It’s been awhile.

I’m still here, albeit busy working on a new project.  I’ve been trying to create a flow chart to help people decide if they should have 3 kids.

Do you like sleep?

If yes —– > DO NOT HAVE 3 KIDS.

That’s as far as I’ve gotten.

Two kids, two parents.  Feels easy.  Three kids, two parents.  Real feel = 100 kids.  In fact, I now realize why people who have 3 kids end up having 4, if not 6 kids.  At some point they said, f*ck it, we’ve completely lost control, might as well add more kids.

I remember thinking all of my friends with 3 kids who warned me about 3 kids were overexaggerating.  That somehow my endurance, strength of character, multitasking skills would make me exempt from the chaos of 3 children.  Until you live it and find out that every time you turn your back, they’re all off creating some sort of crime scene of destruction.  Your house becomes a mess of play doh, markers, sippy cups, baby wipes, socks, Goldfish and staples.

WHOSE IDEA WAS IT TO BUY THE 6 YEAR OLD A STAPLER!?

I’ve been training.  Can you blame me?  ESCAPE.

I’ve been training too much.  Not in the overtraining sense but in the sense of training too long without racing.  Worst advice I received after baby #3:  don’t put any pressure on yourself.  I’ve since realized that I operate well under pressure.  I need the pressure.  I should have lit a fire under my rear, gone big early and chosen some scary, out of my reach goal.  Instead I said, no pressure, I’ll ease back into it.  I’ve eased too much.  I need to race.

J-Hawk Sprint Triathlon (the “early bird” version – you’ll recall I did the “late bird” in September!).  Talk about easing into it.  A POOL SWIM.  But not just any pool swim race – the Wisconsin World Pool Sprint Triathlon Championship.

Packing for a triathlon – throw anything, everything into your race bag and hope it a) fits, b) works, c) is actually yours and not your husbands.  I traveled with my other Chris – not my husband Chris but another Chris – and drove north to Wisconsin.

I checked in.  I set stuff up.  With an 11 am start time, I wished I had more coffee.  I enjoyed something I don’t get often – two things, actually:  peace and quiet.  I sat in my car and did nothing.  As race time approached, I went into the lockerroom to get ready.  And that’s when things took a disturbing turn.

New race kit, new speedsuit.  Size small because I am, or was, small?  I know I’m not at race weight but at 5’2”, I would think compared to the general athletic population I am on the smaller side.

One would think.

I went to put on my race shorts, success!  I went to put on my race top and pulling it down over my shoulders I said, oh geez.  Snug would be one way to describe.  And the final drum roll please: my speedsuit.

It stopped at my knees.

Oh geez.

Just for good measure, I had brought along Chris’ speedsuit.  Remember, throw all things triathlon into the bag.  It’s hard to believe but apparently I am 5’2” with the build of a 160 pound man.  His medium speedsuit fit (sadly) nearly perfectly.

I swam.  Not fast but I swam.  I ran to my bike and then rode.  Not fast but I rode.  It was windy.  Very windy.  I have a new bike.  Because on race day, you should try EVERYTHING new, including a new never ridden outside bike.  With everyone starting in all different waves, I knew I had to go full tilt as much as possible.  Every second would count.  I set out on the run to try to run fast.  The now post baby #3 over age 40 Liz fast.  One day I will write an entire blog on fast over 40.  By the way – if you find fast over 40, catch it, put it under lock and key.  Lucky for me, unlucky for him, a random guy darted ahead of me and we started playing chase.  Up and over the small hills, grassy paths, trails, roots, bridge and turns.  I chased him for over 3 miles, huffing and wheezing behind him.  I was that person you cannot shake.  He went on to win the race, I went on to come in second overall – AGAIN.  Always the bridesmaid at J-Hawk.  No winner’s fleece for me.

I took my silver medal (whereas my other Chris took his AG win gold medal) and headed straight to one of my favorite places: Backyward Bikes.  Where you can indulge in good sandwiches and great Wisconsin beer.  Yes, Chris sat there wearing his gold medal.  It was ridiculous but also adorable to watch a 45 year old man so delighted because he won his AG for the first time.  It’s the little things!

As I get older, busier and deeper into life with (I swear there’s 3 dozen of them) kids, I’ve learned to enjoy days like this.  Days where it’s just about me.  Days where I can do something I enjoy without being interrupted.  You learn that even on the days where you’re not 100%, you give it 100% of what you’ve got because you have the opportunity.  That opportunity is truly a gift.  I also got to spend time with two of my athletes and best friends – Jen Harrison and Jenny Garrison.  One thing I’ve learned in the past year is that as life gets messier, you need good people to lean on.  They are two of my good people.  It’s of no surprise that Jenny won the Olympic race and Jen came in right behind her!

And now, it’s on to the next race.  Or, an adventure in seeing if my marriage can survive a few races and 1000 miles of driving in 3 days.  Stay tuned.