Free Crazy

Have you ever been so sweaty and crying so hard that you were not entirely sure if it was sweat or tears that was all over your neck and getting on your sunburn and stinging? No.  Well, isn’t that too bad.

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I had a shit day today.  For the first time in forever and ever a good sweat and a workout didn’t seem to cure what ails me.  I spent two and a half hours on the bike trainer today (a special kind of hell that I actually quite like) because I am too disorganized to make a plan for a group ride and too skeered to ride on the road alone.  I think I spent two hours and twenty nine of those minutes imagining every single thing that could go wrong during the bike portion of my upcoming 70.3.  It wasn’t pretty.

And it was hot.  And riding a bike in your backyard and not moving means you are a buffet for the skeeters.  So when I set out to run I was beyond cranky.

About a mile in I thought “Fuck it.  I will just go back home.”  When you are considering turning around and bailing and you only have to run three miles – it is a bad, bad day.  Bad.  So, I started to cry. Naturally.  I kept running.  And crying.  And feeling stupid and slow and defeated and tired.

And then I saw a piece of trash on the side of the road.  It was a Little Caeasar’s advertisement for Crazy Bread.  It was folded in half.  All I could see were big block letters advertising “FREE CRAZY.”

I was running and sweating and crying and thinking about maybe peeing in my trisuit just to see if I hated the sensation and I saw a sign that said “FREE CRAZY,” guys.  Umm.  Nope.  No, thanks.  I have plenty of my own crazy.

So, I did the only thing I know how to do when I think I might totally lose my shit on a run.  I started singing along with the crappy music I run to… “Oh, don’t you dare look back. Just keep your eyes on me. I said, “You’re holding back!” She said, “Shut up and dance with me!” This woman is my destiny!!!!”

It must be time to take a few days off, dude.  I actually cried and serenaded myself today during a workout. This might have stopped being good for me, huh? Took a peek at the calendar and whaddayaknow? Taper starts this week.  Right on time.

 

Slow down, you move too fast….

We were on the way out of Staples.  I had a huge oversized piece of posterboard in one hand and a bag in the other so there were no extra hands available.

“C’mon, Lu.  We have two more places to go and we need to make sure that we get home before Emily’s bus.”

As I do frequently, I noted that I was talking to myself.  The big double doors of the Staples had slid closed behind me and she was waiting in the vestibule.  A hurried man scooted past her, triggering the doors to open again.  A woman with an infant in a soft carrier walked past me and I smiled at her, knowing she would have to wake that little bitty when she placed them back into their car seat.  As each person walked through the doors, Lucy just smiled at me.  She was waiting to trigger the doors.  Herself.  Because that’s how she rolls these days.

I made eye contact with a woman who was probably old enough to be my mother as she started to exit the store.  She smiled and slowed her pace.  The doors closed.  Lu jumped forward and spread her arms wide as the doors opened, as if to say “I am the Queen of all that I survey!”

“You did it! That was Awesome! Now hold my pants, kiddo, we need to get out to the car.”

The older lady was walking towards me now and she smiled at me.  “You’re a good mom.”

That’s all she said. “You’re a good mom.”

Sometimes you just need to hear it.  You need someone to notice that you were being patient.  You were present and engaged and not looking at your phone or your to-do list or the softball schedule or the coffee that had spilled down the front of your shirt.  You were just there.  You were smiling and being a good mom.  And somebody noticed.

Thank you, Lady at Staples.  I needed that today more than you know.

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Special thanks to Simon & Garfunkel

 

The Lines

On the drive home from the gym every day I have endorphins pumping. I am sweaty and strong and I feel about as good as I am going to feel all day.  Something happens when Lucy and I walk into the house.  I cross the threshold of our side door and enter the kitchen and the sweat starts to dry and all of a sudden I need to make lunch and what have I prepped for dinner and I have phone calls to make and oh shit I forgot to go the post office and do we have softball practice tonight and….

I try to hold onto the feeling. I do.  Today Lucy was cool, we had macaroni and cheese which every parent knows is a crowd pleaser. “Mom, you go take a shower and I will just color, ok?”

Don’t mind if I do.  I walked into the bedroom to peel myself out of my sweaty gym clothes and I guess I didn’t hear her follow me. “Mom!” She was yelling, like something was very alarming. “What ARE those lines?”

Instinctively I pulled my shirt back down.  My still salty face started to flush and I was trying to formulate an answer, the right answer.  I took a deep breath and pulled my shirt back up and said “Lu remember how I told you that you used to be inside my belly? Well, in order to fit in there my skin had to stretch way out.”

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She touched my stretch marks and was quiet. “That’s amazing.  Now your belly is so tiny.”

Well, compared to when I was 40 weeks pregnant, I suppose it is.  So tiny.

“That’s cool, Mom.  I am gonna have lines on my belly when my baby comes out, too.”

And she walked away.

I wish I could see myself like my girls see me.  Just once.

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Happy Anniversary!

It’s so corny to say that I would marry him all over again.  But I would.  Largely because I don’t think I have stayed so late at a party since our wedding night.  Honeymoon babies have a way of making your wedding seem so special…. since yanno, you’re pregnant and nursing and tired and paying a babysitter anytime you leave the house after that.

When we decided to pile books all over the place as our wedding decorations I didn’t think about how one day I would be cursing his piles of books all over our marital home.

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When the viking helmet became a crucial part of his wedding day attire I hadn’t planned on it turning into a keepsake and taking up permanent residence on the mantle in our living room.

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When I sat on the back deck of our weird duplex and power drank a glass of wine in my Punky Power headband and the overalls I wore throughout my pregnancy with Emily I never really thought that I would come home from our honeymoon knocked up.

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But we did.

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And all of a sudden we had a new house and a baby and I quit my job and we navigated a brand new life with grace.  We were a family of four.

But for a week we were newlyweds.  It was just the two of us.

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I got day drunk.

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He got sleepy.

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It was so, so good.

Four years.  We have only been married for four years.  So much has stayed the same.  And so much has changed.  The last four years have simultaneously gone by faster than any four years of my life and held some of the longest days.

A few weeks ago we were in the kitchen talking about marriage and I said that I finally was coming around to believing that maybe we could make it, maybe, just maybe we really would be those old folks with the rocking chairs one day. He looked at me and said “This marriage isn’t ending until one of us dies.”

He’s not a sentimental guy, at least not verbally.  I thought that was the end of his train of thought.  “I am not talking Murder One,” he added.

Cheers, MQD. Happy Anniversary.  I am super happy that you plan on staying married to me and not killing me.

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Burgers with Fried Eggs

The mindless chatter that happens between a married couple can be damaging.  Because the things that I say when I think nobody is listening – someone is listening.  And 99% of the time that someone is a little girl who will remember what I said for years to come.

We were on the way to dinner, headed out to a bar for bar food when neither of us are drinking and I am knee-deep in training mode (because we are, as MQD might say wicked smaht)  “I should get a salad.  Dammit, I really want a burger with a fried egg on top but I should get the salad.”

MQD mumbles something to the effect of “Get the burger if that’s what you want” since we agreed long ago not to police one another’s behavior.

“But five weeks out from the Half IronMan I should really get the salad.  I was faster when I was ten pounds lighter and really the faster doesn’t even matter, it’s not like I will place no matter what but it will just be easier to haul my ass 70.3 miles if I am lighter.  Not that any of it will be easy but….”

And I realized that both of my girls were listening.  And so was my husband.  And I was mindlessly rambling about weight.

I took a deep breath and spoke clearly.  I spoke to myself and to my girls.  “It’s not about what I weigh, but if I eat a burger now I will feel tired and yucky and I have to ride a bazillion miles and run tomorrow no matter what so I should eat the food that makes me feel good.  Everything I read supports that.  Over and over, garbage in makes for garbage out.”

“So, get the salad,” he said.

I got the salad.  And I ate half of Lucy’s chicken fingers but that is neither here nor there.

It’s so hard to train and eat and fight old feelings of being weight obsessed and have small eyes watching.

My new tri suit came in the mail today.  My new, new tri suit.  The first one came a week ago, an extra-large because it said to size up if you were in between.  Against my better judgement (and okay, okay, because my mother said I should) I sent it back and exchanged it for the smaller one. You want a dress that makes you feel good and is comfortable but you want a tri suit that is tight.  There’s no other word for it.  Tight.

I have avoided the scale all week because I am training hard this week and eating clean (and a lot) and my jeans indicate that I am retaining water (likely because my legs are screaming tired) but I feel strong.  And capable.  And like 70.3 miles is not an insane goal.  I don’t need a number on a scale to make me feel like I am not good enough.  Don’t get me wrong, I love numbers.  I have run 346 miles this year.  I have ridden 663.  I have swum 17.  These numbers make me feel strong.

I pulled the suit from the package and I headed for the bedroom to try it on.

When I popped out of my bedroom my greatest fashion critic said “It looks awesome!!”  The tiny teller of truth said simply “It’s really tight on your muscles.”

I had to walk away.  I couldn’t do a round of “Are you crying?  Why are you crying?” just right then.

Yep. It looks awesome and it is tight on my muscles.  And it is also tight and unforgiving across the roundness of the stomach that housed two children and the fullness of the hips that are filled with pizza and beers and burgers with fried eggs on top.  But all they saw was “awesome” and “muscles.”

Kids see what we show them.  Somehow I had just stripped naked, poured myself into a skin-tight tri suit, kicked aside my bathroom scale and presented myself to them as strong and capable and proud and ready to kick some damn ass.  Painstakingly slow ass, but ass, nonetheless.

I am calling that a win for the day.  Triathlon is hard.  Parenting is harder.  Being kind to myself, however, is proving to get a teeny bit easier every day.

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Race Recap: Lake Belews International Triathlon

You know those bad dreams that start with you getting off the school bus at some familiar-ish looking building and you realize it is a high school and you have an exam and you have no pencil and no pants?

The start of last weekend’s triathlon at Lake Belew was not too dissimilar.  Ordinarily my pre-race freakout takes place in the pre-dawn hours and it is quiet and kind of dark, not a lot of time to think about what you’re planning on doing.  However, due to the late start of this race (9:30 am!) it was plenty light out when I arrived. Typically I scan for the registration tent and the portapotties.  But they were blocked by trucks.  Huge trucks filled with bikes.  And college athletes.  Cue panic.

It seemed that everywhere I looked there was another gaggle of 20-something hard bodies, blissfully unaware of their 2% body fat.

I quickly scanned for Grown Ups.  There had to be Grown Ups here, right?  Oh, and there were.  Lots of them.  And each one looked more seasoned than the last.  These people were Athletes.  They trained and ate “fuel” instead of food and probably woke up at 5:00 am and kept their bicycles in their living rooms and OMG WHAT AM I DOING HERE?!

That’s pretty much how I was feeling pre-race, like I was in way over my head.  My partner-in-crime and the woman I blame/credit with my thinking that this is even possible reminded me that the further you go the more people tend to look like swimmers.  Swimmers – that strange breed of folks that have perfect, giant shoulders (making their bodies resemble a chiseled triangle no matter the shape) and that seem to miraculously not look tired at the break of dawn since they have been up before the sun for swim team their entire lives.

Got my  transition area set up quickly and did not have my Superman towel with me for the first time ever.  My spot was smack dab between one of the aforementioned college triathletes and a fellow old enough to be father that surely could have kicked my ass.  For the first time in the history of my triathlon career I did not take a pre-race selfie.  That is indication enough of how self-conscious I must have been feeling.  Popped down to the dock to feel the water and was pleasantly surprised.  Cold but not take your breath away cold.

Wetsuit on with little struggle and stood in line for a bit. This was a fantastic, staggered start open water swim so you run the risk of running into only a few swimmers and being kicked by just those in your immediate time spot instead of 300+. I was worried about hydrating enough on the bike (since I sort of feel like I am going to crash when I get my water bottle out of the cage still) so I pounded some water and decided that I would pee in my wetsuit! Yes! Another first!  First race in a wetsuit, first time clipped in to my bike, first time riding more than 25 miles outside, firsts all over the place.

Screen Shot 2015-04-16 at 8.51.29 AMHow was the swim? It was good. I tried to put my head down and just swim and not sight to awful much.  My watch said I had put in 1.35 miles when I was finished with my .96 mile swim, however, so perhaps a little more sighting might be necessary next time.  You can see from the image here that it was a far cry from the triangular route I was gunning for.  I am particularly fond of the period where it appears I was actually going backwards. All in all, swim was a positive experience.  Loved the new wetsuit.  Didn’t feel like I was going to die at all.  And for those dying to know… my wetsuit remains pee free.

And on to the bike. Transition was uneventful, got my wetsuit off quickly and dried off my feet and hopped into my shoes.  I had been on the fence about throwing on a long sleeve for the bike since the morning had seemed rather chilly but it had warmed up nicely so I was good to go.  Straight out of transition was a hill on the bike (WTF) but I managed to be in the right gear and get up and out uneventfully.  I concentrated for the first 30 minutes on “cycling.”  I tried to drop into aero when I could, I tried to not fear the gear shift and just do what I knew to be the right thing.  All of the time in the saddle that I have put in has paid off and I felt strong…  and then I got bored.  Do you have any idea how weird it is inside your own mind?  Or inside mine? So, I started looking around. I waved at a guy that I thought was walking the most enormous dog ever that turned out to be a donkey.  I sang songs to myself.  I screamed in delight when I passed a gas station and what was I am 99% certain an old friend of mine getting gas.  I patted myself on the back for not turning around to go back and say “How the hell are you?” and that deserves quite a pat since this is a guy that never travels without a cooler of brews.  Periodically I reminded myself that although this was a gorgeous morning it was not a casual bike ride and I needed to turn up the heat.  Those moments typically came seconds after a guy in a helmet shaped like a rocket zipped past me.

The second loop on the bike didn’t bring fatigue but it did bring a fervent need to pee.  So, I tried.  All of the reading that I have done regarding training for the Half Ironman tells me that peeing on the bike is a skill one must learn.  I am hard pressed to imagine myself whizzing around the neighborhood (HA!) so I thought this was a good chance to try.  Nope.  Not even kinda sorta.

As I came into transition I was grateful for that hill, popped my feet out of the clips early and coasted down the hill and to the dismount line.  Did not fall.  Huzzah!

My goals for the run were simple. I wanted to try and maintain a consistent pace and look at my watch as little as possible.  I wasn’t a mile into the run before I realized that I could never maintain my pace.  My first mile was at my 5K pace and it was because I was very likely going to pee in my pants.  Came around a bend and there was a portapotty, a glorious portapotty!  Took a pitstop (my first mid-race pitstop!) and kept on trucking. Mile two was also at 5K pace and I was beginning to think that my legs belonged to someone else.  Hit the water stop at 2.5 and my legs were once again the old legs I remembered, I didn’t come to a screeching halt, but the sense of urgency seemed to have left the building.  I was delighted that I was almost finished!  The run was a two loop out and back and when I turned around after my first loop I told the lady that she would seem like Santa Claus when I saw her next.  Sure enough she shouted “Ho Ho Ho” when I saw her the second time and that little bit of encouragement helped me kick it into high gear (that and the fact that it really was a downhill from there on out.)

IMG_8790As per usual I encouraged the volunteer that came at me to remove my timing chip to back up so I didn’t throw up on his head and paced around a bit after the finish line.  No puking!

Did I feel like I could have gone twice as long?  Oh hell no. But I am certain that come May 31 I will be ready. I have a 10 miler this weekend for fun and a 60 mile bike race on May 1 to look forward to… and a whole lotta training. Jones Racing Company did a wonderful job.  Tasty pizza and plenty of volunteers and people to help.  And a medal!

Lessons Learned:

Sunscreen.  Use more of it.

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Tents.  Don’t sleep in them after a race.

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Water is your friend.  Before, during and after a race. However, once the sun goes down if you plan on sleeping in a tent – beer is your friend – your very best friend.

The final lesson:  I am going to keep moving. Keep moving this old body of mine and keep being grateful for the opportunity to do so.  I moved my ass a little over 35 miles and then I ate some good food and drank some cheap beer and I woke up feeling awesome.  Also, pigtails.  Always, pigtails.

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You know you are an “insert thing you might not really be” when…

If you only stop by to hear me get weepy about my kids, skip ahead.  But if you enjoy my triathlon related rambling with a dash of bodily fluids – this one’s for you!

Observations Pre Race:

The day before my first Olympic length triathlon I had a couple of goals –   get on and off my bike a bazillion times and try not to panic about riding clipped in and get back in the water in my wetsuit and see if I hyperventilate.   Note the trend – don’t freak out.  I was dreaming big, guys.

I took Lucy into the kid room and managed to push my bike, hold her hand and hold my helmet and my shoes.  I even successfully pushed my bike from the seat for a bit, which if you don’t know, totally makes you look like a Cyclist.  It is the Grown Up equivalent of riding downhill with no hands. Not NO HANDS when you have your hands up over your head, but just the casual Big Kid in the Neighborhood hands hanging straight down and zipping down the hill with a slightly bored expression on your face kind of Cyclist.

Shoes on.  Helmet on.  Onto my bike. Rode around about ten miles, switched gears, went up and down some hills.  Came to a dead stop in an empty parking lot and decided it was do or die time. Picked a line in the parking lot and pretended that was the Mount/Dismount line. (In a triathlon there is a Transition Area where you switch from one activity to the next, you can’t ride your bike in there. Just outside of there is a line where you mount your bike on the way out and dismount on the way in.  Side note: If you have the pleasure of knowing the delightful Laura M from high school then you know that I love this line on my way out.  She is a bad mofo that supports my triathlon endeavors and I love seeing her name as I start out on the bike leg of a race!)

I told myself that I would ride to the line and dismount 25 times.  That seemed like a reasonable number.  I did it 21 times and thought “oh hell, I got this.”  And then I decided that was lame to cut it short and did it 4 more times.  And then I felt so damn good about riding clipped in that I stopped and took a picture of myself to send to my mom with the caption “Look, I might not die in my race this weekend!” And then I prepared to ride back to my car and rack my bike.

And I fell down.  Of course I did.  I should know better than to get cocky.  Falling actually thrilled me, I no longer had to fear tipping over! Bloody knee?  Check!

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I hobbled into the pool.

IMG_3214 copyWetsuits are tricky.  Getting in a wetsuit on a cool, crisp morning in the out of doors looks pretty silly but you’re doing it because you’d freeze if you just hopped in the water.  Wriggling into a wetsuit poolside at an indoor community pool warrants weird looks from the pool joggers and the AquaBikers.  And when you can get pool joggers to look at YOU funny… well, that’s a win.  Swam 1000 yards before I was so warm I had to get out.  Wetsuit Success.

Into the showers at the gym.  Rumor has it chlorine is dreadful on a wetsuit so I just hopped in with it on to rinse off.  As I pulled my neckline out from my throat to let the lukewarm water run down the length of my body I immediately set a new goal.  I wanted to pee in my wetsuit.  Not now in the shower, I save that for the summertime.  But I wanted to pee in my wetsuit during the swim portion of the race.  If lukewarm water from the gym shower felt this good some 98.6 degree pee would be glorious!  (As I said above, I dream big.)

That just left packing up my tri bag and getting a good night’s sleep. Heh. Sleep eludes me on a good night.

But I did get packed.  And I did get out the door at 0’dark thirty. Did I Swim 1500 meters, bike 27 Miles and run a 10K?  Well, you will just have to stay tuned! I have to get to the gym because… well, because I am obsessed.  Determined.  Obstermined? Detessed?  Your call.

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Did you hear that?

“Scuse me, while I kiss this guy” – that is probably my favorite misheard song lyric.  I suppose there was a time when someone standing not ten feet away from Jimi Hendrix looked to his left and to his right, desperate to make eye contact with someone else that heard what he had heard.  “Did he just say that? “Kiss this guy?”

I have what one might call an active imagination.  Pretty frequently I hear things that are not at all what was just said. I get a kick out of saying “Wait, hold up, I swear you just said [insert inane comment that could not possibly be correct.]” But the other day I had a real, live, honest to god “NO WAY. THIS DID NOT JUST HAPPEN” moment.  And nobody heard it but me.

Let me set the scene. Girl Scout Awards Ceremony.  It’s chaotic.  It is dinner time and Lucy is not really into meetings at 5:30 pm.  She is trying to be quiet-ish.  Emily is making faces at us both and I am trying to balance the “Please pay attention to your troop” with the “Please keep entertaining your sister, holy cow, it is a long day when you don’t come straight home from school to relieve me from my entertaining small people duties.”

I am seated next to a friend. Not a Mom Friend, the friends that you make because your kids are in the same class and you lock eyes at a horrible birthday party and realize you are of like mind but a Friend Friend that just happens to have a daughter in Em’s troop.  We are quietly saying howdy and exchanging twenty words (the highlight of my otherwise toddler-filled day) when I have that sudden realization that I am an Adult.  I should be paying attention.  I try to refocus my attention to the Scouts as they excitedly receive their goodie bags filled with badges they have dutifully earned.  The older girls are explaining their badges.

Scout meetings are held in a local church with gorgeous acoustics.  Acoustics that, I imagine,  can lift the voice of a passionate speaker and deliver their words to the pews in a neat little package.  However, the voice of a pre-teen girl that is not quite sure of herself can get lost in the sounds of thirty some girls wiggling at the end of the day. I listened harder. “Stereotypes….. and so we….. break down…. For example, white girls.  Everyone thinks that white girls are boring…. and then you get to know a white girl and she is fun…”  This is about when I could not keep my eyeballs in my head any longer.

I turned to my friend with the tamest version of my “Are you fucking kidding me? Is this real life?!” face on and whispered “Did she just say “white girls are no fun?!” I barely got it out of my mouth before I had to scoop up my three year old, holding her in front of my face like a visual excuse for being noisy.  “Shy girls,” whispered my friend.  “Shy.”

Oh.

Of course.

I wonder if the first person that thought Jimi Hendrix wanted to kiss a guy was really into dudes and not so much down with kissing skies.  Maybe everyone listening to Creedence Clearwater Revival’s “Bad Moon on the Rise” was on their third beer and desperately had to pee and that’s why it sounds so very much like “bathroom on the right.”  Perhaps it really is just all about where you’re coming from in the moment and I am just a boring white girl.  Because heaven knows I am not a shy girl.

And boring? Am I boring?  Maybe.  I am running and biking and swimming and momming.  But mostly I am smiling and laughing and writing blog posts in my mind while I count laps or time running intervals.  I am nearing the end of the precious years I have spent sleeping with a sweaty kid head pressed against my chest so I am less and less inclined to sneak out of bed at night to write down the memories before they escape.

I will leave you with this. In case you wondered if I am a boring girl, white, shy or otherwise.  The other day I sat on the side of the bath tub and ate the last ice cream cone.  It was wonderful.  I was all alone.  It was delicious because ice cream.  But even more than that – it was the last one.  And I was hiding.  Now, tell me I don’t know how to have fun?

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Big Girl Beds are for Babies

Three.

Three is a pretty perfect number.  It is the only number that is the sum of the numbers beneath it.  It’s a spectacular number according to mathematicians.  But ask a parent – you’d be hard-pressed to find a parent that says that they just love three.

But I do.  When you’re three you’re not a baby and you’re not a kid.  You can say hilarious things and roll your eyes and laugh at a joke, a real joke, but you can also crawl into your mother’s lap and fall asleep.  You believe in the power of mama’s arms around you and you are still my baby.  But you pee in a toilet and for the most part you do not leak bodily fluids on my shirt.

I think three is wonderful.

Most of the time.

Lucy Quinn

On Tuesday my baby is three.  This baby – the one that was born about five minutes ago.

My Lucy Quinn is a big personality and her birthday reflects that.  We have been celebrating for days.  She had cake and candles with family.  She had her first haircut.  She slept in her big girl bed for the first time.

Em got kicked out of my bed into a “big girl” bed and I learned a lesson. I slept in a twin bed with a tornado of elbows and tiny cold feet for years and I won’t make the same mistake again.  Lucy’s big girl bed is big – a queen.  She thinks she is hot stuff to have a big girl bed and told everyone that would listen that “my mom and I are moving into my own room!”  I smiled and said “No, baby, just Lucy is moving into your room” but she was right.

We snuggled.  She fell asleep.  I slipped out of bed and came downstairs. I spent five or six hours tossing and turning in my bed and checking and double-checking the baby monitor before I went upstairs and got in bed with her.  I made a brief pit stop in the chair in her room where I sat and watched her sleep and bawled about how big she is getting.  And then I admitted defeat and I climbed in next to her.

Tonight I am going to try… I am going to try and leave her be. But she is still so small, guys.  I can’t figure out if she needs me or I need her but I know that I don’t believe in arbitrarily changing things because it “is time.”  And yet somehow I decided that I was too tired, we were too tired to stay in my bed together anymore.  Nursing all night and waking one another.  So, I started telling her “When you are three you can sleep in your bed, right?”  And she got all kinds of neat stuff for her bedroom over Christmas.  And she helped me put glow in the dark stars on her ceiling yesterday.  And then all of a sudden she was in her bed and we were reading a book and we were turning off the light and she was asleep and I was the one that was crying.

She’s not three yet.  I have two more days.  I just want my baby back.

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And that is when she hollered “Mom!” just as I had shown her.  “Lu, all you have to do is say “Mom!” into the monitor and I can hear you.  See?  You’re not alone,” I explained.  She was listening. She had tears in her eyes but she wasn’t crying, exactly, when I entered her room last night.  I had just finished the sentence above about wanting my baby back when she cried out.  “Mom!” I wish it had been a “Mama” or a “Mommmmmmy!” but I am not picky.

This moving into her own bed will be a process for us both.  Em slept with me until she was nearly four.  And by then I had a boyfriend that quickly became a fiancée and we slept like you do when you’re newly in love, all wrapped up in one another.  And then while I was pregnant I went back to sleeping with Fisher because for reasons I don’t quite understand I can’t get enough of that boy when I am pregnant. And then I had Lucy.  I have slept tangled up in someone for as long as I can remember now.  While I am prone to fantasize about what it might feel like to stretch my legs out and fall asleep without anyone touching me (particularly late at night when I am desperate for sleep and pinned between a snoring dog and a sleeping kid) I am afraid.  I am afraid I will be lonely. I am nervous.  I am nervous like one might be before a first date.  MQD and I haven’t slept alone in a bed since we were married.  I came home from our honeymoon pregnant.

I am trying to tune out all of the advice.  I should night wean her.  I should have had her in her own bed all along.  I should just let her cry for a little bit.  I am trying to remember the advice that I give so many new moms – It doesn’t matter what anyone thinks but you and the baby and your partner. You guys are the only people that get a vote.  Our current sleeping arrangements aren’t working.  So, we are trying something new. And just like with a little kid I need to process that just because we are crying a little (or a lot, in my case) doesn’t mean that it isn’t the right thing to do.  Change is hard.  It’s only been two days.

Bear with me while I blather on about this for the next few weeks.  When she is brushing her teeth and setting an alarm clock for school I won’t remember this time if I don’t write it all down.   The days are long and the years are short and all that jazz…. it happens so fast.  And the promise of a full night’s sleep looms large.  We will make it.

Sappy birthday letter to my Lucy Q is coming…. if you’ve not been around long you can catch up starting here….

So, I stepped on my scale after an 8 month hiatus.

Diet and exercise.  It’s not an uncommon pair of things to talk about.  Doctors, nutritionists, fitness enthusiasts, jacked up freaks on late night infomercials – lots of people like to remind you that you can’t lose weight or change your body without diet AND exercise.

As a cardio junkie I am prone to nod along during these conversations.  I believe in the power of a good sweat – so much so that I probably haven’t written about anything that wasn’t tangentially related to exercise in over a year.

08f010684b0ca12ad433fb2752d8b758And here’s where it gets dicey.  It’s cool to talk about fitness and healthy eating habits but when you talk about the scale – it’s no bueno. Everyone wants to chime in and tell me that the scale is just a number, muscle weighs more than fat… I get that. I really do.  But the scale and I had a little situation last spring.  And I am still reeling in the after effects.

A little background….

When I first started triathlon training in 2013 I had no idea what it meant to race as an Athena.  (Click the link for a great post from SwimBikeMom about the Athena class.) The sport of triathlon lets athletes choose to race against their age group or their weight class.  To qualify as an Athena a woman must weigh 165+.  My entire adult like I have hovered around 175.  I was firmly in the Athena camp.  But as a gal that is pushing 5’10” I raced in my age group.  Why?  Truthfully – it wasn’t shame, I wasn’t scared of the A on my calf.  I have always been happy to tell anyone what I weigh.  I don’t freak out when a nurse weighs me in a hallway and I have never been embarrassed. I really do buy into the “your weight is just a number” thinking.

I never opted to race in the Athena class because I am competitive somewhere underneath my newbie swim cap.  I didn’t choose Athena for my very first race because I didn’t know what it meant.  And I placed in the middle of my age group.  After the race it dawned on me that I would have placed third in this all women’s newbie sprint tri if I had raced as an Athena.  So, for my next race I opted to stay in my age group for two reasons. First and foremost –  I decided that if there was a possibility to hit the podium in my first season than what would motivate me to push harder?  And second – it seemed like maybe racing Athena would be a dick move if I did it just to place.

So, I stayed in my age group.  And I hovered around the middle of the pack.  Not bad for my first season. And then the fall came and the holidays.  And then the race season was looming for 2014 and I was still too chicken to go farther but I planned to conquer my fear of open water swimming.  I had a full schedule of half marathons and sprint tris and I was excited.  And then I jumped on the scale and it said 163 – in January.

I couldn’t race as an Athena if I wanted to.  For a moment I felt elated and then I remembered that the scale is just a number and if I was to believe all the rhetoric I had been feeding myself (ha!) for the last fifteen years I shouldn’t be so excited.  So, I tried on my leather pants (the holy grail of “Holy Shit, do these fuckers still fit? that I keep in my upstairs closet) and they did! They felt good.  I could sit down even.  Sit. Down.  And breathe.

That weekend I got out of the shower and dried off and I put on my underwear and a bra and I dried my hair before I got dressed.  This might not seem all that interesting (unless you are conjuring up a mental image, dirtbag) but I stopped standing in front of a mirror in my underwear about ten years ago.  I can’t get dressed if I spend the ten minutes it takes to dry my hair criticizing my body so I just stopped looking.  I just get dressed before I stand in my bathroom.

But for some reason I didn’t hate this 163 pound body.  It didn’t really look all that different than my 175ish pound body.  But I was nicer to that girl that weighed less.  And that is fucked up.  Super fucked up.

Scale-memeThe next morning I stepped on the scale again and it was 164 and I was cranky.  The day after that 162. I compulsively weighed myself daily and then eventually it said 159.  (I might have been able to cut glass with my collar bones that day.) It was the beginning of March and I decided that I was maybe making myself insane.  I felt good.  I needed to back up and stop weighing myself like a crazy person.  I weighed myself again at the end of April.  162.

And so I stopped.  I stopped logging my food.  I stopped weighing myself.  I had a full summer of races planned and I had made it.  I felt good, really good about myself. I shamelessly wore a red bikini all summer.

And then it was fall and then it was Halloween and eventually Thanksgiving was looming.  I pulled out a pair of jeans that had fit the previous winter (the coveted size 8 jeans that had taunted me for years) and they didn’t even kind of button.  Shoved them back in my closet and tried not to think about it.  Thanksgiving weekend.  I yelled at my kids while I was trying to get dressed for church and I looked at the scale.  I just looked.  I hadn’t stepped on it in months because I was too good for it but now I was avoiding it because I was terrified.  I was already cranky with the way my clothes were fitting and having a number to attach to that feeling would just send me into a downward spiral.

So, I made a choice.  I decided to not worry about it.  I wasn’t going to let the number on a scale make me hate Christmas cookies or sweet potato pie or shitloads of Bailey’s in my coffee.  I would step on the scale in January just like everyone else and let the chips fall as they may in the interim. (The chips fell into a bowl of cheese and then right into my mouth, as you may have guessed.)

On January 2nd of this year the scale said 188.8.  Between March and December I ran 828 of the 1,015 miles I ran in 2014.  And I gained 29.4 pounds.  That’s a lot of muscle, guys.  Ha.  I did some serious damage in the month of December of the booze variety, so a good bit of that came right off as soon as I hopped on the January Sober Train.  But the rest of it? That was a direct result of being one of those people that fell face first into the big bag of chips called “I can eat whatever I want, I ran today.” Maybe add a side order of “I am almost 40 and my metabolism is in the shitter” and you have yourself a solid 25 pound weight gain.

So, what now?  I wrote 1200+ words about the number on a scale for what reason? I guess this is just some kind of weird Public Service Announcement.  I know I am not the only one with a twisted relationship with their scale.

So, what’s my plan for 2015?  A diet?  Nope, but I’m back on the logging my food wagon.  I’m back on the weigh yourself once a week wagon.  And I am registered for the Raleigh 70.3 Half Ironman.  Do I think that swimming 1.2 miles and biking 56 miles and running 13.1 miles will magically make me healthier again or feel better about myself?  Not really.  But everything I have read about endurance racing says the same thing.  You have to eat right.  I will have to learn to put the right food into this old body of mine or I will injure myself in training before I ever get to the starting line.

In 2013 I decided to become a person that exercises.  I did it.  Two years later and I really can’t imagine skipping a workout.  I guess now I have to learn how to eat right.  I really only know how to eat not much at all or whatever the fuck I want. There has to be an in between, right?  Because, diet and exercise.  This year I will learn to eat right.  And maybe next year I will learn to have a healthy relationship with an object that gives me only one small piece of information about my health, my scale.  Or maybe I will just keep trying on that same pair of jeans.

Edited to add: I know a lady doesn’t talk about her weight… but I am afraid the Lady Ship has sailed.