Wednesday, August 29, 2007
I worry a little...that I'm not good enough to do this AP class. That once my kids have me for a month and my friend who just retired, who will be my amazing most perfect maternity sub EVER for four months, that when I come back, they'll know. That I'm unsure of myself at times. That this is all new to me. That I'll be balancing this newness and fear with a 4 month old baby and a life of my own. I try not to think about it, but every once in a while it creeps in.
Today in the pool, swimming my (slow) mile, I thought of what a different state I'm in at the beginning of this New Year. Last year, when school started, I was 17 days out from Ironman. Heh. Yeah, this school year is a far cry from that...that's for sure.
I see a few of my friends going through much of the uncertainty that I felt last year at this point. I've tried to say what they need me to say, and not necessarily what they want to hear. I would be doing them a disservice if I didn't.
It's going to be hard.
Really, really hard.
But they know this. That's why they signed up.
There are no guarantees.
And that, in my humble, I've-only-done-one-Ironman-so-really-what-the-hell-do-I-know?-opinion, that's what makes it so intoxicating and surreal.
I'm going to try and sit here and articulate a few things that I wish I knew last year that I do now. Again, I am clearly NOT an expert on this subject. But there are a few things that, as I swam in the pool today, I remembered about that day.
I wish I knew how raw my emotions would be. From that morning, when it was clear that I wouldn't be able to see Matt before I got into the water, to on that shivering bike ride and sopping run--how unbelievably raw and open all emotions were. I felt tremendous love, pain, doubt, fear, and joy. I experienced the full spectrum of these emotions, and tried as best as I could to keep them in check, since that was the advice given to me. You will feel all these things. Remember that each will pass. Your day will have many highs and lows, and there will be times when you doubt that you can make it.
This is what makes it different than any other triathlon I've ever done.
I wish I knew to trust my training more. Even until the end, I could hear the little voices in my head..."Are you sure you did enough?" "Were four century rides too little?" "Don't you think you could have done more hill work?" "You've only ran 15 miles at a time, and you think you're going to do this marathon?" "You usually only swam twice a week. Don't you think that's awfully low?"
The truth was, it was plenty. For me. Probably in some ways even more than plenty. I rode the course ahead of time. I gave everything I had for nine months. My body was ready to do what I asked it to do.
Which leads me to the next thought.
What if that still is not enough?
I wish I would have known that no amount of training can prepare you for some of the things that happen out there. You have to trust yourself and your abilities to stay as calm and clear-headed as you can. I remember making adjustments that day--even as I was riding!--because I knew if I didn't, then I wouldn't make it. It meant a bike split about an entire hour slower than I knew I could do. But, after seeing person after person spinning out, laying on the side of the road with road rash all down their sides, I made that decision because I had to. And I'm glad I did, even though I can't say I'm satisfied with my ride. Keep your eye on the prize, and adjust as necessary.
I wish I knew that some parts of my day would profoundly disappoint me. I don't think I really anticipated that. Personally, I was disgusted with my swim. I came out of the water, saw what I did, and felt as if part of me had blown it. But you have to keep things in perspective...so I tried as best I could to leave it there on the Terrace. And I did, during the race. But I'd be lying if I said I didn't still think about it today. Maybe it will help fuel me the next time.
Finally, I wish I knew what that finish line was like before I got there. So I could really, REALLY slow down and enjoy it. My TriBro, TriEric, told me after he did IMUSA, to really look around and enjoy that moment. I thought I did, but looking back, I think I could have gone even slower--walked even!--to really take it all in. It's a magical place, which I can't even really explain. It makes you absolutely amazed beyond words at your own strength and ability. For me, it was the culmination of Faith, love for my friends and family, and absolute amazement at what my body just did.
(Sort of what I'm hoping childbirth will be like...but without the cameras and Mike Reilly)
Now that I'm forced to spectate, I'm reminded of all these things that I felt during those 15 hours, 32 minutes, and 32 seconds.
I wish I knew how much it would change my outlook on things. On pretty much everything. I still have plenty of doubt and fear, as evident in my first two paragraphs. I still have my own personal demons to slay from time to time. But when I remember that day and how it worked out, I always sort of get a sense of calm. Anything really is possible. If I did this--me, who was never a star athlete or really anything special--than I can handle pretty much whatever life throws at me. I'm reminded of that today.
I wish I had known that this race would show me that.
I wish nothing but the best for my friends who are getting ready to head to Madison. I can't wait to hear how their days unfold, because it will be different for every single one. And I dream of watching them all cross that line and seeing their faces.
No matter what happens. The weather. A flat. A disappointment here or there. Doubt, pain, and ultimately elation will come to each of them some way, and I just wish I could be there to physically experience it again, with them.
But this year, I'm on the sidelines...where I'm supposed to be for now.
Sunday, August 26, 2007
Why must my college girls live so far away?
Sam helped me pack my diaper bag (whoa) and we ran out of time to put together a hospital bag. It was on my "recommended things to do" email this week, which is just crazy.
I'm getting huger by the second it seems. The dress I wore to my shower on August 5 is almost too small. I wanted to wear it to school but fear that the first day of school is prolly the last time I can fit into it before Baby Z arrives.
You know what really made me freak out for 30 seconds? Matt came home with some Blue Moon Pumpkin Ale Friday night.
If they are selling Pumpkin Ales, that means it's close to October.
And close to Baby Z.
Meeting 2 of my tri-mom friends for a walk tomorrow--the weather has finally broken and this humidity insanity is pretty much gone. Good news for me as I head back to school Thursday!
They are selling Pumpkin Ale.
I really want some.
Thursday, August 23, 2007
My Aunt has been doing some research into our family tree and going through old documents and stuff. She found some really cool pictures and documents that I can't wait to get framed. There's this great picture--in the middle, are a man and a woman who are my great-grandparents. They are each holding little baby girls. Sitting in front of them, with an impish little grin, is my grandfather when he was about 3 or so. And behind them, are three tall dark and handsome young men.
Upon further review, the three boys in the back are my great-grandfather's sons from a previous marriage. Very unheard of for the 1920s, but pretty cool. They were a very early, 1920s Brady Bunch.
We also found my great-grandfather's naturalization papers from 1921. They are really cool to see. It's so interesting, and tragically funny, how classifications were made back then, and how much things have changed. For instance, on the papers there's a spot for "Color" and it says, "White," but then under the next spot for "Complexion" it says, "Dark." A little tongue in cheek how funny it is that they felt, in 1921, they needed to make that distinction.
His name that he wrote on the papers was John, and it says, "Country of Origin: Italy." So of course, I was like, ain't no WAY his name was JOHN if he was originally from Italy. Sure enough, on another paper, my suspicions were confirmed: John was originally Giovanni. He must have changed his name to sound more American. Again, a little sad that it had to be done, but this was the decade of extreme nativism, of Sacco and Vanzetti, and of NOT wanting to be seen as anything other than a hard-working American. So that's exactly what he did, and he made his new life here.
So, where am I going with this?
One of the boys in the back--my grandfather's half-brothers--I can't remember which one, had a son named Tom.
Okay, here's where it gets really bizarre.
Tom is a professor at Elon College in NC...of Sociology. Cool--another social sciences Arcaro, like me.
And now it gets REALLY CRAZY.
He teaches a CLASS ON TRIATHLON AND IS AN IRONMAN FINISHER and BOSTON MARATHON FINISHER.
A CLASS. On TRIATHLONS. A Sociology ELECTIVE. Looking at the course requirements...20% of your grade is your race report! All of us bloggers would get A pluses! ha ha
If you don't believe me, here it is.
Now THAT'S what I call some family ties!
Wednesday, August 22, 2007
This crazysick humidity is not helping, either. BUT--it makes for a nice swim. Swam another mile today and felt GREAT. Getting out of the pool is getting more and more entertaining. I ditched Mom Suit and swam in Big Girl Suit. There weren't too many people there and I'm past the point of caring. At Trimama's suggestion, I wore my IM MOO swim cap. It was a pretty entertaining sight.
While in the pool, I started thinking about a possible hairbrained idea for next year...it's too early to even mention it, but it got me all pumped up. I even emailed Coach Angela to talk logistics with her about it. We'll see!
I'm feeling good--mostly because I'm feeling so uncomfortable. If I'm this uncomfortable, it must mean I'm getting close. And that's good. Nursery is all decked out and adorable, if I do say so myself. Clothes and blankets are all washed. Bouncy seat that everyone says is a lifesaver is ready to go and even has batteries. Picture frames are hung, just waiting for pictures to go in them. Baby classes are done. Stroller and car seat are ready. Lesson plans through the week after I am due are done, as are copies.
Let's. Get. It. ON.
Speaking of getting it on, best of luck to my tri-buddy Rob this weekend at IMKY, and to all who are racing! Holy smokes, is it going to be HOT and HUMID. I still, for the life of me, can't figure out why they put a race in Louisville at the END OF AUGUST. I used to live in the 'Nati, and I KNOW what it's like in August on that river. But, I guess you never know...I trained with the assumption that IMW was going to be hotter than Guam, and we all know how that ended up last year, right?
I'll tell you something I'm NOT going to miss...EVERYONE THROWING IN THEIR 2 CENTS. For the love of ALL THINGS HOLY I can't seem to go ANYWHERE without randoms throwing in their 2 cents. See, I am undeniably pregnant now. It is abundantly clear that this ain't just fat. Last night I had a little meltdown to Matt because I am just SOOOOOOOOOOOO sick of it and I really want to just not leave my house.
You'd be amazed at what total strangers will say and do. Matt's lucky--we decided--because unless he SAYS anything, no one KNOWS he's expecting. I might as well have a neon sign and marching band following me around. And people just seem to want to tell you how BAD things will be. They LOVE to say how "you'll never do this or that again" and "oh, don't even think about ___________________ (*fill in the blank with ANYTHING, really*), because you won't have time to worry about that, you'll barely have time to eat or shower or blink your eyeballs," and in general tell you how miserable you're going to be, because they are or something.
World at large--just because you might be miserable, doesn't mean I'm going to be. So trying to make me miserable really isn't justifying your miserable-ness. It's just ANNOYING.
I think the craziest thing I've heard was when I was at work about 2 weeks ago, and the UMPIRE there (I work for a Rec Department) in between games, who I DIDN'T EVEN KNOW...and this was a DUDE!.....decided to tell me all about how since his sister-in-law's baby was big, they HAD TO BREAK HER PELVIS IN THE DELIVERY ROOM.
THANK YOU, Random Umpire Man! That is SO what I NEED TO HEAR RIGHT NOW!
So I am really, really, really looking forward to NOT having to deal with 2 cent-ers at the grocery store, the post office, work, the baseball diamond, or anywhere else. Really...I promise...if I want to know, I'll ask you. Unsolicited miserable-ness is just not good.
/end soapbox rant
On a positive note, I heart air conditioning. But hopefully it will cool down before school starts next week, since 221 sorely lacks it. I'm getting really excited about this new class, too. It's a LOT of work--I've already put in so much time reading these college-level articles (man, how do these 10th graders do it? but my friend swears they will rise to whatever bar you set) and stuff, and it's exciting to have a little change. We'll see if I'm still saying that next February... :)
Thursday, August 16, 2007
It totally makes me look like a mom. It is SOOOOOOOOOOOO not triathlete. I look like one of those moms who just sit at the pool and read magazines. It's like a black lycra tent.
But I did manage to swim 1200 meters in it--I could have gone longer but I wasn't wearing a cap and my hair was driving me up the wall. I figured I shouldn't wear a cap and look like a poser in a Mom Suit. But then I went INSANE all swim with my freaking hair everywhere. I think I'm just going to have to look ridiculous and wear a cap with my Mom Suit in the lap lane and my stomach that looks like I swallowed a watermelon.
The Mom Suit is temporary, and at least I know I won't EVER SUCCUMB TO THE HORROR of the dreaded MOM JEANS.
It's kind of funny how, as I looked through my lesson plan book today, I had "Leave for Ironman" with an arrow and a homemade M-Dot on the week before I now have a ultrasound scheduled to see just how big this kid is. Cuz it's BIG, people. We may have a little TriSaraTops early.
What's even STRANGER is that TriShannon called all this a LONG time ago. Like, right after she signed up for IM MOO. In November or so. She called me and said, "I just had a dream that I was at the finish line of Ironman, and you were pregnant. REALLY, REALLY pregnant."
I was like, "GIRL, PLEAZ. U CRAZY."
She can tell the future, people.
(Please tell me the future will not involve this tent of a Mom Suit or the Mom Jeans.)
Monday, August 13, 2007
That's not really a big deal...but the big deal is that I DID IT WITHOUT STOPPING ONCE!!!
Where did this newfound lung capacity in the water come? I can assure you I don't have it on land, and this baby hasn't dropped yet....
Bad news is, that even my Big Girl Swimsuit is getting too small. You know it's bad when you can't tell if the bottoms have a front or a back. It just looks like one big black lycra granny panty. GAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH
I miss my old body.
Oh well...home stretch here, home stretch....Baby Z loves to swim, and that's good, because that's about all I can do at this point. Even walking is presenting its own challenges. I walked too far the other day and had to call Matt to pick me up. So. Sad. I wonder if I'll ever be able to run fast again! Good thing I have some awesome tri mom buddies who are showing me that there is a light at the end of the tunnel.
Riddle me this: why are my legs really skinny but my fingers too sausage-like for my rings? Seriously. I think my ring finger is the size of my ankle. I thought your ankles were supposed to swell up?!?!
Two more weeks of freedom...I kind of want to get the show on the road already, as we go back extra late this year, which stinks...because that means a June 11 end date instead of June 4. Boo. I like to get started early and get out early...more time for training.
Very behind on blogs, and probably will be for a while...helping a few friends get through some rough times this week, and still dealing with our poopypants basement.
Slow, continuous mile swimmer, signing out!
Wednesday, August 08, 2007
At least we didn't ACTUALLY WITNESS the type of encounter that my poor neighbor found floating in her basement water.
Unfortunately, it wasn't a Baby Ruth in their basement.
My buddy Steph DID give me a HILARIOUS shirt for Baby Z this weekend at my shower...it says, "If Pooping Your Pants Is Cool, Consider Me Miles Davis." This is not only a take on my favorite Billy Madison quote, but pretty much the first thing I told her and my AGD friends when I crossed the finish line in Madison last year...except I swapped one bodily function for another.
On a lighter, and less smelly note, I got an AWESOME swim in today. Just a mile...but I felt so good and had I had more time, I could have kept going. Instead of doing sets of 200 like I normally do, I did sets of 400. It took me roughly the same amount of time, and I didn't feel as out of breath. Yippee! Now, it was still REALLY slow...let's not get ahead of ourselves...but at this stage in the game, I'm just so doggone happy to be out there doing SOMETHING.I dream about next year and racing, too. I really miss racing, but I think even more than that I miss training. I love long solo runs, group runs with my Soler friends, and long rides with IronJohnny and my other IMW buds. I know that things will need to be flexible next year but I'm already planning on how to make it work as much as I can.
Case in point: just got my schedule today, and it is AWESOME. My favorite lunch period (later--I'd rather eat later for some reason) and instead of 147 kids like I had last year, I have...are you ready for this?....101!!!! AWESOME. This is in 5 classes. I have one pretty big class of freshman and the rest are small. I knew that teaching the AP would have this effect, but I guess I didn't realize how much. So, I will have a MUCH higher load of grading, and a much higher quality of work to grade (like essays and the beloved DBQ's), but not as many bodies. I'll take that.
I'm still nervous though. But excited. Even more so now that I know my awesome friend who retired this year and whose schedule I'm essentially taking over agreed to be my sub! She is, without a doubt, the best teacher I've ever seen. I feel so good knowing my kids will be in her hands for almost 4 months.
The other good part of my schedule is that I have 1st period planning...AGAIN! This makes 3 years in a row. I used to hate it....before I started doing the long stuff. Now, I really enjoy having my first period free so I am not as rushed in the morning. AND, this just might work out well with Baby Z, since I've sort of (GASP) become a morning workout person. I can get my swim in--maybe even swim with my Y friends, like Dave the Lifeguard, TriEric, Noodle Lady, and Navy Guy again! Or, I can hit the treadmill or trainer in my basement for an hour before the shower. The main thing, of course, will be lack of sleep...but I feel like my body's preparing me for that a bit already. Matt HATES working out in the AM, and is MORE than happy to have AM Baby Z duty so he can work out in the afternoon. We're already discussing it, and that's going to be half the battle, I think. The other half is SLEEP.
Case in point: I've become a third-trimester insomniac. My pal Suzi had a similar issue. I just don't seem to sleep well, and when I do, the baby wakes me up with kicks or I have to pee like SEVEN TIMES A NIGHT. Last night, I really don't think I got more than 2 hours of continuous sleep at all.
See, I know this is going to factor in next year. PLEASE don't tell me again how it will. I swear I understand. :) XT4 and I were just discussing how very well-intentioned people who keep mentioning how we have no idea how much things are going to change are starting to drive us batty. WE. GET. IT. We'll figure it all out. But, I for one refuse to just throw the towel in and give up because I'm tired. Like today. I so did NOT want to swim, but I dragged my sorry sleepy ass to the pool and had the best swim I've had in probably 2 months.
Lesson learned. You will be tired, and sometimes, a workout will make you feel better. Even if it's small.
So there's another silver lining for me. The girl who loves to sleep...the one who with DaisyDuc could BARELY MAKE 1:00pm brunch in the dining hall ...she is realizing she can do more with less sometimes.
It's not going to be easy, but it'll work somehow.
Tuesday, August 07, 2007
I awake to hear storms. I love storms. I lay in bed until almost 10 listening to storms.
I come downstairs to see a note from Matt to block out 12-2 for lunch. How sweet, I think, so I call him.
"I'm at my parents. They're flooded. Are we?"
Uh oh. I don't know.
Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh yeah. Really flooded.
Not too much standing water, but sopping everywhere. Matt comes home with his dad and tries to clean up. I can't really do anything and feel useless yet again.
Noon comes. I figure lunch is out. It's not. Matt tells me to get in the car so I do.
We pick up sandwiches. We go to a little gazebo where we got our wedding pictures taken. Matt unloads card table and chairs, CD player, and sparkling grape juice. We have a nice lunch under the gazebo and he made a mix CD of songs like Ice Cream (Sarah MacLachlan---our first dance, because we love our ice cream), I Wanna Grow Old With You (from the Wedding Singer) and Brown Eyed Girl. He. Just. Rocks.
Then we go back to the insanity and try to clean up the muck. I, still feeling useless, decide to take the ruined laundry that was already done and folded in a basket in the floor to my parents to redo it. When I open my trunk, a screw pops out. "Hmm," methinks. "Wonder what this screw's for." I put it in the trunk.
Laundry is done. Go to the car. Trunk won't pop.
TRUNK WON'T OPEN.
Try not to cry. Go home. Too tired to make dinner and too hot. We order wings (ew--but he loves them), some fries, and a soft pretzel from local pub. I pick it up. We eat it on our china in the living room. Yes, we ate WINGS AND FRIES on our china. Sweet. I only ate a few fries because I was too not hungry to eat anything.
We exchange gifts and his card makes me cry, because he wrote a funny poem in it like he always does.
Then, we commence cleaning. He primes and paints the shower area. I use a steam cleaner on the carpet, dumping buckets and buckets of muck out. I feel like I'm getting nowhere.
Man, it's hot down here.
Check thermostat: AC is running....with warm air.
AC is now broken.
TriSaraTops starts crying.
I'm hot and tired and the electrician won't even call me back anymore and it's been a month and what does it take to get a freaking electrician to follow up after a month? and I can't take this humidity and someone better come tomorrow and fix our AC because it's a heat wave and our basement is still mucky and I look at the yellow pages and we can't afford this crap right now and I cry.
He makes me laugh again and of course, he's right, there's nothing we can do now...it's 12:30am. And I just looked in the nursery because he told me to and he put together our bouncy seat. I start laughing hysterically while I'm crying.
So now it's time for bed. And I know that this is going to be a funny anniversary someday. And one thing's for certain.
I married the most amazing man on earth.
Saturday, August 04, 2007
Really. I can't say that I've had ANY strange cravings. There was a bizarre macaroni and cheese thing for about 5 days back around week 13, but other than that...um....I got nuthin'. No pickles. No ice cream, really, which for me is quite a shock.
There are two things I crave more than anything though, but I can't indulge in them. You can't buy them in any store.
1. A 10 mile run
2. A 3 hour ride
Well, I'm just sayin'.
THAT'S what I'm craving.
Wednesday, August 01, 2007
For teachers, that means school is a reality. It's kind of like when you were a little kid and you knew school was coming. We get the same way. And I really, really do enjoy my job...but there's just something about relative freedom every summer that rocks, you know? We're quite spoiled that way. That's why we make the big bucks.
Anyway, I am feeling so good this August 1. Why is that? I just got back from my doctor's appointment...
- Weight has leveled off! I have no idea what it is, but it leveled off! Yippee kay yay!
- Glucose test came back totally normal!
- Blood pressure is great!
- Cervical measurements from last ultrasound are perfect! I have no idea what that means, but rock on!
- Baby Z is measuring a little big...SO, what that means is that the Baby's growth spurt was most likely what caused mine! Would have been nice to hear that last month instead of that it was MY fault...but hey, live and learn! Also means Baby Z could come a week or so early...hey, FINE WITH ME!
So I am actually, for once, in a good mood after an appointment. Yahooooooooo!
I headed to Raleigh, NC last weekend to visit Kim and Jeff, the bro and sis-in-law. We had a great time! It was so nice to spend time with them and see their adorable place. I thought we'd be a little closer to the ocean than we were (try 3 hours away--oops) so no open water swimming for me. Bummer. But, we got to eat some tasty Mexican, relax a lot, and go see a free concert in downtown Raleigh where the "headliner" was....ready for this?....NIGHT RANGER! Haaaaaaaaaaaahahhahahahahaha
Sing it with me, now..."Sister Christian now you're time has come.....and you know that you're the only one....."
I don't know the rest of the words but it involves something like "MOTERHEAD."
On our way back we stopped at this AWESOME Bed and Breakfast in Wytheville, VA, to sort of celebrate our anniversary and have a little "babymoon." It was SO beautiful. Everything is renovated to look Victorian but is brand spankin' new. I even mentioned it was our anniversary next weekend and they surprised us with a little heart cake in an antique cake holder! So cute. It was very nice to get away and relax.
This weekend, I'll be volunteering at the Burning River 100 Race. I'm so excited for this! I've never gotten to see an ultra race...let alone one that's 100 miles. Rootsrunner Lloyd, Ultra Runner Extrordinaire, is the leader of our aid station. We're at miles 30.3 and 36.3. Espeed, DaisyDuc, and some other friends will be manning Mile 91. Man. I can't even imagine what people will look like when they see them. It should be an awesome race and a fun way to see my Soler friends. Wish I could join them for their AM run on the Towpath, but I'll have to wait a few more months for that. Best of luck to all 175 runners who will start the 100 mile race Saturday morning!Then Saturday is my first baby shower. I'm getting pretty excited to see my friends! The following weekend is our first of 2 baby classes in the AM, and then my niece's 3rd birthday party. We're really pumped about the gift we found for her. :) It involves Spiderman, because she LOVES Spiderman. Then, Saturday night, we have Matt's grandpa's 80th birthday, and the following day is another baby shower with our families. Busy, busy, busy. The downside of this is that I won't be able to help out at the GCT expo OR go cheer on DaisyDuc and my buddies. :( Oh well...I'll be rooting for them the whole morning! Speaking of Daisy, I had the opportunity to swim with her yesterday and we had a blast! We had to dodge the occasional old lady or wayward kid, but we got in a nice distance at my local pool in the sun, so we can't complain about that. She's training for her first 70.3 so go to her blog and give her some love. She was looking strong and steady in the water, and I know she will do well. She's gonna have a fun day picking off all the bikers and runners with her blazin' speed, that's for sure! For now, I'm going to head up to the pool for another swim...I felt really good yesterday, so we'll see how we feel today! I'm definitely slow, but I find if I do steady, slow sets of 200s with a minute or so in between to catch my breath, I feel like I could go all day. My goal of at least a mile every time in the pool helps keep me motivated. Baby Z seems to love it. I think for these last few weeks I am going to start blogging pregnancy related stuff on a new blog that will take me into Baby Z's first few years. I can then focus on training here and try to keep the pregnancy blabber to a minimum. I'm going to password protect it, though, because I'm a little afraid of psychos in cyberspace. :) If you'd like me to add you to the password list, just post here and I will (if I know you)! No offense if I don't, please...you just gotta protect yourself, and your kids, you know? I'm gonna call it, "And Baby Z Makes Three." That's about as creative as I can get.
Off to the pool...happy training everyone!