Monday, August 31, 2009


Today I had to take Moana in to her doctor's office for a blood test. Her third one this month. I was choking back the tears as I drove the car toward the office, hoping that her tests would come back normal this time.

At her 9 month appointment she had her first routine blood draw. I didn't think anything of it, even when her doctor called the following day and told me that her white cell count was high. Doc wanted to know if it seemed like Moana was getting sick at all? I looked at Moana, who had just finished eating a good lunch and was smiling as she was crawling around on the floor and playing with her toys. Um, no. Not exhibiting any signs of sick. Doc said really it was nothing to worry about but why don't I bring her back in again next week so they can check again and see if the counts were in the normal range...

So back again the following week. 3 vials of blood this time instead of just one. Again, I did what I could not to worry about it, because seriously, how could my happy perfect little girl be sick?

But once again the phone call from the doctor came. Um, white counts still high. Not distressingly high, but out of range. No, Moana's still not exhibiting any signs of illness. In my calmest voice, I asked the doctor what the extra vials were for. She said she did a SED-rate test and another test to see which specific white cells were the ones out of range. The SED-rate test came back very low, which was good, she said, because it means that there is no underlying cause of inflammation. Rules out any auto-immune diseases or anything like that. Doc says that she wants me to wait another week and then bring Moana back again for another CBC to make sure her white count wasn't continuing to escalate. She told me that the hematologist didn't think it was anything to worry about unless it continued to go up.

Hematologist? She sent Moana's lab results to the hematologist?

So then, again in my calmest voice, I asked what we might be concerned about. After a brief pause, in her version of calm reassuring voice, she said it.


She said that we only start to worry if her counts continue to climb. That's why we need to check again next week.

I'm truly amazed at how I kept it together at that moment on the phone. Instead of bursting out into tears and hyperventilating, I told the doctor briefly about my history of Hodgkin's Disease. Doctor thanked me for the information and said she would also then order a chest x-ray for Moana.

I thanked the doctor for being so thorough, hung up the phone, cried, and then spent much of the next few days online researching childhood leukemia.

So it was a tough week in some respects. I kept looking at this happy little person and thinking that there's just no way I'm going to have to take her in for a bone marrow biopsy or a spinal tap or chemotherapy treatments.

So today was the day I had to take her back for the third blood draw. I vowed myself to be strong while we were in the lab because no one really wants to deal with an hysterical and out of control mama.

Turns out, Moana is really quite a little champ when it comes to having her finger pricked. Neither of us cried. That was, until she got strapped down for the chest x-ray. Who would have guessed how much babies HATE being restrained for something like that. She protested BIG TIME. The tech said that all babies do. I held her hands while they took a snap shot of her lungs.

For the next several hours I tried tried tried so hard to think of something else, anything else, while waiting for the results to come back. Finally, an email came through to my phone that said there were test results waiting for me to view online. I held my breath while waiting for that page to load... come one... come one... load already... I should have guessed that the results were going to be normal because my doctor wouldn't have released them for online viewing if they weren't normal... but in my panic state that didn't occur to me until about 30 minutes later. For future reference, when the results come via email, it's probably good news. :)

So PHEW. False alarm. Phew.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Do The Dew

I haven't had Mountain Dew in probably 6 years. I used to drink it while riding long in the Arizona summers. I'd wear a camelback and fill it with ice and Mountain Dew. I swear, it was the only way to get through 110 miles when it was 110 degrees.

Ok, so it wasn't quite 110 degrees here today, but it felt pretty darn hot. And we didn't ride quite 110 miles, but 104 is pretty darn close. And I tell ya what, I was having the strongest craving for Mountain Dew! So I was thrilled when my riding compadres suggested we stop at the 7/11 at about mile 90 today.

They look pretty happy for having already covered 90 miles, no? That's because they're holding Big Gulp drinks! These are some of my Pac Velo teammates who are also going to be racing in Kona. Those guys are all like 9:45ish IM guys who are all apparently trying to go even faster than that this year. They rip the legs off us girls every Saturday.

There were actually 8 of us riding today and we looked like the matching Octuplets out there on the roads. Too funny.

The first half of our ride today was flat and windy. And fast. I don't know what those guys were thinking, dragging us along at such a quick pace. Did they not know what we were going to encounter in the second half of the ride?? The second half was full of short steep hills. I think we all paid the price to some degree there on those hills. But in the end, I'm happy with how I rode today. The Mountain Dew helped me get up the last couple of hills I'm sure. Solid. Tired at the end for sure, but amazingly, I was able to run afterward at a pace that was a good bit faster than my goal pace in Kona. That was cool. I tell ya, that Jen Harrison sure knows how to train an athlete for an Ironman.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Happy Wife, Happy Life

Scott arrived home from work this evening to a house full of music and dancing... his happy wife was hopping around the kitchen preparing an interesting meal and his happy daughter crawled all over him the moment he walked in the door. His happy dog tried to get a piece of the attention as well!

It occurred to me tonight that the mood in this house is often set by me. Scott is just so easy going and mellow that he can always be in a good mood- regardless of how stressful work is or if he couldn't make the soccer game or whatever. I, on the other hand, am a little more fickle. Overall I can't say I have a lot to complain about, but some days are just better than others. And on the good days, I dance around the house while preparing dinner and laughing with my daughter. Today was one of those days.

So what do I need in order to be so happy that I dance in my own kitchen? In no particular order... a clean kitchen, some good food, a couple of good workouts, a baby who is not tired or hungry, and a husband who is home.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

The Gears Are Inside Me!

A couple weeks ago I posted about finding another gear during a hard swim set. Yesterday was another example of that... toward the end of our main set I was really working and feeling quite tired and wondering how the heck I was going to go even faster for the next 200... and then even faster than that for the last 100? But I managed to pull it off. Somehow. Love those swimming gears! Unfortunately I haven't exactly found those gears while running.

Jen must have read that post, because today I was told to go to the track and do a switching gears workout that included some as hard as you can go 400's in the middle of a continuous 4 miles. So much for waiting until after Ironman training is over to go find my other gears on the run.

So I got about half way through the workout, pleasantly surprised that I was actually hitting the goal times Jen set out for me (I think she thinks I'm a faster runner than I actually am because she's always telling me to run some crazy pace and I'm like, um, what??).

I was starting to feel like a wet noodle and my legs were starting to malfunction (am I going to trip over myself???) and I really thought that I wasn't going to be able to keep this up for 4 more repeats. The pivotal moment in your head during a workout... keep pushing? Or give up and call it a day? But I reminded myself about the gears I have in the pool and tried to switch them over to the track.

"You have the gears in the pool, Michelle... transfer 'em here on the track..." I repeated that over and over to myself during the 5th fast repeat.

And when I got to #6, I thought, "No. It's not that I have gears in the pool. I have gears INSIDE ME. It's time to push yourself, Michelle. You know how to do this."

"The gears are inside me. The gears are inside me..." That became my mantra for the rest of the intervals.

And I did it. I nailed the paces, last one fastest one, feeling like I might just puke. The workout was a major success, not just because I hit the times, but because I learned that I don't actually have access to some secret special gears in the pool. The gears are inside me. I can take them with me wherever I go. I am not limited to only using them in the pool. Now, I can use them at the track! :)

Where are your gears? They are INSIDE YOU.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

I *Heart* Ironman Training

You know what I love about Ironman? It's not the race. Seriously, it's really not about the race for me.

No, I love the training. I really do. And I love how fit the training makes me feel.

I love it when I can go out and have a good solid long training day and not even feel tired afterward. Nap? Not needed.

I love it when riding for 95 miles doesn't feel long.

I love it when a steady 25 mph headwind on the bike doesn't phase me.

I love it that 2 hours is just a moderately long run.

I love it when I think I'm just swimming easy and slow but my training partners are red faced and panting and say, "That was not slow."

I understand that this awesome fit feeling cannot be maintained all year long. That's so sad. But I understand. So I'm trying not to take this time for granted. I am making conscious efforts to soak it all in- all this awesome fitness- because at some point in the future I'll very likely be (once again) carrying an extra 20-30 pounds in the form of an unborn baby and feeling like a Fat HOUSE with swollen ankles and it is at that time that I was be so completely nostalgic for this SuperFit feeling I've got right now...

So for the next 7 weeks, I'm gonna enjoy the heck out of this Ironman Training.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

The Flight

A week ago today, I was preparing to take off for a girl's weekend in Seattle with Jenny... so excited! I posted that I couldn't wait to just get on the plane and relax without a baby crawling all over me. Included in that, though I didn't specifically mention it, was the relief that I wouldn't have to worry about cleaning up puke or changing diapers for several days! Woohoo!

So we got to the airport in Honolulu in time to enjoy a glass of wine before getting on the overnight flight to Seattle. Cheers!!

I boarded the full plane, found my seat on the aisle next to a nice looking couple and we exchanged pleasantries before closing our eyes and trying to drift off into the most peaceful sleep possible while seated in those horrible seats and flying through the air at 30,000ft.

Somewhere toward the middle/end of the flight, I awoke groggily from my 75% sleep to the feeling of something warm seeping through the cotton of my lightweight sweatpants. As my eyes opened, it occurred to me that my seat neighbor had just spilled her coffee on my legs. Ugh. Then I heard her say, in a complete state of shock, "I'm so sorry."

Then the smell. The unmistakable smell. That was not coffee. Oh. My. Gosh.

Without a word, I stood up and walked back to that little teeny tiny lavatory in the back of the plane. It was the only place I could have the privacy I needed to take off my favorite white sweatpants and do what I could to wash the puke out...

So there I stood, at 2:00 in the morning, in my underwear, scrubbing airline soap onto my now wet pants and trying desperately to remove the stomach acid that was all over both pant legs. Wishing wishing wishing I had another pair of pants or short or something I could put back on instead of these (now wet) white puke-pants.

Unfortunately, wishing doesn't make a new pair of pants magically appear. So I used a bunch of those little paper towels to soak up as much of the excess water as I could and then, yes, put my wet white puke-pants back on. What else was I going to do??

The next question was where I was going to sit for the remainder of the flight. My neighbor hadn't singled my legs out as the only destination for her puke... No, the projectile vomit landed all over the seats in front of us and the floor. And those good-for-nothing- flight attendants did, um, nothing, to help the woman and her husband clean it up.

I was prepared to stand in the back galley for the rest of the flight if I had to. I was NOT going to sit back in that seat. I returned to the row though, and the woman's husband apologized to me. I half-heartedly mentioned that he shouldn't worry about it and then told him I was going to ask the flight attendants if they might possibly make another seat magically appear on this full flight. Luckily for everyone involved, the man told me that their teenage son was sitting alone up toward the front of the plane so I could exchange seats with him. Perfect.

But before I had the chance to go up to my new seat, the agonized woman reappeared after taking some time to clean herself up in the other rear lavatory. She apologized and then right away said, "I'm going through chemotherapy. I don't know where that came from. It just came out of nowhere. I'm so sorry."

Wow. My heart instantly went out to her. I have goosebumps while writing this. I touched her arm and told her whole-heartedly not to worry about it for a second. I told her that I've been there. I've been through chemotherapy. I've been the one puking at 30,000 feet on an airplane and remember it as possibly one of the worst moments of that whole ugly year.

The woman and her husband tried to give me money for my ruined pants. No way. I wouldn't even consider taking that. I just wanted that woman to be able to sit down and relax. I know that years from now, when her treatments are all over, that incident on the plane will still be with her and she'll remember it as one of the lowest moments of her whole ordeal. I didn't want to make it worse for her in any way. So I did what I could to insist that she not worry about it and then took my new seat toward the front of the plane and let their family have some peace together.

So much for the hope that traveling without a baby would mean not cleaning up puke on the plane! In all honesty though, I'm glad that I was the one sitting next to that woman. I'm glad for her, that at least in the low moment, she had someone who truly 100% understood. What are the chances?

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Daddy Daughter Bonding

So my next post was going to be about my weekend with Jenny and the drama on my flight to Seattle, but I just had to post this first.

Like I said on my blog yesterday, the first thing I noticed about Moana was that her hair had grown so much while I was gone. Then I noticed that she just said, "ma ma ma ma ma ma ma..." repeatedly all evening, though she was also practicing making the 'g' sound, which is new. Later, when I took her for a walk, I saw that her legs are now long enough that her knees bend over the seat in her stroller, allowing her feet to hang down instead of straight forward. AND, she started waving! These kids don't stop growing and learning for a second, do they? It was amazing to me to pick out all the little changes in just a few days.

In good news, she didn't take her first step so I was not deprived of witnessing that while I was gone.

Anyway, another thing I noticed was how cute she and Scott were together last night. It's clear that they had a really good weekend together. He kept her busy, that's for sure. He had a soccer tournament over the weekend so she hung out with him on the soccer fields both days and was watched by whoever happened to not be playing at the moment. He said she charmed all those old men. Not surprising.

The best part was the videos though. Scott took a few and showed them to me last night. I cried. Mostly because I was laughing so hard.

Here is Scott's attempt to feed Moana breakfast. You really only need to watch for the first 90 seconds or so to see the good part.

And, um, I just hope CPS doesn't come visit me tomorrow after posting this one.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Lake Stevens 70.3

Yay! Mama's home!

I was super happy to see Scott at the airport this afternoon... and equally as happy that Moana was just waking up from her nap as I walked in the door here at home. I missed them both so much this weekend while I was gone. The first thing I noticed was that Moana's hair grew! It seems so much longer and thicker now. One of these days I'm going to have to start tying it up in some way to keep it out of her eyes. She looks like a ragged mess most of the time now with that unruly hair.

Anyway, onto the Race Report! I'll spoil it be saying right off the bat that I had a good day, and that I'm guessing that when I see the finish line photo, it will show the happiness on my face. :)

So here are the key points of the day:

It was freezing. Freakin' freezing frickin' COLD. For me anyway. I've become such the cold weather wimp. Having lived in Phoenix/Scottsdale for about 10 years and then Hawaii for 5, my body is just not used to 55 degrees and clouds. I called Jen the day before the race because my motivation to race had gone down to about zero as I had just spent 2 days shivering in my fleece jacket and I needed her to talk me back into wanting to race. I did NOT bring appropriate clothes to keep me comfortable when I'm wet from the swim and riding in 55 degrees down a big hill with no sun in sight. I threw out the idea of putting newspaper under my tri-top in T1 and asked her what she thought. Those of you who know Jen will have an idea of her response. Let's just say it included a bit of laughter and something like, "I can't believe I'm having this conversation!" Basically she told me to harden up because guess what? A cold day means a fast day and all those local girls were going to be salivating at how fast they were going to be able to go so I better just get over my bad self and toughen up. Just what I needed to hear.

Actually, she told me to wear more clothes on the bike if I needed to, and I thought I brought an appropriate shirt for that, but apparently I did not. So I just suffered and shivered. But back to the race start...

They lined our waves up like cattle (MOOOOO) being led to slaughter. I heard one gal say, between shivers, that this was like a bad reality TV show, which kind of cracked me up. Mostly because I agreed.

I didn't get in the water at all to 'warm up', because I knew that even though the water was near 70 and I wouldn't be too cold in there, getting back out to line up would be worse if I was wet. So I just waited until the gun went off to take my first swim stroke for the day.

I lined up right at the front, took off at the horn, and cruised for a short while as I looked around me... waiting to see if any of the gals were fast swimmers trying to sprint off the front. Less than a minute in I could see that there was no one, so I set off on my own. That swim course was quite possibly the easiest swim course on the 70.3 circuit. Not that I've done that many 70.3's around the country, but I swear, it just couldn't get any easier. The water was calmer/flatter than the pool water I swim in, and there was this white cable about 2 feet under the water that ran along the whole course- so you didn't even have to look up and sight. Seriously, this was as easy as it gets. The only slight problem I ran into was that our wave started behind a bunch of other waves and I had to pass probably 400 people in the water. BUT, since that cable was there, it seemed just about everyone lined up on a straight lined path so I just swam a couple feet to the inside of the line and passed people without much hassle.

I was a bit surprised that I didn't come out in something like 27 minutes given how uncomplicated it was, but the time was actually like 29:30ish which makes me wonder if the course may have been just a hair long? That was over a minute slower than Honu, even though the swim was easier and I was wearing a wetsuit. Whatever. I was first out of my wave.

I haven't done a race in a wetsuit in forever and totally forgot how hard it can be to get one of those things off in transition. Where were those strippers when you needed them anyway?? Both my hip flexors were cramping as I struggled to jam my knee up while pulling down on the legs. That darn wetsuit just wouldn't come off my ankles! I had to sit down and work it slowly so my hips didn't seize up any more than they already were.

Off on the bike. OH OH OH OH OH MY GOSH I'M SO COLD. OH OH OH IT'S SO FREAKING COLD. OH MY GOSH THIS IS COLD. HOLY MOLY ITS COLD. OH OH OH OH IT'S SO FREAKING COLD.... On it went like this for about 2 hours. Up and down* a whole bunch of hills. Trying to get my legs to GO. SO HAPPY to be climbing because at least then I was going slower so the air wasn't moving as fast around my cold wet torso with just that darn wet tri-suit on. Down the hills... OH OH OH OH OH MY GOSH IT'S SO COLD... My fingers hardly worked to shift my gears and I struggled to get my frozen lips around my water bottle straw so I could drink anything. WHERE'S THE FREAKING SUN???

Somewhere in the middle of the second loop it warmed up a few degrees and the sun started to make it's appearance so it just became COLD, instead of OH OH OH OH OH MY GOSH IT'S SO FREAKIN COLD. At that point my legs and fingers and lips started functioning almost properly so I picked up the pace on the drinking (finally finishing my second bottle) and managed to eat a GU without feeling like I was going to drop the little packet on the ground due to the inability of my mind to control my fingers.

I knew I felt fine and that I'd ridden ok because no women passed me, though I was pretty frustrated when I saw my split on my watch. 2:48? Are you kidding me? I was shocked I hadn't been passed by 10 women with a split like that. But apparently everyone else in my age group had a harder time than I did with the hills and the elements because (shockingly) I found out after the race that I had the fastest split in my age group. Not a fast day out there, that's for sure.

I had to pee in transition, which also surprised me. I only drank 2 bottles on the bike which is WAY less than I normally would, but being cold I just didn't have any desire to drink. I guess I was just shocked that I was actually hydrated enough to pee. In the port-a-potty... come on... hurry up... peeeeeee.... hurry up.... peeeeee... finally I got done and then went to rack my bike and get my running shoes on.

You know what? For once, I was so happy to be off that bike and on the run. Seriously, I'm never happy to be off the bike and running, but in weather like this, running was a way better deal than biking. And since my legs were actually functioning rather than cramping and seizing up on me, I was even happier to be running. :)

Before the race, I gave my goals to Jen, and told her that I wanted to get under 1:50 on the run. Truth be told, I thought that was a pipe dream. Figured 1:52ish was more realistic, but didn't want to appear to be setting my sights too low, so I said 1:50. But I gotta say, at mile 3 I checked my split and decided that 1:50 was indeed very possible today. I wasn't running smoking fast, but I thought about Marit's mantra of strong and steady, and that's exactly what I did. The cool thing about racing a 70.3 when you're training for an Ironman is that these distances, for once, seem so completely doable. With 10 miles left to go, I was sure I had this. I was going to be able to run this pace for 10 more miles. That's a great feeling.

I also tried to imagine that I was Angela... she's such a stud runner and I was totally pretending to be her... in my neon green Trakkers visor and Lunalite shoes. I think that got me through a couple of miles.

I didn't think I was going to win my age group or anything though. I kept waiting for girls to come running by me like gazelles... where were the fast girls in my age group? Finally, around mile 10 or 11, a 37 year old ran by. I kept my pace but wasn't able to match hers. I was ok with that. I kept running and hoped that maybe only one more would pass me so I could get third. Last couple miles, I felt like I was able to push it a little more. Legs were getting tired but I wasn't melting. I was afraid to look at my watch because I didn't want to see how quickly that 1:50 was creeping up on me. Hurry up... go go go...

Cross the finish line. 1:49:49 run! Holy Smokes!!!! I did it! I couldn't believe it. BIG SMILE for the camera.

I know 1:49 is not so fast for some of you awesome runners, but for me, it's awesome. For once, I didn't melt on the run in a 70.3 (in fact, my second loop was only 1 minute slower than my first loop- I'm calling that even split!), and I hung on for second in my age group with a 5:11. Sweet sweet sweet.

Right away I went to go change out of my wet clothes because I was starting to shiver again. Back on with the fleece. And then something kinda cool happened... I was approached by another athlete in the transition area who told me that she reads my blog and she recognized me! At first it sort of tripped me out, but I was really happy to meet Endurance Girl. She did the swim/bike on a relay yesterday and is doing IM Canada in 2 weeks. Good luck, Endurance Girl!

Anyway, I'll be back later this week with details about the weekend... and the flights... holy moly the flights. The drama with me and airplanes apparently hasn't ended quite yet. Stay tuned because it's a pretty crazy story.

*I had the opportunity to test out a Trakkers GPS unit during the race... so my mom was following me online (live!) at her home in Ohio... apparently the unit was giving my current mph and avg pace on the bike/run. Mom thought it was malfunctioning because she said my current pace was all over the place on the bike... 41 mph, 26 mph, 9 mph... clearly this stupid GPS thing isn't working. HA! I assured her afterward that the hills on this course made all those numbers quite correct.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

I'm Curious

I can't believe I'm getting on a plane tonight and going to the mainland! And I get to make a withdrawl from that huge bank account I've been making deposits into for months and months now. No, not my money bank acocunt. That one is not huge. Not at all. But my training bank account is HUGE. All those long runs and rides I've been doing... In The Bank. And this weekend, I get to withdrawl. And I'm pretty confident that I will not overdraft.

So how am I feeling about this race? Differently than I did for Hawaii 70.3, that's for sure. I'm not nearly as nervous or pumped up. The few days before that race in May, I was bouncing off the walls. I'm not feeling like that this time. No. This time I just feel curious. I'm really curious to see how fast I can go for 70.3 miles of swim/bike/run. There's nothing holding me back at all. I've had no injuries. I haven't been sick. I've done every workout I've been told to do, almost exactly as I was told to do it. I mean, seriously, I can think of two workouts that I had to cut a little short in the last month. Other than that, I did them all. I am perfectly prepared.

It's almost scary, really, to be this ready. Because it leaves me with no excuses. I think I wrote a post like this before Hawaii 70.3 as well. Being perfectly trained and prepared doesn't mean that the race will go perfectly, it definitely didn't in May. But it sure gives me a good shot at having that great day.

So if you want to follow along, I'm guessing that will have our splits up on Sunday while we're racing? Click on the Athlete Tracker and search on W35-39. Don't get too psyched if you see me quite well placed coming off the bike. They key to this race for me is going to be how well I hold it together on the run... I'm going to look for a solid steady gear on that run that won't malfunction. ;)

Jenny's racing too, so you should see her in the same list of results. And my friend Amy. There will be 3 of us from Hawaii coming to make some waves in that 35-39 age group. :)

So Jenny was over yesterday and we were talking about what we were packing and what we wanted to do while we were in Washington sans kiddos. I told her I wanted to see that movie Food, Inc. It's not playing here but I've really wanted to see it.

Jenny's reaction, "A movie? Really? Oh my gosh. A Movie? I haven't seen a movie in so long! YES YES! Let's go see a movie!!"

It's the little things that please us moms.

And I think Scott is ready for his single dad weekend. He stopped at the store last night on his way home from work and picked up beer and frozen pizza. Yes. He's ready. And it appears that he has been listening to me as I've given him little tips here and there about how, what, and when to feed Moana. I think this weekend is going to be great for them both.

So you know what I'm looking forward to? Flying on a plane without a little person crawling all over me and without worrying that she will scream out in protest at any uncontrollable moment. So even though we are flying overnight (UGH), it's ok with me. I'm going to get to the airport tonight in time to drink a glass of wine in the terminal with Jenny. Then, just as they start boarding the plane, I'm going to swallow my ambien pill and expect to wake up just as the captain comes over the intercom system and says, "Flight attendants, please prepare for landing."

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Finding Another Gear

Ahhhh. Taper Week. Time to chill out and relax and let the body recover.

Except when it comes to the pool. Maybe Jen thought that today's swim workout was a 'taper workout' (she did say something about 'short and sweet'??), but a main set of 10x200's doesn't sound a whole lot like tapering to me. Only in Jen's world is 10x200's a 'short and sweet' main set. ;)

I didn't mind though. I've been feeling stellar in the pool lately and I like working hard in there so I was game to push it today. In fact, my goal was to really go for it at the end of the set- see what I had in me, ya know?

Marit wrote a post the other day about a masters swim workout where the guy leading the lane blew himself out in the beginning of the workout and then wasn't able to finish at the end. That was interesting to me because I don't think that's every really happened to me in the water? I can almost *always* go faster at the end, pretty much no matter what the set was. So that got me thinking... Am I not working hard enough early on and that's why I always have something left at the end? What if I pushed it hard in the beginning? Would I still be able to find another gear at the end?

Today's workout was the perfect opportunity to test it. 10x200's, descend in sets of 2. Rather than starting off easy, I started off at a solid but smooth effort that yielded 3:05's (in a wavy long course meters pool with no lane lines). Goal for the next two was to drop it down by 2 seconds and hit 3:03, which I did for the third one, 4th one was 3:02. There was some effort involved in that but nothing crazy yet.

#5 and #6 I figured I'd start to work, expecting times around 3:01... but hit 2:59 on #5 and then 2:58 on #6. Hmmm... maybe a little too fast considering I still had 4 more and needed to get faster. Not sure that I'd be able to do that?

#7 and #8 I worked it. I was definitely getting tired but still feeling strong. Hit 2:58 for each of those and thought it was possible that 2:58 was going to be my limit today. Hopefully I'd be able to hang on for two more and not get slower.

#9 and #10. I knew that even to hit 2:58 when I was this tired I was really going to have to push it into overdrive. So I took off on #9 hard and just willed myself to hang on. 2:56. Nice. I could have been done with the workout right there and felt very proud of my effort, but did I have one more in me? Could I hit 2:56 again on the tenth one? Let's see... I went for it, pushed past the part where my body went numb, and came in at 2:55. Nice!

What I think is interesting, and is really the topic of this post, is how it is possible to find another gear when you want/need to. I know a lot of you out there have this ability on the run. I have not developed that yet. I definitely have it on the swim, and on the bike as well... when I want another gear, I can usually find one. Even when I'm whooped tired. But when I'm running, and I feel like I'm going as hard as I can, finding another gear is nearly impossible for me.

This is clearly something I need to work on. I think finding another gear on the run is something you learn at the track. Maybe possible to do on the road, but I bet it starts at the track. Anyway, since I'm currently 8 weeks away from Ironman, finding another gear on the run probably isn't going to be my top priority right now. But once IM is over, and I am able to recover, I think I'm really going to set out looking for that extra running gear. It's gotta be there somewhere. I'll start looking at the track.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Sub Plans

I just spent much of my evening steaming and pureeing (and now freezing) broccoli, zucchini, carrots, sweet potatoes, and spinach for Moana. Did you know that a whole huge bag of spinach only makes 7 veggie cubes after it's steamed and pureed?

My mission this week is to get everything ready for Moana so that while I'm gone this weekend she'll have as much 'normalcy' as possible. Hopefully her dad will make the effort to thaw out the veggie cubes and mix 'em up with the Super Porridge so at least she can eat good food in my absence. Even if it is guaranteed to end up all over her face instead of in her belly.

Think I'm kidding? Check out what happened last time Scott tried to feed Moana.

Let's take a closer look, shall we?

That's yogurt all over her face and in her hair. And no bib, so she'll have to have her entire outfit changed after each meal.

Oh, how is Moana going to survive this weekend without me???

I went to the store today and made sure we're totally stocked up on diapers, wipes, formula, and bottle liners... I'll go once more on Thursday to make sure there is fresh yogurt and poi for Moana and soy milk and other fruits/veggies for Scott. I'm trying to envision him grocery shopping alone with Moana in the cart... I think I'll save everyone at Safeway from having to witness that by making sure he won't have to take her. Though it probably would be a good lesson for him if he did indeed have to make a trip.

So I leave Thursday night for Lake Stevens! Jenny and I are leaving our daughters with our husbands and escaping for a girl's weekend of fun and racing up in Washington!! I am really excited. Although this will be my first time being away from Moana for more than about 6 hours so that part is going to be hard. She's thisclose to taking her first step and I swear, if she does it while I'm gone I'm going to scream.

Please, Moana. Wait until Tuesday. Mommy deserves to see your first step. She really does.

Anyway, the good news is that my awesome neighbor, Christina, is going to come over and watch Moana on Friday and Monday while Scott is at work. Christina is incredible... she's from the Salomon Islands and just has such a loving heart. She and her husband have been trying to have kids for years and it's just not going to happen for them. So sad, because if there's one woman on this planet who should have kids, it's Christina. Her love for Moana is so incredibly obvious, so I feel really good leaving them together while I'm gone.

Christina came over this afternoon to learn all about how I typically run Moana's day... I thought I'd make things easier for her and type up a bunch of detailed instructions on her typical daily schedule (subject to change daily) and other info about how we do things around here. Not sure how many of you are actually interested in this info, but there might be a few of you, so here are the Sub Plans I wrote out for Christina. (They're for Scott too, though he won't read them.)

Moana’s Ideal Day…

6:00ish Wakes up (on her own)
Change diaper, get dressed
Drink bottle
Walk the dog

8:30ish Eat solid foods

9:30ish Diaper change
Morning nap

11:30-12ish Wakes up (on her own)
Drinks bottle
More play time- run errands, go to park, etc.

1:30ish Diaper change
Eat solid foods
More play time

3:30ish Drinks bottle
Afternoon nap

5:00ish Wakes up (on her own)
Walk dog- outside play time
Solid food dinner

7:00ish Drinks bottle
Bath time

7:30 Books/bedtime

This is just a general guide- All times are subject to change. General rule of thumb I go by is that I feed her 4 bottles/day and 3 solid food eating sessions. Feedings are generally a few hours apart, but bottle upon waking and before bed, plus twice more in between meals, and solid foods for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

Usually she’s good to stay awake for 3-4 hours between naps (not more than 4) so her afternoon nap always just depends on her morning nap and when she wakes up. If the morning nap happens to be shorter (like 90 minutes), you can usually count on a longer afternoon nap, and vice versa. Sometimes if the morning nap is long (2 ½ hours) the afternoon nap will just be like 45 minutes. No problem. Sometimes it happens that she wakes up crying 45 minutes into her nap. If this happens, do not go get her. Wait a few minutes and generally she will go right back to sleep on her own (unless it’s the afternoon nap and she already had a long morning nap).

She almost always cries out in protest of the nap when you first put her down. This is okay and it will only last a minute or two. I’ve found it’s best to kiss her on the cheek and walk out of the room, closing the door behind you. She’ll get the message that it’s nap time and will go to sleep within minutes. I try to manage her day so she’s awake from her afternoon nap by 5:00ish. Too much later than that and then bedtime becomes 8:00 or later and that will mess up tomorrow.

To make a bottle- put 3 scoops of formula into bottle. Add hot water, shake to mix, then fill the rest of the way with cold filtered water from refrigerator.

Bibs are in the laundry room or in the top drawer of her closet.

Solid food feedings: Always in her high chair (easiest to feed her!). Usually she has been eating like 2 big espresso cups full of food. Sometimes more, sometimes less. She’ll let you know when she’s done because she’ll stop eating and turn her head… or she’ll purse her lips or something. When she’s done, you’ll know.

Offer her water in her sippy cup after each solid food feeding. Sometimes she’ll drink it. Sometimes she won’t. No worries either way.

Breakfast: Usually I mash up a banana and maybe another fruit if I have (mango, papaya, avocado, applesauce or whatever). Then I also feed her oatmeal (already made up in the fridge)- I scoop out some from the Tupperware into an espresso cup… maybe add a little hot water if it’s too thick and put in the microwave for 15 seconds to warm. Add a scoop of almond butter or tahini and mix it well. She’ll like that.

Lunch: defrost a sweet potato cube in an espresso cup (15 seconds, then turn it over and 15 seconds more). Add a scoop of soy yogurt to the potato and mix it up well. Offer her a cupful of poi if she still seems hungry after the yogurt.

Dinner: pick two green vegetable cubes from the freezer and defrost them- again, 15 seconds, then turn over, 15 seconds more. Add the rice/bean mix from the fridge to the green veggies, maybe add a little hot water if it’s too thick, microwave again for 10 seconds to warm. If she eats that whole cup, offer her another cup of poi or fruit.

So hopefully with all that info, Moana will have an ok weekend. I mean, I know she will... Scott actually is a really good dad, even if I give him a hard time on this blog sometimes. I am sure of one thing though, he is going to appreciate the heck out of me when I get home next Monday. :)

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Sunday Funday

The nice thing about having a 70.3 next weekend is that I didn't have any big huge training days this weekend. Only about 2.5 hours each day. Funny how 2.5 hours of training is prefaced by 'only'... as in 'only' when you're ironman training is 2.5 hours short. :)

Anyway, that left me the rest of the day to play! YAY! Some of our friends set up a slip-n-slide at Lanikai Beach this afternoon so we headed over there with Moana for a fun afternoon.

Scott dug Moana her own little ocean pool to play in.

I won the Mom Of The Year award for being so careful with Moana's nutrition.

Not that it mattered. Moana just covers herself with sand when she's at the beach and has not yet decided that eating it isn't such a good idea.

She is sure there's something good in this cooler... all the adults keep coming over to grab something from the inside...

We really need to spend more days like this. They're so much fun, but I swear, sometimes I'm just too lazy to go to the beach... haul all that stuff down there and then deal with the sand everywhere and on everything... but you know what? My car and Moana's diaper bag are already full of sand, so I should really get over the sand excuse and take her there more often.

Saturday, August 8, 2009


The last of the North Shore Swim Series races took place this morning. We started at Pipeline and swam 2.3 miles down the coast and ended in Waimea Bay. This is my favorite of the 4 races, probably because it's the longest, but I also think the scenery along the bottom is prettiest in this one. I had a decent but uneventful swim. Hard to start, found some feet, got on the train, got bored, put it into overdrive to bridge the gap and get on another train, etc. I felt strong, was able to cruise when I was on someone's feet but also had the power to surge when I wanted to as well.

The good thing about this swim is that we started men and women all together, which was awesome because it meant more people swimming the same speed so it was easier to swim in a pack. It also meant that we didn't catch any slower swimmers who would have started ahead of us if there were wave starts so it was all clear water once the horn sounded.

Like I said, I had a decent day. I think I'm not more excited about it because my time was kind of slow. 57:49. That might not sound all that slow, but last year I did this race when I was 7 months pregnant and swam 57:21.

I shouldn't get down on myself though. The currents this year were different than the currents last year and most people were 5-7 minutes slower this year as compared to last year. I had to look all this up to make myself feel better... last year 146 people came in under 1 hour. This year, only 61 people did.

So today I was 48th overall, 11th female, and 2nd in my age group. Miki won again, as she always does (though this year it took her 6 minutes longer this year- darn those currents!). I got 2nd to her in W35-39 in all 4 races this summer. I'm used to being 2nd now. The good news for me is that Miki is 39. I'm looking forward to Miki's next birthday. :)

They also give awards at the end of the series for combined total time for all 4 races. The fun news here is that Miki was the second fastest female overall for all the races combined, which left me in first place for 35-39. :) I was actually 4th overall for the series which is kind of cool, considering that first and third were these crazy fast little high school girls... and Miki and I are mixing it up with them. Well, Miki was anyway. I was trailing a bit behind. But A for effort. Ha!

Anyway, Scott and Moana came up this morning too (with the dog!). Moana has such a blast at these events. She's really quite the social little thing and loves being around lots of people. She also loves being at the beach and playing in the sand and water.
The water at Pipeline was a little too rough for babies to play in but it was calm like a lake at the finish in Waimea so she got to play in the water there.

After the swim we hung out at the beach there for a while, then I got some heat training in... meaning, I'm a triathlete, not just a swimmer, so I still had my run to do. It was good to get to practice running at 2:00 in the afternoon when the sun is blasting down in full force. Part of me felt like I was in hell, melting in my own skin... but part of me felt like I was in heaven. I love being a triathlete and am just thoroughly enjoying all this training right now!

Friday, August 7, 2009

Chow Hound

Moana has been eating a ton the last few days. When she goes into these growth spurt modes I end up calling her my little Chow Hound. Although maybe it's not really a growth spurt? Maybe she's just trying to be more like me... since Mommy eats all the time, I should too!

Yesterday, she had a bottle upon waking, then about an hour and a half later she ate breakfast: an entire banana and a bowl of 'super porridge' (brown rice cereal and lentils with a scoop of tahini mixed in.) A few hours later, another bottle, then lunch: 1/2 cup soy yogurt with sweet potato, 1/2 cup poi, and more super porridge. Another bottle, then dinner: 1/2 papaya, 1/2 avocado, 3 veggie cubes- peas, zucchini, and carrots, 1/2 cup soy yogurt, and a 1/2 cup poi. Then yet another bottle before bed.

The thing is, she just keeps eating the solid foods. I end up just cutting her off at some point when it seem to me that she's had enough. If left up to her, I think she'd just keep eating? She sees that little plastic spoon and she just opens her mouth like a little bird and waits to be fed.

So you can tell by the types of foods that I'm giving her that she hasn't really figured out how to use those two little bottom teeth of hers. She's still into the pureed stuff, for the most part. The other day we went to the pond at the park across the street to feed the fish and she managed to rip off a small piece of bread and got it in her mouth and seemed quite proud of herself for 'chewing' it, so she might be ready to try a few more food items that would involve a little bit of 'chewing'.

And if I look away for a second during the day, inevitably she'll find something to put in her mouth. Usually it's a leaf that she has ripped off a plant, but the other day I saw her chewing on something so I went to investigate what was in her mouth... it was not good boding to see a hairy little bug leg on her cheek. EEEEWW! I did the finger sweep in her mouth and pulled out a black beetle and the other leg. And there she was... with this proud look on her face... for chewing up a bug.

It does happen though that she discovers something really good, which is maybe why she feels the need to taste everything she can get her little hands on. The other day, all of a sudden she got really quiet, which is always a sign that she's into something she shouldn't be... so I looked down from my computer and saw this.

Somehow she managed to reach up onto my desk and pull down the last of the dark chocolate and mint bar that I had been slowly enjoying. It didn't take her too long to get that last little square into her mouth. Talk about a proud look on her face... I think I read somewhere that babies aren't supposed to have chocolate just yet, but I didn't have the heart to snatch it out of her mouth, so I let her enjoy it and took a picture instead. Turns out, a little chocolate isn't the end of the world for a 9 month old. In fact, it's the beginning of a whole new one...

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

The Swim-Bike Brick

As triathletes, I think most of us do brick workouts regularly. Lately it's been twice a week for me... Bike 2 hours, run 30 minutes.. or longer on the weekends... Bike 5 hours, run 40 minutes...

We're used to doing those. In my mind, a weekend bike ride is not complete until the run is done.

But one brick workout that's easy to overlook is the swim/bike. Seems like that transition would be easy enough because you use your arms while you swim, but your legs while you bike. So no problem, right?

I don't know about that. Starting a bike ride after a hard swim feels differently than starting a bike ride when you're fresh out of bed. Or more accurately, freshly done drinking your coffee.

Anyway, I don't normally do the swim/bike thing. Probably because of logistics more than anything.I normally don't have more than an hour in the morning to train before Scott goes to work during the week, and on the weekends I guess we're all just more in a hurry to get that long workout done without dilly-dallying around in the ocean first.

But today, as logistics would have it, I didn't really have a choice but to get my swim/bike done as back to back workouts. I don't think they were planned to be that way, but I had Jenny here to watch Moana and because of the pool schedule and Jenny's schedule it just worked out that I needed to bike right after I swam.

And it was great.

It was 'sprint day' in the pool today. Not my favorite, but something I need to work on I suppose, given that my "sprint" speed is about the same as my hard 400 speed. Yeah, I don't really have a sprint speed. But I tried the best that I could in the pool today, and then immediately afterward jumped on my bike and started my 35 mile ride.

I could feel the swim in my whole body while I tried to adjust to cycling. I actually started off kinda hard, like I would in a race, but then settled in to my aero bars and the steady pace I was supposed to hold today.

I think there's a hurricane (or two) in the Pacific right now headed our way, which might have been part of the cause of all that wind... it was ferocious at times. But you know what? I felt stellar! My legs felt strong and I felt like I was going fast even though I wasn't pushing the pace. It was awesome.

I only have a couple more hard workouts coming up in the near future, and that's because in about a week and a half I'll be doing my second 70.3 of the season at Lake Stevens. In all honesty, I haven't given a lot of thought to this race quite yet... I imagine it'll hit me next week when it's Race Week on the calendar and I have to start to think about packing and leaving Moana for 4 days... oh I'm not sure how that's going to go... But I will say that today, while riding (flying/floating, whatever) home, it did occur to me that I can't wait to race next weekend! Bring on the 70.3.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

On My Own

So I just put Moana down for bed... this is the only time that I can get on my computer now. Moana has recently decided that the coolest thing to do around this house is to reach for the computer keyboard when mommy is trying to type. And she's just tall enough to reach the keys, which means that I really can't type at all while she's awake anymore.

So there you have it. 9 months old and she's already figured out that the computer is the most intriguing item in the house. That, or my iPhone. It's a toss-up.

Anyway, I'm on my own for a few days this week while Scott is working in Guam. At first, the thought of him being away for 3 whole days was frightening to me, but then when I really thought about it, I wasn't so worried. Don't get me wrong- I love being married, and love being married to Scott- but a few days on my own isn't such a bad thing. Shoot, I managed for 34 years before getting married. I'm a pretty independent gal.

Let's face it, as a stay at home mom, I do everything around the house anyway. I do all the cooking, cleaning, shopping, laundry, etc. And taking care of all of Moana's needs has been my job since the day she was born. Don't get me wrong, Scott helps out sometimes and is certainly able to do all these things, but given that he's at work all the time, I am the default person in charge around here.

In all honesty, it's actually a little bit easier on me because I don't have to worry about cooking for anyone else (other than Moana I guess, but her food is pretty simple). I don't have to clean up after anyone else (other than Moana, and I guess she can make a pretty big mess). I don't have to worry about anyone else's schedule (other than Moana's I suppose, and that can be kinda tricky)...

OK, so I changed my mind. Living alone when you're single and childless really is pretty different than living alone when you're married and a mom. I would NOT want to do this child-rearing thing alone full time. I don't know how single moms do it all the time?

What is keeping me sane this week while I'm on my own is the fact that I've got Dana and Jenny to trade off with so I can still have my Michelle time (read: training time). It's just perfect that I've found these two moms and can trade off with them in such a win win situation. I'm not missing a single workout this week thanks to these two.

SO... Moana is in bed. 7:00PM. What am I going to do with my evening? Well, after finishing this blog, I'm going to go upstairs and stretch and continue reading my book, The Other Boleyn Girl. That is the best book! I'm so glad it's 800+ pages because I just don't want it to end. I'm sure that falling asleep alone with a book every night would get pretty darn lonely if I went back to doing it all the time, but for a few nights right now, it's just fine.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Guava Season

Ahhh. Sunday afternoon. I feel happy and satisfied. Moana is in such a good happy playful mood... it's contagious! :) There's just no way to look at this little girl and not crack yourself up smiling. She's making all sorts of funny faces at me and doing her little raspberries with her lips and squealing out any kind of noise/word she can manage. Days like this remind me that having her was the best thing I've ever done. I'm a Mama in love.

In other good news, I'm finally completely done working out for the week! Yay! This has been a big one and I'm proud to report that I got in everything I was supposed to... with the exception of that Tuesday run that I had to cut short, but then Thursday's run was long since I got lost so we'll call it even.

Swim: 9800M
Bike: 185 miles
Run: 46 miles
Yoga/core: 90 minutes

Too bad I don't get paid to do this. Even if it was only $10/hour, I'd have earned $220 this week. Instead, I probably spent that on sports drinks, bars, and GU. Ugh.

No wonder I was craving real food.

So this morning I was about 2 hours into my 2 1/2 hour run when I came across a guava on the ground. Yes, I might have been hallucinating just a little, but this guava looked heavenly. I stopped. I picked it up. Inspected it for bugs. No bugs. Hadn't been cracked open at all. But it was just soft enough to call ripe.

Ok, so it didn't quite look like this one in the picture, but it was good enough to eat. So I stood there on the side of the road, cursing the fact that I had just cut my nails as I was trying to pry this thing open. Finally, I cracked through the outer peel and sucked out the insides like they were some sort of magical elixir.

Oh. My. Gosh. That guava was seriously the best thing I'd eaten during that run. Maybe ever. I wanted another one. I looked up for the source of this magic food and saw, to my major disappointment, that the tree was very tall. And even though there were plenty of good size fruit ready to fall, there was no way for me to get to any of it. Grrr.

The good news is that the next few miles went by quickly- in fact they were a complete blur- because I spent them scouring the side of the road looking for another guava to eat. Didn't find one, so I had to use the power from the one to get me home.

I love guava season. And mango season. All the mangos are ripe now too. My neighbor keeps picking them off her tree and bringing them over for Moana. Of course she shares them with me. Can you tell which half is hers and which half is mine? YUM.