Friday, February 27, 2009

Locked In

The other night I had a (very bad) dream that I left Moana alone in my car... I guess I just forgot her in there or something... but in my dream I came back to my car after being gone for about 30 minutes to find it surrounded by several hysterical women and a policeman who were questioning my parental fitness.

It haunted me all day yesterday and I told Scott about it last night. He assured me that I'm not a bad mom.

So this morning Moana had her 4 month doctor's appointment. I was all proud of myself for getting her up, changed, fed, and packed up in record time. I was so good. We weren't even going to be late. Score 1 for Mama.

In the parking lot of the MD office I was starting to get her unloaded (planned on putting her in the Baby Bjorn to carry her in to the office) when a woman arrived at the car next to mine and wanted access to her car. I figured it would be easier for her to just pull out rather than waiting for me to get a baby loaded up, so I closed the car door to give her more room and waited for her to go.

When I went to open up Moana's door again, it was locked. Oh. My. Gosh.

Heart sinks.

My keys (and my phone) were in the diaper bag which was now safely locked in the car. Along with my 4 month old daughter. All I've got in my arms is the Baby Bjorn.

Blood pressure rises.

Score -500 for Mama.

The only thing I could think to do was to run into the doctor's office and tell them what happened and hopefully someone could help me. Thank goodness for those track workouts I've been doing lately...

It was absolutely terrifying to leave Moana there inside the car... even though I knew she was safe in the car seat and its not like anyone else could have gotten to her... but I swear, talk about Mama Bear Protective Instinct kicking in... not having access to your child at all times is pure torture.

I arrived in the doctor's office out of breath and in the most frantic mode you can imagine. The girls got on the horn right away notifying security and inquiring if anyone could help me get into my car. I was instructed to go back outside and wait near my car.

Running back through the parking lot, I just about got hit by a car pulling out of its space. I didn't even care.... just put my hands on the car trunk as it backed into me, screamed something at the woman, and continued running toward my X-Terra.

One of the gals from the office came out to keep me company. I called Scott from her phone and within minutes he was there in the parking lot with me waiting for the locksmith he arranged to get there ASAP.

Score +100 for dad.

We kept peering through the tinted windows to see how Moana was doing. I could see her getting fussy at times, but she would calm down if we knocked on the window. She was very wide eyed and awake... no doubt wondering why the heck she was left all alone in that prison.

Today was the first day that I actually was happy that it has been a cold winter here. Talk about freaking out... had it been hot today I'm sure I would have broken the window out with my bare hands.

After what seemed like an eternity, the guy with the tools finally showed up to get the car opened. It was quite interesting to watch how quickly and easily he unlocked my car. If my phone hadn't been locked in the car, I would have taken a picture for you all to see. As it stands, just be aware that there are people who have tools who can get into your car faster than you can blink. Undoubtedly this guy has a side business stealing cars on the weekends. Though it probably isn't as profitable as servicing frantic moms like me... See, we pay anything to ensure access to our children. And he knew it.

Even though we spent our next month's mortgage on this guy's services, I almost kissed him when I heard the door unlock. Of course then the car alarm went off when Scott opened the door. And of course by this point Moana was in such a deep sleep that she didn't even open her eyes to the sound of the alarm.

Must be nice to be so oblivious to everything, huh?

My blood pressure returned back to near normal just in time for it to spike again as Moana cried out in pain from the needles delivering her vaccinations. It was a tough morning.

In good news, we got to have lunch with daddy at our local health food store, Down to Earth, today.

PS- There will be a key hidden somewhere on my car now... just in case any of you locals want to go ahead and steal my car when you see it around town...

4 Months!

I'll repeat what everyone else always says... "Boy, time sure flies by!" and "They grow so fast!"

Moana is 4 months old already. I can't even remember being pregnant. Or peeing all the time. Or having swollen feet. And gas. Or not being able to sleep. Or giving birth. I don't think it actually happened. It was all just a bad dream. Or not.

The good news is that currently the only physical evidence remaining that I was once pregnant is that my hair falls out in clumps now when I wash or comb it. I spent quite some time this morning pulling the hair out of the shower drain because no one (read: Scott) likes to take a shower in standing water due to a clogged drain. Hopefully at some point the hair-falling-out thing will stop. Does it stop? Tell me it stops. I've been bald before and it's not a good look. For me. Still pretty cute for babies.

I'm trying to take lots of pictures now because I know she'll never look like this again. And I hear that if we ever have a second one that there will be way fewer pictures...

I savor those sweet moments at when she's all done eating and she curls up and falls asleep right on my chest. That is already happening less and less. :(

And now she's growing up and all... pretty soon she'll be crawling and walking. And driving. Oh geez. Watch out. This one likes to lick her steering wheel.

Check it out. She can already stand up in her crib. I better stop teaching her how to do this.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Our Conversations

Mornings around here involve lots of talking. Moana tells me all sorts of stuff these days... She tells me about the dreams she had overnight, how much she loves that milk, that her pink pj's are her favorite because they're so soft, that she can't wait to run a marathon when she's older...

Ok, so I'm making all that up. All she really says is "Mmmmmmmmmmm", which I interpret to mean anything I want it to mean. That's what you have to do when you don't get real adult conversations during the day. In case you wonder what these conversations actually sound like, here's a little video clip.

Playtime involves Moana laying on her back and uncontrollably flailing her arms and legs everywhere. She's doing a better job of grasping onto objects and toys now. She hangs on for a few seconds and then throws them aside so I can play pick up. So! Much! Fun!

Other times Moana talks to me in a different way. Like right now, for example. She's upstairs in her crib yelling out in a less pleasant way. I interpret it to mean, "I know you think I should be taking a nap right now, but I wholeheartedly disagree."

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Finding Our Feet

Well it doesn't get much better than mornings like today. After an awesome track workout with Nalani and Bob, I had time to shower, eat breakfast, drink another cup of french roast, then peek into my daughter's room to see if she was awake yet. Indeed.

Check it out... Moana and I have both found our feet.

Moana has discovered that hers are fun to play with. Her mom has found out the same thing. Only playing with mine doesn't involve trying to get them in my mouth... more like trying to make them fly around a track at the right pace.

And I am happy to report that we have both found success!

One thing I think is amazing is that babies are apparently so predictable... I've been following a bunch of blogs of babies that are 5-10 weeks older than Moana... and I think each of them have posted something about babies finding their feet and then being obsessed with them. So I've been waiting for it with Moana... then sure enough... I looked over yesterday and saw that she had her foot in her hand and she pretty much hasn't let go since.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Ripping My Own Legs Off

Another awesome training weekend in the books!

This morning I did the usual ride with the gang. It was colder than usual, and even with my arm warmers on, my teeth were actually chattering at one point. I don't think that's every happened to me while riding in Hawaii... anyway...

It was fast and I was drafting as usual, although before we even got to mile 15 we spread out on the road and did 5 x 3 minute intervals, then about 10 minutes easy followed by a solid 10 minutes hard before getting to our turn around at 31 miles. So I was pushing it alone for the rest of the way out. My legs felt like they were shot and the ride was only half done. And that was the easy half since we were about to face the headwind.

Coming home I was tucked neatly in Spence's draft and actually enjoying myself. I'm getting good at hanging on for dear life... pushing myself past the point of pain where I'd normally just back off because it hurts so bad... all in the name of sucking wheel. I'm like a champion wheel sucker.

Then about halfway back we came upon a lone rider with a flat, so the boys stopped to help her. I know. Nice guys. Sandy and I weren't going to be any help so we continued on our own toward home.

Problem here... who's wheel was I going to suck? Sandy raced her first triathlon of the season yesterday and wasn't so excited about the reaction her legs were giving her today, so I took it upon myself to drag us home. (She did the favor for me last week when I had a bunch of residual fatigue in my legs, so it was only fair.)

The thing is, in a triathlon, there's no drafting. You have to do it on your own. Make yourself suffer without the carrot of a wheel to suck. Today was my day to practice that. I worked like I was racing for I don't know how long. At least 10-12 miles I'd say. Big chain ring. Into the wind. Legs burning on fire.

Usually I'm complaining that one of the boys is setting a pace that's so fast my legs are going to rip off. Today I was ripping my own legs off. It was awesome.

Drafting isn't all bad though. One thing I can tell I definitely learned from my efforts to suck wheel this year is to not back off. The boys are relentless when it comes to pacing. They never back off. I proved to myself today that even when there's no one in front of me, I can push myself past the point where I'm just dying to ease up a little and recover. It certainly helped that Sandy was right there on my wheel keeping me honest. If I backed off, she'd know it. Even when my legs felt like they weighed 400 lbs a piece, I didn't back off. I'm such a glutton for punishment because I was just thoroughly enjoying my 400 lb legs.

All that hard riding certainly made for an interesting brick run afterward. In fact, I believe I gave a new definition to brick run today...

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Making Mama Proud

So Moana and I were hanging out on this Saturday afternoon watching the Tour of California... Turns out she's like her mom in that she clearly enjoys watching cycling! Hanging out in her bouncy seat, she was kicking her legs like crazy cheering the guys on.

At one point, I pulled her out of her chair and laid her on her back facing away from the TV. This proved to be frustrating for her... to the point where she was totally straining her head to see the TV...

It looked to me like she was awfully close to rolling herself over from back to tummy... which would be a first for her...

And wouldn't you know it? Inspired by Team Astana, Moana rolls over!

Daddy better be worried... she's drooling over Lance already...

Friday, February 20, 2009


I knew that once I hit the 'publish' button on that post about Moana's schedule the other day that everything would instantly change. And I was right... although it wasn't Moana's schedule that changed- it was Scott's.

Scott has had to go to work early the past 3 mornings, which means that I miss out on those two precious hours of athletic sanity to which I've become quite accustomed. Wednesday and Thursday I made the most of it by getting on my trainer while Moana was still sleeping, but let's face it, 3 mornings in a row on a bike trainer is enough to drive a mother crazy. No. It's Friday. I really wanted to swim.

Years ago I was living in Arizona and a girlfriend of mine had a baby that she brought to the pool. He slept in his car seat on deck while she swam. I remember thinking that was the coolest thing. (Foreshadowing here... can you feel it??)

So this morning while I was feeding Moana at 5:00AM, I started thinking... she sleeps from like 6-9 every morning... I bet she could sleep in her car seat on the pool deck just as well as she could in her crib... I could just run her over there in the jogger and she'll sleep for sure...

The plan was finalized.

It briefly occured to me that the lifeguards might not think my plan was as good an idea as I did. These guards could probably win The Laziest Lifeguards in the World award if such a competition existed. But I rationalized it to myself thinking that it's not like she'll be up and running around the pool deck. I'm not that dumb. No, an immobile sleeping baby in a car seat should be just fine.

I arrived at the pool just as it was opening and got a very warm welcome from some of the older ladies who are regulars. They watched Moana grow in my belly since I swam the whole time I was pregnant and have been bugging me to bring her by the pool so they could see her in person. It was cute. Moana had SuperStar status this morning at the pool.

Nalani was psyched that I brought along a coach for our workout this morning... Although I think the basic expectation of a swim coach is that they keep their eyes open, so don't know if she actually would qualify for the title?

I left the jogger near the locker rooms and, walking past The Lifeguard With The Terrified Look On His Face, carried the car seat to the end of the lane where I always swim. To his credit, he waited until all the oooohing and aaaahing by the old ladies was over before he sheepishly told me that no unsupervised children were allowed to be on the pool deck.

Ok. I used to be a lifeguard. I understand the rule. But seriously? She's strapped into her car seat. I'll stop everytime at the wall to make sure she's still sleeping. I swear she's not even going to wake up...

But rules are rules, and I didn't protest too long. There was no swimming this morning. But in good news (I guess), we did run about 6 miles instead. So all was not lost. I'll go to the ocean to swim tomorrow morning... with my wetsuit... 'cause it's fr-fr-fr-freezing in there...

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Bike/Run Brick... Mama Style

First of all, thank you for your kind birthday wishes. I had a nice day yesterday, and am currently inhaling leftover Thai takeout, even though it is burning holes in my mouth... compliments of my husband who apparently believes that now that I am 35 I should be able to handle the hot stuff.


My thoroughly spontaneous and unscientific training plan called for a bike/run brick today. Let's see... how to make that happen when you don't have anyone to help with your 3 month old? Here's how:

5:30 AM. Feed baby when she wakes up. She's so cute and appears to be all awake and aware at this early hour, so I let her stay up and play a little. I put her back down to finish her night's sleep at about 6:30.

By 7 I've eaten breakfast, had a cup of coffee, changed into my cycling gear, and am on my trainer. I do a real workout despite watching the Today show and the American Idol results from last night on Tivo.

Figuring Moana would be up again by 9 or so, I get off my bike by 8:30, dry off, change into my running clothes, and go into Moana's room to check on her status. She's awake and just hanging out in her crib talking it up with the stuffed dog I know I'm not supposed to leave in there but do anyway. She doesn't appear to be hungry, so we just hang out and play until she gives a signal that it's time to eat, which happens to be at about 9:45.

She gets fed and then we pick out an outfit for her to wear today. By the time we get downstairs to go for the run, it's 10:15. Clearly not breaking any T2 records here this morning.

And then there's those big sad brown eyes looking at me... somebody hasn't even been outside for a walk yet. Ugh. I load up Moana into the Baby Bjorn and we take Hoku for a walk.

It's during this time that I seriously start reconsidering the run today. It's all cloudy and windy and wet out. Even though it's not raining now it looks like the sky could open up at any minute. And now I'm hungry again. Since I've started training more lately my appetite is insatiable.

Maybe I'll skip the run today I'll do it tomorrow. My legs are tired enough from the trainer. That was good enough. I'll just shower and eat and be done with the training today. I've got some errands to run today anyway...

That was my evil twin. Of course I took Moana running. How could I not when I've got a cheerleader like this?

Anyway, total transition time today was 2 hours and 15 minutes. I'm not sure if I can still call it a brick with that long of a break between events, but that's as good as mama gets today.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009


I remember being a teenager and thinking that people in their 20's were so old.
Then in my early 20's, people who were late 20's were so old. 30's? Dinosaurs.

So it's kind of crazy for me to think that I am now 35. I don't feel old. I feel great. I don't think it's going to hit me that I'm old until I have to go scrolling down the page to the 35-39 section of race results to find my own name.

To celebrate, I'm sleeping in. Ahhhh. Then I get to play with my awesome daughter! I'm gonna get Scott to bring home take-out Thai so I don't have to cook. I'm pretty simple in my birthday wishes. ;)

I'll be meeting some friends at the pool (at noon!) to swim 35 x 100's. I have good friends who are willing to endure sets like that for my birthday. Isn't it great to have good friends? I'm a lucky girl. If I can still be called a girl when I'm old.

Monday, February 16, 2009

That's The Ticket

I have a really sweet daughter. Most of the time. Sometimes my sweet little one is taken over by her evil twin, SuperFuss. I've been working on eliminating Moana The SuperFuss. I may have found the answer.

Turns out she needs to sleep. A lot. 3 naps per day. Minimum. Missed a nap? Welcome SuperFuss. Late for a nap? SuperFuss arrives. Nap interrupted? You guessed it.

So out of necessity, we have settled into a daily routine around here lately. I never thought I would be the mom who had everything running on a tight schedule, but I guess I should be reminded to 'never say never'...

It has become clear that when we follow a routine, Moana and I both have a better day. Really it just means that there's less of this.

All the times are approximate and vary some from day to day, but it generally goes something like this: (and yes, I realize that the moment I press the 'publish' button on this blog post, it'll all change...)

4:30(ish) Moana wakes up and announces her strong desire to be fed. Feed her. Back to bed by 5:00(ish). She generally goes right back to sleep, even though she's wide awake after a diaper change.

6:00 I get up and go workout. Home by 8:00 so Scott can get to work. I'm lucky he doesn't have to leave earlier. ;) He's lucky Moana sleeps this whole time so he can take a long shower and drink his coffee in peace.

8:30(ish) Moana wakes up for the day. She eats and then we play. We practice standing, tummy time, hitting her play toys, grabbing for things, take the dog for a walk, etc. Check it out- she can stand on her own now if she can balance on the back of the couch. This is Moana the SuperHero! ;)

I put her back down for a morning nap about 2 - 2 1/2 hours after she wakes up... so nap time from like 11-12. This can vary, but she generally lets me know when it's time to go down by yawning, rubbing her eyes, or screaming out in her SuperFuss-is-on-the-way voice. I know I'm supposed to get her in her crib for day time naps, but we're not that advanced yet. We still depend on the swing for daytime naps. Although sometimes this nap is spent in the baby jogger. Take today, for example. We started running and she looked like this...

20 Minutes later...

Around noon-ish, Moana wakes up again. Same thing. Eat. Play. This is the best time for us to go on a field trip if we're going to do that (grocery store, beach, park, etc). I wait for her to fuss a little, which usually comes by 2:00(ish) and she's back in her swing for a longer nap. Sometimes she'll sleep for almost 2 hours this time. This is the best time for me to get on my bike trainer if I'm gonna do that...

3:30-4:00(ish) Wake up. Eat again. Play a little. Eat again. Play some more. Eat again. This is her cluster feed time and she eats pretty much straight from 3:30-5:00ish. I don't mind so much because A) I'm used to it and B) it means she sleeps better at night if she eats a lot in the afternoon. I'll do anything that'll make her sleep better at night!

I usually try to get her to take a little nap from 6-6:30. Then she eats again at around 7:00. Bath time followed up with baby massage and maybe one more smaller feeding right before she goes down for the night at about 8:00-8:30.

Sometimes she goes right to sleep. We're starting to let her cry it out if she protests. I know we're lucky in that crying it out for her lasts only like 15 minutes. It's still a really hard 15 minutes, but then she goes to sleep on her own. I do not pretend to have any expertise in childhood sleep habits, but from what I've read, I'm hoping that this works. I'm noticing as Moana gets older that her sleep times really do have to be orchestrated by me, and if she misses one (or is late getting to the nap) we endure a lot of very fussy crying and I really just don't have the patience for that. And it's definitely true for her that the more she sleeps, the more she sleeps.

So here's the problem... I don't want to be a slave to the schedule (that's why I call it a routine), but I find myself viewing *everything* in the context of how it will affect Moana's eating and nap times. I like it that I can generally predict now when she's going to want to eat and sleep (and therefore what time will be best for different activities). It used to be such a huge guessing game. I would think it'll get even easier as she gets older and can stay awake for longer periods without getting all fussy, but I'm curious about how other moms out there organize your baby's day? How long can your baby stay awake before getting all fussy?

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Just Like Old Times

My friend Ellen just spent 7 months in the desert in Kuwait. She's a nurse practitioner in the navy and (phew!) arrived back to Hawaii yesterday afternoon.

I met Ellen at one of the summer series swim races back in 2005. We clicked right away and have been ocean swimming buddies for years (except for the two times she was deployed to Kuwait)...

So to celebrate her return to the islands, we gathered a few folks to do the ocean swim that used to be our Sunday routine...

Next time Ellen has a celebratory return to the island, I hope it is summertime. Because the ocean in the winter is cold. Much of the day I felt like I was in a washing machine set on BRRRR. Half way through I was really wishing that I could just be put in the dryer on the high heat setting for cottons. But alas, we were still probably a mile from shore.

The good news is that we finish at a hotel that has a hot tub. We pretend to be guests. Every week.

The other good news is that Duke's has good beer. And they let us hang out in the restaurant and serve us lunch in our bathing suits.

So that was a good way to end the weekend. It was a tough one that started out Friday night with a long run with my new friend and running partner, Sarah. I slowed her down some I'm sure, but we enjoyed the conversation and she didn't seem to mind my pace.

That run was still in my legs as I started off on the typical Saturday morning ride 12 hours later... I heard those sweet words, "We're not going to go that hard today..." early on. But that's all a bunch of BS. It's always hard. I just wish they would say, "Hey, we're all gonna push it til we feel like we're gonna puke..." Because that's how it's going to go down. Let's just be honest, ya know??

Friday, February 13, 2009

Nalani Is An Animal

This morning we decided to do a version of Bree's swim set... but since we only had an hour to swim, we cut out all the fluff (i.e. easy stuff and drills) and just did the hard stuff. That might have been a mistake, because a little bit of easy swimming in the middle sure would have been nice.

So after a 500 meter w/u, our version of her set went like this:

600 moderate
6x100s @ 1:40, hold 1:30-1:31
400 moderate
4x100's @ 1:40, hold 1:29-1:30
200 moderate
2x100's @ 1:40, 1:28/1:29

The moderate swims weren't at all easy. Nalani totally pushed the pace on the 400, which sort of surprised me because usually she just swims whatever pace everyone else is doing. I was hesitant to go too hard on the moderate stuff because I didn't want to be blown for the 100's... But as it was, we went fast the whole time, and faster as the set went on.

I felt all relieved after the 2x100's at the end, and was proud that we did them both under 1:30. I was ready for 100 easy and then home for more coffee.

Until I heard Nalani say, "We totally have to go 1:27 on this last one."

Me: "What? We're done. Warming down. Easy. All pau."

Naliani: "Seriously? No one wants to swim 100 hard?"

Me: "Seriously, no one wants to swim 100 hard. Warm down."

Naliani (looking like a sad puppy): "Seriously?"

And then there I was, feeling like a wimp for not wanting to go another 100 hard... so I gave in, looked at my watch, and muttered, "OK. We'll go in 15 seconds."

I felt good for the first 40 meters or so, then started to struggle. Tried to take a break and relax at the turn, but looked over and saw Nalani right there working it, so I put my head down and raced her back to the wall. Looking down at my watch as we touched the wall, I reported our time. 1:23. Nice. Now we really deserved that easy warm down...

Thursday, February 12, 2009


I'm feeling flattered tonight. And not just because Moana thinks I'm the next best thing since sliced bread. In fact, in her eyes, I'm better than sliced bread. Although I guess she's never actually had sliced bread. Whatever. She thinks I'm the best at singing and typing and folding laundry and making food, as evidenced by the way she watches every move I make and smiles when she thinks I'm doing a good job (which is always). Shoot, if I paid serious attention to her admiration, I'd be trying out for American Idol.

No, the real reason I'm feeling flattered is because I just made plans to run with a gal who is an acquaintance of mine... but who is likely to become a new friend and training partner. A running partner. She's faster than me, but she just called and asked if I wanted to join her on a 10 miler tomorrow evening. Really? Run? With me? Wow.

I have lots of people to swim with. I'm confident in my ability to swim and have found lots of swimmers who are about the same ability and we train together. It's great.

I also have biking training partners. Again, I've got some confidence in my ability to ride a bike, so I'm pretty much good with riding with anyone. Doesn't matter how long, or how fast, or how hilly... I'm game.

But running has been a different story. Not so confident in my ability to keep up... and since I hang out with some stellar athletes but don't want to make anyone slow down, I typically choose to run alone.

But Sara wants to run with me. I'm working on increasing my confidence in my ability to run, and I'm starting tomorrow by tossing aside my insecurities and tagging along on her 10 miler. Truth be told, I'm pretty psyched to train with someone who will push me... and I think there's a real possibility that we'll become better friends which is also a huge bonus.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Tag Team

I watched Dateline last night. You know, if that crazy woman can handle 8 babies, surely I can handle 2.

No, I'm not getting pregnant again. (Sorry, mom.) But I have devised a way to gain 90 extra minutes of free time once a week... I'm tag teaming with my friend Rebecca who has a daughter who is 2 months older than Moana. We give each other 90 minutes of free time to do whatever we want while we watch each other's girls. Genius, really.

What would you do with 90 minutes of extra free time? Rebecca scheduled a massage. Doesn't that sound nice and relaxing?

Me? I chose to spend my time doing hill repeats on my bike. I realize some people would think I'm nuts for trying to kill myself during my free time, but it was so awesome. Riding. Outside. In the middle of the week. Bliss. My legs are appropriately wiped out now and I'm all satisfied. That must tell you something about the inner workings of my brain...

Anyway, I packed up Moana and all her stuff and my bike and all my stuff and headed over to Rebecca's house this morning. She lives close to some hills that are great for repeats, so I dropped Moana off and went for my ride. It was a perfect day and I was just loving it.

I returned in time to shower off and get final instructions on what to do with Solbee before Rebecca headed out for her massage. Tag Team.

It was cute to have the 2 babies together. Moana is 2 months younger than Solbee, but she weighs 2 lbs more. I always thought Moana was so little... I know so many of you moms out there have these huge boys and by comparison, Moana, at 14 lbs, isn't that big. But Solbee is a little Asian baby and at 5 1/2 months is just 12.5 lbs. She makes Moana look like a monster!

The greatest thing is that our girls are on somewhat opposite nap schedules, so for the most part they tag teamed their wake time. Perfect. When it was my turn to be in charge, I let Moana sleep in the stroller while I took Solbee for a walk to a nearby park. It was really fun to play with somebody else's baby for a change. I'm not afraid of babies anymore since I have my own now (believe me, prior to Moana I never would have volunteered to babysit an infant!) But seriously, what a good experience for me to get to spend some time learning about what 5 month olds do... i.e. they 'talk' a lot more... and put everything in their mouths...

Rebecca and I are going to continue our weekly trade-offs... so good for us in so many ways... even just to spend time with another mom learning her routines and what works/doesn't work, etc. The fact that I get to ride outside during the week now is purely a bonus! I'm going to be hunting around for others to tag team with. My neighbor is next on my list to schedule with...

Monday, February 9, 2009

A Blade of Grass

Moana and I took a field trip into town today. We stopped by Whole Foods so I could get a salad for lunch and then we went and ate at this beach park.

This was Moana's view while she ate today. Talk about distracted. Who can eat when you're looking at this?

I was kicking myself for being such an irresponsible mother and not bringing a blanket for Moana to chill out on in the shade... but then it occurred to me... she's a kid. Kids love grass. Right? Right. She was mesmerized. Check it out. A blade of grass is way more interesting than a ceiling fan.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

You're Faster Than You Think

Years ago I remember seeing a Nike ad in a running magazine... with the phase You're Faster Than You Think.

I've never forgotten that phrase.

This morning I ran an 8K just to see how fast I could run for 5 miles. I really wasn't sure. But I put it out on Facebook that my goal was to get under 39 minutes. I don't normally make my goals public. I guess that way it's easier if you don't reach your goal, because nobody knew what it was anyway... Or sometimes you might tell somone your 'C' goal, even though privately your goal is to go faster than that. But at least you save face if you make that watered down goal you told everyone.

Truth be told, I wasn't really sure I could get under 39 minutes today. That would be faster than 7:48 pace. I knew I could do that for a couple miles, but wasn't sure about 5 in a row. And this race went up and over Diamond Head on the way out and back so I wasn't sure how that hill would affect my pace.

But I put it out there publicly, and even though none of you really truly honestly care, I still felt all this pressure to do it.

Warming up this morning I had all these negative thoughts.

Boy, it's windy. That might slow me down.

Oh no, my hamstrings feel tight. I might not be able to go that fast.

I really shouldn't have done that 3 hour hilly ride yesterday and an hour run. My legs are gonna be too fatigued to run fast today.

I lined up with everyone else and before I knew it the horn went off and we were running. I wore my Garmin so I could get my splits, and came through the first mile in 7:28. You're faster than you think, I told myself. I ran up Diamond Head, and my pace slowed some up the hill, but still got up it in 7:56 for the second mile. I felt strong.

You're faster than you think.

Next 3 miles 7:27, 7:29, 7:38. My Garmin said my 5 mile time was 37:59. Holy crap! Race finish line was actually a little further down the road, so my official time was38:07. But still. Holy crap! I'm faster than I think!

Friday, February 6, 2009

No Drama

There can be a lot of drama at a masters swim practice. Those of you who regularly participate with a masters team know what I mean... There may be someone there who you just don't click with for a variety of reasons... other swimmers who annoy you because they don't know how to pace themselves or because of their insistence on using floatation devices like pull buoys or paddles or fins to keep up the pace or make the interval... and then there are always those who always have an excuse about why they're not swimming faster... the list goes on.

I feel really lucky in that I have found a couple of friends who I swim with regularly... with no drama. It's perfect because we are all of similar ability, we all understand pace, and know the difference between an easy effort, a moderate effort, and a hard effort. And though we are competitive people by nature, we don't race each other to the wall on every interval. Our training sessions in the pool are not opportunities to prove who is the fastest swimmer on the day. They are simply opportunities for us each to push ourselves and each other to reach a higher level than we would be able to achieve on our own.

And you know what? It's free.

Isn't that awesome? Long course outdoor pools in Hawaii are numerous. And free.

Of course, half the time the heater is broken so the water is freezing. But that's really only in the winter. At least we're not stuck swimming inside. No lane lines make the water really rough, but that just makes us better at open water swimming. There are no pace clocks to be found on deck, but that is easily remedied with a Timex watch.

I'm so lucky that I happen to live about a mile away from one of these pools. I didn't plan it that way. In fact, when I bought this condo 4+ years ago I thought the closest pool was a 20 minute drive. Then I remember being out on a run one day, exploring my new 'hood, when I saw it. Like an oasis. I yelped out loud with glee.

And then over the years I've managed to find these great athletes to train with. Bob and Nalani both have jobs that would allow them to swim at noon, but they drag themselves out of bed three times a week to be in the water when the pool opens at 7 AM with me since I can't go at noon anymore. We don't have a coach on deck telling us the set, but instead we trade off making up sets to push ourselves. Fridays have become Fartlek Fridays... we love this... swim a 1000 straight where the first 250 is moderate, the next 250 goes 50 blast fast followed by 50 recovery, then another 250 moderate and another 250 with the alternating 50's sprint. It's great to be able to vary pace like we do in that set, and fun to watch yourself get more fit- as evidenced by the pace on the recovery part. Used to be I'd have to go very slow to recover from the fast 50's, but now I can recover without having to resort to just barely floating.

We do feel bad for some of the old ladies who are also trying to get in their morning swim... The three of us create a sort of tsunami in this lane-line-less pool when we're working hard and the frail little Asian women can get overwhelmed by the wall of water. Most of them migrate to the other side of the pool when they see us coming.

Running home from the workout this morning I reminded myself not to take these swimming friends for granted. I am lucky to have this awesome (No Drama) situation that facilitates me being the best swimmer I can be.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Everything's Just Wonderful

Oh boy!! Oh boy!! Another pop quiz for you folks this morning...

Mama Simmons woke up this morning because

A) Moana was crying for food.

B) The roosters outside her window are really loud.

C) She had all sorts of anxiety about when Moana was going to start crying for food.

And the answer is... C. It's exciting stuff, really. For two nights in a row now (count 'em, TWO), Moana has gone to sleep by 9:00 and not woken up until 6! The crazy thing is, my body is programmed now to be up at all hours of the night, so I still woke up at 2:00, 4:00, and 5:30 just listening to see if I was missing anything in the other room. Instead of hearing Moana, I heard those roosters. Sometimes I think someone should take a gun to those roosters. But that's another blog.

Tonight I'm going to have to tell my brain that it's ok to just sleep right on through... the power of positive thinking... But then, of course, Moana will change her mind and want to get up again in the middle of the night and I'll be all irritated... Nah.

The other great thing is that once she's fed at 6, she goes right back to sleep until 9 or so. That gives me time to drink two shots of espresso, run to the pool, have a great workout with my training partners, run home, walk the dog, shower, get dressed, drink another cup of coffee, eat breakfast, and blog all before my cute little baby wakes up to start her day.

Life is good.

But wait! There's more! (Pause for effect...)

Yesterday afternoon we were playing on my bed upstairs when I heard it for the first time... a real belly laugh from Moana! It was the cutest thing ever! It caught me off guard but I laughed right back at her and then she laughed at me again and it was so cute that I started to cry and then she started to cry... The laughing was so much better than the crying so I'm gonna try not to cry if she does it again today.

In yet more good news, apparently the less interrupted nights are good for my training. Who knew? I had the best swim workout in a long time this morning. Our main set was:

500 @ 8:30 followed by 5 x 100's @ 1:45, twice through.

It's a long course meters pool. We cruised through the first 500 in 7:58, then held 1:31's for the 100's. Second time through we went 7:57 on the 500 and then bumped the interval for the 100's down to 1:40 and still held our 1:31's. I was tired at the end but felt great to hold the pace so consistently.

And in yet more good news? The faster I swim, the faster I run... my hip is all better today so I timed myself again on The Uphill Mile coming home from the pool. If you remember from before I was all psyched about my 7:15 and vowed to get under 7:00 one of these days... I let out a little yelp when I saw it. :)

Monday, February 2, 2009

Baby Einstein

Just for fun and because of my own curiosity, we got out our Baby Einstein DVD's today for the first time.

Ok, I'll be honest. Mama wanted 20 minutes to relax on the couch with a bag of ice on her hip (too much running lately, she thinks)...

Anyway, I popped in the Ole MacDonald Had a Farm one, and guess who just loved it?

Moana was just totally cracking herself up while watching... during the Ole MacDonald sing-a-long she was kicking her feet so furiously that her whole bouncy seat was rocking up and down. Too cute. These DVD's are a gold mine.

Except now it's going to be imperative that I get my iPod working again, or I'm sure during my next run I'll be repeating something like, "With an oink oink here and an oink oink there, here an oink, there an oink, everywhere an oink oink..."

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Sometimes It's Nice to Sleep In

We slept 12 hours last night. How cool is that? Of course, Moana was up at 3:30 and 6:30 to eat, but each time we went back to bed. An awesome thing about Moana is that she's pretty good about entertaining herself these days. After the 6:30 feeding she was ready to be awake and play, though her dad and I were not. So Scott put her on her quilt underneath her play gym and she quite happily talked to herself while batting those animals until she fell back asleep on her own. Love that.

Our lazy morning involved french toast, coffee, and a big English Premier League soccer game on TV. Before I met Scott, I didn't know there was such a thing as the English Premier League. Now, since the games are on at our house every weekend morning throughout the winter, I know the players on the big teams better than I know any of the players currently catching footballs on TV (which isn't saying much since prior to the pre-game show today I couldn't have named a single player on either team)... The funny thing is that Moana really gets into the soccer games now too. This morning I was feeding her but she was facing away from the TV... afterward she was arching her back and straining her head and generally acting very dissatisfied... until I turned her around and let her see the tube. Apparently her dad is teaching her all about the game while I'm out riding on Saturday mornings. My daughter may be the next Mia Hamm.

So if you've been following my blog, you know that I'm all about becoming a better runner this year. Today I'm proud to say that I went to the track! First though, I need to admit shamefully that while there is a high school track that is a 20 minute jog from my house, I have lived here 4+ years without ever stepping foot on it. Until today.

You're starting to get it aren't you? The reason why the run is such a weakness of mine? I've never exactly put the work in to make myself a runner. With a track so close to my home going completely unutilized by me, it's not that hard to figure out. But all that is over now.

I jogged over to the track with the intention of running some 800's. I was hoping to figure out what 7:20 pace felt like... thinking that a 45 minute 10K seems like a respectable goal. That would be challenging yet attainable for me I think, though really, what do I know since I don't know pace like that.

Castle High School has a dirt track, with no painted lines to speak of. The inside lane was a mud puddle in some places, but overall, not a bad place for me to go run. I drew my own line in the dirt so I could get my splits, and took off on the first 800 with no real goal other than to establish a baseline for myself and for future workouts. I came through the first 400 in 1:45 and thought to myself, "Wow, 7:30 pace is harder than I thought..." Clearly, I was unaware of 400 splits and couldn't do math at all. I didn't figure it out until I finished that 800 in 3:32 and realized that 1:45 is 7 min pace, not 7:30. Duh. I did some more 800's like that and then jogged back home with a sense of satisfaction and hope for the future. As Bruce is singing right now, "I'm working on a dream..."