Sunday, January 31, 2010

Mo'a'nese

So I've been meaning to write a list of all the words Moana now says at 15 months... I remember Angela did that a while back and I thought it was a great idea (though I think back then Moana had all of about two words so it would have been a pretty short list). This week it seems her vocabulary has exploded. Maybe she's trying to show off for Grammy, or maybe the timing of her newly acquired verbal expertise is just a coincidence with Grammy's trip. I'm leaning toward the show off theory because it seems she suddenly has no fear of trying to repeat a word that she hears, even if she's not even close to being able to say it. For instance, I can tell her, "Say Grammy." And she will reply, "Ba." I'll say, "Perfect. Good girl." Then she'll say, "go girl". Pretty close!

Eventually she'll have too many words to count, but for now, Moana's language:

Yes, No, Mama, Dada, Hoku, thank you, good girl, please, ball, car, beach, gecko, more, people, banana, night night, hi, go, airplane, opps, uh oh, bath, read book, all gone, sleep, wow.

So theoretically she could say something like, "Hi People. Yes mama, good girl go beach. Uh oh, Hoku's ball all gone. Night night, dada. Read book please, thank you, go sleep."

Though in her language, Mo'a'nese, it would sound like. "Hi pe-pol. Yes mama, go gerl go be. Uh oh, Gogu ba a go. Nai nai, dada. Be bo pees, dank do, go seeep."

You have to be an expert to understand Moanese. The only way to learn it is via Total Immersion. Listen to it all day and eventually you will be able to interpret her language as well. :)

Friday, January 29, 2010

Humble Pie

I think most triathletes have an image of themselves as athletes (some more accurate than others, lol). My image of myself is that I am a swimmer who can hold her own on the bike and tries as hard as she can not to get passed by everyone on the run.

So it can feel a bit disconcerting when your image of yourself is challenged. And there was no better way for me to challenge it than to bring in an ex-collegiate swimmer to put me in my place.

One of my athletes had the day off work today so I invited her to come swim with Nalani and me... and since my mom is here to watch Moana, we were going for a ride immediately after the swim.

Um, Karen left us in the dust today in the pool. Oh, you didn't know there could be dust in a pool? Well, there can be. And I was in it all morning. Holy craaaap that girl is fast. And there I was beating myself up for being so slow but then I'd get to the wall and look at my watch and see that I was actually swimming faster than usual. In fact, the splits I did today would have made me proud this past summer when I thought I was swimming well. But I find it hard to be proud of myself when I'm doing everything I can to not get lapped by one of my athletes. Yes. Lapped. In a long course pool. It didn't actually happen, but it was darn close.

Humble Pie. I was served a big piece of that this morning. So much for being a swimmer. So I then changed my mindset to one of a cyclist...

Don't worry, dear blog friends. I finished the workout today with my ego still intact. I took Karen out to some short steep hills where we did repeats. Stand up. Sit down. Sprint sprint SPRINT! And you guessed it, I puked up that humble pie all over Karen and made her eat it (niiice coach I am, huh?).

Anyway, now I'm all confused about my Triathlete self-image... today I felt like a cyclist who could hold her own on the swim and would try to not get passed by everyone on the run. Hmmmm.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

White Girls Can't Dance

OK, we are having so much fun with Grammy here! This is the best week ever. Moana is sooo happy with all this extra attention. I don't think I've ever heard her laugh so much... and since we're on the go-go-go schedule all the time this week, she's been sleeping like a log. Think daily '3 hour nap' to get my gist.

It's such a win-win-win for everybody having Grammy here. I get to train a ton, and when I come home I find that the laundry was magically done and the kitchen is always clean. So yay for me! And Grammy gets to play with Moana and take tons of pictures/video while hanging out in warm Hawaii instead of cold Ohio... the whole time gushing about how cute/sweet/darling/delightful/precious my daughter is. :) And of course Moana has just never had such positive interaction as she's getting right now. Of course we can't leave out Scott- he gets to go to work early every morning this week b/c he doesn't have to wait for me to get home from training. Lucky guy, eh? ;)

I think the only negative will be when Grammy leaves next week. Not sure how Moana and I are going to handle that. But we're not thinking about that right now... happy thoughts... happy thoughts...

Anyway, the other day we took M to the beach. It was crazy warm here earlier this week. And does water get any more clear than that?? It's a tough life.

Yesterday we hit the mall- mostly so I could get my haircut while mom watched Moana play in the kids play area there. But of course we did a little shopping too. We love The Children's Place. Cute cute cute clothes and reasonable prices too. And they're always playing jammin' music in there. Moana likes to dance while she shops. I wonder where she gets that?
video
Anyway, Moana is chatting up a storm with Grammy. Her vocabulary has exploded this week, but that's another post... one that I'll write of I get through this big training week alive. :)

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Bike Week

In less than 24 hours, The Laundry Fairy arrives on the island! So excited to see my mom... but even more excited for her to see Moana. And as excited as I am... well, I'm sure that's *nothing* compared to how excited she is to get here and see us. I've said it before- the biggest negative about living on an island in the middle of the Pacific is being so far away from family. And it's x100 now that we have Moana.

So all week Grammy will be here and she'll think she's in heaven playing with Moana in all her cuteness. And guess what that means for me? Yep! Bike Week!

A live-in babysitter like my mom means that I'm going to have more free time than ever all week long. And I plan on spending lots of that free time pedaling on two wheels.

Bike Week actually started yesterday... I rode with a couple of my athletes and some other friends... a departure from my usual group because I was feeling the need to scale back the intensity a bit. Last week after the usual Saturday ride I analyzed my HR data and saw that I spent 44 minutes in zone 4. And that was just to hang on to a wheel. Um, maybe a bit too much for January. Ya think? So this week I arranged a ride with some folks who I figured would be happy to ride at about the effort level that I wanted to ride at, and it was perfect. I pretty much set the pace and really enjoyed it- if nothing other than for the fact that I wasn't arguing with myself the whole time about working too hard. Nice too, to get an email from Roz afterward telling me that the pace was perfect yesterday and thanking me for keeping it steady (like I told her I would).

Then today, since I don't trust my calf to hold up to a long run just yet, I did a short run this morning and then got back on my bike in the afternoon. I wanted to go check out a climb that I've heard about... and yep, it's wicked steep. I didn't have time to do the whole thing today though. It takes me about 90 minutes just to ride to the base of the climb from home so I just went part way up to get a feel for it and then rode home. Next time I'll plan 4 hours for the ride so I can do more of the climb. Today it was just 10 minutes in my 39x25* standing up panting with sweat flowing off me like a faucet while going maybe 5 mph before turning around and zooming down in 30 seconds. Ok, I'm totally exaggerating about going down that fast. The truth is, I thought maybe my brakes would burst into flames at any moment because I was squeezing them so hard as my bike was trying to fly down that mountain. The problem was that the road didn't have any switchbacks so it was just straight up and then straight down and I had visions of my bike wheeling itself out of control right into the ocean (with me still on it) so I was doing what I could to avoid that.

Anyway, so I've got a good start to Bike Week. If I'm MIA all next week, you can be pretty sure it's because I'm out on two wheels. :)

*Prior to moving to Hawaii I lived in AZ and was a total snob about bike gearing. I really thought that 25 tooth cogs were for complete wimps or newbies who didn't have strong legs. HA! So when I moved here and people told me to get a 25 I laughed and thought, "No need." HA! Well, let me tell you, I finally gave in and bought the 25 and now use it *every time* I ride my road bike. Today I could have used a 27, or compact cranks, or something, because that ridge is wicked.

Friday, January 22, 2010

The World Is A Friendly Place

Today is another gorgeous Hawaiian day. Perfect sunny blue skies, light breeze, about 80 degrees. (Personally I'd prefer 82, but I'll take 80 ;) After breakfast I took Moana to the beach, the really pretty one at Lanikai where the waves are teeny and perfect for toddlers and the only people there during the week are local retired folks and other moms with their little ones. Dogs run around happily off leash and people are generally quite friendly with a good bit of that Aloha Spirit.

Moana has discovered that if she smiles and waves and yelps out, "Hi!" to people who pass by, she gets a very friendly positive response. Without fail today, she smiled and waved and yelped out, "Hi!" to everyone in her vicinity. And without fail, everyone smiled right back at her... waved right back at her... and said "Hi!" right back to her. Some even stopped to have more interaction with her. This happens everywhere we go- at the grocery store, the beach, the zoo, the park, the playground... Moana has learned that the world is a friendly place.

I think Moana is genetically wired to be a happy kid, but I'd also like to take some credit for her happiness. Because while I definitely have my moments, on the whole, I'd say I'm a 'Glass Half Full' kind of gal. So she sees me smiling a lot... clapping for her and saying "Yay!!" a lot... and just generally being positive. So maybe that gave her a good start into being a friendly happy kid. But it's gone beyond that now I think. It's become a cycle that she has been experiencing whenever we are out in the world. She smiles at people, and they smile right back. It's a positive feedback loop.

I don't think she's even had a negative experience with strangers. Because let's face it, it's hard to scowl at a cute little 1 year old who's smiling and waving at you. So that's all she knows. That people smile at her. It's really a cycle that just builds on itself. She smiles, people smile back at her, which makes her happy so she smiles some more, which makes people smile even more right back at her... these smiles are contagious.

I do wonder though, how her world would be different if she never smiled at anyone. If she never made an attempt to have that positive interaction with strangers. In all likelihood, she would be ignored by most people. And if most people ignored her, she probably wouldn't go out of her way to interact with them because that positive feedback loop wouldn't be rolling. In this case, the world might not seem like such a friendly place.

I think there's a lesson in here for all of us. Smile at people, and most people will smile right back at you. It'll brighten everyone's day. :)

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Feelin' Like A Swimmer

I think I've mentioned on here that I just haven't been feeling like my old self athletically... miscarriages are hard on a body.... harder than I'd anticipated for sure. My head was in the game but my body just wasn't following suit. Little by little it has been getting better, but s l o w l y.

In the pool is where I've noticed it the most. Probably because I am a swimmer at heart, and I know pace in the pool. It may be the only thing I know, but I know swimming pace. So it's been incredibly frustrating for me to be working my butt off in the pool yet being so far from hitting the splits I'm working toward. And watching Nalani just swim away from me even when I'm killing myself. Each week I sit down and write workouts for us that I used to be able to do (and of course Nalani can do), but then I get in the pool and completely miss the interval because I just can't swim that fast anymore.

Or couldn't. Until today.

I felt it as soon as I got in and took my first warm up stroke. Better. Hey, I feel like a swimmer! Often our warm-up is a 1000m straight, negative split at the 500 (longcourse) and I always time it just to get a feel for what kind of day it's going to be in the pool. Lately that 1000 has been a good solid 45 seconds slower than normal, and I could hardly negative split. But today I felt good and negative split the thing by 18 seconds- the second 500 being faster than any 500 I've swam since ironman. That was a good sign for the rest of this workout.

We did another 1200M of strength stuff with paddles and fly and fins and all that. To be honest, I kind of felt like jello after that but the main set hadn't even started yet. (Embrace The Jello... right, Regina?) Main set looked like this: 200 very fast followed by 100 very easy, x4. The intervals were such that there wasn't much rest time at the wall- the rest was all in that 100 easy and then we had maybe 10 seconds and it was off to blast another 200. It's a wicked set. I told Nalani what my goal split was but honestly was not sure at all that I could do it. She had more confidence in me than I did this morning and assured me that I could... so off we went to start the set and wouldn't you know it? I stayed right beside Nalani and crushed that goal split I'd set for myself! I was just panting at the wall and all I could mutter was, "Oh I'm so happy..." and then we were off for the easy 100.

It went on like that for the rest of the set... me staying (almost) right beside Nalani... so nice to give that girl a run for her money again. I was beginning to think that she was going to need to find a new training partner who would actually be able to push her. But now it looks like I'll be able to do that once again. Phew.

Then it was a beautiful blue sky day and Erica was watching Moana so I got to go for a bike ride outside... just glorious. The best part was coming home and having Erica show me a video she took of Nico (21 months) feeding Moana her breakfast gruel... ha! It was soooo cute. When she sends it to me I'll post it here. Nico was just as gentle as he could be spoon feeding Moana and she was like a little bird opening her mouth for the food. Sooo cute.

And since I'm full of good news here tonight (can you feel my energy???) I put my running shoes on and jogged around the parking lot tonight just to see if it was worth getting up early tomorrow to try to run... and it appears that my patience with not running on my injured calf has paid off because it's only been a week and I have NO PAIN. I'm setting my alarm. Yay!!!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Eat Like A Baby

Every Tuesday we watch The Biggest Loser, and every Tuesday I am astounded at how big those people are. One thing I've found especially interesting is how Jillian is always counseling those folks about conquering their fears, getting over their anger, believing in themselves as worthy people, and helping them uncover and overcome their negative feelings so that they respect themselves enough to take care of themselves by eating right.

Somewhere along the line, those folks lost their healthy relationship with food.

Contrast that with what I see everyday in my little 1 year old daughter. She's too little to have any pre-conceptions or issues about food. She's also too little to have emotional issues that would cause her to overeat a bunch of junk 'comfort' food, or starve herself into being too thin because of any societal pressure. She's still completely innocent of all that, and it's interesting to study her relationship with food.

Moana's relationship with food is a simple one, and it goes like this: Eat when you're hungry. Stop eating when you're not hungry.

So the million dollar question is then, of course, how can I help her maintain that healthy relationship with food? Um. Not sure. BUT, I start by not forcing her to eat when she doesn't want to. She lets me know when she's hungry (she's always been able to do this- first via her crying and now by showing me the sign or saying 'yes' when I ask her if she's hungry). She also lets me know when she's done (usually by spitting her food out or throwing it on the floor- though we're working on a better method of communication!). But the thing is, as soon as she shows me she's done, I take the food away. Now we don't play around with eating or not eating. Throw food on the floor? That must mean we're all done. End of mealtime. She might have been hungry the first time or two, but now she knows I mean business so there is not any food on the floor until she really is done.

As she gets older I will do my best to be a good role model and that's probably about the most I can do.

For now, in case you're interested, here's how we start each day. Somebody gets hungry and climbs into her chair*.


I think I've mentioned this before, (though I'm not sure I've ever actually spelled out the steps) she eats a breakfast Scott lovingly refers to as 'Green Gruel'**. It's easy to make with a little pre-planning and preparation and is as healthy as it gets. Cheap too. Basically it's a mixture of cooked grains (I usually mix two different ones), a bean, and veggies (again, I usually mix two). The cool thing about this meal is that even though it seems like it's the same every day, it's not. I mix different beans and grains and veggies to make sure that she's getting a good variety of foods and nutrition in this breakfast.

Step 1: Grind the grains/beans.

I usually buy these in bulk at the health food store and then grind them up in the food processor for a minute or two. Grains I use a lot are brown rice, steel cut oats, quinoa, kasha, and bulgar. Beans I use most for the gruel are lentils (red or brown) and split peas (green or yellow). You could use others. At first I had to be really careful about making sure I ground it all up into a fine powder (so she could swallow it) but now I don't have to get it that fine. Now I grind mostly b/c it makes them cook faster.

When I grind, I usually mix up two grains and a bean into each jar, store the jars in the fridge, and then cook 2-3 days worth at a time.

Step 2: Cook the grain/bean mixture. From experience I've learned that you have to boil the grains/beans with a good amount of water. I never measure... just eyeball it, but it's at least 2 to 1 (water to grains), maybe more depending on the grain. It's a pretty forgiving mixture b/c you can always add more water at any time to make it the right consistency. Essentially I boil maybe a cup of the ground grains in a pot with 2-3 cups of water for about 10ish minutes. That's it. Then I store the cooked mixture in the fridge until it's ready to be eaten.

Step 3: Steam, puree, and freeze the veggies. Tonight I did the spinach (enough for over a month). I buy vegetables in bulk at Costco.

I steam a batch of spinach, then puree it in the food processor and then spoon it into ice cube trays to freeze overnight.

It took me 4 batches of steamed spinach to fill 2 ice cube trays, which yields 36 cubes. After they are frozen, I transfer the cubes into freezer bags and store. Yes, my freezer is full of bags of frozen veggie cubes. Shoot- sometimes I add a spinach or broccoli veggie cube to mac-n-cheese to add a little extra nutrition.

Step 4: So in the morning, to prepare her breakfast, I just thaw out two different veggie cubes in the microwave (can be broccoli, sweet potato, spinach, zucchini, eggplant, squash, you name it) and add it to some warmed pre-made grain/bean mixture and Ta-Da! Breakfast.

She's working on eating it all by herself... which is why you will see two spoons in this video. We always need two spoons these days- one so she can try to eat by herself, and one that I can use to actually get the food in her mouth (though sometimes now she can do it by herself.) I think she's better at using the spoon when there's not a video camera trying to record it. ;) In this video you will also get to hear some of her Moanese language. I'm still trying to decipher much of it.

It might not sound that great, but really, it's a pretty tasty meal... and definitely Moana's favorite of the day. And once she's eaten this in the morning, I don't really care what she eats for the rest of the day. Seems like this is packed with so much nutrition that whatever she eats for the rest of the day is just bonus.

It doesn't take nearly as long as you'd think to make this meal. It's just about pre-planning (having the ingredients at your house) and pre-preparation (grinding/cooking the grains and steaming/freezing the veggies). I spend maybe an hour a week getting the prep work done. Once you've got the cooked grains and frozen veggies, it's just a matter of warming them together.

Anyway, my hope for Moana is that her relationship with food remains innocent. That she continues to eat when she's hungry, and stops eating when she's not. We could all probably benefit from eating more like a baby, couldn't we?



*We did not teach her how to do this. One day last week I got home from my morning workout and Scott said, "I don't know, I turned my back for like 10 seconds to make her breakfast and she was sitting in her chair??" We both thought that was really odd. So the next time it was my turn to feed her I asked her to climb into her chair and to my amazement, she did! Holy cow.

**I should mention that I got this cooking idea from a book called Super Baby Food by Ruth Yaron. She goes into much more detail than I did here (and gives tons more good ideas) so if you're really interested in doing this, buy the book. ;)

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Staring At The Tree

This morning I was up well before the crack of dawn to get my run in before Scott took off to go play soccer and then surf. I felt sure that I'd be able to run no problem today- I haven't felt much (any?) calf pain at all for the last 2 days... I've been walking without pain and I rode my bike yesterday for (a way too hard) 3 hours without a twinge of pain (in my calf at least- everywhere else on my body felt pain). Last night I spent some time on iTunes (yes, we have rockin' Saturday nights around here) and made myself a new playlist so I was all excited to run today.

I was surprised that I felt the pain right away when I started running. GRRRRR. It wasn't as bad as it was on Thursday right after I hurt it, but it was definitely the same place on my calf. I hoped that maybe it just needed to warm up a little and then it would get better, but after a half mile it still hurt so I turned around and walked home.

As much as I would have liked to have run today (while listening to my fun new music!) I knew that sacrificing my short term run would be well worth it in the future when I'm back running pain free and actually able to train. Seriously, there is just no point in prolonging this injury. So I came home and did a bunch of core work instead until the sun eventually came up.

I spent the rest of the morning with Moana at the beach. It was really fun- a lot because we kept running into people we knew... first Kelley and Ryan and Sara at Kalapawai Cafe... drinking coffee with Jarrod and Mary Beth... and then at the beach I saw Jo and Ed who were stand-up paddling... Moana's old pediatrician (Dr. BadA$$) who was running along the water... and then my neighbor Erica pushing Nico in the BOB. I love living in a small town and randomly running into people I know. It makes me feel like I have roots here, which I do, after 5 years. It's a comforting feeling, having those roots.

So this afternoon, being the stubborn athlete that I am, I decided to go water running in the pool here at our condo complex. It's been a while since I've water run, but I did it a ton while I was pregnant with Moana and I do remember thinking that it was a good workout back then. I got 40 minutes in today, and I still think it's a good workout. I don't have any floatation devices or anything that I use, so it's essentially just 40 minutes of non-stop vertical kicking. Sometimes I pump my arms like I'm running but I also did 1 min intervals today with my hands on my hips... kicking wildly just to keep my head above water and breathe. But seriously, is there any other activity where time passes more slowly than it does while you're water running? After what felt like about 2 hours, I looked at my watch and saw that 11 minutes had passed. Nice. You know, at least when you are on a treadmill you can see how far/fast you're running, you can watch your heart rate, you can listen to music, or you can watch TV... in the pool you're just looking at the same tree the whole damn time. And then even though you try not to, you look at your watch and see that a whopping 40 more seconds have passed... so you go back to staring at the tree, wishing that your iPod was waterproof.

Anyway, looks like I'll be spending some more time in that cold pool mimicking running over the next week or so. Any suggestions for entertainment while water running??

Friday, January 15, 2010

Hitchin' A Ride

So yesterday I went out running with Nalani. Ha ha! What's new? That's like the story of my life... 5 mornings a week running and/or swimming with Nalani these days... but I digress. Yesterday we set out on an 8.5 mile loop... first 5 miles easy and then pick it up for about 3 miles to an effort at a pre-determined threshold heart rate.

Everything was fine until a few minutes into the 3 mile section when I turned a corner and ARGH stepped on my foot wrong or something because I felt a very sharp and sudden pain in my left calf. I hoped (briefly) that it would resolve itself with a few more running steps, but that was a delusional expectation.

OUCH. I sent Nalani on ahead and told her I'd be fine... stopped to stretch and walk a bit but this pain wasn't going away. I walked, tried to jog, walked some more... and realized that I still had at least 3 miles to go to get home. If I jogged it in, I would be doing significant more damage to my calf muscle. If I walked (limped) it in, I was going to be out here for at least another hour and that would make Scott late for work.

What to do? What to do?

Jogging it in was not an option. I have no interest in sustaining any long term injury because of stubbornly persisting on running through pain. I was in luck though because this last stretch of road is has a good amount of traffic at 7:30AM and typically it's faster to run than to drive through this section. SO, when I saw a flat bed truck stopped ahead of me with two women inside the cab with the windows down, I asked the question...

Can I hitch a ride up the hill to Haiku Rd?

They looked at me like I was nuts. I quickly explained that I'd just tweeked my calf and couldn't run and just needed to get home. With the first little nod from the driver I hopped in the back, too excited about this ride home to notice that both women were smoking.

So there I was, massaging my calf in the back of this pick-up truck going 5 mph, try not to sit on any of the cigarette butts that were everywhere, and breathing in the second hand smoke from these women who were holding their cigarettes out their open windows. Nice. But it wasn't like I could complain or anything and ask them to put it out. They were doing me a huge favor.

Or were they? Which is worse? Running 3 extra miles on a ripped calf muscle or breathing in second hand smoke for 20 minutes as you hitch a ride home??

Anyway, only one other time in my 15+ years of running have I felt an acute injury bad enough to need a ride home. It was disappointing for sure, especially when I got home and googled 'strained calf muscle' and read about the 2+ weeks minimum recovery time. GRRRRR. I spent the rest of the day yesterday doing everything the computer said to do... iced it multiple times, wore my (bright pink!) compression socks all day, took ibuprofen (which I very rarely take). The good news is that by last night, just 12 hours after I'd first hurt it, it was already feeling a lot better. And this morning, it just feels like a sore calf muscle. So it must not have actually ripped or anything- just a minor strain. Phew!

So I'll take a couple more days off running and then I think I'll be back at 100%. Crisis averted.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Neuromuscular Conditioning

I feel like I'm really back into the swing of things now... feeling physically recovered, holidays are over, we're back into a regular routine, and the races are coming up on us. I'm envisioning a triathlon season that hopefully bears some resemblance to last year's very successful season.

I am confident that I've got a pretty solid understanding of what I need to do in training to get to where I want to be in racing this year. Yet at the same time, I feel like I am an "Experiment Of One" as I study myself, my training, and my heart rates as I execute my training. I guess we are all Experiments Of One... because if there was one plan that worked for everyone, every year, we would all just follow that and there would be no art to it.

Blah blah blah... essentially I am designing my training this year (as well as that of my athletes) around the principals in Brad Hudson's book, Run Faster. Those, with a little sprinkling of concepts from Matt Fitzgerald's Brain Training book mixed in. Hudson talks about developing your aerobic fitness and neuromuscular fitness in the foundation period, and then incorporating more and more race specific endurance as your races approach.

The 'aerobic fitness' thing I think we all get, but I've never previously considered neuromuscular conditioning the way Brad Hudson describes it. Read his book if you want all the details, but essentially we're talking about short fast interval repeats. Up hills. Steep hills. And on the track or road in the form of short very fast intervals faster than 5K pace. Once you establish this neuromuscular fitness you can then blend it in with the aerobic conditioning you've been working on and bring it all together to establish your race pace as the season progresses.

With that in mind, Nalani and I headed to the track this morning. Establishing neuromuscular fitness. That's what we were gonna do! Yippee! I picked some goal times for shorter repeats that I thought were reasonable... certainly not as fast as we were doing last spring, but then again, we haven't been to the track since probably, um, September, so I didn't think we should kill ourselves first time out. But of course since the interval times didn't seem unreasonably fast, I assumed (you know what they say about people who assume, right?) that we wouldn't have to kill ourselves to hit our goal times.

Well, let me just say that 5K pace is wicked hard when you haven't been running 5Ks in a while.

The short of it is that we pretty much nailed the goals throughout the workout, but we had to work much harder than I'd anticipated to do it.

Neuromuscular conditioning is not pretty. But I'm hoping it'll be effective.

The good news is that we knocked that workout out before 8:00AM so I still had the rest of the morning to play with Moana at the beach. The camera lens on my phone must have been coated with a salt water film or something- not sure why this photo is so blurry? BUT, it was just perfect down there today. We had just about the whole gorgeous beach to ourselves and we played in the sand and the water until we looked like sand monsters. That didn't take long. ;) Really, this is the best recovery.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

The Welcome Back Party... for my legs

Last Saturday I went riding with my friend, Motorpace... I warned him that I would be slow, but neither of us knew how slow I would actually be. It was bad. So bad that he (nicely) suggested that maybe I turn around early rather than riding the full distance we had planned.

I was wearing my heart rate monitor and saw that when my HR hit 155+, my legs would just absolutely SCREAM at me and essentially stop functioning. This was weird b/c normally my threshold is closer to 175 on the bike. Regardless, last week I turned around early and poked home at a heart rate of 145, which is, um, zone 1. It was the very best I could do.

I assumed it would be at least a month before I would be back and riding with the group. That was sad to me because half the reason I love riding my bike is because I love the people I get to ride with. It's like playtime on two wheels around here when we're all fit and training. So having to do a bunch of boring riding on my own for a month wasn't really all that exciting to me.

Mike was pretty encouraging all week though and telling me that the pace wasn't going to be fast (yeah right- they say that every week and it's never true- I know better than that)... but somehow I ended up giving in and agreeing to show up at the group ride this morning. I figured that my swim was coming back so physiologically I must be getting better, so maybe I could hang for a little while at least with the gang, and I prepared myself to drop right off the back as soon as the pace was out of reach for me.

The short of it is that I saw a major improvement this week! I was Light Years... I mean light years ahead of last week! And my heart rate was so much more 'normal' for me... riding home I was chatting away with Mike and looked down to see my HR in the 158-160 range... that is much more normal. I did hang on for one interval where I was working at 170ish... I made a decision to drop off after about 5 minutes of that b/c I knew they weren't going to slow down until we got to the turn-around and I just didn't feel the need to push myself into any red zones today. It was a smart move on my part because I was strong all the way home and never in danger of having to drop off.

So 56 beautiful miles today... most of it pretty cruisy... but ride time of 2:57 was not too shabby... I got home and had a little Welcome Back party for my legs while drinking my Ultragen. What a freakin' relief.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Above The Nadir

Scraaaaatch....

You hear that? It's the sound of me scratching and clawing my way back into triathlon shape.

It's coming back. I can feel it. Little by little, day by day... it's coming back.

Regina made a great comment on that blog I wrote the other day about hitting rock bottom in my training... she reminded me to trust my body. It knows what it can do and what it cannot do... and when it's right for it to come back, it will.

So all week I have been more patient with myself. Wearing my HR monitor and pushing here and there for short periods but not overdoing it at all... just getting out there and being consistent... eating right... sleeping plenty... I've been doing all the things that I know will get me back to where I want to be.

And this morning I got a little glimpse of my old swimmer self. I have always been the Queen of Descending in the pool. I am generally pretty good at knowing my pace, and bringing that pace down as the workout goes on. Lately though that ability has been completely missing as I have not had the stamina to pick up my pace. Instead I would just fall apart and get s.l.o.w.e.r. That was pretty frustrating. But today... today... we swam a 1500 straight, descend the 500's. I got my split for the first 500, dropped the split by 8 seconds for the next 500, and then took another 11 seconds off that for the final 500. AHHHHHHHHH. That's better. Then we did a set of 6 x 200's where the first 100 was blast fast then settle in to a more moderate pace for the final 100. I didn't feel I had it to blast the whole first 100, so I just blasted the first 50 and then settled in to my steady pace for the remaining 150. But you know what? By #4 I was feeling like maybe, just maybe, I could push for the whole 100 without falling apart... so on the 5th one I did... shocked the heck out of Nalani who looked over at the end of that 100 to see me still right next to her. That hasn't happened in, um, several months... She's so cool too- egging me on so in the 6th 200 our first 100 was very fast. Ok, not fast compared to where I was last summer, but I checked my logbook from last January and it was fast compared to that. Phew.

Mama's back. Or at least on my way...

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Moana Rides A Bike

About a year and a half ago I wrote a blog post about meeting my neighbor, Erica... I totally remember thinking that she was perfect... she had just delivered her son 10 weeks prior to us meeting, was already out running with the cutest little blonde blue eyed bundle in her baby jogger. I was supremely jealous at the time because #1 She did NOT look like she just had a baby and #2 she was out running. I was, at the time, maybe 6 months pregnant and was no longer running but ready to be done being pregnant already.

Fast forward a year+... Now Moana and I see Erica and Nico outside playing all the time. The two little ones play together (um, actually Nico has started flirting a bit which is insanely cute) and Erica and I can share mom stories.

The other day we were all outside at the basketball courts* and Moana decided she wanted to ride Nico's new bike. Yep, and we got it on film. Moana's first attempt at riding a bike. It melts my heart.

Last year Erica and I chatted a lot about doing a little baby exchange thing (watching each other's kid) so we could each get some free time during the day, but for whatever reason, it just never happened. I was already doing the baby swap thing with two other moms, 4 days/week, so in all honesty I was kind of swapped out. But now I don't have anything set up with anyone but feel ready to start doing it again, and Erica was ready too... she came over the other day and was like, "Let's do it!"

So yesterday Moana and I went over to their house so Erica and I could give each other the scoop on how things go, where the diapers are, what we allow/don't allow, etc. The two little ones were eerily quiet at one point so naturally we both felt concerned about what they were up to... turns out, Nico had put an orange Halloween bucket on Moana's head, like a hat, except it covered her whole head. Sweet. My little Pumpkinhead. It actually was quite hilarious.

It's really perfect because Erica is working on getting her certification to become a yoga instructor, and I'll be training in earnest again here soon, so we could each use the free time. AND, our kids seem to get along well, we live 3 steps from each other, Moana and Nico will have each other's interesting new toys to play with... it's a win-win-win all around, don't you think? AND, I get to experience what little boys are like. I have really only had experience with girls so this oughtta be interesting.

Anyway, Moana and I are going over to Nico's this afternoon to play while Erica goes to yoga. Then tomorrow Erica is going to come over in the morning so I can go ride my bike. Outside. During the week. Have I ever mentioned how much I love riding my bike outside during the week?

And since apparently Moana also loves to ride (Nico's bike) outside during the week, maybe one of these days we'll get to ride together... ;)


*Did you happen to notice all the litter covering the ground of the basketball courts? Yeah, that would be the leftover fireworks. All of our neighborhood roads are covered in that crap now from New Year's Eve. I just do not understand how people can just leave their garbage like that right out on the street for someone else to come clean up??? Ok, Now I'm really done ranting about NYE here. Promise.

Monday, January 4, 2010

The Nadir

The dictionary defines nadir (n) as the lowest point; point of greatest adversity or despair.

That's where I am at right now with respect to my training.

I know I have every excuse in the world to just suck right now. And rightfully valid excuses at that. (My hypothesis is that with all the bleeding in the past week my blood volume is likely pretty low, probably my iron too.)

But you know what? I hate excuses. Even valid ones.

So the facts are that I swam slower this morning than at any other time since I've lived on this island (seriously, I was faster when I was nine months pregnant than I was this morning)... and on Saturday my training partner suggested that I turn around and go home about 15 miles into our ride because I couldn't even draft off his wheel on a flat road with a tailwind while he was going easy...

Ugh.

It's a muscular thing right now- like my muscles won't function properly. I can't make my legs turn over fast enough while running to get my heart rate out of zone 2. Same thing with riding and swimming. I got home from swimming this morning and looked in the mirror and thought- they look like my legs, but they're not acting like my legs. I want my old legs back.

I know I know. I just had a miscarriage a week ago. I know. Give it time I know and it'll all come back. I know. But somehow knowing all those things doesn't really make me feel better about being so physically incapable of doing what I love to do. You know, I did not feel bad while swimming this morning. I was just s.l.o.w. Same thing riding and running. I feel ok while doing them, but just can't go fast at all, even when I try just for brief moments.

I can't find any information out there about how long it takes to physically recover from a miscarriage and get back to normal. I'm guessing it'll be a few more weeks? Anyone know?

The good news (I'm focusing on the good news) about being down here at The Nadir of my training is that there's no place to go but up. Little by little I will get my strength back. Little by little my endurance will return. What I need to do is stop focusing on where I was last year and start focusing on where I am today. And where I will be tomorrow- which will be somewhere above The Nadir.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Bringing In The New Year With Bombs

I'm only going to complain for a minute about the fireworks that are shot off all around Oahu on New Years Eve. For whatever reason, Hawaii has a law that allows people to shoot off fireworks on New Years Eve. I think officially it's legal from 9PM to 1AM, though most people completely ignore that and start shooting off fireworks about a week before Christmas and stop, well, when they run out, which seems to be sometime mid-January.

It is just the most ridiculous thing to be here on New Year's Eve. These morons 'modify' the fireworks so they are no longer fireworks- they are more like bombs- and they were being shot off every 3 seconds for about 6 hours straight last night. It sounded like we were in a war zone. Seriously. LOUD BOMBS that rattle your bones. The petrified dog was sure that it was the end of the world and would not come out of the closet. Moana was a good sport yelling out "BOOM!" when she heard one, though miraculously she did eventually go to sleep and only woke up crying a couple of times. I didn't get to sleep until well after 1AM even though I was in bed and trying at about 10.

We have some friends who escaped it all by renting a cabin in the remote mountains on Kauai. We're totally doing that next year.

I'm getting so old and grouchy, aren't I?

But you know what? (Let me complain a little more- I know I have gone over my minute) I went running this afternoon around 2:30 and people were still shooting them off in the middle of the road. The air is all smoky and polluted and the neighborhood streets were just covered in fireworks debris. Doesn't that sound like a good way to bring in the new year? Let's pollute the heck out of our air and streets. Sweet. Smart people live here. UGH.

~End of rant~

Ok, onto better things. We took Moana to the beach this morning. I'm psyched to have this on video now. She has such a blast at the beach!

Unfortunately it wasn't as warm as it looks... it didn't take more than about 15 minutes for her little lips to turn blue and she started shivering... like mother like daughter I guess, huh? So we put her little fleece jacket on and once she was warm and dry she was very happy.

Ok. Now I have to go dust off my P3. She's going on her first ride since Ironman tomorrow morning. I hope she remembers how to shift gears.