Friday, June 26, 2015

TRI-ing Together



This past weekend, the girls and I did a multi-sport race called the Brian Ballard Memorial Triathlon which is held locally at our very own swim club. The race is held on Father's Day, which means Dr. Fabulous is a trooper once again this year! Last year, we just came for Tink to participate, but THIS year, we were up at 5:45 because Mama was doing that Tri and all three girls were participating too.



 Nothing says Father's Day like standing in the rain at 7:00 am while your wife and kids get body marked and ready for an hour and a half race (or longer... I am slow). But as you can see, he is totally into it.


Unlike Rella who is making some crazy faces in these photos. I swear we didn't force this child into the race - she's been asking to do it since last year! Why does she look like such a psycho?!?!


Pink was the one of whom I was most proud and most worried about. She is not a swimmer. While the two other girls have been swimming year round and are now swimming six days a week with swim team, Pink has neither had this kind of conditioning nor has she learned stroke mechanics. So, she just does laps by doing her own version of breast stroke and underwater mermaid swim. She was out of her comfort zone, for sure. I kept reminding her that so was I. That I was no swimmer either and that between the surgery and the radiation (not allowed to swim during radiation treatment) I was grossly undertrained in that area. In all three areas, quite honestly. I told her we were just aiming to finish... who cares if we are last! Let's just show up, get 'er done, and FINISH... because THAT in and of itself is a huge accomplishment.




I was not remotely worried about Tink and Rella. Between their level of conditioning right now and their confidence, I knew they'd have a great time. I was sad to not be able to see their race as I'd be already on my bike ride when they started their swim. But, I knew Dr. Fab would be there taking pictures and cheering like a mad man, for both of us.




So, anyone 13 and up can do the Sprint Triathlon which consists of a 9 lap pool swim, a very hilly 11 mile bike followed by a 5K run. For the kids, there is a Splash and Dash consisting of a five lap swim followed by a 1 mile run. 

I hope I don't upset anyone by posting this picture, since I don't know all of the ladies in this photo. I am just so proud to be part of this amazing all female triathlon club! Here is the Mullica Hill Women's Tri Club representation at the race. This is a very small sample of the entire club, which at the end of last tri season was over 900 women strong! Because almost all of us wear the club's tri suit, we are easy to spot on the race course. It's so awesome to be riding your bike and running and just seeing so much "pink" out there. Even though we don't all know each other, we see that pink and black tri suit and all start shouting words of encouragement and cheering each other on. 




The adults do the swim first, in a staggered start, sharing lanes. After we all emerge from the pool and get on our bike route, the kids Splash and Dash starts. All I wanted to do was go fast enough on my bike to get back to see them going out on the run!


Thanks to Dr. Fabulous, I was able to see the photos (he took a ton). Tink is a veteran now, so she had a total game plan.



Rella has no plan. She just unlocks some inner competitive spirit and runs with it.



And Pink, like me, was just hoping to get through. She looks so cute and nervous here it makes my heart burst!




Pink's 'post swim face' is similar to my own. It's  this "Thank Goodness THAT is over!!" sort of look mixed with a proud, "I DID it!" smile.


My favorite part of the race was that as I was coming back in on my bike (a hellacious 11 miles of unrelenting hills), I saw first Tink and then Rella heading out on the run. I was going crazy cheering for them, screaming "I love you!!" I'm sure I totally embarrassed them, but I had to have my mom moment.

Then, after I racked my bike and started hobbling out on my run, I got to catch those same two as they looped back in for the home stretch! I gave Tink a high five and she was all smiles. Rella was so focused - no smile, no wave, hardly acknowledging me. I couldn't tell if she was miserable and angry or just being super competitive and focused. Probably both. One mile of running is a LOT for a 7 year old when you think about it!

Unfortunately, I didn't get to see Pink. I considered waiting at the top of the hill for her, but then figured I was probably almost dead last in this stupid race and if I went any slower, they might be picking up the cones behind me as I came in.

So this is me after I returned from the non-stop hilly bike and started the run. Don't let that smile fool you because I was dying on the inside. DYING. I think as Dr. Fab was snapping this picture I was telling him "I don't think I'm going to make it!" My calf was in a colossal charlie horse muscle spasm and I was seriously thinking that I might not make this stupid 3 mile run. And I LOVE the run. It's my favorite part! I wasn't running that first mile - I was shuffling.


But, even though I was dying it was still oddly 'fun.' If your idea of fun is being sweaty, hungry, sore, tired and in pain. I guess it's more the idea of getting through that and doing it anyway. The 'fun' is coming out on the other side and feeling like "Holy sh*t, I just DID that!"


My run was horrible. My swim is always slow and I'm kinda sucky on the bike too, but my run is always pretty good. However, that day I ran my slowest 5K time ever which would have disappointed me if I were someone who cared about crap like that, but honestly ... after the year I've had and all my body's been through? Just finishing was my goal. And I did... fifth to last, but I finished and I was proud of that. I was OUT there, trying my best under my own set of circumstances and that is really all that matters.


Most of all, I was proud of my girls. Pink made it through the swim and had a great run. Like me, she's stronger on dry land. 



Tink was all business. That kid is a focused little noodle.




Dr. Fabulous had some technical difficulties when Rella crossed the finish line, so we don't have a single photograph, but I will give you a mental picture. The kid was wearing her freakin' swim cap the entire race. After the race, I said "Rella, did you know you were wearing your swim cap?" She says "Yeah, I know." I asked her why and she says "I just felt like keeping it on." What a goof.

And here comes the old Mom bringing it in. At this point the charley horse was gone but the knee was not happy.



But, somehow I'm still smiling! It's a sickness. 
What's up with this "pointing" business? I'm so Hollywood. 


Both Rella and Tink shocked themselves by coming in first place for girls in their respective age groups. It was nice, because they both received a Target gift card. Rella's name was called first for the 8 and Under Girls award, and since it was unexpected, I didn't have my camera ready! But let me give you a mental picture, again: Rella was behind the announcer, stuffing her face with the free post-race food. So she comes up to accept her gift card with 10 giant pretzel rods in one hand, a fistful of potato chips in the other hand, a mouthful of food like a chipmunk, and the swim cap STILL on her head.

That's my girl. To a tee.

Then you have Tink, dressed, coiffed and civilized.







I was super proud of all three of them, but honestly I was most proud of Pink who really pushed and challenged herself. She had mixed emotions at the end, as most 10 year olds would when their 7 and 9 year old little sisters "beat" them, but I'm hoping that in the end Pink understands that it's not about competing with other people, it's about competing with ourselves. 

If you never try to challenge yourself, you never truly grow. 
We all grew a little last Sunday. Mostly, we grew closer because we all did it together.


This Saturday is the Queen of the Hill Triathlon, the last one I'm doing for this season (and perhaps EVER). It will feature my nemesis - swimming in open waters. COLD open waters. Lord, give me strength. 

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Summer Vacation Is Finally Here: A June Mash-Up



Last week we wrapped up the school year and are officially enjoying our first full week of Summer Vacation. It's been a bit nuts with swim season in full gear and a destructive storm-slash-unconfirmed-but-totally-happened tornado touch down yesterday evening in our area. 

Our power is restored making us in the very fortunate minority. Roads are a mess, stores are out of meat and freezer items, and gas lines are long. But everyone seems to be safe and unharmed, which is the most important thing.

So, what's been going on the past week or so? June is chock full of all kinds of big events. There is the last day of school, Dr. Fabulous's B-day, and then Father's Day and then our anniversary... all of which have been overtaken by the kids' activities which means his 'big days' have been second fiddle. Of course, he takes it all with good humor. Thank goodness he's a low maintenance kind of guy. 

*****

Here is my obligatory (though totally overdue) Last Day of School post. Because, hey, I took the pictures. So, let's roll.

Tink finished third grade, which means next year she goes to a whole different school of 4th through 6th graders. She's transitioning to the next level... leaving the elementary school life and getting hallway lockers, bunsen burners in the science classroom, and even switches classes. This year her big teeth came in and changed her whole face. She was honored for the second year in a row with the Hawk Award for excellent citizenship and Student of the Month. As she told me, "Mom, I'm on FIRE this year." Yes you were, Tink. Yes you were.


Pink finished up 5th grade and will be a "senior" next year at her school - the last year before heading over to the Middle School (gulp). She's grown up so much this year and in a few weeks she will officially be a 'pre-teen.' How is this happening? She was honored with the Panther Award for excellence in citizenship and was named Student of the Month. She also made the honor role every marking period. But what I'm most proud of is that she took some risks this year, like trying out for the travel soccer team and participating in a running program where most of the kids were much older and more experienced than her. I'm really proud of her for trying new things and not letting her insecurities get in her way. 


CB will be a graduating senior next year. What the?!?! It's nearly incomprehensible to think that this girl will be done with school in exactly a year. She's been going to school since she was three, through the summers too, so this is going to be a HUGE change. Huge. 
I've loved her new teacher this year and seen some remarkable changes. All around, she is much more social around others this year and we're loving it! 



And then there is Rella Cakes. My goodness. She has finished the first grade with bells and whistles. The kid has been a reading fiend and takes her school work very seriously. She was selected as one of the Students of the Month too. Teeth have been falling out of her face and new ones growing in all over the place... she is transitioning from a little kid into a young girl and sometimes I just want it to slow down. She's been a little ball of energy this year and all the soccer, swimming and running has not slowed her down one bit!


I mean, seriously. This is what these doo-das looked like when I started blogging...


Oh, and that photo was pre-Rella. 

Here she is, that wild lil thang....




And here we are now... graduates of the 5th, 3rd, 1st and 20th grades! 

And here is Dr. Fabulous's forty... (mumble-mumble)....th birthday. 
He doesn't look a day over 25. He took the girls to swim time trials at 7:15 in the morning on his birthday because that's just how you roll when you're all old and fatherly and stuff. 


 The best part of the day was when CB suddenly stood up all excited and smiley when the family was singing happy birthday....



and came right over to hug her step-dad with a big smile. 
That's the best present in the world.


And then, of course, I'm barking at the three other girls to 'get over there for a picture' while we can!!



So, that is my Last Day of School and Dr. Fab's Birthday Mash-Up post. 

Coming soon, will be the belated Father's Day and Triathlon Mash-Up post ... 
because I'm just that lazy lately. 

Thursday, June 18, 2015

tHERsDay




CB got her summer haircut and was able to donate 9 inches to 





     


A special thanks to Patti who is an aide in CB's classroom (with a background as a hair dresser) and offered to cut her hair right there in school. She, along with the whole staff, are simply incredible. These small gestures of kindness make life so much easier!

               


I love it!
I think CB loves it too!!






Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Putting a HEX on My Laundry


*** Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post . I was compensated for this post by HEX Performance. All opinions are still my own. 


AT THE END OF THIS POST THERE IS A GIVEAWAY FOR FREE PRODUCTS 
FROM HEX!


We're a pretty active family. All three kids are playing travel soccer pretty much year round, one plays tennis, two swim, and they all run distance. Dr. Fabulous works out regularly and is an avid runner and I mostly run, but also bike and swim a little and do one or two triathlons a year. In the summer we hike a lot and bike and walk and even try things like kayaking or surfing.













 So we have a lot of performance apparell in all sizes around here. The girls have sweaty uniforms and chlorine-drenched bathing suits, I have my running apparel and my tri suit which I often wear for biking (mostly the bottoms as bike shorts) and the open water swims at the lake. Dr. Fabulous has his work-out gear which stinks to high heaven when he comes back from his runs (nothing says I love you more than washing your husband's smelly gym shorts without gagging).

Our athletic and performance apparel is very different from our other clothes. Plus, we sweat like pigs in them. The problem is that this performance apparrel needs to be cleaned VERY often ... but the more it's cleaned with harsh detergents, the more the fabric runs the risk of losing its shape and special wicking. These things aren't cheap, and the quality of the material is much different than your regualr "street clothes." Therefore, you really need a detergent that's powerful enough to kill the bacteria and odor, but gentle enough on these specialized fabrics.Yet, the laundry detergent industry hasn't really met this need.... until HEX Performance products! 


The good people at HEX Performance Products sent me some of their new, awesome laundry detergent to try. But this is not just ANY laundry detergent, people. As you can see just from the packaging (which is very cool, by the way, and super eco friendly which I love) this is for your smelly, stinky work-out gear. Sure, that might be your big cotton t-shirt and shorts if that's what you work-out in. But, HEX Performance Power + Laundry Detergent is really specifically designed for your performance apparel with all that fancy wicking, dri fit, compression, lycra, and everything else that makes you look like you're a serious athlete when you're jogging around the block. It's for your kids overpriced sports uniforms, and your stinky running clothes and your bike shorts and your kids's soccer socks which crackle with crispiness after a game. And let me tell you something... good athletic socks are shockingly expensive and I want to take care of those things because they take a good beating!


Did I mention I love their packaging?


HEX was designed by an athlete (major league lacrosse player, Drew Westervelt) to specifically clean performance apparel. Clearly, he saw a need in the industry and he has met this need! HEX broke down the science behind sweat (ewww) and created the first high performance laundry detergent with a long-lasting odor eliminating technology. They went beyond 'clean' and got to the root of the issue.

Stink comes from bacteria, and once bacteria gets into your fabrics, throwing some water and heavily perfumed laundry detergent on there isn't really going to address the problem. HEX developed a system of protection that creates a unique bonded barrier protecting your apparel with odor-fighting technology. This protects your clothing from odors associated with bacteria. So, your gear is not just getting a surface clean, it's almost getting "sterilized."

At the same time, they understand that these fabrics have unique characteristics, and so HEX Power + Laundry Detergent is very gentle on these high performance fabrics. Its patent-pending formula is anti-static (no need for dryer sheets!) plus it actually restores fabric wickability (yes, wickability IS a word!). It's good to know that I won't ruin the kids's pricey uniforms and bathing suits or my tri suit trying to get them clean with harsh detergents.


I love that HEX Power + Laundry is free of dyes and perfumes and optical brighteners — all of which are unnecessary chemicals to have on our skin and in our water and soil. But, hey, don't you want to smell clean like a field of daisies? Well, HEX thought of that too. HEX Enhance + Performance Booster is the perfect compliment to HEX Power + Laundry Detergent. It gives your performance apparel a nice clean fragrance... but, remember that HEX Enhance + Performance is NOT a laundry detergent. It cannot be used alone, but rather in conjunction with HEX Power + Laundry just to add that clean smell. Don't get confused, ya'll.


Why I love HEX

HEX Power + Laundry Detergent
* is tough on stains
* eliminates odors from sweat, bacteria, mold and mildew
* is specially designed for all performance fabrics
* keeps fabrics protected and performing at their highest quality 24/7

I know what you're thinking... Where can I find this cool, new stuff? 
HEX Performance Power + Laundry Detergent can be found at everyone's favorite store - WEGMANS!! Everything awesome is at Wegmans.

Though it is available at all Wegman's stores in the U.S., not everyone has a Wegmans close by. But fear not. You can purchase it online as well. Simply click HERE
HEX Performance product line has  a lot of cool stuff including Gear Wash for all your smelly gear and an On Demand Spray to eliminate odor and bacteria in footwear and gear. 

Their prices are really reasonable, too. I mean, a box of my typical laundry detergent costs just as much and doesn't do what HEX Performance + Laundry does! But, if you are unsure they have a $2.00 off coupon which can be printed out by clicking HERE.

Want to try it out for FREE? Enter this great giveaway, sponsored by HEX Performance. 

You can be one of 10 winners!

Simply leave a comment here for a chance to win. We will be awarding a coupon for a FREE HEX Product to 10 lucky winners! 
For added chances to win, Like HEX Performance on Facebook (1 extra entry), 
and on Twitter (1 extra entry) 
and/or Tweet about the giveaway using the hashtag #HEXProtects (2 additional entries)

Good Luck!

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