Wednesday, August 24, 2011

On Facing Fear...

What a summer I have had!  The children, Tom and I had so much fun this year.  We ran, biked and swam together, thoroughly enjoying the challenge of improving at all three sports and having such a blast in the process.

As many of you may remember, I was diagnosed with osteopenia this past spring.  At that time I was cautioned to avoid "dangerous" sports like triathlon due to my increased risk of hip fracture if I would wreck on my bike or fall while running.  Initially I was so scared that I decided to give up on my desire to compete in triathlons and even went as far as to list my new triathlon bike for sale on Craig's List.  

Happily, that only lasted about a week before I came to my senses and realized that living in fear of what could happen, and being "safe" wasn't going to make me happy or satisfy me.  I was already signed up for two triathlons, so I took my bike off of Craig's List and signed up for a third triathlon~ might as well go all out, don't you know, and I was off and training.

You can read about my first triathlon here and my second one here, today I'll recap the "grand finale" of my triathlon season this summer, an olympic distance (or long course) triathlon which took place at the lake that I have spent so much time training at this summer.  This race was longer than the first two that I did, consisting of a .6mi swim, 25.53mi bike and 5mi run.

There was a thick fog blanketing the lake for the start of the race.... I wish I could have captured the way the light with the sun rising over the water through all of that mist for you~ it really was quite breathtaking!  Here's the lake before the triathlon as athletes were swimming a bit to warm up and prepare for the race.


The swim course was marked by buoys, but was, for whatever reason very short of the 500yd that it was supposed to be.  This race was a bit unusual in that for those of us who were competing on the long course, we had to swim the 500yd course, exit the water and run along the beach to get in and swim the 500yd again!

In my first triathlon I pretty much had a full-blown panic attack and resorted to doggie-paddling to get through the swim.  In my second triathlon a few weeks ago I didn't do much better.  I swam freestyle about 1/2- 2/3 of the swim because once again I panicked.

This time I felt ready for the swim~ I have been faithfully attending a master's swim class two early mornings a week, plus practicing swimming in open water.  Before this triathlon I set the lofty goal for myself of swimming freestyle the whole way.

Here is the first wave of swimmers starting out in the fog... pretty cool looking, huh?


Here I am, looking way more confident than I felt!


I know that you are dying to know... how'd I do?  Well, I'll say this~ next time I need to set a loftier goal!  I didn't panic at all, and swam freestyle the whole course (even though it was short!)  I should have tried to go all out and swim fast!

Biking was next~ my favorite part of the race!  Honestly I felt slow for some reason, but I averaged 20mph, and that was with me holding back a bit because I was a little worried about needing to get off of my bike and run 5 miles!


I am, once again, flirting with a stress fracture in my hip so I haven't been able to run very much at all this summer~ opting to use an elliptical or deep-water run so I could avoid surgery on my hip but still keep competing in the triathlons that I signed up for.

By the time I was ready to run, it was getting pretty hot (upper 80s) and very humid. It was challenging, but I did it~ ok, so I was *way* slower than I would have liked, but I did it!

Here I am, smiling because I was finished!  Yay!


I was so excited on the day of my triathlon that I finished the long course and completed the swim without panicing.

I was pretty disappointed the next day to see that my slow swim (I swam pretty slowly and walked down the beach between the two portions of the swim rather than running) and pitiful run time (62 minutes for 5mi) dropped me down to second-to-last in my age group.

I think, in hindsight though that this summer was hugely successful for me.  I learned how to swim in a race in open water without panicing and I faced my fears of getting injured and competed anyway!  Not only that, but I have made some fabulous new friends~ a win/win all the way around!  OK, so I didn't win/win my age group, but there's always next year, right?  ; )

Actually I am setting a goal of competing in two half-ironman distance (1.2mi swim, 56mi bike, 13.1mi run) events next year~ at this point I'm thinking that Racine 70.3 and Branson 70.3 will be the events that I'll choose.  So, so excited about that!

So stay tuned... this homeschooling mom of a dozen faces her fears and has a blast in the process, so you'll be hearing more about triathlon training here in addition to the usual posts about homeschooling, large family life, photography and other random musings.

We started school this week and I've got to get up early, early for master's swim class tomorrow morning, so I'm off to bed.

Hope you are having a fabulous week~ taking some chances and seeing God faithful for you too!

Monday, August 8, 2011

Project Life July 31- August 6

I thought I'd post a little Project Life update. I am still plugging away at this project~ some weeks more effectively than others. I say that to encourage you... there are actually a number of weeks that I didn't have (or make) the time to include any journaling at all. Do I wish the journaling were there? Absolutely! But, I am so, so happy to have the photos and the memories that the photos trigger that I am ok with that and can call it "good."
Our oldest son Nate was home on leave from his job in the Army for two whole weeks! Oh, the fun we had! It was so sad to see him go. I thought you might like to see a photo of the traditional group sibling send off hug!
All of the children were there except our oldest daughter Micah and her husband Joshua... So I almost had everyone together... almost! Perhaps at Christmas or Thanksgiving we will be able to get the whole clan together~ I do hope so!
On to this week's edition of Project Life.
I had a lot of fun this week doing some extra photos, two 8" x 8" pics and some fun lift-up photos with journaling underneath as well. Here's a close up of the left page.
And here is the right... I loved an impromptu shot that i took of four of the children, so I enlarged it to 8" x 8" and stuck it in it's own little page protector.
When you lift up that photo, this is what you see...
On the back is another 8" x 8" pic, of the group send off hug! Had to include that!
On the right page I had more stories to tell than I had space to tell them, so I decided to try some little 4" x 6" adhesive photo sleeves that I purchased recently.
There ares two of them that life up to reveal their stories underneath... Can you see them? One is under the adorable photo of our new little Welsh Corgi and the other is under the pic taken when Tom and I were trail running. In the photo below I am lifting up the photo of our new little dog to reveal his story...
And here i am lifting up the photo of Tom trail running to show the journaling under it.
Not every week, but many weeks I end up adding in extra photos or just ephemera from daily life around here. This has caused my album to fill up very quickly. I already need to begin a volume 2 for this year! Can you tell how much I love this project? I really do.
And just 'cause I figure that you would love to see some more adorable cuteness, I'll show you another pic of our little Welsh Corgi "Jasper."
For whatever reason this little guy has bonded with me and absolutely won't let me out of his sight! Everywhere I go, he is trotting right along behind. When I sit down, he lies down right next to me and if I must go somewhere that he can't, well, let's just say, it does make him sad. I'm smitten!
On other fronts here, I've got lots and lots of planning to do to in order to complete preparations for beginning this school year on the 22nd, so that will be my focus during the next few weeks. We have been homeshooling "officially" since 1993, but I still can get overwhelmed with all that is required of me in this process. Just tonight Tom and I were discussing how very, very important it is for us to remember when we feel that we lack wisdom to "ask of God, who will generously give us the wisdom that we need" so we will know exactly how to proceed this year. So that's what I'll be doing.
Seeking Him,

Monday, August 1, 2011

My second tri....

What a busy week last week was here!  In addition to our oldest son Nate being home on two week leave from his army job at Ft. Benning, GA, I was also finishing preparations for this next school year, and for my second triathlon plus I was taking a bunch of photos of our daily life around here for this year's "Week in the Life" album!

I am going to *try* to post some of the photos from our past week here soon.  Honest!

It is getting late tonight, but I did want to give a short race recap from my second triathlon this past Saturday~ the WIN for KC women's triathlon in Smithville, MO.

The whole week before the triathlon I wondered if the super-hot weather that we have been submerged in would continue and what temperature the lake water would be.  Trust me, swimming in Missouri lakes is only tolerable at best and when the lake water is 90 degrees it is, um, disgusting!

Saturday morning dawned very early for me... I set my alarm for 3:20 am since I needed to leave the house at 4ish in order to arrive at 5 to set up my "transition area"(my little spot where I place my bike, bike gear and running shoes, hat, etc.).


I arrived bright and early with no problems, got everything set up, found my friends... and then it started to rain!  As I was heading over to get in line for the swim I passed Tom and the children who all had awakened very early to drive up separately in our big van and cheer for me.  They did not have an umbrella and when I passed them they were standing under a tree~ getting pretty drenched!  I felt so bad for them, and even more grateful for such a wonderfully supportive family!  They ended up going and sitting in our big 15-passenger van to wait on the rain to quit.

It was time for me to go line up for the swim.  In this triathlon they started the swim using a "time trial start" which is fabulous for newbies like me because they start one woman every 3 seconds and had all of us line up by what we anticipated our swim time would be.  (So much nicer than a mass group start!) It poured rain and there was so much lightening that the swim start was delayed for an hour.  During that hour we just sat in the rain, already lined up by swim speed for the start.  I *never* even considered that I might get cold at a July triathlon in Missouri!  Never!  But I was... we just sat there getting poured on and I actually got so cold that I began to shiver.  Once the storm moved out of the area we were on... and I was then grateful for that warm lake water!

The swim was only 500 meters and thankfully it went much better for me than my first triathlon earlier this summer when I basically had a panic attack and had to doggie-paddle the whole distance!  I would say that I swam 75% of this race freestyle and breaststroked the rest, so I was slower than I wanted, but I did complete it with a little more finesse than my last race!

Next up, the bike portion of the race.  I do love riding my bike!  The roads were wet and so I was a little more cautious than I might have been usually, but still had a fabulous time!


The bike portion was done *way* too soon for my liking, and then it was off on a 5K run.  Thankfully, it was still cloudy at that point, so even though it was very humid, I didn't have the added challenge of running in the sun.


My run was a lot slower than I wanted, but all in all I was pretty pleased at how well my hip held up since I hadn't run in 4 weeks... well I had faithfully been deep-water running and using elliptical, but it really isn't the same as "for real" running.

It was so cute, at the end of my run several of the boys ran out to find me, then ran in and completed the race with me.  "Come on Mom!  You can run faster than that!"  They'd be such great coaches!

I'm hooked on the challenge of triathlon~ I have *so* much to improve on, but I'm having a blast doing that.  I've made some great friends and am already looking ahead to my last tri this summer in a few weeks and planning for some longer distance events next summer!

How are you challenging yourself this summer?

**edited: after I posted this I decided to post this little disclaimer: This post is not intended in any way to place a burden on anyone's shoulders.  I still remember, very vividly, how taxing and busy the years were when I had only little guys at home, and no big helpers!  Please remember that my "baby" is now 4  1/2 years old and I have many, many older helpers in this season of my life, plus many older children who actually like to run/bike/swim with me!  This wasn't always the case.  Please don't get me wrong, I *loved* those blurry, busy years of caring for our quickly growing family, but now I am gradually entering a different season of life and triathlon is one of the things that we have decided to pursue, both as a family doing workouts together, and yes, even individually, for me.  So please, please understand that I only posted this to encourage you to pursue being your best and glorifying the Lord in all you do, not to make anyone feel burdened or discouraged.  OK?