Monday, September 29, 2014

Back At It


I went aero for the first time in over a year.

I cracked a 9:00 mile.

I drank a glass a wine.  

(or two)

And if I squint hard enough I think I can see my abs.

I AM (almost) “ME” AGAIN!

We have nearly hit the 5 week point since Mackenzie’s birth.  In that time I have learned one thing: my masters degree is useless!  I should have gone to school for a masters in Food Service & Sanitation.  My life is a whir of meal prep/clean up, potty visits, baths, laundry and household chores.  I remind myself that I get to do this and realize that I wouldn’t have it any other way.  Chris spent two weeks at home after Mackenzie’s birth and somewhere in week two made the very keen observation: this is a hard job you do, Elizabeth

Yes, now, let's talk about the PAY! 

Mackenzie is an adorable 9+ pounds of snuggleworthy cuteness.  I am utterly in love with her and even find her cry adorable (her cry sounds like a little sheep and who doesn’t love a sheep?).  She is a good baby in that she sleeps for 3 hours at a time and only cries when she’s wet, poopy or hungry.  At times I find myself wondering why or how it’s so easy.  Don’t get me wrong – waking up every 3 to 4 hours is not easy but compared to what it could be with a newborn?  I’m lucky.  She gets up, eats and within 15 minutes is back in bed asleep.  DREAMY newborn behavior!  There was even one night where she slept for 5 hours.  Every new parent knows the feeling when the kid finally wakes up, you look at the clock and think to yourself – wait, what?  I feel too good.  I feel refreshed.  You mean it’s been FIVE HOURS since they last woke?  OMG ARE THEY STILL BREATHING? 

It happened once.  The day I felt refreshed

Yet managing each day can be a wild ride of managing the details of the house, business, two kids and the dog.  5 weeks of juggling all of this – and, not to mention myself and my own recovery – has taught me that just like endurance racing, it pays to stay in the moment and not look too far ahead.  At times I think to myself how am I going to do it all?  Then I tell myself that I don’t have to do it all.  I don't have to figure it out now.  I just have to make it through today.  And then tomorrow.  And soon enough I’ll have strung together weeks, months of doing things that lead to a feeling of accomplishment.  Just like when you run that marathon at the end of Ironman – it’s not 26.2 miles, it’s 1 mile you have to repeat 26 times.  The same but different.

(yet still a very long way!)

Max has been adjusting to life as the big brother.  At first he was intimidated by the job duties.  Now he proudly tells everyone I’m the big brother.  He likes to help – and the more I ask him to help the more I think it makes him feel important.  He’s in preschool two days a week which means I get to live the dream of one child for 4 ½ hours on those days (thank goodness for extended care preschool – and he loves it!).

Most days I can manage my most amazing magic trick – getting both of the kids to nap in the afternoon at the same time.  Max still (THANKFULLY) naps for 3 to 4 hours every afternoon.  Even if he doesn’t nap, I insist he takes “quiet time” in his room for 60 to 90 minutes with puzzles or books or Legos.  Mackenzie (like it or not, kid!) will do the same!  One day I managed to squeeze in a 75 minute workout where they were both napping THE ENTIRE TIME!  Even the dog didn’t bark! 

At the 3 week mark, I got the green light from my doctor to return to all activity with the caution to “not lift anything heavier than 10 pounds.”  With my c-section for Max she gave me the green light at 6 weeks but I returned to biking at 3 weeks, running at 4 weeks and swimming at 6 weeks.  This time around, she seems to better understand me, my baseline fitness and what my body can tolerate.  So, for the past two weeks, I’m been merrily “training to train.”  In other words, building up my tolerance for bigger, faster, harder training again.  Swimming feels the strangest – I feel disconnected and the water feels heavy.  With some time I know I will be back with my own lanemates swimming on my old intervals.  That thought motivates me every day!  Biking feels ok but the adjustment to leaning over again is awkward after spending so long propping myself up higher and higher.  I had the opportunity to ride outside on Saturday morning and rode a route I’ve ridden 1000000 times in the past 15 years but it felt like the first time again.  Honestly I could have gotten excited about riding in a 1 mile circle as long as the wind was in my face and my wheels were moving on pavement.  Running has felt the best.  Make no mistake – I am heavy AND slow but I am RUNNING!  With Max I took 5 months off of running and when I returned it felt awkward and I was sore for days.  This time around I feel good.  I was able to run up until the end and the transition back has been much easier.  I’ve been strict on keeping my HR under a set point to allow my fitness to build up properly.  All it takes is a slight incline (and WHO knew that all of my run routes were so damn incline-y!) or a light headwind and my HR shoots straight over 150.  SIGH.  But, each run has gotten faster.  Lastly, strength training has been very light as I’m gearing up to start with Trainer Kate in a few weeks.  Kate was so integral in putting me (actually, putting my TVA) back together last time around that I knew I needed to enlist her help again.  Can’t wait – I’m sure there are many pull ups, angle lunges and TVA activation moves ahead.

I’m excited to get back to triathlon though I haven’t been too far removed from it in the past year.  It’s my business!  Though I didn’t compete this year, I was heavily involved in triathlon.  Locally, I led a women’s triathlon training program, a kids triathlon program, coached kids swim conditioning, coached masters and led an Ironman Wisconsin training program and continued with my coaching business.  My own business is now in its seventh year and I couldn’t be more proud of my athletes and what we’ve accomplished.  You can visit my coaching website (www.multisportmastery.com) or join our group on Facebook to keep up with the latest happenings and results.  The Well-Fit Ironman Wisconsin completed its sixth year and has now helped over 150 athletes across the finish line.  Our 2015 program starts in early February, more information is here.  Looking for a good local masters program?  Our small group allows for more individualized attention for stroke feedback while the workouts will challenge you at your own level.  The winter season starts in November, contact me for more information or how to register.  Finally, Jen Harrison and I also podcast about triathlon once a month, visit here to listen to our archived shows.  

In 2015, I'll stay involved with those programs & of course continue coaching while tackling my own goals.  Will it be easy?  No.  In the same way that it's not easy for my husband to work full-time outside of the home and manage to put together the training for yet another Kona qualification (congrats to him - we got to watch him race well at Ironman Wisconsin a few weeks ago!).  But the not so easy things are always worth it.  For now, I'm assembling ideas for my 2015 goals.  Should I do an Ironman?  Try to revisit the podium at Worlds?  Race local?  Try to do Rim 2 Rim?  In addition to setting goals for 2015, I will also be turning 40!  I should probably commemorate that by doing something monumental but right now I'd settle for having one day where it's all about ME.  That's right, ME! 

(I should confess that the other night, Chris told me to get out of the house and I said to myself I'm going to Binny's, yes, BINNY'S because it's the one place you can go where there are NO kids ---- Binny's is our local liquor store). 

I'm ready to get this triathlon train back on track and enjoy developing fitness.  Right now, I am so unfit that I can look at my bike and gain 10 points for my CTL.  It's THAT easy!  I know it won't last but I'm excited to chase PRs, podiums and a better version of myself next year.