May 31, 2011

Look How Far I've Come!

For kicks, the other day I went back to my very first blog post, which was about a year and a half ago (on January 16, 2010). I remember not knowing what to write, feeling nervous about "putting myself out there", and hoping I was doing it "right".

Below is an excerpt from my first entry:

I have no idea where this blog might lead me, but some things I might be writing about include parenting issues, dealing with medical diagnoses (my husband has Young-Onset Parkinson's Disease and my daughter has myriad medical issues including some developmental delays, tracheostomy and hearing loss), pop culture, cooking, politics, and just day-to-day life stuff.

My original hope for blogging was to write about a passion; however, since my passions seem to revolve around my children, cooking and reality tv this should be interesting!

I cannot believe how much things have changed in only 16 months! First of all, in all of the blogging I've done, I've yet to write about politics, and only written once or twice about cooking. These days my tv viewing is so much less; I simply don't have time. And while I do watch some tv, my reality tv viewing is much, much less than it used to be.

But read the above entry closely. Nowhere in my first post did I talk about working out! Granted, back then I wasn't into triathlon yet, and was six months away from logging my first swim or bike ride. But I was running! I was training for my first half marathon in 12 years! But clearly, it wasn't a big part of my life. It wasn't part of my identity. It wasn't ME.

To be fair, a few weeks later (January 30) I posted a piece titled "Back on the Running Bandwagon". This was, apparently, when I recommitted to running. And from January 2010 until that June, I did run. But I wasn't fully committed. Oh, I was faithful to my long runs, and did my long runs in preparation for the half marathon every Sunday. But during the week? I was supposed to do two short runs, but I was lucky if I did one. I did little to no strength training. And cross training? Non-existent.

It wasn't until the end of June 2010 that I really got addicted. This is when I signed up for my first triathlon, and fitness became a daily part of my life. It's hard to imagine my life before. What did I do with all that extra time? How did I have energy to get through the day? And I can't imagine how much less laundry I had to do, given that I didn't have a pile of sweaty clothes to add to the hamper every day!

I'm glad I'm keeping this blog. Apparently, it's not just for posterity, or to connect with other people, or to get my voice out there. It's also a yardstick for me to measure how far I've grown. These past 16 months I've grown as a woman, as a mother....and, apparently, as an athlete.

May 29, 2011

Why I Love "American Idol"

Another season of "American Idol" ended this week. I love the show, and have watched it from almost the very beginning (I started watching toward the end of Season 1). Some seasons are boring and hard to watch, but this year was fun and exciting for me. I was super-sad that James Durbin got eliminated, as I thought he should have gone all the way.

I am a huge music fan, and enjoy the contestants' twists on songs I love. I also love the "rags to riches" stories of everyday people getting discovered. Some winners have faded into oblivion (did we ever really expect to hear from Taylor Hicks again?) but some have become super-stars, like Kelly Clarkson and Carrie Underwood. And many, many contestants that didn't take the top prize have done very well. I am a huge Adam Lambert fan, and also love Chris Doughtry.

But there's another reason I love the show. There have been many contestants with various disabilities and challenges, many of which my own daughter, A, struggles with. For example:

There might be other contestants with challenges that I am forgetting, or am not aware of. But just these few that I mentioned are so inspiring to me! I think about their parents. Having been in their shoes, having had a child who is is vision-impaired, hearing-impaired, had a tracheostomy, etc....I imagine their joy of watching their children overcome these challenges and become world-famous on the hit show "American Idol", and beyond.

Truly inspiring. My daughter will accomplish the same. You may never see her in a recording studio (but who knows!) but I can promise you she will acheive great things. She can do whatever she wants to do.

May 24, 2011

Pre-Kindergarten IEP

Today was A's annual IEP (individualized education program). This time it was a triennial IEP, with her transitioning to kindergarten next year, so a huge battery of tests had been administered over the past few weeks. This was our third IEP with her, and both had gone very well. I was overall pleased with their recommendations last year, except for the fact that they had recommended a Special Day Class, mainly to contain all of her services to one site. Having nixed that, I kept A in her inclusion preschool all year. Seeing all the testing results, I am 100% sure that was the right choice.

Why? Because all of her testing (except for gross motor skills, which we knew would be below average) shows her at the average level.

Let me back up. There were a million people present at the meeting today: the program director, school psychologist, psychologist intern, occupational therapist, physical therapist, vision therapist, deaf/hard-of-hearing therapist, speech therapist, resource specialist, two of her preschool teachers, my husband and myself. Her adapted P.E. therapist and the district nurse were unable to attend, but they had sent their reports.

Most of the people in the room had done testing on A....and as I said, everything puts her in the average range. Academically, she scored in the average range (on two separate tests!) in writing, reading and math! I couldn't believe it....her writing is average! This is the same girl who could barely draw a circle last summer. Now she is writing most of her letters. Her language is in the average range. Her IQ is average! Average is my new favorite word!

Of course, A still has a long way to go. Her gross motor skills are very behind, and she still needs a lot of work on language pragmatics (that is, talking in socialized settings, having conversations, etc). The language is IN her, we just need to help her get it out. But I know that she will get to where we want her to be. Everyone present at the IEP, without exception, talked glowingly about my daughter, about how self-motivated she is and how she continues to make progress without plateau.

Because all of her testing was average, for the first time in our IEP history the words Special Day Class wasn't even brought up! She doesn't need it! She will go to regular, general ed kindergarten next year. Luckily, our school district offers an amazing two-year kindergarten for kids born June-November, who would otherwise be the youngest kids in the class, to give them an extra year of kindergarten, an extra year of growth. This is what I am going to enroll A give her the gift of an extra year. She needs an extra year of growth, both physically and language-wise. Plus, it gives her an extra year at home when it's time for her to graduate high school. Her first year of life was spent in the hospital and doctor's appointments, so we get to make up that year during her teens.

So, she will go to a half-day kindergarten next year, then transition to a full-day kindergarten the following year. These are the therapies she will receive:

30 minutes, once a week, of speech therapy
30 minutes, twice a week, of deaf/hard-of-hearing therapy
30 minutes, once a week, of occupational therapy
30 minutes, once a week, of physical therapy
30 minutes, twice a week, of adapted P.E.

Some of her therapies will be pull-out (meaning they will take her out of the classroom for 1:1 time) and some of her therapies will be push-in (meaning the therapist will work with her in the classroom, which will be great for things like speech). She does not qualify for vision therapy or resource class (although she never has qualified for either of these!) Her qualifying diagnosis will remain "other health issues" as she has so many medical issues, with deaf/hard-of-hearing as a secondary diagnosis.

Another thing I was pleased with is that she qualifies for an FM system, which is a system that will have the teacher wear a microphone around her neck and the sound will transmit directly into her hearing aid. This will be great for her hearing, especially since she'll be in a noisy class with up to 25 other kids.

All in all, I am very pleased. I am beaming as I write this. My daughter is a miracle...and I can't wait to see her thrive next year in elementary school!

May 17, 2011

Everyone Has Their Distance

Every athlete has their favorite race distances.

The standard distances for running races are a 5k (3.1 miles), 10k (6.2 miles), half marathon (13.1 miles) and full marathon (26.2 miles). Of course, there are other distances too....some races are 8k, 15k or variations thereof, and there are many ultras, which is any distance over 26.2. I have run most of these distances in various races over the years, except, of course, an ultra. I'm not THAT crazy!

For triathlon, the standard distances are sprint (distances vary, but most are roughly a 500-750 meter swim, 20k bike and 5k run), Olympic (1.5k swim, 40k bike and 10k run), Half-Ironman (70.3 total miles including a 1.2 mile swim, 56 mile bike and 13.1 mile run) and a full Ironman (140.6 miles consisting of a 2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike and 26.2 mile run). While so far I have only done sprint triathlons, I have my first Olympic-distance (Oly) triathlon in September. Yes, I am nervous. Very nervous.

For running, my favorite distance is the half marathon. 13.1 miles. It's the perfect distance for me. It's long. Yes, the word "half" implies that it's short, but running 13.1 miles is a long, long way. It's especially long for a slow, back-of-the-pack runner like me, who has yet to break 2:30 hours in a half marathon. It's long enough that I need to train hard for it, but short enough that I don't have to train too long for it. I did my first (and only) full marathon back in 2003 (the San Diego Rock 'n' Roll Marathon) and the training for it took up most of my weekends, not to mention my free time after work during the week. Back then, I didn't have kids yet, and had all the time in the world on weekends to train. These days, I need to get up, out the door, and back in a timely matter as my family time is precious to me.

When I complete a half marathon (and I've completed 5 so far; one back in 1999 and the other 4 since August 2010 when I re-committed to running and fitness) I feel a sense of accomplishment. I don't get that same feeling if I were to run a 5k or 10k race. I mean, my weekday runs (I do two short runs during the week) are 3 miles each! So to pay to race that distance would be meaningless to me, unless I was racing for a specific cause or to run a PR (personal record). I often struggle in the last few miles of a half marathon, and really have to push to get through to the finish line. I like that. I like having to push hard, both physically and mentally. But again, it's not the enormous effort that I would have to do (and did do) during a full marathon.

I used to feel like I had to train for another full marathon in order to be a "real" runner. But I realize now that is nonsense. I AM a real runner. I don't need to spend all my free time training, and putting unnecessary stress on my body (I'm injury-prone, and, in fact, have plantar fasciitis in each foot) to do another 26.2 miles to prove that. Maybe one day, when the kids are older, and I feel like I WANT to do another full marathon, I will. Heck, if I really WANTED to do another full one now I would; I would find the time. But I don't want to. A half marathon is perfect for me.

I recently became aware of a group called Half Fanatics (an offshoot of the Marathon Maniacs). Here are the questions they ask to see if you are, indeed, a half marathon fanatic. I answered yes to most of them!

1) Do your thoughts switch to the next scheduled race immediately after finishing a half marathon? YES!!!!

2) Do you know specifics about many of the half marathons? Dates, courses, years run, etc? YES!!!

3) Do you know the story of how the half marathon got started?

4) Do you read books on running like "Marathon and Beyond"?

5) Is bookmarked on your computer? Do you look at the race
schedule more than once a week?

6) Do you start to feel down when you haven't run a race in a while?

7) Are your closets and dressers filled with race t-shirts?

8) When asked about racing from non-running people, do you find yourself talking with great passion to the point that the person that asks the question regrets ever asking?

9) Have you run races on back-to-back weekends? Or better yet, back-to-back days?

10) Have you run a half marathon as a training run? Or just to pace a friend?

11) When asked by loved one what your plans are for the weekend, do you feel guilty telling them you're running another half marathon so you tell them "it's only a 10k this weekend?"
No, but between my half marathons and triathlons I'm tempted to!

12) Do you plan all your vacations around your races?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, you just may be a Half Fanatic!

Clearly I am a bit crazed with this distance. And I am determined to earn my membership in the Half Fanatics club by spring next year; maybe even by the end of this year! There are different levels of membership, depending on how many you complete and in what time frame. I think I can easily do the first level, Neptune. To do this, I have to either complete 2 half marathons in 16 days, OR 3 half marathons in 90 days. I am already signed up for Rock 'n' Roll Las Vegas Half Marathon in December and the Carlsbad Half Marathon in January, and want to do the La Jolla Half Marathon in April. If I do either the San Dieguito Half Marathon or the Safari Park Half Marathon next February or March, respectively, I will have done 3 halfs in 90 days. But now I am thinking of doing the Santa to the Sea Half Marathon, which is a week after the Rock 'n' Roll Las Vegas race....that would be 2 half marathons in a week, which would fit the criteria too.

I know this may sound crazy to non-runners....but for a person who LOVES training for and running half marathons, it sounds reasonable to me. As I said, everyone has their distance---and the half marathon is mine!

May 15, 2011

"It's My Favorite Time of the Day"

A few months ago I wrote about me reading the Harry Potter series to my son, D. He is now 7 years old, and definitely ready for the books. I was so excited to read them with him; I tore through the books as they came out several years ago, and loved losing myself in the wizarding world. I had hoped that D would enjoy the books as much as I did....and I'm thrilled that he loves them even more than I could have hoped for! He hangs onto every word, and remember details that I quickly forget.

We are now 2/3 of the way done with book 3 (The Prisoner of Azkaban). I'm surprised at how quickly we've moved through them; after all, we just started with book 1 in February! After we read each book, we watch the movie during a special movie night (complete with popcorn and Drumstick ice-cream cones!) Of course, he's only watched the first two movies so far, but watching the movies together after reading the books has added to our shared experience.

It's nice seeing him branch out from his Star Wars mania, too. He has been deeply into Star Wars for a few years now, although I don't see his love for all things Anakin Skywalker and Obi Wan Kenobi fading anytime soon. I love asking him questions like "would you rather be a Jedi or a wizard?" or "would you rather hold a light saber or a wand?" or "would you rather fly in an x-wing fighter or on a broomstick?" Questions like those send him into a tizzy, as he CANNOT choose between his two loves, Star Wars and Harry Potter.

I have been reading the books out loud to him. He is more than capable of reading the books on his own, but I really wanted to share the entire experience with him. It's been good for many reasons: I get to re-read the books; when we come to a word he doesn't know I define it for him; we're able to stop for him to ask questions; and, of course, I get my cherished snuggle time.

Last night I asked him if he minded me reading the books to him. I was sure he'd answer yes, as I thought he'd rather read the books on his own, where he could tear through them quicker. His answer surprised me: "No, it's my favorite time of the day. I get to spend time with you and hear the book."

Yes, the kid's a charmer. And he has my heart.

May 10, 2011

The Gear of a Triathlete

Ah, the gear of a triathlete.

When I started to get into triathlon last summer, I had the bare bones of gear. For swimming I had my old swimsuit, a pair of goggles and a swimcap. For biking I had my helmet (and no proper biking clothes, so I wore running clothes). And for running I had my running shoes, an old water belt and a visor, in addition to a few running capris and tops. That's it. I like to keep my gear on my washing machine, since I pass through the laundry room to leave the house, making my gear easy to grab. And back in the early days last summer, I didn't need to grab much.

Soon, however, I started to acquire a bit more gear. Paddles for swimming. Sweatbands for running. Arm sleeves for biking. And then more I got MORE gear....more goggles, more swimcaps, biking gloves, a new water belt. Soon I needed a basket for my gear. This is what it started to look like:

Can you find anything in that mess? No, neither could I. So, a few weeks ago, after months and months of rummaging through this mess on a daily basis, I got organized. I went to Michael's and bought three baskets. Now, on my washing machine, I have 3 baskets full of gear: one for swimming, one for biking, and one for running:

This new system has worked SO well for me! I can easily find whatever gear I need in the designated basket.

I'm sure that more experienced triathletes have way more gear than I have; as a newbie, with only four triathlons under my belt, I'm still accruing. Here's what's inside each one:

  • Multiple pairs of goggles, most by TYR. I also have a pair of Speedo goggles I can use in a pinch. I usually use the same ones for every swim, but I like to have extra in case one breaks.
  • Paddles by TYR. I just started incorporating them into my swims, and love the strength they give me.
  • Multiple swim caps. Initially I bought one by Speedo when I first started to swim, but have since received several more as you are given one in every triathlon.
  • Lubricant, which I only use for triathlons. I put some lubricant under the wrists and ankles of my wetsuit to help ease it off during transition.
  • Defogger for my goggles.
  • NOT in my basket are my wetsuit, by Xterra and my swimsuit by Speedo. And, of course, my towel.

  • Bike gloves by Royal.
  • Arm sleeves.
  • More gloves for those really cold winter days.
  • My Road ID.
  • NOT in my basket are my bike (a Quintana Roo), helmet, bike shorts and bike shirt, as well as gear like a water bottle and my bike tools/pump.

  • A variety of sweatbands, including ones by Go Headband, Sweaty Bands, and other headbands and bondi bands.
  • A variety of hats and visors.
  • A second Road ID (yes, I have two... I had lost mine and then re-found it after I ordered a second to replace it)
  • A shoe pouch for keys and money while running.
  • A race belt for triathlons.
  • My beloved Nathan 4 Water Belt.
  • My iPod Shuffle.
  • A variety of cold weather gear, such as wool ear covers, a wool hat and gloves.
  • NOT in my basket are my Garmin Forerunner 305, shoes (I'm a Saucony girl) and the dozens and dozens of running outfits (I am addicted to new running tops, bras and capris).

Of course, I have other gear around the house, including my new triathlon suit, tons of Gatorade, Gu and Clif Bars, a foam roller, and my Tommie Copper compression sleeves, among other things. But I have to say, having most of my gear organized in individual sporting baskets has really made a difference to me. It saves me time, frustation, and makes my laundry room look neater too.

I know I'll be adding more gear, or updating gear I already have. No one ever said triathlon was an inexpensive sport...but I love it!

May 8, 2011

Tommie Copper Compression Sleeve Give-Away Winner

Thank you to everyone who entered my giveaway for a Tommie Copper Compression Sleeve! The contest ended tonight. I entered all 91 entries into a spreadsheet, and a random number generator chose the winner: Rebecca B! I will be tweeting you, Rebecca, to get your email and hook you up! Congratulations!

Happy Mother's Day!

It's Mother's Day. I'd love to write a post about how much it means to me to be my children's mother. I tried last year, writing about my son and my daughter. But really, I can't write what I feel. I am nowhere near an eloquent enough writer to be able to express the joy, pride and happiness I get from parenting these two children, the most precious gifts I've ever received.

So, I'll leave it at that. My love is unexpressable.

Happy Mother's Day to all of you fabulous mothers out there!

May 6, 2011

The End of an Era

I've written before (actually, I've written about it many times here on my blog) how I wish I could freeze time. How my children are growing up too fast. How their childhood seems to be vanishing before my eyes.

Today I attended the Mother's Day Tea at A's preschool. And it hit me, for the first time, that when school ends in one month, I will no longer have a preschooler.


I've been involved in preschool since my son, D, started at age 2, in 2006. Heck, we'd even done Mommy-and-Me through our synagogue's preschool, so technically I've been involved since he was 6 months old in 2004! But he started "real" preschool when he turned 2, going three days a week. I kept him going three days a week when he was 3, and reluctantly sent him all five days when he turned 4 (at our synagogue, when they turned 4 they all HAD to go five days a week). I vividly remember attending his Hannukah performance during his last year there. I was crying, because I knew it would be my last time attending the annual preschool Hannukah performance. My daughter would be attending preschool the next year at a local Presbyterian church. I am a very sentimental woman, and soaked up every last moment of that preschool. But I still had a few years of preschool with A to look forward to.

And now, we have only a month left. Next year she will be in a pre-kindergarten program through our school district, so she will officially be in elementary school. My preschooler days are numbered. And I know that before I know it, D will be leaving elementary school for middle school (he starts 2nd grade next year but gosh it goes so fast!) and then my kids will both be in high school and then......

But I'm getting ahead of myself.

I need to allow myself to mourn the passage of this time of my life. Preschool is such a precious time, where the kids learn new songs, sit in circle time, and finger paint. Where they tend to invite the whole class to their birthday parties. Where they are at their most innocent. Where they love their mommies unconditionally and unabashedly.

I need to brace myself....because come August, elementary school here we come!

May 3, 2011

Tommie Copper Compression Sleeve Give-Away!

As I promised, I am hosting a Tommie Copper Compression Sleeve give-away! As I wrote last week, I tried out both their calf sleeve and their elbow sleeve and was very impressed with both. The calf sleeve helped a lot during my long runs, and the elbow sleeve is something I've been wearing all day to alleviate pain I have in my upper arm. I give both sleeves a whole-hearted thumbs up!

You can enter to win a compression sleeve of your choice: ankle, calf, knee or elbow. You can click here to see what they look like. YOU HAVE SIX WAYS TO ENTER and the contest will end this Sunday, May 8 at 9:00 PST. I will announce the winner on Monday.

1) Follow my blog via Google Friend Connect by clicking on the "follow" button on the left side of my blog. Leave me a comment telling that you are now following me. If you are already a follower of my blog, you can leave me a comment telling me that too. This will give you one entry.

2) Follow me on twitter (@sugarmagnolia70) and leave me a comment telling me that you are now following me. Again, if you already follow me on twitter you can leave me a comment telling me that as well. This will give you one entry.

3) Follow Tommie Copper (@TommieCopper) on twitter and leave me a comment that you are following them. This will give you one entry.

4) Tweet the following: "check out the #giveaway @sugarmagnolia70 is doing with @TommieCopper compression sleeves! Go to for more details!". You can tweet this once a day, giving you one entry per day, until the contest ends.

5) Become a fan of Tommie Copper on Facebook, and leave me a comment telling me you've done so. This will give you one entry.

6) Leave me a comment telling me which compression sleeve (ankle, knee, calf or elbow) you'd love to win, and why! This will give you one entry.

Again, the contest will end this Sunday, May 8 at 9:00 PST. Good luck!

May 1, 2011

Spring Sprint Triathlon Recap

Today I completed my 4th triathlon, the Spring Sprint. It was a 400 meter swim (1/4 mile), 9 mile bike ride, and 3.1 mile run. I was really looking forward to competing today after my last wonderful triathlon a few weeks ago. This race was special to me in a way that all my other triathlons hadn't been: my husband, J, and my son, D, came to cheer me one! Usually D has Sunday School during my races (actually he did today, too, but we let him skip it for the the occasion) so they aren't able to come. My mother-in-law is visiting, so she stayed home with my daughter, A. I was so excited to have my husband and son there!

The day started bright and early (well, dark and early!) when I got up at 4:30 to get ready. I was being picked up by some friends at 5:15. This was a first for me; usually I drive myself. But a married couple that I know who live nearby were also doing the tri, and offered to pick me up. I happily said yes; not only would I have company on the drive down, but the woman was in my age group so I knew we could rack our bikes together and hang out until the swim.

We got down to Mission Bay, parked, went into the transition, and easily found a spot to rack our bikes in our wave number. I quickly set up my gear (it gets faster and faster with each triathlon I do!) and got body marked. I ran into another friend of mine who was doing her first tri; it was awesome to see her to give her a good luck hug! In fact, there were MANY first-time triathletes there today. There are usually lots of first-timers in sprint triathlons, but this one had tons; there is a charity there in honor of Chelsea King, the high school runner who was murdered last year, and lots of newbie triathletes raised money for the charity and competed in Chelsea's honor.

Soon enough it was time to get on my wetsuit and head down to the water. Even though my wave didn't start until 7:40, the race officially started at 6:45 and that's when the transition area closed. I headed out and was thrilled to run into J and D! I spent the 45 minutes before it was my wave's turn with them and my friend who drove me. It was so nice to be with my family and friend! When the wave ahead of me went, I got into the water. I was so happy that it was warm (or at least not freezing!) I spent a few minutes getting warmed up; during my last race I had a terrible time in the water, not being able to breathe for the first half of the swim. I wanted to follow advice I had received after that race to warm up beforehand, which really seemed to help me today.

Finally it was time to swim. I tried a different strategy this triathlon, which was to line up in the front of the group (this was a water start, versus the beach start my previous two triathlons had had. I much prefer starting in the water than running in from the beach). The announcer told us to start...and I began my swim. I had no trouble breathing this time, and quickly settled into my bilateral breathing. I also was able to stay clear of most of the swimmers in front of me (lots overtook me quickly) and was in no danger of getting kicked in the face. However, once again I tired easily. I'm not sure what it is about open-water swims....but I get tired very quickly. Not cardio-wise, but muscle wise. My shoulders were aching. This is odd, because I can do up to 3000 yards non-stop in the pool during training, and this was only a 400 meter swim. I suspect it might be my wetsuit. I have a full-sleeved wetsuit, and it might be constricting my arm movements, making it hard for me. I'm not sure what to do about this, as I am too much of a wimp to go without a wetsuit in cold water!

After what seemed like forever (in actuality, more like 10 minutes. although my splits won't be posted until Wednesday) I rounded the final buoy and got out of the water. I was happy to see my family waiting for me; D had one of his posters he had made for me that said "Go Mama!". I unzipped, ran into transition, and got out of my wetsuit. Again, I don't know my split time for this transition yet (T1) but it was long. I just know it. I hobbled to my towel (the ground was full of pebbles and hurt my bare feet!) and plopped down on my towel to get my wetsuit off. A quick drying of my feet (no rinsing required this time!), socks, shoes, helmet, race belt and sunglasses on, and I was ready to go again. I ran my bike out of transition, saw my family again cheering me on, hopped on my bike, and was off!

The bike segment consisted of two loops around Fiesta Island. I had a great ride! I didn't pass anyone, but held my own. I am still so happy with my new road bike, True Blue. In fact, this past week I had a private class at my local bike shop on basic bike maintenance, and now that I know how to change a tire, I feel more comfortable than ever on her. I had a great time, even with the headwind that was on me for a good portion of the ride.

I finished my two loops, went to the dismount line (where J and D were again waiting for me, D with his "Go Mama" sign up!) and ran my bike back to my rack. I took off my helmet, slipped on my headband, and was off to run! I was happy to see my family yet again as I headed out.

The run consisted of two loops, and this is where my race fell apart. Almost immediately (1/4 mile into the run) my left calf seized up and started cramping very badly. I also started to get an intermittent pain down my left leg from my hip to my foot. I stopped a few times to stretch and re-tie my shoelace, thinking maybe it was too tight, but that didn't help at all. I decided I just needed to grit my teeth and HTFU (harden the f*ck up) and get through the next 3 miles. I took more walk breaks than I should have in the first mile, but was in so much pain that I really needed to. My running, however, was fast; I try to run between an 11:15-11:30 mile (yeah, I'm that slow) but according to my Garmin I was running at about 10:30. I couldn't slow down, except to walk. I just wanted to get through it!

Soon I finished the first loop of the run and saw my family again. This time D was holding up his poster that said "Run Mama Run!" When he saw me, he was so excited that he literally couldn't contain himself; he started to spin around with happiness! Ah, to have the energy of a 7 year-old boy!

The second loop of the run was much better for me. I still had the cramp, but ran with a guy I met for about 3/4 mile, which helped keep my mind off the pain. Soon enough I was nearing the finish line. With about 50 yards to go I broke into a sprint (there was a woman in front of me and I was determined to pass her!) and finally crossed the finish line.

It was awesome to reunite with my family. They were both so proud of me, but I was especially happy that my son saw me compete. I really want to be a good, healthy role model for my kids, and having him witness me racing was amazing.

I am looking forward to getting my split times, but regardless of what my times are, I am proud of myself. I had fun and really pushed through some tough times in the water and during the run. My next race is the Rock 'n' Roll San Diego Half Marathon in June, and my next triathlon is the San Diego Classic in September, which is an Olympic-distance race (gulp!) I have a lot of training to do between now and then!