Friday, August 30, 2013


If you have known me, ever, you will know that I hate working out.  
I hate exercising.  
I hate gyms.  

And big muscles kind of scare me.  

Knowing that, you might wonder why in the hell did I ever sign up for a triathlon?

That question is easy to answer.  Have you ever heard the expression "Getting old, fat and happy?"  I am getting older and happier and unfortunately I was also getting *fat.  I was the biggest I had ever been - even bigger then when I was 9 months pregnant.  While I am sure I will become a soft and lumpy old woman, I wasn't ready for that day to come in my 30th year.
*I am barely 5'4.  I was to big for my frame.   

I knew I needed to do something, but as someone who had never worked out, I honestly didn't know where to start.  

*I used to run Cross Country in high school and absolutely hated it, so running was out of the question.  

*My little sister signed us up for some boot-camp classes shortly after Clara was born.  

I was so mad at her. I could have killed her.  
Why do people take boot-camp classes?  It was miserable!  
(Yell at me again crazy gym mother trucker!  Tell me I need to work harder?  Hell.  No.  I am not paying someone to talk to me this way.)

*I like Pilates and yoga.  However you almost have to be a millionaire to take those classes. $400 for 6 classes?  Are you crazy??? 

Chicago has a brand new gym in Lincoln Park called Flirty Girl Fitness which offers classes that don't sound terrible, but even that gym cost more then I wanted to spend.   Price factor aside, I knew I needed more then just a gym membership.  I would need a deadline in order to make myself continue to workout longer then one time. I needed a specific goal 

After doing lots of research we ended up joining our local YMCA in the Lakeview neighborhood.  

For the family package it was around $80 a month.  
(This is a steal, I promise.)  

I also decided to sign up for the triathlon.  
It would force me to workout, and had the least amount of running involved. 
I knew if I spent the money on the registration, there would be no way I would back out. 

I started my training at the end of February, 2013.  
My goal:  to get in shape and complete the triathlon without dying.

So here it is.  A breakdown of how this pleasantly plump gal trained for a triathlon and the end results of said training.

750 m or 1/2 mile

I was never on swim team, but I always swam and love swimming in general.  My mom has a picture of me smiling and waving to her from the edge of the high dive when I was two years old.  Fear of water was never  an issue for me.  However I have never been a strong freestyle swimmer.  The Y had a class called Adult Stroke Development that I signed up for.  It's designed for people who know how to swim but need help perfecting their strokes.  It was just what I needed.  I spent most of the class visualizing the race and asking my classmates about their past experiences in triathlons.  One thing I DIDN'T do that I should have was practice swimming in open water.  It would've prepared me more, but I didn't drown from not doing it.  However, the most sore part on my body is my neck from arching so much while keeping my head up from doing backstroke.
  I tried to get to the gym to swim laps at least 3 days a week.  

Race Day

I was in wave 13 of swimming, which meant my race started at 7 am.  The Mister and I had a good 40 minutes to watch the first 10 waves.  We were also able to watch a good amount of people being hauled into boats by the life guards.  (At this point my stomach was in knots.)  The lake was 70 degrees, which is pretty warm for Lake Michigan.  When we jumped into the lake to go to our starting line the water was about 10 ft deep.  I went to the middle, more towards the back.  They sounded the bullhorn and we were off.  The lake was a bit choppy already and with all the swimmers it was even worse.  I did about 15 strokes of the front crawl and swallowed three mouthfuls of lake water.  (gag)  It felt like I wasn't going anywhere at all.  I decided to use my go-to stroke, and did backstroke for the entire swim portion of the race.  I was able to breathe, I could feel myself moving forward and I could see the Mister the whole time who was walking next to the edge of the lake encouraging me and taking awesome pictures. 
 (He's so good.  I am so lucky to have him support all of my crazy, all the time.)

This first picture CRACKS ME UP!  
It looks like I have a question.

I'll be the first to say that I look ridiculous.  
But I didn't drown.

Transition 1

22 Kilometers or 13.6 miles


I love riding my bike.  It is the best and easiest way to get around Chicago.  (Unless it's snowing.  Then it's just scary.)  For training purposes, I started taking spin classes at the Y.  Let's get one thing straight, right now.  Spin class is the devil.  Seriously, the devil.  After my first class I thought I was going to puke.  But it was still winter in Chicago and I needed to get my legs ready for this race, so I went back at least twice a week, most of the time three times a week.  Once the weather warmed up (about April) Clara and I took really really long bike rides a couple times a week.  With the bike part of the race I really wasn't worried about performance.  (Especially since I wasn't shooting for a specific time.)

Race Day 

The bike part of this race was very lovely.  I felt I was able to get a bit more steam that I lost with my backstroke swimming.  The only part of the bike that sucked was the hill at mile 13, and that is the hill that takes you over the Chicago river right by Navy pier.  I might have yelled out a few obscenities while climbing that hill.  I think I should add here, my bike is a 1970 Schwinn collegiate in kelly green.  I felt no need in getting a different bike for this race.  It is what I trained with and it has a big comfy seat on it.  

When I was around mile 6 an older gentleman, who was in far better shape then I, whizzed by me.  He then slowed down to my pace and said, "I just want you to know, you have the cutest bike in the whole race."  Then  he took off again, only to leave me smiling in his dust.  

The only thing I would do differently from the bike part of the race is NOT forget my water bottle.  I was so parched that every time I saw someones dropped water bottle on the side of the course I was tempted to stop and take a swig from it.  (I didn't though.  I wanted to complete the whole race with out stopping once.)

Smiling for my Mister, right before transition 2.

5 k or 3.1 miles


Like I have said many many times above, I hate running.  Even though I hate it, I have always been a pretty decent runner.  When I ran cross country in high school, I would run at least 10 miles a day and it wouldn't even phase me.  When I sign up for silly little 5k's with friends and family, I can jog them all with out it really hurting.  However the running portion of this race had plagued my fears for months, simply because it was going to be last and I didn't want a measly 5k to do me in.  So I started running 2 days a week.  I wish I could say I trained harder, but that would be a lie.  I only ran 3 times in the month before the race.
(Not the smartest idea....)

(The Mister is terrified of birds.  He hates them.  He took this picture while running from the biking to the running portion of the race.  He wanted me to know that he had to run through a field FULL of geese for me.  It was, and still is hilarious to think of him doing this, and probably pooping his pants in fear.)

Race Day

Day of the race I started off strong.  My body was definitely starting to feel tired, but I was still okay.  About halfway through the run there were people handing out "power shot gel."  I took one thinking it would be like a five hour energy.  WRONG.  That was so nasty.  It was thick, I couldn't swallow it and made me start to gag.  I downed a few cups of water and pushed on through.  However that was the beginning of the bad part of the race.  It was getting hotter out and since I felt like I was gagging I started to feel like I was suffocating a bit, but I knew I had less then a mile left and I really wanted to finish without stopping once.  At the very end of the race you have to run up this huge hill, turn a corner and then you are 100 yards from the chute.  I sprinted up the hill and the heat, the exhaustion and knowing the finish was right ahead all caught up to me.  I could feel the tears coming and my throat start to close.  It was SO HARD to breathe, but dammit I was NOT going to collapse at the freaking finish line.  The announcer called out my name and then said, "Smile, honey.  For the camera."  I put on my best fake smile, crossed the finish line and found a fence to hold onto until I was able to catch my breath again.  At that moment I couldn't believe I actually did it.

 Still feeling pretty good here.

Crossing the finish line, not actually breathing oxygen.

Stats and Times

Catching my breath, right after the finish.

When I started training I was someone who didn't exercise at all.  I was a social smoker who liked to be social.  I gave myself  six months of training and I trained roughly 5-6 hours a week.  Sometimes more, sometimes less.

There were 7000 participants in the Tri this year.  
My rank was 2058.  
I think that is a fantastic number!

Division place:  159
Sex place:  830
Swim Rank:  1937
Bike Rank:  2058 - 14 mph
Run Rank:  1821

Swim:  27:38
Transition time 1: 7:21
Bike:  58:26
Transition 2:  5:57
Run:  35:28

Finish time:  2:15:07

I always weighed in betwen 120-125 lbs.  I also have always either been starving to death or working 3 different jobs (while starving to death).  This weight is right where I need to be, to be healthy.  I am very pleased with where I am.   

Weight before - 160 lbs
Weight now - 135 lbs

So now that it is over, would I do it again?  


But probably only one more time.  I would like for my girls to have a chance to see me do this.  I think it would be good for them to see their mother work and strive for a positive and healthy lifestyle, and know there are other people just as crazy as I doing it, too.  

I'm not saying I want them to think you have to run extreme races to be healthy, I just want them to know if you strive for a goal and try your hardest, it doesn't matter how long it takes you or how you go about it, anything you put your mind to is possible.

Have a fantastic weekend!

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

This Must Be The Place

Our first day home together. 

  It has been over a week, and the Mister and I are surprised at how much we don't hate it here.

Actually, we are on cloud nine on how good it feels to be home.

Our new adventure begins now.
I have nothing but the highest hopes for all of us.

Talking Heads This Must be the Place by Celtiemama

Happy Humpday!

Monday, August 26, 2013

Brand New Beginnings

There has been a lot of firsts around these parts.  

First time we bought a house, first time we lived in the suburbs, 
first time I ran a triathlon.......

 first day of pre-k........

 and first day of 8th grade in a new school.  

Today my body is feeling the race I ran yesterday, but even worse, my stomach is in knots for Rhiannon.  I, too, started a brand new school in 8th grade.  I met my two best friends on that first day.  I sure hope her first day of 8th grade goes as well as mine did.

Please excuse me as I pace the floor until she gets back home....

Happy Monday!

Monday, August 19, 2013


My little sister was married this weekend.  It was such a beautiful wedding.  If you are looking for a winery in southern Illinois to either get married at or just want to go to because it is beautiful, you should definitely consider Copper Dock Winery.   It was even more beautiful at night then it was during the day, and they had an amazing band playing there.  (I think they were called Gypsy One?)  I don't want to be cheesy and say it was magical looking at night, but it was pretty damn magical looking at night. 

As every new bride wants to see pictures of her wedding day, this post is going to be completely picture heavy and for my beautiful sister.  I hope you and Luke have many more happy years together!  We love you both!!!!



Clara's hair that didn't even last till family pictures.  She was SO EXCITED to wear her brand new pink dress with the pink flower that she "forgot" to nap.  Therefore when the time to take family pictures came we had one crabby kid on our hands.

The Mister promising the little ones a frog hunt after the ceremony if they were all good.

(There was no frog hunt.)

Her bridesmaids were all my little sisters.  
They looked so beautiful.
And so grown up! 
(All hair and make up on the wedding party was done by Perfectly Polished in Trenton Illinois.)

This is my baby sister Gabriel.

My little sister, Codi.

My little sister and little brother, 
Michaela and Dominick. 

MOH and little sister Aryn.
(They were walking to fast, and this one's a bit blurry.)

Luke, waiting for Rebekah.

Judah, pouting that he can't go up there....

Rhiannon being an usherette

Rebekah and Dad...

Getting married!

Vera and Clara in front of the getaway car....

The mister was "bragging" about how he didn't have to wear a tie the night before the wedding.  My sister heard and demanded that he wear a pink bow-tie.  What the bride wants.....the bride gets.  However, he looked so darn handsome I think I will have him wear a bowtie for EVERY fancy occasion from here on out.

And I will always make sure it matches my dress....

Thank you for the wonderful day Rebekah and Luke!

Happy Monday!

Friday, August 16, 2013


I have to say thank you to everyone who sent me facebook messages, texts, emails, snapchats, presents, called, etc. etc. for my birthday this year.  

It means the world to have so many lovely people who took the time out of their day to wish me well.  
Thank you from the bottom of my heart!

We did a low key birthday this year.  
(We are supposed to close on our house Tuesday, so when the Mister asked what I wanted this year, I could only tell him that I wanted a house.)

I really wanted to go to Wildfire for lunch because their chopped salad is AMAZING and they have a really extensive Gluten-free menu.

However, once we got there, we found out they are renovating, and therefore closed during lunch hours until October 1.  Under normal circumstances, this wouldn't be to much of a problem, unless, of course, you have Celiac Disease.

Then it's a HUGE problem.

(If you are ever in Chicago and you have any kind of gluten sensitivities, all Lettuce Entertain You restaurants have great gluten free menus!)

After walking around and grumbling a bit, the Mister said we were going to Joe's.

Not a good start for low key, I know.  
But it was fabulous.
And who am I to argue?

 AND I got free desert.  
(My ass thanks you, nice people at Joe's.)

 We spent the rest of our afternoon checking out the Rebuilding Exchange
(Not as cool as habitat for humanities in St. Louis,  but still pretty cool)
and thumbing through a few used book and record stores

I was able to find some steals on a few record's.
I love it when that happens.

Then we spent the rest of the evening at the ball park.

Does your Mister keep score while at the game?
Mine does. 

And let me tell you......It's the  Cutest.  Thing.  Ever.

And although the Cubbies didn't pull off a win, it was a fabulous way to ring in year #31 in this life. 

Thank you again for all the birthday love!  Next time I post, I will no longer be a city dweller...but a crazy forest living suburbanite. 


Have a great week, everyone!


Friday, August 9, 2013

It Don't Matter

Normally I write these on Wednesday, but I was kicked out of the house (by the Mister) this past week, and I have been busy being a vagrant with the wee one.

Last week the St. Louis arts community lost a bright and shining star way before his time.   

I had been listening to his show every Friday for the past 12 years.  

In just a few minutes his friends will help him play his last show, Bob's Scratchy Records, (he's so good,) on KDHX.   

So long, Bob.  You will never be forgotten in this little girl's mind.