Thursday, April 29, 2010

But Thursday Is Your Free Day, Right?

Well it's Thursday night and can I just say I'm exhausted? You'd think Thursdays would be my easy day now that Moana goes to day care once a week and I'm kid-free for a full 7 hours, but that is just NOT the case. Turns out, Thursdays are now my busiest days. Maybe because my mindset all week for everything is, "I'll get that done on Thursday..."

Anyway, I dropped M off this morning around 9ish... I guess I could take her earlier- that would give me a little more time, but we move kinda slow around here in the mornings. Probably because Scott doesn't leave for work until like 8:30 so if I'm not out training (wasn't today) we all just putz around and somehow manage to waste the first few hours of the day just playing. I guess that's not wasting? ;) Moana got another stellar report from Kirsten about how she handled being there today- I could tell that Moana was happy to be back at Kirsten's house because as soon as we arrived she squirmed out of my arms and just integrated herself playing games with the other kids. It is so helpful for me to see her so happy because it alleviates any mommy guilt I might otherwise feel about not spending the day with her.

So I zipped home and got to work right away... spent the rest of the morning writing schedules for my athletes... made good progress! If you're reading this and have not yet received your schedule for next week, don't worry, they are all mostly done and I'll finish them tomorrow during Moana's nap. :)

I couldn't stop watching the clock though because I was meeting Nalani for a lunchtime swim and can I just say how QUICKLY time passes on Thursdays? All of a sudden it was time to go. We had another crazy long hard swim today and I was just sinking in the water. Felt like a ton of bricks landed on my back and I was dragging them through descending 400M repeats, only, um, I wasn't descending. That is a red flag to me that I'm at my limit with training load- when I lose my ability to descend in the pool... I know I've been pushing my limits the last 10 days or so, and I think I need to do that right now, but I also need to listen when my body is screaming out for a break. So I still went for my planned bike ride, but I skipped the intervals and just rode aerobically. Figured I'd save myself for Saturday, which I know is going to be a complete sufferfest on the bike.

So I was asked about how I ended up handling the swim workout poacher guy I wrote about last week... I'm embarrassed to admit what a non-confrontational person I can be... because I haven't said a thing... GAH! But I'll cut myself a break because I actually haven't been at the pool any mornings this week. It's been lunchtime swims because of my schedule this week (I'm not actually avoiding mornings on purpose to avoid swim workout poacher guy- it's just turned out that way this week)... and tomorrow morning we'll be in the ocean so again no morning pool swim... so the short answer is, I haven't handled it. In all honesty, the workouts we're doing right now are NOT workouts that you could just jump into without having done the training we've been doing for the last several months. We're following a progression with our swim training (similar to what you would do with run training) and the sets now are long and race-like with very little rest and completely inappropriate for most triathletes. Shoot, the set today was pretty much inappropriate for me! Lol. Of course Nalani nailed it though. That girl is a machine. The lunchtime lifeguards haven't seen her swim in a while but today they were like, "So, we heard you're really fast now, Nalani!" I asked where they heard that and they just replied, "Oh, people talk..." That's Hawaii for you.

Anyway, I didn't finish riding until after 3:00 and that left me just enough time to shower, stuff my face with some food, and go pick up Moana. I didn't even got to sit down and relax for 5 minutes today. I better start scheduling that into my Thursdays. :) But where would I fit it in? I did not have time to do laundry today. I did not have time to clean AT ALL (didn't even vacuum, gasp!). I did not stretch. I did not use my Trigger Point or foam roller. I did not take an ice bath. (But I DID comment on some of your blogs- see how important you are? LOL) Man, I could use another "free" day. Maybe next week.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

18 Months

18 months ago I became a mom.

I thought about writing up a whole blog post about all that Moana is doing now at 18 months... how she likes to hang on any railing she sees and how she verbally names everything she knows and how she insists on climbing into the front seat of the car and pretending to drive... but then I thought, You know what? This is my blog and it's about ME so instead I'm going to write about how I have changed over the last 18 months.

Growing up, and even into adulthood, I never really knew if I wanted to be a mom. I had friends in high school- you know the ones- who were just obviously born to breed. They were nurturing by nature and you just knew that they would make great moms. I don't know that too many people would use the word 'nurturing' to describe me. I didn't think that a kid would actually fit into my lifestyle. I thought maybe I was too selfish to have a kid.

But then I got pregnant.

So the baby was coming, ready or not, and even if I didn't mention a lot of my insecurities on this blog, I definitely worried that I might not measure up as a mom.

I will say, I was shocked at the level of 'Mama Bear' instinct I felt immediately upon giving birth to Moana. I'd heard about this instinct that kicks in, but to actually experience it... wow. I was fierce. That was definitely an interesting experience for me to feel that- because I did not expect that I would experience that to the degree that I did. Those of who are moms know exactly what I'm talking about. If you haven't had a kid yet (but plan to) just wait- it's incredible, this fierce instinct to protect. Really cool that we are genetically wired like that even if we don't think that we are.

Maybe it was good that I hadn't planned on having a kid my whole life, because I was ready and willing to admit that I didn't know the first thing about dealing with babies. Admitting that I didn't know was good because I went out in search of the information. I read a bunch of books, found all of your blogs, and learned as much as I could from it all. Really though, what I learned is that while there are techniques and methods that work for some people, really you just have to trust your instincts and raise your kid the way that feels most appropriate to you. And you'll know, as a mom, because we actually do have those instincts if we listen for them, even when we don't think that they are there.

So 18 months later I can say that I think I actually turned out to be a good mom. :) I like being Moana's mom. I like myself better since I have become Moana's mom. I feel good about my role with Moana. I feel confident about the decisions that I have made regarding her eating, her sleeping, her daily routines, her learning, her play time, her relationship and exposure to other kids... I listen to my instincts and I watch Super Nanny. What else do moms need?

But why is it so hard to admit that I feel like I'm a good mom? Aren't we as moms supposed to be beating ourselves up all the time about how we don't do this or that as well as the mom next door? I don't know. I guess I just know that I am doing the best I can so if the mom next door is doing something 'better' than me, I just don't stress about it. I feel like the time I spend with Moana (for the most part) is quality time. I take care of myself first, which many moms might view as selfish, but I view it as providing a service to my family. When I'm happy and my needs are met, then I'm a good mom and can serve my husband and my daughter in a much better way than I can when my needs have not been met. And by needs, let's be clear, I'm talking about the time/ability to go out and train. When I get done with a great morning workout, I'm relaxed and happy to spend the rest of my day playing with my daughter... showing her how to make oatmeal, reading books to her, dancing with her around the living room, helping her ride her trike... I find that it's a powerful thing, to take care of myself first, so that I can then give so much more to my family. Is that the best way for everyone? Not likely. But am I confident that it works for me and my family? Absolutely.

So that said, I need to go to bed because there's a serious track workout that needs to get done tomorrow morning and my 5:15 alarm is going to be brutal if I don't work my way into bed soon. Tick tock.

Monday, April 26, 2010

7th Gear

I've always been a believer in long steady training swims... descending pace the whole time... Intuitively it just makes sense to me to train this way sometimes because when we race we go long at a sustained pace. Don't get me wrong- I like 50's and 100's and speed stuff too, but if you're going to train for triathlons, you've got to be able to just swim a steady pace for a long time. Typically when I'm training for an Ironman I'll do a timed 4000, descending the 1000's, once a month for the 3-4 months leading up to the race. Just good practice. And it gives me good confidence as well.

Today our swim was 3500 straight, descend the 500's. Do the math on that and yes, that's 7 x 500's in a row, getting faster with each one. Start your watch when you push off the wall, look at it each 200-300M (as you flip at the turn) to check pace, hit lap at each 500, repeat. Faster each time. Simple, but not easy.

I couldn't swim first thing this morning because Scott had to go to work early, so Nalani and I did this separately today. She sent me an email with her splits after she got done this morning... she nailed it, of course. Noon came (Moana's nap time!) and it was my turn to try.

Getting in the pool I noticed that I didn't shiver at all. Hmm. Water feels warm today. Whatever. Start your watch and go.

500 #1. Arms feel kind of heavy. Stretch it out. Nice and easy. Check my watch at the 300 and see that I am quite a bit faster than I was planning on taking this out. Slow it down a bit so I have enough room to descend this 6 more times. At the 500 I hit lap on my watch and see that I'm about 12 seconds faster than I anticipated. Whoops! I guess 1st gear isn't so slow today.

500 #2. Pick it up, but just a little. The water feels waaaarm. Check my watch at the 300 and see that I am 2 seconds faster than I was at the first 300. Keep this pace. Lap at the 500 says I'm 6 seconds faster than the first 500. Definitely faster than I'd planned on being at this point (um, wasn't this speed 4th gear?) but, Ok.

500 #3. 3rd gear now. Steady swimming. Still feeling pretty comfortable... it occurs to me that this is about Ironman pace. And I still have to find 4 more gears after this one. Hmmm. I wonder if I can do that? Is it warm in here or what?? Lap at this 500 says I dropped the pace by 4 more seconds. Nice.

500 #4. 4th gear. Since I took it out too fast, I'm starting to pay the price because in order to keep descending now, I'm gong to have to start working harder now, but yet I still have 3 more to go after this one... This definitely feels harder than IM effort. It is HOT in here. Lap split says I dropped another 2 seconds. Ok.

500 #5. 5th gear. Pick up the pace now. Definitely harder than IM pace. Will someone please dump a bucket of ice in this pool? Start kicking a little harder. Still a two beat kick but definitely using my legs to kick rather than just to balance. Keep your core tight, Michelle. Don't start wiggling. Long strong strokes. Will someone please dump a bucket of ice in here? Lap split says I dropped another 4 seconds. Nailing it. But do I have 2 more gears?

500 #6. Throw in a surge for the first 100 here and then try to hang on to it... I think I might die of suffocation because IT IS SO HOT IN HERE. Complete nausea. I would NEVER work this hard in an IM swim. Use your legs, Michelle. Hallucinate about ice. Lap split says that 6th gear was a whopping ONE SECOND faster than 5th gear. Oh boy. Do I even have a 7th gear?

500 #7. Ice. Will someone please put ice in this pool? It is so hot in here. I'm sprinting as fast as it's possible to sprint after 3000M. All I want to do is slow down and recover for just a 50. No Michelle. Keep pushing. It is so hot in here. Just keep pushing. Final 500. GO! Turns out, I do have a 7th gear and it is 2 seconds faster than 6th gear.

I did it! Descended all 7. Barely. Phew. If that isn't a lesson in pacing I don't know what is?

During my easy easy 100 to finish up, I started to think that anyone who thinks that I'm just a lucky natural born swimmer has really got it all wrong. I think the only thing that is 'lucky' about my swim is that I live 1 mile from a free longcourse pool. That, I admit, is lucky. But the rest of it? Not luck. I work hard (and have worked hard, year-round, for years) for every second of the cushion I earn in my swim. I think a lot of triathletes think the swim is such a short little part of the race that it doesn't deserve the time and effort that they put into the bike and run. I say, while the swim may be the shortest part, a 2 minute cushion is not a bad thing to have getting out of the water. I'm just sayin'. I work for those minutes.

Anyway, I checked the pool thermometer as I was getting out of the water. 88 degrees? Are you kidding me? No wonder I felt nauseous the whole second half of that swim. I turned the shower water onto COLD and just stood under that shower head and let the cold water evaporate the steam coming off of my body. I was radiating heat. Then, at 1:00 in the afternoon in the full sun, I ran home. Heat? What heat?

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Feelin' Hot Hot Hot!

Well summer has finally arrived here in Hawaii! Yippee! We get to turn the fans on at night so we can sleep without sweating... we get to wear tank tops and shorts without suffering goosebumps... we get to slather sunscreen on whenever we take a step outside... and we get to deal with massive dehydration on all our training days. Awesome, no?

Since it was nice and sunny today, we decided to take Moana and the dog to the beach this morning. It seems like it's been so long since we've gathered the whole family and headed to play in the ocean... but it was really fun today! The water felt warmer than it's been lately and everybody was quite happy. Especially the dog. You say 'beach' once and Hoku all of a sudden follows you around everywhere as if to say, "No way you're going to the beach without me!" (Sometimes we spell the word if we are not indeed planning on bringing along the dog.) Moana is also smart enough now that all we had to do was mention the word 'beach' in passing over breakfast and then the rest of the morning she kept repeating, "go beach!"

And once we got there, she was all smiles!
So for those of you who are suffering 45 degrees and rain right now, here's a little video so you can live vicariously. ;)

Ok, I'll admit it- I had an ulterior motive in planning a morning at the beach today though... it's all about my workouts (lol) and what I really wanted was an opportunity to run long in the heat. SO with that in mind I packed my running shoes and a few gels and planned on running home from the beach today. Nothing like starting your run at 10:45AM. 84 degrees. Not a cloud in the sky. Perfect.

I had my shoe pod on because I wasn't really sure of mileage or anything since this was not a route I normally take. I did an extra loop that added a few miles to make sure I got the distance in... 14.6 miles later I arrived home feeling like a rock star! I was so surprised at how solid I felt running today. Comfortable in HR zone 2 but running close to 1/2 IM race pace. Doesn't get much better than that! I won't go into the boring details of my training week, but suffice to say it's been a very big one, and to finish it up with such a solid run was like icing on the cake. I just embraced the heat today- even when I thought, "Could it be any hotter???"... I replied to myself, "Yes. It will be hotter at Honu, so suck it up princess."

Anyway, just for fun, I weighed myself this morning and then again after the run. I drank 80 oz of water while running and then another 20 oz with my Ultragen recovery drink, so I figured my post-workout weight would be similar to my pre-workout weight... but turns out even 100oz later I still lost 2.5 lbs. Holy sweat-rate, batman! Welcome to summer in Hawaii.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

"Boy, Can She Dance!"

You all know that I talk to my neighbors a lot... I like to pick people's brains and learn from them... One of my neighbors takes her 2 year old to an at-home daycare down the street and she has just been raving about it and how great it is... blah blah blah... so I checked into it. I'm still waiting to hear back officially from Coffees Of Hawaii about the job so I may or may not be needing regular day-care, but I wanted to be ready if it turns out I'm going to be working part time outside my home.

ANYWAY, on Monday I took Moana over to the gal's house. Her name is Kirsten and she used to be a pre-school teacher before she had her own daughter and started her at home day-care business. She is awesome. And to say that it went well on Monday would be an understatement. Moana and I just hung out there for maybe an hour... The other kids are all just a little older than Moana and seemed like really good happy kids. And Moana fit right in. In fact, after about 40 minutes of chatting with Kirsten and watching the kids play outside in her yard, I said to Moana, "Ok. You ready to go home?" She looked at me briefly and then shook her head and said in her sweet little voice, "No."

I left there thinking that this could be a really good situation... I felt good about allowing Moana the chance to socialize with other kids and thought that even if I wasn't working, letting her hang out there once a week would be a win win for everyone. So I talked to Scott about it and we decided that I could bring Moana once a week for now.

So today was the big day. Moana's first day in day care! I took her over in the morning and immediately she started just doing whatever the other kids were doing. Playing with puzzles, washing hands, eating breakfast, running around outside... it was super cute! I told Kirsten that I would stay until it seemed like Moana was really comfortable, though in actuality, Moana was comfortable within about 10 seconds of entering Kirsten's home. I still stayed for about 45 minutes. I don't even think Moana noticed when I finally left!

I drove away and thought that I should feel guilty or something- ditching my kid like that at this woman's house... but you know what? I didn't feel guilty at all! Moana was clearly very happy, and now I had 6 whole hours all to myself to do whatever I wanted!! The freedom was such a unique feeling.

So of course the first thing I did was go ride my bike (I've got the tan/burn lines on my back to prove it!). Then I spent the next 3 hours scouring my whole house. I mean seriously, when is a stay-at-home mom supposed to clean the toddler's bathroom? That is not a task that can be done when said toddler is home. I can't remember the last time cleaned Moana's bathroom, but it's clean now! And I vacuumed. Upstairs. I cannot remember the last time I did that? And shh. Don't tell Scott... but I threw.stuff.out. My husband can be quite the pack rat and isn't a fan of me throwing stuff out. But I find it very therapeutic. Normally I cannot clean at a level that I did today because either Scott is home or else I'm chasing Moana around the house. But today was like sheer bliss- I was alone. In my own home. All afternoon! And now there is less stuff in my house. I swear Scott will never miss it.

So I went back to get Moana a little earlier than I needed to- just because I figured 9:00 to 4:00 was a long first day. I walked in the door at 3:30 expecting her to squeal and run right to me... but there she was, sitting at the table eating her snack with the other kids. She just kind of looked at me and smiled but then pretended I wasn't there. Might be some foreshadowing into what the high school years will be like? Like, um, mom, don't embarrass me here in front of my friends...

Anyway, I let her finish her snack and then asked her if she was ready to go home, to which she replied sweetly, "No."

Kirsten gave a glowing report about how she's been doing this for years and has never seen a kid adjust so well to day care. She said Moana just blended right in with the other kids and got the routine down right away. And then she said, "Boy, can she dance!" Apparently Moana was showing off her moves to impress her new little friends today. What a ham.

Moana and I both are looking forward to next Thursday. :)

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Swimming Dilemma

I had to get home and turn on my iTunes right away this morning... I just needed a new song in my head. For the past several hours I've been caught in "Elmo's Song" Hell and just have not been able to shake the 'La la la la, La la la la, Elmo's Song'... The perils of having a toddler who is obsessed with Elmo are endless, aren't they?

Anyway, like posted on FB, I got pelted with sideways rain while riding this AM... had to have been the worst weather I've ridden through all year... and I swear to you the Elmo's Song in my head was the absolute worst part.

Moving on! Nalani and I had a great swim workout this morning... I'll share it here because I actually poached it from Gordo. It's his Matrix 100's set and it goes like this:

24 x 100's- We defined T-pace as the fastest pace we can hold for an ALL OUT timed 500.
1 @ T-pace +15
1 @ T-pace +10
1 @ T-pace + 5
1 @ T-pace
2 @ T-pace +15
2 @ T-pace +10
2 @ T-pace + 5
2 @ T-pace
3 @ T-pace +15
3 @ T-pace +10
3 @ T-pace + 5
3 @ T-pace

Turns out it wasn't nearly as hard to do the math to figure out the intervals as we thought it would be, and it was a really nice mix of hard swimming and recovery. The first 4 go by really fast, then you get to recover a little, but you don't really need the recovery quite yet... after the 2 x 100's @ t-pace that come after 1000M, you need those 3 easy ones, then you build the pace again and by the last 3 you're killing yourself to get to the wall in time to turn around and GO again. But to hit T-pace at the end of a 2400M set (at the end of a 4000M workout) made me feel pretty satisfied this morning. This was definitely one of those workouts that I had a little rational fear of, but we nailed it and it wasn't nearly as hard as we thought it would be. But still hard enough... :)

Ok, so I need your advice here on this one... please chime in with your thoughts...

Nalani and I swim pretty consistently every M-W-F morning at 7:00. We're almost always doing some good solid workout that is specific to the race we're training for... we mix up sprints with threshold with easy with drills and pulling and kicking and you get the picture. I spend a lot of time coming up with these workouts and as Nalani is one of my athletes I make sure that all the details are there for her. She knows the workout ahead of time of course because I send it to her, and we try not to waste any time at all once we get started. The pool doors open at 7:00 and we're changed and in the water at 7:02 and working on getting as many meters in as we can until I have to get out and get home to Moana so Scott can go to work. All this is just to set the scene for you...

So lately there's this guy who has figured out our schedule and now shows up at the pool at the same time as us and always asks what we're doing. It didn't bother me at first when he was coming once a week or so and wanted to jump in, but now it's every time. So I find myself trying to explain the set to him (which can be complicated- see above) which takes time and then since his pace is a bit slower than ours- he can't actually make our intervals if we're doing threshold stuff- I find the coach in me trying to adjust the intervals for him and give him suggestions on how he might change up the set so he can get the most out of it... Do you see where I'm going with this? Essentially, I am coaching this guy. He knows that I am actually a coach and running a little business here, yet apparently does not have any issue with obtaining my services for free. Of course, I have been offering them up, though admittedly only because he asks... I'm not sure if I'm just being a petty bitch about this (I really don't want to be a petty bitch!) or if I have a genuine right to not tell him our workouts? Really, how could I possibly not tell him our workout when he's right there and asking what we're doing?? It's really no skin off my back because we're doing what we're doing anyway and we don't adjust our own intervals so he can make them... though I will admit that the extra few minutes I spend explaining sets to him causes me to be late coming home some mornings... GAH! I hate this dilemma. He's a nice enough guy- I do not have anything against him personally. And if I had not started this business and was just making up swim workouts off the cuff like I used to do, I don't think I would have a problem with this. I'm so non-confrontational (I bet you didn't know that about me, did you?) so I'm not really comfortable with directly confronting him and telling him to make up his own damn workouts or start paying me for mine, though that's what I'm thinking.

Am I being a petty bitch?

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

For The Love Of Shoes

For the longest time Moana was really quite anti-shoe. She would only wear her little bobux slippers and *nothing* else was ever allowed on her foot. One time a while back I took her shopping at Target and we walked all up and down the toddler shoe aisle and I showed her every shoe in the place but all she gave me was an urgent head shake while repeating, "No. no. no. no..." Ok then. We won't buy new shoes. No problem.

That 'loyalty to only the Bobux' stage expired a few weeks ago. The first (besides the Bobux) to actually catch on were The Boots. My neighbor gave me her son's black boots once he outgrew them. Again, at first she would have nothing to do with them. But then she started trying to get them on, which was a drama in itself, and lots of fits resulted from her inability to get these boots on. Eventually we would help her so she'd have the boots on but then decide that she did NOT want them on so she'd shake her foot until they came off... throwing a fit if she couldn't get them off immediately. But then once they were off she would inevitably decide that she wanted them back ON and another fit would ensue. Needless to say, there were many times when I removed the boots from sight and just put them outside. Anyway, now she's pretty well versed in getting her boots on and I think we all enjoyed the video of her dancing in nothing but the black boots and her diaper. In case you missed it the first time, here it is again.

Now that she's got the boots figured out, she wants to wear them everywhere. There's no rationalizing with her either about how it might be warm and sunny so no need for black boots. The girl wants her fashion and I rarely argue.

Next Moana started becoming obsessed with MY shoes. I got a new pair of Saucony's in the mail the other day and immediately she needed to try them on. She's getting better at figuring how to get her feet into a pair of shoes and actually walking. Lol.

And then today, she finally let me put a pair of slippers on her feet. (We call flip flops 'slippers'.) At first it was just a way to keep her occupied in the car so she wouldn't fall asleep on our way home from lunch... I was surprised she let me put them on her (she's never allowed this previously) and then the whole car ride home she just stared at them and repeated, "WOW!" like she was so impressed with her own fashion sense she couldn't even believe it. It was funny watching her try to walk in them for the first time- those soles are a lot thicker than what she's used to so definitely more challenging since she can't feel the ground. Anyway, it didn't take her too long to catch on... she became somewhat proficient in the first few minutes... Now she's like a real local girl.

So speaking of shoes, I am anxiously waiting for the Fed Ex man because apparently a box from Trakkers is supposed to arrive today with some cool new cycling clothes and a pair of Saucony FastTwitch 4's for me! Moana will likely be more obsessed with them than I am (they are bright green!) but I'm looking forward to trying them. I hear they make you fast. ;)

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Lanikai Triathlon

Local Sprint Triathlon #2 of the year was this morning... The Lanikai Triathlon. This picture was from last year when the weather was perfect and calm.... Unfortunately our winds were up this morning so the swim was not nearly as calm and easy as this picture makes it look. :) But still not a bad place to hold a triathlon, huh?

Looking back at that picture from last year makes me pine for the warm weather and sunny skies we had last spring. It only sprinkled on us briefly this morning, but it was quite cold (ok ok I know I'll say it again it's all relative blah blah blah but we were all dressed up in fleece and had goosebumps so give me all the crap you want about how it's 35 and snowing where you are but we all live here for a reason and that is that we want it to be warm and right now it is not so give me a break, ok? ;) and the wind was howling. Nothing new for us this year but I do think it would have been nice to have the perfect weather we were spoiled with last year.

Onto the race!

Women and relays started 3 minutes back from the men... I had a rather uneventful swim. It was fine. Nothing stellar to write home about but solid and fine. I did not have quite the cushion I normally have coming out of the water, but whatever. It was a short swim and I was out in 8:52.

I was being chased by this woman... Ingrid. Though I'd seen her name a lot in race results, I did not actually meet her face to face until this morning*. I knew she was very fast (um, used to race pro!?!) so had no illusions of beating her, but I was curious as to how long I could hold her off. Unfortunately I only had about 40 seconds on her after the swim, which did not bode well for me, though luckily I did not know it at the time. :) How hard would you bike if you knew this woman was chasing you down?

Pretty darn hard, that's how you'd ride. Well, that is how I rode anyway! It was crazy windy on the bike and there were a ton of men to weave through, but for the most part I achieved my goal of focusing and pushing the whole time... and I found out later that I managed to put 2 more seconds on Ingrid! Holy cow. That really shocked me.

Onto the run. My favorite part, right? Lol. The thing is, while many of the other top women were running faster than me, I actually had a good run and am quite happy. I averaged 7:09 pace today, which is about as fast as I've ever run in a triathlon. And though I could not have run any faster (where's my speed???? Oh that's right... I don't have any. Lol.) I do feel like I could have continued that pace for several more miles. So that made me happy. Ingrid ran by me pretty early on in the run (before the first mile marker) but nobody else caught me so I crossed the line as second woman! (It helped that Rachel went to Molokai this weekend. Thanks, Rachel!)

My good friend and long time training partner and teammate, Sandy, came in right behind me for third OA. They gave us HEED as a prize. I've never tried it but am open to trying new products, especially when they are free. :)

In the end, I decided that I really need to stop beating myself up about my run. It's hard because I want to be racing among these top women and they ALL run faster than me so naturally I beat myself up about that. But the fact of the matter is that every time go out I'm getting faster so clearly I'm doing the right things so I just need to keep doing what I'm doing and be patient...

*I have to say, Ingrid is awesome. Not just faaaast, but really cool too. She congratulated me after I crossed the finish line and was very complimentary about how hard she had to work to make sure she didn't give me too much time going into the run... Glad I could give her a good race at least for a little while! We actually ran the run course again together afterward (with Roz!) and chit chatted the whole time about all sorts of things. It's really nice and refreshing to meet a very fast athlete like Ingrid who doesn't pretend she is not competitive... who admits that she trains hard and takes it seriously... but yet after we cross the finish line we are all friends. Ingrid has a 2 1/2 year old daughter and we talked about getting together for play dates for our daughters... awesome. All in all just another great race! :)

Friday, April 16, 2010

Rational Fear

My last post was about Irrational Fear... i.e thinking you suck at a sport because you had a bad workout. Irrational. Let that go because it is not healthy. Today we'll talk about Rational Fear. Because you know what? Sometimes it's good to have a healthy fear of a workout or a race. Maybe we'll call the Rational Fear 'respect'.

Take track workouts for example. Sometimes you look at the track workout your coach wrote for you and think, "Holy cow I don't think I can do that??" And then you stress about it for several days (but healthy stress- not obsessive destructive melt-down stress) and then you go to the track with fear in your heart but you run the best you can and guess what? You hit those splits! Rock on! That healthy rational fear actually helped you get through the workout. Ok, not just get through it, but NAIL IT! Perfect.

Then there's other workouts where maybe you should have had a little more rational fear (or respect) prior to starting. You know the ones... on paper they don't look all that challenging but then you get out there and try to do it and it's like. "Where's my rest? and Why am I breathing so hard?" Sometimes workouts are a lot harder when we're actually doing them than they were when we were reading them and it would have done us a little good to have some respect for the workout going into it. Just because you're not running as fast as you possibly can doesn't mean that several miles at tempo pace with very little rest won't be a good solid challenge. Rational Fear can be good.

Or take Regina, for example. She just found out that the bike course at Mooseman (her first 70.3!) has been changed and now includes some monster hill right in the beginning of the bike. Holy cow. And then they're going to loop around and do it again. Holy cow x 2. A little rational fear here would be a good thing. ;) Not that she needs to be crippled by fear, but let's face it-some healthy respect for that hill will be good. So lets go find some big hills and train on them to gain some confidence and strength and then let your healthy respect work for you on race day.

And in my own world, this morning was a timed 1000 in the pool. Definitely had some fear in my heart last night thinking about it... how much it was going to hurt... how much I wanted to be faster than I was last April when we did a timed 1000... I had a pretty lofty goal in mind for how fast I was hoping to swim (20+ seconds faster than last year!) and really was not sure that I would be able to hit it. Jogging to the pool this morning I had the following thoughts in my head:

~How are you possibly going to swim 2+ sec/100 faster than you did last year? You were pretty fast last year.
~You're older now and your body isn't going to take this hard stuff anymore (Have to thank Ange here for her recent post on her wicked hard track running at age 40! which helped me ignore this particular thought.)
~Just accept it that you might not be able to make it.

Anyway, I did what I could to talk myself back into the workout and by the time I got to the pool I was determined to give it my all and see if that would be enough to hit my goal. I felt much better warming up this morning than I did on Wednesday, so that gave me some confidence. Eventually there was no more delaying and it was GO time. I started my watch so I could get my splits at each 100... started off maybe a little too quickly, but at the 500 I was right on target to hit my best case scenario goal! Which, by the way, was the fastest 500 I've swam in that pool, um, ever? So now I was going to do it again without taking a break. Yeah right!?! My goal was lofty. I mentioned that, didn't I? Anyway, I checked my watch again at the 800 and was a couple seconds off pace, which made sense because by that time my whole body was numb and I was just trying to not let my stroke completely fall apart. I put my head down and powered through the last 200 as hard as I possibly could. I can't ever remember working so hard in the pool. I hit the wall and saw on my watch that I was 8 seconds off my goal. But then again, it was still 14 seconds faster than last year and the fastest 1000 I've ever swam in that pool so I cannot complain.

Brad Hudson says in his book, Run Faster, that it's appropriate for athletes to hit their goals 50% of the time. If you're always hitting your goals, then your goals are too easy. If you're never hitting them, then they're set inappropriately high. But if sometimes you hit them and sometimes you don't, that's perfect. So I missed it today. But I tell you what, the rational fear I had going into this mornings workout allowed me to get closer than I would have had I not felt any fear at all.

This weekend is another local sprint triathlon... I know... race a lot, Michelle? ;) Seems like we're racing every weekend all spring around here. Anyway, I'm going to let some Rational Fear work for me on Sunday. My goal is just to push as hard as I can, move as fast as I can, and stay completely focused for the whole hour+. It's just a sprint triathlon, so it would be easy to dismiss as no big deal... but I'll go into it with a healthy dose of respect so I won't be caught off guard by how hard it will be!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Irrational Fears

The Easter Grammy sent a really cute Sesame Street DVD to Moana a couple weeks ago and we finally got around to watching it last night. It's called 'Kid's Favorite Songs' and Elmo stars in it so I figured it would be a big hit... and it was.. for the most part...

I set it up to play on my computer which is right next to the kitchen so I figured that way I would be able to prepare dinner while Moana was engrossed in Rubber Duckies and Mary's Little Lamb. I actually wasn't paying much attention to the video (because, um, I was chopping and sautéing vegetables!) but I did notice Moana trying to clap her hands indicating that she was happy and she knew it. But then every once in a while she would start wailing and run hysterically from the computer and fearfully hide behind my leg.

What could possibly be so scary about Sesame Street's Favorite Songs?

A-HA! Snuffleupagus! That big elephant chasing around his giant meatball was just a little too much for Moana to take. So we'll put the favorite songs away for a while until she's old enough to understand that no oversized hairy elephant will jump out of the computer screen to get her.

Funny, how people have irrational fears like that. And it's not just limited to toddlers, you know. Take Monday morning at the pool, for example. There's a guy who swims regularly (an MD nonetheless) who we chat with occasionally. He wears his headphones and gets in and swims a 3000 straight every time he comes to the pool. And he times himself. He's not a slow swimmer, but he's not nearly as fast as he could be if he were to start training with intervals. Apparently Nalani recruited him to join her in (parts of) her workout last Friday since I was gone on Molokai. She had a set of threshold 100's with varying intervals and efforts and he could hang for some of them. Anyway, clearly that one workout helped him because on Monday he commented about how he actually swam his 3000 a good bit faster than normal. So we started chatting about intervals and how they work and he said that he didn't want to do anything anaerobic in the pool because that would hurt his aerobic swimming. What? Really? He thought that? See, even adults have irrational fears. ;)

Last night I was reading an article about the attributes of successful athletes. The first point was that they have the emotional ability/maturity (call it what you will) to deal with bad workouts and move past them. The author/coach talked about how an athlete can have months of great workouts and then one off day where he wasn't able to hit tempo pace or whatever and then let that irrational fear that his season is lost dominate his thoughts. The point of the article is that we all have bad days. And successful athletes understand this and let it go and move on to tomorrow.

I'm glad I read that last night because I had a crappy day today in the pool. I got in and from the first 50 could just feel myself sinking. My stroke was not smooth and it all was just a major struggle. A bad workout in the pool is clearly warranted- I mean, I'm finally in a recovery week after 3 big weeks in a row that culminated in that double TT effort on Sunday. This body of mine needs a break (and is now finally getting it!) but you know how sometimes when you first start backing off you just feel totally sluggish and generally like crap? Yeah. I feel like that right now. But anyway, these irrational fears started creeping into my psyche... I was in a middle of a set of descending 200's and only on the fastest ones was I able to hit the pace that I hope to repeat for the whole timed 1000 Nalani and I are doing on Friday. (Yes! Timed 1000 on Friday! Woohoo!) Anyway, I was thinking about how I shouldn't even attempt that 1000 because there was no way I was going to be able to hit my goal... but then I talked myself down off the ledge and reminded myself that this sluggish feeling will pass and that my swimming speed is not gone forever. Phew. I will rest with a very easy day tomorrow and Friday my swimming will be back and I will be fine. Irrational Fears- be gone!

Monday, April 12, 2010

Fair Trade

You wanna know the best way to spend your free time while your toddler naps? How about getting a massage? Yep. That's the ticket!

Today Jennifer came over during Moana's nap time and brought her table and went to work on me... for over 90 minutes. I'd say it was pure bliss, but it was actually quite painful at times, which is what we as athletes expect when we're getting massage. Poor Jennifer was appalled at the fact that I have not had a real sports massage in, um, about 6 years... I've had a couple of feel good swedish massages but nothing that was directly aimed at fixing the tight spots I create while I swimbikerun every week.

Anyway, the best news is that this at home massage is going to become a regular thing. You see, Jennifer is a swimmer (and turning into a triathlete!) and she is planning on celebrating her 50th birthday this year by swimming the Maui Channel- 9ish miles from Lanai to Maui in September. Yeah, I know. She's a stud! (And you'd totally think it was her 40th birthday, NOT her 50th!) But the good news for me is that she has asked me to coach her through it... which is awesome and I'm super psyched to be part of her support team through her channel swimming journey. And through our initial conversation we decided to trade services rather than cash... so she will use her skill as a Skilled Massage Therapist to help me and I will use my skill as a Studly Swimming Coach to help her. ;)

It feels like such a fair trade to me, and it got me thinking about how rewarding it is to have relationships with other athletes that are mutually beneficial like this. We, as athletes, can really help each other get better. Get faster. Get stronger. Enjoy the sport more. I think each of my athletes could/would say that they are enjoying their season more this year because they are working with me, and when Nalani asked me the other day if I felt like the time/energy I spend coaching is draining away any of my own passion for the sport, my answer was No Way! In fact, I think that if anything, working with athletes has actually solidified my passion for endurance sport. So it's a total win/win.

Anyway, I guess I just wanted to take a minute to recognize so many of the people (mostly women!) who make this sport (and lifestyle!) so much more enjoyable for me. Triathlon may be an individual sport, but we really do all have to work together to make it more fun and rewarding. So here's a big thank you to all my training partners and teammates and athletes and fellow inspirational bloggers who are making this year so great. I'm hope I'm providing a Fair Trade and making things great for you too. :)

Sunday, April 11, 2010


So today was the annual Team Time Trial! It was a great day- a good fun race, which is what races should be, right?

We put together the strongest Pac Velo women's team we could and hoped to defend our title from last year... It was raining at the start which posed a challenge for sure, but I think we all were able to focus through that and we rode well together.

We stayed together as a group for the first half, but then Nalani got caught out in a gap and ended up riding home hard all alone. She did great though and helped us a ton with her strong pulls on the way out. Coming home we had a wicked headwind and it was hard riding... just 3 of us rotating pulls... but we knew we had some stiff Barbie competition and we weren't exactly interested in letting go of our title from last year! So we pushed the best we could and crossed the line in 1:03:54. This is me, Sandy, and Jenny right before we crossed the line.

I did not know where that would place us, but I had other immediate concerns on my mind... like, where's my next water bottle and get me some GU and is that my daughter wearing her pajamas with boots running around in that field???

I had about 15 minutes this year before I was to start my next race with the mixed team. Let me tell you- that is MUCH better than the 2 minutes I had last year! :) I had time to take my GU, drink some, spin my legs out a little and gather up my male escorts for race #2. Nice.

The second race was not nearly as hard this year as it was last year! Part of that is because I am more fit, but part of that is because all three of my male teammates had also already raced their own TTT so they were just as tired as I was. Phew! This year there was no yelling from me about how they needed to slow down... in fact, every time one of them was nice enough to ask, my response was, "I'm fine!" It's easy to sit on the back of a group of guys who are too tired to hammer that fast! ;) Unfortunately one of our guys didn't eat/drink between races so he bonked big time toward the end- I gave him my bottle that had some carbs in it but it was too late (lesson learned for him I'm sure!) and he dropped off the back. I actually felt super and took a couple strong pulls there in the last bit... we crossed the line though and I laughed because it was 1:04 something on my watch. Really? Our women's team beat our mixed team? Crack me up. I guess that makes sense though because we were all beat tired by the second round.

Anyway, Nalani and I took off on a 30 minute run while they were calculating the results. Unlike last year, I was actually able to run this time after racing 2 x 40K! No cramping at all! I was quite happy about that for sure. So all in all I was psyched about the day and how I felt... which took a little bit of the sting out of the fact that our women's team lost by 21 seconds. ARGH! Another one of our teammates asked a great question- "How could you have found another 21 seconds today?" Jenny and I looked at each other with kind of a blank look and said, "I don't know?" So we can't feel too baldy about it because we gave it what we had today and it just wasn't enough. We were Barbi-qued. That said, we like good races and are looking forward to a rematch next year. :)

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Coffee Is A Fruit!

Yesterday morning started off differently than any other morning in the last several years. You wanna know what I did? I woke up and got in the shower. Then I got dressed and put some make-up on. Um, who am I? I can't remember the last time I showered first thing in the morning?

Truth be told, the thought of having a cool job again made me smile and I was quite excited about the adventure ahead.

Anyway, my flight for Molokai left right on time at 7:45 and landed on Molokai at 8:06. Short and sweet. That's how all flights should be. Maria was there to pick me up- she is the plantation manager out at Coffees Of Hawaii and is awesome. Right away she took me out to the fields to tour their plantation. And guess what? We didn't encounter a single stop light on our way there. You know why? Because there are NO STOP LIGHTS on Moloka'i. Seriously. I totally have to go back there with my bike.


Did you know that coffee is a fruit? See? Totally counts as a fruit serving for breakfast. ;)

I don't know that I'd ever really seen coffee cherries growing on the trees before. When they're ripe they're red and you can actually eat them. Seriously, I ate one! Not the raw seed of course, which is actually the coffee bean...

Check out how beautiful this plantation is. It was so quiet and peaceful. Truly another world up there.
Anyway, the rest of the morning was spent touring the whole facility and learning how coffee is actually made. It's a long process! Lots to do to that little bean before it becomes good to brew and drink.

But once it's ready.... mmmmmm.... I learned how to 'cup' the coffee, which is apparently a very serious endeavor. There are all sorts of ways to score coffee based upon what the whole bean looks like, what it looks like when its ground, what it smells like when it's dry, what it smells like when it's wet, and of course, what it tastes like. There's a special way to slurp it and swirl it in your mouth... lots of similarities to wine tasting!

The other cool thing I got to do was go check out Kumu Farms, which is an organic farm down the road from the coffee plantation.

They grow all sorts of good stuff there! Papayas, bananas, beets, chard, arugula, oregano, cilantro, rosemary, kale, etc. And I came home with bags full of all of it! (Guess what we had for dinner tonight?)

Check this out... little papaya trees just getting their start in life...
In a couple of years they will look like this!
Clearly this was just an awesome day. If you ever have a chance to get over to Moloka'i for a day or two, it's a must see.

So as I was brewing my beans this morning, I had a much better appreciation for them. And tomorrow morning when I brew them, I'll be hoping they give me a little extra zip because it's GO FAST time on the bike! Rumor has it that another local club has put together a team of barbies to give us Pac Velo ladies a run for our money. The gauntlet has been thrown on FB and messages are flying. Lol. Stay tuned for what will surely be an interesting race report tomorrow. :)

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Some Like It Hot

OK, can I just say how jealous I am of so many people posting about the hot temperatures on the mainland? Seems like every time I log on to facebook or blogs in the last week I'm reading about how hot it is. Funny to me that a lot of it is complaining. HA! I would NOT be complaining if it was 90 degrees here right now.

We've had week upon week upon week of wet windy weather here... a bit of sun here and there but overall it's been an overwhelmingly wet winter. I know it doesn't help that I live on the windward side of the island (which is the wet side). But seriously, I am ready to be hot. I want to train in hot weather. I want to feel all dehydrated b/c I just can't drink enough while training because it is THAT hot. I want to feel the sun beating down on me- burning holes in my skin from its intensity...

It's not that I really enjoy feeling like I might burst out in flames or die of dehydration while running... it's just that I know that it's going to be brutally hot and sunny at the 70.3 I'm doing on The Big Island in less than 9 weeks. If we don't start getting some sunny days soon, we won't have time to acclimatize to running while feeling like we might melt. That's what it's going to feel like at 11AM out on that golf course so that's what I want to feel like right now on my long runs. Grrrrr.

Moving on... On Friday I get to fly over to Molokai for the day to check out the Coffees Of Hawaii Plantation! I'm not sure what all I'm going to be doing over there, but I'm guessing I'll get to tour the plantation and get to learn more about how the business works and what my role might be... Oh, and meet a bunch of the friendly folks who work there! I'll take lots of pictures and write it all up for you when I get back. :) I've never been to Molokai so I'm looking forward to going! We were going to take Moana and stay for the weekend, but I have to be back on Sunday (more on that in a bit) so it was only going to be 24 hours for her there and the thought of packing her car seat and the pack-n-play and all her stuff for just 24 hours didn't seem worth it in the end. Maybe we'll go back over for a 3 day weekend later this summer when we'll have more time to settle in and explore the island a bit.

So Sunday is the annual Team Time Trial! It's a 40K race on the bike with 3 other teammates... I think TTT's are the hardest thing ever to do on a bike... harder than individual time trials because you just don't want to let your teammates down so you're giving 100% the whole time. I've done the TTT twice since living here- both times had my friend Sandy on my team and both times we won the women's race! This year I'll be riding with Sandy once again and our other 2 teammates are stronger than we've ever had before so the 4 of us are going to ROCK that course! The scary thing about riding with such strong teammates is that they will be hauling so fast at the front that sitting on won't give us a ton of rest before it's our turn to get on the front for our own pulls so it's going to be brutal. Then, like last year, I'm going to turn around and ride the 40K TTT again as the woman on our mixed team! Last year I had all of about 2 minutes to recover before starting again on the second team. Man, that was hard. Hopefully I'll have an extra couple minutes this year but we'll have to see how they order the teams. We have requested an early start for our women and a later start for our mixed team so hopefully it'll be ok. I'll find out on Saturday when they post the start times for each team. Regardless, this is going to be a wicked hard day on the bike but so much fun being part of this great Pac Velo team! :)

Monday, April 5, 2010

She's A *Rock Star* Egg Collector

Easter started early here in Hawaii. On Friday, to be exact.

It wasn't supposed to start so early, but unfortunately The Easter Bunny didn't do such a great job of hiding the big stuffed duck that was to be for Moana on Sunday morning... It was in the laundry room and I forgot about it while folding laundry on Friday... and then when my adorable little toddler started squealing with delight and pointing and squealing and pointing and squealing, well, there was no pretending that the big stuffed duck did not exist. So she got an early Easter prize.

The duck was actually sent by my mom so I told Moana that she should say 'thank you' to Grammy for sending it. I got her version of Thank You Grammy! on video in the middle of all that hugging of the duck...

So Sunday morning arrived and the Easter Bunny left a basket for Moana downstairs by the sliding glass porch door... and on the door were some window cling-ons of The Bunny and some colored eggs. This was very intriguing to Moana. In fact, it took her several minutes of staring at that bunny on the window before she would even go near it. Even the basket was not enough of a draw to get her to go near the door. She just stood about 5 feet away and talked to herself while staring at the bunny on the window. Eventually, with lots of encouragement from mommy and daddy, she worked up the courage to go pick a toy out of her basket. She pulled everything out one by one. Pretty cute.

The Easter Bunny also hid a couple of eggs around the house. The real purpose of this was that she needed a little training in Easter Egg Hunting because the real Easter Egg Hunt was going to be a highly competitive event around the neighborhood. Moana was going to be up against several boys that were over the age of 2! She was clearly the underdog so we had to put in some extra training time. It took her a while to catch on, but with some (ok, a lot) help she managed to find all the eggs hidden around our house. Left up to her own devices she would have been perfectly happy with the first three she found. No need for more. But we are pushy parents and tried to teach her to get a little more greedy.

So right at 10:00, even though it was raining, we headed over to the neighbors. Yes, we don't let a little rain get in the way of our fun around here... Basket in hand, Moana was ready. See?

Easter Egg Hunting is such a great activity for toddlers. We really had a lot of fun out there! And the joy continues on... this morning Moana grabbed her basket and dumped out all the eggs and then collected them all back up and returned them to her basket. Over and over. The Easter Basket is like the gift that keeps on giving...

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Ford Island Bridge 10K

Well it's another wet windy day here on the island. Seems like we have had high winds for like 4 weeks straight... I'm ready for our normal 15 mph trades to come back. Anyway... it was a good day NOT to be on a bike! :) Instead, Nalani and I went to run the Ford Island Bridge 10K this morning.

I did this race last year and set my 10K PR at 45:46. Last year it was just brutally windy and I took it out too fast and just DIED at the end (uphill into the wind). So this year I was mentally prepared for how hard it was going to be at the end and decided to be a bit more conservative in the early miles. I started out just fine and cruised along nicely and pretty evenly for the first 4 miles and felt good. Light and fast... light and fast... (I have to thank Angela for that mantra!) Mile 5 was into the wind... like 30 mph headwinds today... so I slowed some, but not quite as big a fall off as last year so I still figured I was on my way to a PR. I felt strong in the last uphill mile and tried to imagine myself like a knife cutting through those strong winds... I was passing people and though I knew I was slowing down, I didn't think I was slowing down by THAT much. But alas, that uphill and headwind got me again this year and I missed my PR by 6 seconds. Grrr. Such is life I suppose.

I spoke briefly with the guy who won the race this year and he said that he was about 90 seconds slower this year than he was last year- he blamed it on the winds saying they were way worse this year. So he said that the fact that I was even close to my time from last year was a strong statement of my run fitness. Whatever. It was not a PR. But I'm trying not to be disappointed in my time because it was 15 sec/mile faster than I did that other 10K a few weeks ago, so clearly my run is moving in the right direction. I'm addressing my limiter and my run is getting better! One of my goals today was to focus the whole time, which I did, and another goal was to pace it more evenly, which I guess I did. Better than last year anyway, though I still could have probably paced it better. But, I placed 2nd in my age group at this run which is my highest placing ever at a running race. I got a cool bowl!

And Nalani had a fantastic run (I was not surprised!) and ran 44:38 which is a PR by a few seconds... Though she said this course was *much* harder than her old PR course. She *won* her age group this morning! Way to go Nalani! :)

Here's a cool picture I found (thank you, Hawaii Sport Magazine!) of all the runners at the start of the race- running across the bridge! This is the biggest 10K in Hawaii with 3200 entrants.

We topped off the morning with an ocean swim... our second one of the week. Yesterday we dealt with massive chop because we swam on the east side of the island where the high winds are off-shore and therefore create all that choppy water. Today we swam on the south side and the on-shore winds made it look so calm and inviting! But we should not have been fooled. It was the strongest current I've ever swam in! At one point I took like 10 strokes in a row while staring at the SAME rock beneath me... it cracked me up and I just had to stop swimming because laughing underwater isn't such a great idea. So we were treading water and laughing about how it was like swimming on a treadmill, but 15 seconds of that left us floating backwards fast so we had to start swimming again before we ended up on Molokai! At one point, I swear, I was taking long strong pulls and actually traveling backward. That's a really weird feeling, you know, swimming backwards... Eventually we turned around and FLEW back to the flag. I've never moved so fast in the water... ever! Very fun! So I guess what comes around, goes around. :)

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Did You Have A Big Day?

I admit it. I'm tired.

Scott took over bath duties tonight which I really appreciated. After dinner I flopped down on the couch and relaxed for the first time all day... Scott asked, "Did you have a big day today?" Well, let's see. I got up and ran 10 miles this morning before anyone else rolled out of bed. Then I entertained a toddler for 4 hours, then I rode my bike trainer while she napped... managed to reply to a few emails before I heard her calling for me... then I entertained the same active toddler for 5 more hours (at the mall nonetheless- more on that later) and then got home and busted my butt to get dinner ready before any hunger fits were thrown. Then I cleaned up the kitchen and washed all the dishes. So, I guess it was just a normal day.

That's a schedule that's easy to keep for a few days, but day after day after day after day... well, it gets hard. Mama needs to relax a bit sometimes, you know? Chill out with my feet up. Maybe tomorrow. Ha! Not likely.

Easter is coming so I took Moana to the mall this afternoon to meet the Easter Bunny. She was intrigued for sure but she didn't want to get too close.

Sometimes they do pretty cool things at our local mall. Today they had little Easter activities where kids could create a little Easter basket, make some bunny ears, and dye an egg. Moana liked her basket but only for about a minute. And she did NOT want it decorated at all. She wanted nothing to do with the bunny ears (so clearly there are no pictures of her wearing them) but she did enjoy watching me color the egg. Very interesting. I put the egg in her little basket which she thought was pretty cool to carry around- for like a minute. Then she took the egg out of the basket and threw it on the ground. Perfect.

Luckily there were lots of other things to do at the mall too. Who knew the mall was so full of free entertainment? I never went to the mall before I had Moana. Now we got quite often, though rarely for shopping. Mostly just for the free entertainment. It's like an amusement park for toddlers over there. See? You can even drive an ice cream truck.

You can ride a shark!

This little play area there is great for Moana now that she can really climb all over the stuff. She squeals when she sees it and if I'm carrying her she insists, "DOWN! DOWN!" She likes to walk herself all around the mall and explore, and I pretty much let her do just that. I just follow her around and she manages to find the toy store, the arcade, the mini golf, and the bouncy house room. Today she scored herself a free balloon from a store manager who thought she was cute. She was obsessed with the balloon until I actually tried to give it to her, when all of a sudden she was scared and started crying, "NO NO NO!" You wonder what goes on in that little mind of hers.

Like her bracelets?

This morning she dug into a drawer and found her old baby bottles and immediately decided that those bottle tops made good bracelets. She wore those all day.

Anyway, clearly we really do have a ton of fun together and I enjoy the heck of of spending my days with her. But I won't lie. It wears me out.