Sunday, July 29, 2012

You cannot discover new oceans unless you have the courage to lose sight of the shore

Once again I am probably butchering the quote, but remember English is not my first language which entitles me every now and again make up my own quotes and sayings J.

We spend our lives asking ourselves ‘what ifs’, regardless of what decision we make when a choice is prompted at some point in our lives we ask ourselves how would things be if we would have chosen the ‘other’ path.
Four years ago when our daughter Nora was borne we made the best decision of our lives at the time. Having been a nanny myself and not having family close by (other than my sister), the idea of having some stranger taking care of our kids was just far from realistic. We had interviewed people but I always had an issue, we finally narrowed it down but at the end of the day I knew I could not find anybody who met my requirements because they weren’t me.
At that point we decided I was going to quit working. Having a full time job, a husband and kids just didn’t seem as what I wanted/needed anymore. As most moms I’ve always wanted to make sure my kids had good values and didn’t want to look back and regret missing the toddler years.
I have told myself multiple times during those four years that eventually I would go back to work, but I wanted to wait until Nora started Kindergarten. Long story short, Nora has one more year to go until she starts K BUT an opportunity came by that I thought it would be silly not to consider.
After much thought and weighing in the pros and cons, Sami and I decided I should give it a try.  Tomorrow will be my first day back at work. Much different than my corporate America days but I am very hopeful it will be something I will really enjoy. I have joined the staff at a local school (5 miles from home) where I will be teaching Spanish and will be the head coach for their swim team. I am not sure there is any other job posting that would fit me any better than this one.
I would lie if I said I am not nervous, I have never been one person to be scared of change. I tend to do well with change in my life, I am also one to think (as much as Sami hates me saying this) that things happened for a reason. I might not know what the reason is at times, but I am confident that I was ‘meant’ to do this.
As I look forward to the next three months I see lots of early morning workouts, long weekends of training and times when I will question if I made the right choice given the fact that I have an IM in November, but I have seen so many people who does just that. Full time parents, full time workers, full time triathletes or maybe I should call ‘us’ weekend warriors.
I am ready to face the next challenge and I am sure that with determination, hard work and lots of caffeine I will still cross that finish line coming November.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Allatoona Sprint & Chattanooga RR

Due to some changes (more on that later) I have been trying to fit in the last couple of weeks everything that I have not gotten done in the last 4 years. That is my excuse for not being able to keep up this blog alive, I am sure I can think of many other excuses but for now on I am going with this one… So before I update on my latest changes I wanted to post a quick race report on the last two races I’ve done since I got back from Spain: Allatoona Sprint & Chattanooga Waterfront.
The Allatoona Sprint is one of the 3 races PT Solutions puts together, Dale and the crew do a phenomenal job at having plenty of volunteers and making the finish line even more memorable. Knowing that the venue is the same as the Acworth Women Sprint Tri, I debated on doing this one but at the end of the day I decided to sign up for a couple of reasons, time wise it worked out perfectly with my trip back from Spain. After a three week hiatus is always good to have a reminder on what the racing scene looks like and get some adrenaline going.
I started on the last wave and knew there were a couple of overall contenders ahead of me, their wave started 3min before mine. I got in the water and felt pretty good, went as hard as I could and hoped to put a bit of a gap on my competition. On the bike leg I felt strong and pushed hard, I knew they had changed the run course but on a sprint distance tri there is only one way of racing. I came into T2 and saw one of my competitors heading out of transition, I knew she is a very good runner but I did a quick calculation and thought… she started 3min behind me so I would have to have a really slow run for her to make up for the difference, well apparently either my run was that much worse or hers was that much better (however you like it best J) but she put a heck of a run leaving me on the dust and as 2nd OA female.
Two weeks later I headed to Chattanooga for my dream race (not really!). Like I’ve said many times, there is always that one race that you do once, twice… or THREE times and you have the same exact thought ½ way into the run … ‘I am NEVER doing this race again’, somehow I’ve manage to do it three times (and counting) , I am 100% I will be going back, because for once I’d like to say ‘I had a KILLER race in Chattanooga’.
The swim was fast as always with the current, this was the fastest I have ever swam 1500m breaking the 19min, I would love to give full credit to my coach, masters coach and swimming partner but the reality of the situation is that there was a STRONG current this year, but I’ll take it. I got off the water and realized I had never started my watch, got on the bike and felt good right away. Since this was my third year doing the race and I ALWAYS die on the run I decided to hold back on the last half of the bike, I caught up many of the girls who had an earlier start time and wanted to make sure I could held on the gab for as long as I could.
Halfway into the run I started to feel the fatigue, the heat and the overall exhaustion, coming into the Shute I was very tempted to  get on the floor and just roll down the hill as I was pretty much done.
1st Masters, 5th OA female
Overall I was happy with both of the races, specially Chattanooga, not so much for the results itself but mentally these are the ones that make you stronger and at the end of the day are the ones that differentiate you as an athlete.  Like I said to my coach after Chattanooga, I am hoping this mental toughness pays off coming race day in IMFL, cause I do have to admit that other than NOLA this season’s races have been a 'mental test’

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Where there is a Will There is a Way

Back in May and before heading to Spain I typed a post which for some unknown reason I never posted on this blog. Since then I’ve been meaning to catch up but after a three week hiatus with the family and a much needed break from social media it has just gotten harder and harder to get back to it. Since I’d still like to go back to this one post I decided to post a ‘summary’ of it and some afterwards thoughts…

The majority of this blog is about me and my thoughts on my way to IMFL, but as I got ready for our big trip to Spain, I started to think back the last 6 months and how Sami had completely dedicated himself to IM training and set a precedent to what I have in store…

Last year when we decided that 2012 would be a good year for me to do an IM we discussed the ins and outs, the training, the family the dedication, and everything else that entails IM training. Being both of us triathletes we have to plan our races and training schedule together so that we make sure there is always somebody with the kids. Being that said, and since I was going to sign up for IMFL 2012 was going to be my year and then Sami would do his IM in 2013.
A couple of weeks after I signed up for IMFL Sami’s training partner registered for IMLZ (Ironman Lanzarote), this is a race that Sami has always said he would love to do, knowing he would have somebody to train with just sounded too good to pass on. After we looked at our options and checked with our coach, we realized that both IM (IMFL & IMLZ) were further apart enough that we would be ok and training schedules would not coincide.
Sami & John morning of IMLZ

Sami signed up for the race and that is all she wrote. As I was training for NOLA70.3 him and John (his training partner) trained for their IM race. I would lie if I said it was easy, Marc started soccer season and every Saturday there games and other family responsibilities going on. So , I pretty much got all my weekend rides either early in the morning on the trainer or later in the afternoon while Sami got his long days in.
They say ignorance is a bliss which I completely agree, I now know what is in store for me. But the one thing I have to say is that I will always have the ‘if Sami was able to do it, so do I’. Our social life has pretty much been nonexistent, weekends were for training and during the week the lights went off a lot earlier than we are used to.
I have a great sense of admiration for anybody who works full time and trains, and if is IM training even more so. The hours, dedication and energy that training takes is something only those who do it know, add a family to it and a second person trying to get in workouts, races and such.
I look back at race day in Lanzarote and it was such an unbelievable experience, the boys were ready and I had just a blast. I just wish we hadn’t add more stress to the race than what an IM already entails. But our competitive nature had already dreamed big, not knowing what the terrain or the competition was it was like Sami likes to put it a ‘humble’ experience.
All in all I am SO proud of Sami and John, for sticking to their plan on race day, for fighting til the very end on conditions that I can only tell you weren’t ideal.
I take my Sherpa responsibilities very seriously :) 

If anything I have learned two things, first of all as much ‘respect’ as I have for IM training and as nervous as I am I really think that ‘where there is a will there is a way’, Sami and many others are proof of it. Second of all, this is my first IM, I don’t need to add any more stress to it, the goal is to get all the training in and ‘enjoy race day’, do I really think is going to be ‘enjoyable’?? well, I am sure it will be as soon as I hear the words ‘Carmen Brahim you are an Ironman’, but I am sure I will have my up and downs in race day as well as training. I am determined though to make the best of it, and like they say enjoy the journey.