Cocktail conversation

On Sunday night, my boss hosted her annual New Teacher dinner, when she invites all new faculty and staff to her home, along with their mentors, administration and other significant players in the day to day life of the school, for a casual meet and greet before professional development begins this week. Since I hold a leadership position (not to mention serve as a mentor to one of my English dept colleagues this year), I get to tag along with my husband, big britches Academic Dean.

It’s always fun to catch up with my friends who I haven’t seen for a couple months, and as we sat down to dinner, a few of us chatted about our summer workout routines. Several of them are renewing their commitment to the exercise bandwagon, and as we compared notes, one of my other colleagues, listening to our discussion, asked me, “So, wait, what do you do?”

Me: “Triathlons. You know, swim, bike, and run? I’m doing an Olympic length race on Labor Day so my summer workouts have been kind of crazy.”

Her: “Wow. That seems like an awful lot to juggle with everything else. Why do you do that?”

Her question was sincere, with absolutely no mockery or snark intended. She looked at me quizzically, genuinely wanting to understand why a middle aged mom of 3 would voluntarily spend the time, money and agony energy on a hobby that didn’t, to her understanding, score well on the investment-return ratio.

I picked up my wine glass and took a sip, stalling, while I looked across the table at her. My colleagues paused, waiting for my response.

I thought about my health in 2010, a period in my life that sometimes seems like a lifetime ago, and some days feels like yesterday. How I didn’t sleep at all for months, and then only intermittently for a couple of years after that. How my doctor prescribed Lunesta, but it didn’t touch my insomnia; she prescribed Ambien, and still my body refused to wind down from high alert, always ready, even at 2 or 3am, for the next bombshell. How my doctor looked at me and said, “Tracey, you have to figure something out because I can’t give you something stronger than Ambien.”

I thought about how I couldn’t bring myself to eat, and lost 40lbs in a matter of months. How a well-meaning but misguided colleague worriedly spoke to several individuals at our 2010 class retreat, saying she believed I had anorexia, after witnessing me in the dining hall over the course of 48 hours, plate untouched at each meal. I tiredly and resignedly dispatched a trusted friend to spread the word that, no, it wasn’t anorexia, just a divorce.

I thought about how, after months of weekly therapy, and the ongoing panic attacks and flashbacks and crying jags, my therapist gently said that she believed I had PTSD, that it wasn’t uncommon with women blindsided with massive betrayal, that the recovery for my circumstances was significantly more complex and arduous than your generic, run of the mill divorce. I remember thinking I would always be broken, that I was now damaged goods.

I thought about how I started Couch to 5k in 2011, because my narrative was always, always, even as a Division I athlete, that I couldn’t run. How I was desperate to prove, even if only to myself, that I could succeed at something hard. How I couldn’t control being a failure at marriage, or as a mother (because my 2011 self very much believed I had failed as a mother), but maybe if I could run, there was a sliver of redemption. I thought about how at first, it was just about running 2 minutes, and then 3 minutes, and then at some point it wasn’t about running more minutes at all (although that rapidly increased) but the meditative rhythm that calmed me.

I thought about how with every goal accomplished, with every training plan completed, a tiny piece of my soul falls back into place. How the sweat of a long, hard workout, when I am literally gasping for air and my legs shaking and my muscles aching, feels like a baptism, washing away the wreckage of my former life. How I felt completely, utterly worthless, foolish, the joke of an entire network of friends and acquaintances, but now feel strong, competent, invincible.

I considered my answer as I peered at her over my Sauvignon Blanc, and flexed my leg muscles, knowing without looking under the table the definition that was now there, for the first time in my entire life. I thought about how I couldn’t remember the last time I cried, or suffered a panic attack, or felt victimized; I considered how, as athletic and strong as my body now is, my mind was the real warrior, losing the battle but winning the war. I thought about how I used to avoid some events as a mother, unable to stomach the confrontation, the inevitable PTSD triggers, and now I stand my ground, triumphant, victorious.

I carefully set my wine glass down, flashed a dimpled grin, and in a light and playful tone, replied, “I do it for the medals. Who doesn’t love a medal?!”

Blink

first day of school, 2008 (Kinder, preschool, 3rd grade)

When I delivered my 3rd child in May, 2004, just 20 short months after my 2nd child, and a smidge over 4 years after my 1st, I remember doing a lot of calculations.

How much longer until I sleep through the night, after four solid years of nocturnal disruption already under my belt?

How much longer until I am only buying diapers or Pull-ups for 2 kids instead of 3 (my oldest was a slow learner at the overnight bladder control)? For one? For none?

How many years will I have 2 college tuition payments at the same time? (joke’s on you, former self, just wait until the 13 years of private school tuition before that. Bless your heart).

I’ve always been very anxious forward-thinking, so I spent a lot of time in those early baby and toddler years, wondering what it would be like 5, 10, 15 years down the line.

For some reason, when I envisioned the future, I always settled on when the kids were in 7th, 8th and 11th grades, as the benchmark for “future craziness with 3 kids close in age”.

Why these years instead of 6th, 7th and 10th? Or 8th, 9th and 12th?

I don’t know. There’s no good or logical reason. The following year will arguably be more challenging, with college applications for my senior and another child in high school and it’s conceivable that a 13yr old girl will be even moodier than the 12yr old version (albeit hard to believe some days). Last year, my oldest did not have his license, so it probably contained more taxi duty than (knock on wood) this year will bring.

But for the past decade or more of motherhood, I always thought “gosh, just wait until I have a 7th, 8th and 11th grader! That will be crazy.”

And here it is.

During those same years, those years when I would imagine the crazy teenage years, I would have mothers of teenagers wistfully tell me “Don’t blink. It goes by so fast.”

I wanted to punch them in the face.

Because in so many ways, I couldn’t wait to get just a little bit further down the road. My middle child did not sleep through the night until past 3 years old. My middle child.  With the exception of short maternity leaves, I worked full time (not to mention graduate school from 2000-2002, and again in 2007) and was perpetually exhausted, out of shape, and worried about finances. Life just wasn’t a lot of fun. It was work. So. much. work.

Don’t tell me not to blink, lady, I want to NAP IT ALL AWAY.

And now I’m here. The bar that I set in my head, for whatever reason, is here. Now my husband will ask me “Can you imagine bringing Bailey to college?” or “How weird is it going to be with just Lucy in the house for that one year?” or, often in a sing-song voice after he’s done something irksome, “In just six more years, it’s just the two of us. FOREVER.”

To be honest, it’s tempting sometimes. When I open the fridge and find the gallon of milk that I just bought gone again (how does one manchild go through a gallon of milk in 24 hours. HOW?!). When I’m trying (unsuccessfully) to coparent amicably. When I add a teenage boy to our insurance and blanche and wonder how the hell I will add two more drivers in just a couple years. When we are calendaring the next four weeks and find no less than 5 days when we are supposed to be in 3 or 4 places at the exact same time.

Life is still a lot of work. But now my kids are in 7th, 8th and 11th grade.

Perhaps I did not daydream further down the road because, even then, even in my sleep-deprived, overworked, exhausted state, I didn’t want to envision my babies any older. I didn’t want to imagine my oldest applying to colleges. Or a house with only 4 places set at dinner. Or the year with both a high school, and college, graduation.

Don’t blink.

 

 

Austin TriRock Olympic Triathlon training: week 6

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I’m back from our family vacation to the beach, and while I didn’t exactly get in all the sessions on my training plan (the places we stayed at did not have a lap pool, and I’m not brave enough to do an OWS by myself in the Gulf of Mexico!), I did manage to only miss 1 day of working out entirely.

Sat July 23rd: Rest day. I switched my rest day to Saturday (did a long BRICK on Friday instead my usual Friday off) after my husband returned from being out of town, so I could relax at home today.

Sun July 24th: Long bike. 20.87 miles in 1:27:53. Packed up the bike early and drove down to White Rock Lake to start looping as the sun came up. My motivation was stopping at Hypnotic Donuts afterwards to bring back a breakfast treat for the family. It was our first time there, and I can see why it’s one of the top spots in Dallas! I even squeezed in a 10 minute strength session later in the day – partly as donuts penance, and partly because I knew I wouldn’t be doing any strength training for the next week while on vacation.

Mon July 25th: Quick swim session before hitting the road. 1 mile in 32:58. Warmup 200 swim – 200 kick – 100 pull, 3 x 300s with 45 sec rest, 6 x 25s on the :30, 100 cooldown.

Tue July 26th: 3 early miles on the treadmill at our LA hotel, 31:58 (average 10:39 min/mile) before 8 hours in the car. I was hoping to get in some cycling since the hotel had a fitness room (whereas our beach condo did not), but the term “fitness room” was a bit of a misnomer. It had 2 creaky treadmills, 1 cycling-looking contraption that I could not figure out for the life of me, and a few mismatched free weights.

Wed July 27th: First run in Florida. 3.6 miserable, stifling, exhausting, soul-sucking miles in 47:59 (yes, that is a 13:20 min/mile pace. Which I’m not sure really even counts as “running”). I forget, every year, just how dang impossible it is for me to run in the heat with humidity. I know, I know, I live in Texas, but 1. I usually run inside on the treadmill for 6-8 weeks a year when it gets really bad and 2. if I head out at dawn in Dallas, even in July and August, it’s hot but the humidity is not so bad that I feel like I’m drowning.

This, of course, led to me ruminating how there was just no way I was going to be able to do a 10k at the end of a triathlon in Austin on Labor Day at roughly 9-10am. When it will be very, very hot and humid and I will be exhausted. I pretty much convinced myself I should cancel my hotel reservation.

Thu July 28th – 2nd run in Florida. 5.1 miles in 1:02:03 (12:10 min/mile pace). This was the run where I tamed my monkey mind and thought Yes! I! Can! do it after all. Oh, don’t get me wrong, it was still slow, but steady and much more respectable for a longish training run with a heat index of 90 degrees.

If nothing else, my view was gorgeous.

Fri July 29th – rest day! It was our last morning in Florida before heading to New Orleans, and we wanted to get an early start. I knew with packing, cleaning out the condo, and getting on the road, it would be tough to squeeze in a very early morning run, so I scheduled my rest day for today.

Tomorrow’s rest day (in next week’s training recap) was unscheduled, but in my defense, I was in New Orleans.

Overall, I’m very pleased with how I followed (ish) my training schedule for my summer vacation. I squeezed in a swim before leaving (missing 1 swim session), and kept up with all the running. The one disappointment was taking a week off the bike, but I was back in the saddle again today, so I’m sure I didn’t get too far off track. 5 weeks to go!

Austin TriRock Olympic Triathlon training: week 5

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It was a challenging week of training (although not as tough as next week will be), since my husband left Sunday morning for a week-long work conference, and my kids came home from their Dad’s summer visitation on Sunday night (yay!). While I was thrilled to finally have them home, it was an adjustment to go from 4 weeks of  no-kids freedom, to solo parenting 3 busy teens (and 2 mastiffs) overnight.

I had to make some adjustments on timing of my workouts, but I got it all in.

Sat July 16th: Long bike. 18.82 miles in 1:27.04. I tried a new route since I was bored of my usual White Rock Lake trail, and it worked pretty well, although I had to stop more than I liked for street intersections. Still working on getting that speed up – I feel like I’m in decent shape, but I still don’t bike particularly fast. I’m not trying to go hard, but I can easily hit 15-16 mph in gym stationary spin workouts, but I’m down at 12-13 outside.

Sun July 17th: BRICK workout. 10.10 miles on the bike in 40min, followed by 2.1 mile run in 22:07 (10:32 min/mile). I did this one later in the day at the gym, since I had to drop my husband off at the airport in the morning.

Mon July 18th: 1.25 mile swim in 40:48. 300 warmup, 10x150s (50 easy – 50 RP – 50 hard) with 30 sec rest, 200 kick, 100 cooldown. 10 minute strength later in the day.

Tue July 19th: 13.55 miles on bike in 55 min.

Wed July 20th: BRICK. 10.80 miles on bike in 45min, followed by 3 mile run in 32:38 (10:53 min/mile).

Thu July 21st: 1.25 mile swim in 40:38. 100 swim-100 kick – 100 pull warmup, (300 swim – 200 kick – 100 pull) x 2, 300 swim, 100 pull – 100 kick – 100 swim cooldown.  8 min strength later in day.

Thursday was also a big day in our house. We have a 3rd driver! (and holy hell, double the insurance cost. He doesn’t even have his own car!)

Friday July 22nd: Long BRICK. 10.84 miles on bike in 45 min followed by a 5 mile run in 56:27 (11:17 min/mile).  This was supposed to be my rest day, but I decided to switch it with Saturday’s workout so that I could relax and chill with the family on Saturday since my husband returned.

And look what arrived in the mail this week! My prize for winning my age group!

Next week we go on vacation (our first family vacation since March 2015), so it will be interesting to see how that impacts my training schedule. I’ve decided I’m going to work out as I can fit it in, but not stress out about under-training for 6 days.

Austin TriRock Olympic Triathlon training: week 4

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I’m on week 4 of 11 of my training plan for the Labor Day Olympic triathlon. I’m alternately longing for it to be over (this seems like an awful lot of biking. Have I mentioned I don’t like to bike?) and avoiding the August printout.


August. When I head back to work and the kids back to school. Also known as the first? second? craziest time of the year (it’s a toss up with May. Both months are always a sleep-deprived, exhausting, strung out, hold on by my fingertips, stretch of 31 days).

Perfect time to train for 10-12 hours a week.

But now, halfway through July, I’m just sort of … bored. The workouts are fairly consistent, my body is constantly sore, and I seem to be doing a lot without much improvement or progress. I’m sure it will all pay off when I cross the finish line (positive thinking), but right now, it seems like an awful lot of work on my summer “vacation”.

Sat July 9th: rest day in preparation for my 1500m open water swim race.

Sun July 10th: 1500m open water swim, 26:25. You can read about my race here.

Mon July 11th: Long bike. 24.12 miles in 1:47.46. My husband said to me as I wearily got up with my 6:15am alarm, “Can’t you take a day off? You won a race yesterday! That should qualify as a sleep-in.”

Sadly, no. My rest day was used on Saturday. So off to White Rock Lake I went. Fortunately, there was a decent cloud cover and it was almost, dare I say, enjoyable on a July morning in Dallas.

Tue July 12th: BRICK. 11.1 miles on bike in 45min, followed by 3 mile run in 32:42 (10:54 min/mile).  10 min strength training later in the day.

Wed July 13th: Back in the pool. 1 mile in 32:41. It would have been faster, but a lane-mate asked me if I swam Master’s, which led to me saying no, I do triathlons, which may have led to a discussion about the open water swim. That I won. Ahem.

300 warm-up, 250 kick, 8x50s on the 1:00 alternating swim/pull, 200 kick, 100 cool down.

Thu July 14th: Long run. 6.2 miles in 1:08.40 (11:05 min/mile).

Fri July 15th: Rest day.

This week, my kids are home (yay!). My husband, alas, is not (boo!). Double the guilt and half the fun.

2016 Open Water Swim Challenge Race Recap

Yesterday I competed in my first open swim race ever, the Open Water Swim Challenge in Little Elm, Texas. I signed up for the race to practice swimming in open water (and at the 1500 meter distance) before my upcoming Labor Day Olympic triathlon.

I hear from a lot of triathletes that swimming is the scariest/hardest part, because (overall) that seems to be the weakness for most triathletes. Also, as they say, if you get tired on the bike, you can pedal slowly; if you get tired on the run, you can walk. If you get tired on the swim, well…there’s not a lot of room for quitting out in the open water. So I understand why swimming is the bane of many triathletes’ races, but I think there’s also a (mistaken) perception that for former competitive swimmers, the swim portion is no big deal.

Ask the majority of swimmers how they feel about the prospect of racing in open water, and you will quickly learn that it’s not necessarily easier on us. We like our lanes. Our chlorine. Our clear water where you can see the bottom.

This is all to say that while I was not worried about the physicality of being able to swim 1500 meters (although I knew pacing would still be challenging, given my history as a sprinter), I was very  nervous about open water. Plus, with only a month of regular swimming under my belt (and by regular, I mean twice a week for roughly a mile each time), I was still not feeling ready for a 1500 meter race.

Ready or not, though, this was my practice race.

marked up and ready to head to the beach. Unenthusiastically.

I am able to see my kids for one weekend during their Dad’s summer visitation, and this weekend was it. It wasn’t my top choice, exactly, but between Father’s Day weekend and his vacation plans, it worked out this way. I left it up to them whether they wanted to get up at the crack of dawn and come to the race, and all three voluntarily decided to come cheer me on. It was pretty awesome, considering I almost always schedule my races while they’re at their Dad’s, so they rarely see me in action (and never swimming).

My youngest giving me a hug for good luck right before I got in the water

I had no idea how the race would start – that’s how clueless I was about all of this. Would we line up on the beach and run in, a la Baywatch style? Would we jump off a dock two by two? As it turns out, we walked single file down across a pad (purely for count, not for time – the ankle chips were started with the gun), and then hung out in the water between two buoys.

waiting to enter the water

My husband got a great video of the start.

Don’t I look solid in that video? Stretching out, breathing every 4, sighting and everything (you can learn how to do anything by googling). I look like all the other swimmers out there, in our sea of pink caps slowly making our way towards the giant yellow buoys in the distance.

What that video does not convey (fortunately, because that would be embarrassing) is how utterly overwhelmed and panicked I felt for the first 200 meters or so. I don’t know what happened – I prepared myself mentally for the crowd, for the splashing and kicking and murky brown water. I knew what to expect. And it wasn’t even like I felt consciously bothered by the jostling and waves – I just could not catch my breath. I thought with the adrenaline of the start, I would feel fast and would have to reel myself in, telling myself to slow down (that’s what happens at the start of every running race), but instead, I felt like I was choking and having an anxiety attack. I vividly remember thinking, “If I feel this way now, how am I going to swim a mile? This is going to be terrible.”

Fortunately, that feeling only lasted a few hundred meters, tops. By the time I neared the first turn buoy, I relaxed and found my rhythm. To my delighted surprise, I naturally swam in a fairly straight line. I started by sighting every breath (which for me is a 4 count), because that’s what the online articles said to do, but realized I could get away with every other breath (8 count) and still stay on track.

I also realized I could close my eyes while underwater and therefore, not see anything that may or may not be swimming beneath me. Fear of fish: solved.

While waiting in the water for the gun, one of the ladies near me, when I told her it was my first open water swim, told me that she likes to actually touch the buoys as she rounds them. She said “if I can touch them, that means I’m doing a great job not swimming more than I have to”. I took her advice to heart, and found myself doing my old lifeguard swim (head up) around each buoy, with my shoulder actually brushing the buoys.

After two loops, it was time to head away from the yellow buoys, and swim for the “large tomato buoy, then in through the two small red buoys for the finish” (per race director). There was a kayaker at that transition point, yelling to us “if you’re 1500 meter, do ANOTHER loop. You have ANOTHER loop!”. I treaded water for a minute and yelled to him, “But I did 2 loops!” He looked at me, startled, and said “well then head on home!”.

While I had no idea where everyone was on the course (there were actually 5 different race waves going on  – a short and long aquathlon, and 3 different open water swim distances), I realized at that point I must be doing pretty well. I also felt strong enough to push harder towards the finish, and pick up the pace.

Even though I read online that a common mistake exiting OWS is to stand up too early, and was saying to myself “swim until your fingers hit sand. Swim until your fingers hit sand” – I stood up too early, in about waist deep water. Rookie mistake.  Thus, the awkward hop-run exit, caught below by my daughter.

 

my cheerleaders – taken RIGHT after I exited the water. Forgot to take my cap off.

My kids and husband excitedly told me they thought I did well…really well. At that point, we really weren’t sure, though, because women doing all the open water swim distances (750m, 1500m and 4k) all wore pink caps, and we all started in the same wave. They said they saw some pink caps come out of the water, but they thought most of those were the 750m.

Because of the aquathlon, the awards ceremony wasn’t going to be for another hour after I finished my swim, and my oldest had to be at work. I reluctantly left the race, wondering if I was giving up my (probably once in a lifetime) chance to stand on a podium in an awards ceremony as an adult athlete.

Then obsessively refreshed the results page all morning.

Turns out I did win my AG for the 1500m swim…by a good margin.

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I actually placed 4th overall (out of all women in the race), and 6th out of BOTH genders (only 2 men beat me!).

My first open water swim race was most definitely a success. While I am feeling less nervous about the open water swim portion of my Labor Day Olympic triathlon, I have to say, I’m still pretty darn nervous about the race itself. I am trying to wrap my brain around biking 25 miles and running 6.2 miles after what I did yesterday morning. Trying to just trust the training program, and focus on getting as fit as possible to finish.

Austin TriRock Olympic Triathlon training: weeks 2 and 3

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I didn’t get around to blogging last week, so this post will cover two weeks of training. I had every intention of writing, and then my Aries husband went into his “do mode” on some household projects I’ve been asking him to take care of for a few months weeks, and suddenly our entire downstairs floors were torn up and replaced.

No, really.

We could not be more different. I like to plot, plan and map out (as in, during the first week of June, I organized all the summer curriculum work and online class building  I have to complete by August 17th into mini-weekly  deadlines). My husband, on the other hand, will smile and nod as I periodically nag remind him of summer household projects, and then BAM it’s all getting done in one insanely stressful and expensive swoop.

Somehow we make it work.

Anyway, I managed to keep up with the workouts while living out of my quarantined bedroom, tip-toeing through the dusty war zone to and from the car.

Sat June 25th: Long run. I figure I should practice 1 long run and 1 long bike outside each week, even though it is summer in Dallas, because I have to do this triathlon on Labor Day in Austin. For those of you not from Texas, it will still be eleventy bajillion degrees even though Labor Day is in September, which sounds like it should be fall if you are reading this from other parts of the country. In Texas, fall arrives somewhere between Halloween and Thanksgiving. I ran 5 miles in 1:06:16, which translates into 3 miles at a decent pace, 1 mile at a run/walk, and 1 mile where I was just really hoping to make it back to the car.

Sun June 26th: Long bike. I took the White Rock Trail down from north Dallas, biked around the lake, then came back. I covered 23.71 miles in 1:46:06, which wasn’t too bad except that this bike is still shy of the 25 miles I have to do after a 1 mile swim and before a 6 mile run and I was absolutely exhausted at the end. Triathlons are dumb.

Mon June 27th: 1650 yd swim in 32:59. 300 warmup/300 kick/9x100s pull with 20 sec rest/150 cooldown. 20 min strength workout later in day.

Tue June 28th: Indoor BRICK workout at gym. 45min bike covering 11.55 miles, followed immediately by 1.5 miles on treadmill in 15:55.

Wed June 29th: 2100yd swim in 42:24. 300 warmup/200 kick/100 pull/ 10 x 50s on the 1:00/300-200-100 with 20 sec rest/200 kick/100 pull/100 easy IM. That last 100 should have been freestyle but I was bored.

Thu June 30th: 45min bike at gym for 11 miles. 10min strength session later in day.

Fri July 1st: My training plan called for a double BRICK session, but with short times/distances. The cute part was that when I looked at it, I actually thought “Oh, this will be sort of fun and easy, because I don’t have to go that far each time!”.  About halfway through the workout, I realized that I was sadly mistaken. 20 min bike (4.95 miles) followed by 2 mile run (21:59) followed by 20 min bike (5 miles) followed by 2 mile run (21:23). Why yes, I did negative split that, thankyouverymuch.

Sat July 2nd: I headed back to the long course meter pool for a straight 1500 meter swim to gauge if my swimming time is improving (and also, as a confidence booster for my 1500m open swim race I’m doing tomorrow). On June 9th, I did it in 31:18. Today I did it in 30:12. I wanted to come in under 30 min, but I’m going in the right direction.

Sun July 3rd: Got up early to squeeze in my long bike before heading to Austin for the July 4th holiday. I tried a new route leaving from my house, and heading to the running trail nearby that I usually drive to. It’s not long enough to use for my regular long bikes, but it worked just fine for being short on time before a road trip. I covered 14.89 miles in 1:13:47, and got in some major hill training. The route back to my house was rough. But it was pretty out.

We were in Austin Sunday through Tuesday. Our view from the room was just terrible.

We had a great little getaway. Sunday night we had dinner with some of my husband’s friends we haven’t seen since our wedding, and then Monday night headed out to the lake for dinner before watching the fireworks from our hotel.

I had saved my rest day from the previous week for one of the days, so I reluctantly decided to head out for a run on July 4th, figuring (correctly) it would be even harder to get up and run the morning after July 4th.

Mon July 4th: This turned into more of a meander along Lady Bird Lake than a true “run”. I ended up stopping my watch at 3.75 miles in 54:50. But I had fun, which rarely happens on a run, so I’m chalking that up to an Independence Day success.

Tue July 5th: (overdue) Rest day!

Wed July 6th: 1650yd swim in 30:43. 300 warmup /12 x 100s with 10 sec rest/150 cooldown.

It was also my birthday, and my kids orchestrated a surprise dinner visit. I hadn’t seen my younger 2 in 3 weeks (the oldest stayed with us for part of his Dad’s vacation due to his summer job). It’s a mixed bag of emotions, having kids grow up, but a great perk to adolescence is the burgeoning ability to advocate for themselves.

Thu July 7th: 30 min bike for 7.33 miles, followed by 2 mile run in 21:38. 15 min strength training later in day.

Fri July 8th: Long run. While I’m trying to do my long runs outside, the temptation to be able to zone out watching the Today show on the treadmill in the air conditioning was too much to resist. 4 miles in 43:53, which was 2 miles shorter than I was supposed to cover, but eh.

Today is a rest day to get ready for my Open Water Swim challenge tomorrow – my first ever open water swim! As long as only other humans touch me in the water, and not any aquatic life, I should be all set.