It’s Monday morning. The world thawed out this weekend and I’m pretty sure we even hit 40 degrees. There was a lot of hockey this weekend, a bit of sledding, lots of cooking, a rocking game of bowling and a bit too much wine. So between soggy snow pants and a crock pot full of chunky tomato soup, I’d call it a good weekend.
I’m joining Erin for a year of 52 weeks.
This week you:
• had so much fun with your classmates at a birthday party
• declared Daddy to be the best fort builder, and spent many an hour building them
• cuddled on your bed with a book and pretzels and “read”
• rode “Fancy” the unicorn around and around and around
• tried to teach Bogey how to use the iPad.. you were very patient
Just a few of the books that I hope to read this year:
Good Poems for Hard Times*, edited by Garrison Keilor
The Memoir Project*, by Marion Roach Smith
Monument Road, by Charlie Quimby
A Writer’s Time*, by Kenneth Atchity
Ready for Air*, by Kate Hopper
The Cassoulet Saved Our Marriage, edited by Caroline M Grant and Lisa Catherine Harper
I Am Malala, by Malala Yousafzai
* I may have started a few already…
I did my third triathlon this weekend. Now that it’s behind me, I can say it was a blast. But up until that moment where my toes hit the water, I felt totally unprepared. The first time I did this triathlon, two years ago, I followed the training schedule faithfully. I packed my bag carefully, made notes and asked advice. And I was nervous as hell. Last year I was much more relaxed, but again trained aggressively and I beat my time by about two minutes. This year I started the summer with a strong training program, but by Mid-July my training fell apart. We listed our house, Daughter’s day care fell apart and my Dad passed away. I continued to train just to maintain my sanity. I went into the race very relaxed, probably too much. And maybe even too confident. I had no jitters and no concerns. I really just wanted to have fun. I didn’t expect to get a PR. Here’s what happened.
I didn’t realize that the first wave had even started until I saw people running out of the water. What? Yeah, Jenn, they’re on the third wave already, my training partner told me. What? We were in the ninth wave, so we had a few minutes, but still, pay attention, Jenn! It’s a good thing she was there or I’d probably still be standing on the beach waiting to start. Anyway, I started the swim fast, too fast. I ran out ahead, dove in and swam with everything I had. And then I couldn’t breathe. I got kicked and then I kicked someone. Then I had to flip over and just breathe kick breathe. By the first turn I was starting to calm down but was still offered a noodle. All the crazy thoughts I expected came racing through my mind. “What are you thinking doing a triathlon? Just grab that kayak over there and you can be done. You still need to bike and run after this, are you crazy?” But just like in writing, I told my mind to shut up. I closed my eyes and started to swim. Every few strokes I looked up to make sure I was going in the right direction. I was. By the second turn I was encouraging another swimmer who seemed to be struggling. By the time I reached the shore I was grateful for strong legs and sand to run on.
I dried my feet, struggled with socks, velcroed my bike shoes, clipped on my race belt and helmet and ran outta there in just over two minutes.
I have a love/hate relationship with the bike. I love the bike because I have water and food with me and I can get my head settled after the swim, but I hate it because it’s long and I have a slow bike and I inevitably get bored by mile 12 of so. This year I really worked on concentrating, mostly because I figured out my bike computer and now know how fast I’m going. Even then, by mile 14 I was slowing down and a friendly biker passed me and encouraged me to finish strong. It was exactly what I needed, so I kicked my speed back up and sped in.
I really only had to rack my bike and switch shoes, but as I leaned down to tie them (darn laces) I got a bad cramp in my upper abs (old yoga injury) and had to sit down. Sit Down? Just to put on shoes? Even sitting I could barely reach my feet without the cramp flaring up but I told myself as soon as I had them tied I could run away and stretch it as much as I wanted.
So, off I went to the trail and nobody else was there. Seriously. There were dozens of fans and I new I went the right way, but there were no other runners! I actually had to ask some spectators if I was going the right away. I was, and moments later I caught some slower runners. (I might have a slow bike, but I pass all those racing-bike-types on the run). The first mile was hard. Really hard. My legs were tired and I felt like I was barely moving. But it’s so mental at that point and I really really didn’t want to walk. so I just kept moving my legs over and over and over. A half-mile into the run I caught my breathe and started to have fun. I encouraged walkers to run with me. I complimented a woman on her cute top (Athleta, of course!). I shouted out my calories burned when it hit 950. And I yelled just one mile to go when we had just one mile to go. Then with 800 yards left, I thought I was going to puke. That darn Gatorade I tried at the last water stop. I new it was a bad choice, but I just put the thought out of my head and new that at that finish line were my Husband, My In-laws and the sweetest little girl i knew. And I knew she wanted to finish with me. When I could finally see the finish line (I love that you can’t see the finish line until there’s only about 150 feet to go) I knew I was nearly there. I looked in the crowd for Husband and saw his head peeking over the crowd. I waved and out popped Daughter. Dressed in her favorite party dress and her new running shoes. She grabbed my hand and ran with me all the way to the end. We crossed and stopped and as I leaned down to hug her she looked up and asked, “Did we win?” “Yeah, Baby, we won all right.”
I didn’t look at the clock when I finished, but I knew from my watch that I had probably gotten a PR. I think the big difference is that I pushed it on the bike. I totally messed up the swim, but with the stronger bike and a consistent run (my best and favorite portion) I reached the PR. And after everything that happened this summer, everything that tried to derail my training and didn’t, I couldn’t be happier. Now, I just can’t wait until next year. Seriously. It can’t come soon enough!!
Say goodbye to the mint green tile, the peach and yellow accents and the crumbling walls.
I won’t miss the 80s lights or the cracked grout.
And I won’t miss the broken shelves in the medicine cabinet or the too-large-for-the-space sink.
Or that nightmare of a glass shower door. Really, eleven years we’ve been together. See ya!
Remember those questions I posted a week or so ago? I haven’t forgotten them. Here’s number one:
1. What is one thing you’d like to accomplish (professionally or personally) in the next year?
There are a lot of things I want to accomplish in the next year… move to a new house, complete another triathlon, run another 10k. But the one thing I need to throw out there, into this virtual but very real space, is that I want to finish the memoir I’ve been working on. I’ve been working on it on and off for a couple years (mostly off), but it needs to get onto the page somehow (and soon). That means that by April 4, 2014 I’ll have a first draft. And it might be a shitty first draft, well, yes, it will be a shitty first draft, but it will be a first draft.
I met a writing friend for coffee (I drink tea) yesterday and she has inspired me. She makes herself write 500 words every day. I’m going to write 500 words at least four times a week. At least. If more spills out that’s great. There will be less sleep and less reading, and hopefully less TV. But there will be writing.
And maybe I’ll share some of it with you here. I haven’t talked about this “memoir” here before. In fact, I rarely talk about my personal writing here except with my supportive and loyal writing group, but many of you know that having Daughter was no easy task. And that’s where my story begins. There are lots of parts of my story and lots to write about. And I’m working on it. Really working on it. And it’s hard. But now I’ve thrown it out to you. One year. 365 days. And it’s not an April Fool’s joke. Really. That was already three days ago!.
(the cake photo is borrowed from Cafe Latte, yum)
Today is my half-birthday, which I wouldn’t notice normally, but I’m still working my way through my 39 at 39 list and I think I have a ways to go. Let’s see:
1. Do a Triathlon – DONE, on August 17
2. Run a 10K – DONE, October 1
3. Make homemade bread
4. Take a nap
5. Enjoy a glass of wine with a close friend on a beautiful day
6. Read Anna Karenina
7. Do a charity walk for a cause close to my heart
8. Make sushi
9. Make homemade Veggie Burgers – GP’s Veggie Black Bean Burgers – DONE
10. Take the dog for a long walk – DONE11. Go for a hike- Carpenter Nature Center – DONE
“I will have nothing in my home that I do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.”
– William Morris
My first William Morris Thursday.… I took advantage of 20 minutes of Toddler distraction and cleaned out our two main food storage cupboards. Really, there’s not much space. Most of my baking goods are in the pantry, but the every day ingredients are in one of these two cupboards.
Above the stove, Before and After. This is where we keep the tea and all sorts of snacks for the Toddler. On the far left there is the homemade granola from Jen. Yum!
The main cupboard, Before and After. What a mess, it’s a little bit better. On the bottom shelf I have crackers, more snacks, granola bars, and can storage, mostly filled with black beans and coconut milk. Middle shelf is home to pasta, sauces and unopened bottles on the lazy susan. Top shelf includes nuts, cocoa, oatmeal and random grains that aren’t used very often.
It’s a little neater. I purged quite a bit, including consolidating oatmeal, tossing expired goods and eating a box of Cracker Jacks. It was worth it.
And then it was January. Well, actually the third of January..
I’m ready to get back in to the swing of things. I ready to stop eating Christmas cookies. I’m ready to get back to running, swimming, yoga and hockey. I’m ready for work… which promises to be very busy this month. And I’m ready to write.
Last year I had made a few New Year’s resolutions, and for the most part I stuck with them. I wrote here and there, I went to yoga fairly regularly, I created for those I love rather than for those that paid me, and I completed my first triathlon. This year there is just one resolution: To Write.
Oh, there will still be a triathlon or three, and a 10k and maybe (gulp) a 10 miler, and Yoga to keep a balance, but the real goal of the year it to Write. I have two, maybe three, books brewing in my head and they’re screaming to get out. So this is their year. Seriously. Here goes…
What are your resolutions?
November. I’m still running in shorts. Already playing hockey. And can/can’t wait for snow. Among other things, November is the month of daily creativity. There’s NaNoWrMo and Art Every Day For a Month. I’m aiming to do one or the other every day… meaning to write or create art. I feel like doodling, or making jewelry or maybe bring out the paints? We’ll see what comes up.
As for those resolutions…. here goes:
See above…. And designing a whole lotta invitations and such for Purple•Poppie. Those ideas just keep coming. Woo!Hoo!
Hello 5:30am. Nice to see you again. You’re a pain in my butt but you get me writing.
My lovely new instructor took a new job. ((*^%%&^%%$!! But I’m still going. Because I love it. And the Level 2 classes are HARD!
This is good. I just stopped spending money.
Hockey started this past weekend and all that training really made the transition a piece of cake. (And yes, I enjoyed a piece of Salted Cashew Caramel Chocolate Cake to celebrate our first win.) I’m also signing up for my first indoor tri. Anyone with me?
Are you ready for snow? Thanksgiving? Eecks, the holidays?