Monday, August 30, 2010

"What's worth doing, is worth doing wrong!"

   My mom always uses that phrase and I used to think that it didn't make any sense... until the Chicago Triathlon.  So MANY things went wrong!

   I started the day at 3:45am, packed up the car and thenwas on my way by 4:30, I wanted to be in transition by 5am, giving me 45 minutes to set up, naturallly it doesn't even take that long, but you know, better to be safe than sorry!  But as I was driving into the city, I suddenly got this sinking feeling that I had forgotten something... So I started racking my brain, going through everything when it dawned on me... No waterbottle!  When they said the temp would be in the 90s I knew this was a big problem!  but what could I do?!  So I continued on my journey and just figured I'd be fine... So I set up my transition and went to find my triathlon team.  Thankfully I quickly ran into them!  One of the guys had an extra waterbottle and gave it to me... it was 5:40!  We had to be out of the transition area at 5:45 and weren't allowed back in until we were in the transition phase of the race.  So I sprinted back, put it on my bike and was good to go!  But then... I couldn't find my team!  I wandered around for close to an hour!  Thankfully I was able to run into my co-worker Pam who was doing the Sprint Distance!  I wished her Good Luck and then set off to find my team again!  Luckily I was able to reconnect with them!

   So the race started and I watched as wave, after wave, after wave of triathletes jumped into the water.  I naturally procrastinated on doing this race for so long that I was put into the "Overflow" category which meant that I was the last wave to go into the water!  So while the race started at 6am with the Sprint distance, I didn't get into the water until 9:52! So I finally got into the water and felt great, minus the fact that I was now hungry since I ate at 4am!  I was swimming along when suddenly I heard some crazy cheering and "Go Emily!" So I looked up towards the wall and saw my co-worker Pam, who had since finished the Sprint distance and came back to cheer me on!  It was extra special since I was without a cheering section for this race!

   I finally finished the swim, and unlike other triathlons, we had to climb up some stairs.  So basically we swam straight into the stairs, where volunteers were waiting to pull us out.. I definitely had swim legs, because I made it to the top step and stepped sideways and some nice Volunteer gentlemen caught me before I tumbled down the stairs and wouldn't let go until I said I was ok!   Hopefully, the photographer that was taking pictures as we got out didn't get a picture of that! So then I booked it to transition and put on my clothes for the bike.

    I grabbed my powerbar and helmet and I was off!  The powerbar was wonderful for my growling stomach, what can I say I was nervous before and didn't eat a ton - BIG MISTAKE!  Then I grabbed the waterbottle and finally felt some of my thirst quenched... but then trouble hit!  I didn't properly put the water bottle back into my holder and it fell out.  Now naturally the first thought would be to stop and pick it up... well that couldn't happen since I was on lakeshore drive going down a hill!  AWESOME!  Literally this was the first 2 minutes of the bike!  So I proceeded to bike, dying of thirst, and naturally there are 0 aid stations along the 25 mile bike course! Talk about brutal! Finally I got back to transition and was on to the run.  I grabbed another powerbar from my bag... But here was another mistake... I didn't pay attention to the fact that it was a chocolate covered powerbar!  In 90 degree weather, you can pretty much guess the state of my powerbar!  So I managed one bite!  Then I was on my way out of transition  I immediately asked a volunteer where the water was, I think she thought I was crazy... and maybe I was or just delirious! J/K.. sorta... So at almost every aid/water station I grabbed numerous cups of water... It was now a little after noon and the sun was beating down, but I made it that far I wasn't about to stop!  So my run was horrific... I mean if you can even call it a run.. It was definitely more of a run/walk with more walking than running!  But I met this nice woman named Pam and we finished the run together about 5 miles, or so!

    As always the finish line was a glorious site!  Pam and I crossed around the same time and gave each other a big High Five... It was fun!

   My Big Triathlon Lessons:
      1. Make sure to leave an empty waterbottle in my car at all times.. would have solved my panic from the beginning!
      2.  Make sure to properly put the waterbottle into my waterbottle holder!
      3.  Be sure to pick the appropriate power bars!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Update: Training is Winding Down-ish..

   So it's been quite awhile since I have been able to post and I apologize to all my readers who have been anxiously awaiting a new post!  What can I say?  I've been busy!  Not only do I have my (at least) 40 hr work week, but training takes a lot of time.  But I certainly wouldn't change the it for anything! 
   The crazy training is on the downward climb!  Pretty weird to think of, since it has been a part of my life since I don't know, March? April?  I mean I workout all the time, with or without "official training", but it isn't quite the same! 
   On a whim, I registered for the Chicago Triathlon, International distance aka Olympic, the last possible day to register!  Now up until this point I have only done the Sprint distance and have only done one triathlon...EEK! Somehow the triathlon I did (Naperville Women's Triathlon) seems so minor compared to the Chicago Triathlon.  I feel like I am going to "play with the big kids"!  The Open water swim in Lake Michigan is intimidating as well as the bike, especially since I am hesitant since wiping out.  But I have to say I am proud of myself for taking the next step and registering for it! 
   I know that I couldn't do any of these triathlons without the support of my family, friends and my VCS Triteam!  They all have supported and encouraged me in ways I never dreamed possible.  Every single person on my tri-team is such a HUGE inspiration for me!

Good Luck to Everyone competing in any race in the next few weeks!  I hope to update after a few of mine coming up! Stay Tuned!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Caution: Construction Zone!

   To add to yesterday's post on my problem figuring out the correct type of towel hangers for our bathroom, I figured I should back track a little and explain this bathroom in more detail.  Our house was built 40 years ago and this is the original bathroom.  Somehow the people that built it thought that pink was the perfect color to go with!  It looks like Pepto Bismol exploded in the bathroom... The shower is pink, along with the counter top, the toilet, the white floor with pink swirls, the tile for the shower... EVERYTHING IS PINK!

See what I mean?!

    My mom did her best to tone down the pink and as a result we ended up with a fish bathroom, with quotes and sayings up on the wall.  But it needed a make over, badly!  Not only was the color horrendous, but the shower head was leaking and would lead out the side of the shower onto the floor, causing the floor to begin to rot out, the caulk in the shower had mildew and mold (I know it sounds like we never clean, but it was like that when we moved in, now 8 years later it is now unbearable!)

So finally we got to remodel!  It isn't quite finished yet, but here are some pictures from the work in progress...

Day 1:
Shower and Drywall is removed, along with the flooring!

These are the ceiling rafters...apparently at one time there was a raccoon that got into the attic and was eating it's way through the ceiling rafters to get above the shower where it was nice and warm!  GROSS!

Goodbye to the sink and cabinets!

Every Day after Day 1:

Hello new Bathtub and Drywall!

Some Taping and Mudding, and preparation for a new toilet and sinks!

Installing the Shower Tile and preparing to paint!

Walls painted, flooring down and the shower are all ready to go...

    That's all that is done so far, but I promise to show you completed pictures once it is all done!  Doesn't it look amazing so far!?  I've been so excited to work on this project, my mom and given me pretty much free range to design it however I'd like, obviously I consult her before I make a decision since she is the "client", but it has been a lot of fun!  Can't wait to finally be able to use it!

   Need some help on a space of your own? Feel free to email me @ or post on this blog!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Problem Area

     Today I'm linking up with Ann Marie, from White House, Black Shutters for her Help Me Wednesday!  Even an Interior Designer can use some helps sometimes!  CHeck out her blog fro some great tips!
    My Help Me Wednesday goes back to the "Problem Area" in our house!

   One of the biggest problem areas in our house has been the "kids bathroom", we are finally getting it fixed with the help of a great family friend (Ann Marie's Dad).  I have picked out the tile (both floor and shower), picked out the cabinets, counter top, shower head, paint color, etc.  But here comes the problem... Being the 3rd of 9 kids, there are a lot of people that need to use that bathroom to get ready.  It's not too much of a problem, because we are pretty good about taking our turns, but as a result of their being so many of us, we had to get creative with hanging our towels to dry.

        Each kid has their own color towel and a hook with that same color fish and their name.  Not quite sure why they have our names since we always knew which towel was ours... but that was my Mom's doing.  As you can see from the picture though, this method of hanging the towels wasn't the best for them to dry in a timely manner.  In addition to the fact that they often slipped off the hooks and left the bathroom looking messy.

     Any towel bar suggestions for so many towels so that they all dry? 

What Inspires you to Run?

   A member of my Tri-team posted the question what inspired you to start triathlons.  It has been really fun to read the responses from everyone, some people have truly inspirational stories, and others like me just have a moment where suddenly it was a new goal, a new challenge.  But it got me thinking...

   What inspired you to start running or doing triathlons? 

  For me, it all started when I was in college, the fear of the freshman 15 was enough to keep me active.  I had always been active in high school so working out was nothing new.  But I remember walking down to the gym in the basement of the dorm and getting really nervous when I walked in.  I had never worked out at a gym before, EVER, and now as I walked into the gym I realized the guys were all by the weights and the girls were all on the ellipticals.  Too intimidated to try any of the free weights I hopped on an elliptical... yeah, I had never done one of those before.  But I HATED it!  I was used to playing soccer and having intense workouts and practices, so the elliptical just didn't do it for me.  So I tried the treadmill and I fell in love!  I realized that I could really push myself and that I could also change up the intensity.  I kept in touch with my friend Greg from high school and he did the Chicago Marathon in '07.  I was amazed that he did it and after listening to him, I realized that I wanted to do it too!  Crazy, I know!  Who has one conversation that makes them think a marathon is a good idea, especially when the most I was running was about 4 miles a day!

   So I trained and I completed my first marathon!  It was the most painful and exhilarating experience of my life!  I've realized over the few years that I have been doing these races and training that it is important to stay inspired.  As a result of my Dad watching me complete my first marathon, he decided to do one himself.  It's kind of funny, because in some ways I inspired him and now he inspires me.  I am so impressed with his new desire to have a healthy and fit lifestyle.  Now that he isn't training for the Chicago marathon, and I am again, he will come out for a run for the last leg of my training run to encourage me to keep going. On some of the long runs it can get brutal and I want to stop, but he either rides his bike next to me or jogs along side, telling me that I can do it!  It is very encouraging and definitely has helped me get through the miles!

  My triathlon story is a little different.  Since I had suddenly gotten into running, I was reading anything and everything I could get my hands on about it.  Through my reading I came across articles on the Ironman Triathlons!  I thought they were the most amazing things ever... and I still do!  For those of you who don't know... and Ironman consists of a 2.4 mile swim, a 112 mile bike ride and a marathon run, with 17 hours being the time cut-off! HOLY GUACAMOLE!  Crazy, right?!  Well I had been reading up on everything and I had been telling my parents about it, and one weekend I was home from school and while flipping through the channels, we came across a televised Ironman race.  They were profiling a few athletes and while watching the show I looked over at my mom who had tears streaming down her face, and we both laughed because I had been crying too!  It was so amazing to watch some of the athletes attain their goals, through all their hard work and perseverance.  I then took a class on Personal Fitness, my last semester and my professor had done numerous Ironmen!  I was so impressed!  She and I would talk about my marathon training and triathlons.  Then after being injured in my second marathon, my parents started strongly suggesting that I take up triathlons.  This spring the Cycle shop near us started it's own Tri-team!  I decided to join and I did my first triathlon in June!  It was awesome!

So sorry for the long story... But...What inspires you to be active?  I'd love to hear your stories!