Monday, April 30, 2007

Here's the last post before I told ya in early April!



Stupid over-emotional, dramatic, triathlon-withdrawal self. The little heartbeat fixed all that. I kind of knew it would.

Now it's real, you know? It's not just something that's kind of in my's there. So, to celebrate, I took Baby Z for a four mile run yesterday. It. was. AWESOME.

It was 80 degrees and sunny. A rare event in Cleveland during early April. A bright, shiny, warm day where I felt the sweat under my Ironman hat and saw kids out playing, cyclists on the road, and other runners. I felt like me again.

It was the best four mile run I've had since...well, since I've been running less than five miles at a time.

Today was 37 and had flurries in the air. And just like that, spring's on hold.

But I've gotten a glimpse now. I've felt the sun on my skin.

Rainy, sleety days may come....but nothing can take away my four mile run. Or that little heartbeat.

And that, my friends, is what's going to keep me going.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

From April 6, 2007...

I'm finally coming to terms with the fact that some of my clothes are getting TIGHT.

Since I'm on spring break (yahooo!!!!!!!!), I've gotten lots of time to sleep, relax, enjoy the snow (okay, that is definitely sarcasm), and yesterday I reorganized my closet. I normally wear clothes that are fitted. Not RIDICULOUSLY fitted, but just fitted enough to look nice and tailored. So, the first thing to go wasn't my pants, but many shirts.

See, fitted button downs and V-necks, even with something like a nice camisole underneath, start to look a bit ridiculous by the end of the first trimester. Because, not only is your waistline growing, but...uh...some other things, too.

This is a FAMILY, G RATED blog, people, so I'll just have to give you some hints.

They are kind of similar to these:

And these:

And these:

And let's just say that I was never really the smallest girl to begin with. Oh boy. I am not sure how I feel about this change. Can't it just stay in my belly?!

Thankfully I have an AWESOME friend at work who is due April 25th (*update: Baby Aaron arrived April 24th!*) with her second little one, and she let me borrow some of her shirts. Because we all know how I feel about shopping. I loathe shopping, unless it's for tri stuff. I HATE MALLS.

But I definitely needed some shirts to help with my growing, uh, assets. I'm still in my size 8 pants, but not by much....the size 6 ones we had to say goodbye to already. If I can just make it through the last 2 months of school, then I can live in t-shirts and shorts for a while until the hot and sweltering first month of school.

Yeah, I'm not lookin' forward to THAT. Oh well...

So, here's to (hopefully) another week or two in normal pants...but sayonara 3 weeks ago to my regular tops. I shall miss you, tailored shirts. We will meet again someday.

Now, to more important questions...what on EARTH am I supposed to do about sports bras and running shorts?!

Thursday, April 26, 2007

From March 19, 2007.....

Okay, this one's HEELAREEEOUS.

Context: I was bummed out about not hearing a heartbeat and having to keep my big trap shut for for 3 more weeks. I was feeling sick pretty much 24/7 and not able to even work out much at all. I was down on myself and feeling fat and lazy. So what do I think is a good idea?

Try a structured Masters Swim Practice for the first time! Yeah! That's BRILLIANT!

Especially when I hadn't even GOTTEN WET in 2 months!


When I came home SOBBING and BLUBBERING all over the place, Matt my very patient husband helped knock some sense into me and make me laugh. And Wil--I'm eternally grateful for you listening that night and talking me out of the tree. Thanks again, sis. :)

Enjoy my Class A, Level 5 Meltdown.
First of all, everything's fine. Except my stupid head.

I just got off the phone with Wil, which is good. She got me to stop crying, because crying and blogging just don't work. You get snot all over the keyboard and make no sense anyway. I will try to make some sense, but I just need to get this down.

My body thinks this is hilarious.

My body is laughing and giving me the bird at the moment.


Why, oh why did I think it was a good idea to try a Masters Swim Workout tonight? For the first time? And it was the first time I was in the pool since January 16th, which, if anyone's counting, was TWO MONTHS AGO?

I'll tell you why. Because I've felt like hell. I haven't felt like myself. By myself, I mean the person who eats nothing but whole grains and loves salads, who enjoys her Saturday 2 hour run, who likes to bust out a few hard 100s at the end of her workout, and who can make it through a school day with energy to do a brick before she tries a new recipe for dinner.

So when J told me, "You should come to Masters! It's totally chill--you don't even really have to do the workouts" I thought, you know what? Maybe I will. Maybe I need a change. I can barely do anything but sleep. All day long, I feel like I'm going to throw up but I never do except for the occasional dry heave. My students wonder why I have to sit down with ginger ale to teach them, and it was all I could do to get through a 3 mile run yesterday that my neighbor was making fun of my pace when I was a mile from home as he drove by me in his car.

Because, dammit, I can swim. If there's one thing I can do, it's that. I can dive in and be fine. I'll be a little slow, but I'm sure I will be fine.


'Cuz, see, when you're self-esteem's down--when you feel horrible and like everything you love to do, you CAN'T--it's probably not a good idea to go to an organized swim workout and try to keep up with your friends. Because, when you can't, you get mad. REALLY mad. At you. Because, dammit, what the hell is wrong with you WHY CAN'T YOU KEEP UP?!?!?!?!?!? You who did an Ironman in September, who has been swimming for YEARS, can barely do a 100 without gasping for air...some guy's nipping at your heels, the guy who greeted you when you came in and did nothing but "size you up" and ask you questions that rubbed you the wrong way--yeah, he's in your head now, and, DAMN I'm falling behind again and


I decided I wasn't going to do this to myself anymore. I could feel tears welling up. I told my buddy I had to go, that this was a bad idea. My bad idea (not hers). I should have known better.

I got out and the coach told me to just go to the slowest lane...but I can't. That would make me feel even worse, and I know that's dumb. I know that is REALLY stupid, because I'm pregnant and today was the first day I got through the school day without putting my head down at lunch or running to the bathroom for another false alarm.

But I've never, ever been in the slow lane. In my life. Even with the really fast people, I'm not in that slowest lane. I'm not saying this to be cocky...I'm saying it because it's the ONE thing I've always been good at--when I was picked last for every team in middle school gym class, I always thought in my head, "Too bad you're not on the swim team...I'd whoop ya then." It's the ONE playing field I can say that about. I get dropped regularly on the bike, and that's fine...on the run, I'm mid pack. But in the pool? That's my one little place where I feel good.

And THAT is apparantly gone, too.

Hence, my body laughing at me. " think you can REALLY do this still, huh? I'll show you...*flipping the bird at me*"

I grabbed my bag and vest and clothes. I didn't even towel off--just tried to put my clothes on in the hallway. I just wanted to get the hell out of there. When your self esteem is pretty low and your sense of self is a bit lost, you really don't need something that has always been your go-to confidence builder to bust. The tears welled up but I held them in until I got to the car. And then I cried the whole way home.

Right now, it doesn't seem real. Because I can't tell--because I didn't hear a heartbeat. All I feel is NOT like me. And the one thing I said I'd do when this time came is still be myself, and still be true to myself. I didn't want to give up everything like I've seen so many of my friends. I know things are going to change.

I guess I didn't realize they'd change so soon.

Wil knocked some sense into me...I need to remember I'M MAKING A LIFE in here. For CRYIN' OUT LOUD, I need to cut myself some slack. I need to QUIT ACTING LIKE IT'S BUSINESS AS USUAL.

It's NOT. My body's got a funny way of knocking me on my ass and reminding me of this.

I see how good this finish line is from my friends, but right now it's so far away, and all I feel is lost and left behind. I see all my friends getting ready for the race season, and I can't even do my half marathon anymore. I can't even really make it through the work day, let alone think about a run. And right now, this is hard for me to swallow and oh crap here go the tears again. Stupid, stupid stupid me...

So, essentially, I need to get over myself ALREADY. Seriously. NOW. Accept that what's happening is a miracle and embrace these changes--NOT see them as me giving up, or getting BAD and slow and rotten. I need to run for ME, swim for ME, ditch the watch, and know that this will all be back when I'm done. That I'm TWENTY NINE YEARS OLD, and I have a LONG life ahead of me to do many, many things.

I think I'm going to lay off the triathlon blogs for a while. I think I need to try and be a better friend to me and this little baby, and not feel bad about things but see them for the miracle they are.

And I will not be going back to Masters...probably ever. Don't think it's my thing. Shoulda known by the first guy to greet me...TOTALLY rubbed me the wrong way. I don't like being "sized up" at all. If you're not a welcoming sort of place, then it's not the right place for me.

I do this for ME and me only--it's my release, it's my time. It's just going to be slow for a while.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Thanks, Mallie!

Mallie has pimped my blog, just like Xzibit pimps yo' ride!

All I had to do was make a donation to her charity ride...what a great deal! I never was very happy with my other template--it was pretty boring and not nearly colorful enough for me. I am not computer savvy enough to try it myself, so she came to the rescue.

Hope you enjoy the new look--and thanks, Mallie!

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

From March 12, 2007....

Well, no heartbeat today.


I'm definitely bummed. I was SO looking forward to telling the rest of my friends, blogland, and my students. In fact, I was quite excited to tell my students as I could use it for leverage. I.e. "PLEASE sit down and be quiet NOW or the PUDGY PREGNANT TEACHER will HURL on you!"

Alas...I must keep things quiet for 3 more weeks. Hopefully then the little Z will be big enough to register a heartbeat. And, I'll be out of the woods for any bad stuff, which will really be a load off. It's quite exhausting, this first trimester thing. You're so afraid to do certain things, for fear of screwing up your kid that you can't even really tell exists...the only reason you know it does is because you have a perpetual, Miami University Natty Light Style hangover 24/7, and you look like you can't lay off the brownies.

Seriously. I had to rubber band the button on my jeans. Arg! I don't look pregnant yet. I just look FAT. And not with a PH, either. F.A.T. pudgy pudgy beer gut fat. Oh well...I suppose this ain't NUTHIN' compared with what's coming my way later.

The only other thing that happened today at the Doctor's office was they had to do standard prenatal blood work, which I was NOT crazy about. I mean, I fainted in my 12th grade government class when some nurse came in to TALK about giving blood. You say needles, I say "THUNK." As in "THUNK-my-passed-out-head-just-hit-the-floor." Why? I don't know. It makes no sense. It doesn't hurt. I think it's just the thought of my blood and stuff leaking out of me freaks me out.

(Boy, I'd better get over that by October)

Anyway, so I had to get blood work and apparantly prenatal blood work involves ELEVEN VIALS OF BLOOD.


Dear LORDY what on earth can you possibly need with ELEVEN FREAKIN' VIALS OF MY BLOOD? Are we going to be performing some kind of sick ritual in the LAB TONIGHT YOU SICK BLOOD SUCKING FREAKS? ARE YOU HAPPY NOW?

So, yeah. Good times. I closed my eyes, thought happy thoughts, and looked away and tried to breathe. You know what's funny? The happy thoughts that came to my head were my recent Hawaii trip (well, that's obvious) and crossing the finish line at Ironman Wisconsin (not as obvious, but it worked, big time). Over and over again, running towards the chute. I really, truly thought of that as the bloodletting ritual ensued. I think I was trying to convince myself that I was tougher than I felt, you know?

Anyway, this is hard. Because I don't know what to say. And I love to write on this blog, but I can't say anything about this yet, and it's sort of all I can think about. So I think I may have to take a month off here, which I'm sure will make some people wonder what's up. I don't know what else to do...

The doctor said I really shouldn't be doing the half marathon. I guess that makes sense, since I have barely been able to run more than 10 miles/week here in this first trimester, but I'm sad. I really wanted to at least run-walk it, but she said that "moderation is key" and "half marathons are not really moderation." In my head, I was thinking, "But that IS moderation, Doc! Come on! It's only 13.1 miles!"

Sigh. Moderation for an endurance athlete doesn't really translate well to the rest of the world I guess.

But you know what? I'm still gonna go. It's going to be fun--I'm going to stay with Luscious and Jacks is meeting us there, too. Runner Susan will be there, so COME ON! How cool is that? So I can't break 1:50. So I can't I will walk a little and be a good fat pudgy pregnant cheerleader and it will still be fun.

So, I shall remain quiet. Those who know me will definitely know something's going on, but it's all I can really do right now. The next three weeks will be a little nerve wracking, so I'm just going to have to remember that I'm wired for this. As long as I do what I'm supposed to, if it's meant to be then everything will work out fine. All I can be is me, and all I can do is what's healthy.

And so it goes...

Monday, April 23, 2007

Baby's First 5K

I signed up for the Race to Remember, mostly because it was for Alzheimer's Research and that's a cause that's very personal to my Mom and I. Little did I know that Jenn's Grandpa was also suffering from this disease, and she was excited to race it, too. The weather report looked OUTSTANDING (and at this point, outstanding is really just anything that doesn't involve a freak blizzard) and the post-race spread was catered, so I perked up for that. :)

DaisyDuc and a few other of my friends from Second Sole were doing the 10K--most of them as a training run and an alternative to doing their normal 6 mile recovery Sunday Run. Not Daisy--I'm pretty sure the words "recovery" and/or "training run" are not in her vocabulary. She came to kick butt and take names.

We got there about 45 minutes early so Jenn could register. It was strange for me to be at a race and not really care about what time I get there, what I eat beforehand, how long my warmup should be, blah, blah, blah. I was just hoping to actually run the whole thing and not walk!

(Special Thanks to TriSaraDad for being the race photographer) :)
Before the race I chatted with some friends.

Chris, Canada Jenn, Me, and TriSaraMom posing before the start.

Second Sole friends! Chris, Me, Canada Jenn, Platinum Jen, Tracy, and Courtney

I lined up for the start and thought how strange this was really the first 5K, since my very FIRST 5K, where I didn't have ANY inkling of what my time would be or what pace I could hold. My normal 5K pace is around 7:40ish. I know that it's been a struggle to hold 11 minute miles...(agh!) so I thought if I could run comfortably and come in under 11 minute miles, I'd be stoked. Funny how your sense of accomplishment changes here, huh? I also thought it would be nice to NOT be in last place. See, Competitive Sara still rears her ugly head from time to time, even 4 months preggers. :)

CanadaJenn was a SAINT and said she'd run with me. I tried to tell her she didn't have to but she'd have NONE of that--this from a girl that could easily go sub-23 if she wanted to. This girl rocks the house so much. I am really going to miss her when she moves to Peoria, IL in July. We started running together when she moved to Cleveland in 2002 and I really can't remember what it's like to run without her. Together we trained for and completed the Flying Pig Marathon--for me, a HUGE PR race, and for her, her first marathon. Peoria doesn't know how lucky it is.

The gun went off and we ran...slowly! It was such a nice day that I didn't even really notice it. We went over a few bridges in the industrial section of downtown and then before I knew it, it was time to turn around. We got to the 2 mile marker and the guy yelled, "22:20." I started laughing and said, "Hey, we're at Mile 2 when we're usually about ready to finish!" CJ laughed, too. It was OK for today!

The course was pretty easy--there was one gradual hill before the turnaround and I thought, "wow, this would be a great course to negative split!" Little did I know that most of the speedsters got caught by a BRIDGE going UP for a BIG BOAT and had to come to a DEAD STOP for over 6 minutes! And the poor RD had even called ahead of time to stop the boats! I bet the poor guy's getting flooded with emails. Let me tell you how mad I woulda been if I was on track to PR, then had to come to a dead stop. My buddy from work Eric said that some people JUMPED TO THE OTHER SIDE WHILE THE BRIDGE WAS MOVING! Okay, there's where I draw the line. No race is worth an accidental dip in the Cuyahoga River. It's cleaned up its act quite a bit since it caught FIRE (?!) in 1969, but STILL...

We came near the end and I almost tripped on a broken bottle of Hennessey...which was a little bit funny, but would have been NOT FUNNY AT ALL had I really fallen! I think they could have done a little bit to sweep the street...Jenn and I were laughing at the Colt 45 bottles we saw lying around. Nothing but the best in the Flats... :)

Finally, we jogged to the finish very easily! My chip time was 33:33, which is my slowest 5K on record, but we had FUN. I found out later I achieved my 2 goals: I ran a 10:49/mile pace (not 11! yahoooooo!) very comfortably, and I came in 19th /29 in the age group--not last! Yippee! The times were all skewed because of the bridge debauchle, so my time didn't even look TOO bad! ha ha

They even had finisher's medals, like it was a marathon or something! I wore it. :) And, it was baby's first 5K, so they even let me take a medal for the baby at Jenn's suggestion. It's totally going in the nursery.

(That's one for me, and one for my HOMEY.)

Afterwards, we ate and relaxed and waited for awards. They had to shorten the 10K to about 5.2 miles because of the bridge and boat situation. I thought that was good that they were even to change the race course on the fly like that! So the "10Kers" really were only a few seconds behind us! DaisyDuc was 3rd overall female and grabbed the 1st place in AG!

We waited to hear awards and TriSaraMom won a great door prize! She was pumped. But she was even MORE pumped about her FIRST EVER AGE GROUP AWARD!

TriSaraMom was 3rd and was only 8 seconds away from 2nd place! And all this after having the stomach flu earlier this week! She rocks.

It was such a great day! Seeing my friends got my mind off some things, and watching my Mom accept her award made me so proud. It was better than any age group awards I've won!

So I suppose that was the first of many race reports where Baby Z will make an appearance. It was nice to take him (?) or her along for the ride, and it was nice to feel like TriSaraTops again. Albeit, a much slower verson....but for the first time, I think I ran an EVEN PACED 5K!!!!!


Thursday, April 19, 2007

Over soon...

Tomorrow's Friday, and I can't say enough how much I am ready for this week to be over.

Things won't really be over until next weekend--they want to wait so Danny's buddies from college can come home. But this weekend, I have lots to look forward to.

Dinner with friends tomorrow night.

Yoga with ESpeed Saturday morning.

Brunch with ESpeed and DaisyDuc after that.

A wedding shower for a friend in the afternoon.

Sunday morning, the Race To Remember 5K...which will, undoubtedly, be the slowest 5K of my life and I'm determined to have fun doing it. It's raising money for a good cause, Alzheimer's research, and that disease took my Great Grandpa, so it means even more to do this race with my mom. Jenn's Grandpa is currently battling, so she'll be there. Marie and some of my Soler friends like Tracy and Courtney will be there, too. And the buffet breakfast afterwords sounds damn tasty to this pregnant chick. :)

Then, a baby shower with some more friends and family.

See? Lots of things to celebrate.

(I'm trying to talk myself into this.)

The sun's been out and it's even going to hit close to 70 degrees. I'll try to overlook the Indians implosion to the dreaded Yankees today...other than that, and other than the other awful stuff that happened this week....things could be worse, you know?

And you know what? There's a baby goin' on up in here. Little miracles everywhere.

TGIF, friends.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

And just like that, the world stops for a minute

I sit here in my classroom like I do every morning, and check my email.

And I get the message.

We lost a student. Graduate of 2005. Killed in the line of duty in Iraq.

I don't even think he was 20 years old.

I knew him, and my heart aches.

Monday, April 16, 2007

From March 10, 2007...

I haven't felt like myself lately.

I sort of feel like my body's been hijacked by a sick and perpetual hangover feeling. This too shall pass, I know. But it really has been pretty rotten, and the worst part about it is that I don't feel like ME. Because I'm not able to eat the things I normally do, and I'm not able to run.

It's been kind of rough.

I come home from work, after the kids in the last few classes ask, "Are you OK, Mrs. Z?" "What's wrong?" "You look green." I know, I know, I answer. It's OK. I know what it is. Just let me sit down....

They have got to know something's up. I NEVER sit down when I teach.

So anyway, last night I was so frustrated that I was so sick I couldn't even make it to my tri club meeting. I mean, the very thought of driving 40 minutes to the meeting and then having to keep a smile on for everyone and NOT want to hurl made me want to hurl. So I passed.

I never miss triathlon meetings. I love hanging out with my tri friends.

This morning was the St. Malachi 5 mile race. It's a rite of spring here...a tradition downtown that I've done for the past 5 years. I love it--it kicks off my season and is always so fun, and a chance to test my winter base work.

Not this year.

I looked out the window this morning in bed, and saw the sun shining, and thought what a great day it would be to run. But I missed my race, and I felt sad.

So I decided, that no matter WHAT--no matter how bad it was--I was going to run today.

I put on my shorts--shorts! yay!--and a long-sleeve Second Sole Running Club technical tee on. And my Ironman finisher's hat. Because it always makes me feel better.

And I ran. For 29 glorious minutes. I ran slowly and surely and felt the sun on my face, and tried not to think about the nausea and it sort of disappeared.

It was amazing.

For 29 minutes, I felt like myself again. I remembered the runner girl--she's still in me, but she's on the sidelines this year. She's a little sad right now, but I'm sure she'll figure out that it will all be worth it in the end. Right now she wonders why she missed her race this morning, and why she can't hit the track for some hard 800s.

I know she'll get it eventually.

But she's in there--she's a part of me, and she's not going anywhere. And neither is the road.

Or the races.

So I need to remember that. Plenty of time, plenty of time.

So today, it was all about my 29 minute run at a snail's pace. I felt so good...I felt like me.

And it feels good to be reminded.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

From March 5,2007...

You know what's really weird?

Maybe it's my body or mind's way of trying to prepare me for what's to come. A total, complete overhaul of my life, my priorities, and my concept of "free time." Maybe it's a healthy dose of reality--that, as stated before, I don't "half-ass" anything, and maybe trying to complete another Ironman next year would force me to half-ass best, the worse, more important priorities.

But I've been having these thoughts and even dreams lately. About going fast again.

See, I haven't really gotten to go fast for a while. The past two years were very LSD oriented as I prepared to go long. For me, right now at this stage in the game, I cannot go fast and long. Kudos to those who do and can. Perhaps someday I will be there.

Right now, I seem to have to choose one or the other, and I'm OK with that.

So, even the sprints/olys I've done in the past two years haven't been very fast for me. I've had to use them as practice, as a gauge to test nutrition, hydration, leg power, etc. And all this summer I did say how I missed hammering, didn't I? I know that I did. I remember telling Wil I couldn't wait to go fast again next year--we even planned on doing the Chicago Triathlon before she got the whole RaceAthlete deal, and I, uh, got knocked up. :)

Maybe what I need next year is a nice, healthy dose of fast.

I mean, it could be just what I need to feel fresh again. I was very tired at the end of this season. Hungry for more, but tired nonetheless. It had essentially been a two-year journey to the Capitol in Madison on September 10, 2006. A slow, steady, and deliberate two year journey.

With a newborn (wow, I can't believe I even really just typed that), time will be at a premium. I still think I am capable of marathon training. I know it sounds bizarre, but to me after IM training, marathon training just doesn't seem to take up the same amount of time that it used to in my head. But maybe I will focus on racing short-courses for a while--the local sprints, olys, and even the 5Ks again. To mix it up. Keep it new. Test out my new wheels and push my speed on the bike. Perhaps training for those would fit better into my lifestyle, as I can easily get up early to hit the track for 800 repeats, do some Open Water swims in the evening or push my pace with the Masters, and try some lactate work on the bike. Efficient. No "junk miles." Every workout with a purpose, and speed and hills being an efficient way to do this.

This way, I could race often. I could race every weekend, theoretically, if I wanted to--whether it's a local 5K, the Towpath Marathon, or an NCN triathlon. There's so many great races around here. I haven't gotten to do this in what seems like forever.

Looking at my previous Oly times, I factored in my "PRs" for each distance: the swim, the bike, the run, and the transitions. Now, granted, each course is very different, the weather, hills, humidity, etc. blah blah blah I know outside factors play a large role. But, when I put together my "perfect" race based on my Oly PR times, I get a 2:43. So, in my head, I think I should be able to do that. And I'm a little excited to try.

Cause it's FUN to hammer sometimes, you know?

So maybe I should follow the excitement. Maybe what I thought I wanted I really don't. Maybe I'll have this little one and decide I still want to go long and slow again. Maybe I can't possibly sit here and predict any of this, but for some reason, it just feels right to lean towards the direction of faster.

I think my body's talking me into it. This little fetus is smarter than I give it credit for, huh?

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Okay, I don't usually do these but...

Rae and Lana had it on their blogs and I couldn't resist. Plus, I'm really bored at home on Spring Break and Matt's working and at school all day and evening. So, here it is: I'm the ring finger.

The only bad thing is it says to stay away from Lana, an INDEX! Agh!

But the description kinda fits! Bizarre....
You Are a Ring Finger

You are romantic, expressive, and hopeful. You see the best in everything.
You are very artistic, and you see the world as your canvas. You are also drawn to the written word.
Inventive and unique, you are often away in your own inner world.

You get along well with: The Pinky

Stay away from: The Index Finger

From February 28, 2007....

But first, a prologue from today. :)

Yet another episode of my body laughing at me is up for your reading pleasure. And thanks for the advice, too--I am (now, on April 12) continuing to "run" (that's in quotation marks for a's really just glorified walking), swim, ride on my trainer, and do yoga almost every day. I hope to continue to do these things as far as I can into this whole deal.

One of the best books I have is "Runners World Guide to Running and Pregnancy." It speaketh to ME. I heart it.

My doc is on board, but we both came to the conclusion that with my rotten energy-deprived 1st trimester and lack of running more than 3-4 miles MAYBE 2 times/week, trying to run the Indy Mini, even slow, was not a good idea. I'm still GOING (hear that, Runner Susan? I'd love to meet ya!), but I'll be the pudgy obnoxious cheerleader for Jacks and Lush. It's the least I can do to repay them for 15 hours in the pouring cold rain in Madison, Wisconsin last September. I am, however, probably going to sign up for the 1st Annual "Run To Remember" 5K next weekend with my Mom downtown. It benefits Alzheimers Research, which took my Great Grandpa's life when I was 15. It will be my slowest 5K on record, and I'm totally ordering a size Large shirt, and I'm OK with that. :)

I'm also happy to see I haven't lost the guy readers out there! Thanks for all your advice...many of you have partners that have gone through this and it's so nice to hear your side, too. I'm so lucky I have quite possibly the most patient and understanding husband ever to help me out. I promise to try not to get to "girly" on you here. Who am I kiddin'...I really never was very girly to begin with. And, guys who are single and triathletes...remember, athletes often gravitate towards other athletes, and you JUST might have to deal with this someday. I'm happy to offer a preview, albeit slightly irrational. :)

By the way, just called and checked on this...Ironman Florida is November 1, 2008. I'm just sayin'. ...

And now, back to February 28th's scheduled programming....

I'm speechless.

I don't even know what to say.

When I said before that I wasn't this tired during Ironman training, that was dead on. I think I figured out the last time I felt this tired.

When I had mono freshman year of college. I think that's just about close. When I was so tired that taking a SHOWER required an hour nap.

I can BARELY get through a day of school...and, of course, have to totally fake that I'm normal, upbeat, slightly sarcastic and always "on" Mrs. Z. The saltines and ginger ale I have on my desk would be a dead giveaway to most adults, but not to my students.

Mono. I think that's it.

Do you understand the workouts I've done so far the past 2 weeks?

Do you want to know? Really? Because it's SAD.

Ran 4 miles twice, and 2 miles on Tuesday. TWO. MILES. I haven't ran 2 miles and stopped in YEARS. For the past 3-4 years, unless it's a 5K, my lower limit is 4, and even that's pushing it.



Today, I had to put my head down on my desk for 15 minutes just to make it through the afternoon. Then I came home, MADE BROWNIES (WTF?!), ate like 4 of them, and took a NAP.

In my head, I want to run. SO BADLY. I want to put on my Garmin and head out for a nice 2 hour run on one of my favorite routes...I have had dreams about it, actually.

But I just. Can't. Seem. To. MOVE.

They say this gets better after the first trimester...I really hope so. When I told my best friend Monday night, she asked me how it's been. I said, "Well...I'm so tired I have to nap or I pass out...and all I've wanted to do the past three days is eat cheeseburgers."

She about DOUBLED OVER LAUGHING and wondered what the hell happened to her best friend--the one who works out at least an hour or doesn't think it "counts," the one who eats only whole grains and organic stuff and lean meats..

I don't know where she is. I'm a little sad. I really want her back.

Because this whole "fall asleep on the couch after work" thing is SOOOOOOOOOOOOOO not me. NOT my style at all. And I don't like to feel like my body's been kidnapped by Evil Sara the Lazy Ass Cheeseburger and Brownie Eating Non-Running Blimp.

It's supposed to be 50 degrees tomorrow. SO HELP ME my LAZY ASS is getting outside and doing AT LEAST 4 MILES or I might spontaneously combust.

Please help! Send energy! Send mojo!

Send brownies...

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

From February 21, 2007...

OK. So I've had a few realizations.


I can't really blog and publish right now, because I can't really think about anything except how this baby will change my life, and how excited and scared I am. So I'm just being quiet.


I'm not going to watch "A Baby Story" on TLC. Or ANY show about labor. Nil. None. All they do is freak me out. We're just gonna have to roll me in there when the time comes and roll with it. Ignorance is bliss.


I really, really want cheeseburgers. So we went out to get one Sunday night, and I made big juicy homemade ones Monday. Mmmm. And I had another tonight. With pickles and tomatoes and lettuce and mustard and ketchup and a whole wheat toasted bun. And 96% lean beef, so it's all good.


I am coming to peace with the fact that I have to cut back on working out...but I don't have to stop. I am enjoying my 4-5 mile runs 4-5 times a week, so that's 20-25 miles a week, which really isn't so bad for a knocked up chick now, huh? I haven't really felt like swimming, so I ordered a new suit from the Grab Bag at (Let's hope, Pharmie, that I don't get one as fugly as your poor sister Steph got!) :) As the weeks go by, I'm sure my runs will gradually be replaced with swims...and that's OK. I'm gonna be fine.


I ordered my IMW Finisher's Jacket today. Because sometimes I forget that it is a big deal. Because I might not get another shot ever, or in a while, and because I can't predict the future. It's nice to have a little token of where I've been to help me remember where I'm going. I think it will help get my slow, chubby ass moving out the door next November the day I'm allowed to run again.


I totally forgot about the OneOOne competitions. Maybe THAT'S a better move for me...40 less miles on the bike? Could be more doable. Perhaps I will head to Texas in the fall of '08? Or not! Perhaps I'll go to Steelhead. Or do both. Or do none. I need to remember that I can't possibly think about that now...which is hard, because I just got my latest edition of Inside Triathlon and, damn, they explain all the best races at every distance and it gets me SO. PUMPED.


Somehow I must be a good actress. It must be that poker face I can pull off. I felt like SUCH crap today at work, and had to lay down twice...but pulled off a lesson and even, during the last period of the day when I always feel like I've been hit by a truck, took an active role playing Woodrow Wilson in a League of Nations simulation I wrote a few years ago. They didn't suspect a thing.


I've gained three pounds. I feel like such a tub. I feel like my stomach is already poking out and everyone MUST KNOW! But they don't. Apparantly, three pounds doesn't signify that much...good to know, I guess. So I'm going to have to let go of worrying about pounds for now. It's just hard, because I've struggled with pounds pretty much ever since I can remember...but when the time comes to drop 'em, I'll just have to buckle down and drop 'em. It's worth it, I know.


I have two parties to go to this weekend where there will be lots of beer. I'm going to have to REALLY put on the poker face big time. "No, see...I have a LONG run tomorrow...none for me!" Worked before...can I pull that crap two more times? Sure hope so...


I'm excited. I can't really believe it. This whole thing is surreal and I can't wait to share it with my family and friends. And I'm pretty scared, too. I can do this....I can do this...

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

From February 18, 2007....

And now, sports fans, is about when my body started giving me the proverbial middle finger. When it started saying, "Okay, CEMENT BLOCK HEAD, if you don't GET IT YET, then I'm a-gonna SHOW YA what's going on here. Whether you like it or not!"

The positive side here is that it seems to be almost done, now that I'm in week 14. THANKFULLY. I almost banged my head against the wall many a-time, but I just couldn't muster up the energy.

I'm back to working out 5-6 days/week (slowly and no more than an hour!) now, but it's kinda funny to look back and see how crazy NOT being able to work out made me.



I am so tired.

But really...that doesn't even sum it up.

I guess I should consider myself lucky--there's no "puking my guts out" like it seems a lot of people have. I have sort of a low-grade nausea all day long, which at least is somewhat managable.

What would I rather have: puking for an hour or all day nausea and this tired?

It's really a toss up. Because, see, I don't "slow down" well. And this is FORCING ME to slow down.

Like, how much? Oh, to the tune of I can BARELY FUNCTION IN 7TH PERIOD CLASS ANYMORE, and I have to come home and TAKE A NAP almost every day. Which I hate. I hate I hate I hate I hate I hate because I PRIDE myself on being able to get out there and RUN when I feel tired--that it makes me feel better every time.

But I just haven't been able to do it. I can't even really get my workout clothes on.

I almost fell asleep on my stairs yesterday when I was trying to put my workout clothes on.

I don't know what to do! Matt's NEVER seen me like this. I told him, and I'm not exaggerating here (and I think he knows, because this is a whole new TriSaraTops he's seeing) that I was NEVER this tired during Ironman training. Not even in the worst weeks--the 8 hour brick followed the next day by a 15 mile-hilly-run, 20 hour weeks.

And I just don't know what to do to fix it. Except sleep.

It seems, from reading around, that it gets better in the 2nd trimester....? That the low-grade nausea will cease and I'll have my energy back....?

In the meantime, I'm feeling some more of that "mourning for my independance" as my weekly 10 milers I so look forward to and enjoy are nonexistant, and my friends all had such a great race yesterday at the Chili Bowl. I can't help but be just a teensy bit jealous.

I want to race.

I need to remember that the races aren't going anywhere. The road's not going anywhere. This will all be there when I get back. But it's just sort of hard right now, I think. This takes some getting used to. I've never really had anyone or anything tell me what I can and can't do. And I'm lucky in that sense...I need to remember my blessings and that I've had 29 years of MY way, MY choice, MY races, MY exhaustion.

I know this is one more little reminder that it's not all about ME anymore, nor ever will be again. And that what is going on inside of me will make it all worth it in the end....that I need to TRUST this fatigue and do what my body tells me to do.

Friday night I had so much fun with Matt at our inter-club social downtown at a brewery (me drinking water, of course). A bunch of the local endurance clubs were there: CAMBA, CWRR, CTC, and the Nordic Skiiers. It was so fun! I got to see my buddies ESpeed, DaisyDuc, Charlie, Rob, JenC and her hubby Matt, and a whole bunch of other old and new friends. Matt talked to some CAMBA guys about getting involved with their club, which was great to see. He's a bit shy so I'm glad he had fun, too. And a few people asked me, "So, you gonna race the Chili Bowl tomorrow?"

I totally forgot I still have it on my 2007 Race Schedule. Oops.

I had to sort of make up an excuse that I was out of town. A few people even called me out on it and said "Well you could still race in the morning, right?"

It turns out that, for better or for worse, my friends KNOW me. They know that if I showed up to a 5K, and DIDN'T give it my all--didn't come in at least 24 minutes or faster, that I would be upset. With no verbal explanation offered, and with me not being able to run faster than 10 minute miles due to heart rate restrictions, if I showed up at the Chili Bowl and came in at 30 minutes and offered NO EXPLANATION, I'd be doomed. Everyone would know something was up. And it's just not smart to let the cat out of the bag too early, from what I've seen.

So I had to pass.

God willing, if everything's fine, I can announce to the whole free world in mid-March. And then, maybe what I need to do is sign up for a 5K. No secrets. No PRs, no pressure. And what I can do is pace my Mom to PR. Seeing her face when she'd reach her goal just might be the boost I need right now.

And then I'll probably come home and take a long nap.

Monday, April 09, 2007

From February 12, 2007....

And, my friends, it was RIGHT about NOW that I started to hit some reality. And it totally messed with my head. And continues to mess with my head. Meet Sara, the Pregant Ironman who has no freakin' clue how to NOT follow a plan. It's quite sick, actually. :) Enjoy my floundering. I'm sure I'm not done yet.


For starters, here's what NOT to say to a room full of 9th graders in the computer lab, after a few students took the little balls out of the computer mouse and threw a few:

"That's enough. The next one I see gets a detention. I don't want to see ANY LITTLE MOUSE BALLS flying anywhere across this room."

*cue 15-year-old laughter*

Over the past few days, I've been getting my monthly Outside Magazine, Athleta Catalogue, and YogaLife. I can't help, as I flip through the pages, wondering what I'll be able to still do, and what I won't. I also can't help being a little scared of this: that there might be some things I can't do again--or at least for a very long time.

Backpack the Grand Canyon? Probably not. Not for a while at least. Thursday night yoga with my friends? Most likely on hold. Email on Friday--"meeting up for Happy Hour at such and such! Meet us there!"--OK! I'm so there! Not even a second thought! Probably gone.

I know that this seems pretty naive, to think I can try to predict what being a mother will be like, and what it will do to my life. I'm sure that next year at this time I'll probably laugh at all the things I thought I could...and could NOT do. I'm sure that some mothers out there are probably already laughing at my feeble attempts to predict the future.

I can't seem to help it...I'm a goal-oriented girl, after all. And the number one goal on my list at the moment?

Ironman Florida, 2008.

And this is starting to worry me a bit. Am I nuts? Can I do it? Probably. Do I want to? I think so.

Is that enough?

Why do I want this?

If I had to try and put it into words, I'd have to say I want it because the amazing emotional rush of the day, the romance and culmination of several years coming together, the feeling of being so alive and feeling so much gratitude and amazement and wonder all at once is hard to turn down. Especially, when you know, as I do, that I could do it even better.

I am certain, without a doubt, that I could take at least an hour, and more likely an hour and half, off my IM time in another go. I know this because I know myself. I know what happened that day, I know my strengths, I know my weaknesses, and I know what I'd do differently.

I knew what would happen in my second marathon, and it happened. And the second marathon was even more amazing than the first, for that reason. All my potential, all my hard work, all my sacrifice and dreams came true and 56 minutes were gone.

I know I could do this at another Ironman. I know it.

So here's the quandry.

When is "just knowing" enough?

And when is "just knowing" being weak, and bowing out?

I am absolutely, 100% incapable of half-assing anything that I do. Anything. Ever.

I don' t know if I want to do another IM for the right reason. I said myself, over and over again this summer, how I didn't know how people did it with kids, with full time jobs, and everything else Ironmen do.

I'm going to have a baby.

A little person, completely dependent upon me and my husband. I can't possibly sit here and say I understand what I'm getting myself into here, because I know that I haven't got a clue.

I'm going to take on a very challenging position at work, teaching 3 classes of AP US History. I'm excited and also a little scared of this challenge--especially seeing as it is coming when I'm expecting my first child. It will be a HUGE change from what I'm used to.

I'm also a friend, a wife, a sister, an aunt, and a daughter.

My biggest fear is, if I took on another Ironman right away, I'd have to half-ass something. And I would hate that. I would hate every minute of that.

Maybe what's better for me right now is to accept that I might need to make a game time decision. That I will do IM #2 someday, when it's right, and not just as soon as possible so I don't "just know" and I "just do." Maybe that' s not the right reason.

I remember getting back to the car with Iron Johnny after a 2 hour hilly Hinckley run in 90 degree heat on a Sunday, after doing a 7 hour brick the day before. I remember laughing, as we high-fived each other (because we ALWAYS did when we finished a workout, no matter what), and saying, "If I ever, EVER complain about marathon training 'taking up too much time,' please smack me. Hard."

Maybe what's best is to "just" do 70.3s for a while, go for the sub-4 marathon, heck, go for the sub-23 minute 5K. Accept that Ironman is Ironman, and I know myself, and I already know that I respect the distance. There is no half-assing Ironman. And, for me, there's no half-assing life. Period.

Maybe it will just fit in when it fits in, and, much like it did the first time, Ironman will find me when I'm ready.


Saturday, April 07, 2007

From February 10, 2007....

Things I'll Miss this Year:

1. Racing.

2. Racing.

3. Did I mention racing?

4. Going fast and kicking my own butt.

5. Trying to hit a PR.

6. Going for sub-4 at the marathon.

7. Testing out my sweet new wheels.

8. Hard 800s at the track...even though I sort of hate them.

9. Running hills. I do actually like that.

10. Long rides. Did I just say that?

11. Preparing a bunch of water bottles Friday night with Carbo-Pro and NUUN, chopping up little Clif Bar bites, and getting my fuel belt ready for a 6-7 hour brick.

12. Crossing a finish line, gasping, sweating, and knowing I've used every last ounce of energy I have.

13. Grabbing some hardware.

14. Open water swims with my buddies.

15. All the fears and excitement that surge through me on race morning.

16. Long rides with Iron Johnny, my training buddy.

17. Accidentally "running into" TriAl in the Metroparks as we're both on a 5 hour ride.

18. Road-tripping to 70.3s with my buddies.

19. My "10 Year High School Reunion," which is actually in our 12th year out (Why?), is on September 28th. No sense going if I am about to pop and can't throw back a few. I'm not too upset about it. :) I'll just wait 8 more years to 20. College for me was a lot more fun, anyway.

20. Being at the finish line at Ironman Wisconsin, to catch TriShannon and Wil and all my tri friends...and repay all the karma that I was given last year. Whenever I think about how I won't be able to be there this year, I get a little teary. It's the #1 thing I'm sad about giving up.

Things I Won't Miss This Year:

1. Open water swims where I run into the occasional nasty object that makes me freak out.

2. Ugly feet with half-on toenails.

3. Getting all the damn water bottles filled up with stuff and carting everything around Saturday morning.

4. Endless Hammer Gel.

5. Port-o-potties that are a little "ripe" in the heat of July.

6. Having the occasional rough race day and feeling bad about it.

7. Pressure: to do better than last time, to come in such and such place, etc.

8. Not-so-hot tan lines that I still have in February.

9. Driving 45 minutes just so I can ride on some decent hills.

10. Riding hills. (OK. I might miss it...just a teensy bit)

11. 10-20 hours a week of training and time away from my family and friends.

What I Can't Wait to Try:

1. Running slowly and really, REALLY enjoying it.

2. Swimming with a big ol' belly. Yeah, that's right! Deal with it! I'm gonna be HUGE! And in a pool!

3. Volunteering at the Burning River 100 Race, and all the races I can get to.

4. Hearing my baby's heartbeat for the first time.

5. Remembering that in every swim and every mile I run, my baby is with me.

6. Meeting a little person sometime in October.

7. Thinking how someday soon, I'll cross the finish line and have a new little person there to hug me.

8. Listening to all the advice I can get from triathlete moms out there.

9. Being a good mom.

10. Seeing how happy my parents will be when they have a little grandchild.

Friday, April 06, 2007

From February 6, 2007....

"Okay, So This is How It's Gonna Be..."
I had ANOTHER day of school called off today! 2 in a row?! Woot woot!

So...I went to the pool for lap swim around 7:20. It felt nice to sleep in a bit, but still get a workout in. I swam an easy 2000 yards--some drills, some pull, some steady. And it felt good.

So, I think this will be my philosophy for the next nine months. I'm going to just do something that makes me happy (swim, bike on the trainer, easy run, or yoga) every day for a half hour to an hour, as long as I can. Eventually, the runs will turn to walks. And I'll maintain a bit of fitness while preparing my body for what's going to happen to it in October. And then, hopefully, I'll bounce back relatively quickly since I'll have kept active.

A season without races.

This will be my first one since 2000. It's going to be a little odd. But, I'm sure I can find other ways to pass the time. I just signed up to volunteer at my Tri Club's Spring Duathlon Series. I'll probably volunteer at a bunch of tris around here this summer. And, I'm very pumped to be part of the aid station for the brand new Burning River 100 Race this August, since I will no longer be able to compete at Steelhead.

So, I guess it won't totally be a season without races. Just without ME racing. But I'll keep myself occupied....I'm sure there are a million things that are going to come up that I have absolutely NO idea about yet.

After all, I'm an entirely different kind of newbie this season.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

From February 5, 2007...

Well, I called my doc today.

I had to leave a message with the receptionist. It went something like this.

"Um, hi. Yeah, um, I just found out I'm pregnant. My first! *giggle stupidly* Yeah, I'm so excited! Thanks! Well, see, I'm a patient of Dr. S's, and, um, I have a question. I'm a runner, see...well, not a sprinter but a distance runner, and I wanted to ask the doctor how far I can go now....slowly of course. Yeah, that's, definitely not fast....I mean, everything I'm reading says I can do "normal activity," but for me normal activity usually means a 10-15 mile run on the weekends...yeah, I know it's a little, you're right, you definitely don't have to talk this one into exercising, ha, could you just have her call me back and let me know how long I can go? Slowly of course... I was thinking maybe, like, an hour? Two? You'll have her call me? Sounds good! Thanks!"


About a half hour later, the phone rang.

"This is so and so from Dr. S's office. The doctor says you're clear to run slowly for no more than 5 miles during the first trimester. Then she'll make changes as she sees fit."


Five miles?

Five miles is....a short run for me. Five miles is the least I usually do--I don't even like to do a run if it's less than 5 miles.

For some reason, this is making me quite sad.

I know it's what is safe, and I need to remember what is safe. But it's just that running has been my sanity since I found it 4 years ago. What did I do before I became a runner? I can't even really seem to remember it.

I guess I'll have to.

There will have to be lots of time in the pool and on my trainer, I guess. This is fine. It will be OK. The road's not going anywhere. It'll be there when October comes...or, rather, November, which will probably be when I can really hit it again.

When we were in Hawaii, we got to hang out one night with my buddy Vicki and her husband Jeff and son Aidan. He's so darn cute--about 18 months old. We went out to dinner and were talking about things, and she said how being a mother was even more amazing than anyone had ever tried to explain to her.

"But you definitely go through this little thing, this period of, like, mourning of the loss of your independence," she said. "It takes a little getting used to. But it's worth it."

I supposed this is small potatoes for what will come. It will be worth it. I know this...I really do.

But I really look forward to a nice, 2 hour run on a Saturday. I really do...

Five miles.

I guess I'm just going to have to learn to love five miles for a little while. I've gotta keep my eyes on the prize, here, and remember how it will all be worth it--how it will be better than I can even imagine right now. Life is definitely changing...and this is another little reminder.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

My First Ever DNF

And my last, if I have anything to say about it!

Okay, we're starting to enter the realm of "I am in denial that my body's going through MASSIVE changes and I'm just going to keep going full speed ahead! Yeah! That's it" phase. Looking back in my journal, the first week of February was when some of the nausea started, but it really didn't get AWFUL until around Week 6. In fact, this race was the only time I tossed my cookies. I guess I should count myself lucky!

Nonetheless, this was a humbling experience. My first ever DNF, served up for your reading pleasure.


From February 4, 2007

Well, I had my first taste of it today. What it's like to be a parent.

(I think.)

I headed out to the Dirty Dog 10K, to be greeted with HUGE wind gusts and a HIGH (yes, HIGH) of 14 degrees today. I just didn't feel quite right about things. For starters, my stomach's been going absolutely haywire. I haven't thrown up (good news) but I am feeling like I need to....almost all the time (bad news). So, I just didn't feel quite up to it. BUT--I've never been one to let a little weather slow me down...let alone, STOP me from doing anything I sent out to do. So, I drove to DaisyDuc's place to meet up with her and then drive an additional half hour away from there.

I grabbed my Ginger Ale and my pretzels. "I can do this. It's just a 10K. You can't let anyone know what's wrong, either. It's too early."

I had never made it out to DaisyDuc's cute place. Man, she wasn't kiddin'! I laughed at the yellow "Watch Out for Amish Buggy" signs I saw on the way, and also chuckled a bit when the Cleveland radio stations went out near her place. But Mr. Daisy and her have done such a nice job fixing up their century home--it's so cute!

I still wasn't feeling well. I decided that I'd better let SOMEONE know, just in case what? I don't know. case, I guess. So I told Daisy last night, when I was starting to question even participating. She was very excited and swore to keep my secret.

We drove to the race venue...a 10K on snowy covered trails, around a lake that had many people out ice fishing. Now THERE'S a sport that just does NOT sound appealing to me. Then again, they were probably out there sitting in their little huts thinking the same thing about us trail runners getting ready to go for a 6.2 mile run in ten degree weather with a wind chill below zero.

We took off! I was excited to be there. I felt like me: Sara the runner, the one who loves a great race, the one who loves the snow. It was fun to race, even though this wouldn't be a "race." I didn't even have a watch. It was kind of nice. "I can do this!" I thought. I stuck with Daisy for the first mile or so.

And then....

Gurgle. Sick feeling in pit of stomach.

Uh oh. I slowed down.

It didn't go away.

I slowed down some more. People started flying by me. Competitive Sara got a little hurt. "What are you doing?! You can go faster than this! Look at all these people passing you!"

But I just didn't feel like myself. I started to get sick...and asked a volunteer where we were. Maybe we're close to halfway?

"Sorry, I have no idea."

Great. Keep can't get any worse, I thought. The trail was beautiful. On a normal day, I'd eat this up. I'd be laughing and high fiving people and joking with runners around me how nuts we all were.

But it's not a normal day. This is the first time I've ran since I found out I was pregnant.

And I could tell that I wasn't my normal self.

The snow, as beautiful as it was, was about a foot (or more) deep in some places. I felt as if I was running up a sand dune. I could tell my heart rate was high, so I started to walk.

"What are you doing? This is nuts. Just walk. RUN RUN RUN YOU LAZY ASS! WHY AREN'T YOU RUNNING, IRONMAN? But I just don't feel right...burp. Walk...your heart rate is up, dumbass. Walk. YOU'VE NEVER, EVER QUIT IN A RACE IN YOUR ENTIRE LIFE! ARE YOU ABOUT TO START NOW?!"

I saw another race volunteer. "Excuse me, can you tell me where we are?"

"Sorry, Miss. I have no idea."

I had no watch. I had no gauge of how far I had gone. What sounded like a great idea at the time was proving to be wrong. What would my friends say if they saw me at the finish line if I didn't really finish? What would they think?

But what I really wanted to know, was what would I think?

I stopped and coughed--it must have sounded pretty bad. I must have sounded like I was going to hurl.

"Are you OK? Are you cramping?" asked a nice girl who passed me.

"I'm OK. I'm pregnant." I told her. For some reason, I just felt like I needed to tell her. To explain my walking. My poor performance. I needed to justify it. She congratulated me and told me what I just take it easy.

The trouble was, it's harder to take it easy when the wind chill's below zero. All I could think about was getting back to my car, and, dammit, the fastest way to do that is to run.

Beth caught up to me eventually. And then, Carol. And I knew now I had a decision to make. I thought about it. Hard. Tears welled up in my eyes. I saw the sole water stop and asked them how much was left.

"About 2 1/2 miles or so? I'm not sure."

I thought about what it meant to stop. How, up until this point in my life, stopping meant quitting. It was unacceptable. It was not even an option. I have had all kinds of weather thrown at me: from the 95 degree humidity of Musselman 70.3 last summer to the 38 degrees and pouring rain at the Fall Classic Half Marathon. I finished despite that, and even finished well. I trained all summer for Ironman, the biggest physical challenge of my life so far. I trained in the heat and humidity and had a few long rides in the pouring rain, and was surprised as most of us were when we got a race day that was 54 degrees and pouring, not the 94 and sunny like we all thought. And I still did it. I adapted...somehow I made it.

I've never, ever not finished a race.

Until today.

Because before, I was in control of me, and me alone. It was all about my mind. I've always been able to shut up my mind when my body is complaining...when it's hot, cold, when I feel nauseaus, when I hurt.

And I think I finally realized, out there on the trail this morning, as tears welled up in my eyes for just a second, what being a parent will be like.

It's not all about me anymore. Ever again.

I knew I could make it through the last 2 1/2 miles. Sure, I could do it. I'm mentally tough enough. I can put one foot in front of the other and have forward motion for 140.6 miles, that I'm quite certain I could make it through 2 1/2 more here.

But, if something went wrong with my baby because my stubborn ass was too pigheaded and selfish to stop, I'd never be able to live with myself. And suddenly, that made my decision VERY easy.

"I think I need to stop." I coughed and heaved a bit, and as soon as I stopped, I felt a little better.

A nice race volunteer gave me a ride to the start. I told her what was really going on, because I needed to tell someone. It felt better. She said what I already knew--that I was doing the right thing.

I made it back to the finish line just as Daisy Duc was finishing. She looked at me, confused for a minute, since she knew what she was seeing was impossible. I smiled, and said, "Not one of my smarter moments." I told her what happened, and since she knew, she gave me a big hug.

I let out just a tear or two as I said, "J, I've never, ever not finished a race I've started. This is a bit of an adjustment."

She hugged me back and said quietly, "I am SO excited for you."

And it was another reminder of how things have changed, even in this short week. A little foreshadowing of how much changing is to come.

I DNF'd my 10K today. On my terms. Because today, it wasn't all about me. And, in some ways, it never will be again.

I'll still race...I can't wait for my first comeback race this Thanksgiving at the Nakon 5K. But--I have a feeling that my goals will change. That I will race less for the hardware and more for the enrichment. I'll be picking races that fit into my life first and PR list second. This, for a girl who's done nothing but race with PR's and goals in her mind, is a little scary.

I strongly believe I can do Ironman Florida 2008. This is still my underlying goal. But I think I will get a nice shock-lesson in time management here this year, and my first DNF today has helped me realize this.

I can evolve into a Mom Triathlete. I believe that a Mom Triathlete can still be strong and competitive and brave...but she also must have the guts to realize that sometimes she needs to stop in order to keep moving forward.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007


I am amazed at the outpouring of well-wishes! Thanks! Man, there's a lot of people out there! Sometimes I forget this is public. :) Good people rock. I promise now that I don't have to lie anymore, I'll be writing more and commenting more, too! Just get me to spring break and I can get caught up....

Okay, as promised, here is what I've been writing the past 2 months or so. We'll go from the beginning and work our way on through.

Remember...don't laugh to hard at naive TriSaraTops. Laugh with me, please.

Okay, you can laugh at me. I already am.


From February 1, 2007.....

I would have killed to have a camera in my bathroom this morning. Just to see a replay of my face.

I didn't think anything of it...I'd already taken a few tests, but felt a little off somehow, so I thought I'd take one more.



Where's the "NOT?"


There's no "NOT."

*stares into mirror. looks at test again. stares into mirror with eyes the size of saucers*

Oh my God I'm pregnant.

Am I ready?

I'm ready.

I'm scared.

Oh, God I'm really scared.

I'm so happy! I'm jumping! In my bathroom! Yahooooooooo!

I'm running down the hallway, pumping my arms Kirk-Gibson-style!

Now I'm staring in the mirror again.

This will change everything. This will change my entire life. It's not all about me and my time anymore. Ever again.

Can I do this and still be me? Sometimes I see some people who stop being them, and they get bitter and mad and upset.

I can't ever stop being a triathlete. Or a teacher. Somehow, some way, I'll need to be those things still. The theaters may change, but I need to be those things as much as I need to blink my eyes.

Some people do it every day, and they inspire me--my blog buddies, Lana and Michele never cease to amaze me, with time for family and girl friends AND training. Wil's a mommy...and a teacher...and a triathlete...I see lots of wonderful other people out there doing it, too. They make it work, somehow.

All day at school I had this goofy smile on my face. I know something you don't know, I know something you don't know....

I know you're not supposed to tell anyone for 12 weeks...and let me just tell you how much THAT rule is going to suck. Because when a miracle happens you want to talk about it, you want to scream, you want to laugh all stupid giddy and jump up and down.

And then for a second you get scared again.

But it goes away. Waves of scared, elated, scared, overjoyed...

I think this is an entirely different kind of nine month training plan. And I'm going to have to try really hard to get used to it.

But, this finish line going to be amazing or what?

Monday, April 02, 2007

A tiny little heartbeat


Now it's real.

I just got back from my Doctor's appointment, and Matt and I heard our baby's heartbeat for the very first time. I started laughing, which then really screwed it up, but then once I stopped I could hear my swish swish and my little baby's swishswishswishswish and even though I've known this since January, I can finally share my secret.

I've been pregnant now for 13 weeks. I've been writing lots, but haven't been able to share until I will. This has already been quite a wild, crazy, humbling, emotional journey and I've barely even started. I'm sure all of you with kids out there will laugh at my naive attempts to predict how I'll feel like I'm doing some kind of race plan. As I read through all the things I wrote yesterday, I got a few good laughs in at myself.

I think it's safe to say I'm out of my element here.

The new race date is October 8, which obviously changes my race plans quite a bit. For instance, running the Chicago Marathon and going sub-4 on October 7 is probably not a good idea, unless I want to go in labor on the course and scare the bejeezus out of 42,000 people.

So I'll start at the beginning, and tell you my story so far. Warning. Disclaimer. I'm not going to even try to pretend it makes sense. I am fully aware that some things I'm feeling are irrational. This is what it is: the story of an Ironman whose life has revolved around race plans and schedules for the past five years getting a nice healthy dose of reality. It's the story of my fears, too...and this amazing, overwhelming feeling of joy I felt today when I heard that little heartbeat.

Buckle in, folks. Here we go. :)