Archive | May, 2011

Gearing up

27 May

Let’s try this again… Yesterday, I attempted this post but WordPress deleted 85% of the text. I was so discouraged and frustrated that I had to walk away… But I got smart this time and typed all of this in a Word doc FIRST! Take that WordPress.

One pleasant side-effect of my now having a job has been being able to buy some stuff that we had put off buying until I was bringing in a regular income. Things like:

New Tri Outfit

Tri Bike

Indoor Bike Trainer

Cute belt ($10 at Walmart)

Travis also bought a new rifle and a gun safe, which he is very excited about – he has admired his safe every day since he got it and spent 2 days installing it. If anyone wants to steal our gun safe, they will have to literally cut the house apart around it. In which case, Travis says, “If they go to that much work to steal it, they can be my guest.”

All that means, I am officially ready for the Boulder Sunrise triathlon that is taking place a week from tomorrow. (I can’t believe it’s triathlon season already!) I am equipped gear-wise with my tri clothes, wetsuit, running shoes, tri bike, race fuel, water bottle, sunglasses, and helmet. And I am prepared training-wise: my longest workouts so far have been 1,000 yd swim; 17 mile bike; and 5 mile run. I was supposed to ride 20 miles this weekend on the bike but it’s not going to happen. I think I’ll be fine.

After running 4.5 miles at lunch today and then doing some hikes this weekend, I will be officially tapering (which means I get to sleep in until 6 or 6:30 instead of getting up at 5!).  As far as my time goal for the race, back in 2009, I did a traditional sprint distance race (750 m swim, 12.4 mi bike, 5k run) and finished in 1:45. This race is the same distance, except the bike is 17 miles. I have a tri bike now, instead of the mountain bike I used before, but I also didn’t train as hard or as long for this race as I did for that one. So I’m shooting for under 2 hours. Here are the split goals:

Swim (750 m): 22:00

T1: 2:00

Bike (17 mi): 1:03:00

T2: 1:00

Run (5k): 31:00

Total: 1:59:00

Goal details:

Swim: The swim time is based on what I have been doing in the pool, since learning the front crawl. My previous race time for 750 meters was 19:57 doing the breaststroke but I discovered that I can’t do the breaststroke and wear a wetsuit (the buoyancy works against you). Since the water is probably going to be around 60 degrees, I really want to wear my wetsuit. Ergo, I learned the front crawl and will be doing that stroke, even though I’m slower at it (my theory is that I’m slower at the front crawl because my upper body is fairly weak and my lower body – which is used more in the breaststroke – is stronger. I am planning on starting upper body weights after these two June triathlons to increase my swim speed.)

T1: This goal is ambitious, since even when I didn’t wear a wetsuit, T1 took me 2:14 (with a wetsuit, my previous T1 time was 2:40). I plan on practicing that transition next week.

Bike: I’m pretty sure this is doable, if not beatable, since I rode 16.7 miles the other day in 1:04 and was going slower than I would have if I hadn’t been with my husband who was not in biking shape and was also riding a mountain bike.

T2: This goal is totally doable – my previous times for T2 were 0:59 and 1:09.

Run: A more realistic time might be 32:30 or 33:00, since my training runs have tended toward the 10:30-11:00/mile pace. But I’m shooting for a 10:00 pace!

Based on last year’s results, my goal of 1:59:00 would put me almost directly in the middle of women finishers, as well as my age group (F2529), which is typical for me. I checked the weather today for race day (6/4) and even though it’ll probably change before then, it’s promising: 76 degrees, partly sunny, with wind from the south at 11 mph. That would be almost perfect!

The weekend after the Boulder Sunrise is the Greeley Sprint Tri (500 m swim, 10 mi bike, 5k run) and then my plan is to start preparing for an Olympic triathlon in August. My tentative plan is to do the Leadville Tri-It-High Sprint Tri on July 17th and the Steamboat Springs Oly Tri on August 28th. Both of those races will be at elevation (10,200 ft and 6,400 ft respectively) so they will be challenging races and I’ll have to find a way to train a bit in the mountains. The Leadville race would also be my first pool swim (thankfully we don’t swim in a mountain lake — it’d be freezing!)

It’s shaping up to be an exciting summer of triathlon adventures!

Our Vegetable Garden

24 May

In my last post, I mentioned that we planted our vegetable garden this past weekend (finally!). We probably won’t get much produce before August or September but it will be fun to watch them grow over the next couple of months and then reap the benefits!

We followed the Square Foot Gardeningtechnique taught by Mel Bartholomew. Thus, our cute little 4′ x 4′ boxes:

Our Lovely Little Garden

The idea of this technique is that by eliminating space between rows and growing your vine plants vertically instead of along the ground, you can have more garden in less space. I like that idea! Since we planted so late, we bought mostly plants from our local nursery but some fast-growing plants (spinach, green beans, carrots, and sugar snap peas) we are (attempting to) grow from seeds.

Please note the deliberate fencing effort. That was to keep the dogs out. Yesterday afternoon, we caught Katy inside the garden. She had jumped the fence. Argh!
A few more pics of our landscaping and garden:
 
 
Look at how green everything is! That will be gone in a month because of the Colorado dryness (we actually got over 4 inches of rain this month – almost a record!) I’m enjoying it while it lasts.

Goodbye reading goal?

23 May

This weekend was extremely productive. For some reason, I have started waking up without an alarm clock. I still set it because I’m very wary of this alertness before the crack of dawn. So after going to bed at 10:30 on Friday night (because I was absolutely exhausted), I woke up at 7:15 on Saturday. After watching the morning news, getting in the Word, eating breakfast, and waking Travis up for our bike ride in Boulder, I gave both pooches a bath and dyed my hair. (I used the new Clairol Nice ‘n’ Easy Foam color – it was very easy to use and I really liked how my hair turned out… except that it’s almost the same color it was before I dyed it.)

Then came our bike ride in Boulder – 17 miles around the Boulder Reservoir. I’m very proud of my husband for surviving it, considering he hasn’t ridden a bike in a couple of years. And I was very pleased with our time: 16.73 miles in 1:04. I’ll ride faster during the race because I was purposefully riding slower than I would have for my husband, who was riding an old mountain bike. So not only was he not in biking shape, he was riding a heavy, knobby-tired hunk of metal. Isn’t he the sweetest for coming with me?

After our bike ride, we ate lunch at Harpo’s Sports Grill (we had a gift cert), then went home where Travis mowed the lawn and I went to pick up my prescription (and a few other non-essentials) at Walmart. Travis had suggested I buy him a gun safe as an anniversary present so we went to Gander Mountain for that, and then to the liquor store for tequila so we could make frozen margaritas with our new full-size blender (Travis’ present to me). Mmmm…. margaritas.

On Sunday, I got up at 6:30 to run 5 miles, then we went to church, REI, and then the nursery to buy plants for our vegetable garden. After planting and fencing off our vegetable garden (no pooches allowed!), I went to the grocery store, finished doing laundry, and went to bed at 9:45. Whew!

One unfortunate side effect of this busyness, however, is that my reading has plummeted to being almost non-existent. In the past month and a half, I haven’t finished a single book. I’ve read maybe a grand total of 30 pages. Sad day. Part of the reason for my hiatus has been that reading mentally stimulating books when I have a thousand things going on just isn’t possible. I can’t engage with the book. Instead, I end up either reading the same paragraph over and over or reading several pages only to realize I’m completely lost. The other part of the reason is that it just isn’t a priority right now — and it’s not going to be until life slows down a bit. What happened to the days and nights on end of having nothing to do? Oh wait, they all got channeled into my time at work.

It doesn’t look like it’s going to better any time soon either. This coming weekend, we’re camping and while I might be able to fit some reading time in while Travis is fishing, it will be minimal. The weekend after that is my first sprint triathlon, the Boulder Sunrise; the weekend after that is the Greeley Sprint Triathlon; the weekend after that, we’re going to visit friends down in Divide, CO; and the weekend after that, we might have a barbeque at our house. There is some downtime in there and I am for sure going to need some rest after doing back-to-back triathlons – but it’ll probably come mostly in the form of naps. I am really looking forward to a weekend with nothing we *have* to do (if it ever comes…) so that I can sit down with a book and relax.

I do feel God’s blessing in the midst of this busy season, though. Having learned that I am only called to be faithful in doing what God has assigned to me for the day and leaving the rest to Him has given me unexpected energy when I feel like I should be dead tired, overwhelmed, and mopey. Instead, I have excitement, enjoyment, and hope. In fact, I actually enjoyed digging in the dirt yesterday to plant our garden. I am very excited to see the plants grow and produce fruit (I’ll post pics and more info later). It makes me feel like I’m really taking advantage of God’s bounty and joy in creation. Plus, I love fruits and vegetables!

All that say, whereas I had been contemplating the goal of reading 50 books in a year (the past several years, I’ve only averaged 25 or so), that goal may have to be sacrificed for some peace and sanity. Goals are just a means of achieving what you really desire and value. They are not ultimate. God, and the joy found in Christ, are.

The Hooligan Twins

20 May

Katy and Charlie

One cause of my recent lack of blog posts has been the two dogs to the left. Cute, yes. Well-behaved, no.

It all started back on April 8th when I took Katy to our new vet at PetSmart for a routine checkup and a refill on her heartworm meds. Charlie was there, newly rescued from an indian reservation in Oklahoma. After several discussions with the rescuing vet and Travis, we adopted Charlie. We did not know what we were signing up for.

While some behaviors like guarding her food and putting her paws up on the kitchen counter were quickly remedied, other behaviors like peeing inside the house, waking up at god-awful hours like 2 and 4 a.m., and disappearing into the juniper bushes behind our house to avoid being disciplined are still works in progress.

In those first days, I wasn’t working yet so the most challenging aspect of having Charlie was that she didn’t like her kennel all that much and would start whining and banging around to be let out at the hour of 5:00 a.m. most days (and when you’re unemployed, that is a VERY early hour to rise). My initial ideas were to 1) let her out to pee, then put her back into her kennel and go back to bed; 2) leave her outside and go back to  bed; 3) leave her out of her kennel and go back to bed. Notice the familiar theme? Well, not a single one of those options worked. Putting her back into her kennel only caused her to whine and sometimes bark. Leaving her outside started a barking contest between her and the neighbor’s dog. And leaving her out invited either little surprises left around the house or her pawing at our bedroom door. So I finally sucked it up and realized that my reality was I just had to get up and stay up. During that period, I actually knew what was going on in the world from watching the morning news and I got a lot of curriculum editing done (both of which have dropped to nothing since I started my job).

Adding to the frustration of the early mornings was Charlie’s refusal to sit still or lay around for longer than 30 minutes at any given time. Therefore, my afternoon naps were also out of the question. I couldn’t let Charlie just wander around the house because she still didn’t quite understand that she needed to hold her bowels until we were outside. So I’d be just dropping off into a most glorious slumber when Charlie got up and walked off down the hall. I would call Charlie back, lay there for 10 seconds cursing my life, and then get up and follow after her. It didn’t work either to have Charlie lie with me on the couch but she is the squirmiest dog EVER. She will NOT lay still for anything but instead feels the need to stick her cold, wet nose on your cheek and lick your neck. Again, very cute, yes. Charming? No.

The way she looks when she does this makes me melt

Then there were the walks. Being a rescue from a reservation as well as a puppy with loads of energy, Charlie did not (and still doesn’t) understand the concept of a leash. Taking two dogs on a walk would be a challenge regardless, even if one of those wasn’t swerving back and forth the entire time, trying to get to things beyond the reach of her leash, and running into the other dog as if they weren’t even there. On those walks, I admire Katy’s patience – instead of snapping, growling or barking, she just steps around Charlie, going on her merry little way. I, on the other hand, wanted to kick Charlie. I’m not a good doggy mommy.

Ah, and then there have been the times when Charlie peed on the floor in our house right in front of me. First, she went into the corner behind the chair in our living room. Then, I walked into our bedroom just as she was squatting down. Then, I was laying on the couch attempting to take a nap and she decided that right in the middle of the room was the best place to relieve herself. On every one of these occasions, as soon as it clicked in my head what she was doing, I spastically yelled “NOOOOOOO!!!!”, scaring the living daylights out of her so much that she promptly stopped long enough for me to get her outside to finish what she started. (Although now, for some reason, Charlie can’t hold her bladder when she’s scared, and she’s scared of us often – our own doing – so we find little puddles of pee around.)

I tell these tales (slightly) light-heartedly now but let me assure you, there have been many angry, enraged outbursts from both me and Travis. This dog (and Katy, who I will get to shortly) has tested our patience, kindness, longsuffering, and sanity more than I ever thought she would. It is only by God’s grace that both of these dogs are still alive (I’m serious). To deal with the frustration, I have locked the dogs outside or locked myself in another room. I have lectured them (which actually made them scared of me – now whenever I lecture them, Charlie runs and sits in her kennel). I have smacked them both on the heads, grabbed their collars and dragged them forcefully when they wouldn’t come willingly, and shook their heads with force. I have also ignored them, shouted at them, and been a little rougher than I would if I wasn’t mad. I’m not proud to admit these things and I do not think it is ok to treat dogs, even though they’re animals, like this. In Charlie’s case, she doesn’t know better.

But Katy does. Katy is a smart dog and she’s not a puppy so she has been trained, taught and disciplined. When she grabs a pair of my pants from our bedroom and drags them out into the living room (but doesn’t chew them), all you have to do is hold them up in front of her and she cowers. She knows that’s naughty. Katy has also removed and chewed up items from our bathroom garbage can (some more disgusting than others), relocated shoes from the garage to outside, and slept directly on my bedroom pillow. But while I worked at home, and then was unemployed, these episodes were at a minimum.

But then we got Charlie. We don’t leave Charlie out of her kennel while we’re gone for potty-training reasons, which has caused Katy to seriously go berserk. She has started chewing blankets up again and pulling stuff out of the bathroom garbage. We started putting all of our blankets into a wicker basket but I came home one day to find Katy had dumped the wicker basket over, pulled out all the blankets and chewed up a few she hadn’t gotten to before. She’s tipped over potted plants, picture frames, and coasters. But in the past 3 weeks (since I started working), she has taken her mischievousness to new heights.

Don't let that sweet face fool you... she's a very naughty dog.

It really started the weekend we got a “new” couch. We bought it from a girl I used to work with for $25. It wasn’t in perfect condition but it was a nice couch – a dark tannish brown microsuede with seats that didn’t get pushed out when you sat on it. I was pretty excited.  That was Saturday. Monday at lunch, Travis came home to let the dogs out and discovered that Katy had chewed two giant holes in the couch and pulled out a bunch of stuffing. The holes also happened to be in locations where they can neither be repaired, nor re-covered. The couch is toast. While we were thinking about what to do (luckily we kept our old couch), I decided to put the old couch cover on the new couch, hoping to dupe Katy into thinking it was the old one again. But like I said, she’s smart. When Travis came home on Tuesday, he found Katy had chewed through the cover in the exact same spots to the holes she had created the day before and once again pulled out stuffing. Thus we began locking her into the laundry room while we’re at work. It hurts us to do so, but she absolutely cannot be trusted anymore.

A couple times this past week, though, we have felt crazy and ventured the risk to trust them. Charlie has gotten much better with the potty-training and both times we’ve left both of them out, Charlie hasn’t done anything inside – except perhaps to follow Katy’s lead in destroying everything in sight. Yesterday, Travis came home from work to find that the dogs had somehow pulled down the curtains and curtain rod in the living room – hooks, sheetrock anchors and all – as well as knocked over everything sitting on the windowsill (things we had on there to teach them to NOT walk on it), pulled stuffing out from the couch,and grabbed cardboard boxes from the kitchen and chewed them to little shreds, which they scattered everywhere. Travis said that it looked like a bomb had gone off. It took him 45 minutes to clean up the mess.

So once again, we’re back to both dogs being locked up all day long. We hate to do that but it’s necessary if we want to protect the limited possessions we have left untainted. I’m sure that Katy’s rebellion is the result of my returning to work. At first, we thought she was acting out because Charlie was locked up. Well, her behavior with Charlie has proven to us that that is not the case. If anything, she coaxes Charlie into being an accomplice. I’m hoping that this will get better with time, as Katy readjusts to this schedule and we are more intentional about taking them on walks and runs. But in the meantime, I am praying for God to give us grace because this has been a huge test of our patience and love for our pooches. Travis calls them Pooches O’Hoolihan (like Patches O’Hoolihan from Dodgeball). I call them The Hooligan Twins. They are a handful to say the least.

Our 4-year Anniversary

19 May

Today is our 4-year wedding anniversary. Every year, it seems hard to believe that we’ve been married for as long as we have. Time goes by so fast! And every year, I am once again amazed at God’s grace. He alone is the reason why our marriage is a blessing, why we still are in love with each other, and why we have weathered all the trials and storms of life intact and together.

They say that a good marriage isn’t about marrying the right person; it’s about being the right person. I have seen the truth of that so much over the past year. Just looking back on who I was a year ago, and what tenderness God has amazingly developed in my heart since then, I am struck by what a difference there is. In that year, I have realized how much my actions and words influence Travis. My being angry about something, even when not directed at Travis, makes him angry and is the beginning of a vicious cycle. When I don’t voice my emotions by telling Travis I love him and miss him, he is hurt. If I try to encourage Travis to look to God for hope and meaning but say it in a scolding tone, he gets discouraged.

On the positive side, I have learned to praise and thank Travis for all of the wonderful things he does to serve me. I have learned to appreciate the little things – how he mows our lawn, fixes our cars, cleans out our gutters. I have developed an admiration for his work ethic (instead of being annoyed at helping him with house projects), grown to be thankful for his hunting habits and truck purchase (they’ve come in handy), and been amazed at his thoughtfulness (getting up early with the dogs on a Saturday so that I can sleep in).

God has certainly done a work in my heart and head regarding marriage, and though I definitely still have a LONG way to go, I feel so incredibly blessed by the work God has done in my life. Not only that, but I’m extremely blessed by my wonderful husband. He has watched what feels like hundreds of Bones episodes with me (after House, The Office and Desperate Housewives), supported my expensive triathlon hobby, and allowed me to get two great dogs (both of which he had been determined to not get… but who can resist puppy dog eyes?). Even though he disagreed, he supported my decisions when I wanted to write my book instead of get a job, when I made sacrifices above and beyond the call of duty for my job last year, and when I decided to chop my hair off in January (though he ended up liking my haircut).

I have learned that marriage is about growing with the other person. It’s about learning to readjust your expectations, priorities, and desires to embrace what the other person values. I don’t like house projects and would almost never choose to do them out of my own free will. My husband, on the other hand, loves house projects and seemingly can’t get enough of them. On more than one occasion in the past year, I have actually volunteered my services to him, which he has eagerly taken me up on. Not only am I supporting Travis in his endeavors, I’m also taking a vested interest in the condition and quality of our home and yard. There is a certain satisfaction inherent in hard work.

I have also learned that a loving spouse encourages their counterpart pursue their passions, vision, and interests. So often, I hear about men whose wives “won’t let them” do certain things, or who are uptight and mistrusting about their husbands going out with friends, or buying a certain thing, or doing something without them. That is one thing God has abundantly blessed us with in our marriage — trust. While we don’t give one another the green light for everything without exception (godly accountability is necessary!), our decisions are always based on mutual trust. Our goal in all decisions is to give the benefit of the doubt. It’s easier said than done, and we often jump to judgments before we realize we’ve done so, but that’s what we’re working toward.

Lastly, I have decided that there is no formula for marriage. What works and is good for one couple may not work for another couple. While it is helpful to hear advice and suggestions from older, more experienced couples, you can’t turn those into the exact picture of what your marriage should be like. I think that as long as both people are satisfied and happy with the way things are, there’s no reason to change them, even if they aren’t what other people do (one qualifier: I’m talking about amoral things — immoral things are a different story). For example, Travis and I will often eat dinner in front of the TV. Much of the time we spend together in the evening is spent watching TV. If we’re both satisfied, does that behavior really merit changing? I don’t think so. I will admit, however, that I have asked Travis that we have one night a week where we do something that involves talking instead of watching TV. The biggest hindrance to us doing other things, I think, is that we get into a rut of working and then relaxing. Watching TV takes no effort and is something we can do together. Ergo, our addiction.

I realize that having only 4 years of marriage under my belt still qualifies me as a newlywed in many eyes but the wiser, older married couples only got wiser and older through the passing years, learning lesson by lesson, trial by trial, error by error. We can’t learn how to do the thing called marriage without actually doing it. It’s the ultimate hands-on experience.

Praise God for His grace!

Blowing the whistle on Satan

17 May

But far be it from me to boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world (Galatians 6:14).

I thought a lot yesterday about my triathlon woes and concluded at the end of the day that my problem was, once again, pride – pure and simple ego. After reading some race recaps by triathletes who are faster than I am but call themselves slow (If they’re slow, what am I?), I felt like a joke. Why am I doing triathlons when I’m absolutely no good at them?

Then I thought about all the other ways I am tempted to feel insufficient and not good enough: body / weight, career, fashion, friends, vacations — the list goes on and on. Satan is always tempting me to seek validation through external things — which also happen to be things I don’t have a ton of control over or things that won’t last. The only reaction to seeking validation from those things is discouragement and despair (and eating lots of ice cream).

Once again, this morning God called me back to the truth — because of Christ, I am good enough. I am exactly the way God created me. The only thing wrong with me is sin.

God made me slow. God made me curvy. God made me quiet and introverted. God gave me the desire to pursue a joy-filled life instead of a high-powered career. God has worked in my heart to create a desire for simplicity, which stands in stark opposite to accumulating material possessions. This is the reality of my life.

Satan takes all of these good things and distorts them. Instead of thanking God that He has given me a joy in exercise and eating right, Satan condemns me for running 3 miles in 34 miles and eating a piece of cake. Instead of being grateful for the clothes and job I do have, Satan conveniently shines a spotlight on women who are more successful and better dressed, quietly suggesting that they’re happier than I am.

Well, I’m blowing the whistle on Satan. Everything he says to me (and you!) is a lie. I find happiness in being God’s chosen one, in knowing that Jesus has gone to prepare a place in heaven for me — not for the lithe, trendy girl down the hall. Jesus is waiting for me. He wants a loving, intimate relationship with me. I am loved by the Most High.

With that knowledge and hope as my foundation, I have decided that I can embrace being velocity-challenged (I decided that is the PC term for slow). I can serve as a role model for all of those other athletes – runners, bikers, swimmers, etc. – who participate in sports not because they’re good at them, but because they enjoy them. I personally have been encouraged by others who don’t have it all together, aren’t living the picture perfect life, or flaunting a taut body with the latest fashions, yet completely embrace and accept who they are. They remind me that being who God created me to be is what glorifies Him. Trying to be someone else is not only an attempt to glorify myself, it’s an insult to God – I’m saying that He messed up; His creation is defective.

I think that this is one of the hardest challenges that humans face – the temptation to define ourselves by things other than Christ. The temptations come in different forms for different people but they’re all from the same source (Satan) and they all have the same solution (Christ). In Christ, we find a lasting, eternal identity: sons and daughters of the Most High God. Isn’t that better than being fast anyway?

Feeling discouraged.

16 May

On Friday, I officially registered for the Boulder Sunrise Triathlon on June 4th. That means I have 3 weeks left and only 2 to really train (the last week will be a taper). I have to admit, I’m feeling kind of discouraged. Even though I’ve been diligent in training 4-5 days a week (missing only 1 workout a week), I am worlds away from where I was 2 years ago. I had expected that getting a real tri bike would make me faster on the bike, but no, I am just as slow or slower than I was on my mountain bike.

On Saturday, I finally bought a bike trainer so that I can ride my tri bike indoors. I tried it out last night for the first time – I decided to do my 15-mile ride while watching the season finale of Desperate Housewives (which was very good, BTW). I realized after I started that I should have done a little research or watched the training video before attempting a ride of that length on a contraption I barely know how to operate but there wasn’t time for that. So I just jumped on and hoped for the best.

It was brutal. I was ready to be done after just ½ mile. I had my bike gears set on the smallest big cog and the middle of the small ones but I was still only going 8.5 mph. I’m pretty sure an 8-year-old on a 1-speed bike can ride faster than that. After 3 miles of torture, I seriously contemplated throwing in the towel. But I really needed to ride 15 because the bike leg of the triathlon only 3 weeks away is 17 miles.

I remembered that the guy who sold the trainer to me said that you could change the resistance on the trainer itself, instead of on your bike. So I got off, grabbed the cable, and started clicking as I rode. That was definitely the main issue. I decreased the resistance to the point where I could shift my bike gears back to the middle big cog and the 3rd or 4th small one. For the rest of the ride, I was comfortably riding at an 11.5 mph pace (still pathetic but I cared about distance more than pace).

Then the issue became how uncomfortable and at times, painful, it was to sit on the bike seat for that long. After 8 long miles of constantly wanting to quit, I started alternating 5 minutes of riding in position with 5 minutes of sitting straight up to give myself a break. I’m not sure if I just need a different seat or if I just need to get used to it. I plan on riding at least 20 minutes every day to see if I can get more used to the seat. If not, I will have to go buy a new one because that is by far the most miserable part about riding the bike.

Regardless of all that, I finished the whole 15 miles in 1:28.

So you can probably see why I’m discouraged about the bike portion. I’m also discouraged about the swimming and running parts. While I am getting better at the swim, I’m still very slow (it takes me about 21:30 to swim 800 yards) and while I “come from a running background” into the sport of triathlon, I’m incredibly slow at that too (running 10:30-11:30 minutes miles on average).

I’ve always said that I do triathlons for fun and the personal challenge, not to win because I know how slow I am. God did not build me for speed. But I’m even slower than I had been! When I was training in 2009, I was biking at a 14 mph pace regularly (on a mountain bike), running 9:00-10:00 minute miles, and was swimming 200 yards in 4:30 instead of 5:00 or 5:15.

I know that a big part of why I was faster then was that I was doing weight training in addition to the cardio endurance sessions. But I’m hesitant to add that in because it made me so tired that I could barely function. I had no energy for anything beside working and sleeping. I stopped grocery shopping, stopped cooking dinner, stopped reading, writing, doing anything except what I needed to do to survive. I felt like my quality of life went down because I didn’t have the energy to do most of the stuff I enjoyed doing. But maybe if I just did 15 minutes a couple times a week…

Despite my discouragement, I’m not going down without a fight. I’m going to focus more on biking and trying to get used to the seat, doing more running intervals to increase my speed, and look into upper body weight workouts that will help me be a faster swimmer.

And come race day, my time will be what it is.

Just a thought…

13 May

Inspired by my friend B’s short inspirational posts, I thought I would post this quotation from C. S. Lewis that I read in my morning devotional:

 “Prayer in the sense of petition, asking for things, is a small part of it;

confession and penitence are its threshold, adoration its sanctuary,

the presence and vision and enjoyment of God its bread and wine.”

 

I printed this out and am going to hang it up at work to remind myself to pray and enjoy God. However you remind yourself, take time today to connect with God!

My Sure and Steadfast Anchor.

12 May

I have been MIA from the blogging world because life has exploded. I started my new job, our dogs are misbehaving left and right, people are having babies, getting married, and graduating from high school, and I’m training for a triathlon, cooking dinner, doing laundry, cleaning, gardening, etc. I’m taking it one day at a time.

My spiritual life has been suffering the most. I’ve been trying to work out a flow to my mornings so that I can both train and get in the Word. I’m starting to think that getting in the Word at lunch might be more realistic but I would prefer the morning. So I’m still experimenting (getting up at 5 am is hard after being unemployed!). Combine my inconsistency with the Word with having a new job and daily schedule and I feel like I’m living in a twilight zone.

This happened to me when I started my job for the triathlon company last year and it wore off after a few weeks, so I’m not too worried. But I miss God! I just feel spiritually distant, as if God isn’t relevant or intimate in this new realm I’m living in.

Today during lunch, I sat down at my computer with my small, waterlogged Bible that Travis took to Ghana and this is what came out:

In the midst of chaos

I know God is still there

But I’m lost in transience

Unhinged from reality

Trying to run to Truth

With my heart as the hurdle

 

What happened to my grip on eternity,

My basking in forever,

My praise of the Glorious One

This earth doesn’t know?

 

My only comfort is You

A Rock of strength in a heart of quicksand

You uphold me when I’m lost at sea

All my driftings are charted

On Your map

And You’ll lead me home again

Someday

For You have prepared me

For this very thing

Guaranteed.

 

I didn’t take the time to edit it much so it’s pretty raw and I haven’t written a poem in years — poetry is the way I express my heart when there aren’t sufficient words for how I feel. So that’s where I am right now. I am so thankful that, like Matt Redman writes in his song How Great is Your Faithfulness,:

Everything changes, but You stay the same
Your word and kingdom endure
We lean on the promise of all that You are
And trust forevermore
We will trust forevermore
 
Hopefully one of these days I’ll have time for a longer post!

Food and work

3 May

On Sunday, I finally went grocery shopping. I am very happy to finally have good food again. I don’t think I will ever do that experiment again – especially with no fruit or vegetables. I just don’t think it’s worth it.

In other news, I had my first day at my new job yesterday. It went well. From what I can tell, I think it will be a good job but it’s always hard to know after just one day. I can say, though, that it’s really weird to see so many people working for the same company and not know each other. Even at my first job out of college when I worked for a corporation, our office was small enough that you pretty much knew who everyone was, even if you had never spoken to them. So a huge office (2,500 people) is weird for me.

A definite perk of working for such a big company, though, is that I get an officle – an office/cubicle. My officle has a sliding door and walls that go all the way up to the ceiling. There are windows at the top so light still gets in. I also have a flat-screen monitor and there is a cafeteria on campus. Pretty swank. The world of telecommunications is very confusing to me, though, so I have a lot to learn. But everyone I will be working with seems very nice and friendly and there are several other women my age so I’m excited to get to know them.

I do see already my tendency to want to be cool, fit in, and not known as a Jesus freak. I’m worried about the right balance between being social and being a good employee (since I’m a contractor and not a permanent employee, I think this is more pronounced.)  I don’t want to hide out in my officle but I also don’t want to be perceived as a slacker.

But honestly, right now I’m too tired, frustrated and overwhelmed to care much about that. My dog Charlie is driving me up the wall. Last night, she started whining and howling at 2:30, then 4:00, then again at 5:30. I seriously want to kick her in the head. I have had enough willpower to restrain myself this morning from doing that but I can’t be near her at all. I’m pretty sure the reason why she’s acting that way is because she hasn’t been able to go on walks, run around or play with Katy since getting spayed. She’s probably going slightly crazy. So hopefully it will get better after we get the All Clear next Wednesday from the vet. Otherwise, I will be the one going crazy!