It occurred to me that I haven’t posted since my race, which was 3 weeks ago. I’ve wanted to, but quite honestly, I have just been tired. Like down to the bones tired. By the time I’m finished with everything I need to do during the day, the couch has been calling me….and I’ve been answering. Things have been busy around here, and nothing has been making me happier in the evenings than cracking open a window so the fall night air comes in, burning a pumpkin spice candle (has a more heavenly scent ever existed?), cozying up under a blanket with my honey, and the occasional beer. (pumpkin ale, duh.) So that’s what I’ve been doing. But now that all our new routines are firmly set in place, the kids are happy with their new schools (a process that took a little bit of time and a lot of wine) and all seems right in the world, I thought I’d start up this little thing again. So here I am. I think that there’s something about fall that kind of rejuvenates me. While most people are complaining about the end of summer and the start of colder weather, I’m doing a little happy dance. Fall is and always has been my favorite time of year; I love everything about it. I love that the weather is cool enough that it’s refreshing, yet warm enough that you can spend hours outside. I love that everything under the sun comes in a yummy pumpkin flavor. (seriously, everything) I love putting on a sweater for the first time in what seems like forever; it always feels like the most cozy sweater ever. I love going on hayrides and going apple/pumpkin/pretty much anything-picking. And one of the best things about fall: apple cider donuts. Droooooool………. At the beginning of September, I started doing inventory of all our Halloween decorations, and every day would ask my husband “Is it too early to put this stuff out?” Well, this weekend I stopped asking and started decorating. In my opinion, we need a TON more stuff, but my husband thinks it’s enough. (shocker.) Well, I think we all know who will win that battle. Here’s just a few little snapshots of what I’ve been doing around the house:
And that’s just the beginning. That creepy guy bust on my entryway table is my favorite Halloween thing ever. It was a Home Goods find and I’m slightly obsessed with him. Last year, he stayed out until almost December; it breaks my heart when it’s time for him to be stored away. One of my new finds this year was the caged crow-he’s motion-sensitive and makes noise/flaps his wings/eyes light up when you walk by him. I can pretty much guarantee that we’ll be quite sick of that thing pretty soon. In the meantime, I’m pretty sure I need to pick up some more (faux) bloody gauze and skulls, and I’m in the process of spider-webbing a few things. Ahh, I just love this time of year. Now please excuse me while I go have something pumpkin-flavored.
Ok, so anyone who knows me personally-even a little bit, or is friends with me on facebook knows that I recently competed in a very big race this past weekend. It was something that I have been working towards for a long time. Almost immediately after I competed in my first triathlon 2 years ago, I knew I wanted to do more. Bigger races. Longer ones. And my ultimate goal was to be where I was on Sunday. At a half-iron distance triathlon, called the Toughman, which included a 1.2 mile swim, a 56 mile bike ride, and a 13.1 mile run. I thought about doing one last year, and a friend of mine tried hard to convince me, but I just didn’t feel ready. Not physically (I could have gotten through it-it might not have been pretty, but I think I would have been able to finish)-but mentally. My mind wasn’t there. And I truly think that your mental preparedness is almost as important as your physical. However, this year, I felt ready. I put in the work. I had gone over it in my head. And over. And over. And over. And then again. I imagined myself swimming-and getting kicked and elbowed in the face but not freaking out. And then again on the bike-where I was comfortable and in my groove. And then on the run, which is my least favorite, but I knew I could do it. I was ready. And I trained. And trained hard. I swam so hard I almost fell over getting out of the pool. I biked so hard that I was chafed in places that make life difficult for days. And I ran. And ran. And ran. I was ready. However, even after all that, when it came to the days leading up to my race, I was a nervous wreck. I could barely eat. Sleep was impossible. I had to take a Valium the day before because I was such a basketcase. I relied on one friend in particular to talk (text) me through my nerves, as she’s a triathlete herself and knew what I was experiencing. The thing she kept saying over and over again was “YOU GOT THIS.” It took me until the morning of the race to realize, but when it hit me, it really hit me. I DID have it. And it went something like this:
My sweet husband got up with me at 4am, took the hour drive to the race site, and stayed all day. He tracked where I was so he knew when to be ready with the camera. Unfortunately, his memory card was full by the time I crossed the finish line. So no money shot. I also had two friends come up to support me-they left their houses at 5am and were there to see me exit the water, and also stayed all day long. Those two are old pros at these things and brought chairs to nap in. But when I finished, they were front and center cheering me on. My parents brought my kids to see me finish-and I couldn’t help but hear “go mommy!!!!”, which completely made my day. However, all of it didn’t come without consequences. I have some major back issues, and being on my bike hunched over for 3 1/2 hours put me in quite a bit of pain. Thankfully, there were massage therapists on hand post-race.
All in all, it was an amazing and life-changing experience. As soon as I was finished, I couldn’t wait to sign up for the next one. I feel so fortunate to have found something that I love doing so much. Triathlons are challenging, exhilarating and completely addictive. And I am proud to call myself a triathlete.
And now I promise I’ll shut up about it.