Don’t Wanna Not Gonna

A teacher recently described our youngest as “politely defiant”.  I laughed because while he and I have had some pretty epic fights, they only happen when I force him to do an assignment he *really* doesn’t want to do. If someone simply asks him or gently suggests/encourages, he just….won’t. Very quietly. And yes, even politely. If he don’t wanna, he’s not gonna.

But lately, he’s been doing assignments, whether he wants to or not. Hubby explained to him that if he wants to attend the charter high school that he likes, he has to prove NOW that he can work hard. (Assuming, of course, that he even gets drawn in the lottery. But that’s irrelevant to the lesson here.) We’ve had the discussion that even with activities/jobs/projects/classes he LOVES, there will be some element that he doesn’t like. But ultimately, to do what you like, you also have to do those things you don’t. And although it’s only been a couple of weeks, he’s proving he can spur HIMSELF to do the less than fun tasks.

I’ve written two whole paragraphs about lessons we’re trying to teach our youngest. And this post is not ACTUALLY about him.

I’ve been to the gym like…once…in the past two weeks. The temperatures are dropping. It’s dark when we leave home for work. It’s dark when we leave work for home. It’s been rainy. I don’t want to get up early. I don’t want to get in a pool when it’s dark and 30 degrees outside. I don’t want to move after work. I want to lay on the couch, sleep and eat bread & cheese and drink hot chocolate when I do wake up. I am a summer girl through and through. Every year I try not to complain about winter. But I hate it. I am incredibly envious of animals that hibernate through these dark bitter months. Seriously.

Earlier this week I turned off my alarm and slept WAY late. I made it to work on time but it was a rushed morning. I was lamenting that I “just need to find my motivation again.” And yes, that would be nice. But if I rely on finicky motivation, then when I don’t wanna, I’m not gonna. And I’m *really* good about rationalizing why that’s okay.

Turns out that training through the winter is the element of triathlon that I don’t like but I just need to do anyway. If I really want to do well next spring/summer, I have to emerge from my carb filled blanket cocoon even if I don’t have a friend waiting (That turns the training session into a non-negotiable event & I’ll go no matter how little motivation I feel). I think they call it drive. Or grit. Thankfully it’s something that can be developed.

Some lessons are easier to preach than practice.

Worship Wednesday – What is this?

What is Worship Wednesday?

That’s a very good question. And honestly? I’m not 100% certain what this means. For a few weeks now I’ve been feeling this…compulsion…to write. Write more. Write meaningfully. Write with purpose. But really? When do I have the opportunity to sit down and write? And what content do I have to offer right now? Psh.

Last Monday I started to feel a low level current of anxiety thrum through me. I felt as if I was waiting for a shoe to drop, for something to fall apart, like I was forgetting something that was going to have severe consequences. Last Wednesday it finally occurred to me to sit down and pray. Since it had taken me two days to get to the point of focused, deliberate prayer it is probably no surprise to hear God immediately saying “When is the last time you spent time with Me?” Ah. Ah-ha. I thanked Him for the insight and hurried on with everything that needed to get done. The feeling of doom was mostly gone but I still scurried about that evening with a slight nagging sensation that something was missing. (I know. I KNOW.)

Last Thursday we had a (three hour) division meeting at work. And it was focused on….the daily practice of prayer. And writing.

I am not even kidding. Also, I am a little dense and apparently needed to be trapped in a room for three hours to “get it”.

I returned to my desk and downloaded an app for “guided” prayer/praying through Scripture two-three times a day. And then I honestly asked God what this writing piece was supposed to look like. And the phrase that came to mind was “Worship Wednesday”.

So here we are. For now I will be writing about what worship is, and specifically, what it looks like in my life. I have no idea how that will play out. But I guess God does.

 

 

Menu Planning Monday 11-13-17

It’s supposed to be in the 50s this week, and only rainy one day. But I’m feeling fall lay heavy on us and my menu this week reflects it. In fact, yesterday I made burgers and tots as planned for lunch. But I really wanted broccoli & cheese soup so I made that (with garlic knots found in the bread section of the freezer section) for dinner. I almost never cook twice on Sundays…or any day. But there’s something about fall/winter that drives me into the kitchen.

Monday: Breakfast casserole – I think I found a recipe for this years ago. But these days, I kinda throw it together. Mix a couple of eggs into a generous splash of milk, season with salt, pepper and onion powder. Pour in some frozen hash browns and mix real good. Mix in browned ground sausage (I use Jimmy Dean’s regular although I really like the “hot” flavor. My youngest doesn’t though.) Throw in a couple of handfuls of shredded cheese. Stir it all together. Dump it into a casserole dish. Depending on how many I’m feeding I either use 9×13 or 8×8. If I have bacon or bacon bits I’ll throw that in. The frozen pepper/onion mix is good in there too. Really you can use any veggies/meats that you want. Bake at 375 until it’s bubbly/hot/the cheese is melted.

Tuesday: Beef stew & homemade bread – Again, no recipe for this. I dump stew meat, tomato juice, beef broth, seasoning, & veggies in the slow cooker. I happen to have some in the freezer and I have a meeting this night so it’s a good match. I’ll use the bread machine for homemade bread.

Wednesday: Cheesy vegetable potato chowder and gluten free cornbread (using a mix) for my book study ladies.

Thursday: (Tentative depending on our small group plans) Chicken enchiladas, refried beans and spanish rice. I don’t have a recipe for the chicken enchiladas. I’ll cook & shred chicken & use canned green enchilada sauce, packaged spanish rice. But the refried beans…that recipe is linked and one of my faves.

Friday – Sunday: No plan. We’ll eat out or I’ll throw something easy together. I’m working Sunday evening so my family will figure things out on their own. They’re pretty good about that 🙂

Have a great week! Feel free to share your dinner ideas in the comments.

Menu Planning Monday 11-06-2017

Recently I found myself in a dinner planning rut. It happens on a pretty regular basis actually so I started a list on my phone of “dinner ideas” but I like to add to that list on occasion lest I fall back into the rut. And I get new ideas from other people’s menus. I love finding blog posts with menus listed. I don’t always find a new recipe I think my family would like but I enjoy looking at them. So if that’s your thing, here’s what I have planned this week (with links to recipes – if they exist. They often don’t).

Monday: Brupper (Breakfast for supper) – This will just be pancakes and sausage. LilBit* doesn’t like eggs and they make me sick so I don’t make them. (Poor hubby. He would probably appreciate it if I would.)

Tuesday: Crockpot Roast – no particular recipe here. I dump the roast in my crockpot with Yukon gold potatoes (cut into 4ths or 8ths) and baby carrots. Salt/pepper, add a packet of onion soup mix, maybe some Worcestershire, and beef broth. Cook on low for like 8 hours. It’s a very fluid “recipe”. Sometimes I dice an onion instead of using soup mix. Sometimes I toss in a can or two of french onion soup.

Wednesday: Chili and rice krispy treats – Wednesdays are Youth Group nights. Hubby doesn’t have time to eat before taking LilBit so I don’t usually cook. (LilBit eats a sandwich or left overs.) But there’s a book study meeting at my house right now so I cook for those ladies. Anyway. My favorite chili recipe is this Chocolate Chili from Well Fed. Although I will confess, this week I am using McCormick’s seasoning packets. Because lazy.

Thursday/Friday/Saturday: I don’t usually have anything planned. Thursday is our small group at church and we eat there. Friday & Saturday we do something quick or hubby grills, or we eat out.

Sunday: Burgers and tater tots. Again, no recipe. I use Worcestershire and McCormick’s Montreal Steak seasoning to season the burgers and grill them on my little George Foreman grill. I use frozen tater tots – whatever brand is on sale. If I’m feeling really fancy, I’ll butter and toast the buns.

Nothing exciting this week. And I realized typing this out it’s a lot of beef! Usually I try to alternate chicken, beef & occasionally pork but obviously that doesn’t always happen.

*Lilbit informed me awhile ago that he is no longer a “lilbit”. In real life, he prefers to just be called by his name. He’s 14, can wear his dad’s shoes and will surpass me in height real soon…so he has a point. But alas, he may forever be “LilBit” on here. My baby sister is still “the baby” in our family although she’s in her 30s, married, has two kids of her own and her own business. There’s precedence is what I’m saying.

The moment I realized I’m really an athlete…and my first 10k

I completed my first 10k last weekend (Sept 23, 2017). It was an amazing experience and much easier than I expected. But oddly, that wasn’t the moment I realized I was an athlete. Nope.

Wednesday was a perfectly gorgeous day. Jon and I were driving home from work and passed a guy out for a run. I found that I was ENVIOUS. But I had women coming over for a book study that evening and did not have time to squeeze in a run AND prepare for them. Or at least not enough time to do both and shower. My goal was to be welcoming and that would have been the opposite. But anyway. Still not the moment.

Yesterday was a perfectly gorgeous day. Jon was heading to a concert with friends and I had promised the youngest we would go out for dinner before tackling school work. At dinner I checked the time for sunset and found that it was still an hour and half away. Back home, I got Lilbit started on his paper, changed and finally got outside for a run. My activity tracker was running but there was no Garmin on my wrist, largely displaying my pace. There were no split times coming through my headphones. There was no timer telling me when to run and when to walk. I did not have a time or a distance goal. It was just the road, how I felt, and music. I returned home feeling much lighter. At least emotionally. And that’s when I realized. I don’t have to qualify my label as an athlete with additions like “slow” or “clumsy” or …whatever. I just went for a run. Not because it was on a training schedule or because I have an event. I unplugged and went simply for the joy of it. And that alone makes me a runner. I already do that with swimming but for some reason that did not impact me like that run did.

The 10k. Ah. I was a little tight and sore last night after two miles so maybe I’m not completely recovered. But the race was a wonderful experience. I really had no idea what to expect. My longest training run had been four miles and that was painful. Of course it was also 90 degrees. The temperature at race start time was forecasted to be 38 degrees. And I don’t really do cold. Eventually I decided that if it was raining, I wasn’t going but if not, I would brave the chill knowing I should warm up within a few miles.

Prepping for the race the night before was odd. I’ve only set up for triathlons lately so only having to set out stuff for one sport, and the one that requires the least amount of equipment, was a bit disconcerting. I kept walking back over to my clothes and saying “Clothes, shoes, race number….that’s really it huh?” It was actually even easier than packing to go the gym before work! I went to bed at a decent hour and proceeded to have nightmares all night. I couldn’t tie my shoes. My shoes were too big. I was wearing flip flops or sandals. There were like 20 laces in each shoe….so I couldn’t tie them. Again. I missed the race start. All. Night. Long. My brain can be weird.

Race morning was pretty non-eventful. It was cold but once we were all in start corrals it wasn’t too bad. I sat with a girl on the shuttle to the start and chatted with her. Somehow out of the thousands of people, I ended up standing next to her in the start corral (I ended up in the 15+ min pace corral. That was a <very minor> mistake on my part). She started to take a selfie and I leaned in over her shoulder and smiled. She turned so I wouldn’t be in the shot. Guess we didn’t bond as much as I thought.

The race actually started on time. Everyone I talked to said they were notorious for starting late so I was glad to realize we would get started when expected. It took about a minute and a half to actually cross the start line but then the crowd spread out pretty quickly. I decided not to use my timer app since but since headphones were allowed, I turned on some music, put in one ear bud and decided to run a song/walk a song. That worked out really well. At one point I frantically thought “I am NOT WARMING UP!” then realized only about ten minutes had passed. I spent most of the first mile weaving around and passing people. My first mile pace was 12 mins. And let me tell you, that is fast for me. I’ve seen that pace only a couple of other times, when I was only out for a mile or two and was pushing pretty hard. I knew I needed to pull it back but I didn’t feel like I was putting out that much effort. And I still wasn’t warm.

By mile 2 I had unzipped my jacket about halfway and had settled in with the people I would stay with through most of the race. At the mile 3 aid station I stopped briefly to take off my jacket and tie it around my waist. And then realized I felt really good and was excited to keep going. Normally at mile 3 I’m hating life and glad that I only signed up for a 5k. Between mile 4 & 5 (or somewhere in there) starts an uphill climb. I did not do ANY hill training so I had already planned to walk that. I did. And I was perfectly fine with that. Approaching mile 5 I started running again. A woman I had been leap-frogging with the whole time was passing me again and I happened to actually look directly at her at the same time she looked over at me. We recognized each other from triathlon training and she asked how I was feeling. I shrugged and said “I feel good….REALLY good actually!” I was shocked to realize we were approaching the last, literal downhill, stretch. And I felt amazing. About a quarter mile later my hips started to complain a bit but nothing that hindered me. Just a noticeable little complaint. And then suddenly, I was down the hill and entering the finishing chute….and my left calf cramped up. My first thought was “ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!!?” My second was a mental comment directly to my leg. “Well. You are just going to have to work this out on your own because I am NOT stopping for you. We are almost done and we are running this in so deal with it.”

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And….obviously my leg and I were still having that battle to the bitter end. But when I crossed the line I still thought “That was easy!” immediately followed by “Whose thought was that? Why would I think something so disgusting?!!? But maybe I could do a half in the spring….”

I have since ordered a race fuel belt that will hold my race numbers (great for tri) but I don’t have to carry a water bottle in my hand (awkward). So I guess I’m serious about doing more of these crazy things.

Total time 1:20:44, average pace was approximately 13 mins/mile. What?!!? I have no idea how I maintained that pace over 6.2 miles. And still felt GOOD.

Emmett 2017 Bike and Run Report

Bike – 13 miles – 52:15

This course is not flat. But. You’re coming DOWN from the canyon into town so that’s nice. And while there are a couple of hills, there are no extended climbs. After the Y Not Tri, I focused on a lot of hill training. No MAJOR hills; I didn’t attempt Bogus Road or anything crazy like that. But I felt well prepared for this course. Based on my training numbers, I expected it to take me just over an hour to complete. I did not take into account that I wouldn’t have to wait on traffic. Or how FAST coming down could be.

This. Was. Fun.

The course is pretty. The downhills are fun. For the first time ever, I did not touch my brakes. Not once, not even a little. I only used my easiest gear once, on the steepest portion. Coming up on that hill threw me off mentally a little. I glanced up and thought “Huh, I haven’t trained on anything that steep.” But I purposely had trained in harder gears so I would be able to hold the easiest gear in reserve. I wanted to know I had somewhere to go if I REALLY needed it. I’m not sure I ACTUALLY needed it on that hill but knowing I still had to run prompted me not to blow out my legs when I had an easier option.

Somewhere around 2 or 3 miles in, I dropped my water bottle. I had taken a few good drinks by that point. My mouth had been really dry but my breathing was finally under control and I wasn’t in bad shape. I went to place it back in the holder and, I don’t know, it went rolling across the road and into a ditch. I briefly considered turning around to retrieve it. Had it been on the road still, I might have. It was the only bottle I’ve ever used on the bike. It fit really nicely (and it was free). But I chose to keep going. I figured it was only 13 miles and not terribly hot. And I was fine although I was really happy to pick up my water bottle at the run transition.

After the second turn to head back towards down, I had a few miles where it was pretty flat, no one was passing me and no one was on the horizon. That was probably the slowest part of the ride. I had gotten spoiled by some zippy downhills and having other riders around me but at the same time, it was peaceful.

Overall I loved this leg of the race. If I had still had water, I probably would not have wanted it to end.

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T2 – 1:00

I couldn’t find my water bottle and hat. Someone had racked their bike right on top of them and dropped bike shoes right next to them. I had to find a place to put my bike and then dig my stuff from under someone else’s bike. No big deal but I thought it took a lot longer than one minute from dismount to running out.

Run – 5k/3.1 miles – 42:18

I told some people the run would take me anywhere from 40 minutes to an hour so I’m not disappointed with this time. In the week leading up to the race, I had to decide how much I really wanted to suffer on the run. I had to decide if I wanted to leave every ounce I had on the course and spend all weekend (and possibly longer) recovering or if I just wanted to see where a slightly challenging but not brutal pace would put me. Obviously I opted for the second. I wanted to be able to enjoy the rest of my weekend and be ready to start 10k training the next week. I’m really glad I did. It was hot out there but with my walk/run routine, I never felt overwhelmed by it. One guy doing the longer distance (two laps instead of one) took himself out of the race at his turn around and they sent him straight to medical. My friend said they watched one woman come over the finish line and promptly throw up. I am just not that competitive.

We ran through a neighborhood and a woman was sitting on the curb with her little boy. He was probably two years old and totally cute. He stood on the side of the road with his little hand held up and every runner that passed, he would hopefully say “high five?!!?” I watched four or five Very Serious Triathletes in front of me pass without a glance and his little face fall each time. And yeah, I know. Once you’re in a rhythm, it’s really hard to get it back if you break it. And I’ve been so focused or so deep in my “pain cave” that nothing was really registering on my brain except the next step. (Not often but it’s happened) But I was NOT in a unbreakable rhythm. I was NOT terribly focused. And I did NOT care about a few extra seconds costing me a spot in the rankings. So I got to high five the most adorable little kid and watch him try to jump up and down. That alone reinforced my certainty that I had made the right choice in my run strategy. There may come a day when I’m so focused on a goal that I become a Very Serious Triathlete. I’ve learned to never say never. But I hope if that happens that it’s very temporary. I don’t want this to stop being fun. Not every moment is, of course. But I hope I never stop appreciating little moments like high fiving the smallest cheerleaders or noticing the pretty wildflowers growing along a fence or laughing like a maniac as I fly down a hill at scary fun speeds.

I felt good when I crossed the finish line. I felt good the rest of the day in fact although some stiffness set in the next day. My friends that I swam with the Monday before? Well the women took first and second overall in the Aquabike event. I am so incredibly proud of them. I came in 10th out of 11 in my age group. So now I know where I stand. And what to work on for next year.

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Emmett Triathlon 2017 – Swim Report

Emmett’s Excellent Triathlon was definitely a big step outside my comfort zone. It’s a full sprint distance (500 meter swim, 13 mile bike, 5k/3.1 mi run). And while that’s the shortest of all the “official” triathlon distances, it’s the longest I’ve ever done. Also, this is not a race designed for beginners. Most people out there are experienced, and fast, athletes. Many of them are using it as a training race for much bigger races and longer distances. So while I might be reaching the point where I can possibly be competitive in my little local beginner friendly race, I had no such illusions at Emmett. My goal was to simply complete the course, and see where I stood.

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Swim – 500 meters – 19:24

The swim posed my biggest mental challenge. This was my first time racing with in a wet suit. I had only swam two practice swims in it and neither had gone particularly well. The wind was brisk and the water was choppy. I’ve been nervous before swims but Saturday morning I understood, I felt, the concept of “quaking with fear”. My friend Michele was out there to support me and commented that she could she me shaking. I had been relatively calm before but watching the first wave took off sent me over the edge to jittery. I moved into the water a few minutes before the start and took a few strokes to make sure my goggles were seated and sealed well. Then they counted us down and we took off.

I started out well. I felt good, was breathing good. And then…I don’t know what happened. I didn’t get kicked or swamped. But suddenly I couldn’t get a good breath. I started FEELING the color red. My entire perception was like looking at the world through a fire alarm. I’ve had panic attacks before (years ago) (on dry land) but nothing compared to this. Everything in me clanged “danger”. I couldn’t see well. We weren’t even to the first buoy yet but I had switched to the side stroke and was trying to focus on a kayaker to tell them to take me back to shore. This whole race was a mistake. I couldn’t do this.

And then, I heard someone behind me gasp out “I need help. I can’t do this.”

Please understand, I don’t know her circumstances. There are innumerable elements to the day that no one can predict and no one else can make a judgement call on what’s going on except the athlete affected (except perhaps medical personnel). But hearing my thoughts vocalized snapped something for me. I was able to clarify a thought. I was fine and the tiniest part of my brain knew that. If I could get to my bike, I would be okay. And a little seed of anger sprouted…anger that I would give up so easily when I had swam this distance before. Anger that I would let an emotional state overtake my physical state. I decided I was going to get to the first buoy. And once I was there, the second. And then I could see better and knew I was going to finish before the 25 minute cut off.

I did the entire 500 meters on my side. The. Entire. Thing. I think I tried to do a weird breast stroke/front crawl/doggie paddle thing at one point but my face WAS NOT going in the water. Why? I have no idea. Physically I had the capability. But I never did totally silence that panic. Nineteen minutes of alarm bells and shallow breathing. But I finished that damn swim.

T1 – 3:27

Ironically this is not a bad time for me, especially considering I was trying to peel the wet suit off my legs and feet (the feet are especially challenging). I took more than a few seconds to clip my race belt. I had one side twisted the wrong way. At the Y Not Tri I watched an elite racer just step into his pre-clasped belt and pull it up like a waistband. I considered that technique. I even practiced it a few times in the comfort of my own home. And I realized I had a very good chance of tripping over the darn thing. I opted to take the few extra seconds to figure out to just buckle it around me. I also realized I had dropped my sunglasses into the backpack that my friend was holding instead of putting them in my helmet. She was standing just outside of transition so I told her and she was able to pull them out and hand them to me as I was leaving T1.

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