Saturday, February 11, 2012

face your fears!

My first triathlon is officially in the books.  Brad's cousin, Mat, asked me to come do this "mini-tri" with him at the Clearfield rec center where he works out.  At first I was apprehensive as it was only a couple weeks away and I've been training on a schedule based on my first tri not being until May.   (Woman of Steel Sprint Triathlon)  After Brad so lovingly told me to get over my fear, buck up and do it, I decided to give it a try.  Ok, to be fair to Brad, what actually happened was this... I told him I didn't know if I wanted to do it because it was so soon and I didn't feel ready yet.  I am still new in the pool and am still battling against what feels like a brick wall of 50 meters.  The swim is 300 meters and I struggle to get past 50 without having to stop for several seconds.  So Brad asks, "have you swam 300 meters before?" "yes, but not with out stopping!"  "So what are you so afraid of?  So what if you have to stop, or you're not fast.  If you don't want to do this race because you're scared, then get over it and do it!  You know you aren't going to drown so just commit!" he says.  I reason with myself that it will be good to have a "practice run" to get some of the nerves and "unknowns" of a new sport out of my system.  FINE!  I commit to the race and Mat signs me up.  That was 2 weeks ago.

In my training, I have been focusing mostly on the swimming, a good amount on the bike but hardly any running at all.  I'm still dealing with this stupid bugling disc in my back and trying to figure out how to run in spite of it but it's proving to be very difficult and even more frustrating.  So I've only been running once/wk, sometimes for only 3-4 miles.  If I'm honest, I was really confident about the run and bike.  The bike is only 7 miles and the swim only 2 miles.  Surely, those distances will be a breeze!

It was really nice going in to today's race with absolutely no expectations... other than to finish :)  Well, I guess I did have some expectation regarding the run.  I wanted to avg. a 9 min./mile pace.  Other than that though, I really had no expectations.  This was an odd feeling for me as I always go in to races with a goal.  Also, because you start in heats of 5 people, you really have no idea where in the race the people around you are at so you tend not to feel like you have to compete with them.  I was able to just completely focus on competing with my own little voice... on simply doing my best at any given moment.  I try to go in to road races with this attitude but it's nearly impossible.  Inevitably, the competitive voice in my head takes over and I am consumed with competing with the person next to me.  This usually ends up not in my favor :)

We got to the rec center really early so I had plenty of time to get my transition center set up by the bike.  I fit the bike to my personal settings, laid out my shorts and water battle and had a head band ready to go.  Even after Mat walked me through the rec center to show me exactly where we would transition to each leg and where the running track was, we still had about 20 minutes to kill.  So as I sat and waited, the nerves finally set in.

We move over to the pool and before I know it, the horn sounds and we are off.  I was feeling eally good down the first 25 meters only to look up and see the people in the two lanes to my right (one of which was Mat) were more than half a lane ahead of me already.  I have to tell myself; "Alicia, don't worry about them!"  Low and behold, at 50 meters I am already spent.  I decide to turn on my back and do a lap of backstroke.  Ultimately, I ended up doing 4 of the 12 laps in backstroke, the other 8 in freestyle.  I step out of the pool and see the time says 8:09 (my actual time was 8:03 but apparently it took me 6 seconds to get out of the pool and look at the clock :)  My arms feel like jello.

On to the bike. I run to the spin room where the bikes are, throw my shorts on, dry my feet off, put my shoes on and hop on the bike.  (This transition definitely took longer than I wanted.)  My legs felt totally strong but I had this strange burning sensation in my forearms... something I don't think I have ever really felt before.  It was so weird, I didn't feel like I could hold on to the handle bars.  On a spin bike, you can ride w/o holding on, but when I'm riding outside on a road bike I can't exactly just let go :)  I'm going to need to figure this out!  I tried to keep the bike between about 110 - 116 rpm.  I finished the 7 miles in 15:35.

In order to get to the track, you have to run half way down the building and up two flights of stairs.  9 loops around the track is 1 mile so we had 18 laps to go.  I was feeling strong but extremely hungry.  I realized that I had only eaten when I left the house this morning which was 1 hr 45 min before race time.  My body needed food!  I also had sharp pain in both sides of my upper chest near my shoulders.   This isn't new.  I've felt this plenty when I run.  It comes from poor posture.  I was trying to keep my posture and stand up straight but it was proving to be really difficult.  I was much more tired than I had anticipated.  I had really taken the running for granted.  I thought the run would be a breeze and it was the hardest part.  Makes sense, given it's the last leg but still, it was only 2 miles.  I didn't look at my watch every lap, but each lap I did time, I was between 55-65 seconds so I was feeling confident that I was holding my goal pace of 9 min/mile.  A volunteer yelled out that I had one lap left and I ran that lap as fast as I could!  Out the doors, down the stairs and to the finish.

YEA!  The feeling you get when crossing a finish line will never get old!  Today was no different.  In fact, I was elated.  In all honesty I was feeling extremely proud of myself!  In terms of my time (I didn't know my finish time yet), I was feeling like I did ok but had solidified the feeling that I have such a LONG way to go.

Mat finished the swim in incredible time (4:30) and felt he had done really well on the bike and run (we didn't know those times yet) so he wanted to stick around for the awards to see if he placed.  The results came in and.... WHAT?  I finished with the fastest time in the pool among the females.  Are you kidding me?!  Swimming is my weak spot!
Total time (including transitions): 46:43
This meant I finished 4th overall (including men and women), 2nd in females and first in my age group (19-29).  The overall female winner finished in 43:49.   I was in complete shock.  I genuinely didn't expect to place at all, let alone, 2nd in females!  To hear everyone in the room ooh and awe at my time and cheer me on as I accepted my cute valentines award (including a gift certificate for a facial), was extremely gratifying.  I wasn't expecting to win anything at this race!!!!!  This is all relative to your competition of course, but I'm so thankful for these results because it has given me a much needed boost in my confidence.

I told myself at the end of 2010 that I was going to do a triathlon in 2011.  I chickened out, overcome with fear of swimming and fell back into the comfort of running.  When I injured my back in August of 2011 and was told that if I wanted to still be active, I needed to cycle and swim, I succumbed to the idea that I would finally learn how to swim.  I have SUCH a long way to go with swimming, I need to commit more time in the pool and more time working specifically on my stroke.  I also need to do some duel training, going from the bike to a run, a swim to the bike, etc.
Overall, I am really happy about today.  I needed this!!!
Everyone said I'd be hooked after the first one.  They were right.  I can't wait until the next tri!  I don't want to wait until May so I will find another indoor to do before the main event in May :)

Friday, February 10, 2012

Privilege vs. Necessity

I saw this picture on facebook the other day.  There's a reason this picture has an emotional impact.  Yes, it is hard to see this starving child, facing a reality most of us go each day with out thinking twice about.  However, I think more than anything, it's impact comes from the fact that, like or not, we ALL play a role in this.
Like it or not, as Americans, we live in a society OVERWHELMED with consumerism.
I grew up in a family where if I wanted something "extra" (i.e. cool new clothes, new basketball shoes, etc) I had to work for it.  I babysat until I was able to get a "real job".  At age 14 I had my first job and have been working ever since.  Though I hated it at the time, I am very grateful for this experience as it has instilled in me a great work ethic and appreciation for a dollar earned.  It's been a very big challenge for me as a parent to create a healthy balance between wanting to provide my kids with the things I didn't have growing up and also wanting them to grow up with the same work ethic I did.  I admittedly have error-ed on the side of giving THINGS... STUFF to my kids.  They are blessed beyond measure, not just with STUFF but because they are surrounded with amazing extended family (something I didn't grow up with), from cousins to Aunts and Uncles, grandparents... all the way to the coolest great-grandparents one could wish for.  They have health, food, fun, clothes, a nice home in a great neighborhood, education, the list goes on.  But sadly I'm convinced they don't see it this way.  They have come to expect the necessities and somehow feel owed the privileges.  I'm being a bit dramatic because this is a big deal to me and unfortunately I know that it starts with Brad and I.  If we want them to have a grateful attitude and be thankful for their "necessities" and willing to work for "privileges", it's up to us to instill that in them.  First through example and then through lesson.  
This is a constant balancing act that we struggle with.  It's something always on our minds as we provide for and discipline the boys.  
Which brings me to another parenting challenge... discipline :) 
Carson has been lying so much lately that I see it becoming habit.  The thought of such scares me to no end.  He also has this dramatic, woe-is-me, expectant attitude that I have just had enough of.  Don't get me wrong, Carson is an amazing little kid.  He is a sweetheart and truly a lover at heart.  He has a bold personality and seeks approval and praise with great earnest.  Which often results in him seeking that attention in all the wrong ways.
Bringing these two things together (1. the need to define the difference between necessity and privilege and 2. figuring out effective ways to discipline Carson), has brought Brad and I to this...

I decided to ask Carson to make a list of everything he is thankful for...
Here is his list;
-My Family
-My Brother
-Halo Rach
-Nintendo 3DS
-rip stick
-baseball practice w Uncle Brad
-cool clothes

I then preceded to ask him which of these things he thought were necessities vs. simply privileges.  To my surprise he picked all the right things.  The ones highlighted in bold text above are what we determined as necessities.  (Notice that only "clothes" is highlighted, not "cool")  
We talked about how God has given us a resposibilty as his parents, to provide for him and we will always do so.  We will never take away food, clothes, shelter, family, etc.  As for everything else on the list however, it's fair game.  From now on, we will not simply "ground" him for a short period of time.  The lying and the attitude will result in privileges being taken completely away.  This list is what we will go off.  First on the list?  Recess.  I am going to speak with his teacher and (hopefully) get approval to take away recess privileges at school if necessary.  
I'm documenting this because I want the boys to be able to look back on these things when they are older.  I have no idea if this will work or not.  Regardless, we will continue to grow and learn as parents... hopefully doing something right along the way.  Thankfully we have God's help :)

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Carson is such a funny kid.  One minute he's playing football and the next he's dancing and doing yoga.  He came home today with an assignment he did in school that just made me laugh.  The book is titled "My Book of Words Ending in ing."
The pictures speak for themselves so I'll just start there...

As I landed on the last page of the book (which ended up being the back of the book), this is what I found...
Bling?  Really?  Of all the words that end with ing, my 8 year old boy of all boys picks BLING :)
Love the picture that he drew along with it.  This just made me laugh!  I love this kid!