the low end of my ideal weight range according to my BMI.

November 14, 2010 - Malibu Marathon - I don't know if I want to get much skinnier than my ideal weight range for my height. I'll ask myself again when I get there.

or

California International Marathon, whenever that is.

Friday, October 09, 2009

Tips on Triathlon Training for New Moms

I'm not sure I'm the authority on this, but if I found an article like this while I was pregnant or when I first had B., I would have been happy to read it.

1. Ask for help! This is probably the most important thing to keep in mind. You can't do it on your own. And you deserve to have something for yourself. There are some people who will insist that it is your job to take care of the baby, and your husband does not need to help out. Everyone deserves a break. Being a parent is a 24-hour a day, 7 day a week job. You absolutely need and deserve to have something for yourself, and you also need to exercise. A fit mom is a happy mom, and a happy mom means a happy family. Be grateful for the help you get (Thanks Raybon! Thanks Mom and Dad!), but also remember you deserve it. Don't try to micromanage your helpers either. Be grateful you got to train or race and got your baby back safe and sound.

2. Start off slowly and listen to your body. Before I got pregnant, I was training for a Half Ironman distance triathlon. I was running 12 miles for my long runs. I cut this in half once I found out I was pregnant, and eventually went down to walking 3 miles by the end of my pregnancy. When I first started running 6 weeks postpartum, I started the Couch to 5K program on CoolRunning.com. I didn't get sore at all when I did my first run/walk (not even good sore), so I skipped up to Week 4, got a tiny bit sore, and decided I would follow the program from there. (This was when my husband was on Family Leave, and could watch Benjamin while I ran more than once a week.) Everyone is different, so I'm just using myself as an example.

3. Get a really good sports bra. I got The Last Resort Bra from Title 9. It is rated 5 barbells for zero bounce, is made of faster drying material, and unhooks in the front for easy access. :)

4. Ride your trainer while your baby sleeps in a battery operated swing. Trainers are loud, but so is the womb, so newborns find noise soothing.

5. I might add that you should buy a bike trailer. I don't have one and don't intend to ever get one, because I don't ride places that I would feel safe taking my son with me, but lots of people use them with their kids.

6. Eat well and stay hydrated. I keep a couple of water bottles filled up next to wear I nurse. Keeps snacks everywhere. Diaper bags, purse, near where you nurse. If you have what they call a "marathoner" for a baby like I did, you might be sitting in the same place for a really long time.

7. Be flexible and be positive. If you couldn't get in as long a workout as you planned, call it a recovery day. Call it a recovery week if this happens all week. Do these two weeks in a row if you have to. If you can't find time for all three disciplines or your body won't allow you to do it, tell yourself you are focusing on improving the one you can do.

8. If you're going to breastfeed, buy a pump. I would buy one that allows you to pump both breasts at once. I didn't do this, and ended up buying two pumps instead. Most triathmoms are pressed for time, and a double pump saves time. Pumping milk takes longer than you think, especially at first for a first time mom. If you're like me, you start to think of expressed milk as a precious commodity.

9. Walk with your baby in a baby carrier, to wear your baby in. This is how I got
exercise before I was cleared to run or swim by my OB. B. did not like his stroller all that much when he was first born, and still prefers the carrier. Our favorite is the Moby Wrap. It's comfy, distributes B's weight over both shoulders, and you can use it when they are first born. I put mine on in the morning and wear it most of the day, even when not wearing B. It's also good strength training. Hey, if you can't run, at least you can walk with really cute weights. It does tend to sag a bit when walking long distances, though. Although I'm cleared for all exercise now, it is still a convenient way of getting exercise, and B loves it.

10. If you plan on riding your trainer, put your bike shorts on under your clothes when you get dressed in the morning. I also put on a nursing tank to ride in, but I wear those pretty much every day.

11. Get a good jogging stroller. There are different options out there, and you have to weigh the advantages of different ones. I got the BOB Ironman stroller, maybe just because I like the M-Dot. No, seriously, it is built to go fast and straight. You can start using it when they are 8 weeks old to walk with, and 8 months old to jog with. If you want something that turns better, get one with a front wheel that turns (mine does not.) If you want something you can jog with when they are a little younger, apparently there are some out there. The age limitations have to do with their ability to hold their head up and sit up. I asked my doctor if I could jog with B. if he can sit up by himself before he reaches 8 months, and she said this is fine.

12. Again, every family is different. Some people have more needy babies. Some people need more exercise and harder races to feel happy. Some people can recruit more help for themselves, some less. Figure out what you need and what your family needs, and do what works best for everyone. Most triathletes are competitive people, but when it comes down to it, everyone has different goals, needs, and resources, and comparisons and competition are only so useful.

Monday, October 05, 2009

Seaweed's Back

I'm back. Back to racing. Maybe back to blogging. I've done three events so far: Flip Flop Roughwater (1 Mile Swim Around Flip Flop Pier), Flip Flop Triathlon, and a small swim meet.

I get so little time to myself now, I cherish the time I get to race. I used to have a very strong work ethic when it came to racing, but I don't really anymore. I'm not a good mom if I'm tired, so I have to come out of a race with enough energy to take care of Benjamin. If I have enough, he gives it to me back 10 fold, but if I don't have enough he takes it all and then some. Being a good mom just takes focus, and I don't have it when I'm tired. I used to get annoyed by people who would brag about how they didn't care about race results. I could go on and on about this, but I think this sketch by Demetri Martin kind of illustrates what I mean: Passive Aggressive Race

So, I really don't mean to be that type of person. I'm just doing what I can do, which is what everyone who tries to find balance in their lives has to do, right? Maybe I'll discover that doing it for fun is the best reason for doing it anyways, and even if I had energy, I'll never go back to trying to be a badass (and sort of failing at that anyways.) Being happy probably makes for being a better athlete anyways. The endorphins are probably the best kind of fuel.

When I was pregnant and first had Benjamin I tried to search the net to find out what other women did to train. I guess the answer for me and for everyone else is, do you want you can do. I run when I get a chance to run, which is once a week on the weekends. I bike if Benjamin takes a nap long enough for me to ride my trainer. I swim if I can get up early enough to do so, or if Raybon is able to get off work early enough to let me go in the evenings. I get in a walk if the weather is good, and Benjamin is agreeable. So I can't really follow a training program, I just train when I get the opportunity. Being a Mom is teaching me to just enjoy the time I have to work out. If that works out to me getting in shape for a race or improving my speed or endurance, that's awesome. But my time with Benjamin as a baby is so precious, as is my time alone, I just want to enjoy it and do it for the sense of peace and strength it gives me. And it does give me both. I feel strong by being able to run and bike and swim. I don't feel like a wounded veteran of a long labor and C-section. And I feel like a person who is worth taking the time for herself, which infuses my entire life with energy.

This might sound a little funny, but I think I might actually be a triathlete. I've now done 5 tri's, so maybe that sounds obvious. Maybe part of it is that I just don't have time to get back into swimming shape. I've blogged in the past about my thing with open water swimming and triathlon. I think after Wildflower last year, I had so much fun, I was almost ready to say it, but then after Hawaii 70.3, I think I was disappointed by my performance and exhausted. I had a lot of fun at the Flip Flop Triathlon, and I'm more excited about doing another tri than another swimming race. It might be a while before I do another one, but I'm looking forward to whatever it is. Maybe someday I'll even get a wetsuit.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Motherhood

When the first of my friends to have kids was expecting his first child he said to me, "When people tell you about negative things about having kids they are very specific: morning sickness, the painful labor, the sleepless nights, colic, changing diapers. But when it comes to the positive aspects they are very vague: 'It's wonderful; it will change your life.'" Truthfully, expecting a baby was terrifying, labor makes every athletic endeavor I've ever done look like a joke, and taking care of Benjamin the first 3 months made any training I've ever done look easy.

I don't expect to blog much about my family life. I don't want to spend a lot of time complaining. There isn't much enlightening I can say that hasn't been said before. I don't want to spend a lot of time bragging. It's hard not to, I'm a very proud Mama, and I'm a competitive person, but this is one area where I think competitiveness is ugly and would hurt Benjamin and my friendships with other Moms. I also want to respect Benjamin's privacy. I always run my posts that mention Raybon by him before I hit publish, but I can't do that with Benjamin. But I thought I'd at least make an attempt to articulate what is so wonderful about being a Mom.

1. Having somewhere to pour all my love into. I love my husband, and I love my other family and friends, but I think even Raybon might take out a restraining order against me if I ever poured as much of myself into him as I put into Benjamin. Benjamin wants and needs it. I don't mean to demean my own marriage or romantic love in general, but for all those women who wonder why they sometimes love too fast or too much, it makes a lot more sense that your heart works that way when you have a baby. Love at first sight for a baby is unquestionably a wonderful thing. You feel like an idiot when you change who you are for a man, but you absolutely have to do it for your child.

2. Babies are pure. Some may think this isn't good Christian theology (others might be fine with it), I know, but I believe Benjamin is absolutely innocent. He has no knowledge of good and evil, and thus can do no wrong. And having no knowledge of good or evil, he never judges me either.

3. He is so incredibly real. I hate when people say that a baby's smile is just gas. FYI, everyone, the scientific evidence shows the contrary. He smiles with his whole face. His joy is all consuming, so is his sorrow. He is also wise in a way that most of adults have lost touch with. He knows my real smiles from my fake ones. I can't fake my happiness when I'm tired, but when I realize that he isn't asking me to, I find a real smile under the fake one.

4. It's wonderful to watch him grow and develop. He is so incredibly alert, bright, and curious. He loves listening to people talk. He enjoys looking around at new things to observe and reach out and touch. He looks pleased and proud when he is able to do something new. He loves being read to. Last night I read to him for a half an hour, and he was focused the whole time. I had no idea that babies had so much desire to learn and grow all on their own. While Benjamin's development is important to me, I hope I never hurt him by pushing him too hard. So far, just figuring out ways to help him follow his bliss is working out just as well.

5. Being a Mom is getting to be fun, not just hard work. We laugh together and goof off. They say to limit visitors when a baby is first born, and I can understand part of the reason why. I could never be as sponteaneous in front of even my closest friends in the same way I can be with Benjamin. He laughs so easily when I'm silly, but I'd be too self-conscious to be that way in front of anyone else.

Anyway, I know that wasn't poetic or thorough or articulate, and I feel like he deserves much more. I can't put my heart and love into words, and I feel like it should fill a whole book, but I'll leave it at that.

Friday, September 25, 2009

My Son

"...God heard me, heard my heart, and gave me the one thing that's ever worked in my entire life, someone to love." - Anne Lamott, Operating Instructions

Sunday, March 08, 2009

5 Minutes of My Life

I was hanging out with Oxy and Raybon downtown after we got breakfast. We were cutting through Flip Flop coffee roasting company on our way to the drug store, when I decided to get hot chocolate. I said yes to whip cream, happy about having no angst about the indulgence. They piled it on high, and I was a little worried about getting the lid on. When it went on miraculously without spilling, I couldn't help but be filled with glee. Raybon and Oxy wondered why I looked so happy, and Oxy somehow guessed it had to do with the whipped cream and the lid. Nice mind reading, Oxy. I really was goofily happy about this, like I have been about lots of things since I got pregnant. Expecting a baby somehow restored a childlike pleasure to little things in life. But seconds later after bursting with happiness, my lid popped off, and I nearly spilled my chocolate.

Anyway, my chocolate only spilled over the edge of the cup a tiny bit. Life is still good, but it just seemed ironic and I have to admit it burst my little bubble. I wondered if I was tempting the evil eye by being so visibly happy.

I haven't blogged for so long, I wonder if my readers are like, "I waited so long for this?"

Sunday, February 01, 2009

Hour Postal 2009

I swam the hour postal yesterday, for the 6th year in a row.

2004 - 3315
2005 - 3845
2006 - 3780
2007 - 3920
2008 - 4100
2009 - Um... I don't remember exactly. Something like 3400 yards.

So, once again, I did not hit my goal of swimming 4200 yards. Hardy har har. I'm 6 months pregnant. When I first considered doing it, I figured if i just did more than 3315, I could see that as progress from when I first started swimming, because I wasn't pregnant then.

I got in and tried to pace myself off of someone who usually swims a lane or two down from me. I felt OK, but I got cramps after 20 minutes or so. This has happened the last couple of times I've swam Masters workouts. I stopped on the wall, slowed way down, alternated backstroke and freestyle, stopped looking at people in the lanes next to me, and felt fine after a while. I had kinda hoped to average 1:40's, but knew I'd have to give this up if I felt at all uncomfortable. So I averaged about 1:46 per one hundred, which considering I was doing a lot of stopping, cramping, and backstroke, isn't too shabby. And who cares!!! I'm pregnant. It really doesn't matter, does it? I'm glad I didn't get out after I started cramping, and slowed down instead. I felt fine at the end of the hour. I hope the cramping thing is just something temporary, and won't continue for the rest of my pregnancy.

25 Random Things About Me - Facebook Chain

This was surprisingly hard for me to write and publish. I haven't been blogging much. I'm not sure whether being pregnant makes me feel more vulnerable, or just more uncomfortable with vulnerability.

Once you've been tagged, you are supposed to write a note with 25 random things, facts, habits, or goals about you. At the end, choose 25 people to be tagged. You have to tag the person who tagged you. If I tagged you, it's because I want to know more about you.

(To do this, go to "notes" under tabs on your profile page, paste these instructions in the body of the note, type your 25 random things, tag 25 people (in the right hand corner of the app) then click publish.)

1. I ate 2 chocolate chip cookies baked with marijuana when I was 2 years old. The green ones were in reach on the stove, and the regular ones were up on the fridge, so…That is one of two times I’ve done illicit drugs, the second time when I was in Guatemala when I was 23. Pot again.

2. I’m very shy, but I also feel a need for family and community in my life.

3. I’m politically very liberal, but have almost always been conservative in my personal life. Don’t confuse this with close-mindedness. I’m always interested in the paths other people have chosen in their own pursuit of fulfillment.

4. My family was Buddhist when I was born, and converted to Christianity when I was 9. I’m not sure how I’ll explain Christianity and religion to the baby I’m expecting in May. I’ve never tried to convert anyone before.

5. I’m an open water swimmer. My greatest open water accomplishment is swimming the width of Lake Tahoe solo. I once dreamed of swimming the English Channel, but it’s a dream I’ll have to wait on for a while, because of the baby, and it isn’t as important to me as it once was.

6. I did a few triathlons last year: a sprint, one Olympic Distance, and one Ironman 70.3. Maybe I’ll do an Ironman 140.6 someday, but again, with the baby coming who knows?

7. I once wrote a letter to Bono inviting him to my sister’s wedding. My basic argument was that I spent such a huge part of my income on his stuff (concert tickets, albums, T-shirts, etc.) that a plane ticket to my sister’s wedding, as a percentage of his income, would be nothing compared to what I’d spent on U2 crap. He never answered, of course.

8. I was briefly a smoker, but didn’t smoke much. I smoked maybe a pack a month, mostly as something to do between bands when I went to clubs by myself.

9. I shaved my head when I was 18 years old. I didn’t shave my legs back then. I now have long hair and shave my legs when I’m bored.

10. I spent spring break of my sophomore year in college in a Russian Orthodox Women's Monastery. I once seriously considered becoming a nun.

11. I love swimming and being active now, but used to prefer dark, quiet places with close friends and family.

12. I have a slight crush on Howl from Howl’s Moving Castle, both the character in the book and in the movie. I’m not sure why. He’s vain, cowardly, and a big baby, the Anti-Harry Potter. Lots of other women apparently share this crush, and the ones I’ve talked to say it is because Christian Bale does his voice in the movie. But I’ve never liked Christian Bale all that much, so I doubt that is it. He’s a complicated hero, and I think that is why he is appealing to me.

13. I like comedies more than serious movies. Life is serious enough without fictional drama.

14. I’m pretty messy. I’m definitely developing better habits, but household chores have historically been low on my priority list.

15. In first grade, I stayed in at recess to do extra work, because I was in the “Green Group”, which was ranked below the “Red Group”, where the “smart kids” sat.

16. I hated swimming passionately when I did it as an age group swimmer. It’s now my main hobby, but I have yet to thank my parents for making me do it as a kid.

17. When I was a kid, my parents thought I’d grow up to be an artist. They were surprised when I instead became an academic nerd. I guess I didn’t show much sign of being smart as a toddler. My art teachers have generally agreed that I have artistic talent, but I’ve never done much to develop it.

18. I can be very, very single minded. If I have a goal in my head, it is almost all I think about. It's hard for me to be balanced.

19. If I sense jealousy from you, I probably don’t like you. I can’t be bothered to like people who would rather see me fail in life than succeed.

20. I’m addicted to the Internet. I escape into my computer when I’m hiding from something.

21. I was Pre-Med in college, but never applied. I’m not the kind of person with boundless energy, so it was hard for me to see getting through residency, or at least coming out of it as a nice, sane person. I also saw doctors work such long hours, it just didn’t seem like the lifestyle for me. Sometimes I regret it, but not all that much, especially since I became pregnant.

22. If an event doesn’t involve food or some kind of athletic endeavor, it’s hard for me to get excited about it. When invited to the annual lighting of the Pigeon Point Lighthouse by Angel, I couldn’t fathom why I would go to something that didn’t involve eating or exercise.

23. I was a Philosophy Major in college, but haven’t picked up a philosophy book since I graduated.

24. I’m really looking forward to being a mom, much more than I thought I would. I finally get why people want kids. Being pregnant is really amazing. I should appreciate how well my body works for me more, but it can be a chore working so hard just to maintain my health and fitness. I’m in good shape, but at 33, I work hard against the inevitable process of running down. So I’m in awe of the human life inside me develop out of almost nothing, and becoming more than what it is, rather than less.

25. I sometimes wish that life were a musical. People are earnest in musicals in a way they rarely are in real life.