Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Happy Birthday to ME!

It’s birthday season around these parts.  Four of the five Tirches have birthdays in a five week span.  If you include the blog, there are five birthdays in 36 days.  That doesn’t keep us from celebrating each and every one and today we’re reveling in MY birthday. 

Susans birthday 2011 041

Yes that is a fire ablaze my cake.  Don’t start counting flames, I assure you there are 29 (again Winking smile). 

George always goes above and beyond to make mother’s day and my birthday special.  Today was a “rough” day because after school consisted of a swim lesson, a dance class and a baseball practice.  They were all basically back to back, so that meant no family birthday dinner.   Instead I got take out and ate with Ella and Jack. 

When the other boys got home from baseball we had our “party”.  Part of the fun is that EACH kid AND daddy get me a gift.  You know I love gifts!  We started youngest to oldest. 

Jack got me an Under Armour visor.  I had told George I was going to go through these like crazy and I needed some extra.  Who knew he actually does listen when I rant. 

Susans birthday 2011 005Susans birthday 2011 006 

As you can see, Jack was extremely excited to give me his gift.  After I set it aside for a few minutes to open my other gifts he asked, “What did I get you again?”  I guess he wasn’t THAT involved in the process.  Ha! 

Ella made me a beautiful card that I could tell she spent a lot of time making.  She’s so proud of her drawings.  I don’t think she really understood what she got me, but I understood.  I understood loud and clear.  Ella got me a ONE HOUR massage!  SCORE!!!

Susans birthday 2011 017

Trust me when I tell you, this will not go to waste.  Do you see my face?  I am HAPPY.  And just so you know, I’m not waiting until post marathon.  This is going to be used after my first 20 miler and it’s going to be awesome.  I have NEVER had a massage.  Craziness! 

Nicholas was up next and I loved his card too.  I especially loved that in the picture he drew I had on my running gear.  It made me smile.  You can’t really see it in the picture, but I have on my pink and black running shoes.  That boy really pays attention. 

Susans birthday 2011 032

Nicholas got me something I so desperately needed, but have never managed to buy for myself.  He got me a stadium seat for all those hours I have to sit in the bleachers.  My @$$ thanks him!  I have no idea why Nicholas isn’t in any of these pictures.  Sorry buddy! 

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Last, but not least, my present from George.  Remember the birthday list I created for him?  Well what do you think?  Did George pull through and get me something on my list or go out on his own? 

Susans birthday 2011 030

He’s a good boy!  He got me the black ceramic watch I wanted and it is gorgeous.  I like it A LOT and can’t wait to wear it!  Of the three things on my list, this is the one I REALLY REALLY wanted and I’m really happy to have it!  Who needs a dumb old vacuum anyway? 

I always feel very spoiled on my birthday and I love celebrating.  I’m very thankful for all the gifts, birthday wishes, and time spent with my friends and family for my birthday.  I am really a lucky girl and I couldn’t have wished for anything more! 

Susans birthday 2011 044

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Happy Birthday Blog

I can not believe that one year ago today I took a leap of faith and pushed publish on my first ever blog post.  At the time, I had been reading blogs for close to two years, and with the encouragement of my good friend Angela,  I found the courage to start my own. 

susan and angie

Angela and I after a LONG bike ride

368 posts later and here I am.  My blog is so special to me because it is like an online little diary.  I have captured so many memories, not only with my children, but also with my races.  I definitely wouldn’t remember all the tiny details of every day life (or even of big events).  To have something like this is definitely a blessing.

I’ve talked before about how I write the blog primarily for myself and that is true, but really it’s only partially true.  Let me explain.  I write the blog for myself so that I can remember things in my life—that’s obvious.  More importantly I remind myself that I’m writing for ME because then I think it’s more of an accurate reflection of the real me-- who I really am and not who I think I should be or who I think you (my readers) want me to be.  I’m just me!

sdt funny face

Me being me

Having said all that,  my readers are so important to me and I appreciate EVERY SINGLE one of you.  Whether you have been here this whole year, picked up somewhere in between or even if you’re reading for the first time today, I appreciate you.  Obviously the blog is more than just about MYSELF.  If I wanted to just write for me then I could easily keep a journal.  I write for me in hopes that it will inspire someone, make someone laugh, or make someone think, “I can relate”. 

I’m not the smartest person, the funniest person, the fastest runner (or cyclist or swimmer), or the best mom.  No, I’m none of those things.  I’m just me and I put myself out there for you to love me or hate me and thus far I have only felt the love. 

finish jtt2Austin Marathon 2011 046

Me feeling the love with my kids after the Austin Marathon

I look forward to many more blog birthdays and hope that you’ll continue on this journey with me.  Thank you so much for reading.  It really does make me feel special every day.   Especially when you comment!  Eek! 

In honor of the blog’s birthday I’m asking that everyone click on over to my Facebook fan page and show me some birthday love by leaving me a comment telling me what you like (or don’t like) about the blog.  Or if that’s too much, simple click here and like the Mom Swim Bike Run Facebook Page.  Thanks everyone! 

Happy First Birthday Mom Swim Bike Run

Monday, August 29, 2011

Men are from Mars

George hears me talk at nauseam about how my body changes or doesn’t change due to my exercising and eating.  I’m sure he gets tired of me pointing out my flaws and also tired of hearing about when I discover the beginnings of a new baby muscle.  He rarely comments (he just smiles and nods) but when he does he normally doesn’t say the “right” thing.  (In his defense he’s not TRYING to be mean, usually he’s trying to be the exact opposite.) 

So apparently the other day he came across this picture (on his Facebook page) and thought he’d SHOW me how my body has changed.   I believe the direct quote was, “Wait ‘til you see yourself in this picture.”  Oh great, I just knew I was going to see a “fat” picture. 

The picture he showed me wasn’t at all what I was expecting to see.  I immediately thought of post baby pictures— in particular one I remember from Nicholas’ 4th birthday party.  Nope it wasn’t that picture.  It was a picture of me at a 5K race (where I didn’t think I looked that bad). 

Steelers Gatorade 5K 004

When I look at this picture I pretty much see the same person that stands before the mirror today (except for the blonde hair of course).  George told me he can see a HUGE difference in my legs, especially in my calves.  I had to inspect. 

I tried to find a picture where I could make a comparison, but nothing was exactly the same.  So, I did what any sane crazy person would do and I dug out those shorts and took a picture.

Exhibit A circa today:                   Exhibit B circa August 2009: 

Ella about me t shirt 029Steelers Gatorade 5K 004

Sorry George, but I see no difference whatsoever.  Therefore, you have called your wife, not only FAT back then, but FAT today. 

Remember my birthday is in 2 days.  My work here is done! 

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Do You Have a Square to Spare

Today has been a LONG day as it started off very early.  The alarm went off at 5:00 am in order to be ready to leave for my long run at 5:30 am.  Bianca picked me up promptly at 5:30 am and we were at the trail and running before 6:00 am.  There were actually stars in the sky.  It was so dark and spooky.  I started telling Bianca tales of the Blair Witch Project and Paranormal Activity.  She was not amused.  She used her flashlight ap to help scare away the Boogie Man. 

17 miles bc flashlight

Obviously a very high quality photo from my droid in the PITCH black

Before we knew it though, we were 4 miles into our run and the sun was slowing making it’s way over the horizon.

17 miles sunrise

It is a pretty awesome experience to be running as day breaks.  It’s so peaceful and I can’t help but think of the dawning of something new—not just a new day but a new distance during this training program and a new opportunity to show myself I’m strong and capable. 

Shortly after 7:00 am we were almost seven miles into our run and had hit the end of  the trail.  It seems like it should be the half way point, but now that our mileage has climbed there were still ten miles left to do today.  Nevertheless, Bianca and I were happy to see this turn around point. 

17 miles sdt trail end17 miles bc trail end

Twins (not on purpose)

We made our way back to the lake on the trail where we do the one mile loop enough times (in this case 4) until there are only 3 miles left and we can head back to the car.  At this point I had a problem that was two fold.  A)  I had some “business” to take care of and B) my feet were killing me. 

The first was easier to take care of than the second and I hit the park bathroom.  It wasn’t until AFTER I’d “taken care of business” that I realized there was no toilet paper.  I had flashes of Elaine Benes from Seinfeld only there was no one to ask to spare a square.  Just when I thought I’d have to yell for Bianca (I don’t know what I thought she’d do) someone came into the bathroom.  I asked if there was a square to spare from the other stall and she was horrified to let me know there wasn’t.  Instead she brought me about 700 paper towels.  Situation resolved.  Dignity intact.  Whew.. that was close. 

I really don’t know what’s going on with my feet, but I’m starting to think that my shoes just aren’t working out for me anymore.  Perhaps my gait has changed (AGAIN) and what has worked in the past isn’t going to work for me anymore.  I’m also considering that I need a wider toe box or better  (thinner) socks.   Any suggestions for socks? I’ll take them!  I’m going try to change my socks for now, as that is the cheapest solution and then I’ll troubleshoot from there.  I have a feeling it’s more than just my socks, however, because my poor toes are tender to the touch.  In case you’re wondering, my shoes are brand new and a FULL size bigger than my normal shoe size.  I’m really frustrated as I just want shoes that fit, don’t hurt, won’t cause my toenails to fall off and don’t cause me blisters. 

I just put the pain of my feet in the back of my mind as Bianca and I finished our last loops of the lake and headed back to the car. 

17 miles shadows

Here’s the breakdown of our run: 

17 miles splits

I was so happy with our average pace being below 11 minutes.  Ok barely but under is under and I’ll take it.  It makes me think my goal for the marathon may be attainable. 

It it weren’t for my feet, I definitely would have had a lot left in the tank today.  I feel like I fueled appropriately (I had 2 Gus and a pack of Honey Stinger chews) and getting out early really helped with the heat.  I don’t know that I could have done 9.2 more TODAY, but I know as training builds so will my confidence.  I can run this marathon! 

The day ended with a girls’ night out at Cheesecake Factory to celebrate both mine and Bianca’s birthday.  Crystal (Bianca’s friend and neighbor who I had the pleasure of meeting the first time this evening), Julie, Joelle, Bianca and I enjoyed a night of laughs and good food.  It was a perfect end to the day. 

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I feel truly blessed to have such wonderful ladies in my life.  You ladies all mean so much to me and I’m incredibly thankful for you all.  I don’t want to get all emotional, but we were brought together for a reason (and it wasn’t to run a marathon).  Thank you for your friendship.  I definitely do NOT take it for granted. 

Now I sleep! 

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Slow and Steady

I didn’t blog last night because I was in a food coma.  If you’ve been around here long enough then you know, I like to complain about my body all the time, exercise 6 days a week and then undo all my hard work by eating a shit ton of bad food. 

In my defense, last night was “free family Friday” at the YMCA.  That means George and I got 4 hours of FREE babysitting at the Y and we took advantage of it (and plan to monthly from here on out).  We headed to Maggiano’s to celebrate my birthday.  Here are my eats. 


This doesn’t even include the wine I drank.  That’s almost 3 days of calories!  Clearly I have issues, especially since I’m in a contest to lose weight right now! 

I told you I would talk about the Fit Challenge.  Basically, Julie and I entered into a 10 week contest to see who could lose the most weight.  Every 2 weeks we have a weigh in and the winner (by greatest % of body weight lost) gets a $10 gift card to their place of choice.  At the end of 10 weeks the ultimate winner gets a $50 gift card. 

tj maxx

Well, it has been six weeks since we started and I have lost 5.8 pounds.  I have won 2 or the 3 weigh-ins (thankyouverymuch) and every week I have lost something.  Sure it’s not a tremendous amount of weight, but it averages to almost a pound a week and I am pretty satisfied with that.  Obviously, I would love it to be more, but I am also realistic. 

I realize that I’m not going to pass up nights like Maggiano’s.  I mean look at my date… Open-mouthed smile

Last night’s dinner was a conscious decision that I made and one that, quite honestly, I don’t feel badly about.  Let’s face it, I’m not obese, I don’t have any current health issues so if I want to be indulgent then I feel like I can.  Clearly I don’t eat like this every day of the week.  My hope is that more days are good than bad and the numbers on the scale will keep moving down. 


I’m really only looking to lose another 4 to 5 pounds.  It’s not that I wouldn’t like to weigh less, it’s just that I know it is a lot of effort and sacrifice for ME (MY BODY) to stay below that weight.  I want to be able to enjoy my food and celebrate special occasions with the delicious food I love.  I know some people probably don’t understand celebrating with food or the fact that food really makes you happy, but for me it does. 

I guess it doesn’t really matter if I’m 200 pounds or 100 pounds, I’m probably always going to find flaws with my body.  I think it’s part of a woman’s nature to do that (or most women anyway).  Don’t get me wrong, I’m definitely not saying it is right, but I’m saying that knowing I’ll never be satisfied no matter what the scale reads has lead me to be more realistic with my weight loss goals. 

So if I lose .8 pounds a week until the end of the contest then so be it.  That’s still 3.2 more pounds than if I wasn’t trying to do anything at all. 

My weight loss is much like my running.  There are good days and bad, there are days when you love it and days where you hate it.  In fact, there are days where you ask yourself why you’re doing it at all.  However, in the end your hard work and efforts ALWAY pay off and leave you feeling satisfied.  So what if it takes you longer than the next guy to get there.  Maybe I’m stopping and eating the fettuccini alfredo smelling the roses.  After all, doesn’t slow and steady win the race? 

Thursday, August 25, 2011

PaceTat Ready

Running my first marathon I had one goal and that was to finish.  It didn’t matter if it took me all day, all I wanted to do was cross that finish line.  But… you knew there’d be a but right… But, if you’re a runner then you know you ALWAYS have two goals— Your realistic goal and your goal for if all the stars align properly and you run just right.  So, my realistic goal for the Austin Marathon was to finish, but my all-the-stars-align-goal was to finish in under five hours. 

At the beginning of the marathon I started just ahead of the 5 hour pace group and vowed to never let them pass me.  I don’t particularly like running WITH the pace group as it creates too much pressure in my mind.  It’s bad enough running knowing they might be catching me, or might pass me, let alone having them right by my side and then seeing them drift away.  Plus that guy holding the stick just makes me nervous. How do they hold that thing for 26.2 miles anyway? 

So how did I pace myself for a big race?  Well, it’s quite simple really.  I knew ahead of time to finish in under 5:00 for the marathon I had to run an average 11:27 pace.  My goal from the VERY FIRST step was to keep my pace between 11:00 and 11:30 and never go slower OR faster.  At the beginning I held back when I knew I could go faster.  Thankfully I did because you inevitably hit the wall at some point and you want it to be as late as possible.  Keeping an even keel allows you to get in a groove and not burn out too easily. 

When you hit the wall (and you will) you hope that you’ve hovered close enough to the faster end of your pace range (in my case 11:00) than the slower end (11:30) so that there is some room to go a little slower. 

When I hit the point where I felt like I just couldn’t go any further my pace plummeted.  I was running 12:00+ miles and I feared that my dreams of a 5:00 marathon were over.  

carry me

I’ve run several races and spent so many of them calculating— If I run a 10:00 mile for the rest of the race then I’ll finish in realistic goal time.   Or if I can just kick it up a bit then I can make my all-the-stars-aligned-goal.  

Have you ever tried to run and do mental math?  Well, let me tell you it’s not fun and you spend a lot of time carrying the one and multiplying by 60 and dividing by pi…. Ok well the pi part isn’t true, but my point is, mental math while running a marathon is hard. 

I was so happy I picked up a pace bracelet at the marathon expo.  What is a pace bracelet you ask?  A pace bracelet (worn on your wrist… obvi) breaks down your splits and helps keep you on track for your goal time. 

pace bracelet

For example:  I had a five hour pace bracelet for the marathon (which means I had to run a 11:27 average) so the pace bracelet would break it down like this.

  • Mile 1: 11:27 (total time)
  • Mile 2:  22:54
  • Mile 3:   34:21 and so on until finally….
  • Mile 26.2:  4:59:59

Trust me when I tell you it is so much easier to just look down and see what your total time should be at each of your splits and know how far ahead or behind your goal you really are. 

Without my pace bracelet at the Austin Marathon I think I would have just considered my dream of a 5:00 marathon out of reach once I hit that wall.  Instead, when I got my second wind, I started glancing at my pace bracelet and realized my goal was still within reach. 

So what is my goal for Rock n Roll San Antonio?  Well my reasonable goal is to finish better than I did at my last marathon (4:58:19) but my all-the-stars-aligned-goal is to finish in 4:45.  And today I ordered 2 PaceTats, one for each arm, with each goal in mind. 

What’s a PaceTat ?  Take a look at this beauty….


Basically a PaceTat is the same thing as a pace bracelet, but it’s a temporary tattoo.  To me, it’s the better than a bracelet because it doesn’t move or spin around and won’t cause chaffing (and let’s face it who needs chance for more chaffing?). 

You can get PaceTats in miles or kilometers and you can get them for shorter distances by simply cutting off the tattoo at the appropriate length before applying it. 


Each tattoo cost $2.99 and normal shipping is just $0.99.  I’ll pay $4 to not have to do mental math any day.  If you want to get a PaceTat (and you should) click on over to their website at or simply click here.  You’ll thank me later. 

By the way, I wasn’t asked to or paid to talk about PaceTat.  A) I’m not that cool and B) I’m not that lucky.  I just simply think the PaceTat is the best thing going and I want you to have the best race possible so I thought I’d share. 

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Marathon Rant

I just realized today that marathon training is more than half over.  I’m currently in my 13th week of my 24 week training program.  Up until now the program has been relatively “easy”, but the challenging times lie ahead. 

Here’s my mileage per week over the last 13 weeks. 

weekly mileage weeks 1 to 13

As you can see I went from running just 12 miles a week to finishing last week with 26 miles.  (Hey at least it’s spread out over a week, I’m going to run that in under 5 hours come November).  At the peak of marathon training I will top out with 32 running miles in one week. 

Sometimes it’s hard to wrap my head around running 17 miles on Sunday, doing a speedy 5 miles on Tuesday and then another 10 miles on Thursday and that doesn’t even include ALL the other workouts. 

Marathon training is HARD and I’m tired and I’m hungry.  You might remember the Fit Challenge and the fact that I’m trying to lose weight while marathon training.  (Just because I haven’t really talked about it doesn’t mean that it’s not going on.  I actually have my third weigh in on Friday and I intend to post about the results.)  Spoiler Alert: 

Calorie Counter

4 week results

My point is, working out 6 days a week to train for a marathon, WHILE trying to lose weight and still trying to be a decent mom/wife/housekeeper/laundress is hard and I’m feeling a bit worn out. 

The good news is I love a challenge and I’m now looking forward to my weekly long runs.  Nothing says accomplishment like running double digits before 10 am on a Sunday.  I’m just trying to figure out how NOT to be a raging bitch in the meantime. 

Today I did a 1 hour Bodypump class, then did 4 miles on the elliptical and then did a spin class.  When my friend Joelle, who was doing the spin class with me, realized I had done the other 2 things before she asked me, “Please tell me you’re wiped out after this.”  At the time I didn’t really think I would be, but after moping around all day I realized I am. 

I understand this is all just a huge rant, but it’s just a TRUE reflection of what it’s like to be a mother of 3 training for a marathon.  I’m tired, things around the house are suffering (kinda like this) and I’m beginning to feel a bit guilty about it. 

I mean, which do I want to be?  A better mother or a better runner?  The answer is obvious!  Time to buckle down, get my priorities straight.  I can train AND be a good mom.  So, don’t worry kids, mommy’s got your back! 


Note to Self:  May need more food

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

The Ultimate Playlist

Ok people I don’t ask for much… Not of YOU anyway.  Ok Ok so I’m a bit needy in most aspects of life, but it’s not my fault I’m the baby of the family.  So what do I need?  It’s simple really. 

Take a look at my running playlist: 



I have just over 3 hours on my playlist and unfortunately that is not going to be enough time to get me through the marathon.  During the Austin marathon, I had to listen to my playlist twice. 

So what does this have to do with you?  Well, my friend Bianca mentioned that she was going to ask all of her friends to tell them the ONE song they couldn’t live without on their playlist.  The ONE song that motivates you like no other. 

So, I’d love to hear YOUR one song and  why it motivates you.  If there is a story behind why you love the song I’d love to hear that too.  The hope is that when I hear your song I’ll remember your story and remember why it motivates you and hope that it will get me going too. 

The one song on my playlist that I’d say is the single most motivating is Ali in the Jungle.  I love the music, I love the beat and I love the words.  If you listen to the words you can’t help but apply it to running.  To me, it means that it takes a lot to get where you’re going.  It doesn’t matter if you start off weak,  if you put in the work you can get there.  You can do the impossible.  You CAN run a marathon. 

So come on everyone, don’t be shy.  Help me create the ultimate Marathon playlist!  Comment away with your favorite song! 

Monday, August 22, 2011

In the Blink of an Eye

How do you go to sleep one day with a baby girl…


… and wake up the next with a Kindergartner?  It’s not fair! 

eet posing

Ella was very excited about her first day of school.  I walked into her room just after 6:30 am and her eyes popped right open as if she’d been awake and waiting for me.  She was filled with enthusiasm and ready to go. 

Nicholas… oh Nicholas.  He, on the other hand, pulled the covers back up over his head and begged to not have to get out of bed.  He whined as I ripped the covers back and curled into a ball.  I wasn’t surprised, however, because Nicholas has never really enjoyed school.  Regardless, he got up and ready, but with a tad less anticipation of what lied ahead.


Things were going along pretty well.  We had breakfast, lunches, snacks, water bottles and back packs were ready and waiting.  The only thing left was mom’s photo session.  There will never be a shortage of those.  Again, Ella was excited.  Nicholas was NOT! 

eetwnt 3rd gradeeet wnt2

Ready or not we got on our preferred method of transportation (Bike for Nicholas and scooter for Ella.) and we were off for the first day of school. 

eet scooter wnt eet ride wnt bike

We got to school a little later than I anticipated.  I think it was due to our extended photo session, but I had to document the days events for Dad who is out of town  the blog. 

eet wnt school sign

I walked Nicholas to his classroom and wanted to kiss him goodbye, but thought better of it.  He’s EIGHT you know and can’t be kissed in front of all his friends.  He’s never said it before, but I know he wouldn’t like it and I didn’t want to be THAT mom.

By the time we made it to Ella’s classroom they were already saying the Pledge.  It seemed everyone else was in place and we were scurrying around.  I barely kissed her on the cheek and left her at her desk as she looked at me with puppy dog eyes.  I knew she’d be fine and I left. 

eet classroom

And just like that two of my three kids are in school ALL day.  It definitely makes me sad.  I’m not one of those moms who looks forward to sending her kids off to school all day.  Don’t get me wrong I enjoy some peace and quiet, but overall I miss them.

Everyone warned me that your kids grow up so quickly.  I just didn’t think it would be in the blink of an eye.