Thursday, February 28, 2013

Stone Cold Swimming

I'm going to try to put a positive spin on this blah day in Indiana. Today is not a day you would typically associate with swimming. Skies are gray, snow showers abound and it's cold.  I know, I's February. Typical February weather. But like a lot of midwestern triathletes, I'm over it.  Bring me a sunny, 70 degree day thank you. Is that too much to ask?

I have to remind myself on days like this that spring is just around the corner, and Spring Break (I'm capitalizing it because it's that important) for my kids is only a month away.

You might be wondering what all this has to do with swimming. I'll get to it I promise.  My assigned workout today was a run (!) and a 4,000 yard swim.  At the risk of sounding whiney and wimpy, I just flat out don't like being cold. And when it's really cold I don't enjoy putting on a bathing suit and going to the pool.  Sure, the pool is indoors and sure, it's heated...but the locker room is not. It's like a walk-in freezer in there. I'm not a cold temperature gal...give me heat! (Remind me of that if we have a repeat of last summer when temps hovered in the high 90's-100's). You should have seen me in the locker room, it was ridiculous.  I stood in the frigid room a good 10 minutes weighing the pros and cons of taking my coat off, then undressing.  Again, not a fan of being cold.  But alas, I got undressed and I shivered into my tri suit, got over myself and swam.  Of course I enjoyed it once I warmed up.  Whine session now complete. Workout done.  Happy girl.

Now for me to be so wimpy is way out of character. I'm a girl who will hurtle herself down a Colorado mountain on a mountain bike at top speed. I will bungee jump, and I rappelled straight down a 75 ft drop without a second thought then took pleasure in my adrenaline rush.  But the cold, forget about it. To put it into perspective, I don't even use the hot tub on my patio in the winter because freezing my ass off in the snow on the way to and from the hot tub is just not worth the 10 minutes in the heat.  Call me crazy. Isn't cold weather ideal for hot tubbing for most people?  I guess we all have our quirks.

Tomorrow I am picking up my good friend from the airport. She is returning from a week in Puerto Rico where she was visiting her hot latin lover, who happens to be an athlete and a doctor. They spent the time swimming, biking and running (among other fun hot weather activities. Wink.).  I am happy for her...she deserves the happiness she's found.  But I have to be honest, there is a teensy green tint to my complexion.  Not sure what that's about...envy?  It's not a feeling I like to indulge in, but I guess I am. Just a teensy bit.  That being said, seeing her will give me a little ray of sunshine. Always does. And maybe a little inspiration to escape to a warmer climate myself!

I could find a way to enjoy this....

Even positive people have to grumble once in awhile.  Thanks for indulging me!  I'm sure I'm not alone in my quest for spring to arrive. See you soon!

Peace out,

Monday, February 25, 2013


If you've been following along, you're most likely not surprised to see the title to this post. It was just a matter of time.

It's funny, as I scrolled through my blog history this evening, I was convinced that I surely had devoted a post to this subject.  I was surprised I hadn't. I scrolled again. Nada. While I've mentioned my impatience problem in the past, I hadn't dedicated an entire post to it. The timing of this post seems appropriate as it coincides with teaching my sixteen year old daughter how to drive a car. Interesting parallel, eh?

I just have to laugh. My struggle with patience has become a source of humor to me. It has been brought to my attention a lot lately, for which I am grateful. One cannot work to improve if one is in ignorance (or denial) of the problem, right?  Each time my patience is tested I get stronger. It's kind of funny, in that I'm finally coming to the realization...why rush?  Why not just chill out and enjoy the trip.  I'll get there eventually and when I do it will be worth the wait.  Being impatient and rushing through life is just not the way I want to live today.

Kendall....I love this kid

Which brings me back to what inspired me to write about this today, yes...I am teaching my daughter to drive. The feeling of being in the passenger seat while she takes the drivers seat in my vehicle is humbling. I have absolutely no control, as my car is not equipped with a second steering wheel or brake.  I have to relinquish my power and put myself in the hands of a child.  If that is not a true test of patience, then what is?  As a testament to my improved level of patience, we have gone driving five times in the last week and not one argument.  She has been patient with my barrage of instructions, and I have in turn remained (relatively) calm when she navigates through traffic and the numerous round-a-bouts in Carmel.  She specifically asked me, and me alone, to drive with her after one trip with her father.

Until now, I was convinced that my impatience was just part of my personality and that I would have to accept it. Well, that's just not going to happen. I have made great changes in recent years, why not keep going?  If I know this is a problem then why not fix it?  My life is so much happier and more peaceful if I am being patient and going with the flow.  Life is precious and so damn short.  It seems fitting to slow down, relax and enjoy it.  The more practice in patience I exercise, the calmer and more serene I become.  I can act like a grown up and not my shoe size.

The beauty of being patient with my daughter in our driving lessons is I get to slow down and spend time with her. Learning to drive is something she will always remember, and I want her to look back and remember that she enjoyed the time with me.

My parents used to gently say to me "Michelle, don't anticipate".  They were right.  It may have taken me awhile, but now I understand what they meant. And it's true we never stop learning.

I can't forget the past, nor wish to shut the door on it.  I can't lament relationships I may have hurt with my issues of impatience and control.  I can only go forward from here by putting what I've learned into action.

Peace out,

Friday, February 22, 2013

Slight Upheaval

Finally! After a crazy week I am able to sit down, catch my breath and write. I haven't had the opportunity to write just for fun this week and it is nice to unwind and do so.

I'm coming to you from my favorite bed. It's the first time I've curled up here all week and I've missed it. There's just nothing better than being in your own house and your own bed. Home sweet home.

Notice who has the biggest portion of the bed?  Frank thinks he's sleeping there all night.  He's about to get a wake up call.

I'm having some renovations done to my house, and it was necessary to pack up and leave for a few days.  The updates are vital and long overdue. But if you've ever had work done on your home, you know it's a time of upheaval. I'm embracing this experience. It's a good opportunity for me to practice being patient, which has always been a challenge for me. I'm slowly making progress. Getting out of my comfort zone (literally and figuratively) this week has helped. The result is I did not go completely loco this week. Not completely.

The week's project; new ceramic tile in the kitchen. The existing tile was old, stained and cracked (courtesy of the growing pains of two kids and Frank, the dog). Worth every crack by the way. I took the chance to relieve some stress by taking a hammer to the old tile prior to the contractors' arrival. It was awesome! If the opportunity arises for you to take a sledgehammer to an inanimate object, I highly recommend it.          


After!  Isn't it beautiful?

Pictures don't really do the chaos or the resulting beauty justice. This morning my refrigerator was in the living room and the washer/dryer were in the dining room. All of the pantry items were piled in the living room next to the fridge and the coats from the mudroom were piled on the couch. For a girl who likes things to be in order, it was a good thing I was staying elsewhere. Ha ha. More patience practice. And so worth it.

Good stuff...on to the weekend.

March is a week away, which means race season is getting closer. As such, I will be training hard this weekend. Swim, bike, run baby! I'm looking forward to working my endorphins into a frenzy. Then I will recharge my batteries in my cozy blue bed :) in my Sheex. (Google them. Best. Sheets. Ever.) Oh, so good!  Wait, I'll do it for you, here's the link:

Try them, you'll thank me. You're welcome.  Have a great weekend!

Peace out.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Until You've Walked in Their Shoes

I was in the process of writing a post with an entirely different angle, when I had an enlightening conversation with a friend. I saved what I was writing as a draft and started a fresh page. I was inspired to go in a different direction. Our conversation brought us closer together, as we found we are more alike than we thought. There's something about finding a unique thread of commonality that changes everything you previously thought about someone.  I loved her before, but even more so now.

Which makes me wonder, am I judgmental even with my friends?  Do I forget to look deeper than the surface of relationships?

This conversation was very thought provoking. It made me think about my approach to people. Are there friends in my life that I could grow to know on a deeper level if I open myself up a little more? Am I still letting fear creep in? I think I might be, and in giving this further thought I am probably holding people at arms length because I don't want to risk getting hurt.  I've been hurt recently by letting people in, and letting my guard down. Being hurt deeply in recent months forced my defense mechanisms to kick in and subsequently I raised my guard back up.

But isn't that being judgmental? If I resist closeness to avoid getting hurt, I am prejudging the relationship. And the last time I checked, I was not psychic. Closing myself off based on past hurt is ludicrous. And I'm not going to go there. It's a dark place, and I enjoy the light too much.

The word judgmental sounds so harsh. And in reality it is. Who am I to judge if I haven't walked in the other person's shoes?  Judgement of others can not have a place in my life if I am truly letting go of fear and trying to be the best person I can be.

If I judge someone on how they appear, how they come across by the first impression, or what I assume our relationship will be... how much am I missing? In a word, everything.  As children we are told to not judge a book by it's cover and this is as true in adulthood.

Being vulnerable is frightening. But without vulnerability I could be shutting the door to some pretty amazing people, before even giving them a chance. So to hell with having my guard up, and here's to being my true self. I am not going to fall prey to stagnation and fear.

So thank you my friend, you know who you are. Thank you for opening my eyes and my heart.  Our simple conversation this evening went much deeper than you know. My heart has softened just in the amount of time it took for me to write this post.

I wonder what opportunities will present themselves to me tomorrow with clear eyes and an open mind? The possibilities are endless.


Friday, February 15, 2013

Riding into the Wind

I wanted to write about this yesterday after my ride but the day just got away from me. I'm a bit off schedule, but let's get back in the game today, shall we?

It was a very blustery day. Temperature at 1:15pm was 46 degrees, winds from the S-SW at 10-20mph with 35mph gusts. The perfect day for a bike ride. Crazy, right? Well, of course it is. A day in the life. But in actuality, these were good training conditions. Rumor has it Ironman Kansas 70.3 (my first race of the season) is always a windy race, so the conditions yesterday were fitting training weather. Says my coach, Catherine. Kona Ironman Catherine. When she says it's so, it is usually so. She talks, I listen.

We rode together as we are both in training. Catherine has a race coming up in about a month, Ironman Los Cabos. March birthday! I'm in awe of her. She is a little powerhouse. We work well together and our relationship is much more than athlete/coach. We are good friends. The cool thing about our friendship is from our very first meeting we clicked. It's like we have known each other for years. Translation: we can be real with each other. Not that we aren't always real, we are. I mean she is a call-it-like-I-see-it gal, my kind of people. She is a perfect example of the type of person I am striving to surround myself with these days. Drama-free. Straight up.

We agreed to meet in Zionsville, a suburb of Indianapolis. We bundled up, saddled up and headed out. The first 20 minutes or so was the warm up, and we chatted as we rode.

When we made it out of the suburbs Catherine "suggested" a workout of 5x5 minutes all out with 2 minutes recovery between each interval. So much for the conversation. Ha ha. I was happy to oblige because this is what will make me stronger. The wind added a little challenge but it was good work.

We rode hard! For most of the intervals I was chasing Catherine's dust while she seemed tiny on the horizon. Pushed me to work harder. The cool down mimicked the warm up with a slower pace and conversation continued where we left off.

Catherine pulled, but clearly I was not within drafting distance when this picture was taken. I was too busy snapping this next photo:

Kids...don't take pictures while riding. Leave this to the professionals ha ha. Seriously, not the greatest idea in the world. Hands should be on the bars, eyes on the road. A pothole can jump out at you any time. And as I know from experience a sudden gust of wind can be treacherous.

Catherine the Great (and her sweet new ride)

Me (the Student)

It was a fantastic ride but I was happy to get into my warm car. I couldn't stop shivering!

Swam this morning, and now I'm off for a meeting with my nutritionist. A day in the life.

Peace out,

Sunday, February 10, 2013


A friend of mine asked me this week, "how do you stay motivated"?  Good question.  Especially this time of year.  It's currently cold, rainy and dreary and would be the perfect day to put on a pot of soup and curl up with a good book.

I just can't give in to that. It would be too easy to skip my workout, then perhaps tomorrow's workout and so on.  I've been there before and I can't let myself fall into that pattern. I have to stay on top of my game mentally and physically. As such I have to stick to my schedule.  I have a 150 mile hilly ride coming up in 2 months, and my first Ironman race is 18 weeks from today. That means no skipped workouts. I want to make this my best season yet and that means hard work.

I rode a three hour endurance ride today. I dug deep to get the motivation, because I'll be honest I was dreading it. The prospect of being in the same room on my bike for a solid three hours didn't seem like very much fun. I think the motivation came from an automatic response to's on my calendar and if I want to improve I've just got to do it. But you know how it is, long treadmill runs or long sessions on the bike trainer imply sheer boredom.

But I did's in the record books and I enjoyed it like I always do. I'll be back next week to do it again. I was blessed with some amazing athletes to ride with today. We rode the Ironman World Championship course in Kona, Hawaii from cold Carmel IN. Awesome. Pretty scenery on the overhead screen helped the time go by quickly.

So where does that motivation come from?

Part of my story is a significant weight gain during my pregnancies. The term significant being an understatement. After my son was born I tipped the scales. I was large and in charge. I lost the weight gradually (and the old fashioned way by changing my diet and surgery for this girl) and have kept it off, especially since picking up triathlons several years ago. This certainly keeps me motivated. As I've mentioned, I over indulge in many areas and if I'm not careful tend to easily slip into bad habits. Balance again comes into play. The mental aspect of training comes from within. I have a strong need to keep the fat girl at bay. This can easily become an obsession...but I'm working on that too. I put emphasis on healthy, clean living today. I'll tell you the whole story one of these days. Maybe I'll reveal my highest weight. Bet you won't believe it..but I have pictures under lock and key to prove it.

I have been through a lot in my life. I've changed and morphed into a person that I'm proud of and that my kids are proud of. This is my motivation, and this is where my positivity comes from. I've been down...way down but I've picked myself up. This fact alone has made me strong. There is great hope in me that I can overcome any obstacle that comes my way.

For me good health, regular training and working on myself is not just something I do but it's the way I am today. Keep moving forward. There's no way I'm going back. There's my motivation.

Tomorrow's workout in my Training Peaks is yoga. Thanks coach. Namaste'.

Do you need some motivation? Just ask me...I'll cheer you on!

Peace out,

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Appreciation of the Modern

I am spending my evening appreciating the little things in my life. A beautiful sunny day. Laughter in my son's voice despite the fact he is on crutches and sidelined from sports for a month. The glee on my daughters face as she returned from a romp with Frank, the dog. A fantastic run of my own earlier today during which I felt the "runner's high" which had been eluding me for weeks. And a trip to the Apple Store this afternoon which renewed my appreciation for good customer service. The little things that if you think about them a bit, aren't really so little.

Which leads me to why I was at the Apple Store. My six year old Macbook Pro lost its battle with a failing memory (I can relate) and had to be replaced. It was a sad moment. I love my Macbook Pro. (Sniff) As a writer, I rely on it for my livelihood. Until today, I didn't realize how dependent I really was. I forked over the cash for the new computer and handed over my beloved old Mac for Josh (my Genius for the day) to do the data transfer. Josh informed me it would take 24 hours. I informed Josh that I would be back in exactly that. I turned to leave and digested the thought of 24 hours computerless.  Weird. I felt a little naked.

To quell my thoughts I indulged in a little retail therapy. Never fails. I was at the local fashion mecca, after all.

A bit later I exited the mall and gave some thought to how many devices I own, and it dawned on me...I qualify for geek status.  It's kind of crazy. From my Garmin watch, my bike computer, my iPad to my iPhone, etc. it seems I've become a slave to technology.  We all have. With social media rapidly taking over and being paperless fast becoming the primary way of conducting business, we have no choice.

I tried to remember the last time I wrote a letter with a pen and paper. I couldn't. Did I even own stationary? Eek. It truly is a lost art.

WIth communication being mainly via text, email or social media, face to face communication is rare. Our phones and computers have become vital to interact with colleagues.

I'm left to wonder, what would I do without my devices? This gave me pause. I couldn't answer my own question. I'd be in quite a pickle (a.k.a. screwed).

I decided to go the vintage route and hand write this blog post. It had been awhile since I've journaled, so I wrote as if. And it turned out to be very cathartic. The end product was much longer than what I would post, but it was great to get all of my thoughts down on actual paper. I am resolving to journal more often. The old fashioned way.

My daughter finished her homework, and reluctantly loaned me her computer so that I could type and post this. Thank you, Kendall.

I have to be in acceptance of the fact that we are living in an advanced era. Modern technology is a gift. It has put many new opportunities at my fingertips. I'm in contact with some pretty amazing people I wouldn't have otherwise connected with.  So why question it? I choose to embrace it. And my devices? They are pretty cool, and what I can do today is amazing. I can't imagine typing on a typewriter and submitting paper copy to an editor, as I did back in the day.

Once again, if I get out of my own way remarkable things happen.

With that, I'm closing this post. The edited version of it's handwritten counterpart. Thanks to Kendall I am able to get to work on my assignments to meet deadlines which are rapidly approaching.

Peace out,

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Sugar is My Kryptonite

I am in a silly mood, so I feel like a silly post is in order.  It's a surprise to me that my mood is so light, as I'm coming down from a headache to end all headaches. It might be better described as a mind-blowing migraine. This would actually be putting it mildly. When I peeled my eyes open this morning, I was hit by a searing stab of pain. I swear I am not exaggerating. I couldn't even lift my head up off the pillow so to get up and go to the bathroom.  And I REALLY needed to go to the bathroom. I re-set the alarm for an hour later and went back to sleep.  When I woke it was still there.  I crawled to the bathroom, then popped two Excedrin.  Back to bed I went.

I'm convinced it was the direct result of the enormous amount of sugar I consumed yesterday.

I have been a very good girl for the last two weeks.  I've been diligent about following the challenges that were given to me by my instructor at my cycling facility.   The first challenge was NO sugar.  It was rough for the first couple of days, but I did it.  Remarkably, I felt more energy.  Second week's challenge?  No processed food or carbs.  Thus the NO sugar challenge multiplied.  I found it was getting easier to avoid sugar, and I felt great. I continued into the third week.  I was down 3 lbs.  Good stuff.

Yesterday the healthy pattern crumbled. I succumbed to the Kryptonite, my nemesis: sugar.  In the afternoon I had a (large) bowl of Lucky Charms. In the evening I went to a movie (Parker...highly recommend it by the way) and ate an entire box of Sweetarts Mini's. I couldn't stop!  It was like I was possessed.  All reason vanished.

My punishment...the sugar hangover.  I'm calling it a hangover, because that's exactly what it felt like. Massive headache, nauseousness, lethargic. It's 3pm and I'm still feeling it.

On a good note, I went out and ran this morning.  It was 16 degrees with snow flurries. Torture, but I was glad I did it.  I'm not going to let a throbbing headache keep me down, dammit.

So now the pain is almost gone, but the light headed feeling remains.  Probably why I'm feeling a little goofy (or just goofier than normal). Ha ha ha.

Lesson learned...eating Lucky Charms in large quantities and consuming an entire box of Sweetarts is not only bad for the waistline but my body is telling me something.  Lesson learned.  I think it's really funny that I devoted an entire post to a headache, but I'm hoping my experiment with sugar might help someone. It's what this blog is all can learn from my pain :).

Peace out,
Michelle xoxo