Mommy Wants a Timeout

In which I contemplate absurd moments in parenthood, occasionally attempt to refer to myself as a “triathlete” while keeping a straight face, and maybe post some random pictures of stuff I’m knitting

Archive for the month “June, 2012”

Panic Counts as Cardio, Right?

Here we go with a very belated race report on the Blue Lake Aqua-Bike from June 9th. I didn’t advertise that I was considering doing this race(ish thing) beforehand, mostly because I wanted to give myself a chance to back out at the last minute. This might be the first time I’ve ever not gotten a discounted race fee for registering early…I signed up Thursday for the Saturday race.

My real motivation for doing the Aqua-Bike was my husband…He decided to tackle the Blue Lake Sprint Triathlon, his first full-length sprint tri. (He did a novice tri last summer, with a quarter-mile swim instead of the half-mile one.) He finds open-water swimming very intimidating, so it was pretty huge for him to decide to go for this. I was going to be there anyway to cheer him on, so why not try the two events my foot would allow me to do? (Common sense provides a few reasons: a $85 race fee, for one; icy-cold early June lake water, for another.) We decided to go for it, together, so that cold Saturday morning found us unloading our bikes in the muddy field of Blue Lake Park.

“Honey, show me your excited face!” This was the best he could do.

After we set up our transition areas, I wasn’t quite sure what to do with myself. My normal triathlon warmup would involve jogging for a few minutes, but since jogging was out, I settled for warming up by putting on my wetsuit, which got my blood moving a little (Have I mentioned it was really cold out?) Hubby and I then headed down to the water, where he did the responsible thing and got in the water, to get used to the water temperature and practice his stroke. I, however, got distracted by the confusion of several racers about where the bouys were located for the half-mile swim. (No one ever listens to the pre-race briefing, do they?) In my usual do-gooder (know-it-all) style, I explained the course to them, and to the next people who came up after that, and the next, and the next…Until my husband came up and told me I better get in the water, because they were about to line up my wave.

I jumped in the (freezing) water as fast as I could, did a few breathing exercises to try to get used to putting my face in the water, and barely had time for 5 or 6 strokes of freestyle before I had to get out and run over to the starting line.

I was totally out of my element in the mixed group of my wave, which was comprised of aqua-bikers, relay team members, and, in an odd juxtaposition, kids 11 (and under) through 19 and Clydesdales. None of them seemed to be interested in any prerace banter (30-something females, my usual peers, excel at it), so I was alone with my thoughts until the horn sounded.

Blame it on the lack of a warmup, or the decline in my fitness level due to injury, or the cold I was coming down with but didn’t know about yet, but that was the most miserable swim I’ve ever had. As soon as I dove in, I was panicky and short of breath. My arms felt like they were flailing, and I couldn’t stand to put my face in the water. Getting into any kind of a rhythm was out of the question. Switching to breaststroke didn’t seem to help, and I was seriously considering bailing out of the whole thing by the time I got to the first bouy. Then I saw the row of rescue kayaks on the inside of the course, and realized that any time I wanted to, I could just swim to the side and they would save me. At that point, I decided to head for the next bouy and see what happened. I tried to force myself into an even stroke, breathe regularly, and use the legs I’d forgotten I owned (they were dragging along behind me like a half-dead horse.) It wasn’t pretty, it wasn’t fast, but eventually I got to the next bouy, and the next after that, switching to breaststroke every time the panic started up again. Eventually I was at the finish and heading back through the super-muddy transition area.

After slipping in the mud and stubbing my left big toe, I was back at my bike and struggling to get out of my wetsuit with numb fingers. (I have a sleeveless wetsuit, so I was essentially numb from the shoulders down. And my feet…I couldn’t feel my feet at all.) Once I fumbled my helmet and gloves into place, I was off for the slippery 0.22 hike to the bike mounting line. (Seriously…It took forever, so I checked my bike computer.)

The best thing I can say about my ride is…It wasn’t my swim. I think there was a headwind both ways, if that’s possible, and I barely dodged the giant dead possum in the roadway. I was thrilled to see my husband’s smiling face in the oncoming riders after I passed the turnaround. Thrilled because A) He obviously survived the swim, and B) He almost looked like he was having fun!

Then I was at the bike dismount line, and crossing the timing pad, and…I was finished. The most anticlimactic race finish ever. As I walked my bike back, I was passed left and right by triathletes running back to get ready for the last leg. A kindly old lady looked at me walking along and said sympathetically, “You’re doing fine, honey…Save your legs for that run!” I appreciated the good will, but had to explain that my race was over. Really, it was a strange feeling…I felt like I’d forgotten something I was supposed to do.

I racked my bike, threw on some sweats, and got over to my husband’s bike rack in time to cheer him on as he headed off for his run. Then I beelined for the coffee cart, and ordered my self a nice hot mocha. I strolled back along the course and cheered a few runners on, then saw my husband, still smiling, running along WAY ahead of when I’d anticipated. Totally awesome to see him finish so strong!

Still smiling!

So, it wasn’t the Olympic-distance triathlon I’d hoped for to start my summer, but it was better than nothing, and it certainly taught me a couple things about warming up properly before an open-water swim. The highlight of the day was definitely seeing my husband finish something that I’m sure, a year ago, he never would have thought possible. Funny, I think I probably felt the same way just a couple years ago!

The Pressure is On…


My blog has been in a state of semi-hibernation for the last month, because of my injury, subsequent lack of training stories or race reports, and general absence of creativity. It seems as though the lazier my body is, the lazier my mind becomes.

So you can imagine my surprise when Strong at the Broken Places nominated my blog for a Liebster Award last month! I’m grateful and humbled by this award, not least because it means I have an INTERNATIONAL audience (Canadian), and the blogger who nominated me is one of my favorites…A funny, self-deprecating aspiring triathlete with a literary bent.

I’m also a bit overwhelmed now, since part of accepting this award means I have to “pay it forward” to 5 other “read-worthy blogs with 200 followers or less”…This shouldn’t be too hard, except that I’m not actually that much of a blog reader. I follow a few, and check in occasionally on a few more, but most of my internet time consists of checking on friends’ Facebook status updates, deleting spam from my Yahoo account, and logging my workouts on BeginnerTriathlete.com .

This means the pressure is on! So here are a few blogs I really enjoy. I will pay forward my Liebster Award to them, and hope that they can pass it on as well.

Colene, in Training. I’ve followed this blog from its beginning, when its author was a novice runner who had just set her sights on completing her first marathon. I may be slightly biased because Colene is an acquaintance of mine from high school, but I find her story of how running has helped her overcome major life crises and transform herself into a strong, confident single mom to be really inspiring.

Another blog I love, which also belongs to a couple acquaintances from my pre-mommy rock climber days, is M&M Heads. Do you ever wish you could quit work, throw some camping gear in a van, and set off on a road trip throughout some of the most beautiful places in the United States? Well, Matt and Michelle did just that, and they’re hiking, rock climbing, and sharing beautiful pictures while they’re at it. They’re also sharing some funny and insightful anecdotes about what it means to share tiny living space, and some amazing adventures, with the one you love.

When I’m training for a triathlon, I like reading about other people who are also training for triathlons. Elisa is an amateur triathlon, like me, who gets nervous before races, like me, and shares her training and race reports, a lot more consistently than me.

I’m going to leave it at three nominations for now, as several of my other favorite blogs (Trigrandmatry, Strong at the Broken Places) have already received Liebster awards.

And, even though he’s not eligible for a Liebster, since too many people already adore and follow his blog, I’m going to mention A Fat Man’s Journey, because I find this blog to be one of the most sincere, inspiring, and touching personal stories I’ve found online. His weight-loss journey is admirable enough, but he brought me to tears the other day with this post about his son.

I hope you check out some of these blogs, and enjoy them as much as I do!

Coming up soon: Blue Lake Aqua-Bike race report, MRI results for my foot, and my ongoing quest to eradicate the monsters hiding in my son’s closet.

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