Wednesday, August 29, 2012

back to school. gulp.

 my babies.  growing so fast. 

The 2nd grader is proud of the Kindergartner
They are in this together now.

This photo is worth 1,000 words.  And at least some of those words are:  "Ouch, my baby boy, you can't possibly be in Kindergarten, and my heart is going to bust open with love for you."
Thumbs up, kid.  I hope you both have an incredible day. 

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Run U Mother hat winner

And the winner is:
Kristie!  Get in touch with me via email and we'll get your hat to you.  The rest of u mothers, wish I had a hat for all of you and your awesomeness.  Keep running!

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Some (re)assembly required

When I moved into my new home, I bought some furniture that required assembly.  And the furniture assembly turned into a metaphor for my own reassembly, the reassembly of my life.

 It looks complicated and overwhelming.  I didn't think I could do it.  There were so many loose parts.  

I was determined to do it myself, and stubbornly didn't want help. It may have taken me an exceptionally long time to do it, but after a while, things started to take shape.

Pretty soon, the kids' bunk beds started to look like beds.  

And bunk beds:
And a dresser, that took me three hours to build.  But I did it. 

Life for me lately has been so many different things all at once.  I feel good and focused one day, overwhelmed and sad the next.  I sometimes enjoy the time I have on my own to ride, run, swim, run errands, and work, but I miss my kids with a palpable ache, especially in the evenings.  But I also have a really nice feeling when they are with Sam, knowing that they need their time with each other.

The drop offs have gone way more smoothly than I could have hoped.  The kids have transitioned back and forth between us very well.  I was told by many that kids are resilient, but what I have experienced (so far) has been pretty amazing.  Please don't think I'm saying that everything is easy, or there aren't difficult conversations going on, and hard questions.  But one thing I know for sure is these kids know they are fiercely loved. 

My condo feels homey and safe.  And that definitely helps.

It also helps to have friends that have served as life rafts for me in a stormy sea.  I mean honestly, I'm humbled by how much love I receive from them.

And then of course, there are these two.  It's hard not to keep putting one foot in front of the other with my two tiny loves leading the way:
The silver lining of having them with me half the time, is that on the days I DO have them, there is no need to drag them to Target, the bank, or the grocery store.  I don't clean or fold laundry.  We just play.  Play hard.

I'm sure that someday, my heart will feel light again.  It's just complicated.  I remind myself hourly that it takes time, and there are lot of loose parts to piece back together.  I use my quiet time to pray and write.  I use my kid time to laugh and live big.  I am kind of getting to know myself all over again.  Reassembling. 

"So this is how you swim inward. So this is how you flow outwards. So this is how you pray."

 --Mary Oliver

Thursday, August 23, 2012

run u mothers!

I recently got a Run U Mother running hat that I just love.  I like the fit, the feel, and the "slightly irreverent" message.  I can sometimes be "slightly irreverent" myself. 

I liked this hat so much that I got in touch with Anne, the owner of Run U Mother, who is also a mother and runner (duh) and teacher.  She said she'd offer up one running hat just like mine for one of you. 

I have worn this hat on every run since I got it in the mail.  Some running hats don't fit me well because they are too small and don't pull down all the way.  This one is perfect. 

I took it out this morning for my "confidence-boosting" workout:  2000 yards of swimming immediately followed by 10 miles of running.  It felt so good to get that under my belt.  I feel better about the triathlon already.

Run U Mother also sells shirts, jackets, and other running gear.   It's fun to follow them on facebook too, not too much content, but regular cool and inspirational photos and such. 

So, you want a hat?  As usual, there are three steps:

1.  Like RunUMother on Facebook.
2.  Like One Mom in Maine on Facebook.
3.  Leave a comment saying you did so!  Only one comment per person necessary. 

I'll choose one random winner when comments close on Monday evening at 5:00.    Good luck!

Monday, August 20, 2012

swimbikerun: help.

I have triathlon brain.

I have arrived in race-obsession mode as the Pumpkinman HalfIronman Triathlon nears. I've done enough big races (marathons and triathlons) now that I have learned my own mental habits in the training and lead-up to the race.

First, there's the stage when I first decide on a race, and I have delusions of grandeur.  I have all the time in the world ahead of me to train!  I'm going to be the leanest, meanest mama at the starting line.

Then there are the months and months training, during which I alternate between feeling confident (if I have a great run or bike or swim) and terrified (if I struggle through a workout). I think of that leanest, meanest version of myself and I say to her:  "I'm doing the best I can here, okay?"   I settle for not being the leanest, meanest mama and decide it's just really important not to die.  I love, in maybe an unhealthy way, entering a completed workout in my training log. 

During training, I have multiple finish line fantasies where I cross the line of the race with my arms in the air and a look that shows a perfect combination of pride and exhaustion (i.e. I worked my ass off but I'm not about to land in the medical tent).  You've had these fantasies too, during training, right? In my finish line fantasies, especially this summer, someone also runs into the finish line chute and drapes an American flag over my shoulders, but that's probably just me.

 Next, as the race draws closer, there's the youtube stage, when I spend hours during middle-of-the-night insomnia stretches searching for videos of the race in which I'm about to participate. I do this to get a glimpse of the race venue and to reassure myself by watching videos of normal-looking people like me completing the race of that distance.   I also read and re-read the course description on the website:  "1.2 mile swim in Knights Pond.   56 mile beautiful rolling bike course along the well maintained Eastern Trail (paved surface)   13.1 mile scenic two loop run that starts out with a welcomed downhill start, long flat section along the Eastern Trail with a finish to remember!"

Finish to remember?  What the hell is that supposed to mean, I wonder to myself at 3 am.

In the last few remaining weeks, I will enter the obsessive weather-checking and anxiety dream stage. In my recent race experiences this includes realizing that the weather is going to suck (really hot and humid) and I'm going to have to just accept it. Also, I will have several dreams in which I get to the race site or the starting line without some important piece of gear, or that the race took off without me and I can hear everyone cheering but can't find the starting line. My favorite was before my first marathon, I dreamed that I got to the starting line and looked down to see that I was wearing Reed's shoes. He was 2 years old at the time, and in my dream, I thought: "Oh man. This is going to hurt."

Right now, I'm in the lots-of-questions and can't-stop-talking-about-the- race stage. Can you help? Triathletes out there?
What if my goggles get kicked off during the swim?
What if I swallow a mouthful of water and choke?
What if I can't get my wetsuit off?
What if I don't have enough fluid on the bike?
No seriously, I only have room for 2 bottles and that's not enough for 56 miles?
How much food should I eat on the bike?
What if I need to walk most of the half marathon?
What if I don't make the cut off time?
Are triathletes nice like marathoners are nice?
Will there be other people there just trying to finish?
Do I sound a little bit sad right now?

my triathlon (sprint distance) debut in 2007.  Reed was 6 months old.  I've come a long way since then.
 I declare myself open and eager to hear any of your advice and words of wisdom for this kind of race.  Thank you!

Sunday, August 19, 2012

when the family week ends.

My brother and sister live far away, California and Utah respectively, so my time with them is precious and far too infrequent.

I am blessed with the two most incredible siblings.  They are both older than me by 5 and 7 years, and I feel in some ways that along with my parents, they were kind of responsible for my upbringing.

They have taught me how to be ambitious, well-read and aware, to savor good food and nurture friendships. Most of all, though they have taught me how to be optimistic and calm about life's twists and turns.  Of the three of us, I'm the most high- strung.  That's not the right way to explain it, really, because I'm not high-strung, but both my brother and sister are completely laid back and easy to be around.  Seriously, they are unflappable.  You will rarely ever see either of them stressed out about anything.  They are just happy and cool.

Like I said, I'm pretty lucky to have a family like this.  I love that my mom and dad are responsible for this whole pile of love.

And now they are off, scattered across the west;  my mom headed west too for her Utah time. 

These kids love each other so much.  On the night before Cameron and Grant left, in a gesture of protest to their pending separation, they sat on my mom's bed and all tied themselves up into a human knot, legs and arms all intertwined.

The only downside to having them all come, is that all of a sudden, they all go.  And it's so quiet.  

Meanwhile, it's 20 days until the Pumpkinman Triathlon and 10 days until I'm back to work.  So between training and getting ready for school and getting the kids ready for school (2nd grade!  Kindergarten!), I have a lot to focus on.

Here is how I did:

And here is a post-run selfie that I took previewing the run u mother running hat.  They will be giving one of you, OMIM readers,  a hat of your own this week. 

And speaking of selfies, this is what I found when I picked up my phone this morning:

Have a good night.  Giveaway coming tomorrow!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Scenes from the lake and training up north.

 I'm so lucky to have both a week with my family in such an amazing spot, and an opportunity to get one more solid week of triathlon training in before the craziness of back-to-school begins.  And with Moosehead Lake and Mt. Kineo as the backdrop to our days here? It's crazy pretty.

The kids, ages 5 through 11, are a great team, and have grown into a tight little unit of adventure and mischief.   They have been playing so happily together, and most of their time is spent connecting the kayak to the floating turtle to the raft and then traveling about.  It's a serious flotilla. 

Reed convinced the guy at the neighboring house to teach him how to fish.  It was amazing how patiently he waited and waited and waited.  I prayed to the Dear Lord to please let Reed catch a fish.

The Lord answered with a tiny medium huge yellow perch. 
Skyler and Cam around the fire
My brother Chris with Reedo.

Writing about triathlon training makes me feel normal, so here I go.

We've had pancakes and bacon, beers and happy hour every evening, and desserts every night.  Good thing I'm burning some calories.  Here's what I've gotten in so far this week:

I got to ride with my sister.  When do I ever get to ride with my sister?  Never.
The road we are staying on is the only road to ride.  You either head north or south.  I wanted to ride 40 miles, so the plan was to ride north for 10 and then 10 back to the house, and then I would ride the 20ish miles south to Greenville to meet everyone for ice cream.  First, Liesel and had 20 miles on roads that look like this.  How lucky are we?
And then I suffered through some very rough and bumpy torn-up road for my last 20, but made it safely to the center of Greenville, parked my bike in the middle of town, and then...
What do you know?  40.0.  The precise German in me was quite pleased.

I've had one hot/ dehydrated 6.7 mile run that kind of sucked.  Except for the part when I ripped off my shoes, shirt, and garmin and plunged right into the cold lake. Oh, yeah.

Today I rode another 20 miles on my bike; it looks like this the whole way.

Today I also did my second 1.2 mile swim out in the lake.  This time I kind of knew what to expect about the distance, so it felt much better.  Chris and Reed escorted me in the double kayak, and using my Garmin, held up fingers to tell me how many tenths of a mile I'd gone.  Reed was so cute, holding his fingers up high, and he wouldn't put them down until I shouted:  "Thanks, Buddy!"
I always breathe to my right, so I keep the kayak on my right and every time I breathed today, I saw the bright yellow kayak popping against the dark sky with my brother in the back and my son in the front and dramatic clouds in the sky.  It's just the coolest thing.

So, I'm getting the workouts done, but still.  Putting it all together into a 70.3 mile race?  Totally overwhelming.

Meanwhile, I'll focus on the happy hours and desserts.  Wish you all were here!