For this week's edition of, "What I Ate Wedneday", I asked the girls if they would like to help out and share what they eat. For a couple of years we went back and forth about whether or not to give the girls gluten and diary. We had a lot of stomach problems and Payton would easily get eczema. This year along with eating a plant based vegan diet at home, we also got really strict with the girls eating gluten and dairy free. When I say really strict I just mean we don't make exceptions. We don't say ice cream is ok today but not tomorrow or go out for pizza once in awhile. If we do go out we are much more careful. Many restaurants have gluten free options. Unfortunately, many of those options include egg, but those small amounts haven't been a problem. We don't know that either have Celiac, we just do our best to avoid all that we can. I do buy products that are "produced in a factory that makes wheat and dairy products". I realize some people have to be a lot more strict.
They were totally/mostly up for it as you can see in the photos below. I had to share this part of our day...getting one shot with both girls. As you know if you've tried to capture a picture of your pet or child, you end up with a roll of "out takes". The actual process of getting the one cute picture can definitely take an act of patience but looking back you get to see so much of their adorable personalities.
Marley joins us first for breakfast. We have a few standards in our house, today was steel oats. Marley has a particular order - oats, milk, peanut butter, agave, cinnamon. The cinnamon always has to be on the top. They fell in love with cinnamon on the oats when Nathan came to visit this summer! Thank you Nathan. Besides cinnamon having some great health benefits, it gives flavor which means we don't add too much sweetener. She rarely goes for the fruit mixed in...gotta be on the side.
Payton is pretty much up for any order the food comes in. She does like her oatmeal with fruit mixed in...usually frozen berries for this kid.
Now it's time to make lunches
. It's one thing to have our family eat vegan and gluten free. It's another to find lunches that actually don't come back home. And sometimes they just do. Today I got lucky with rice balls. I had some left over taco mix from the night before (beans, carrots, broccoli). So I threw it in the food processor and mixed it with white and brown rice. Why white and brown? I prefer brown rice as it's a bit more "whole" than white and the short grain white rice helps the balls stick together. I was pretty excited when both containers came home empty that day! I also found some mini single serving containers of wheat free soy sauce (Safeway). They are in the shape of fish so the kids love them. I throw a couple in my purse so we can have soy sauce if we go out for Pho. They work great to add into a lunch like this. They also had veggie chips, apples, cookie balls (recipe
) and water.
Snack time! When the girls get home from school they are usually ready to eat. It's often second lunch. Today it was sooo cold, they both wanted some Christmas tea, cucumbers and pumpkin seeds. They added a few chips later.
Dinner Time: If you are wondering what is going on with the hair, I forgot it was crazy hair day at school. No I'm not forcing vegan food on the girls and doing their hair upside down!
I'm a normal mom, I go for some quick stuff sometimes. Tonight's easy dinner was make your own pizza. I buy the par baked gluten free pizza from Trader Joe's (thanks TJs!) and they can add the toppings they choose. Tonight was sauteed carrots and greens, and cashew cheese.
Cashew Cheese: (se easy!)
The amounts are up to you. It's good to soak the cashews overnight but I usually forget and just soak them in hot water for 30-60 minutes. Then, blend in the Ninja or food processor, add nutritional yeast. I usually go about 1 cup cashews and 1/4 cup nutritional yeast, then add salt and lemon juice to desired taste. I spread it on the pizza after the crust has been cooked.
Sweet treats: Many days the kids ask for a sweet or dessert. One of their favorite desserts is frozen bananas in the food processor = ice cream. I also buys suckers from Trader Joes for the times we have a candy treat. Today just wasn't one of those days.
Q and A with Payton and Marley:
Mom: What is your favoite thing we eat at home?
Marley: "Make your own pizza w/ no topping".
Payton: "Mommy's Chili".
Mom: What do you eat at school when there is a birthday party"
Marley: "Kettle Corn".
Payton: "Kelltle Corn and fruit leathers".
Mom: How do you feel about eating vegan?
Marley: "Happy...cuz I'm happy".
Payton: "It's doesn't make my stomach hurt as much and I get to try lots of different foods that we probably wouldn't eat if we weren't vegan".
Mom: Is there anything else you want to share?
Marley: "The food is yummy that we eat, so try it".
Payton: "It's really fun having different opportunities to eat different foods".
Thank you Payton and Marley for being my first and most awesome "What I ate Wednesday" guests!!!
When I was a Police Officer, I used to teach a program called DARE. I would work with 5th grade students and teach about staying away from drugs and alcohol and how to make good choices. Their favorite part always seemed to be my equipment, especially the gun. Have you ever shot anyone? No. Have you tased anyone? Yes. Can I hold your handcuffs? No. I explained the equipment on my belt as the tools I needed to do my job and always highlighted that the most important tool was my brain and the words I said.
I don't use those tools anymore, well I still like to think I use my brain. I have learned to carry a bunch of tools with me each day. Most are invisible now but a few you can see. They help me to live a balanced life. I explained to my Dad the other day that each day I have to evaluate and see if anything is out of balance. If it is, I fix it.
On this particular morning, I woke up and I knew it was a day I was going to be utilizing many tools. I don't often get depressed for long periods of time anymore but I fear it. I don't want to feel what I felt again. Now, I fight hard some days to put what is out of balance back in place.
Here is how my day went...
I recognized it as soon as I had my first thoughts between conscious and sleep, today could easily be one of "those" days. At that moment, I had to make a choice. My choice was to make it a good day. So I started making plans. What do I need to do to get going? I started it with yoga. Step one, was simple...turn on the TV, then find the yoga video, hit play. These are all relatively simple tasks to most people but at this moment it was a little monumental. I knew once I was seated crosslegged on the floor and the video started, I was going to do it. After about the fifth movement, I actually felt like moving. The blood started flowing and I was finding some peace. I completed the whole class and stayed a little longer in meditation.
I have just started learning about meditation. Originally, I was fearful thinking it opposed my beliefs. What I am learning is that it can be done in alignment with Christian beliefs, I just make sure to make God a focal point of any meditation I do. I practiced mantras I have learned and invisioned myself getting through challenges that might arise and bursting anxieties I have.
An important thing I have learned about challenging days is to let go of stuff, not to be too hard on myself. At that point, the dishes needed to be done, laundry needed to be done and my checklist was pretty long. I also knew that I want to be emotionally there for my girls. So, after yoga, I wrote a bit, read my bible, and got in the self-care that I needed so I could be there for them. Maybe they will want to do the dishes...one can dream!
Winning that day meant thinking of everyting I could to feel better, putting on my emotional, spiritual and physical armor. A shirt caught my eye when I was getting dressed, my FINAO shirt. FINAO stand for, "Failure Is Not An Option" and it a company that has social medial, clothing and helps people get motivated toward their dreams. I met them last summer when practicing with the Blue Fire Jrs.
After gettting the girls successfully off to school (I call it a success when we make it to the bus and there is no crying when getting on the bus), was my swim workout. And this is where I am beyond happy to have hired a coach. If there weren't a workout, written by someone else, I would have probably skipped it. But I knew the workout was going to be important for me to finish. This workout was especially challenging, 10 x 50 yards hard..gulp. I really don't like the clock, at the track, the pool, the race. This is probably why I like the longer races, you don't see that thing as often. And the pain of going hard....I would rather have the pain of going all day. It's like spices, some people like jalapeno and some like wasabi spice, some like both. Both hurt but which pain do you prefer? Me I'm a wasabi fan. Anyway, a hard set with the clock in the pool that I swear has a current, oh yes, and drag shorts (learning to love them). Doing this set really took some positive thinking and belief in myself. I wanted to quit, it hurt, I wanted to puke...but I didn't. I also didn't feel like telling myself, "keep pushing" "it's just stroke after stroke"...but I did. I was inspired by Beth who just finished the Ultraman World Championships...umm, if she could do a 10k swim in the ocean with chop and currents, I'm pretty sure I can get through this set. Now, that I think about it, sorry for even wining about this Beth:) The point is, we might have a battle in the day, a good day or a tough day, and even when we don't want to, we have to tell ourselves good things. We don't have to believe those things, just keep saying them!!
Next step in the day, eat...I was pretty hungry after that swim. Here is the important thing about food for me. How I eat has probably been one of the biggest factors in how I feel. Refeuling with some trail mix and a banana for me and then an awesome lunch of vegan nori rolls, miso soup with greens and tofu, not only fueled my muscles but also keeps my mind in balance. And I felt good! I had energy because my body wasn't trying to fight inflammation caused by my workout AND my food. I was actually getting help from the food to fight the inflammation from the workout.
Ever hear that the best way to fight depression is to do something for someone else? I'm making some chocolates for a friend's wedding. I don't do much chocolate making anymore but I really wanted to do this for her. So I stopped off at Michael's to get rest of my supplies. I then stopped by and saw my friend, John who just had a knee surgery. Just hanging out with he and his sister for a few was awesome, plus they made me laugh with old family stories. Don't worry guys, I won't reapeat them on the internet:)
What we tell ourselves about ourselves becomes what we believe. On this day, I knew the messages needed to be good so I got out one of my favorite material tools, my ipod. I listen to a lot of podcasts; mostly sermons from church and Rich Roll - vegan ultra runner. Today I selected a Rich Roll podcast with Tim VanOrden, an accomplished runner and raw vegan. It's inspiring to hear the amazing stories of overcoming huge life challenges. So in the car, walking around and getting things done around the house, I get to hear a really cool movitating story. I get to engage my brain and put in positive thoughts rather than gett annoyed with drivers, shoppers and the laundry I don't do.
Another tool I use for putting positive messages in my head is music. I love music! Sometimes Eric gets in the car, turns in on and gets his eardrums blown out because the last time I drove the car I was creating my own personal concert. When the kids got home from school today, I turned on Pandora and what came on? Mercy Me "Jesus Bring The Rain". Thank you God! Just what I needed. Here is this day, that I woke up thinking was going to be fully challening and turned out to be awesome. In that moment, listening to "Jesus Bring the Rain", I was so grateful for the rainstorms in my life. They have taught me so much and given me the tools and awareness to use them.
Prayer is my best tool. Although my prayers weren't long today, they were significant. "Jesus help me today" And he did just that.
Breakfast: Homemade quick muesli. This breakfast is sponsored by Dana completing Ironman 70.3 Austin! No thorns in my tea though:) You will see this breakfast a lot on WIEW because it's one of my favorite, fastest go to breakfasts. Today's consisted of rolled oats, ground chia and flax, chopped dates, almonds and cinnamon.
Easy Recipe: (portions are up to you)
Rolled Oats - I try to get organic gluten free
Ground Chia/Flax (I grind in the coffee grinder just before putting on)
Almond or Coconut Milk
Combine Oats, Dates, Almonds, Chia/Flax, Cinnamon and steep w/ hot water for about 5 minutes. Add milk and eat!
Post Swim Snack: Ok, a little pre-swim too...there was more before I took the photo. Why 3/4 of a banana you ask? Just a mom moment. One of the girls wanted a bit more to eat before heading to the bus so banana it was! Glad I left some for after...tough swim!
Lunch: Leftovers from last night. This is a family favorite. Nori stuffed with spinach and avocado, and fried tofu.
More Lunch: The Miso soup is a leftover too. This one is carrot, greens, veggie broth and miso paste. Souper easy recipe and great on a cold day.
Easy Recipe: (again amounts are up to you)
chopped greens (I used rainbow chard)
Saute carrots in olive oil. Add broth and greens, then miso past to taste. You could add a ton of other veggies, it was just a quick soup for me that night.
Juice: Spinach, apple, orange, kiwi, ginger
Dinner: Green Machine Tacos
This one is all about embracing the veggies. It's no problem for me, I love this dinner. Avocado is layered on the bottom. The mean greens are sauted with chopped green beans and it's topped off with ground up cashews. Best tip ever from my doctor when I was starting to give up cheese, make cahsew cheese. Cashews have a sweet flavor and smooth texture. You have to let go a little here, it isn't an exact substitute but I prefer it now!.
Greens - Chard again this time
Blended Cashews (I blend with a little salt)
Heat the tortillas and saute chopped green beans and greens in olive oil. Layer tacos: tortilla, a slice or two of avocado, mean green mix, top with ground cashews.
Still hungry..more taco filling
PB and honey for dessert! Ok, this is a photo of PB and jelly but I ate my PB and honey too fast and forgot to take a photo. So in the interest of full disclosure, you PB and jelly:)
With Thanksgivng eaten and Christmas right around the corner, the next few weeks will be full of Holiday parties, food, baking, gifts, family, shopping, church and more. How do you eat around holidays? Right through them, around them or somewhere in between? Personally, I go with the 90% rule. I eat really well 90% of the time and let myself have a few holiday indulgences.
Whether you stick to a super healthy way of eating or go with the 90% rule, things like stress, cookie deliveries at work and eating out more can derail the most well intentioned holiday seasons. Here are just a few tips for making it through, enjoying life and coming out in January feeling good:
1. Parties - When it comes to parties, think ahead. Is there going to be healthy food you can eat? If not, eat before you go and just have a small amout of food at the party. You won't eat too much and you won't feel like you are offending the host. I used to just have my kids eat gluten and dairy free when at home, and then realized there is a good amount of time we aren't at home. It's hard to ask people what they are serving and asking if I can bring something my kids can eat. The truth is, when I have asked, people have always been appreciave that I would offer to bring something. It was hard at first when I told the kids there were certain things they couldn't have. They wanted what their friends were having. My explanation goes like this, "I love you and I want you to be healthy and you stomach to feel good." It's pretty simple and they are connecting food choices to their stomachs feeling better. The other night Marley prayed, "Dear God, thank you for the food that mommy makes so our stomachs don't hurt." And I thank God for these little moments that remind me to keep pressing on for my kids best interests. The truth is, we all need to be doing this for ourselves!
2. Eating Out - Again, think ahead. When you aren't hungry, pull the menu up online before you get to the resturant. For example: you're going out for dinner, plan dinner after you eat lunch. Remember when you get to the restaurant it's totally fine to ask questions or ask to have things left out or changed. You are paying for dinner. I was out with my family one night and asking some questions about the meal. I think I was annoying the waitress a bit and she asked if I had allergies. I said, "No, we are vegan." Two seconds later she looked at Payton to take her order and Payton sayed, "I'll have chicken". Well...mostly vegan!
Here you go...Gandee Christmas card of 2011!
3. Avoiding stress - Do some yoga, meditation, prayer. Remember to slow down. You don't have to do everything. I gave up on Christmas cards after ordering cute photos of my family two years in a row and then never having time to get them out. I would feel bad with every card that I received from another more organized family. Finally, I gave up worrying and feeling bad. I connect with people in lots of ways and why carry that stress burden. I do carry about 200 pictures of my family if you would like one! My point is, there is alot to do over the holidays. What can you let go of to help yourself be a little happier?
4. Create active traditions for your friends and family. One of my favorite memories is going to Leavenworth for the Christmas Tree lighting. We didn't do a big hike that day but did get in some walking as we enjoyed the crisp Leavenworth night full of holiday lights. Although, we did stop for dinner on the way home, that wasn't the focus of our day. In fact, I don't remember anything I ate that day. I do remember how excited my girls were to see the snow and lights, and Eric rolling down Hannah's window when the snow plow went by.
Some active options for the holidays could be; snowshoeing, inner tubing, meeting a friend for a walk rather than lunch, going for a family walk after eating breakfast, ice skating...a polar bear plunge!!!
5. Recreate family recipes. I cherish just a few pieces of memoriabila from my grandparent's. One is my grandma Nanny's recipe box. When I see it, I think of watching her strong arms make pies, biscuits and mashed potatoes. Every time I was with her we celebrated my doll's birthday by making Angel Food cake. I've gone through and recreated a few of Nanny's recipes and have a dream of one day "healthifying" them all into a cool recipe book for my girls. Why not try this with one of your family recipes? You can still call it Great Grandma Doris' meatloaf but work on substituting some less healthy ingredients for more healthy ingredients.
My wish is that you can take at least one of these tips to help you have a healthier holiday season. Be good to yourself. Take care and cut yourself a break if things don't go just as planned. If they don't, remember you don't have to throw away the whole season. Get back on track, refocus your plan for staying healthy and make it happen!!
While listening to Rich Roll's podcast with Dr Joel Kahn
, Dr Kahn touched on Turmeric, it's anti-inflamatory and anti-depressant properties. My interest in this already very cool interview picked up. Give me a vegan ingredient I can add to benefit my family's health, speed up recovery, make me smile a bit more and I'm in.
One day at Trader Joe's, there is was! That bright yellow powder had been recently added to their spice collection. Of course, I added it to my cart and then had a conversation with the clerk at check about turmeric. I love how the checkers at Trader Joe's are always talking to you about your food. As grocery is the only kind of shopping I enjoy, it makes it that much better!
I got home and started adding it to a lot of my dishes; Lentil Shepherd's Pie, Yam Stew and Fried Rice (recipe follows) to name a few.
Turmeric is a root spice, which when used in foods (it looks like ginger), such a curry gives a bright yellow color. C
urcumin is the active ingredient in turmeric. For years Traditional Chinese and Ayurvedic healers have been using turmeric to treat; arthritis, digestion, liver function, and to regulate menstruation. The research I found about turmeric didn't specifically say anything about treating depression but I did find some information when I just searched, depression and turmeric. A recent study in India showed turmeric to have similar benifits to Prozac. It will be a long time before most Western doctors are handing out turmeric instead of Prozac, but it''s a start! http://www.greenmedinfo.com/blog/groundbreaking-study-finds-turmeric-extract-superior-prozac-depression
Turmeric is yummy too!!! I tried out a new recipe on my family last night and they loved it. We ate our Tumeric Fried Rice with greens and falafel patties.
Tumeric Fried Rice:
1 Shallot chopped
1 Tbs olive oil
3 cups chopped spinach
1/2 cup yellow raisins
2 cups cooked short grain brown rice
1 Tbs turmeric
Saute the shallot in olive oil, then add rice, spinach and saute until spinach wilts. Add raisins and turmeric. Season at the table with salt and pepper as needed.
Cold Remedy?? I read in an article that trumeric was great for a cold and what do you know, I have a cold right now, keeping me from some things I want to do. So, I warmed up some almond milk, added about a tablespoon of turmeric and some honey. The first sip...not as delicious as last night's dinner. But, I did get used to and will follow Payton's orders to finish it all. I'll get back with you on how soon I'm back to training!
As you can see, the Blue Fire website has had a facelift of sorts. I credit that to the places we've been over the past year. Thankfulness has been the topic of sermons, social media and many of our thoughts as we approach Thanksgiving. A few messages have resonated in me. First and most profound has been being thankful for the hard times, especially when you are in them. That is one tough task and I can say that I'm no expert there. I'm better at being thankful when the difficulties are over and I can see some positive outcome. The second message has been in that we find our joy in being thankful, not the other way around.
2013 was a year of years in our family and as much as I want to put it behind me, I need to stop, look back and thank God for so many things. And as I do that I am finding so much joy. I honestly wasn't being thankful or finding much joy while it was happening. To say it simply, I went through a time with depression, anxiety and PTSD (not a fun combo). Friends and family know that I was a police officer and those close know that two cases really rocked my world. I didn't deal with them as I should have and they had great impacts on my life, family, friends and marriage. When I learned what was going on, I worked hard to get better. I couldn't do it alone and am so grateful to God, my church, my husband, family and great friends who listened, supported me and prayed for and with me.
I learned that life takes a village and that I needed a battle plan. Wellness isn't just about eating right and getting exercise. It is about those things, but it's also about; faith, taking moments of peace, giving ourselves a break, working with healers, rest, balance, family, forgiveness, love and so much more.
Because of the past year, I have made some changes to Blue Fire. I coach in a bit different way and had to learn to give myself some boundaries around how much I work. I still coach some one on one atheltes and am offering "follow on your own" personalized training plans (http://www.bluefirefitness.com/endurance-coaching.html
). I am so excited to have Nancy Clarke of 180 Endurance, join me to coach the Blue Fire Jr Triathlon team. We are getting geared up to start Winter training. Basically, I am applying all that I have learned from my doctor, friends, pastor, counselors and other amazing healing people in my life!
I have also reignited my passion for great food. I have found that an (almost) vegan, plant based diet free of gluten, dairy and (sigh...) coffee is the best thing for me. I have been embracing the awesome healthy food our family eats now and am learning to successfully navigate a vegan gluten free life as an endurance athlete and mom. Thankfully, this has brought me back to so many delicious recipes I learned at Bastyr, and while I worked as a personal chef. I am excited to offer nutrition coaching now at Blue Fire for people interested in adopting a plant based diet, vegan diet, gluten free and/or dairy free diet.
I truly want to share what I have learned and encompass wellness into Blue Fire, which is why I have chosen to call Blue Fire, Blue Fire Life. I have also created a FB page, "Blue Fire Life" - "like" it:) My goal is to start blogging more about faith, good food, fitness, wellness and some of the tough stuff that people don't want to talk about like; depression, anxiety and PTSD. I want to raise awareness and let people know about some of the resources I have found.
This post wouldn't be complete without talking about my faith. I grew up as a Christian but didn't realize what that meant until this year. I believe Jesus has been with me every step of the way. On the toughest days I prayed to want to pray, God answered that prayer. I remember when I wasn't better but realized I wanted to get better. I can only give the glory of my family being where it is today to God. I used to get on my bike and say, "God, really triathlon?" Every time I have said this, I have been answered with, "keep going". I see now that this doesn't just apply to triathlon, but to life. One of my friends asked me the other day if I could go back, would I change anything. Of course, the sad parts I would, but for me personally, I am now so grateful for my all of my life, goods and bads, ups and downs. And through this gratefulness, I am finding JOY!!
If you have depression, anxiety or PTSD, my message to you is to keep fighting. Don't be afraid of the stigmas and messages and feelings that you should be quiet. Talk to people, seek counseling and healing, pray and know that you can get better!! Please feel free to contact me. I am not a counselor but I can give you suggestion on where and how to get started with your own healing.
I've had a few people asking me for this recipe....
You can often hear my say, "cookies are my weakness". I love them. Especially, a warm chewey extra thick chocolate filled chocolate chip cookie! I was fortuante enough to have been exposed to several ideas for raw cookies that resemble a healthy bar or cookie to give me some ideas to create my own. I can't say I'm super original but I've found a method I like. This one isn't raw either. I like the little crunch from baking them for a few mintues but you could eat them raw. They are fairly quick to make and I seem to keep the kitchen fairly clean as I cook these. Plus for me, the come close to satiating the cookie monster that lives inside me so I can live a plant based life!
2 cups pitted dates
1/2 cup nut butter (I like peanut butter but your favorite will be great)
1/2 cup cashews - I prefer roasted, unsalted (other nuts will work too)
1/2 cup dried blueberries
2 T flax seeds - use whole, they will get crushed up a bit in the food processor
1 T chia seeds
1/2 cup ground almonds - I find mine at Trader Joes
1/2 cup gluten free oats
Now comes the hard part! Throw it all in the food processor and blend into a consistency you can form into a ball. I use a small ice cream scoop but if you don't have that, just roll them into 1 inch ball and place on a cookie sheet. You could eat these raw at this point but I like to bake them for about 8 minutes at 350. The banana helps to give the outside a nice little crunch. Don't wait for them to get solid in the middle though, you will have burnt cookies.
This past weekend, as I do at many triathlons, I find myself balancing being a mom and being a coach, sometimes both at the same time. I love that my family shares my love of triathlon and I do my best to stay in check with the girls. I want to make sure they are doing this sport becaus it's their love. When I see them pouring over the latest kids edition of the USAT magazine, I feel reasurred they are happy with triathlon.
The Lake Tye triathlon was special for Patyon as Marley as they had been working all summer with their SeaKids teammates to prepare for this race. Not only did they train together once a week, they made some wonderful friends.
We seem to have started a tradition the night before the kids races...our house goes crazy. I think the kids just express all of the excited energy that us adults try to supress. Then we calm down a bit and they put their gear together. We try to get them to pack as much as possible, then go through a checklist of what they need for each event. I like them to have the ownership of their sport and I think packing their own gear is good for the self esteem. In the morning, we do the same thing. Once at the race venue, we unload bikes and gear. They throw on backpacks and helmets, and ride to the start. I was loving watching them ride to this race. I see their sense of freedom as they ride ahead without me.
When we arrived, the national anthem and pre race prayer were just starting. I was so glad the girls made it for the prayers. Just as it is important to me that they pack their own gear and know how to swim, bike and run, I also want them to make God a part of their sporting endeavors. Thank you Lisa and Kris for a very nice pre race prayer! After the prayer we were able to see many of our STT teammates and my Blue Fire athletes, ready to race. This was a special race for the Blue Fire Jr team as it was Will's first race of the season and Brad last of the season (which they both rocked!). I had a chance to get in a little pre race coaching. Thank you so much Nancy for being there to help these Jrs too! They were solid though, and ready. After some not so gentle pulling from the girls we made it transition set up. I knew Payton could set up on her own but I thought Marley migth need a little help. I was WRONG and was repeatedly told so. I guess my plan is working!
"I can do it myself"
After what seemed like a long wait cheering in mom's athletes, they finally got to warm up. Their SeaKids buddies were their to join them for some pre race splash around.
I think some of us adults could use this method of pre race chilling. Find a friend, find some sand and dig. Life is good!
Payton's first crawl stroke OW swim without stopping. When asked how far she swam, "two buoys".
Marley wanted me in the water with her, which she didn't really need as she ditched me. She did get pushed out of the way by another girl. I totally saw it and Marley was correct when she told my mom, "this girl just pushed me out of the way with BOTH hands." Mom asked Marley what she did about it and Marley replied, "I passed her!" Marley is usually last out of the water, last in her race. No, that doesn't really matter but I did get to see her little face as she noticed at this race she wasn't last. Maybe she will choose goggles one of these days!
Payton was off on her bike. This year she has a bike, "with seven gears in the back and breaks on the handle bars", as she describes. Thanks to Snohomish Bicycles for having this awesome little bike in the correct shade of pink. And thank you Martin for having the "next" bike with more gears which she has already got her eye on!
Marley has been blessed with the same lower lip biting her mom has. Sorry kiddo! She was all focus on the bike today. I tried to keep up on foot as instructed but lost her about a quarter mile in. I was later told, it's ok, she really doesn't need me anymore.
Payton had an awesome run. We had a good learning moment about sports after the race. We were talking about the run and she told me after the race she realized she only ran 1/2 mile instead of the full mile. Part of me just wanted to ignore it. But it was such a good moment to learn that these things happen and we do our best to right it. She knew I emailed the race director and let them know the timing was off. Lisa is right, she is really going to have to work to get a PR next year. By the way...can I have just a bit of her running form? Does it work that way?
I love this photo of Marley, out cruising on the run course. This was a big day for her too. Her first race to run the whole course.
They very well may have caught the triathlon bug. Payton tells me she wants to be an Ironman one day. Pretty cool to have big dreams at a small age. For now, I am grateful God has blessed them with the ability to enjoy triathlons.
Thank you to Papa "C" for your amazing photographs and always being there with camera in hand.
Apparently God's plans and my plans for Oceanside were the same. On Friday before the race, Eric and I attended IronPrayer and met some wonderful people. I had been pretty nervous all day, making sure I had everything packed correctly, mental imaging my race, wondering how the next day would unfold. When I got to IronPrayer, we sang a bit and then listened to guest speakers. The one thing that hit me the hardest was, "whatever your plans are for tomorrow, let them go and give it to God". Yikes, I had been planning this race for a long time, as we all do and I wasn't really ready to let go and and just la ti da through this race (how I was imagining giving it to God).
On race morning, I was still pretty nervous. This was different from last year where I really wasn't nervous at all. Still remembering the sting of St George, I knew anything could happen. All of my hard work could fly out the window at any time and I so badly didn't want that to happen. Last night's IronPrayer was still in my mind. I finished my morning set up and was happy to see a friend, Julie, I met at IronPrayer was right next to me on the bike rack. I was praying for Julie as she was coming back to triathlon after a back injury. I finished up warm up which was just a run on the beach because you can't warm up in the water at this race. Then one more hug from Eric, prayer time and I was off. When I got into the water, I said, Ok God, it's yours. I can crash, I can get out of the water, whatever happens today, I'm at peace with but I'm going to race this just as I have trained ...if it's your will.
Before I talk about the swim I need to talk about mental training. It's a hot topic in just about every triathlon magazine. I have always thought it important and have worked a lot with positive mantras. At the recent USAT PNW Coaching Conference, Julie Vesselmeyer talked about mental training. My clients have since started seeing "mental focus" popping up in their training plans. I have been doing the work myself too and spent a lot of time imaging this race. The other preparation I have done for swimming this year has been with my swim coach, Eric Thumma. Yes, coaches need coaches too! Eric has patiently taught me a sometimes difficult swim technique and done a wonderful job. I knew my swimming had improved but would I be able to put into action on race day?
The three minutes from shore to start went by quickly and we were off. Even though we started in waves, I don't think I've ever had so much contact in the start of a race. I stayed calm and worked to find my groove. It was questionable the first 100 but then I found it along with the buoys that seemed to clip along. At one point toward the turn, the water was pretty shallow and I thought there was a seal under me. The water got a bit choppy toward the mouth of the harbor but thanks to St George, that was no big deal. The return trip was going great even after inhaling a big mouthful of salt water. During my imaging, I always pictured the clock saying 35:00 for my swim time. I started at 7:27 and knew I wanted to see 8:02 when I was getting out of the water. As I approached the exit, I could see the clock which read, 8:01:4something!! Nice!!! I picked it up a bit getting out of the water to try to get in under 35. My official time was 35 and some change but close enough, I PR'd my swim by 6:36 minutes! Thanks Eric and Julie!!
T2 was a long run to the bike. I saw Eric and kept hearing my name and Blue Fire. Who one earth?? I looked up and there was Lance of Lancey!! No way! Who comes to cheer on their friend while they are on a layover??? Lance of course and it was so wonderful to see him several times along the course.
Out on the bike, not it was time to see if my 4am CompuTrainer rides and power training had worked. It's so fun to ride virtual reality course all Winter and finally ride it for real. I had heard all along to watch your speed on the bike as it was easy to go hard and then blow up on the hills. So, I heeded those warnings and went by HR and perceived exertion, keeping the exertion moderate. There were a ton of pot holes out there too and I don't know how I managed to be flat free because I hit every one of them, losing most of my flat kit along the way. Luckily, the ride went by quickly. I usually chit chat a bit more with people but wasn't feeling like it today. Camp Pendleton was beautiful and I thought a lot about my brother Ryan who went through boot camp there. I wonder which hills had had to hike up (hump they call it) with full packs and boots. This was way easier than just about anything he did at boot camp. I thought about my Cousin John and Uncle Con, both Marines too and amazing people. Uncle Con did three tours in Vietnam. And so many other Marine friends. You guys are amazing and have sacrificed so much. So getting to ride on the Marine base was really an honor. Before I knew it, the hills were over and I was thinking about transition. As I rolled in, I heard Eric and Lance and it was time to run with another 12 min plus PR on the bike with plenty in the tank for the run. I want to thank Snohomish Bicycles for all of the attention to my bike, Todd at ProAction PT for all of the bike fitting (it felt perfect) and Eric for new handle bars and bike attention at the race.
I knew this run was going to be a challenge but a couple of confidence workouts left me knowing it was achievable. I actually was very confused by the run course and am not good with verbal directions. I knew we had a U-turn but didn't quite get it on the map. I decided to just roll with it, the course volunteers are usually great and they in fact were. It was a fairly flat course but even the smallest of elevation gain can be huge when you are exhausted. I was excited and surprised by how great my legs felt. Just a note on the split times, they were off and I didn't run a 6:30 pace at anytime during this race, nor did I finish the last mile at an 11:00 pace. I do think the overall average was correct. I've seen other athlete's splits that looked the same. It doesn't really matter, we all did the same race. I was out a bit faster than planned but hung in there until the last three miles when the heat kicked up and my legs really started talking to me. Fortunately, I knew I was on the home stretch and the crowds were amazing. There was Eric, Lance and his co-pilot who hung out for this whole thing. Thanks guys, the cheering was so appreciated! I finished with another PR on the run and an overall PR for this race of over 45 minutes. I was planning for a 5:35:00 race so to come in at 5:31:13 felt amazing.
All in all, a fabulous day. I changed up training a bit this year and it was nice to see that and my hard work pay off. I am so lucky to have an awesome team of support. My family checking on my throughout the race, everyone wishing me well on FB and emails, the awesome team at Snohomish Bicycles who always takes care of us, Todd Aalbu at ProAction for some great PT work and bike fitting, and the long distance team at SHS track who I have spent some fun hours running with this spring. I am so grateful for everyone who helps us with the girls so we can train and for Eric, Payton and Marley who endure a lot so I can have a pretty awesome job.
Finally, I'll say to everyone training out there. We take our training seriously. We are given plans by our coaches or ourselves to execute. Sometimes we stress out making sure they fit exactly into the day. In the weeks before the race, we had our first snow of the year. Marley was watching a show while I got in one of my last brick workouts. I paused between bike and run to say hi and was met by Malrey dressed in her full snow gear. "Let's go play in the snow mom" ok, session over and we were out in the snow. She had so much fun making reverse snow angels aka face plants and then having a snowball fight with me. On race week, I made it to a couple of track practices. I was taking it pretty light in the last couple of weeks but we were running at Lord Hill Park and I just love running there. I can't say I've ever put a trail run in on race week and I thought, well I could have twisted an ankle but getting out there and getting to run the trails with the kids was worth it. My point of all this is, put in the work and work hard for your training but don't let life pass you by. Don't miss a fun moment with your kids or a run with a friend because training has to be perfect. It will work out and race day will still be great!