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Kai – 18 months

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It’s been way to long since I’ve done a proper update on Mr. Man. Kai is officially one-and-a-half, somebody hold me. He has turned into such a fun, sassy, goofy and smart little guy, it kind of blows my mind.

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He hasn’t been officially measured since his 15 month check up, but I believe he is right around 30-31 lbs, and he seems to be taller every time I look at him. He wears mostly 2T clothes, and size 5 diapers.

Kai continues to be a good sleeper, usually going to bed around 8pm and waking around 7am. For a while there he was regularly sleeping in until 7:30-7:45 which was awesome, but lately he has been up a little before 7am, still not bad. He takes one nap a day around 12:45, and will sleep anywhere from 1.5-2.5 hours. I usually don’t let him sleep past 3:15 or it will take him forever to fall asleep that night.

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Kai is still the pickiest eater on the planet due to his outright refusal to try new foods. His acceptable food list includes mac and cheese (favorite), pancakes, cheese quesadillas, grilled cheese, rice, veggie burgers (only one specific kind from Costco) and an occasional bean burrito (again, from Costco). He will also eat any type of cereal or snack food (crackers, pretzels, chips, etc). He will eat an occasional applesauce pouch and very occasionally will try some fruit, but this is his only produce intake. There is one exception in which he will try almost anything, and that is if it is served in a sample cup at Costco. Seriously, things Kai has eaten at Costco include meatballs, quiche, tamales, calamari, pomegranate seeds, black bean burgers, bacon, teriyaki chicken, pizza, and probably a bunch that I am forgetting. These are all things that he wouldn’t touch with a ten food pole if I served them at home. He is such a little stinker. Kid also loves organic whole milk, and goes through a gallon all by himself in less than a week. We have resorted to not giving him his milk until he is done eating his meal, because otherwise he will just drink the whole thing and then not want to eat.

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Kai loves taking baths, and runs for the bathroom at the mention of the word. He also loves taking showers with Steve, and tends to throw a fit when it is time to get out. I can’t remember if I’ve mentioned it here before, but Kai’s bath must not contain bubbles, or a complete meltdown will occur.

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I am continuously amazed at how smart this kid is, and he is at the age where his brain is a little sponge. He talks all of the time, a lot of babbling still but also a ton of words. He is finally saying Mama and Daddy, though both were far from his first words. He says several phrases such as careful, now (usually when standing on a bed or couch, and he doesn’t say the ‘c’ so it sounds like awful now), all done now, what happened?, and all wet. He says ‘a’ before almost everything he identifies (a ball, a key, etc.). He can identify all of the numbers between 1-10, and regularly stacks things up saying one, two three. He can also identify all of the basic colors, and many shapes. He has a ton of flashcards and can tell you what they all are, and he also loves the First 100 Words book. He loves balls, cars, trucks, and trains. He also loves to roughhouse, he is very much all boy. Every day he says something to me that I didn’t know he knew.

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Kai has a very sassy side as well, and loves to mimic our reactions to the naughty things he does. He will regularly pinch us and say ouch, or bite us and say not nice. He will also bang his toys on the floor and say too rough. Kai is obsessed with the vacuum (sounds like ah-keem), and sweeping with the broom (sounds like seep). Sometimes I wonder if he is my child with his passion for floor cleanliness. He still hates having his diaper changed, and usually when I ask if he is wet he says no. He is interested in the toilet (potty! potty!), but when we were at Target last week I showed him a froggy potty seat and when I asked if he wanted it he whined and shook his head no.

Kai is very sensitive to noises, and announces every time he hears a beep or a buzz. He is very concerned every time the doorbell rings, and will babble nonstop about it for several minutes every time. He is also afraid of mylar balloons. A quirky one, he is.

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Though Kai is obsessed with being outside (it’s been a little rough since winter hit), he was not too keen to play in the snow. He liked walking around in it, but as soon as some got on his mittens he started crying. I also tried getting out the little sled again this year, and we had the exact same result as last time.

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Maybe one day he will warm up to the possibility of outdoor fun in the winter, but for now I am happy not to have to go outside and freeze my butt off. We still go to the gym on most weekdays and Kai enjoys playing in the Kids Club while I work out.

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My mom and I took Kai to the Zoo the week after Christmas, and he was a fan. His favorites included the big aquariums and the farm building where he could run around and drive a tractor.

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I am sure I am leaving out a ton of stuff, but to sum up, Kai is the best. He makes me laugh every day, and also frustrates me every day. I love watching him learn and grow, and I seriously can’t wait to hear what comes out of his mouth as he starts talking more and more. It is sure to be awesome and hilarious. I will leave you with our attempt at a family photo on Christmas. As always, nailed it.

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Door County Half Iron Triathlon 2013

After having to sit this race out in 2012 due to injury, I was excited to be able to toe the start line at this year’s Door County Triathlon. The weather in the week leading up to the race was stifling. Day after day in the upper 90’s with crushing humidity was taking it’s toll on everyone. When I saw the forecast for Sunday, it seemed too good to be true.

I was also very excited to put my training to the test. I’ve been working hard with an awesome coach, and this was my first time racing a tri under her expert guidance. I felt strong going in, and knew that I was well prepared.

We arrived in Door County late Friday night, and on Saturday it was all about race prep. I did a short bike/run workout to loosen up, then it was off to packet pick up. It was windy on Saturday, and the lake looked like it had a pretty strong current going on, so I was hoping the wind was going to die down before Sunday.

We got our number tattoos put on while listening to a course talk from the race director. With my number on I felt all official-like and was ready to rock the pants off this race.

After a trip to the bike shop and a little relaxing at the house, it was time for dinner. I had perhaps the strangest pre-race dinner ever.

Yes, that would be pancakes, fish and rice. So carbs, carbs, and a little protein. Exactly what I needed. Back at the house, I was in bed by 9:15 and had no problem falling asleep. I slept ok, but I kept waking up thinking that my number tattoos were sticking to the sheets and coming off. I’m a weirdo. Before I knew it, my phone alarm was going off at 4:50.

Race Day

I came upstairs and was greeted by the beginnings of a beautiful sunrise, and had a feeling it was gonna be a great day.

I went through the usual routine of coffee, bagel, peanut butter, banana, fill bottles, etc, etc. We left for the race around 6am, and were pulling into the parking lot by 6:15. I set up my transition, sunscreened, said hi to a few friends, and then it was time to wait. The race started at 8am, and I was in wave 7 at 8:19am. As we were waiting for the site, my uncle Mike kept talking about the skies looking dark. I told him to shut it, insisting there was no way it was gonna rain. Sure enough, just as I was about to get in the water, it started drizzling. I was quite sure it would pass while I was swimming, so I wasn’t concerned at all.

The Swim

39:16 – 21/56 AG

Before I knew it, it was time for my wave to enter the water for the thigh-deep start. And then we were off. It took me a little while to get a rhythm. Actually it took a long while. I am used to breathing every three strokes, but for some reason I couldn’t stop breathing every two. The water wasn’t really choppy, but there were some slow swells that threw me off a little bit. Swimming in Lake Michigan is so different than the inland lakes. Even when the water looks calm, it likely is not. I knew that the first part of the swim would be against the current, so I told myself to just get to the turn around one buoy at a time. I had clear water for the most part, though I got run into quite a few times on the final long stretch. It seemed like no one could swim in a straight line. As always, I was so happy when the swim was over and I could get my wetsuit stripped off by the wonderful volunteers.

T1 – 1:39

Coming into transition, I noticed that the ground was totally wet and realized that it had rained more than I thought. Then I realized it was still raining. I put on my socks, bike shoes, helmet & sunglasses and high tailed it out of there.

The Bike

2:54:39 – 13/56 AG

It rained for the first 45 minutes of the bike, which I was not expecting. It makes me nervous to ride on wet roads, but I knew there were no turns for the first 15 miles, so I just tried to get into a good rhythm, taking it easy in the beginning. The miles ticked by, and I concentrated on making sure I got in my nutrition when I was supposed to. It was cat and mouse with quite a few women for almost the whole ride. I didn’t get passed by too many of them, but towards the end I was getting passed by a lot of men that started in later waves. I was hoping not to see Steve out there, because it would mean he bridged the 18 min head start I had and was passing me. Even though he had an amazing bike split, it wasn’t quite enough to catch me 🙂 The bike was uneventful for the most part, until mile 45. I felt something fly into my tri top, and as I was reaching in there to try to get it out, it stung me right in the boob. Jerk. I was glad to get onto the final 10 mile straight away to the finish, because I knew it was flat and fast. Before I knew it, I was pulling back into transition. I was a little disappointed with my time, but I pushed that thought out of my head right away because I had big plans for the run.

T2 – 3:14

Coming off of the bike, I had to pee so bad. I guess that means I was well-hydrated, but it also meant a stop in transition at the port-o-potty. I changed shoes and grabbed my run nutrition and headed in to take care of business. I swear, I was peeing forever. I was starting to get really pissed (pun intended) that it was taking so long, but there’s nothing I could do. FINALLY, I was able to head out on the run.

The Run

1:39:58 – 1/56 AG

The week before the race I told Coach Liz that my goal for the run was 1:42, but that I thought I would be happy with 1:45. She told me to take my mindset from completer to competitor, and race against others on the run, not just with others. I was thinking about this as I started the run, because I knew that given my time on the bike, I had a lot of ground to make up. I made a last minute decision in T2 to grab my Garmin for the run, and I am glad I did that. I knew I had to hold back the first 3 miles, and when I saw 7:26 for mile one I concentrated on slowing down a little bit and breathing slow and deep. I was passing people left and right, and even though the pace felt easy, I still worried that it was a little too fast.

I don’t thing I have ever had a run fly by so fast in a race. Before I knew it, I was in Egg Harbor climbing the big hill at mile 6 and turning around back towards the finish. I ate everything I brought with me on the run, including my spare gel and all of my extra salt tabs. It was perfect weather for running (70 and overcast), but I felt like I needed the extra nutrition to make sure I could finish strong. The entire run was a series of spotting the next person ahead of me, catching them, and passing them. I must have passed at least 10 women in my age group along the way, as well as a bunch of the men that had blown by me towards the end of the bike. During the whole run, I was passed by zero women which made me really happy. I was mentally prepared for “the bluff” just before mile 10, and my plan was to walk up the impossibly steep hill. Once I got to the top, I continued running and was ready to give it everything I had for the last 3 miles.

Coming down the half mile long hill into the finish hurts, but knowing that the finish line is at the bottom helps to make it a little less painful on the quads. I barreled down the hill and crossed the line knowing that I had a great run, and that I had set a huge PR.

Gotta love the finish line picture that shows exactly how glad I was to be done.

My official time for the race was 5:18:37, a 29 minute course PR. I came in 16th overall and 4th in my age group, by far the best I have ever placed in a tri. I was elated to find out that I had the 3rd fastest run split of the day. I always thought that as a fairly competitive runner, I was destined to remain a middle of the pack finisher in Triathlon. Now I am realizing that with hard work, heart, and determination, anything is possible. After all, when I started running in 2003, I never thought in a million years that I could qualify for Boston, place in the top 3 in three ultramarathons, or even win an age group award in a 10k for that matter. But I have done all of those things and more, as over the years I have worked my butt off to become a faster, smarter runner. Why I thought the same thing couldn’t apply to triathlon, I’m not sure. I am now aiming my goals a little higher than before, and I am expecting more of myself. So if you need me between now and September 8th, you will be able to find me at the pool, on my bike, or running around town. I have an Ironman to train for.

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Cabbage soup diet?

Oh Ben & Jerry, why do you do this to me?

 “We’re giddy to announce Late Night Snack, in honor of Late Night with Jimmy Fallon. Fair Trade Vanilla Bean ice cream with a Salty Caramel Swirl & Fudge Covered Potato Chip Clusters.”

Yesterday was unusually productive for me. I finished up not one but two video projects, cleaned both bathrooms, went for an easy run in the sun, made soup, and….wait for it….organized my closet! And I didn’t even require my usual Wednesday afternoon nap. Who am I?!?

Here’s what my closet looked like before:

My cat Zooey helped me decide what would stay and what needed to go. Basically I modeled clothes and she told me if they looked hideous or not.

Before and after, side by side:

Ok, so they really don’t look that different. But I feel more organized and I got rid of a ton of stuff that will be donated:

I was more than tempted to switch out my closet for summer clothes, but then I remembered it was March 2nd.

Do you guys remember the cabbage soup diet? It was all the rage in the early 90’s, and at the time, my best friend and I became obsessed with it. There was this cabbage soup recipe, and you were supposed to eat it for every meal and lose 50 lbs or something crazy like that. Did I need to lose weight? Hell no I was tiny, but like many teen girls I suffered from a bit of distorted body image. Anyways, where was I going with this?

Ah yes, cabbage soup. I had a cabbage in the fridge to use up, so naturally I googled up a recipe. As I started typing “cabbage” guess what was the first thing to pop up? Cabbage soup diet! Apparently this craze is still going strong. After searching through many recipes, I came across one that sounded like it would actually taste good, and then I changed it for what I had on hand. Of course I forgot to bookmark it, so sorry I don’t have a link.

This soup is delicious, which is a good thing because I’m pretty sure it made enough to serve at least 10 people.

It’s got cabbage (duh), carrots, sweet potatoes, pinto beans, garbanzo beans, diced tomatoes, brown rice, onions, garlic, and fresh ginger. The beans and sweet potatoes made the soup very hearty, along with the brown rice. On the side I had a smoked gouda and avocado quesadilla on an Ezekiel sprouted grain tortilla. I think smoked gouda may be my favorite cheese ever. So tasty.

Did you take part in any weird diet fads when you were younger?

What is your favorite kind of cheese? (This question is the most important)

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New Year, New Blog

Welcome! After a three-month hiatus from blogging at My Neverending Story, I’m back with a new blog for the new year. Why the new blog title? I want to start writing a lot about my training and lifestyle, in addition to the day-to-day randomness that is my life. A little bit more focus, if you will. I want anyone who stops by my page to have an idea of what I’m all about right off the bat. I have migrated over all of the posts from the old site, so in case you are not one of the three people who was following along (Hi Mom!), you can browse through the archives and get all caught up.

Let me start by saying Happy New Year to all! I am very excited to kick off 2011, and I have lots on my mind, so stay tuned!

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Six weeks

Somehow time has been flying by at warp speed, and I find myself six weeks out from Ironman. The next four of those six, starting today, will be the most important weeks of my training. I have managed to get this far without missing too many workouts (sometimes I just cannot bring myself to swim three times per week), and without injury.

In the next four weeks I will bring on the miles like never before. Most week days have 2 workouts, and the weekends are long. I have a 3 hour run on Saturday and a 5.5 hour bike on Sunday, and things just increase from there. I am also planning to get out to Verona to ride the actual bike course, which scares the crap out of me. I will pretty much eat, sleep, work, and train. Oh yeah, and spend time with the hubby, attend family functions,  go boating, and throw three nights of camping in there too. Yay summer!

There is still a lot of work ahead, but now the race is close enough that I am getting excited. I can visualize myself during the race, and I can see myself crossing the finish line. I am praying for good weather but mentally preparing for cold, hot, rain and wind. I am determined.

Bring it on.

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Penalized

Well, now my Spirit of Racine finishing time makes more sense. I re-checked the results today, and low and behold, I had a big fat 4 minute penalty next to my name. I wish it said what exactly it was for, but I am quite certain it must have been a drafting or blocking violation on the bike. (Or something like that). Though I didn’t intentionally break the rules, I can’t argue with the race officials and what they saw. So here are my official times:

Swim: 31:10

T1: 3:04

Bike: 3:01:49

T2: 2:02

Run: 1:56:23

Penalty: 4:00

Total: 5:38:26

Darn it. It would have been cool to officially break 5:35, but oh well. I guess I’ll have to be more careful next time.

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Spirit of Racine Race Report

Last year in the days leading up to this race, I was pretty much terrified. It was to be my first half-ironman, and only my second triathlon ever. I ended up having so much fun at this event last year, and I was hoping I would feel the same this year, even though the “newness” factor would be missing.

The night before the race, I packed up all of my gear and took a relaxing bath in our whirlpool tub. I read a book for a little while, and then I fell asleep quickly around 9:45. I slept terribly, and woke up before my 3:45am alarm. I got up in the dark and made coffee, ate breakfast, and got ready. My ride came at 4:45 and we were off. We decided to stop at a gas station when we got off the freeway to avoid waiting in line for a port-o-potty at the race. Good decision. We made our way to the race site and found a parking spot, and then it was off to transition.

I got all of my gear set up and chatted with a few people around me. Here is all of my stuff set up:

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During this time, the race director announced that the water temperature was 64 degrees. This was great news, as last year it was only 55, which was ridiculous. Looking at the swim buoys, I noticed that they were definitely closer to shore than last year. The swim is a point-to-point, so we walked a mile down the beach to the start line. I made a point to get in the water before the race and get used to it. It was cold, but not too bad. I stuck my face in and practiced swimming for a few strokes, and I felt ready.

The Swim

31:10

This race has a wave start, so while the elites went off right at 7am, I had to wait until 7:12 to start. I lined up towards the back and slightly to the outside, and when the siren went off, I started my watch and ran into the water. The whole swim is really shallow, so we ran out quite a ways before anyone actually started swimming. Last year, the water was so cold that it literally took my breath away, and I couldn’t keep my face in the water. This year, though the water was much warmer, I still panicked and just could not stick my face in and start swimming. I had the same dreaded feeling of “oh my god I can’t do this.” Again, after a few minutes of flailing around and inhaling/swallowing mouth-fulls of water, I was able to calm down and start swimming.

After a short time, I saw a few people just in front of me walking. Then my hands started dragging on the bottom. I stood up and walked a little ways because it is a bit difficult to swim in such shallow water. Soon it was deep enough to swim again, and I got into a pretty good rhythm. Each time I would pass a buoy, the next one would look really far away, but before I knew it, I was there. I managed to stay on course, and the swim went by really fast. As I was running out of the water, I glanced at my watch and it said 28 min. That’s when I knew that the course was way short. I know I am a better swimmer than I was last year, but I am nowhere near that fast. Like I said, the buoys were much closer to shore this year, yet the start and finish were in the exact same spot.

I ran through the sand up the beach to the transition area, and prepared myself mentally for the bike.

T1

3:04

I got my wetsuit off, tried to get most of the sand off of my feet, put on my socks, bike shoes and helmet, and I was off.

The Bike

3:01:49 – 18.5 mph average

I really wanted to improve on the bike this year. Last year the story of my life was getting passed, and passed, and passed. Well, this year, the story of my life was pretty much getting passed, and passed, and passed. I am just not a super-fast biker compared to most triathletes. My goal was to come in around 3 hours, and I felt really strong in the beginning. I also wanted to really nail my nutrition and take in enough calories. My plan was to eat 2 Clif Blocks every 30 minutes, and also take in sports drink and water.

The weather was pretty chilly, so I knew it was going to be a struggle to stay hydrated. I just never feel like drinking a lot when I am cold. Thirty minutes in, I grabbed my first pack of Clif Blocks. I opened the pack with my teeth, and promptly dropped the whole thing on the ground. Doh! There goes half of the nutrition I had with me. I tried not to worry about it too much, and was able to grab a gel pack at the first aid station.

The thing that probably surprised me the most was the amount of time I spent in the aero-bars. In training, I don’t use them too much because I am always afraid of the traffic and the bumpy roads throwing me off balance. During the race, I spent probably 95% of the bike comfortably in aero. This definitely helped me improve my speed over last year. The course has a lot of rolling hills, and they were starting to take a bit of a toll towards the end. My training rides have been pretty much completely flat, so my legs aren’t used to the rollers. I was glad when the bike was over and it was time to run.

T2

2:02

I racked my bike and quickly changed shoes. As I was grabbing my nutrition, I could hear the announcer at the finish line. “We should have our winner crossing the line at any minute!!”  The elite athletes just blow my mind.

The Run

2:00:23 – 9:12 average pace

As I exited transition, I glanced at my watch, and it read 3:38. I was really happy because I knew at this point that I would come in under 6 hours, which was my goal. I started out slow, knowing that there are two short steep hills right at the beginning. The run is a double out and back, so it is easy to break it into 4 sections. I took the first section really easy, and was feeling good. At the end of section 2, you come within about 100 ft of the finish line, but have to turn left for lap 2. At the start of the second half, I glanced at my watch. It read 4:37. Holy crap, could I break 5:35?? I picked up and decided to see what would happen. At the  last turn around, I was still feeling good, so I picked it up a little more. I was passing a lot of people, and felt strong. As the finish line approached, I glanced at my watch again and knew it would be close. I ran as fast as I could and had a great finish. I stopped my watch and it read 5:34:32. Woohoo!

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I was estatic. I couldn’t believe how much I improved in one year. I was also really happy that I ran in under 2 hours. Or so I thought. 

When I checked the official results online, my finish time was 5:38:26, and my run was listed as just over 2 hours. I know for a fact that my run was faster, so the only thing I can think of is that I somehow got a penalty on the bike that added a few minutes. I can’t imagine that I actually had a drafting violation, but the times just don’t add up. In any case, I am still thrilled with my time, which was approximately 35 minutes faster than last year.

I was able to accomplish this with no taper at all, in fact I had a really heavy training week leading up to the race. I did take off the day before to give my legs a rest, and they felt really good all day. One thing that was weird was my lungs got really sore. I think it’s probably because I inhaled so much water in the swim, and I wasn’t able to take a really deep breath during the bike or the run. They were still sore this morning, and even now over 24 hours later, I still have to tightness when I breath deeply. Like I said, weird.

So here’s a look at the numbers:

                                2009                    2008

Swim                      31:10                     38:56  

T1                             3:04                       4:34

Bike                      3:01:49                 3:14:51

T2                             2:02                        3:41   

Run                       2:00:23                 2:11:15

Finish                    5:38:26                 6:13:18

Overall a great race and I know I have a lot of room to improve, especially on the bike. Ironman, here I come.

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