Friday, September 23, 2016

Foto Friday

Here's a few more pictures from our trip to Mexico.  We stayed at an all-inclusive resort so we didn't do a whole lot of anything.  Lots of pool.  Lots of snorkeling.  Lots of drinking.  Lots of sleeping.  So, we didn't usually have a camera with us and there wasn't a whole lot to take pictures of, but here's a few that we did take (not race related).

Gosh Mexico.  You are so ugly.

So, so ugly.

 I once caught a fish THIS BIG!!!

 Before and after the practice swim.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Aquathlon World Championship 2016

Err.  Umm.  Errrrrrrrr. 

How do I even write this post?

Ten months of training.  Forty-five minutes of racing.  And now the biggest race of my life is behind me.

Mexico is hot.  Maybe I should say, Mexico is humid A.F.!!!!  I had trained for it (sauna, overdressed, general summer training), but seriously it was humid.  Between checking in to transition and the start of my race was about three hours.  By the time I started I was sweating like I was running a marathon.  I had sweat rolling down my back and the front of my uniform was completely soaked.  Thank goodness there was going to be a dip in the ocean in the middle of the race.

Let's get started.  My wave started at 9:50am and had two other age groups in it, 40-44 and 45-50.  In total there were somewhere between 50-100 ladies starting together.  I lined up somewhere in the middle and tried to not get nervous about what was about to happen.  The gun went off and it was time to move.  The race was all inside a park inside of a marina and there were lots of turns.  The first turn was within the first 100 meters and then the first water stop was 100 meters from that turn.  I lined up to take the turn on the tangent and then skip the first water stop.  I mean, who needs a water stop 200 meters into a 2.5k race?  Well, the chick in front of me, that's who.  She came flying from the right side, cutting in front of me to grab the bag of water (yep, BAG of water) and I pushed her out of the way.  Sorry chick.  You don't need water that close to the start of the race.

I stayed in the pack for most of the first run, probably running into transition in the top 10 of my age group.  Transition was quick, shoes and socks off, grab cap and goggles and I was off.  It was long run down to the dock and I took it a little easy to get my heart rate down.  And then I did the most graceful thing ever - I jumped like an 8 year old boy into the water.  The previous day at the swim practice I dove into the water and my goggles came off and filled with water.  I wasn't going to risk that during the race, so I just jumped and immediately started swimming.  I doubt I even lost a second and my goggles stayed put. 

I thought I had a great swim.  For me it was a great swim.  I swam confidently and strong.  My line probably sucked, but with the water being so clear I just looked for other competitors and swam toward them.  The whole backside of the swim I had a girl tapping my feet.  The whole damn way!!!  At one point I told her not so politely to GET OFF!!!  Then in the last couple hundred yards I was able to get on feet myself and swim in the draft.  That NEVER happens to me.  It was the fastest swim I have ever done in open water and yet, it was a solid two minutes slower than most of the competitive girls.  I've come leaps and bounds this year with my swimming but I still have a long way to go.

The water was so beautiful and clear.  There were fish and corral and I really tried to concentrate on my race.  I saw those things the day prior in the practice swim and while I was snorkeling earlier in the week.  But the coolest thing was that there were scuba divers at each turn pointing you in the correct direction.  I couldn't help but smile and wave to the first one.  So neat.

Anyway, I was out of the water and running up the dock into the second transition.  Cap and goggles off, shoes and race number on.  I had decided to do the second run with no socks, which I had never practiced.  I didn't want to waste time putting on socks and it was only for a mile and a half.  Who cares if my feet got ripped up.  But, I struggled with the stupid tongue on my right shoe in transition and in my head I'm screaming, WHO CARES!  GET MOVING!!!  And so I did.  But I was in no-man's land.  As much as I could run with those chicks, I fell behind them in the swim and there was no longer anyone to catch.  Well, I did catch about 5 girls during the run but only one was in my age group and all the others were from the previous wave.  I thought I was running well, but I was a solid minute and a half slower than the first run.  I kept running, though, and as I made the last turn onto the finishing chute, my team manager handed me an American flag and I got to have my own personal victorious moment at the finish line. 

In the end I finished 17th in my age group.  Top 20 at the World Championships?  I'll take it.  And I went from the 10th American to qualify in my age group to finishing as the fourth American in my age group.  I race confidently and without fear.  To me that's a victory.  But I have to admit, I'd like another crack at the race.  I believe I can do better.  Unfortunately, I can't go to the 2017 world championships as I already have vacation plans paid for during the championship.  But coach and I have already devised a plan to get to the 2018 race.  I'm ready for revenge!!!

Thursday, September 01, 2016

August Totals

How can it be September already?!?!

Although this blog has been nothing but crickets this summer, I have been training.  I haven't been as consistent as I would have liked, but I'm getting it done.  Less than two weeks until the big dance and I'm feeling ready.

Swimming - 26,300 yards ~ 15 miles
I swear my hair and skin are just going to fall apart with all this swimming.  To be honest, I'm ready for a break from the pool, but considering it's my job to be in and around the pool every day, I don't see a break happening.

Running - 68.59 miles
Sure, I'd love to be running big miles, but the long runs stopped weeks ago in favor of short fast runs with lots and lots of intervals.  Nowadays, long runs are about 7 miles.  That will change after the world championships as I have a half marathon on the schedule.

YMCA Visits - 20
Cost Per Visit - $1.88
Some day soon I'd like to break up with the Y too.

Let's do this September!!!

Friday, August 26, 2016

Pajama Jog 5K 2016

Oh hi!

Last weekend we traveled to Colorado for Dave's big race - Pikes Peak Marathon.  Oh yes he did.  And hopefully he'll write about it here soon.  (I think I said the same thing about the Myrtle Beach Marathon he ran in March.)  While we were there I did a small race, the Pajama Jog 5K in Denver.  Secretly I had hopes of winning this race as it was super small, but damn!  Elevation is no joke!

That's me with the blue shirt and white sunglasses, on the left.

I started out great, hanging with another woman, leading the way.  It felt forced but okay.  And then I looked at my watch.  Man!  Sometimes I hate that Garmin.  Next time I'm racing without it.  It said I was doing 6:38s and I knew I couldn't sustain that with the elevation so I dropped back.  Then I was in no-man's land.  No one in front of me; no one behind me.  The race wasn't exactly marked well.  I came to an intersection where I had no idea where to go.  I stopped (and stopped my watch in the process, WTF Meredith!) and turned back to the closest competitor and asked where to go.  We took a turn, hoping it was correct, and kept running.  I was getting closer to the lead female but my pace was slowing.  I was tired, my legs were cranky, and I couldn't get a breath in.  Is this race over yet?  The last part took us past a million (only slightly exaggerating) geese.  Ugh!  I hate geese.  

I finished second female in 23:17.  Not a great time, but you can't argue with second place.  Too bad I couldn't win the sucker.  The winner got a tent, some socks, and a gift certificate to a brewery.
Next race: Aquathlon World Championships!!!

Colorado.  Check, check!

Saturday, July 30, 2016

And Then Things Got Interesting

Of course. 

My manager texted me on Friday evening asking if he could call me.  This was the conversation I had been dreading - finding out if I got the job or not.  Honestly, I didn't want to answer the phone.  After a brief conversation I was offered the promotion.  I told him I would have to think about it, telling him I would let him know in the middle of next week.

Let's back up.

I mentioned in the previous post that I had applied for my old job, a job that I loved.  In addition to formally applying, I had gotten in touch with my previous lead (now manager) and when things didn't go anywhere with that conversation I even contacted my senior director (now vice president), someone who I know and trust and really like.  Friday afternoon she sent me an email letting me know someone would be in touch with me regarding a job within a certain department (not my previous job).  After some searching, The Husband and I figured out what job she was probably talking about.  A job I was well qualified for.  A big girl job.  A salaried job.  A responsible job.  I was/am excited. 

So when my manager offered me the job I had to tell him the truth.  I had to tell him that I had some other possibilities pending that I would need to let him know in a few days.  I didn't want to hurt his feelings or take him off guard.  He was very gracious and told me I needed to do what was best for my family.  I like him.  I hate that I may have to disappoint him.

There are a lot of thought rolling through my head right now.  I'd be crazy not to give the new job a chance.  It would be a great opportunity with a lot of options for advancement and a chance to shine.  But, I could also hate it and dread going to work and worry that I made the wrong choice of putting my child in daycare.  I also don't want to disappoint anyone.  Plus, I only have a few days to decide and technically, I don't have the other job yet.  I would be going into a decision blindly and hoping everything worked out.  Or I might just be unemployed. 

I hate decisions.  This makes me almost as miserable as not having any options.

Friday, July 29, 2016

The Real World

Let's get real.

I haven't had a whole lot to say on here as I'm been going through a really rough patch.  Life has been tough lately.  I haven't yet seen a silver lining.  Most days I'm just going through the motions.  I'm hoping there's an end to all of this soon.

This started a few months ago and has been building since then.  The Husband got his dream job late this winter and started at the end of April.  It's what he has been working his whole career for, and I'm super proud of him.  But it has also made everything a little more difficult.  First, he took a pay cut to take the job.  It's not that much, but all money makes a difference, ya know??  So the real kicker has been the time commitment.  He loved that this job would not require any extra hours or work from home or being on-call - all stuff he had to do at his previous job.  The commute, though, has basically wrapped all of those into one big chunk of time that has made my life miserable.  His previous job was literally right around the corner.  One mile.  He would ride his bike in the summertime.  He would leave after we got up in the morning and would be home ten minutes after he said he was leaving.  We would have lunch with him at least once a week.  It broke up a long day with the little one and helped me feel not so much like a stay-at-home mom but a co-parent.

The new job is downtown.  Sure, it's only like 16 miles and we don't have nearly the traffic as most major cities, but the commute seems to take up a large chunk of time.  He leave before the kiddo and I get up in the morning.  He does this so he can get out of work earlier, but even earlier his commute is still an hour to get home.  The Husband usually gets home about one minute before I leave for work.  Which means, I basically hand off our son and run out the door, only to return after 10:00pm without having said goodnight to Anderson or tucked him in or eaten a proper family dinner, etc.  I went from being a co-parent to feeling like a single parent without a spouse or a friend or anything to do.

In addition to the daily time commitment of our jobs and never seeing each other on the weekdays, I have worked every Saturday and Sunday this entire summer.  We recently bought a camper (more on that some other time) and every time we've gone camping I've had to leave to go to work or miss a day to stay back and go to work.  It sucks.  There has been zero family time this summer.  Plus, as I've noted before, we are doing renovations to our whole house which has come to a complete standstill because it's nearly impossible for one of us to do anything if the other isn't around to entertain the little one.

I mentioned that Dave had to take a pay cut for this job.  Again, no big deal, but for as many hours as I spend at my job and the responsibilities I have, I make next to nothing.  Seriously.  Most of my biweekly paychecks come back less than $300.  THREE HUNDRED FUCKING DOLLARS!!!!  What the hell am I supposed to do with $300?!?  I can buy nothing.  No repairs for the house, no adventures for the family, nothing.  Plus, I can't even afford any childcare to be able to work more hours to be able to make more money.  And I'm not going to just keep him at Child Watch at the Y just to be able to pick up more hours.  I hate taking my child to work with me and I hate that all he does is play.  He's learning nothing; no one is loving on him; and there are germs galore.  Right now, I'm soooo sick of the Y.

Back in June I decided it was time to go back to work full time.  If I am making the right kind of money I don't have a problem getting a nanny or putting Anderson in daycare so that we could spend more time together as a family and give us the money to be able to do things like renovations on our house, camp together, and other adventures.  To date I have applied for eight jobs.  Two of which I have worked before, one being my previous job which I loved.  Another of the jobs is actually a promotion at my current job.  I'm not thrilled about the idea but at least it's something.  It's been a solid six weeks since I began this search and apply process.  To date I've had two interviews for the promotion, been turned down for two jobs without even a call or an interview, and have heard absolutely nothing about the other five jobs.  This is including my previous job in which I have the same manager and senior director, both of whom I have contacted to help me out.  I am so frustrated, disappointed, and frankly, desperate.  Each day I wake up with hope that "today's the day" and by the afternoon I am beat down and worn out.  Why does this have to be so hard?  I have an engineering degree and worked professionally for years, for crying out loud, how am I not qualified for any jobs????

So there you have it.  My summer of depression in a nutshell.  I'm still training a ton - lots of running, lots of swimming, but everything else in my life just feels like I'm going through the motions.  Cross your fingers for us, say a little prayer, do a little dance, whatever.  We seriously need something to happen and for me, it can't come soon enough.

Monday, July 18, 2016

New Swimming Record

I said I would write more and then .... crickets.  Good job Mere!

So let's start with a short and sweet post.  Last week I set a new weekly yardage record in the pool.  I swam until I thought my arms were going to fall off.  My everything hurt after spending that much time in the pool.  And my hair was so gross I thought I would never get a comb through it (time to cut it all off again).

Anyway, last week I saw 12,250 yards.  That's just around 8 miles.  On top of that, I had four hours of in-saw inservice where I had to practice all my lifeguarding skills.  Personally, I'm a little tired of the pool and ready for a break from all the swimming and chlorine.  But, I don't think that's going to happen any time soon.