My neck hurts. My back is starting to ache. Jello legs? Understatement. I'll be lucky if I can walk tomorrow. Believe it or not, though, I am on top of the world. I'm riding an adrenaline high I haven't felt since...ever...and dammit, I'm not coming down.
I just finished swimming 1,100 meters and running three miles in a practice/trial run for next month's swim/bike/run Iron Girl event. The swim in the lake was, dare I say, FUN??? Yes, it was! I actually giggled underwater the whole time out of sheer fun-ness! (Insanity disclaimer: I am aware that years of sleep deprivation may have chronically impaired my "fun" judgement. So now things like swimming in a dirty lake with slimy seaweed-y THINGS all around suddenly gives me the same feeling that a vacation on St. John would.)
Although I had fantasies of the event organizers hooking up the lake with some lovely, blue chlorine, dredging the bottom, and even drawing a nice black line so I could see where I was swimming, the reality was, I couldn't see my hand in front of my face. At first, it was freestyle, followed by a couple of doggie-paddle strokes so I could see if I was about to sucker-punch another swimmer's toes. Then, I got into a rhythm (yes, lake-swimming strategery!): 15 freestyle strokes, 15 breast strokes. That way, I could swim fast, see where I was going, swim fast, see where I was going.
Finished the swim. And felt like a million bucks. Booyakasha! Chest bumps in order. Came jogging out of the water where the husband was waiting. Pulled on my running top and we were off (he did the run with me). Amazed that my legs are actually moving. Like up and down and forward. And, more amazing? I am still smiling. Could this really be me? Doing this? The same me that is happiest sitting on the couch with Ben and Jerry's watching the Real Housewives of New Jersey?
I have three miles to go, though, and who knows if and when my body will betray me. The run is littered with hills. Not little tiny trail bumps, but legitimate hills. My sister-in-law had told my mother-in-law that the run was "grueling," which my mother-in-law kindly passed on to me yesterday, thereby re-igniting my running anxiety. Awesome. Pretty soon, I felt like each hill was Mt. Fucking Olympus. Legs burning. Need to stop. No! Need to regroup. Every time there was flat or down-hill surface, I rested. When I say "rested," I mean, I didn't run hard. I jogged, which stopped my poor heart from screaming at me: "What in the hell are you doing, woman? Are you out of your frickin' mind?"
I hit the flat trail that opened up onto the lake. The wind coming off the water blew against my face and I... was..running. Really running. My arms were pumping, my legs were taking long strides (well, as long as hobbit-like legs can reach). Then, I felt It. That amazing concoction of adrenaline and pure joy that keeps you coming back for more. And I kept going.
In fact, I kept going right past my husband who I didn't notice had stopped at the finish line. "Honey! Honey! Come back! We're done!"
And, ladies and gentlemen, that's how I finished my very first triathalon-y event, trial event, whatever. I'm hobbling around like I'm 90 and it feels fucking amazing.
P.S. Thank you to my amazing husband/water boy. It takes a uniquely dedicated person to train a whiny sloth to run, swim and bike.
I've never been hit in the face before. Like really hit...until a few days ago. J has officially entered the world of smacking, slapping, and punching. And, it's not just the mad struggle that occurs when he's getting his diaper changed, to which I'm positive I could charge admission. (Come one, come all and witness grown-ass woman getting beat-down from baby!)
These days, though, when he's frustrated, he starts swingin'. The last one, a jab-cross-left-hook move, had me seeing stars.
Measures needed to be taken. I don't think I started time-outs with M until she was two. Then again, she's never straight clocked me.
So, here we go. New terrain for little J. Not sure how many walls are in his future or how many uppercuts are in mine, but I'm considering investing in one of these bad boys:
It's time to start watching our backs. We have a Benedict Arnold in our midst and she's GOOD. She uses her innocence, charm, and innate smallness (sometimes we don't even know she's there) to betray us. Watch what you say, mom and dad, 'cause you're about to go down in flames.
Yesterday, as I'm getting ready to jump in the pool with T, he informs me that he had an "interesting" conversation with his sister earlier on in the day. M had been over there for a play date when she innocently asked her aunt, "Why is Daddy always mad at you?"
T's sister, a school teacher turned professor in education, no less, apparently didn't miss a beat with her response. "Well, sometimes brothers and sisters have disagreements. It's natural and it doesn't mean we don't love each other."
Bravo, Aunt J, bravo!
M seemed satisfied by the response and went back to her coloring. About a minute later, she looks up and matter-of-factly asks, "What does stupid mean?"
Most disloyal breach of confidence! Treasonous 4-year-old! Et tu, Brute?
But then...a strange thing happened. Any tension that may have existed pre-bean spilling evaporated...just like that. T and his sister had a chuckle over the ridiculousness of the situation and wah-lah. Brotherly-sisterly love restored.
Go figure. Sometimes it takes a Judas-like act from a 4-year-old to set things straight...
The countdown to Iron Girl begins...34 days until D-Day. Time to ramp up the suffering.Went for a run this morning pushing the end-all, be-all of suburban machinery -- the jogger. Strapped a total of 60 pounds of kid into the Doodlebug and was on my way.
Started with a light jog. Not bad. The jogger's pretty heavy, but not impossible. The morning is beautiful. Sun shining, but not overly hot. Kids have their drinks and graham crackers. We are in good shape.
Let me stop here and, for a moment, give you a visual. I am not a large person...5'2" on a good day. Some big-shot businessman actually told me years ago during my first stint as a newspaper reporter (me interviewing him) that I reminded him of Pokemon. I attribute this not only to my Asian-ness, but also my smallness. I remember fighting the urge to take my fingers, stretch my eyes out to create an even more exaggerated "slant," and say to him, "Oh, Tank you. Tank you so much. Me likey Pokemon. Pokemon nice."
Anyhow, I digress. Back to the visual...Ok, the fact is, I'm not tall. In fact, I'm rather short. And this Doodlebug contraption thing is HUGE. In fact, I think it might be bigger than me. Imagine a sweaty hobbit pushing a spaceship on wheels down a narrow bike path. Sexy.
We come up behind a couple of our neighbors out for a leisurely stroll. They say "hello," and I enthusiastically respond, "HI THERE!" and continue on my merry way. Believe it or not, in that brief moment, I'm one of those happy runners I used to see on the path and wonder if they'd sparked up a doobie before they strapped on their running shoes. Because no way, no how they could actually smile that stupid smile if they FELT how miserable this is.
So, jogging along, jogging along. Hmmm...Doodlebug weight starting to set in. I can do it, though, I can do it! Hmmmm. Sweat starting to pour. Breathing a little more labored. Oh, wait, here's someone familiar. Pain. Well hello, old friend. I knew you couldn't stay away.
"Mommy, why does Jack have two graham crackers and I only have one?"
"You ate one already. That's why."
"But, Mommy, I want another oooooone."
You have got to be kidding me. She is NOT going to start whining now when I'm starting to need every ounce of strength just to keep this God-forsaken Doodlebug, plus the two small people in it, moving forward.
"But I don't want to be quiet."
"Well, if you can't be quiet, I'm going to have to drop you off here in the woods and pick you up on the way back."
Not a nice or proud mommy moment, but it worked.
OH GOD. Here comes the hill. I hurt. My feet hurt. My legs hurt. My arms hurt. My hands hurt. My head hurts? I push that boulder up the hill, thinking that I might actually die on the way up. Trying not to fall, I forget to consider that we will soon be quickly moving in the opposite direction.
All of the sudden, we're careening down the hill. I'm literally like one of those cans tied to a just-married car bumper, my body bouncing and flinging from side-to-side as the Doodlebug barrels down the hill. "Whoa!" I holler as if I'm trying to rein in a horse. "Whoa!" People coming toward me on the opposite side of the path are looking at me funny. I don't even care. I'm just trying to to make it down without eating dirt.
"Are you OK, Mommy?"
"Yes, honey, of course. Why?"
"You're making funny noises. Where's daddy? I like it when Daddy pushes us 'cause he goes REAL fast!"
Kid, be happy you mommy didn't leave you by the gingerbread house back there in the woods.
Run continues. Hill is behind us. Kids munch quietly on their snacks, and I regain control of the Millenium Falcon. Back on track, I finish the run.
Now if I can only walk without feeling like my ass is going to dislocate from my body...
Got the kid off the bottle...during the day. No small feat, but not nearly as painful as I thought it would be. We still got the before-bed one to deal with, but I'm not done patting myself on the back yet for conquering the day one.
Fast-forward to this morning, which we spent at the park. Wore the kids out running climbing, running, jumping. Even did two (yes, two) rounds on the carousel. J gets thirsty and so I give him my water bottle, not even thinking what I was doing. We picnic lunch it and I start to notice how affectionately he is handling his new grey, rounded-spout, almost rubber nipple-shaped buddy.
"Jack really likes his new bottle," M declares.
"SSHHHHHH!" I hiss at her as if saying it out loud somehow makes what is happening before my eyes more...real.I continue to observe him skeptically. He bites the spout, sucks on it and confirms my worst fear. "BAAAAAA!!!" he screams with glee. "BAAA! BAAA! BAAAA!"
Shit. Don't even tell me this kid, in five minutes flat, has fallen for my running water bottle.
"Mommy needs a drink," I say as I cautiously approach him, bracing myself for the worst possible reaction. I reach out and..."BAAAAAA! NO! BAAAAA!"
Shit again. On top of it, I am legitimately thirsty now.
"He can't really be attached to that thing," I say to myself. "He's probably teething again and chewing on the top for some relief." Never mind that the kid already has his molars.
I manage to get my hands on the bottle for a second, quickly unscrew the top and hand it back to him before his little head explodes. Aaaaah. Water.
He continues to chew on the top as I pack both kids into the car to head home. He's quiet and I'm smiling. (As a parent of young children, you learn really quick that if they are being quiet and what they're doing isn't going to result in death or serious injury, don't fuck it up by wondering why. Just enjoy it.) I drive about two minutes when I glance in the rear view mirror to find this:
I've seen it all now. Stay tuned for next post: "Lessons on Weaning Your Toddler Off a Water Bottle Top."
Been at the beach. Walking around in a sun and sand-induced haze.
We have another full day (tomorrow) before we head home. M is already whining about why we can't stay longer and, truth be told, I feel like whining along with her.
Miss it. Miss it. Miss it.
Sitting on the sand and watching M twirl around like a ballerina in the waves. Watching J laugh with glee as his father tosses him around the ocean water...not missing a beat even as a small wave "kisses" him right on the lips.
Diving, running, jumping all over the sand with big, small and smaller. Playing beach paddle ball with T like my life depends on it. Racing down the beach with M. Her smile so wide and free I want to cry out in joy. I do. And then she does.
Wrapping J up in towels like a newborn baby. Kissing his long eyelashes as he sleeps in my arms, the beach wind and his sister's laughter whipping all around us.
Holding hands. Looking up. Kisses on the lips. "I love you."
But, we're not gone yet. One more day.
T told M yesterday as she whined over the prospect of leaving, "Sweetheart, we aren't leaving now. Enjoy the time we have left!"