My Season Lineup

You can stop holding your breath: I've decided on the races I plan to do this year! It's been a long few months of waffling over which races to do and at which distances ... and whether, for that matter, I wanted to race at all! (Late-season snowfall has a way of making one want to crawl into a warm hole and never do cardio again.)

I also struggled with wanting to make sure my family has a great summer, without having to worry about me getting in a 3-hour bike ride every weekend. Summer in Bend is so incredible, and I wasn't sure I wanted to spend every weekend day either exercising or recovering from exercise.

2015 Portland Triathlon

2015 Portland Triathlon

Then I wised up and realized that training and racing fill me with pride and confidence, which help make me a good mom. I could list 100 other ways triathlon has made me better, but I'll leave that for another post.

Now, the list (subject to change):

May 21 - Pole Pedal Paddle (alpine skiing leg) 

June 25 - Pacific Crest Olympic Triathlon

July 16 - Deschutes Dash Olympic Triathlon

Aug 20 - RAT Race Sprint Triathlon

Sept 10 - Best in the West Half Ironman (WHAAATTT???)

Check out our combined calendar here!

Big Risk, Big Rewards

It's been almost 6 months now since we uprooted our family and moved from Portland to Bend. It's hard to believe that we haven't lived here for much longer, and sometimes I forget Portland is in the same state as Bend. Everything here is so different, so new: the weather, the trees, the wildlife, the people, the beer, the ubiquitous roundabouts. Just the fact that I can get from one end of town to the other in 15 minutes is mind-blowing. Then there is the fact that I work part-time and can spend more time with my kids, who until 6 months ago were in school 5 days a week. I thought the novelty of my new life might wear off, but I still discover new happy things every day. Jordan rides her bike around the new neighborhood

When I look back on our lived in Portland, however, my heart aches a bit--not because I miss the city itself, but because I long for the friendships I (and my kids) had there. Logically, I try to convince myself that I see my Portland friends almost as much as I used to, now that I live here. This is true in most cases, but I miss the ability to call an old friend up and suggest an easy dinner at home that weekend. While we have made several friends here (which I am SO grateful for), we won't have that history and comfort, which can only be gained by years of friendship. We have watched our close friends go from partiers to parents, professionals to stay-at-home moms.

As for our kids, I don't think they have spent as much time reflecting on what this huge change has meant. While I sobbed that first night over a beautiful parting gift their Portland preschool gave them, they watched TV and played with Grammy as though nothing had changed. Their talk of their old friends has slowly become less frequent, and they often come home boasting about making new friends at their new school. Their new school doesn't hold a candle to their old one, and yet, the kids have adapted to the new routine.

My Portland friends and coworkers often ask me if I am happy in Bend. I always respond with an unequivocal "hell yes!" A few have questioned whether I just say that because I don't want to reveal any regrets about moving, but I can honestly say that we could not have made a better choice for ourselves and our family. Sure, I've had my dark moments of questioning what we have done--usually when I am in a particularly moody state, and I miss having a good friend around--but I always bounce back the moment I look at my kids and see how excited they are that they get to stay home with Mommy the next day.

Bill and I are not ones to make a rash decision; we don't exactly live on the edge. We've lived in the same town for 12 years. But when Bill got that job offer 7 months ago, there was no question that we were going to sell our house and he was going to quit his job. The ease with which we made the decision alarmed even us. Even though we knew selling our house and moving our stuff 200 miles away was going to be a huge hassle, we had no doubts we were doing the right thing. When you know, you know. And we knew we had a fall-back plan: if the job didn't work out, we could always move back. A hassle, yes, but worth the risk.

I have a couple friends who are questioning whether to make a big change--whether in their relationships, jobs, or locations. To them I say: Listen to what your instinct is telling you, as cliche as that sounds. There is what seems the logical, easy, comfortable path; and then there is the somewhat uncertain, potentially difficult path that may lead to the life you were meant to live. And if it doesn't, well, nothing is permanent, and you probably learned something in the process.

Next up: How Bend has made me a better athlete.

Sidelined by Sciatica

Well, the worst has happened, folks: I can't even walk. This girl, who (wrongly, I know) considers walking to be ineffective exercise, cannot even walk a mile. It started when I was pregnant with my first child. I'd take a few steps and then BAM! My hip/butt/back (HBB) would seize up like a guitar string snapping. It got to the point where I couldn't get out of bed and walk to the bathroom without having to hold onto furniture. At its worst, I dreaded the simple act of coughing, which would bring on an HBB episode that made me grit my teeth. I learned to bend my legs and twist my body in a way that would dampen the shooting pain. It was no way to live, but ah, it was just temporary, right? Giving birth would end the pain (yes, that is how painful my sciatica was).

It did go away for a blissful 10 month. Then came pregnancy No. 2. As my baby bump grew, so did the pain. I'd go days without sciatic episodes, and then mysteriously be wracked with pain every time I stood up for a week. Then it would disappear again. This time, the pain didn't go away after childbirth.

I've been searching for a cause and cure for my sciatica for years now, and no measures I take seem to end it for good. Targeted massage gives me that "hurts so good" feeling, but the pain soon returns. The chiropractor did little to end my misery, though he did show me how incredibly bad my posture is (yep, Dad, you were right).

Mostly I have just managed to deal with it. I brace myself before I get out of bed, and stop exercising for a few days when it gets really bad. But that is no way to live. I want to get back on my bike, on my feet, and in the pool. I just set goals to do some more triathlons, and I put some bike commuting gear on my Christmas wish list. I want to start putting myself first again, which is really hard when I can barely get off the couch.

My sciatica is starting to take its mental toll, too. To be sidelined by an injury that appears to have no cause just as I am trying to shift the balance toward better physical health is incredibly demoralizing.

I am planning to run a Thanksgiving Day 5k in Bend with my extended family, and I am not sure that will happen, but I am trying to keep a positive attitude about it. I scheduled an "emergency" appointment tomorrow with a physical therapist. I'm hoping she can give me some tools to implement over the long weekend that will help me get back on my feet.

The Weekly Round-Up

What we're reading this week: