august: the wild ride evens out

Checking in with July goals:

Diligently follow whatever crazy regimen of medicine is handed down from the breathing doctor.  Do not neglect the nasal spray just because it’s weird and gross.  I have been a picture of nasal spray perfection.
It’s time to do some more cooking experiments.  Lots of these this month, with sweet potato burritos a new favorite in our house.
Do not get sucked into end-of-summer swimsuit sales.  Not a single swimsuit was purchased!
Do not become addicted to expensive running shorts.  This is only going mediumly well.
Spend more time with the 3D people in your life and less time worrying about the 2D people that live inside the laptop.  I am a work-in-progress.
Do not buy any more nutrition until the cabinet is EMPTY.  I bought more powder, but only after the other powder was gone, and nothing else!  We're still working through the pile of freebie EFS liquid shots.

Life is returning to normal.  I had a tough time readjusting to life as a triathlete-in-training, but I'm up and over that hump and tapering for my next race.  I don't think I'm having a hard time readjusting to life back in the working world, other than never bringing enough food with me, and I'm grateful that I only spent five months being unemployed, feeling terrified and useless.  Today I bring home my first paycheck, which feels like an exhale, a sigh of relief.  Sadly, it will not go towards the dishwasher I promised myself all those months ago, but instead towards starting to rebuild.  Once all our bills shake out, we will be able to make a payment that will bring Graham's debt out of the 4-digit range and down into the 3, and I'm thrilled about all of it.  I'm happy that we're working hard to pay it down, but I'm the most happy that he's alive and snoring on the couch, snuggled up next to me as I type.  A lot of people leaned over to give us a hand in many ways, not just financially, and we haven't forgotten.  We won't forget.  And maybe Santa 2013 will bring us a dishwasher.

I still feel like I'm sitting on a plateau in the pool (I KNOW MASTER'S SWIM OMG I KNOW).  I've had some good solid workouts, but I'm producing the same times I've been turning out all season which isn't awful, I've made some big jumps this year, but I'm grumpy when the big jumps turn into little steps.  I did have a workout yesterday where I was able to hold a lower pace than I've seen for a long set of 50s on descending amounts of rest, but 50s descending are very different than what I can do for 1.2 miles.  Of all the things I'd like to do next weekend in my race, I feel like my swim goal is the most "magical unicorns are sparkly and magical" goal, but I'm chasing it as hard as I can.  I spent a lot of time on the bike early in this month, and that was really the toughest part of leaping back into training.  My legs - along with my head, my heart and my vagina - put up a pretty vicious fight.  By now I've done this enough times to know that as I taper into my race, I'll get some of that deep rested pep back.  I saw a glimpse of it earlier this week, but didn't get to enjoy it because my ride was fraught with sprinkler malfunctions and an insane pack of possessed bees and then my poor decision-making about what time to leave for a hard run under the boiling hot sun reburied me in fatigue.  But it's coming back.  And the run, always the run. I'm not sure what exists in my legs right now, it's always the biggest question mark.  I know what I'd like to do, I know what I'd be happy with, and I know what I'm desperately hoping is hiding deep down inside.  And I think that's all I'm going to say about that for right now.

September will bring only one race, a little bit of recovery, and then right back to work.  Right now my triathlon season has about seven weeks left before it turns into run and swim camp for the winter, and I'm planning on racking up plenty of outdoor bike miles as the weather starts to cool off.  Riding in the fall brings me a shitload of joy - arm warmers that get rolled down two hours in, digging out the warmer socks, stopping for hot chocolate after a long ride - I'm excited for all of these things.  I'm also starting, very tentatively and with lots of hand-holding, to head in another direction as an athlete, and that's to start doing a little bit of coaching.  One of the common threads that has snaked through all of my various careers is how much I enjoy teaching and training and helping people grow, especially when it hurts, and I'm glad to be sticking my toe in the waters of it on a one-to-one basis.  It's going to be a learning process for me, certainly, but I'm ready to get bigger (fatter?) in this way, and I'm ready to work with awesome people who want to grow with me.  (Email me if you want to be one of those awesome people).  A lot of this desire comes from my history and experience, but certainly I wouldn't want to move in this direction without the awesomeness of Sonja rubbing off on me all year (you knew she was getting dragged in somewhere).  Leap directly at the thing you feel like you cannot do.  

It's also getting close to time to celebrate the birthdays of all five of us, and despite the ups and pretty serious downs we've experienced as a family this year, I still feel like we have plenty to celebrate.  We're here, four out of five of us can run, and our house is full of love.  Dog hair and half-chewed toys and smelly running shoes, but also, love.

Miles run: 82
Hangovers: 0
Hoodies purchased with the podium present excuse: 1
Hoodies lusted after with no excuse: 3
Days I missed a dosage of nasal spray: 2
Days I brought twice as much food to work as I thought I would need: 4
Days that I ate all of that and went home starving: 4
Bags of potato chips eaten by stress: 3

September Goals
Start setting the alarm again instead of assuming you will wake up when the poet does.
Get a haircut.  A real one, from the nice ladies in the very high heels.
Make pupcakes for the birthday of Molly and Sofie. 
Don't get swallowed up by training.  Balance is good.  Beer is good.
Keep working on that nutrition cabinet until it is gone.
Actually investigate master's swim instead of just talking about doing it.
Do the buy-a-WTF-vegetable-and-figure-out-how-to-cook it thing again.

What are your goals for September?


  1. I think it's fantastic that you're thinking about coaching, how fitting, I just came across this blog today from one of the Swim Smooth coaches:

    My goal for September is not to lose it and accept that I won't do another tri this year. Boo. At least I get to volunteer to one.

    My second goal is not to injure myself a month before the marathon because that happened more than once.

  2. My favorite part of this whole post: " We're here, four out of five of us can run, and our house is full of love. Dog hair and half-chewed toys and smelly running shoes, but also, love."


  3. Forward progress on lots of things is good! Pat yourself on the back.

  4. Hooray for fall! Except the darkness part.

    My goal for Sept: ride my first century. And squeeze in at least one bike ride with you.

  5. Nice update! Congrats on your first paycheck. A great milestone to hit with a new job. And I totally hear you on not bringing enough food. I always get caught in the vending machine trap.

  6. "Leap directly at the thing you feel like you cannot do." I like this. A lot.

    My biggest goal of Sept is to enjoy - I've put in the work and the hay is pretty much in the barn at this point as they say. Enjoy my vacation, and then enjoy my half IM. And to not do anything dumb to injure myself. :)

  7. I like this post b/c you seem happy and whole right now. And also you love expsenive shorts, just like me. I bought a Halloween swimsuit last night. I cannot wait for it to arrive. It was on sale. Surprise surprise. I must know more about this sweet potato burrito you speak of. I love your magical unicorn goal. It'll happen. Keep kicking ass!

    P.S. I followed your lead and am doing a master's swim meet in October. Gonna get crushed but it's gonna be awesome! Thanks for the inspiration.

  8. I hope September brings fall and not summer kicking and screaming on the way out. If today was the last 90+ degree day of 2012, I would not cry.

  9. I came by chance to your blog. Very nice, congratulation for you Ironman. We were together at the IM CDA; this was my third. I have also a beautiful dog that runs with me every morning. For your curiosity you may look at . Cheers, Mario.

  10. Goal for Sept: don't get hurt. I fell down in July, realized Imhad dislocated my finger in August, spent the entire month taped and hurty...good golly Pete, please don't let me hurt anything else before Chicago or Austin!

  11. I love hoodies and I got on the podium this month. Absolutely will purchase one. Didn't know about this rule!!

  12. I definitely understand the challenge of returning to the work world and also to the training world. It has not been a smooth transition for me!
    Enjoy the changes that come with the fall months.

  13. I just saw a tostada made with butternut squash and it looked awesome. I can email you how they made it if you are interested in adding it to your sweet potato burrito menu listing.

    That is so awesome about you going into coaching. I have been toying with the idea of getting a new coach and whether or not I want to do that. Reason being is that I have been with Claudia for over 3 years now and at some point wouldn't it make sense to change it up? At the same time she has shown to be great and gotten me to this level. I may be emailing you in the future if I decide to change coaches. Would you be willing to coach me? I am a pain in the ass like you with all the texts and emails.....

  14. You have such a balanced life approach and I love it. (is that weird to say...I don't know?). What are these vegetables that you speak of?

  15. You're doing a great job of balancing, hooray!!

    I have nasal spray attached at my hip constantly....I think I'm addicted but seriously can't breathe without it. It's better than being doppy all day from a decongestant. Ha.

    Happy September! :)

  16. Oooh! please share the sweet potato burrito recipe! Looking forward to cooler fall riding as well... would love to join you in 3D if you ever have a group going later in the fall!

  17. Sounds like August turned out to be a great month, with lots of fun coming up. I love September... big races coming up, fall is in the air, and it's nearly Birthday time at our house too. :) Have fun!


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