Friday, October 12, 2018

(Drunken) Cow and (Angry) Cat pose: the art of form (and why I lack it)

It's all fun and games till the taper starts.  Fact of life.  After the last two months of running 50-60 miles per week on the Hanson plan (I'll spare you my crap singing), the big day is right around the corner - Sunday is the Green Mountain Marathon, state #10 and marathon who the heck knows what. 

If you know me at all, you know the concept of taper brings out my evil, evil side.  Last week I got to run 40 miles, this week I've racked up a big 20.  WTF.

WHAT THE HELL DO I DO WITH MY TIME.  I could clean the house (BAH.  Greg and I did start a kitchen remodel, but it's more in the knocking shit down stage and less in the bleach and a rag stage, thank goodness.).  I could spend more time with family and friends (which I have been doing - my kids even remember my name now when they want something #winning). 

I could also be whiny brat about how I can't run and make an attempt at doing some cross training.  Well, you know where this is going.  Last week  decided to try something I haven't done since pre Ironman training and I took a yoga class.  Background story - I used to dance for years and legitimately could lift my leg over my head....15 years ago.  Running, biking and swimming might do wonders for your cardio life and fitting into your jeans, but stretching is embarrassingly low on my agenda and my downward dog consists of playing on the ground with my sitter's canine (I'll be here all week, thankyouverymuch).  So with some trepidation, I took part in a class called "Active Yoga" which sort of seemed obvious to me, but then again, I'm sort of a snob about all things not running, biking or swimming clueless. 

The verdict?  I can still do a mean sun salutation, but apparently my flow has flown out the window with regards to yogic form.  My sun salutations are jerky, my cobra is more of a sleeping snake, and my cow needs to go's drunk.  Regardless of the fact that I probably need to do more at the Y than enjoy the hot tub swim and play in the adventure center, I really did enjoy the class and expect to work on my vinyasa post marathon.  Then again, I say that every time.

In our second installment of taper adventures, I've decided that if I won't get on my bike, I may as well get some more swimming in, so I've actually swam three times a week the last two weeks.  I know what you are thinking, and no, no one stole my blog account, it's me.  My idea of swimming is really to throw some crappy 90s music on my play list and leisurely do laps till I hit anywhere between 2400m and 3200m, equalling a nice 45-60 min swim. 

That sounds nice.  Lately, no one seems willing to let me do this.  Apparently, my form resembles that of an angry cat (and probably the grace of the drunken cow I left back in yoga class).  In the past 4 months, I have been told by not one, not two, but four people, that my swim form kind of blows.  Greg has told me this kindly for years, but taking training tips from your husband rarely works in my books, as he will give me some very obvious analogy that makes absolutely no sense to me.  We excel at moving furniture and understand expensive bike purchase and/or 6 hour training rides, so in my books, I'll let the coaching dogs lie. 

This year, I swam at the Gananda pool for months and a woman who is pretty well known around here asked me one morning post swim if I knew how truly terrible my form was.  Well....yes, thanks.  She did follow it up with an offer to coach, so aside from being kind of abrupt, I gave her a pass and gratefully accepted.  Then they closed the pool, so we joined the Y.  Crap.  A few weeks back, Greg and I were doing laps and one of our tri buddies stood next to him at the end of our lane and asked Greg if I ever took lessons, because I probably should.  As I finished my 2400m set, I joined them and probably surprised him by making fun of my own form.  Then we compared Ironman swim splits and he laughed at himself, as my shitty form netted a faster Ironman swim than his.  Most recently, another fellow triathlete who seems to swim the same time I do has been nice enough to give me a few pointers - seeing as he was a swimmer in college and has done a sub 1 hour IM swim split, I guess I can't make fun of him too terribly yet.  He told me my hands look like a pissed off cat and that if I focused on hand entry, I would probably improve, and suggested the fingertip drill.  After I bit back my inner 12 year old "that's what she said" comments thanked him,I took his advice gratefully and will continue to try not to resemble my Bengal cat after I withhold chicken for dinner.   With that being said, I still think I will probably wait a bit before attempting to circle swim with him and the all world triathlete he hangs out with.  Maybe next year, when Santa brings me my new swim jet.

 To add insult to injury, I decided to take the taper to a new level by attempting to rake surf tripping on a rake at a party on Wednesday, and after landing knee first holding Biz on the rake handle, my right knee is swollen, black and blue, and SUPER AMPED to do 26.2 miles.

Bottom line, I got no game form.

Aside from the hot mess that I clearly am, I'm still excited to take on Vermont and check off another state, enjoy some fall foliage, adult time with my equally crazy cousin (who has hiked the PCT twice, woot!) and get back to my running game.  Which clearly, I have found myself with.

(Mad props to Greg's skillz)

And that's why running, in the end, is clearly the superior sport.  Am I right??

Monday, October 1, 2018

Mmm Hop: My Hanson Review

So sue me.  Every time I think about my marathon training plan, I revert to the Hanson Brothers insult of to the music industry from the 90's. Yes, I know, I need my head examined.  You also already knew that.

But DID YOU KNOW....that aside from the musical stylings of Mmm Bop and the original Tay Tay's boyish good looks, that the Hanson trio brought us more than just "epic" tunage?  Yep.  They brought us Hops.  Or, in case you still think my post title is not only lame but a typo, I didn't stutter.

Nothin' like livening up shitty 90's music that sucked twenty years ago like a drinking game.  You're welcome.

Well, aside from time hopping everyone back twenty years (see what I did there), I really am here to talk about a different set of Hanson brothers, who might not be as famous as the three that should have quit while they were ahead , but are arguably more influential to those of us that are stupid enough to run fifty plus miles a week.

As many of you faithful readers know (all 6 of you), I've followed quite a few marathon training methods in the last ten years - all in a quest to break 4 hours.  I finally found success back in 2016 on the 3rd try to break the 3:xx tape- after ditching "Less is More" and adding in an extra hour easy run; I found four runs a week while NOT trying to train for a triathlon or ultra marathon at the same time brought success.  Sounds simple....because it is.  So why improve upon success?

Well, I'm glad you asked.  I've run a few marathons since my epic breaking of the 4 - one attached to an Ironman, so we won't count that one, and one where I ended up running an extra mile due to the fact that I'm a moron I liked Northern Ohio so much I decided to tour the town and extend the original course.  Clearly, neither of these guys were PR setting events, so its about time I redeem my damn season and shoot for the marathon time I know I am capable of doing.  Combined with the fact that my bike and I are still in the  "its complicated" stage of our relationship. I figured ditching multi sport and running 6 days a week seemed like a wise terrible way to start tri off season. Enter my super speedy runner friend Amanda and the plan that got her to a legit fast marathon - The Hanson method.

The basic premise of the plan is to run 6 days a week - 3 runs are super easy relaxed pace and 3 are "SOS" runs, or, "something of substance".  Each week you do a strength set, which is speed work for us slow twitch runners - repeats ranging from 1200 to 3 miles; one tempo run ranging from 5 to 10 miles, and a long run that builds to 16 miles.  It was appealing because all I want to do is run....and I never have 3 hours to do a long run now that they sort of expect me at work.  The nerve.

Even though it freaks me out that my longest run is 10 miles shy of a marathon distance, I am loving this plan.  I jumped into the last 9 weeks of the 16 week plan figuring Ironman gave me some sort of base (I know, I'm wild like that) and have only missed one run to date.  I'm running anywhere between 50 and 60 miles a week, which is a huge jump from any past marathon.  I struggle to keep the "recovery pace", as its about 90 seconds per mile slower than cruising speed, and have had a few issues keeping pace with long run speed, which is, for me, 8:45-9 mm. My first 16 miler was done at 90 degrees and we took that at face value, but I held it nicely for the second. The whole idea is that for 90% of the runs, you enter into it tired, but able to build up the running legs to handle the volume and pace - basically, you are training to run miles 10-26.2, not 1-16.  I can get behind that.

Overall, no injuries to speak of (Rae, you idiot, shut up), other than some tightness on my hip which I believe is due to road camber (there are some wicked slants on my main route) so I've been trying to mix the route up and have been doing the speed work on the 'mill, which seems to help.  Overall, I'm pleased with the process, and have never hit the Awww crap, I HAVE to run today mode.  Rather, I get pissy on my "off" day and can't wait to get back out there, which has made the post IM blues much more tolerable. 

The results?  Well, we shall see in 13 days!  State #10, Vermont, is my next Target - Green Mountain Marathon, which, despite it's name, is not that hilly, and run entirely on the island of South Hero Vt.  I am super amped and hope the weather gods got out all their aggravation up in the Adirondacks and in Geneseo and that we have some great fall mary weather! 

And if not?  Welp, at least I know post race I have options.  So there's still that. Though god knows, if I end up chugging shitty beer post race in Winooski, VT,  I will not be held responsible for any social media, blogging, or texts that may ensue.  And that means two beers, in case you had any doubts that I am anything but a lightweight. 

And you thought I was just here to talk about running. Or maybe I should just stick to that next time :)

Saturday, September 15, 2018

If you are not part of the are part of the problem.

I like to think in my non Ironman or Mommy moments, I'm a pretty logical thinker.  I may do some incredibly ridiculous things, like answer Greg's query about what to do for dinner with "Mmmm, I dunno, we can either go out or stay in" or when Rob asks me what he's getting for his birthday, I reply "presents".

Although, when you think about it, both are pretty darn logical.

So, when presented with my recent bike conundrum, I knew there were steps I could take to rectify the situation.  Well, really, phases if you will.

Phase 1:  Collect Underpants.
Phase 2:?
Phase 3:  Profit

Then when I understood I really wasn't an underwear gnome, I applied said phases to my bike phobia.

Phase 1:  Get back on the bike.

Last week at the gym, two fellow triathletes persuaded me to get back on the bike.  In true sense of dude-liness, dude #1 told me that it was a shame to let a kick ass bike sit in the corner while I got pissy.  Dude #2 outlined a race plan for me for next year, taking into account my level of suckiness with some excellent HTFU thrown in.

I went with their advice and promptly dusted off Jess and rode her (that's my bike, you sick people.)  On the trainer.  Cause in my mind, that's a phase.

Phase 1:  Ignore bike.  Throw fit on social media.  Vow to give up triathlon.  ealize that this is entirely ineffective and you are better than said hissy fitting.

Phase 2:  Address one part of the problem by getting back on the bike in the safest fashion possible.  What IS the problem?  Time to investigate.

For ride #1, I rode an hour on Zwift's watopia while watching some trash TV.  The ride was easy, my legs felt good, I wasn't annoyed, but I also wasn't thrilled.  Would have rather been running.

Duh.  Nobody likes the trainer.  It's a necessary evil for New York's shitty winters, shitty drivers, people who try to fit in Ironman training with two kids and a job, and for wusses like me that fear their bikes.

Fine, let's move on.

Phase 3:  Address some of the riding fears on a less scary steed.  It's Mountain bike time!

Before you roll your eyes, let me explain that I was not tree flying, bunny hopping, trickster inducing riding here.  This was a simple one hour canal ride on my non clipless pedal ride with about half of it on the open road.

The verdict?  Well, I hate non clipless pedals, which shocked the crap out of me.  My foot kept sliding off the pedal, which was super annoying, and something I take for granted on my tri bike.  I took the first half hour of the ride to assess some of the issues I was having:

1.  Mount/dismount:  I do this with the grace of a drunken pony.  There is no escaping this.  When you have clipless, you add insult to injury by trying to clip in, but I still look like a moron either way. Verdict:  Go back to the tri bike.  Learn to friggin clip in and out.

2.  Shifting:  Oh sweet mountain bike with your shifters on your handles, I love you to no end. I am no longer stuck in grind mode because I hate not steering like a grandma with my hands firmly planted on my handlebars.  Verdict:  Mountain.

3.  Nutrition:  I brought my camelbak because I don't have cages.  After getting over my fear of letting go with one hand (as I assume I will just end up about 6 feet over into the road when I do this) I realized that I move...maybe an inch in the direction I take my hand off of.  Auto correctable.  Verdict:  Tri bike.

Take off your IMLP sticker, ya dork.
4.  Weight and fit:  Don't make me laugh.  My knees and butt hurt after 12 miles.  TRI BIKE FTW.

5.  Traffic:  I encountered a few a-holes and a route that included 4 stop signs and two lights.  Yes, I had to stop.  Did I feel any safer on my mountain bike?  Nope.  As I climbed the ungodly hills on a bike easily three times the weight of my tri bike, I took my hands off the brakes realizing that if a car came at me, ummmm...I wouldn't use the anyways.  I would, ya know, GET OUT OF THE WAY.  Same thing with a branch or road debris.  Faulty thinking on my part.  Verdict:  Tri Bike.  You move faster and get out of the way of said motorists.

6.  Beauty:  After a half hour of assessing everything, I let go and appreciated the beauty around me.  The fluffy clouds.  The ducks in the canal.  The friendly hellos of people I passed (wait, I was dong the passing???) and the breeze in my face...and even better, on my back.

Verdict?  Yeah, I need to get back into this.

Phase 4:.....Getting the tri bike back out.  It's coming.  Even if it's in a damn parking lot.  Learn to clip in and out.  Learn to shift with with ease. Stay tuned!


Thursday, September 13, 2018

Biz is 3!!

And there we have it.  Not only do we have a couple of school aged kids, we also now have a 3 YEAR OLD IN THE HOUSE!  Biz turned 3 yesterday, and it was the pink pancake, Y swimming, Happy Meal, cookie cake hot dog party of a day that every 3 year old dreams of (well, at least mine does!)

It's funny -every year I am so amazed at how you grow....from being a tiny little taco to a big 3 year old - the days are long but oh man, the years are short!  I know that time flies so I do my best to just hang on and enjoy the ride...and what a ride it's been, my Bizzie girl!  Let's see what you're up to now.... 

Size - 31 pounds.  You still have the best appetite on the planet - you love your eggs, cheese, ronis (pasta) and GOLDFISHIES!!  Love seeing my girl with the big appetite.

Likes: You are obsessed with Trolls (Obviously).  You love the color pink, "sprinkles" on your nails (polish), your "girlfriends" (dolls) and the videos done by Blippi on youtube.  You also love hanging out with Rob and his friends, playing play doh, swimming at the Y (Its OPEN!) and painting, and dancing!  

Dislikes: Going to bed.  Going poop (Hey, it had to be said).  Brushing your hair.  Going inside when you want to swing! And being told No.  So, basically, you are pretty normal as little girls go....and boy do you have an opinion about things!! 

Sleep: Still on the struggle bus with this one sometimes.  You generally go to bed pretty well but find your way into ours almsost every night at some point.  We are tired parents but the snuggles are worth it, little one.  Every night I remind myself that I am so lucky to have such an amazing kid.  Keep being awesome!!

Eating: See above.  You love food so much!  I swear you eat more than I do sometimes - its really neat to watch.  Your favorites are goldfishies, cheese and french fries. 

No more diapers!  You only wear a pull up to bed and are full on potty trained.  You get so proud of the fact that you put on your big girl panties and love waving bye to pee pee as you flush (No one said you were normal....
Riding a bike - You love zooming around on your bike - its the best!
Swimming - You LOVE going to the Y and your swim jump off the deck with no fear and love doing kick kicks!!
ABCs/Colors/Shapes- You know them cold.  Genius! Preschool is gonna be a blast!
School!  You started preschool on Tuesday and you love it already.  Oh be still, my heart.

Best Moment: It's still the little things.  When you look at me and say "I love you, Mommy" or, "Mommy, let's dance!" Or when I listen to you and Rob belly laugh over a ridiculous poop joke.  You guys have the same amazing laugh and it melts my heart every time I hear it.  You and Rob can fight like cats and dogs but at the end of the day you love each other and it shows....the two of you are really the best gift anyone could have and I am the luckiest to be your Mommy!!

Looking Forward to: Hearing all about preschool, dance lessons, your first riding lessons next month - so many fun things!  This year you and Rob really both "get" the holidays - your birthday, Halloween, and Christmas!  Our life is made up of small great things - every day with you and Rob and your Daddy is such a precious gift and I love it all.  Here's to the best year a 3 year old could have!!!

Tuesday, September 11, 2018


How is she even almost 3?  My baby started school today!!  GAHH!!

She's off to a great start and is so so so excited!

Monday, September 10, 2018

Disco Inferno - Oak Tree 2018

Well, how about that.  I raced merely 8 days ago and am blogging about it already.  I must be bored dedicated.  Seriously, where's my cookie?

Well, spoiler alert.  I did not PR at Oak Tree.  I set my sights on those measly 4 seconds I missed out on last year - well- really - set my sites on a 1:48, which was totally doable, as my tempo runs up to 9 miles are easily averaging 8:15 min mile, which is super awesome toward my super secret yet to be revealed 3:45 marathon goal.  Or.....not so secret goal.  Anyways, I figured a great half time would give me the boost I needed mid training cycle.  Oak Tree is a race I've done before (2017, 2011) and it was situated at the perfect time.

Famous last words.

Spoiler alert about this course - it ain't easy.  It starts out nice and flat with a few rollers, then changes to dirt with a screaming down hill at mile 3, which you spend the next 3 miles making up for on dirt/pebble roads.  You then descend again at mile 8 and do a few more rollers until you meet that b*tch of a hill you went down at mile 3 and Newton's Law of Motion goes into effect...and you go mile 11...for over a mile.  On dirt.  Last year it rained and this was miserable, and I left the course with 4 seconds to go under 1:50.

So, in a nutshell, I had a bone to pick with this course.

Race morning dawned with no rain at all in the forecast.  Sweet.  It also was 75 degrees by 7am.  Efffff.  I made the solo trip to Geneseo (also my alma mater), enjoying the peace and quiet that I never get in the car.  (I also did not listen to the Wheels on the Bus.  Swearsies).

Arrived at 7:15, took care o bidness, and found some of my crazy running friends who also thought that running through an inferno sounded like a good idea.  We crazy.  I actually had a hand held, which is something I never do during a race, but figured water every two miles when it was so damn hot was a bad plan.  Race gun sounded at 8am, and we were off!

Miles 1-3 were pretty uneventful - I held a 7:50-8:00 pace which is perfect, since this is a race where a little time in the bank is essential for mile 11.  I got passed by a few speedy friends, and settled into about the top quarter of the pack - this race attracts some seriously good runners, so I had no illusions other than to end in a 1:4x:xx.  Game on.

At mile 3, one of my Roc Running Co friends caught up to me, and we played leap frog for a few miles...she is usually about 5 minutes faster in a half than I am, so I felt pretty good about my speed....until mile 5, when the wheels came off.  Did I mention at mile 1 in town there was a clock with the time and the temperature...and it was already 83 degrees and humid at 8:05.  Yeah.  That.  And 40 minutes into the race, it caught me.  I just couldn't breathe.  My 8 minute miles became 8:30s, and then a few 9...9:30s in, simply because I had to stop to breathe. 

Crap.  It's hot AF out here.  (Tip - do not google hot AF images and expect good things to come up.  Well....they might be good.  But don't ever do it on a work computer.  Just saying.)

At mile 7 my garmin read 59:49 and I knew for all intents and purposes a PR was not in the books for the day.  So I held on.  My Speedy Roc Runner friend leapfrogged again and I decided to try to see how long I could hold her off.  Until mile 8 when I saw her ahead of me and I started to feel a bit delusional....when did she pass me??  Wow.  Mile 9, 1:24...and then....screw you, mile 11.  I employed a power walk strategy (thank you, Lake Placid hills) and the gods that run the race handed out mini water bottles to us trudging warriors in the 85 degree mess.  I remembered fondly the mud and cold from last year at this point and wondered why on earth I thought this was a reason to complain....Rae, you are a moron.  Mile 11= 10:53, and 1:46 on the clock as we hit mile 12.  As soon as the hill was behind me I hit the gas, speeding by people with a force I didn't know I had (which tells me clearly my legs were not the problem!)  I hit the track at 12.75, sailing it in for a 1:54 finish, a good 6 minutes slower than I was hoping for, and totally shot.

Then out of nowhere came Speedy Roc Runner (SRR) friend.  What??  She congratulated me and I realized we had twinning Roc runners who fooled me at my mirage of mile 8.  Whoops.  And I decided to embrace the suckiness of the day - SRR told us she finished 8 minutes slower than usual, and the speed demon friend that passed me at mile 1 finished in 1:48, 11 minutes slower than last year.  So I guess Oak Tree = 3, Rae = 0, but in the field I'll take it.  I ended up with an age group award (as the winner was first overall) and 13th out of 137 women, which in a race like this, I will take all day.

Placid redemption?  Not yet.  But I gave it all I had, and managed a nice speed session the day after the race, which means my legs are ready for Green Mountain, and it just better not be 90 damn degrees.

In other news, I finally reconciled with my bike, and it looks like we might not be splitsville after all.  She's still a pain in my ass, but at the end of the day, like most relationships, I love her.  But that's a different story for a different day. 

Oak Tree...we are not finished.  I'll be baaaaack (My Schwarzenegger sucks).

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Schoolhouse Rock!

Well, today was one of those milestone days at casa Glaser.  One of those...hey, I'm pregnant.....our baby is born....he is walking....and talking!....and going to preschool....and now...

Today was Rob's first day of Kindergarten!  Inour school district, they have a neat way to introduce the kids to school - one day one, we get to ride the bus with them (an hour later than normal), have a snack, meet their classmates, have a bus drill, then go home.  Rob was so excited for the bus and to go to big kid school!!

Riding with Mommy!
 At school, he quickly got into the swing of things and found some old and new friends, and made himself at home at his new seat!

 Before we knew it, it was time to head home....

Just call him Casanova.....
 Al in all, a great day - Greg and I were so thrilled to be part of it, and we are so amped for Rob for Kindergarten!  Tomorrow he goes a half day all by himself and Thursday starts full days.  Which, let's be real, calls for some parent first day celebration......
And there you have it.  BACK TO SCHOOL 2018 a huge success!!! Next week Biz starts preschool....what happened to my babies?!???

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Fear Itself (Thanks FDR)

So, here we are.  Five weeks out from Ironman.  Lotta season left.  But for all intents and purposes, a "What the hell comes next" mentality.

Well let me just tell you what comes next.

It's sort of crazy.  Back in 2010 and 2011, Ironman #1 and #2 definitely left me in a funk.  I finished, met my goals for both (Sub 14 and Sub 13 finishes, respectively), and walked away feeling great about it, but with a "what now" feeling.

I fixed it in 2010 by doing another Ironman.

I fixed it in 2011 by family planning.

Before anyone gets crazy with the cheez whiz, both those are off the table, especially the latter!

This time around, I have had no post Ironman funk.  Of course, there is little doubt in my mind that I came nowhere near close to executing the race based on my fitness, so there is the general let down post race, but moreso a let down of myself.  While I am proud to have finished relatively well in the elements, I know in my heart that I let the beast get to me both in Lake Placid and in 2018 as a whole, and that bums me out.

A two wheeled beast.  In other words, my damn bike.

I've been a triathlete for 13 years.  For those of you that don't know my history, I got hit by a car back in 2008 while riding and separated my shoulder and became immensely afraid of road riding.

For those of you that don't know me as a person, I am one of the most uncoordinated people on earth to begin with.  Which means even in the best situation, I fall on my ass clipping in and out of my bike, and can't steer it while eating a power bar to save my soul.  I don't have aero nutrition because it looks cool, it's because I struggle to maneuver bottle cages.  I don't ride and grab food aid at stations.  I stop.  And here's the biggie....I've never ridden in aero.  Ever.

Did I stutter?  Nope.  For years, I've been a mid pack swimmer, a bottom third rider, and a rescuer of races with a top 25% of field run.

But I learned a hard lesson this year.  You can't outrun a bad bike.  You just can't.

So as my run has gotten better and better, I run more because I like it.  I bike less because...I don't.  But when the bike is over half the race, you set yourself up for failure.

Greg and I don't compete.  Really.  We use each other as rabbits, friendly ribbing, but that's about it.  For years, we have decided he races better in short course, and I do better in long course.  And for years, his slightly faster bike and swim gave him the edge short course, and my run beat him out in long course.

That changed this year.  I watched him in both races swim the same as me (less than a minute difference) and then just haul out guns blazing on a bike while I fell behind, and then I ran out of room to catch up on the run.  I know there was a contingent of Roc folks (love you guys) that watched me try to catch him on the marathon course at Placid.  I'm proud of gaining those 43 minutes.  But he still grabbed the overall faster time....because his bike split was 55 minutes faster.

Because I am afraid.  I am afraid of speed on the Keene descent.  I'm afraid of not holding the brakes in aero.  And I sat myself into a huge nutritional hole because I am afraid to eat a clif bar on the fly.

Since I didn't know what to do with this, after Placid, I sat my bike in a corner.  I have ridden her once (on the trainer, of course).  There is a choice to make.  Greg signed up for a sprint tri last weekend, and he waxed it.  He set a new personal best, and came in 11th overall.  He is on fire.  I am so proud of him.  But at the same time, I am more and more bummed about my relationship with my bike.  It's the first tri I haven't done since 2005 with him where I wasn't pregnant.  I made the active choice to sit it out because I hate my bike.

One of our friends at the tri, after I spilled some of my guts, looked at me and logically said "Well, why don't you just do Aquathon (Swim Run) or run?"  And she's probably right.  But it doesn't feel right.  It feels like quitting.  And at the bottom of it, I DO like riding, and the sport of triathlon - it's better whole body training, the athletes are way more fun, and it's what Greg and I DO.  But I've let my weakness grow and haven't addressed it the way I should to the point of where it's do or die time.

I know.  Who does 3 Ironmans with a fear of the bike?  Me, I guess.  I never said I was reasonable.

So...what's next?  Well, I need to step away.  I need to miss it.  To miss those hours training.  To have the desire to put on a helmet and brave the roads.  To go to a parking lot with my 5 year old son and learn how to ride bikes again.  To just do it.

But now...I don't.  So I'm doing what I love.  I signed up for a half marathon this weekend, because dammit, I love running.  And it's at my Alma Mater (Geneseo).  And it's good prep for my fall marathon.  I'm running 6 days a week and damn it feels good.

Is it enough?  I don't know.  But I do know I need redemption.  This season has been a giant failure save for a new 10k PR at an Olympic Tri (WHO DOES THAT?).  It's time to end the season with a bang and think about what 2019 brings.

Never boring around here, for sure...right??

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Wind Beneath my Wings: Lake Placid Race Report, the finale!!

Well, I must confess.  If you stayed with me through parts one and two....I apologize for the lame theme and the drama of a 3 part report but....we all knew I really wanted to talk about the run, so of course, that gets its own piece!

As I ran into T2, I had the biggest smile on my face - after the wild ride on the bike, I was finally onto Terra firma and about to rock this race!  I knew that my A goal and B goal were out the window at this point, but I was hoping to finish strong around 14 hours.  Grabbing my run bag, I had thrown off my bike shoes to run faster and got my feet completely covered in sand on my way to the tent - eff.  The nice volunteer grabbed water to hose my feet down....and spilled it on my compression socks.  OMG.  I knew i could not run this thing with no socks, so I bummed a pair of 50 cent cotton socks and prayed for the best (Yes, Barb, I know).  I opted not to change, but had to pee, so I grabbed my race belt, visor and foodstuffs and jetted out - for a nice five minute transition, 3 minutes faster than in 2010!  Hey, Ill take what I can get.

Out for mile one with the best cheerleader on the course....who of course got a smooch!!  I can't even explain to you how excited I was to see Rob - while I do Ironman for my own interest, watching my kids see their parents out there doing hard things and getting it done is an example that I hope to set for many years to come.  What else is a mom to do than sweep down and give her kiddo a giant hug and smooch?!?  (I did realize post this that was a HUGE

After my rob 'mooches, I set off at a brisk trot down the hill and out of town, the biggest smile on my face.  Too big.  Mile one: 7:53.  OMG.  Slow down Rae!!  I was hoping for a 2:15 first half, so I slooooowed it down to a 9:30-10 minute mile rather quickly.  The LP marathon is awesome because its basically an out and back twice, so you see friends on the course.  I saw some of my speedier friends on their lap back - most looked beat to hell after that bike, which I figured under my smile, I did too.  I high fived the sexy speedo guys (the course support is phenomenal) and set out looking for Greg, who, other than hearing he was "quite a distance ahead", I had no intel on. (I figured as much, given my lousy bike split, but hey, I have to admit, I was just as happy to not have died so there's that.)  I finally saw my buddy at mile 3, when he was at mile 8, and gave him a big high five!  He yelled out, come catch me! Which, lets be real, he was about 50 minutes ahead of me....and I had 23 miles to work with.  Do the math, people.  (I later found out he started the run with a 55 minute head start on me..holy cats).  I pretty much knew then that I would not catch him, but I'm one to give it the ole college try, so off I went.

Run loop one consisted of running the flats and downhills and walking the hills, averaging about a ten minute mile.  I saw all my pals, smiled a ton, and while my legs felt great, my lungs were a hot mess and I could not take a deep breath.  I felt really nauseous, which was 100% due to my shitty nutrition on the bike, so I suck with gels, coke and chomps, which are really freaking hard to open (I had to ask someone every time to help - what am I, 5?).  I finished run loop 1 in 2:13, which I was 100% thrilled with.

As I headed out for loop 2, I saw my crew again - John, Liz, Noah, Karen, Tom and of course, Super Rob!  who held up some inspo (Thanks kid, and thanks Karen!!) and ran with me for about a minute.  John gave me the Greg update and told me I was running about 3 minutes per mile faster than him, which gave me hope that I might catch him (math was not my strong suit now, but the idea of crossing the finish line together was what I wanted the most!!)

Running out of town I began to look for a buddy - I usually find a man in his 50s who paces with me and makes me laugh, and establish a 2 hour father daughter relationship with.  Not this time.  I had a really strong run/walk going, and the people I paired up with had a different strategy in mind.  Ahh well.  This time out I got to see the people on the loop behind me, who either looked as thrilled as I was or dead on their feet.  I got asked several times if this was my first Ironman, people explaining that "I looked too happy".  Was I hurting?  Oh heck yes.  I kept waiting to upchuck.  But at this point I KNEW I would be an Ironman, with 8, 7, 6 miles to go...and OMG I was so happy.  I saw Greg again at my mile 17.5 and his mile 19.5...again, he told me, come get me!  I sadly told him I was running out of road....even if I ran my best, I couldn't make up 20 minutes in 8 miles.

The run back into town was surreal.  I basked in Lake Placid - the ski jumps, the mountains, the sights....everything.  Mile 24, I heard the finish line cries and headed out for my final two out and back.  Saw Greg heading in and we hugged each other tight and I told him how very proud I was of him. As I made the final turn, I began to run slightly faster toward the final mile.  I began to shiver and well up....the months of hard work, the time, the training, the doubt earlier in this day....the look on my sons husbands all caught up to me.  This was it.   I looked behind me....all clear.  There was one group in front of me I passed as I neared the oval, and then clear sailing for the finish.  I raised my arms in Rocky victory, tears coming down my face, and ran across the finish line to "Rae Glaser, you ARE an Ironman!"  (Which, by the way, was just as cool as the first two times!!) and there was Greg.  With my medal.  He placed it around my neck and we just looked at each other in awe.  WE DID IT.

Post race, we caught up with Rob and the gang, and John was a godsend and sherpaed our bikes out for us so we could breathe.  Since I know you are all on tenterhooks, I finished in 14:15:xx, about an hour slower than I wanted, but still a strong finish.  Greg ended up finishing in 14:07:xx, which means that I made up 48 minutes on the run, but still could not out run his strong bike (7:07 vs 8:02).  I later found out there was quite a following back home on our progress as people waited for me to catch him - sorry guys, I ran out of road :-P)

All things considered, I am super amped about our race.  Neither one of us hit our A goal, but the weather sucked, and to be honest, we did not train nearly as much as 2010 and 2011 (I wonder why?)  Be that as it was, we finished smack in the middle of the pack, and we later found out almost no one had the race they wanted....the bike either killed them (me)....or the bike destroyed them for the run (Greg).

Be that as it may, for two people with two little guys, two demanding jobs, and a life, I'm pretty darn proud of us for what we did - and celebrating Greg's 40th couldn't have been any better.

Post Ironman?  Well, I won't lie.  That initial let down of post race....was not there this time.  I honestly am so glad to be off a massive training schedule that I shook out for two weeks and did whatever the hell I wanted - though I am glad to say I started running a few days post race!  Now?  Well, I signed up for the Green Mountain Vermont marathon on October 14th to cross off state #10.  What, did you expect different? :)

Thanks for following my ridiculously long race report and as always, for reading TFB!

Thursday, August 2, 2018

When the Wild Wind Blows - Lake Placid Part 2 - Swim and Bike

Are we sensing a theme here?  Good.  No worries, I won't take you through every wind song in the planet - I would be nuts to write that much of a multi part report :)  Where were we....ahh, yes.  Wind.

The swim - As the cannon fired to signal the Age grouper start, we moved up the beach, going off in waves of about 10.  I had seeded myself with the 1:20 swimmers, and expected just about that.  The start was rather 2010, the cannon went off and 3000 swimmers started jousting for water position.  Five minutes into this race, I was still beach bound.  I started shivering (it was cold!) and a really nice fellow racer rubbed my arms and talked down my nerves....what a sweetheart.  Ten minutes later, we were released into the lake, I hit my start button, and off we went!

The first half of the swim was rather uneventful, a nice change from the scrum of 2010 (Mirror lake is TINY and is usually a boxing match the first loop).  I was really anti this wave start going into the race, but after 5 minutes I found the white cable that denoted the swim loop (that I never found in 2010!) and was good to go.  My watch went off every 500m or 10 minutes, which for my pace....I couldn't tell which was which.  Fail.  Ahhh well.  I exited loop one in 37 minutes, which was about right, as I knew the second loop would be slower.  A few bumps, nothing major, and I felt great!  Second loop oddly had more contact, I had a mild hyperventilating moment halfway through when some guy clocked me in the head and pushed me under, but I swam to the side a bit, took a deep breath and reminded myself that no one has a breakdown 3000m into a swim.  Exited loop 2 in 38 minutes for a total swim of 1:15, a full 5 minutes faster than I expected - sweet!!

The run to T! in this race is super long, but really well supported and we felt like rock stars.  I slammed a gel as it takes me awhile to get into it on the bike, and headed to grab my bike bag.  Suited up with little fanfare with the help of an awesome vollie who offered anything I needed (Except a bike motor....damn) and headed into the bike racks to grab my steed!  Off to the mount line and into the 112 mile ride!!

The Bike - I wish I could just skip this whole piece, but hey, it wouldn't be authentic then, would it.  The bike, like each discipline, is a two looper - a gradual climb and some rollers for 10 miles, a sick fast 6 mile descent, about 10 miles of flat, 15 more miles of rollers, and 15 miles uphill.  Times two.  Ironman added an extra little piece with a decent uphill to make 112 miles, which we knew would add some time, but what can you do about it.

As we wound into the first climb out of  town, the rain started coming down and I was praying that the radar loop was right and that the showers would dissipate by 10am.  The winds started howling at about mile 2....not nice tailwinds.  Or annoying headwinds.  Shitty crosswinds that clocked up to 40 mph (as we found out later) that blew this little 130 pound rider sideways.  Handlebar clutching OMFG riding.  And I'm not a great biker to begin with.  To add insult to injury, my bike computer, which was working wonderfully when I checked it at 6:15 pre race, had decided to malfunction.  I pulled over and messed around with it to no avail - which means that aside from my garmin beeping every 10 minutes and the mile markers every 10 miles - I was riding blindly.  Not the thing one wants to do for 112 miles.  Deep breaths.  Something always goes wrong on race day, you can handle this.  At mile 10, a rider passed me chanting "Wind is our friend" over and over again.  Yeah.  Nice try buddy.  We passed the fear inducing "low gear truck" road sign, and I prayed the descent wouldn't be too terror inducing (I've hit 55 on this part before - and that's nothing compared to the riders whizzing down in aero!).  The first piece wasn't horrible, and then we hit the valley by cascade lakes, where the wind nearly blew us into the guard rail.  I was chanting Hail Mary's, straddling the white line, burning all my emotional matches, and praying not to die.  The second piece of the descent was much better, as the wind subsided, and I blew a huge sigh of relief as I hot the bottom and into Keene.  The second part of the course is my fave - huge shoulders and almost no hills. started to hail.  Yeah, you read that right.  I hit mile 20 and was chattering so hard I could barely steer my bike.  I'm not gonna lie, I almost pulled over at the aid station at mile 25 and handed in my chip.  I kept repeating my reasons for being there over and over in my head, and soldiered on.

Miles 25-40 were uneventful except I realized at mile 40....I hadn't eaten anything.  OMG.  Huge mistake.  I knew I couldn't ride and eat at the same time, as I was so cold, so I pulled over, peed, grabbed shot blox, refilled Gatorade, and headed out.  The winds thankfully slowed down for the climb back into town and I hit the first loop in 3:53.  WHAT THE EFF.  I knew 2 things - I would never make 7:30, and that mentally, I was fried.  Thankfully I was ok physically, so I headed out for loop two.

Loop two started much the same as loop one, but thankfullyl the rains had gone away at this point.  I was starting to get into a rhythm when I heard "What the hell" and the dude about 10 feet in front of me launched a water bottle out of his rear mount.  This took out the chick that was behind him - I veered out of the way but was totally not quick enough and crashed full force onto the pavement.


Pre Race motivation - YOU GOT THIS
I took stock of the situation - road rash, elbow scrapes, and minor face damage to the bike.  I pulled over to the side and noticed the chain got swung into the inside of my big chain ring, and spent 5 minutes wrestling it out.  The athletes passing me all asked we were OK -myself, another dude who was also checking his bike, and the other chick who went down, who ended up wheeling her bike up further.  (Water bottle launcher - unscathed and still on the course. Ugh.)  The dude took off quickly and the other girl debated pulling out - she was alright but totally shaken (not sure what happened to her, I hope she made it) - which I totally got.  I finally was convinced my bike was OK, and set to mount it - then promptly almost tipped over as my cleat wouldn't work.  WTF.  I sat there for a few minutes, literally crying on the course.  I knew this was nerves, but with the descent right ahead, I needed to get my head on straight.  I remembered my kids - one at home, looking up to Mommy as an athlete.  I remembered my five year old, on his way up to cheer Mommy and Daddy on.  I thought of my husband - somewhere ahead on this course, celebrating his 40 years with this wild race with me.  And I thought of myself - I AM NOT A QUITTER.  I am a FIGHTER.  I said loudly - RAE.  You can DO THIS.  And I mounted my bike with determination, and was off.

Still.  More matches.  The second descent was just as windy, just as scary, but at the bottom, I knew I had beat the worst part of the course.  The rest of loop two was pretty uneventful - I stopped again at mile 95 for peeing and food, and was helped back on my back by an awesome vollie - and the last 12, albeit slow, were also uneventful - woith the exception of randomly hearing "The Final Countdown" on someones speakers along the course, which is hilarious, as that was a totally random song in 2010 pre race and still a joke a la "Arrested Development' between Greg and I.

  Hitting Papa bear at mile 109, I was just SO DAMN happy that the end of the bike was near, and I started to grin.  I dismounted loop two in 4:09, for a total bike split of 8:02 - about 45 minutes slower than I wanted, and nowhere near what I know I am capable of.  I almost threw my bike at a volunteer and offered to sell it to her for what I felt was a very reasonable $5.  She laughed and as I ran into T2....I saw my crew!!!  John, Liz, Karen, Noah, Tom and ROB!! I leaned in for the biggest hug and he yelled "Mommy!  You're gonna be an Ironman!!!" And with could I do anything but smile my little heart out and go get ready to run this marathon

As I grabbed my run gear......(Conclusion (I swear!) coming tomorrow.....)

Saturday, July 28, 2018

Blowin' In the Wind: Lake Placid Ironman 2018 Race Report

Standard race reports - even if it takes me years to do them, they are pretty easy.  Even tris, which are composed of three disciplines, aren't too bad - morning of, swim, bike, run, reflect.  Wham, bam, done.
Then, there's Ironman.  To sum up Ironman in a standard race report is just not possible.  The day is about so much more than a metric - a power output, wattage, pace per mile, finishing time.  As Aristotle said, "The whole is more than the sum of its parts".  Smart man.  I've done three Ironmans now, and there is no way I can describe to you the feeling of one - the nerves beforehand, the ups and downs (both emotionally and physically), the kindness on the course, the inevitable doubt of a finish, the mind taking over when your body says "no", and the....feeling.  That feeling at mile 25 when you KNOW you will become an Ironman today.  When your eyes well up and you choke with emotion, and your body aches become a distant memory as you run toward the finish line, arms pumped in victory, with Mike Reilly yelling "Rae Glaser, you ARE an Ironman".  The crowd, screaming your name.  The culmination of the months of training, pushing, and all of your "why's"....are here.  Right at this line.  
The only birthday cake on an Ironman day!!

What race report?  You need more than that?  Well, you know I'm dying to regale the good, the bad and the ugly...with emphasis on "gale".  LOL

Pre race - Greg and I arrived in Lake Placid on Thursday and did the usual rigmarole.  As many of you know, the race fell on his birthday this year, so in addition to the pre race prep, I did some prep of my own - working with my surprise crew, which consisted of five family members that were coming up to surprise Greg, one of them being our five year old son!  (I decided Biz was better off at Gramma's with such a long day, but I knew Greg would FLIP when he saw Rob), pulling together small birthday touches with Ironman, etc.  I was determined to make his day special - after all, thats why we were here!!  Friday, we packed gear and did a nice loop swim, ate breakfast with RWB teammates and Roc peeps, and went to the local team dinner at Lisa G's.  Saturday was a haxe of bike check in and forced relaxation, and admittedly, a blur.  Before I knew it, it was lights out at 8pm Saturday night (until I got up at 9.  and 9:30.  And 10.  You get it.)  The alarm went off at 3am Sunday morning with the finesse of a toddler jumping on my stomach.  OOF.
Side note - All the concern I had about enthusiasm disappeared as soon as we touched down in Placid.  I was like a kid in a candy shop, amazed and amped to be there, with a Joey Tribbiani in London eqsue "Placid, Baby!" every 5 seconds.  I'm sure I annoyed the crap out of everyone, but this was Ironman and I was here to play.  As if to squelch my childlike joy, the Adirondack gods kept threatening shitty weather for race day.  I brushed it off - 2010 was supposed to suck, it didn't.  2011 - supposed to suck, was perfect.  Before any of you wise asses comment about 3rd time's the charm, I'll just do it.  Probably should have thought about that one before I signed up, but I do hard things.  And this - would be a hard thing.

Going into this race, I felt pretty decent about my swim training - I expected about a 1:20 in the water, and was cool with that.  I never swam speed, only distance, as I had time for 2 swims a week and that was it.  My run was on point.  I was hoping for a 4:30, though I knew it would be aggressive.  The bike - ahh, the bike.  I would have told you until June that I felt strong on the bike - maybe not fast, but strong.  But a series of bad rides and a crash after getting buzzed in training shook my confidence - I was concerned about my fitness, my bike handling skills, everything.  I knew this portion would come down to my mental game, and at this point, I knew if I could keep myself in check, I would be ok.  A recent course change revised my goal to a 7:15 on the bike, which I thought would be doable.  Add in 15 minutes transition and some wiggle room, and I was shooting for a 13:30, which would have been a 24 minute Placid PR.  

How much back story can I give you?  Plenty.  Back to THE day now.  After the alarm went off, we went about the business of race prep - bagels and peanut butter, coffee, tri kit donning, and the short drive to the Oval.  We caught the shuttle and were in transition by 4:30am.  The pink clouds in the brightening sky gave a foreboding feeling, but we were determined to think the best.  We prepped our bikes, checking tires, breaks, bike computers, and loading nutrition.  I lubed up, sunscreened up, triple checked bags, and gave out hugs to everyone.  We headed to the swim start for a quick warm up and the winds started to pick up, as we heard athletes checking the radar with tht band of storms that were settling over the mountains.  As I looked over at Whiteface, I could see the rain forming in a threatening cluster over the peaks, and the trees started to sway.  OMG.  The wind.  Just what this nervous biker needed. discipline at a time.  Greg and I hugged, and he headed off to his corral of 1:00 swimmers.  I headed for the 1:20, and stood, shivering on the beach.  The anthem sounded, and I placed my hand on my heart, thumping with nerves.  The cannon sounded, and we started moving up the beach......

To be continued.....

Saturday, July 21, 2018

The Storm before the Calm...Ironman 2018

And it's here.  Even though I haven't been posting about it aside from random facebook updates, the last 7....12...months of my life pretty much play out in the span of 13-17 hours tomorrow.  Ironman Lake Placid.  Holy cow.  Roughly 51 weeks ago, when I saw this race was on Greg's 40th birthday, I had the brilliant thought that it would be a great, crazy thing to do.  In most of these crazy incidences, my somewhat saner husband talks me off the ledge, but he didn't do it this time.  When I said "Hey, let's do this!"  He said, "Sure, why not?"  And a journey began.

It's been 7 years and two kids since I toed the line at 140.6.  It's been a journey that can only be described with one word...adaptation.  Adapt to training, adapt to life, adapt to expectations.  There are only so many hours in the day, days in the week, and weeks in the year to fit in family, friends, self care, work, every day life, and training.

Gone were the days when we could roll out of bed at 9 and do a 6 hour ride, put our feet up, and order take out while watching netflix. Gone were the days when I could shift a run because I felt like crap.  Not only were we both training for an Ironman (which we had never done before), but we were doing it with a new business to run (Greg quit his job and started doing real estate photography in March), a promotion for me in work (Which meant more travel), and a two and four year old.  Holy what.

And, in less than 36 hours, the hard work, persistence, and adaptation will hopefully culminate in something really awesome.

Looking back, it's been tough.  And humbling.  And more than a little crazy.  We rode at 3am.  We did long runs at 8pm.  We pared down a training plan that included key workouts and no fluff.  We did 20 milers on the treadmill while watching "The Emoji movie".  More than once.  (Jailbreak, anyone?).  We did trainer rides while tandem playing Forza with a 4 year old, or where we hopped off the bike 6 times to settle disputes over pop tarts.  We held virtual staff meetings on mile 85 of a long ride (Oh yes I did).  We just did it.

And it's funny.  Back in 2010 and 2011 when I did Ironman, it consumed my life.  Everything was carefully planned around that 100 miler (god forbid I exert myself the day before or day after).  For race prep races, nutrition had to be perfect and recover essential (what, not everyone does brunch for 18 the day after running a double marathon?  Amateurs.).  This time, training fit around life.  Around the kids.  Around us.  Around work.  Sometimes, I would really shake my head and wonder if this was even right because ZOMG Ironman wasn't the FIRST AND FOREMOST in my mind.

Then I would have doubt.  We had a sucky training weekend in LP where every bike thing that could go wrong, did.  We would go 3 days without doing anything but verbal volleyball and kid hand offs, and I would miss my husband.  I would lace up my running shoes at 6am and my two year old would cry, "Mommy, don't run!" and I would question every decision I made.

Then it was Wednesday.  Time to pack.  As I worked through my bag checklist and did my last shakeout ride, I felt them.  The butterflies.  They were there.  I danced around to Skillet's "Invincible" and literally jumped up and down as I packed.  I sat down on Thursday to hug my kiddos and Rob said "Mommy, you're an Ironman.  I want to DO Ironman!".  And that feeling came back.

When we arrived in Lake Placid, the air felt abuzz with the promise of something amazing.  3000 triathletes in town with the expectation of nirvana. Again, I bounced around like a kid in a candy store, taking pictures, running around mirror lake, swimming the line, and riding by whiteface.  And smiling the whole damn time.  All my crazy friends are here - there are about 40 of us from Rochester - and it feels like one big happy reunion.  Sunday will be a party - which is fitting, since we are here because of Greg's 40th birthday!

Am I nervous?  Oh hell yes.  You don't do 140.6 with the expectation that the day will go perfectly.  Something will go wrong.  It's a given.  But how you deal with it will define your day.  And I have that in spades.  ADAPTATION.  I may not be as "physically" trained as when I toed the line in 2010, but my headspace is totally ready for this.  I expect to shake out anywhere between 13 and 14 hours, but if I cross the line in 16:59, it's perfectly fine with me.

It's IRONMAN, baby!  Let's do this!!

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Growing Up- Cause that's What People Do! (Rob is 5!!!)

Well, one thing is pretty consistent.  I obviously stink at Race reports (hello Keuka and Beer Mile), keeping any sort of reflective eye on Ironman training (I swear, I fly from 6 hour ride to 3 hour run to adulting (yikes) to boss lady with no in between), but one thing, thank goodness, stays consistent. 

Mommin'.  Last week, my little buddy turned 5.  Oh, be still my heart.  How is this even possible?  Of course, like a big ole softie, I look back at the past 5 years with tears in my eyes....when Rob was Born...One...Two...Three...Four....OMG.  How the years fly by (I sound about 80 years old).  I looked at Rob the other day and said "Buddy, STOP GROWING!"  And he goes, "Mom!  I can't.  We all grow,  That's what people do."  Well played, buddy, well played.

Ahem. I guess before I cry even more into my hankie, let's talk about this big boy.

 Size: 40 pounds.  Right smack where you should be.  You are 44" high, which is just perfectly right for a kiddo your age.  Way to go Rob man!!  Keep eating all that broccoli (lil trees) and of course, turtle power PIZZA dude!

Likes: Cars cars cars.  I swear I can just put this on repeat!   Not only do you love your cars, but you are getting pretty good at identifying them!  You can point to a car and say, hey mom look, that's a Nissan Hyundai!  Or, Hey! Its a Chevy Equinox, just like ours!  Much better than mom.  You love playing Forza and Project Cars, and got a pretty cool surprise for your bday when you got not one, but two! Power Wheels ride ons!  You love them.  You also love running - you see Mommy and Daddy do it all the time and you have totally caught the bug!  You run on the treadmill (yes, you actually beg to do this!), outside, on the track, everywhere!  You also are becoming a big fishie and looove your bike.  You totally have designs to "do a triathlon next year - our local kids tri has a six year old division, and you are SO there.  I can't wait to see this, little buddy - you melt Mommy's heart!!
Other current faves - Connor is your boy, and you plan to marry Jocelyn, Olivia or Emma - you can't decide (OMG it starts).  You still love trap music, but also a little TLC, Rednex, or Cobra Starship ( A plus parenting, folks).  You can quote Jason Dirullo on what to do with that big fat butt like no one else, and your dancing skills make Usher look like an amateur.  Rock on, dude.

Dislikes: Lack of play dates, beans (thanks Gramma), and bedtime.  Or, well, in general being told no.  (Get used to it, kid).  You have a love hate relationship with Biz (totes normal).  You also are pretty much set in your ways - omg - I thought I was bad.  So, like Mr, Incredible tells Elastigirl, we are working on being flexible.  Except with beans.  Thankfully, you love broccoli.  Hey, I can be flexible, too.

Sleep: Looks like the FOMO subsided, and aside from scary dreams, you rock out on this one.  It still takes a village to get you into bed, but once you are there (In your BIG bed, I may add), you snuggle up with your stuffed turtle, Mackey Doos, and are out.  Now if you could just train your sister on that one....

Eating: Pizza, brocolli, frosting, milkshakes, and fruit.  Oh, and ham, rice and beans, and chocolate milk.  Really, who can complain?  You have your definite faves, but you pretty chill.

Milestones/Firsts: Pre K.  Learning to read.  Counting to 100.  Still rocking out the ridiculously long words Iike paradox, apparently, sustained, and theoretically (You listen too well when you want to!).  Riding a bike with some assistance and no training wheels.  Going underwater.  Visiting the ocean!Swimming backstroke.  Rollerskating.  Oh, my big boy.  

Best Moment: This gets harder and harder each year, bud.  There are so many cool things you are doing - school, soccer, swim lessons, play dates, new vacation spots, new experiences, new friends, new feelings....watching you go through it all, I just step back in wonder.  But when it comes down to is, the best moments for me are the ones that are seemingly mundane....rubbing your back as you drift off to sleep....hearing what you saw as the best part of your day (we do this every night)....the sound of laughter as you and biz fling the poop toy at the ceiling....'Ber hugs....big smooches.....dancing to 1000 years (our mom/rob song!)....splashing with you in the pool....or just snuggling on the couch as we watch Boss Baby for the zillionth time.  I wish I could just stop time at moments like these and inhale your sweet little boy scent and make it last forever.  But I can't.  So I wipe away the tear in my eye as I realize that these moments are going faster and faster.....take a deep breath....and enjoy every precious moment for the miracle that it is.  

Looking Forward To: Everything.  Seabreeze, fall vacations, kindergarten, sleepovers, camping, soccer games, and endless play dates on the circle with all our best buds.  These are the days, bud.  These are the days.

I love you!!