Saturday, January 31, 2009

Mental Training

I got home from riding this morning and my husband asked, "Did you cut it short?"

He asked this because I was home earlier than usual. My answer? "No. In fact, we rode 6 miles further than usual."

62 miles. Ride time 2:55. Holy cow.

The thing is, none of it was really crazy fast. But none of it was easy. None. It was big chain ring, aero bars, steady state pace the whole time. It felt like a half ironman race, except we were drafting. But the effort was the same.

Spence dragged Sandy and me around the east side of Oahu this morning. Drafting off him feels like motor pacing. He's like a machine. He never slows down. He never backs off. And apparently nobody has ever told him that you can slow down when faced with a relentless headwind. Or rolling hills. Or a wet bumpy road.

It was good training, really. Nice to know that I can sustain that effort for hours on end, even when I'd just love to back off, for just a minute... to recover, just a little. It was almost more mental training than anything. At one point I realized that I was concentrating so hard that I didn't even have a song in my head. So on the way back, I made a conscious effort to get a song in my head. And you know what popped in? "Sleep, pretty baby, do not cry, and I will sing you a lullaby..." Note to self: STOP playing that CD for Moana when you put her down each night.

Friday, January 30, 2009

The Next Generation

This morning I went to the gym. Normally on Friday mornings I'd be swimming, but since the heater at the pool has gone on strike (and we are all well aware of my aversion to cold), I opted not to subject myself to going numb in that frigid water. Instead I headed off to sweat indoors.

At one point as I was stacking some weights, an older Asian woman caught my attention and paid me a nice complement regarding the muscles in my arms. I smiled and thanked her, mumbling something about being a swimmer. The she said the following, "You know, it's nice to see you young girls here working out. When I was your age, they told me 'you can't do that'."

It really got me thinking. For the rest of my workout I was envisioning Moana's future. She'll never be told 'you can't do that'. In fact, I think the environment that she is going to grow up in is going to be pretty darn cool for her.

I could be totally wrong on this... who knows what she'll be like when she's a toddler or a teenager. But it makes sense to me that kids look up to their parents as role models, and Moana's role models are going to be pretty active people. I'm not going to force her to be an athlete, but 'normal' in her world will be to watch her mom swim, bike, run, lift weights... and watch her dad surf and play soccer. I was also a gymnast and a diver growing up, so she might be exposed to those sports as well. It just makes sense that after watching me finish a 10K that she might want to do that kids race they put on.

And I've heard what a nightmare it is to get your kids to eat their vegetables. But what if mom and dad eat vegetables? What if we eat them not because we have to, or because we're trying to set a good example for her... what if we eat them because we genuinely like them? Won't that rub off on her?

Thursday, January 29, 2009

At Least You Have Heat

There's a reason I don't live on the mainland.

I'd like to say it's just because I am a free spirit who loves the ocean and other outdoor activities that Hawaii has to offer, but it's more than that. It's more than the fact that my husband, who grew up here, doesn't want to leave.

The reality is that my fragile immune system just can't handle cold temperatures.

I spent my first 18 years (still more than 1/2 my life) dealing with Ohio winters. I've always just been miserable on the cold, and never saw a point to snow. I remember my brother getting all excited when we would get a good snow storm. For him that meant outdoor fun. But I don't ski. And if you don't ski, there isn't really a point to snow, is there?

Since it's going on 17 years now that I've lived in warm climates (read Arizona, California, Hawaii, Indonesia), my body is even less equipped to handle the cold. Cold for me now is 65 degrees. Shoot. 70 without the sun is indicated fleece weather.

I swear I feel like we're having the coldest January on record. I know that all of you in Chicago think I'm nuts, but I'm sitting here wearing multiple layers (including the said indicated fleece) and eating hot cream of wheat and my nose is still like an ice cube.

I cut my run short this morning because all I wanted was to steam myself limp in the hottest shower I could handle. The whole way home I was dreaming about the shower. In fact, I barged in on my husband because he was already steaming himself and I figured he wouldn't mind sharing.

In Hawaii we are not prepared for cold weather. Our shoes don't cover our toes.

One of our challenges is that we don't have central heating. Last night, after taking the potatoes out of the oven, I left the oven door open and just stood there, leaning forward, with my hands reaching out toward the 425 degree heat. I closed my eyes while breathing deeply that warm air and fantasized about summer.

The other day I drove home from the grocery store with my heat on full blast in the car, and then spent a couple extra minutes sitting in idle before turning the engine off trying to dethaw my feet.

I'm still feeling sick and lethargic, though I'm sure that an hour spent in the warm sun would cure me. Problem is that it's raining outside again today. So I guess Moana and I will spend another day in fleece and I'll have that chicken noodle soup for lunch.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

3 Months Old!

It's such a cliche and everyone says it... but I can't believe how fast babies grow up! Moana is 3 months old today, and yes, I'm the cliche saying I just can't believe she's so old already! I can totally see how the first year just flies by and I'll be like, "Remember when she was so little..."

Pretty soon she'll be eating real food and crawling and walking and talking and all that, but for now, we're happy with the little things. Like how today she reached out for a toy gym animal with an open hand instead of her little fist... and how her 'talking' is becoming louder with more varied sounds... how she experiments with her voice on her own now instead of just when she's looking directly at me or Scott. We can hear her cute noises from across the room... It's just all so entertaining.

And she's put herself on a much more predictable schedule so I don't really wonder anymore if/when she's going to be hungry. For the most part, she's eating at 3 hour intervals, with play time and short naps taking up the rest of the day. It's much easier for me now to plan my day and get things done (read: ride my bike trainer) when I'm confident about what she's going to need and when she's going to need it.

We've nailed down a good little exercise routine for her too. She practices holding her head up and she's great at it now.

She can bear all of her weight on her legs (and actually prefers to try to stand most of the time).

And all you athletes out there worried that Moana's little legs might be getting too much of a workout... don't fret... she's got her recovery socks on.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Moana's Big Adventure

Remember how I said I was SO GLAD that we were taking the Superferry over to Maui instead of flying? Yeah. Um, next time we're flying and we just won't complain about lugging all of Moana's stuff through the airport.

The trip over was a nightmare. Get up in the middle of the night to get to the boat by 5:15 to get the X-Terra loaded onto the boat for the 6:30 AM departure... High winds and a big ocean swell = major boat rocking = lots of people seasick (including me) and surround sound puking (luckily not including my family). I, like many others on that floating nightmare, found that being horizontal was the only way to cope.

4 hours after getting off that boat I was still dizzy. I laid down on my back and closed my eyes, only to find the whole world spinning. Yeah. Next time we're flying.

Anyway, we learned some things about Moana on this trip. Most importantly, we found that she is an adaptable champ and relatively easy to travel with. She didn't seem to care where she was as long as she was with us. :)

Specifically, what did we learn?

Moana doesn't get seasick. (Phew!)

A tent works really well as a crib in a hotel room.

The big bath tub is a scary scary scary place. No pictures of that meltdown. But there was no bath on Sunday.

Moana can sit up in an umbrella stroller and thinks its cool to be able to look forward.

Sunday morning I ran the Maui Oceanfront Half Marathon. It was a small low-key affair, and overall not a bad race, although you'd think that for a $90 entry fee maybe they could put a mile marker on the course... or an aid station more than once every 3 miles. I wasn't worried about the mile markers because I had my trusty Garmin to give me that info. I guess we weren't supposed to be looking for mile markers anyway when there were whales out there to see. I did see a whale breeching early on which was pretty cool, but that didn't make up for the lack of drinkable water on the course. At one point (mile 9ish) I had a flashback to my high school lit class and that Ulysses S Grant poem about the albatross... water water everywhere but not a drop to drink...

Anyway, here's how it went down... My plan was to try to take the first half out at 8:15 pace and then just see how it went from there. I wasn't sure that I could keep that pace the whole time, although every long run I've done lately has been negative split, so anything was possible.


My internal self talk? I'm like a machine! No, I am a machine!

I felt solid in those first miles, although somewhere around mile 5 I noticed that my breathing was becoming more labored. I was still coughing up solid phlegm (this takes real talent to do while ticking off 8:10's). I figured rather than pushing it now and then having the machine malfunction in a few miles, maybe I should just back off the gas a little. So the next 4 miles were a little slower.


My plan was to take my GU's at mile 5 and mile 9. The mile 5 one was no problem because I was carrying my own water bottle, but by mile 9 that was long gone and since my mouth was a dry as the desert by mile 8 and there was no water at mile 9, I couldn't take my GU. Oh, I wanted to. And I needed to. The machine apparently requires water to run. Without water, the wheels fall off. Seriously, this bears repeating, you'd think $90 would get a runner a little water.

Finally there was an aid station after mile 10. I walked it so I could ingest every drop of both those little thimbles full of the prescious liquid I grabbed. Took my GU. Walked the next aid station too, because once you start walking aid stations, that's really the end, isn't it? My last miles looked like this:


I missed my goal of "under 1:50" by ten seconds. That's what happens when you walk at aid stations. You miss your goal by ten seconds.

The things is, it's probably still a lifetime PR for me which is amazing considering everything. I've run 1:50 and change before. Can't remember the 'and change' part, but it was likely more than :10.

My friends Sarah and Andrea were there running too. Andrea finished her first 1/2 marathon yesterday, and Sarah (on the left in the picture below) was the first woman in at 1:40! Like I said before, it was a little race with only 128 people. I ended up 18th across the finish line and 5th woman (2nd in my age group) which was pretty amazing for me because I don't generally place so well in running races.

The first thing I did after crossing the finish line was wipe my daughter's nose. Because we're all sick. Snot factories all around.

But we can still pose for cute finish line pictures by the ocean.

The trip home today wasn't quite as crazy as the trip over because the wind was down. So there was less puking. But no less hellish for the 20-something single guy sitting right behind us on the ferry. I was coughing up a lung, Scott was blowing his nose, and Moana decided that the boat was just as good a place as any to test out her lung function and volume. Yes, we were that family.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Racing Flats

Here's an article I found at on racing flats. The T6 Racer is the shoe I have and will run in on Sunday. Good for up to a 1/2 marathon, it says. I'll let you know how my feet hold up after the race!


We're off tomorrow morning for Maui! I'm excited about our weekend away, although I'd be lying if I didn't admit some trepidation regarding traveling with a 3 month old. We've got a little routine here at home and I've got all sorts of options of what to do to calm/console her when needed. I guess it all really comes down to this: What am I going to do without the swing??

I've written out a list of all things to pack to take with us. I'm SO GLAD we're taking the Superferry instead of flying so I can feel better about taking more stuff (since I just have to put it all in the car rather than lugging it through the airport). I wonder if I can fit my exercise ball in the car? Not that I'll be exercising on it... Moana just likes to bounce a lot...

The goal is to have the car packed up tonight since we have to leave here at 4:45 tomorrow morning. That's not a typo. Of course, it's not like I'm not awake at all hours of the night every night anyway. (Moana has gone back to her old ways of wanting to eat every 3 hours, around the clock. I've been up 3x a night for the last few nights. Not helping my immune system. Ugh.) So I guess we'll just go after the 4AM feeding...

I'm not sure how the Maui Oceanfront 1/2 Marathon is going to go on Sunday. I'm feeling better than I was on Wednesday, but still not 100%. I did get up and run over to the pool for an easy 2000M this morning. It was a good way to clear out some of the congestion but I found that I'm still hacking up solid chunks which indicates that I won't be setting any new PR's on Sunday. I know it's crazy to think that I could PR a 1/2 Marathon less than 3 months post child birth, but I really think I could have done it if not for this cold. All my training times indicated that I was on track. It's not a huge deal I suppose, because even if I did set a PR this weekend, it wouldn't last long because I'm sure I'd break it again later in the year, but it just would have been fun to say I ran my fastest ever 13.1 miles before Moana's 3 month birthday, ya know?

I guess in the end, it's cool that I can even run 13.1 miles so soon after Moana being born. I remember seeing this race on the local event calendar when I was still pregnant. I counted the weeks and came to the conclusion that it would be unrealistic to try to do this because I couldn't work up to the distance in such a short time, especially considering I hadn't run a step since July. But then sometime in December I knew I was feeling ok and figured completing 13 miles would be possible, even if it was slow. So I sent my entry in. Then by Christmas I started setting goals about how fast I thought I could do it. Each week my goal time came down by a minute or two until I was looking at a PR (under 1:50).

I'm gonna give it what I've got on Sunday and we'll see what happens. I'd assume the results will be posted somewhere online before I'll be back blogging... If you look 'em up and find them, know that if I'm anywhere near 1:50 I'll be pretty happy. ;)

Here's a couple of pictures from last time I went to Maui to run a 1/2 Mary... how fast 2 1/2 years flies by when you're having fun! I was swinging single with my girlfriend Andrea... drinking Mai Tai's at the hotel pool all day after running... sweet. Andrea's going again this year... under completely different circumstances as we're both married and this time she'll be running too since doesn't have a broken foot!

I'll post weekend updates and pictures on Facebook since I can do that easier from my iPhone than this blogger. Have a great weekend!!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Desperate Attempts

I have launched a desperate attempt to fend off being sick this week.

In all honesty, I'm certainly due to be sick... considering the lack of sleep I've had over the last six months. Before I got pregnant, if I slept less than 7 hours two nights in a row, I got sick. Like clockwork. I always dreaded traveling to the mainland for this very reason... somehow the travel always included an overnight flight where I didn't get good sleep and inevitably ended up coughing up a lung by the end of the trip.

But pregnancy and childbirth has worked wonders for my body in all sorts of ways... one of which is that I have been able to operate on very little sleep and not get sick. So far anyway. My luck may have run out though.

Sunday night I couldn't sleep very well because my nose was running non-stop and I was sneezing a ton. My body didn't feel sick so I thought maybe this was some weird new allergy I was experiencing.

The runny nose/sneezing continued through Monday... I debated about running Tuesday morning, but since I wasn't actually feeling sick (just highly congested), I opted to go. I remember a running coach telling me years ago that sometimes you can just run it right out of you, so I thought I'd try that. I had a great run, but didn't run the sickness out. Instead it got worse.

Last night I finally admitted that I was sick. I could feel it in my chest and I started coughing up phlegm. Ugh. I have a 1/2 marathon in Maui this weekend that I was (am) really looking forward to so I'd like to get to the start line feeling as healthy as I can... To that end, all day I've been washing my hands raw and desperately pounding anything I can get my hands on that has ever claimed to enhance your immune system or reduce the length and severity of your sickness. All day I ate nothing but whole foods- juice and fruits and vegetables... and also drank kombucha, kefir, an immunity herbal supplement of some sort that was recommended by the guy at the health food store, zinc and elderberry lozenges, airborne, oscillococcinum... you name it. And I didn't workout at all today. (Yes, run streak officially over...)

I'm still coughing up some rude stuff, but overall I am starting to feel better. I don't feel any worse anyway, so I guess that's a start. I don't recommend the try it all at the same time method for those supplements though because something has just wreaked havoc on my intestinal system... don't know which one it was (probably a combination of them all!) I deserve it I know, but this whole getting sick the week before your race doesn't sit well with me and I was gonna fight it off (or die trying).

The other thing I found out over the past few days is that it's a lot harder to be a good mom when you're not feeling well. Dragging myself around the house trying to take care of an (almost) 3 month old is *so* challenging when you can't bring yourself to smile. That's actually how I knew I was feeling better tonight... Moana made me smile again. ;) She's been such a champ and I hope against all hope that her little immune system is strong enough to block out mommy's germs. So far so good on that front. Keep your fingers crossed!

*** Thursday morning update: Moana sounds like Darth Vader now when she breathes... and I had my first experience with using one of those nose sucker thingies this morning... poor little girl! She's such a champ though- she's not even fussy.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Magic Shoes

My goal in 2009 is to change my mindset about being a runner. I've always thought of myself as a swimmer. A swimmer who can ride a bike and who runs because that's the last leg of the triathlon. A swimmer who hangs tough through a race until the number of people who have passed me on the run becomes too big to count.

But this year, I'm changing my mindset. I'm a runner. A runner who can swim and ride a bike too.

I'm becoming more accountable to myself on the run by keeping a more detailed log of my runs. And to do that, I have had to start wearing a watch. Last year I didn't like wearing a watch on the run because I always just wanted to go out and run easy. I convinced myself that this was best because I was avoiding injury by 'staying within myself', but really I was just avoiding being accountable to myself for the effort I put forth on each run.

I've actually found it's pretty fun to wear my watch and see how fast I'm going. I dug out my Garmin too, and wear that on runs that are not my regular routes. Maybe it's fun right now because I'm having these awesome breakthroughs all the time now and I just continually shock myself several times a week.

The other thing I've done is purchase a pair of racing flats. In 13 years of running/triathlons, I've never owned a pair. I always thought racing flats were for fast runners, so I didn't qualify to have a pair. How fast do you have to run anyway before you've earned a pair of these babies?

I wore these shoes this morning for 7 miles of fartlek style running. It's a run I've been doing weekly. This morning, in these shoes, I was 20 seconds/mile faster than ever before. Question for those of you who wear racing flats- how much faster do you run when you wear them? How much of it do you think is mental (magic shoes!) vs the physical advantage of the lighter shoes?

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Tummy Time In The Sand

Another beautiful day here in the islands... Moana got to go the beach for lunch. Her daddy found a beach where the wind wasn't completely making the waves junk so he had some fun too. Moana got to have her tummy time today in the sand. I tried not to feel like a bad mom taking my daughter to the beach in her pajamas. But it was still a bit chilly today and I figured the Pooh Bear feet would be easier than trying to keep a pair of socks on her feet. Besides, who wouldn't want to hang out at the beach in their pj's?
Moana was practicing rolling over today. I got it on video but this darn blogger thing won't upload it correctly right now, so use your imagination.

I know that Moana is going to eat plenty of sand in her lifetime... I tried to delay the inevitable as long as possible but I'm afraid there was some sand eating today. She didn't even cry. Clearly a beach baby.

Now with all this fun beachtime activity, some of you may be wondering how I possibly got in my run... never fear... Scott dropped me off at a beach park about 10 miles from the house and made me run home. Ok, he didn't really make me run home, but I ran anyway. ;)
It was an awesome run on a perfect day.*

*Yes, I'm trying to make Angela jealous so she'll come out to play...

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Anticipate the Move

It's all about the wind here in Hawaii. Usually winds come from the east and that brings the weather we're used to. Mostly sunny, passing tradewind showers, overall very pleasant and warm.

The last 2 days wind came from the west, so it was whipping around down off the mountains and knocked over trees and stuff. This was the tree on my street this morning.

Today winds are coming from the north, which means its cold. For us anyway. Cold for us. I think it was like 65 degrees this morning and I had to dig around in the spare closet to find my arm warmers in some bottom drawer buried underneath some old jeans that don't fit anymore. I know I'm gaining all of your sympathy. But seriously, I smelled like mothballs on the ride this morning.

The other thing about wind coming out of the north was that the sky was completely clear blue. Reminded me of Arizona sky. So. Pretty. AND, it meant that we got the headwind on the way out while we were riding this morning... those of you who are a little sharper will figure out what this meant for us coming home... WOOOHOO!

Fast. So very fast. Awesome fun. I was riding with a group of 6... 3 fast guys among us. It was a solid steady pace the whole time coming home, but I knew it was gonna get crazy fast through the rollers. It becomes a fun little road race at the end of the ride each week. Last week I made it maybe half way with the guys before my legs exploded and I got dropped. This week I was gonna give it a go again and see how it went... unfortunately I found myself in the back of the pack leading into the fast part but I didn't want to miss the break when it happened... so I really had to anticipate the move. Who's the fastest guy? Who's gonna jump first? When is he gonna go?

I was nervous and twitching going up the first little incline. No move yet but I knew it was coming. Finally I saw Spence stand up and instantly I geared down and went for it. I was on the edge for much of the next 5 miles, but managed to hang on! It was so much fun. I love aggressive riding.

Check out the view I had at the end of my brick run today... The mountains looked like they were painted on that awesome blue sky.

Progress is being made on the fitness front. I did the same ride/run today as last week... but this week it was faster, I felt stronger, I didn't die at the end of the run, and I'm not passed out on my bed right now.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Beat The Alarm Clock

A Pop Quiz!

Which of the following was the first to awaken Mama Simmons this morning?

A) Her full bladder

B) Her hungry baby

C) Her alarm clock

Those of you who chose 'C'... bless you. Unfortunately, that is incorrect... but I really appreciate the sentiment.

The correct answer is 'A'. 4:30 AM wake up to nature's call. As I headed to the bathroom, I was pleasantly surprised to find that all was quiet in the baby's room. Is tonight the night? Is she going to sleep through the night? I laid in bed awake wondering if maybe, just maybe, my alarm would beat Moana to the morning?

After an hour of my head spinning and wondering if she was actually sleeping through the night, I heard the cry. In the game of Alarm Clock vs. Moana, Moana wins. Darn. I shouldn't complain though. She slept from 10:30 to 5:30, which is a new record.

Clare commented on my last post that she was surprised that I would break my running streak because of a little 60 mph wind storm... Oh ye of little faith... I'm an addict, didn't you know? If you were here at 8:30 last night, you would have found me at the gym ticking off 7:40's on the treadmill. Boo YA! ;)

The wind storm continues today. So much wind that all the schools on the island are closed. Yep. Wind day. That's what school kids on Oahu get instead of snow days. In their defense though, it would be challenging to teach a bunch of kids when the power keeps going out from all those pesky downed power lines.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Crazy Weather

Every night lately on the news we hear about the crazy cold temperatures on the mainland... snowstorms and ice and blizzards. Ugh. I grew up in Ohio and although I've done everything I can think of to block them from my memory, I still remember Ohio winters. Hence, I live in Hawaii.

I'll admit I was feeling a bit guilty yesterday as I was getting Moana and I set up at the beach. Just a little bit.

Moana got to hang out in her shady tent while I hung out reading my new Outside Magazine (tough life, I know). I was all interested in Lance's comeback this year but then when I found out that his girlfriend is pregnant and will be giving birth in June, I had a whole new perspective on the situation. Is he going to miss his 4th child's entrance into the world? Or will he take his girlfriend to France? Even if he does, she'll be entirely on her own with a newborn for the first month of his/her life while daddy is riding his bike. Something about that just doesn't sit well with me... I know this perspective of mine is different from what it would have been had I not just given birth. I can't even imagine how pissed off I would have been at Scott if he went off on a month long surf trip right after Moana was born... leaving me on my own to do it all? I don't think so. Of course, he wouldn't have done that. Ok, enough ranting. This post isn't really about Lance and his fathering skills.

It's not even about the lady who was swimming at Kailua Beach yesterday with her dogs in tow...

You can't see it in this picture because my iPhone doesn't have a zoom, but there's a lady out there swimming with her 3 dogs... one paddling along right beside her, and 2 that she's pulling on a boogie board. That's how they do it here in Hawaii...

But I know all of you Eskimos who can't spit without it freezing before it hits the ground are not really thrilled to see those pictures of the sunny beach in Hawaii, so here's another one for you. This was what I faced driving home from my haircut today.

There's a crazy storm blowing through... bringing 60 mph winds with it. Those are the kind of winds that knock down trees and power lines... the kind that rip the roof off your house. Guess Moana and I aren't running with the baby jogger today. Run streak over. Who's feeling sorry for me?

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Blog Influence

Look who got a Bebe Pod Chair...

I didn't even know these chairs existed until I saw that Angela had Zach in one... then Kelley had Sara in one... Then Allison had Baker in one. I wasn't going to give in to the peer pressure to get her one of these because my first thought was that she wouldn't be able to use it that long (she'll be sitting up on her own soon, eh?) and they're too expensive. But then when Moana got to try Sara's last week at the beach I was sold. Thank goodness for Craigslist.

I hope I'm not a push-over like this when she's a teenager.

But all this got me to thinking about how my exposure to these other athlete/mom blogs has changed my thinking and doing over the last 6 months or so. I've really enjoyed keeping up with the life happenings of so many bloggers recently. Funny how I feel like I know you all even though the only one I really know is Kelley.

How have I benefitted from reading these blogs from moms who have gone before me?

Well, I've increased my running, because shoot, if Natalie can run 30+ miles/week in her third trimester of pregnancy, surely I can too since I'm not pregnant anymore. Now 35-40 miles/week seems more normal to me. I remember Allison writing one time about running with the baby jogger and how she charged up a hill with it- I haven't walked a hill with mine since. And 13 miles doesn't seem that long for a long run because DC Running Mama has been popping off 15 milers and she gave birth after I did... and my goal time for the 1/2 marathon in Maui next weekend? Not that fast when you compare it to Angela's 1:32 last weekend... Rebecca was on a running streak for a while and that didn't sound like a bad idea so now I'm 20 days into my first ever running streak. And Kate has given me some good ideas for new songs to download to the iPod. Funny how I think of her when those songs come on!

And when Moana was straining her neck to turn around and look at the TV last night, I knew that was normal because Alicia said Remy does the same thing... When I'm feeling a little stressed out about fitting everything in, I know that Allison is feeling the same way. Sleep deprived? Kelley was for a long time (and Angela still is!) but now Sara is sleeping 11 hours at a time so I have that to look forward to in the coming weeks. And the giggling! The giggling is coming and I can't wait!

So I guess all this is just a long way of saying Thanks to those other Athlete Mamas out there who keep me inspired (and sane).

Monday, January 12, 2009

A Change in Perspective

I've really changed how I think about certain things now that I have a daughter.

Last week I came home from a run with Moana and saw one of the condo maintenance workers smoking a cigarette near my car (where I store the jogger). Normally I would have just held my breath and let it go, but since I had Moana with me, I actually asked the guy to move it on up the hill. I think I was nice enough about it (explaining to him that there are 5 babies in our building and surely no one really wants their newborn inhaling second hand smoke.) He seemed to understand my concern- went up the hill to finish smoking and then came back to laugh and chat about how his wife won't let him smoke in their house or hold their little son until he washes his hands after he smokes. Ha ha.

What? He has a kid and still smokes? I guess everyone's perspectives don't change...

Last night I was reminded about a website called Family WatchDog where you can do a search for registered sex offenders in your area. I remember seeing this website a few years back... did the search just for the heck of it but didn't think much of it. But when I checked it again last night from behind my new mommy glasses, I felt just completely sick to my stomach. Have you seen this site? Put your zip code in and it comes up with all the registered offenders in your area. There are 67 in my town. 67! Oh my gosh. And it gets worse. Click on any of the dots and a picture of the offender comes up and you're told what he was convicted of. I literally thought I was going to throw up looking at this.

I guess it's good that as moms we have this new need to protect like never before... helps ensure the safety of our little ones... I just think it's incredible for me to notice the change in myself over the last few months.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Legs Like Bricks

While I was pregnant and absent from riding last year, my training partners expanded our little group. Specifically, Mike went out and found 3 more Ironman athletes who are as fast or faster than he is. Two of them showed up on the ride today so I met them for the first time. Sweet. Nothing like a good challenging ride in January.

It was finally a perfect and beautiful Saturday morning here so we got to ride with our sunglasses on... without any rooster-tails of water spraying us in the face... dry roads are not over-rated. And the wind was down today, making it especially pleasurable to pedal a bike. It was so exciting for these two fast riders I was trying to follow, in fact, that I wondered if a) there was prize money at the Turtle Bay Resort bathrooms that were to serve as our turn around point and b) if indeed it would be enough money for me to buy a new pair of legs to pedal me home.

I didn't find any prize money in the bathroom, but I wouldn't have won it anyway.

Our return trip was even faster than the outbound trip. I managed to hang on for most of the way back, but the load eventually just got too heavy on my legs... I swear I heard a little explosion just as I fell off on one of the hills. Then it was all I could do to turn the pedals over to get me home.

I didn't feel so bad about falling off. Total ride time today for the 56 miles was 2:45, which resembles my 1/2 Ironman bike split... or my old one anyway. Keep this up and I'm going to have a pretty good race season. Or else I'll get hurt. One or the other.

One other highlight of the day was that Scott took Moana out for the morning... so I finished my brick run (redefining that brick feeling in my quads) and came home to a quiet house... where I could relax in silence with my recovery shake out on my patio... and shower without rushing to hurry up and feed the baby... I had a full 20 minutes of quiet bliss before I was 'on' as mommy.

Moana and I played for a little while this afternoon but eventually ended up like this...

Friday, January 9, 2009

Moana Means Ocean

We named our first born after the ocean, so of course it was only a matter of time before we'd be putting her in it. It was finally a beautiful sunny day here on Oahu, but it is still winter, so the ocean hasn't warmed up much past maybe 76 degrees. Turns out, the little swimmer doesn't fall far from the tree... her intense dislike for cold water mirrors her mom's. Read on...

She got all dressed up in her cute little rash guard and swimmer diapers... Like a good conscientious mom, I lathered her lily white skin up in SPF30 made for babies... and we were off! Clearly, Moana was quite excited about her trip to the beach today. We met Grandma and Grandpa Simmons there... Scott took his lunch break with us, and even Hoku got to participate in the fun! Ok, are you ready? Ready to dip your feet in the ocean for the first time? Ready? Ok! Here we go!!

Apparently one needs a black fur coat in order to enjoy the ocean in the winter. We didn't subject Moana to the cold water anymore today. In the summer it'll be warmer and she'll be older, so I'm still holding out hope that she's going to grow up to be an ocean swimmer.

Luckily we had a great distraction when Kelley and Sara showed up! Sara was as happy as a clam the whole time showing off her big toothless grin. Must have been those 11 (count 'em!) hours of sleep she got last night!?! Can Sara teach Moana to do that? Please?

Apparently Kelley has done a nice job teaching Sara to share, because Moana got to try out Sara's Bumbo seat. And now I'll be surfing Craigslist trying to find one of these things. As if there's actually room in our house for yet another baby accessory...

It's hard being at the beach. Really wears a baby out.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

New Skills

It's amazing to watch Moana grow overnight. I swear, each morning I wake up see that something changed... those darn fingernails don't stop growing for a second, her head got bigger, her eyelashes grew, her fingers have a stronger grip, her legs are too long for her newborn pjs... I know this will make some of you new moms with your monster boys laugh, but I just now (sadly) put away her newborn clothes in exchange for the 3 month ones. Hey, some body's got to fit in those newborn clothes, right?

One of her more developed 10 week old skills is her ability to hold her head up really high. The doc was impressed by this last week at her 2 month appointment.

And she's starting to use her hands in a more purposeful way. She's got this cute little black and white stuffed cat (see it in the picture above, on its side) that she likes to knock over like a bowling pin every time I sit it next to her. And this mirror by her changing table? She hits it every time she is getting clean pants... specifically going for that orange ball that makes noise when it spins.

We're also working on her balancing while sitting up. Hey! Looks like she's got it!

Sort of...

Shoot. Not quite.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009


Oh goodie! A new season of The Biggest Loser!

Trainer Bob said that I shouldn't be eating ice cream while watching the show this season*. Since I'm not pregnant anymore, I agreed. My new goal is to watch the tivo'd version on Wednesday mornings while sweating on my bike trainer...

Here was my view this morning. Moana slept peacefully while Jillian yelled at me. So cool.

Did you know that you can watch the whole two hours of The Biggest Loser in an hour and twenty minutes if you fast forward through the commercials?

So how long can this Mama ride her bike trainer? Until my boss says enough is enough.

*My dear friend Kathy in Chicago... he probably means no bons bons either...

Monday, January 5, 2009

Simmons Family Ain't Growin' No More

The Simmons Family Grew. That's for sure. Grandma and Grandpa Simmons inherited a new daughter-in-law and another grandchild in 2008.

I grew while I was pregnant... not just my belly. My butt. My boobs. My feet. My hair. It all grew.

But now I'm shrinking. Phew.

The only one growing in this house now is Moana. She's gained over 5 lbs in the last 2 months! Ok, the dog is kind of growing too since she gets to go out a little less now that she's second fiddle around here.

My point is, the Simmons Family isn't going to grow anymore. At least not for a while. So I changed the title of my blog. That's all.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Let The Games Begin

The biggest problem with riding in the rain is that you can't see.

Sunglasses or no sunglasses? When it's raining really hard, you can't exactly go without them, because then the water is pelting you in the eyes. But if you wear them, they're all fogged up and being hit by those same water drops. It's kind of a lose-lose.

I guess the good thing about the 25 mph winds today was that the squalls of rain passed as quickly as they came on. At one point today, I looked off toward the ocean and saw a massive rain storm out at sea... before I could even comment about it to my training partners, we were soaked. But 2 miles later we were back on dry roads, so all was right in the world.

Most of the ride today was pretty easy. Just put the miles in. One of my training partners is just coming back from a stress fracture injury in her foot, so the idea today was to just cruise. But she knows her husband well enough to know that when we get to the rolling hills section of the route on the way home, he's itching to pick up the pace. She gave him the green light when she said, "Hey, don't worry about me if I back off through this section..."

Mike gave a silent nod and I knew that he was gonna go. I was feeling strong and wondered how long I could hang on to his pace? Mike checked his heart rate monitor. Then he took a peek at his computer. How long he was planning on going hard? It didn't matter. Let the games begin! He picked it up gradually, but we really got going and held a super solid pace for probably 5 miles. Awesome! It was so much fun to actually work on the bike today.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Meet The Grandparents!

Grandma and Grandpa Simmons are here from California to meet their newest granddaughter! They've come at a great time because Moana is cuter than ever right now... the smiles come all the time and she's starting to try to talk to us with all those cooing and gooing noises. It's awesome!

Moana is clearly really happy to look at and talk to Grandma Simmons.

I was reminded last night to cherish these moments, because this is the only time in her life that Moana will let us hold her like this.

Grandma's favorite time might have been watching her son give his happy daughter a bath.

We took it to heart that we should cherish these times...