Wednesday, May 15, 2013

First Marathon Freak Out

It’s been awhile since I posted, lots of stuff has been going on and I just haven’t been able to take the time to do it. I’m hoping to once again get back to updating this blog regularly.  However, more important things to touch on right now.

In 3 days I will be running my very first marathon.  Not only is it a marathon, but it’s a trail marathon.  A trial marathon that I hear are hills the entire 26.2 miles. Am I ready for this? I hope so!
I love my trails, so it’s only natural for me to tackle a trail marathon instead of a flat road marathon for my first one.  In fact, unless it’s at some super duper awesome location (such as Paris) I currently have no desire to do a road marathon. I might change my mind soon, but for right now, I would prefer to stick to trails.
I am pretty good at running hills, I’ll admit that.  However the park I normally train at for trail races isn’t all hills. Each hill has a straight or downhill following it for awhile before the next one. I’m nervous about constantly going up and down.

The temperature is also predicted to be in the low 80’s.  I do NOT run well in the heat.  My body just doesn’t handle it well. 

When I start to over-heat my heart rate goes up.  When I push it on hills my heart rate goes up.  Remember what happens when my heart rate goes up? I puke.

I did have a time goal for this race, I knew what I had hoped my per-mine mile pace would be.  I’m kinda throwing that out the window.  The main goal, with this being the last, is to finish it strong anyway.
So for now my race plan is to carry water with me, stop at each water station to fill up my bottle, drink water, splash water on my head, then continue.  This means a longer marathon but I think it’ll be safer. I also plan to walk hills if I start getting that familiar feeling telling me my HR is skyrocketing.   My goal is to run a safe and smart race and not pay attention to the time. I’ll finish when I do.
My main goal is to go out there and have fun and enjoy the adventure!

That doesn’t mean I’m not freaking out.   I’m FREAKING OUT!

Stay tuned for pictures and a race re-cap next week!

Friday, April 26, 2013

Eads Bridge Duathlon 2013 – Race Recap

Getting ready to line up
The Eads Bridge Duathlon was last weekend, April 21st.  This duathlon is a 1.5 mile run, 10 mile bike ride, 1.5 mile run.  The race starts on the Eads Bridge, on the MO/IL state line.  You then run to the end of the bridge on the IL side, then back to the MO side and to the transition area.  Get on your bike and away you go for 10 miles!  Then back to the transition and you repeat the run in reverse order.

Due to recent flooding the transition area had to be moved and this made the run 1.82 miles instead of 1.5, however the bike was still pretty much 10 miles. 

Waiting for it to start, it was FREEZING (and yes,
those would be sock monkey's on my socks)
I originally signed up for this race so I could get some practice racing on my bike and doing official transitions before triathlon season starts for me.  For those of you who know me, I think we can all agree that even though I knew this was a practice race, I was still going to race it and do my best.

I have to give props to my husband because we spent about an hour on Saturday practicing transitions in front of my house.  He would time me and give me suggestions on what to do. At one point one of our neighbors came over, he bikes, and he helped give me pointers too.   This also allowed me to get some sort of familiarity and comfort level with the transitions. 

And we're off! I love the arch in the background
The day off the race arrived and my entourage and I headed down to the race.  Husband, R, my Mom and my MIL all went down with me since this was the first race of this kind I have ever attempted.

I wasn’t too happy to know that I was pushed up an age group level as they went by what your age would be at the end of the year and not on race day.  I had to hope that most of those in my new age group would be older and less experienced (somehow) than I was. haha!

I was able to get my transition area set up and we walked to the start.  Husband and my Mom switched camera’s as my camera is a dslr and kinda bulky and my Mom had brought her small one.  Husband, even though he doesn’t run, was super supportive and said he would see me off at the start and then run to the transition area to give me support there. He wouldn’t be allowed inside but could spectate from afar.

1st transition.I'm behind the runner
My coach has said he wanted me to do the race in 58-59 minutes.  Based on my training, I knew I could do well with the run but we weren’t sure what my race pace was on a bike. I just bought my bike in November so I’ve only actually been on it outside a handful of times.  I was kinda going in to this blind. I had done a brick as a test and I was able to run a mile in under 8 minutes after riding my bike for 11 miles.  So the plan was to do the two runs with my miles being under an 8 min mile and then do as best I could on the bike and with the transitions (transition time counts towards your total time).

Imagine my surprise when my watch beeps at the first mile marker and I glance down and see a 6 as the first number.  Yup. I not only did my first mile in under 8 minutes, I did it in under 7!  My first mile was 6:50.  This was a mile PR (personal record) for me!  I couldn’t believe it!  I knew I was going fast but not that fast!
Then came the transition. Here I messed up on a couple of things. First, instead of hitting the lap button on my watch to mark the transition, I hit stop and didn’t realize it.  So instead of recording the time for my transition it was just paused.  Even though I had practicing taking off my running shoes and slipping on my bike shoes, I had issues with one shoe.  This wasted some time.  I then had issues with my helmet. I have no idea how or why. I couldn’t get it strapped on and had to take it off and mess with the straps and put it back on.  Finally, though, I was on my way!  

yup - he got chicked
Once I was on the bike I remembered to hit my garmin and that’s when I realized my mistake.  So I had to push start and then the lap button twice.  So my times and miles for my run and my bike ride are off because of this. Not a big deal, but for the geek in me it doesn’t allow me to really analyze my pace as in-depth as I would like.

Having never raced on a bike before, here was my plan going in to the race. I would start out at a pace I thought was good for me.  If I’m constantly being passed, I know I need to give it a bit more. If I’m passing others, I know I need to slow down.  As it happens, there weren’t really any groups of bikers. Most people were on their own, either passing or being passed.  Those who passed me were FLYING and there was no chance of me catching them.  I didn’t pass too many on the first loop but on the second loop I did.  I think this was as more bikers joined the course.   The bike course, I was told was mostly flat.  Well..kinda true.   We had to maneuver up some hills to get to a road and then it was an out and back, which we repeated twice.  This main road had a small incline, so when going one direction you were going up a bit and the other direction going down.  Because this is just how things work for me, the headwind was when you had the slight up hill.  Yeah.  Fun!

Towards the end I had two girls pass me but I kept up with them and we finished going towards the transition together. I was a bit annoyed as on the straights I would start to pass them, then we would get to a turn and they would slow way down and move so they were in my way and I had to slow down.  I think this caused me some seconds arriving at the transition zone because I had to slow way down and got stuck behind them getting off the bikes.  However I ran to my spot, threw off my helmet, gloves and shoes, slipped on my running shoes and away I went!

Husband hugging me right after I finished
The second run started with hills. Up hills.  Then we reached the bridge and it was just across the bridge, a small down hill then up-hill and back to the finish. The legs were super tired on this one because of the bike ride but I managed to pass people the entire way, which felt really good.  Husband saw me at transition, then ran to a spot on the course to cheer me on, then was able to get to another spot right before the bridge to cheer me on again.  This helped soooo much.   When turning around on the bridge, I kicked it in and started to surge a bit on the hill. Then I surged again right at the end, passing some guy right before the finish. haha!  I spent this run trying to pick off the females. Finding one ahead of me and focusing on catching her.   I ended up negative splitting this run. The first mile was around 7:57 and the second, .82 mile, was 7:42.

At first I was feeling very good about my race. I knew I gave it my all on the run and the bike.  Then I got the results.  I missed placing 3rd in my age group by 4 seconds!  This bothered me for several days. I walked around being weird about this race. Knowing I had no reason to be disappointed, but being disappointed all the same.  I didn’t hit my time goal, I came in at 1:03:05.  I missed placing by 4 seconds.   I kept going back over the race, finding places where I could have made up those 4 seconds.

All done!  R doesn't seem to care does she? ha!
After talking with a couple of people, I’m feeling feeling very good about my race and very happy with my results.  These are the things that were told to me that I have to remember":
1) This was my first time racing on my bike
2) This was my first time with transitions
3) This was my first time doing a duathlon
4) I PR’d my first mile. I did under 7 min miles for the first run, so much better than expected.  I hit my goal for my second run.
5) The run was longer than anticipated, yet the bike course was still the same miles.  So it’s ok it took me longer than hoped for to finish the race
6) This was my first outdoor mutli-sport race, remember #’s 1-3, and I missed placing in my age group by ONLY 4 seconds.

My official results:
Finish time: 1:03:05, 73/286 overall, 15/138 female, 4/21 age group

To give you an idea of how close the top 4 in my age group were, here are the finish times: 1:02:53, 1:02:58, 1:03:01, 1:03:05.  Crazy! The first person in my age group only beat me by 12 seconds!

I’ve decided that I really enjoyed doing this race. I loved doing the two sports. Both sports were a challenge and doing two in the same race gave it an excitement that I don’t get from just running (even though I do LOVE the running races).   Husband has already said that it will be fun to see what I can do the bike portion in next year after I’ve had a year of training with it.  Looks like I have to come back and do this one again and go after a PR. 

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Breastfeeding – The Mental Aspect

I mentioned that I had a lot of mental issues with breastfeeding.  I figured they deserved their own post. I’m hoping that by being completely open about this, others will read it and recognize that they aren’t alone (if they had similar problems) or be able to share with somebody that they think is going through the same thing.
First off, one of my major issues was with being “needed” all the time.  I don’t like it. I didn’t like that I couldn’t leave her for fear she would need to nurse and I wouldn’t be around to do it. I didn’t like that every time she was hungry I had to feed her, I didn’t like the constant need need need.  I didn’t realize this would be an issue. I knew I wanted to breastfeed. I knew that she would need to eat every 2 hours or so. I thought I mentally prepared myself for this.  

I remember a couple of times I would be sitting on the floor with the baby, having her do tummy time.  Myla, our dog, would come over and sit right next to me, touching me, wanting attention, and I was in such bad shape I would cower and just shake and cry. I would tell my husband to make her go away.  I didn’t want to push my dog away, this was new for her too, but I couldn’t handle being needed by the baby and the dog. I needed space too.  Most evenings, when Husband arrived home from work, I would be in my running clothes, ready to get out of the house. I just needed to get away for a bit and I could go for a short run if I had just fed her.

Another thing with breast feeding is doing it when away from home.  I think that right now there is such a stigma against it.  You have those on one side who are so against it, don’t want to see it, don’t want to know it’s happening.  Then you have those on the other side who say it’s such a natural thing..go ahead and do it in public.  I was very uncomfortable doing it in public. If I was in somebody’s home, I had no problem doing it.  But in public, no thanks.  It took me a long time to finally get over this and to start doing it (and yes I was completely covered the entire time).  Once I did it a couple of times, I was ok with it.  But before that we would schedule everything around when I would have to feed her so I could be home.
What was also hard for me was that I always had trouble producing enough.  At first I was able to produce enough for R, that wasn’t a problem. However I had trouble producing enough to be able to pump and feed her.  The days I would try this, she was super crabby and want to eat more often.  We decided to start supplementing with formula once a day, not only to give me a break from feeding her but also so I could pump and start a stash for daycare.  Several months in, once I went back to work and was pumping more and nursing less, I started to produce less and less. 

One of the hardest days for me so far was one Saturday afternoon when I nursed R and she was super crabby and we were unable to calm her down 30 min later.  Out of desperation we made her a bottle and she drank 6oz.  She was starving!  I realized at that moment that I could not provide for my daughter. Ok, I could, with formula, but not by breastfeeding.  As hard as it was for me to breastfeed at first, realizing I couldn’t provide enough for daughter was even harder.  

I often wonder if the issues I had with my thyroid, my depression, and the amount of working out I did all played a role in how little I produced.  As you can guess, this brings about it’s own guilt. If I stopped working out, could my body produce more? If my thyroid wasn’t crazy, could I produce more? If I was happy and not sad, would a trigger go off and allow me to produce more?  All these demands and guilt I put on myself, just made the mental aspect of breastfeeding so much worse.

Monday, April 1, 2013

CTWW – Water Usage

This week’s Change the World Wednesday was:

This week, consider your water footprint, particularly your indirect water use. Begin my using the calculators at the bottom of this PAGE (I found the extended calculator to be the best). If you need to convert measurements of food, here's a TOOL. Once you've calculated your water footprint, take a look at the results and see if there's an area which could be reduced. For example, if your primary water use is associated to cereals/grains, opt for varieties which require less water to produce (barley uses less water than rice). Reduce the amount of sugar you use (it takes 1,500 liters of water to produce 1 kilo of white sugar). Opt for fruits & veggies rather than meat (a kilo of beef requires 15,500 liters of water to create) ... or opt for pork or chicken (4,800 and 3,900 liters respectively). Drink tea instead of coffee, saving 110 liters of water per cup. Drive less (gasoline takes a lot of water). Buy less stuff (everything requires water to produce and transport). While reducing our direct water consumption is absolutely encouraged, this challenge is all about looking at the indirect water we use.

When I think of water usage, I think of water that I use on purpose..such as taking a shower, doing the dishes, using our pool, etc.  What I have never thought of before is the indirect water usage.  Huh?  What’s that you say?   That’s right, it’s not something most of us have ever thought of. Indirect water usage is water used for things that we do or things that we buy.  Such as, how much water is used to produce the Easter candy I’ve been munching on.  Say what? never thought about the use of water in producing food or items.  Although, maybe you have. I know I never have.

According to Reduce Footprints, it takes 1,500 liters of water to produce 1 kilo of white sugar. I probably ate enough candy yesterday to equal 1 kilo of white sugar.   It also takes more water to raise beef (ie: cows) and of course meet in general, when compared to fruits and vegetables.  We all know that fruits and veggies are healthier for us too.

While I did not take this past week to work on this challenge, since I just had a chance to read about it and look in to it on Monday, it does give me food for thought.  It’s something that makes me stop and say..hmmmmm.  Water I use at home is easier to control because I can see it, I can see the waste.  The indirect water usage I don’t. 

I’m trying to focus on eating healthier, cutting out soft drinks and sweets/chips.  Knowing this causes more waste of water, it’s just one more thing to tell myself when I try to talk myself out of the unhealthy stuff and try to focus on eating better.  Better for me = better for the environment.

Monday, March 18, 2013

CTWW - Local produce all year round

This week's Change the World Wednesday, hosted by Reduce Footprints is:

Last August, CelloMom suggested that we find a way to eat local produce throughout the winter months (you can read that challenge HERE). Now that we're moving into spring, it's the perfect time to come up with a strategy to ensure that we'll have local fruits and veggies next winter. Here you go ...

This week develop a strategy which will ensure that you and your family enjoy local produce next winter. Need some suggestions? Plan a garden with preserving in mind. Consider freezing, drying, canning, etc. and start gathering the items/tools you'll need to accomplish it (don't forget to check thrift stores, Freecycle, etc. for things like canning jars, dehydrators, and other items you might need). Visit your farmer's market and learn about the items which they'll have available and when they will arrive for purchase. If you are a member of a CSA, talk to the farmer about your goals and see how he/she can help. This week is all about planning with the goal of having local produce on your plate next winter.

This is a tough one for us.   Mostly because I admit to being rather lazy.  I'm just so tired! haha!    However, we have some things in place to try and do this, things we started last spring.

I've mentioned a couple of times we have a blackberry bush.  Well, we still have a TON of frozen blackberries in our freezer!  We mostly just use them for smoothies during the winter months.  I've slacked with my smoothies but getting back in to the habit of making one every morning.  So this saved us from having to buy a lot of frozen blackberries.

We had a small garden this past summer and plan to do the same thing this year, but we can't produce enough to keep us through the winter.  We just don't have a good spot in our yard that's bigger.  Our yard isn't fenced (very few are and the neighbors kinda frown on it) so we need to stay close to our house and with the pool it's not easy to do.  Plus we have a huge deer problem so we have to build around it to keep the deer out, which can be an eye-sore and frowned upon.  So, we'll do what we can to keep us in fresh food during the summer but won't have enough for all winter.    Baby steps though, right?

What I do love, however, is that a produce store opened up very close to us.  They try to buy local as often as they can, but that's hard in the winter months.  I stopped in once, they just opened this month, and think I'll frequent it often.  They didn't have a ton of organic but said they are planning to start increasing what they do offer in terms of being organic since people keep asking.  They also said that they buy local as much as possible, so May through September I'll be able to get local items.  Fingers crossed this works out!

Friday, March 15, 2013

Quivering Quads 2013 – Race Recap

I'm in the yellow jacket. Before the race shot.
Quivering Quads is a half marathon trail race in Troy, Missouri.  This was my first year running this race and I was excited about it even though I was dealing with the stomach bug and injury. The day before the race we had rain, for 5 hours straight.   Over night we had more rain.  Before the race started we had even more rain.  This race turned into an adventure.

At the start of the race we were told the creek crossings were ankle deep.  This ended up being true for some but not others.  The longer you were out there, the higher the water rose and the deeper the creeks were.  When I went through some the water was higher than my knees.  The current was strong too.  I was lucky that I didn’t fall or get pulled under, but others had trouble.  In fact, this is proof that runners are awesome.   There was an older guy in front of me and I kept getting close and then he would get further away.  Well, as luck would have it, I was somewhat close at each creek crossing towards the end of the race.  He would get across, then walk and watch me to make sure I made it across (and talk to me while I was).  Then when I was safe he would take off again.  Now that’s an awesome runner. I couldn’t find him at the finish to thank him either.
waiting for the race to start

The entire course was mud.  And more mud.  On parts, where the trail went downhill, you were just running in a river of water.  Other times you were running through standing water on the trails. If it wasn’t water, it was just mud.   This made for some very interesting situations.  A couple parts of the trail were drop-offs to a creek and it was a long drop-off, you had to walk it due to slipping and sliding with the mud.    I LOVED it.
The first 6 miles of this race were awesome. I felt good. I was having fun.  I started out with people and then slowly I left them behind.  I would catch up to a group or an individual, pass them the first chance I had, then run by myself for awhile.  Then I would see somebody ahead and focus on catching them.  Catch up to them, pass, repeat.  Many of the times when I was by myself and couldn’t see anybody, I would just look around me. It was peaceful. It was beautiful.  I loved being out there.

Then it started to rain again.  I lost feeling in my hands and my arms were numb.  My legs were heavy.  My shoes were so heavy from the mud and water I had trouble lifting them. I had to start walking on hills.  Sure, lots of people do this, however I train with tough hills. I pride myself on being able to run hills.  So for me to realize I needed to walk them, that was hard. 

still early on
I’m not sure if this was a good thing or not but my feet were numb and I was so cold I didn’t feel the pain in my feet and I was able to finish the race. I paid for it after the race and most of this week, but at least I was able to finish the race.  Not the smartest thing, but what are you going to do?

I am somewhat disappointed with this race but at the same time I’m not.  Makes sense right?  I’m disappointed I had to walk up hills towards the end. I’m disappointed I walked A LOT and not just on hills during the last mile.  I’m disappointed that people who shouldn’t have beat me, because I had a good lead on them, ended up either catching me or getting close.   However I also feel good about this race and happy about it because I know all of this was due to the injury and not being completely over the stomach bug yet.  Not to mention the race conditions of the course itself.   So for me to pull off what I did, I think I did pretty darn good.  Plus, I had a heck of a fun time doing it.

towards the end
I walked away with a finisher’s medal and a plaque.  That’s right! I placed in my age group!    I was 100 out of 336 finishers.  I placed 8th female. I was either 2nd or 3rd in my age group. I have a plaque for third, given to me at the race, however I received an email saying I was 2nd and online it shows I was 2nd in one place but 3rd in another. Go figure.  I have emailed the company to inquire about it and to see if I need to exchange plaques.  I know the female winner was in my age group, so maybe that has something to do with it.  Not sure.

not me, obviously, but shows how high the creeks got

Here is more detail about my run, including mile splits etc.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Another Half - but also a first

This coming Sunday I will run/race my first trail half marathon.  Quivering Quads Half Marathon.

 I'm nervous, I'm excited, I'm hopeful.  I have done further distance on a trail and on road. So I should be comfortable with the distance.   I've never ran at this park before though, so I have no idea what to expect.

I was also blessed with the stomach bug earlier in the week.  This is not good news for a runner. ha!  I'm still not 100% recovered but getting there.  This did mean that I had no problems with this being a taper week, as I've only worked out twice (Sunday and Tuesday).

I am also dealing with injury on both my feet.  I had hurt them a month or so ago. I took it easy, they cleared up and were fine.  However running my last race, Castlewood Cup, caused major issues.  I've been taking it easy for a couple weeks due to that as well.

Hopefully taking all this time off will mean my body is rested and ready to go on Sunday. I am worried how my feet will do. I am worried how my body will react.  However I plan to give it all I can and if I need to pull out of the race, I will.

Since I have not ran at this park before I have no idea what the trails are like or how hard the hills/course is.  I've looked at the elevation and the hills don't seem to be as bad as what I am used to.

Here is the elevation for Quivering Quads:

Here is the elevation for the Castlewood Cup course I did 2 weeks ago:

As you can see the hills aren't nearly as bad.  That doesn't mean I'm not worried. I could go all and come to a hill and it could be worse than I anticipate. I train with hills, but most are steep and not tooo terrible long.  The hills for QQ seem to be not as steep but longer, which could be worse.

So..we'll see.  Fingers crossed I do ok and don't have to pull out of this race.

Monday, March 4, 2013

CTWW – Body Soap Review

Here is the current challenge from Reduce Footprints:

This week review the body soap you are currently using. Please include such information as how the product performs, how it was packaged and the ingredients. Perhaps do a little research on the ingredients to determine if they are all environmentally and personally safe. You may include the name of the soap or not ... your choice. You may also post your review on any platform, including a comment here. The idea is for us to take an honest look at the soap we're using and share information so that we all learn

I’ll admit that I’m currently not using anything fancy or super organic for my body wash. You know why? Pure laziness.  Yup.  That’s it.  With my PPD issues and adjusting to life as a new Mom I’ve found that some things have slipped through the cracks. Taking care of my body (aside from the workouts) in terms of eating and what products I use has taken 100 steps in the wrong direction.

My current body wash/soap is Ivory with Aloe, because I think it’s a decent brand and it’s easy to buy at the store when I go for R’s formula.

Here are the current ingredients in my body wash:
Water/Eau, Sodium Laureth Sulfate, Sodium Sulfate, Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, Cocamidopropyl Betaine, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Extract, Fragrance/Parfum, Citric Acid, Sodium Benzoate, Disodium EDTA, Methylchloroisothiazolinone, Methylisothiazolinone, Styrene/Acrylates Copolymer.

Now that I look at it, several of those products are on the harmful list.  Such as the Sodium Laureth/Lauryl Sulfates.   I understand those are both for lather and I have also read we don’t need lather, we just think we do. I fall for that myself.  

I will admit that I was using bar soap but it was hard to shave with it and that’s when I switched back to body wash.   I think what I need to do is just look at the other “natural” products available where I shop and find something that is convenient for me to purchase but doesn’t contact harmful products.
I admit I do like the body wash, I think it gets me clean.  This is super important due to the running, nobody wants to smell me after that’s done! haha!  It doesn’t, however, get all the chlorine smell off my body after a pool workout.  However I think that’s the case with most body washes. 

Friday, March 1, 2013

Castlewood Cup 2013 – Race Recap

The first big hill..just to show the conditions
February 24th was the day of the Castlewood Cup 15k trail run.  Leading up to Sunday the weather was forecasted to be in the 50’s.  This was even after the snow storm we had the Thursday before.

The day arrived and it was only in the 30’s.  At first I had on capri’s, a short sleeved shirt, and a jacket.  I walked outside and walked right back inside to change into shorts, compression socks, short sleeves, and arm warmers.  This ended up being the perfect outfit.
Leading up to this race I was not happy about it.  My heart was not in it.  I love this race and I love to race. I didn’t want to do this one.  There are a lot of reasons why, but I won’t get in to them.  My heart just wasn’t in it this year.  Once it snowed on Thursday I was much more interested in running it, but still not excited.  I admit that I hate cold weather and snow, but I love to run in it. Go figure.  The day arrived and I had race excitement and nerves, which was a good thing.

The group I met at the beginning
Leading up to this race I was still having issues with feeling like throwing up when I exert myself, etc.  In hopes that it was just not getting in enough food and with this being a late race time (10 am) I was able to eat two breakfasts and a snack before the race start. I think this did a lot for me. I had a ton of energy at the start of the race and through the entire race without having to refuel.

I was in wave 3, out of 6.  You are put in waves based on your projected finish time. I should have jumped into an earlier wave but didn't think I needed to.  As it was, when my wave started I was quickly the first person and I soon caught up to people from wave 2.  Within the first half mile we start on a huge hill and I continued to pass people on that hill, which always feels good when it happens.  Then it happened. I got stuck behind a runner who refused to let me pass.   It’s hard to race on trails because they are narrow and when you get behind somebody you have to wait for a spot to pass.  So I waited till there was an opening, said on your left, and surged, only to have him surge.  He did this every time. I was sooo pissed.  I had to wait until we got to an area where the trail really widened and I had more room.  Which, he still tried to speed up but I had enough room to pass him.  He got CHICKED. And it felt GOOD.

The rest of the race I would focus on catching the person/group in front of me.  Once I did that I would catch my breath, wait for a chance to pass, pass and keep up that speed until I caught the next group. Repeat.

Normally I am slower on trails because I tend to trip and fall. A LOT.  However with the snow, and with it being packed down by the other runners, I felt more comfortable and It showed. I went faster on these trails than I ever have before.  I felt good!  I never once felt tired.  Sure, going up the hills you feel exhausted but as soon as I crested them I felt fine.  My legs were never fatigued. I finished and felt like I could have kept running.  This is a great feeling, but also a disappointing feeling.  This was a race. I should not have felt like that.  However, I know that it’s just the nature of trail races to be stuck behind people.  I know I could have gone faster if I had not been stuck behind people a lot.  This is where I think next year I’ll be sure to start in wave one. If I had started in wave one I think I could have placed higher and had a better time.  However, with that being said, I did excellent at this race.  I am very happy with how I placed and how I did.  I finished this race and felt fantastic. I had a runner’s high.  I did so much better than I expected, especially since I went in to the race with my heart not in it.

I finished out the race by going out for some drinks and food with some new running friends.  This made my day. I have struggled with finding runners who want to run with me and who “get” me.  I am hoping I finally found it.  It was fun to hang out and laugh and talk and just be with like minding individuals.  Without them at the beginning of the race and the end, this race would not have been as awesome as it was. I owe them a lot.

My final results:
finish time: 1:24:16
Overall place: 69 out of 471
Female place: 10 out of 190
Division place: 4 out of 27

Here’s a breakdown on pace:
Mile 1: 9:35, big hill
Mile 2 : 9:40, stuck behind the ahole
Mile 3: 9:15, I did stop to fix my yaktrax and drink water
Mile 4: 10:05, big hill and stuck behind a lot of people going slow on this one
MIle 5: 8:26, mostly downhill and rolling
Mile 6:10:03, majority of it is uphill, worst in the park if you ask me
Mile 7: 8:55, rolling hills
Mile 8: 8:10, downhill and flat
Mile 9: 7:58, flat and a creek crossing
.3 miles to the finish: 7:32, as fast as I could sprint in the snow

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

CCTW - Six Ingredient Challenge

Here is this week's challenge, or last week's challenge, I'm always a week behind it seems.

I've read a lot recently about a Six Ingredient Challenge. This clever idea was designed to encourage people to eat more whole foods. The thought is that if there are no more than 6 ingredients on the label, the food is pretty close to being as nature intended it. Why are whole foods better for the environment? Because processing creates large amounts of carbon dioxide. Since we just used up everything in our pantries and are probably ready to restock, I thought it would be a perfect challenge for this week. Here you go ...

This week, buy only foods with 6 or fewer ingredients. Here's a tip ... shop the perimeter of the store rather than the center isles ... you'll find more options. Want to kick this challenge up even further? Be sure that high fructose corn syrup and hydrogenated oils aren't in the food you choose ... they are really "bad for you" substances. And if you have access to the information, choose non-GMO foods.

I'm really bad about this.  I attempt to and then don't.  Attempt to read the labels that is. I think because it's so hard and confusing.  I tend to not buy very much processed foods, so that's good.  We make a lot of dinners from scratch and I bake from scratch.  We did set out to buy graham crackers for R over the weekend, that was interesting. I was going to get the store brand and it had high fructose corn syrup in it, but one of the name brands didn't, so I paid more for the name brand. My guess is that it was hidden in there just with a different title though. ha!   I also wouldn't have thought to give R graham crackers but the daycare lady has tried it and R likes it. She appears to be a picky eater so we're going to go with it.  Unfortunately, she takes after me in the eating department it seems.

Oh..and I will also mention that so far we have made all of R's food. Except the yogurt and the baby oatmeal she started out on.  I've made sure that stuff is all organic though.   I like making her food because I know EXACTLY what it is in. It's veggies, fruits, and water. That's it. 

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

CTWW – Half Term Challenge

It’s time for Change the World Wednesday hosted by Reduce Footprints.

This Week's Challenge:
In June of 2012 we joined Mrs. Green in her "Use It Up" challenge. It's one of those activities which bears repeating from time to time because food has a sneaky way of accumulating in our homes. More importantly, food waste is at an all time high ... it's bad for our finances and bad for the environment. So, Mrs. Green is doing a Half Term Challenge and we're invited to join her. Here you go ...

  1. Take a look through your fruit, vegetables and fresh items in the fridge to see what needs using up. Write it all down – it’s easier to keep track that way.
  2. Plan some of your favorite meals around the foods that need using up.
  3. If you need inspiration, write your food list on Mrs. Green's post (you'll find it HERE) and her community will help or ... check out the recipes section at Love Food Hate Waste.
  4. Enjoy some great meals, knowing you are saving money and protecting resources.

Are you ready to tackle this one? I know that you are!
Until next time ...

What will I do for this challenge you ask?  Well, I’ll tell you. Not too much. haha!   We are in the habit of only buying as many veggies as we need for meals and fruit that we’ll eat in a week.  Therefore barely any of it goes to waste anyway. So if I was to do this challenge I wouldn’t find any veggies or fruit.  I think it’s a great idea, just not one I can partake in.  How about you thought?

Friday, February 15, 2013

JCC Sprint Triathlon - Race Recap

Last Saturday I had my first triathlon where I wasn’t pregnant.  This means it was my first triathlon where I could really compete and not just strive to complete it.  I was freaked out but also confident I could do it because the distances were all short, shorter than I normally do in a regular workout.
This was an indoor sprint triathlon, so the swim was in a pool, the biking was on spin bikes, and the running was on treadmills. Totally flat miles.

Ultimately I had 5 goals going in to this race.  1)Swim under 10 min  2)Bike in 19 min 3)Run a 7 min mile (17:30 min) 4)place in the top 3 in my age group and 5) place in the top 10 women over-all.

Swim: 400 meters
My time was 8:49.  This is the one I felt I probably wouldn’t hit and I nailed it!  I did so much better than I thought I would do.  I did 50m as a warm-up.  Then I stayed in the water, moving around a bit, for probably 10 min.  When the heat started I was relaxed and I went out at a decent pace. I didn’t want to go too slow but I wanted to stay at an easy pace where I wouldn’t tire out and be gasping for breath.  I tried to keep track of how many laps I did because my plan had been to take the first 200m easy, then push it the next 150, then sprint the final 50.  I lost track early on. I am horrible at counting laps. So I kept a pace that I felt was good and wouldn’t leave me gasping.  Then when I was notified I was on my final lap I kicked it in to gear and gave it all I had left.  I ended up being first out of the water for my heat, which felt awesome.

Bike: 8 miles
My goal had been 19 or under. I finished it at 19:24.  Sure, not too far off my goal, but still off.  Trying to go as fast as I could for 8 miles on a spin bike is a bit weird.  You want enough resistance on the bike so you don’t lose control, but not too much that you make it harder than it needs to be.  Throughout the 8 miles I would mess with it and make it less resistance, then more if it was feeling weird, etc. 

Run: 2.5 miles
My goal had been 7 min miles.  I finished in 19:58, 8 min miles.  Here’s the thing. I’m still having some health issues. Nothing to be worried about, but stuff that I am working with professionals on.  So while I don’t know if that was what caused me to have issues or something else, I did have some issues.  I got off the bike and I was dizzy.  I got to the treadmill and just felt like crap. I fought the urge to throw up the whole time.  I started out slow and increased the speed slowly till I was doing 7:30 min/miles.  I stayed like that but was feeling more and more like throwing up, so I knew I had to slow it down. I slowed way down until I started to feel a tad better.  Then slowly started to increase pace again.  I finished out close to a 7 min mile, but it wasn’t enough to hit my goal.   It might seem like a 7 min mile is a high goal, it’s way faster than normal for me.  However, at such a short distance it was possible. I had practiced running on the treadmill at the gym at a 7 min pace for a mile after spin class to see if it was possible.

As far as how I did in placing.  Well, I was 4th in my age group (out of 8). I wasn’t even close to the third place person.   I tied for 18th for over-all female (out of 43).  Not even close to 10.
The results for this race were very hard for me to take. I was very upset about it the day off and I’m still not happy with it.  This is by far the easiest race I have this year.  So for me to not do as well as I had hoped on my easiest race, well, it freaks me out for what’s to come this year. 

I know that my training on the bike hadn’t been what I needed it to be, that’s what happens with life.  Due to the weather I have to train at the gym on stationary bikes.  With the flue going around we didn’t want R in the gym daycare.  That meant I couldn’t go after work.  Swimming is by far my weakest of the three sports, so on Saturdays I would go to the gym to swim before coming home and watching R so Husband could get to the gym for spin class.  I’m not upset about this, but it did mean I didn’t get in as much time on a bike as I had wanted/needed.

While I am still disappointed in how I did, I’ve come to terms with it. I know that I did the best I could and I can only get better from here.  As one of my friends said, a good friend who is helping me with my training. this gives us a starting point.  It’s true!  Now I know what I can do, what my body is capable of. I now have a way to compare my times in training and to measure improvement.

I also have to remind myself that while this was NOT my first sprint tri, it was the first sprint tri where I didn’t have to watch my HR and slow myself down. That does make a huge difference.

So for now, I’ll keep moving forward.  I’m happy to have this done. I’m looking forward to what’s in store for me this year and seeing what I can accomplish.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Breastfeeding – The Middle and The End

Once I was able to breastfeed without the physical pain, for the most part things went smoothly.  I didn’t have any other physical issues, none that you hear other women having.  I had some mental issues with it but I’m going to get to those in a different blog post.

I liked the convenience that if we had somewhere to go, we didn’t have to worry about bringing formula as long as I was there. I was the formula.  At first I did not want to feed her in public, covered up of course.  However after I did it a couple times I realized I didn’t really care.  I made sure it was discrete.  I made sure not to drink beer at the same time.

At first I was able to provide 100% of R’s nutrition.  I was producing enough.  Soon I tried to start pumping as well, in order to build up a supply for daycare, and that’s when I realized things weren’t as peachy as I had hoped. I did not produce enough to feed her and pump.  I went in to breastfeeding with the plan to 1)breastfeed for 1 year and 2)not supplement with formula.

In order to be able to provide milk for daycare, we made the decision to start supplementing with formula.   In fact it was my decision.  Husband was great through this whole process. He knew that I wanted to breastfeed.  He felt it was the best option but since it was my body he left the decision to me.  So when I talked to him about supplementing with formula once a day so I could pump, he didn’t argue. He felt it was a good idea. 

I couldn't help it, this one makes me laugh

For several months this went great. I would feed her during the day and then pump at her bedtime feeding, when Husband would give her a bottle.  Then I started back to work.  The way her feedings landed, I wasn’t nursing at all during the week, only pumping.  Soon my production started to drop.  One of the hardest days for me was when I fed her on the weekend, she was super fussy 30 min later.  We couldn’t figure out what was going on, so we gave her a bottle. She drank 8 oz.  She doesn’t drink 8oz at once. That was the first time I realized I could not provide for her and it was hard, very hard.  It got to where we went from providing all her bottles as breastmilk for daycare to only one bottle a day.  That was all I could produce.  I had to stop nursing her 100%, because I couldn’t produce enough for even one day.  So I was pumping 100% even on weekends.  Then I had the flu (or food poisoning) in December and production dropped to only 3-4oz per day.  After dealing with that for a couple of weeks I called her Dr. to see if there was even a benefit to giving her one bottle every other day.   I made the decision to stop.  I made it 1 week shy of 8 months. 

I am happy with my decisions.  It’s hard, I have some guilt, but I’m happy with my decisions.  I feel that I provided R with a very good foundation.  She had almost 8 months of breast milk.  She had 8 months to get the health benefits that are found in breast milk and can’t be duplicated in formula.  For that, I am happy. 

Sunday, February 10, 2013

CTWW - Fracking

This week's Change the World Wednesday is about fracking.  Not sure what fracking is? Neither was I. Luckily Reduce Footprints includes a link to more information.

This Week's Challenge:

One of my GOALS for 2013 is to increase the impact of our challenges by applying a bit of political pressure. This challenge is about FRACKING, a dangerous method of extracting oil and natural gas from shale rock. 

Please note: I believe that signing petitions and/or contacting our public officials is a private matter so, for any political pressure challenges we take on, I won't be doing a commentary the following week. I am happy to include any posts you write in our re-cap as well as any comments, tweets, etc. but I won't be expressing my thoughts about them ... I'll simply list them for others to read. Sound good? Here you go ...

This week, sign NRDC's letter to President Obama asking him to protect us from dangerous fracking. You'll find it HERE. This letter is appropriate for everyone and can be signed by people worldwide. However, if fracking takes place in your country and you'd rather contact your officials, the following information may help:

Fracking by Country
Fracking in the UK
Fracking in Canada
Fracking in Denmark
Fracking in Ireland

Or ...

If you'd rather not sign an online letter/petition, please contact your local officials about fracking and let them know how you feel. If fracking isn't an issue in your area, consider contacting your officials regarding an issue which concerns you about the environment.
AS for me, well, I need to read more about it before I sign anything. I think things like this are important but I rarely feel educated enough to actually do something about it.  I mostly wanted to post this to get back in the game with CTWW and to share with my readers so that some of you who know more than me might take action, if you see fit. 

Friday, February 8, 2013

Indoor Sprint Tri Freak OUT

So tomorrow is my first triathlon of the season.   It’s indoor, so I’ll be swimming in a pool, riding a spin bike, and running on a treadmill.  It’s a sprint distance.  The swim is only 400 meters, the bike is 8 miles, and the run is 2.5 miles.  I know I can finish all three distances without a problem.   I’m not sure I can finish in the time that I want.

That is why I’m freaking out.  Well, that and another reason.  I looked at the results for this sprint tri from last year.   I did it while I was pregnant and it was the first one I ever did.  This is why I’m doing it again this year.  I want to see how well I can do since I’m not going to be watching my heart rate.  However I’m too competitive to stop there. I had to look up the top 5 women finishers and the top finisher for my age group.  I decided my goal was to claim a top 5 finish.  I decided I want to be top 3 for my age group.

This means that I’m freaking out this week.  The woman who got first in my age group also came in 2nd female over-all.  There is no way I can match her swim.  She did 400 meters in a little over 6 minutes. My goal was to get mine to 8 minutes. I don’t think I’ve done that.   The bike, I have no idea. It’s a spin bike so I know I’ll keep it on low resistance and therefore I’ll be faster than using my bike outside.  The run, I’ve got the run.  My goal is 7 min miles for the run.  That would beat her 8 min miles from last year.  If I can match her on the bike, I have a chance of coming in first or at least coming close to it.

This means I’m freaking out because I want to hit my goal and I’m not sure I can.  I know I do this for fun, but it’s still intimidating, It’s still nerve wrecking.  I’m also dealing with some aches/pains/possibly injuries.  My workouts the last several weeks have sucked. My last two long runs I’ve had to cut short for various reasons.   So I’m going in to this triathlon knowing I can do this distance but wondering how well I can do the distance.  Stay tuned for a race report next week!  And please wish me luck for an awesome experience tomorrow.

I’m also going in to this triathlon knowing that it kicks off a very aggressive race season for me.  A race season that doesn’t end until November. This freaks me out. 

I’m excited, I’m nervous, I’m crazy, I’m a runner.  ‘Nough said.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Now.: On Facebook!

I just wanted to let all my wonderful followers know that I put this blog on facebook. I know sometimes that's easier to read or get updates.   Please "like" my Outwardly Pleasant page if interested.   From time to time I might also post other stuff on the facebook page too.

On another note, if you want to follow more of my training, that has it's own page on facebook. I seem to be the facebook queen. ha!     The name of that page is: The Running Journey

Celtic Traverse

I have found the newest race to add to my bucket list.  The Celtric Traverse.  How could I see this and NOT be interested?  I’ve been to Ireland and it’s beautiful.  I can’t imagine how wonderful it would be to run across Ireland.  Looking at the beauty of the country.  Who wants to sponsor me to do this one? Don’t all raise your hands at once.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Breastfeeding – The Beginning

Yup..we’re going to start off February with a BANG!  Breastfeeding is a very touch subject and it’s one that I struggled with myself.

Even before I was pregnant I knew that I wanted to breastfeed.  I felt it was the right decision for my daughter and my family.  However I also understand it is not for everyone and I don’t judge people who decide not to breastfeed.

I did a lot of research on it while I was pregnant and I knew that it was hard and it didn’t work as easily as the movies make it seem. It takes a lot of work and effort from both Mom and Baby.  I was prepared for this.  I told myself that if it didn’t work right away, I couldn’t get upset and I had to keep trying. I knew it was going to hurt. I didn’t prepare my body for this, I had heard that doesn’t really do anything, but mentally I knew that it would hurt and I had to get through that.

Then the time came. R handled it beautifully. She had no problems at all. But boy did it hurt!!!!  I’m not talking about just latching on, I’m talking about the entire time she was feeding.  I had two different lactation specialists at the hospital stop by to help me.  They both said she was latched on correctly and the pain would go away.  It didn’t.  In case you aren’t ware, new born babies can eat for a long time.  R was a slow eater, it was 40 min or so per feeding.  40 min or so of intense pain.

About a week or so after we were home I went to a nursing mother’s support group. I asked for help. I didn’t get much help because, as the specialist there said, she was latched on correctly.  I tried different positions, I tried everything I could think of. I was ready to give up.  I was in tears every time she had to eat because it was so painful. Yet I felt so guilty because I knew I wanted to breastfeed her and I felt this was the healthiest thing for her.  Husband helped me out by just telling me to make it “one more day”.   I would spend my time breastfeeding at night watching video’s on how to latch on properly and looking at pictures and articles on the proper way. 

I was a new Mom and I was STRESSING out

Then one time she latched on, I played with how she latched on, and there was no pain.  That’s right. No pain.  Guess what, if she latched on the “proper” way, it hurt. If she latched on a “non-proper” way I had no pain.  What a relief! 

I knew I liked him for a reason. haha!
This wasn’t the end of my troubles, however. It still hurt soo bad when she did latch on. I was told it wouldn’t take long for things to get used to that and the pain to go away.  Guess what folks? It took a full 4 weeks.  I would cry just thinking about having to attach her.  We had planned to introduce a bottle during week 4 but ended up introducing it earlier because one night I just couldn’t handle one more feeding.  Luckily the hospital had given us a sample of formula so we were able to feed her and I was able to get a break. 

Yes, I knew there was going to be pain. Nobody told me the pain would last for 4 weeks though!  Now I tell everyone.  If they plan to breastfeed I let them know, if there is pain try playing with how they are latched on.  If it is super painful when they first latch on, give it time. It took me a good 4 weeks to not have any more pain. 

That’s just the beginning though, I had other issues with breastfeeding but I’ll save those for another day.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

And....We're back

I realize from time to time I tend to take breaks from the blog, which isn't a good thing.  However sometimes life gets in the way of fun stuff and I don't have much of a choice.

There has been a lot going on in my life, a lot of things that I've had to deal with. A lot of personal things.  It kept me from being active because I needed to work on MYSELF for a bit.

I feel I've made great strides and I'm ready to put the effort back in to my blog.

Here's to February being a great start to a regularly updated blog!  Thanks for sticking around.