Monday, December 13, 2010

______egeddon

I love that Sesame Street is on during #2's morning nap. It's an hour of peace I need during these cooped up snowy days.

I've been doing very well with waking up to get the runs in. It's been a weird couple of weeks: we had stomachflueggeddon, then the post-stomachflueeggedon recovery and then snowmegeddon 2010. I am just feeling recovered from being sick. That stomach bug really did a number on me. I lost 3.5 lbs in two days. I've gained back a pound of that, but that kind of super intense disease-induced weight loss takes a toll.

But even so, every day I planned to I've woken up and hit the mill. It's hard to run right out of bed. My first miles are always super slow-over 9:00 pace and typically at least the last two miles are under 8:00. My engine takes a while to warm-up right out of bed I guess. It's been kind of tough though because #2 has not been sleeping well at all. She's been hard core teething and along with lots of development going on her sleep has regressed these past two months. It's been particularly rough the last couple of weeks. I can't wait for these teeth to pop through. I'm hoping that's going to help. In the meantime, after 3 consecutive hourly wake-ups I give up and bring her in bed with me. It helps get a little extra sleep.

My teaching semester starts in less than a month so I need to move the current 5:40ish wake-up back to 5:00. So keep your fingers crossed #2 lets me sleep. I can get to bed only so early and even if I went to bed at 8:30, the interrupted sleep is still rough.

This week is my last putzing around week until my Cleveland Marathon plan commences on Sunday. I'm super excited about it. I ran a killer 8 mile trail race in the deep snow on Saturday. I wasn't planning on racing it really, but once I got a couple of miles in I couldn't help myself. After going out in 12:36 pace (!) I managed to work my way up to finish within 7 seconds of the first woman. If I had a little more confidence on the trails or another half mile, I have no doubt I would have won. For a treadmill girl, I'm pretty proud of myself. I feel excited about getting in shape and competing again.

Anyway, here are the last two weeks. They were both down weeks in between the Turkey Trot and marathon training.

11/29 - 12/5

M: 8 miles alone including a fartlek. My sister watched the kids for me while I hit the park. I did 2 x 400; 2 x 600; 2 x 800. I couldn't get to a track so had to do it with my garmin. Not sure what the paces were, but it felt so hard. I'm thinking it was the plague at work already.

T: Plague

W: Plague

Th: Plague

F: 5 super slow on the mill (9:00 avg)

Sa: Paid for those 5 miles and was sick again!

Su: 11 with Z averaging 7:51. Felt weak, but much better!

Total: 24 (ugh)

12/6 -12/12

M: Off. Just felt too tired.

T: 7 on the mill in the early a.m. averaging 8:21

W: 7.3 alone from Parsley's house. We did a babysitting/running swap. Ran the first 3 in 27:30 with Jen C and BS and then headed out another 4 minutes by myself and picked up the pace. I ended up averaging 8:02 pace and a 3 hour drive home in snowmegeddon.

Th: 6 on the mill in the early a.m. averaging 8:26 pace.

F: 4 on the mill. Averaged around 8:15 pace

Sa: 11 including 8 miles on the crazy trails in 1:22 (and that was super hard!)

Su: off. Slept in. Spent time with the fam. Did a cheesy Jillian Michael's DVD that almost killed me, but it was kind of awesome. I hope to include a lot more strength and plyometrics this training cycle.

Total: 35.3 (not the best, but it's a down week so trying not to care!)

Weight: Just 5 lbs over pre-pregnancy weight!

Thursday, December 02, 2010

A Winter Challenge

* The whole salty family is getting over the stomach flu (well, except #2 thank goodness!) Yuck! I haven't run since Monday and I probably won't until Friday at the earliest. I'm still barely able to eat anything. This nast kind of came at a good time though because the weather has finally taken a turn towards winter so it would have been a challenge to get my runs in. It was one thing taking peanut out in the snow last year, but I just can't see doing it with #2. Maybe for an occasional short run, but no hour long epic adventures with the BOB for a while. Sad.

This means I need a new routine. (This is where this post gets really boring as I map out my plans.) Right now I have very few options. Basically, because mrp leaves for work at 6:00, unless I snag a sitter I'm stuck on the mill either in the morning or during nap time. Ideally I'd like to knock the run out early. I'd like to get up at 5:00 and sip some coffee as I get an hourish of work done and then hit the mill for an hour before peanut wakes up. This shouldn't be a problem except I have virtually no entertainment for my mill runs. It's a long story, but it's going to be a huge pain in the a$$ to update my ipod, but I must. I also need to get a t.v. down there. That will help tremendously. I think if I can do these two things I will be fine. Oh, and I need to start getting to bed early. I need to make bedtime absolutely no later than 10, but as close to 9:00 as possible since I'll be waking up several times each night to feed #2. I can do it! I can do it!

I know I'm not alone in attempting this winter challenge and that will help too. Knowing my friends are fighting the urge to snooze will certainly help me resist the temptation. And knowing that I'm getting it done so I can devote the rest of the day to my two cuties will be the biggest bonus of all.

* #2 feeling smug about escaping the gastro-intestinal nightmare the rest of the family experienced.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Why Do I Do This to Myself?

During the race last Thursday as I watched the average pace on the Garmin tank during the third mile, I caught myself thinking, "Why do I do this to myself?!" And no, I wasn't asking why do I go out like a bat out of hell only to die a miserable death in an uphill windy middle mile. I was asking why do I race. Why do I train? Why do I search for a By40 goal? What's the point?

I let it go during the race out of self-preservation--I wanted to get to the finish line as quickly as possible and pondering such heavy potentially imponderables is not conducive to that task. But since the race I've been pondering.

I guess on paper, competitive running is a pretty selfish endeavor. You spend gobs of time and money to mold and shape your own body to do one thing: run faster. There's no saving starving children or catalyzing world peace or curing cancer or giving much back to society at all. It's kind of a strange ocd exercise: to what extent can I control my body and will it into what I want it to be? How much pain can impose upon myself and live to tell about it? How self-disciplined can I be?

While there is some truth behind those feelings, I know there's a lot more to it than that. I know running makes me a better person: I'm happier, less stressed, stronger, more self-disciplined and more confident because of running. Fo sho!

I feel like I need more of a reason to do it. If I want to go for some lofty goal, I feel like I need a higher purpose than just achieving for the sake of achieving. Why do you run and train and go for it? Is it all about you or is there something bigger than drives you?

And with those deep thoughts, here are last week's numbers:

M: 4.25 with the 2x BOB averaging 8:21 pace. Had to take both kiddos to the pediatrician for shots in the morning and it was pouring so opted for a shorter afternoon run once the rain passed and the kids calmed down.

T: 8 with Parsley and our BOBs.

W: 6 including 6 x :20 pick-ups with the 2x BOB. Pick-ups with the BOB are fun.

Th: 11 including 5 mile race in 32:50.

F: 4 very slow with my sister pushing just #2 in the 2x BOB. Super windy. Legs super crusty.

Sa: 12.12 with Z, averaging 7:48. Very lack-luster, but got it done.

Su: 7 alone with no watch. Glorious day! Started slow and finished fast. Great run.

Total: 52.37

Weight: Lost .5 more lbs despite the holiday. So close to my favorite jeans!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

The Turkey Trot Challenge

I am not above smack talk. Well, at least when it comes to mrp. It's all in fun of course! Now that I'm running 50 miles a week and mrp's down to about 10 on a good week I thought it might be fun to see if I could finally take him down at the local 5 mile turkey trot this year.

Of course, I'd love to be in shape to challenge mrp the holder of a 27 minute 5 mile pr. However, upon further reflection I realized that even though on paper I'm running a lot more these days mrp could almost certainly beat me just on the fumes of the 10 hard years of training he put in before his recent hiatus. Plus the trot would be my first real race post-baby and I've done next to no real speed work and am just not there yet. I'm not practiced in pacing or pushing myself hard or any of those things. So, I backed off a bit and we loosely called a truce and figured we'd pretty much run the same time.

We woke up this morning to the beautiful sounds of howling winds and pelting rain drops hitting the house. But we would not be deterred! My sister was running it too, straight off the plane from NYC. Grandma came over to watch the critters and mrp and I headed out first to the airport and then to the race downtown.

We sat huddled in the car procrastinating and putting off the inevitable exposure to the elements. 40's, crazy wind and driving run. My favorite race weather! Luckily, the rain more or less stopped so it was just crazy windy and a little slippery. We all headed out for warm-ups. I ran about 1.75 miles, came back to the car and put on my Brooks Green Silence racing flats and did some strides for about a 2.6 mile warm-up total.

Mrp and I lined up together next to my friends CV and Z. The gun went off and I went nuts. I went through the first mile in 6:06 and the next .5 had a big downhill so I came through 1.5 miles in 9:00. Big oops. It felt kind of good, but I am not in shape for that kind of pace. At that point we headed uphill straight into a headwind. Mrp passed me and I tried to tuck in but that never seems to be worth the bother for me. Mile 2 ended up being 6:20, so that means I slowed down A LOT in that last .5 mile. Uh oh.

Unfortunately things never got better. Mile 3 started uphill and continued into a thick and nasty headwind. I had to really work to keep it under 7:00 pace. Not good. 6:58. Mile 4 wasn't much better: 6:43. I basically tried to reign mrp in over the last mile. I was toast by then and pushing to the finish and sprinting head to head with mrp over the line gave me a 6:35 for a finish time of 32:50. According to the clock, I beat mrp by .02 seconds, but he chip-times me by .3 seconds. So, I would call that a tie. It was pretty neat crossing the finish line together like that, even though mrp swears I was throwing elbows and trying to run him off course. (I wasn't! I swear!)

CV ran a whopping minute faster than me, but waited to get in a cool-down. We ran about 3 miles and caught up and hopefully I've convinced her to train for a spring marathon with me too. I'm telling you. This is going to be a fun season of marathon training! On our way out we saw my sister blazing in with a 39:18--a huge pr! Go sister!! Despite the nasty disgusting weather, it was a good day to trot.

Going in, my goal was 6:40 pace for a 33:20, so I'm happy I'm clearly in better shape than that. I definitely ran a very stupid race, but a lot of that has to do with no race pace training or speed training in general to ingrain race effort. I have no idea what it's supposed to feel like. The 6:00 actually didn't feel bad at all--not as bad as I would have thought. Even with the horrid 3rd mile, I was super close to breaking 20 for the first 5k, which is something I wasn't sure I was in shape to do. So, despite the error in pacing at the beginning, I'll take it. There's a lot of good news in this race for me.

So that my friends was this years turkey trot and my first race post-#2. Onward and upward!


Sunday, November 21, 2010

A Flippin' and a Floppin'

I am officially insane. I am starting to ponder possibly maybe I just might decide to train for a spring marathon. I feel like I'm in a good mental place--I am confident, yet am too busy to be all obsessy mcobsesserstein about running. I can just run and the rest will follow, as I swore would in my resolutions post a couple of weeks ago. Of course it helps I have two running friends going for probably similar goal times who I can train with.

I've been thinking about it and I feel like if I do want to pursuit a fast marathon, I need to run more of them. I've only run 4 and I think a lot of my mixed success can be boiled down to inexperience (and being a freak, but I think my overthinking, nervous, anxiety-ridden freakness can be tempered through practice and demystifying the event). I also think that if I want to run a 2:45ish marathon I need to break 3 hours this year. If I don't do that, I need to seriously reassess my crazy goal. (I probably need to do that anyway, but I'm pretending to be confident. We'll just cross the reality bridge when confronted by it.)

A lot of my trepidation about a spring marathon has to do with spending so much time running. One thing I've found this go round is that if I get up super early I can get my weekend runs in guilt free. On Saturdays I can leave and be home before the kids are even awake and on Sundays I'm home right around when #2 wakes up and peanut is easy-peasy in the morning. When I ramp up my long runs I can just get out earlier. Instead of a 7 a.m. start time, 6:45 and then 6:30 and all the way down to 6:00. An added bonus is the crazy early a.m. wake-ups make it seem like I can sleep in the rest of the week!

This is all just a thought. I need to really consider all the logistics of the spring, but the only real difference in training would be the long runs. I kind of have in mind that I would do one harder interval or fartlek workout, one progressive run, one true tempo on Saturdays and then a moderate to almost hard long run. More intensity, less miles, more time with the fam! And a very different training plan than anything I've ever done before, which is really what I need.

Anyway, these are my current thoughts. I have until the end of the year to decide. In the mean time, call me flipper. Or flopper. That might work too.

***

In other news, peanut's birthday was a smashing success! He had such a great day! He loved the roller coaster and the small gathering of family and family friends was the perfect size to make him feel loved and special, but not overwhelmed. He loved being the center of attention (not sure where he got that trait) and it was an incredible joy to witness his adorable beaming face take it all in.

And with that beautiful picture, here are this week's numbers:

M: Easy 7 with the 2x BOB

T: Ran 8 with Parsley and the 2x BOB.

W: Met the girls at the national park. Did 4 x 800ish with Parsley. Did I ever tell you how easy it is to do intervals pushing two kids into the wind on a muddy towpath? But it sure was fun!

Th: Off. I had to go to the dentist, frantically prepare for peanut's party and the weather sucked.

F: 7.5 with the 2x BOB. A little cold, but a beautiful and fun morning at the park.

Sa: 8.6 with 4 mile tempo. I had to run from home at the crack of dawn and the only routes from my house contain monster hills. In the past I've always wussed out and not done tempos around here, but not today. I started the tempo with a mile of relentless crazy hill. And the split showed it: 7:34. But once up the hill I strung three sub-7 miles together: 6:54; 6:55; 6:45. Yeah! It all flowed very nicely.

Su: 13.1 at 7:41 pace (maybe slightly slower--Z and I have Garmin discrepancies that need to be investigated). I was dreading this run. #2 has been waking up every two hours all week, I was super stressed about the party the day before (on my feet cooking, cleaning, baby-minding and entertaining all day) and did a tempo the day before. Although I can't say I was peppy or feeling light on my feet, I managed to hang. Our splits (according to my possibly overly optimistic Garmin were: 8:33; 7:57; 7:45; 7:46; 7:45; 7:38; 7:33; 7:25; 7:30; 7:53 (up megahill); 7:19; 6:55 (around .6 in we were about 7:10 so we decided to push and get the 12th mile under 7); 7:48 (one mile cool down "jog").

Total: 51.1

Weight: Down 3 lbs this week! My fat jeans are much too big, but can't quite get the tiny ones on yet. Behold the power of not caring!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

No Speed Bumps

In my last post, I told you about my plans to come up with a by-40 goal. Before I had kids, picking a target for my by-40 plan would be so much easier. Just settle on a number and goooooo for it! Of course, there's always those little things called self doubt and fear of failure that limit so many of us from identifying an "it" for which to go for.

"Can I really do that?"

"Won't people think I'm nuts if I tell them that's what I want to do?"

"What if I fail and it doesn't work out?"

"I really don't want to look stupid!"

It seems to me that so many women, my self included, are afraid to aim high. Maybe it's the dawning of my mid-life crisis, but I'm over that (ok, trying to get over that)! Running is the perfect avenue to work on that. Come on everyone, let's pick a pie-in-the-sky goal and gooooo!

Of course, I have one more factor that makes it hard for me to do this; my family. I can't just goooo! I can goooo! to the extent I am not indulging in more than my fair share of the family's time, money and energy pies. There's only so much of time, money and energy to go around, and running, in fact running well need not take an overly large slice. But, it easily can. So, I need to be careful and cognizant of that fact as I determine my target for my by-40 plan. Whatever I decide, it will be to run xxx by 40 while being the best matriarch of my family I can be.

***

In other news, peanut's 2nd birthday is on Sunday. It really does go too fast like everyone tells you.

***Possible TMI. Breastfeeding discussed. You have been warned!***

This past weekend we decided that since he is a big boy now it was time to fully wean him (you know the talking in sentences thing kind of told us it was time!) We didn't want to rush him off the boobs just because #2 came along so quickly, so this was a well thought out and seemingly executed plan. He was down to just two nursings: one before his nap and the other before bedtime. We just sat him down the day before and reminded him that boobies are for babies and told him that big boys eat cereal and cheese and bread and apples and don't need to eat boobies anymore. He tested the limits of that the next day when we told him there was no more for him--he basically threw a 1 minute fit, pulled at my shirt and cried a little. He's done a shorter and less intense version of that just about every time he would have nursed, but he is fine with it. When I remind him that he can eat fun stuff like noodles he laughs, grabs his blanky and runs to his room. He's fine. And I have to say it was sad, but it's so nice to cross one little responsibility off my to-do list every day! Now I can focus solely on #2 in that arena. Yeah.

*** End of breastfeeding discussion***

We are going to have a little party for him and I cannot wait to unveil our gift to him. It's the little roller coaster in the picture. Woo! I want one! Anyway, I need to go so I can prepare for the big day. There will be much cupcake baking and party-prepping going on around here the rest of the week!

Monday, November 15, 2010

In Search of a by 40 Goal

Lately I've been thinking a lot about where I want to go with running. I've realized I've never had a long-term vision of my running. It's always about the next big race on the schedule and not a long-term plan. I've never looked more than 6 months into the future. How far am I supposed to go?

The logical point is to make a pre-40 plan. I'll be 40 in a little over 4.5 years (yikes!) Since, I'm a relative babe in terms of running (only training since 2006 with 2 years off to have babies, too) I think I can set pr's at least until that point, if not into my mid-40's.

Ok. So I have my timeline. Now what? Go for a number goal? Marathon? Aim for the trials? Some other distance? Something fuzzier? What?

I was thinking a catchy goal might be to take 40 minutes off my first marathon time by age 40. This would mean I'd aim to run a 2:45. (I am under no delusions that this will be an OTQ for 2016. I'm sure the 2:46 B standard is going down, down, down after 2012). I think 2:45 is a very challenging, yet possible goal for me. Far beyond that, I'm not so sure. Even 2:45 is daunting with the kids and my dormant career that will surely wake back up in the not too distant future. And the whole over-thinking self-sabotage thing I do with marathon races. But, what the hay (or is it hey)?

But, let's not etch this in stone just yet. I need to decide if I want to put all my chips on that number and in that race. I need to mull this and other possibilities over. What's the right "by 40" goal for me?

And with that, here are last week's numbers:

M: 7 easy with the 2x BOB

T: 8 easy with the girls and the 2x BOB (8:20ish)

W: 7

R: 8.5 alone with fartlek. Got up and out the door before the sun. Did 5 x 3:00\2:00 and 3 x 1:00\1:00 (to avoid careening down steep hills for 3:00) before going to the dentist to have my tooth extracted (fun times!) The first two 3:00 intervals were up steep hills and the pace sucked! I thought the workout was doomed. Rest of intervals ranged from 6:13 - 6:20. So not bad! I'll take it, anyway!

F: Off. Swollen face.

Sa: 7 easy with mrp and kids. Fun!!!

Su: 13-plus. Ran almost 3 easy alone:8:45: 8:02; 7:42. Then the rest with Z. 7:54; 8:01; 7:19 (down big hill); 7:35; 7:17; 7:45 (mild uphill); 7:54 (insane uphill); .5 recovery from insane hill at 7:49 pace and then we pushed the pace for 1.5. Of course my Garmin went nutty, but it looked to be around 6:40 pace. We trotted a mile cd and called it a day.

Total: 50.5

Weight: lost another lb. Happy I fit in some old (and very cute!) pants, otherwise don't care.

Sunday, November 07, 2010

Early Resolutions

1. I will not sweat the last 12ish lbs of baby weight. I will trust that they will come off if I keep on running and eating right. No need to force the issue.

2. I will enjoy running. There is no race result worth ruining my joy for running. I will savor the process and not focus solely on the results.

3. I will believe and encourage myself. I spend so much of my energy encouraging my friends to reach their goals. It's time I started to do the same for myself. Go self!

4. I will not force it. I will train and run and enjoy myself and let the results speak for themselves. I can't will fitness. New mantra: just run. the rest will follow.

5. I will not get bent out of shape over a bad workout, bad mile or bad race. It happens to everyone. Move along!

Maybe because it snowed this past weekend I suddenly don't care that I'm still sporting 12ish extra pounds. I'm suddenly convinced and soothed by the notion that they'll be all gone by the spring racing season.

When I was contemplating racing this past weekend I realized I didn't feel like it. I've been enjoying running so much these last few months it seemed silly to race. I'm not in p.r. shape. I don't have any goal races on the near horizon. What would be the point. Why not save the money, the time and possibly the pride (frankly, it could mess with my happy running mojo to log a "slow" time). Instead I had a wonderful afternoon run in the snow on Saturday.

I'm not sure why I've been thinking about this, but I was thinking about coaching and why I would want a coach; I'm perfectly capable of devising a solid training plan for myself. No, there must be something more to it. I think I just want a champion. I want someone who believes in my potential. Then I thought, why do I need someone else to do this for me. Why can't I do this for myself. I do it for lots of other people. I see others' potential and root for them and encourage them. Darn it. It's time I did this for myself! I really don't need external validation. Right? (heh)

I was also thinking about all my goals. And then I started to feel anxious thinking about these goals and wondering whether or not I can achieve them bla bla bla. And then I started to realize I'm a freak and need to chill out and go with it. I love running and training and pushing myself. Period. Do that and results will follow. Nothing will zap the fun out of running faster than fixating on the results to the degree that I miss out on the scenery along the way. And I believe in myself and have faith in my abilities and potential. Just run. The rest will follow.

I was tracking a friend running the NY Marathon yesterday. She was kickin' ass through the half. And then I noticed her splits starting to slow. She still came through the finish with an amazing time, but I was thinking that if it was me I'd be rehashing those last miles and fixated on them to the point that I wouldn't be able to be happy with my time. F that. I'm sick of it. Who cares if I ran 30 seconds slower than my goal time or if maybe I went out too hard or had a bad day or wasn't quite in the shape I thought I was. No one. It's running, self! Get over it. You do it because it's fun, not to prove your value as a human being. Left foot. Right foot. Smile. Repeat.

And with that, dear readers, here are the numbers for last week!

M: 7 easy with the 2x BOB. Friggin' freezing out there, Mr. Biggelsworth! Thankfully peanut has called a ceasefire in the war over cold-weather accessory wearing!

T: After voting for lots of losing candidates I came home and ran on the mill during naptime. I did 2 x 2 mi @ easy progressive tempo pace. I upped the pace every .5 from 7:30 to 6:58 at the end. Not that hard, but an enjoyable and good workout nonetheless. Averaged 7:52 pace.

W: 7 with the 2x BOB and Jen C. We had a great chat which I totally needed. Not quite as cold as Monday, but still pretty cold! 9:02 pace felt super easy.

Th: 8 alone from my in-laws. I dropped the kids off and hit the crazy hilly roads for some fartlek fun. Did 3 x 3:00\2:00\1:00 with 1:00 easy between reps and 3:00 easy between sets. I wanted half-marathon effort\10k effort\5k effort. I was around 7:00\6:40\6:20 so that's about right. Not that I could necessarily race at those paces yet, but for workout purposes that felt good. Averaged 8:02.

F: off.

Sa: 7 alone with no watch. I went out super easy and just picked it up as I went along. Without thinking I started to really push the pace the last 1.5 and I just went with it. Felt great!

Su: 13.27 alone. I took advantage of daylight savings time and got to the park at 6:45. I ran about 1.65 alone and then met my friend Z for 6. Somehow 7:30's felt great. We were just clippin' along chatting away. We even managed a 7:51 up a huge hill. I was sad to be done with company for the run. My pace slowed to 7:40's while I was alone. I decided I needed to do something interesting so I ran down a huge hill on the roads and then over to the notorious castle hill with 2 miles to go. I started the ascent and my goal was to keep the pace faster than 8:30 on the trails with the humungous hill. Dudes. I ran this mile in 7:58! What's even cooler is that once mile 12 beeped on the garmin my pace showed sub-7! On the trails! At 12.25 I was in the 6:50's as I hit the road. I felt smooth and good and not at all like I was flooring it. I cruised in for my last mile in 6:38! And it wasn't super duper hard. Afterwards I trotted a quarterish mile back to the parking lot and by then trotting was 7:20's. It's funny how that happens.

Total: 50.27

Weight: Lost another .5. Not worrying about it.

Up next: The Salty and Mrp Turkey Trot challenge!

Monday, November 01, 2010

Switchin' It Up

So, that half marathon I was planning for this upcoming weekend sold out. It went from 200-something entrants last year to 1100-something this year and closed 3 weeks before the day of the race! I thought about groveling, but calmly accepted a spot on the wait list instead. Upon a little thought on the subject, I realized that other than hanging out with my friends a half really wasn't in my running plans right now. I pretty much wrote it off.

Of course, to complicate my life I just received an e-mail that I'm in the race if I want to be. Now I feel torn, but I think I am going to pass. It's $55, basically an all day adventure and I'm not in shape for a good half yet. As fun as it probably would be I just feel like I can't justify the cash or the time. I'd rather save it for fast legs. Instead, maybe I'll run a very small local 5k and sort of race under the radar for my first real race post-#2. It would save me about $40 and about 4 hours of time. Mrp and the kids could even come and cheer me on.

As for my running plans ... I am sort of not sure what I want to do. I know I want to focus on shorter races until I get my times down. I don't want to commit the time and energy to marathon training until I can cross off the sub-3 marathon off the bucket list. Finishing another marathon or even running a slight pr is not motivating to me at this point. Part of it is that I don't want to devote the time and energy to marathon training, but another part is that I have never ever done anything with running other than marathon training. It's time to switch things up in Saltyland.

But what exactly to do? I really want to switch things up and do 5k training. I like this idea, because my main short race goal is to go sub-18 in the 5k. However, I have no idea how to do this. I think I am going to write my own training plan and mrp will help me execute it. My rough plan is to run lots of 60 mile weeks (12-ish) through the winter with one faster tempo and one longer slower tempo, more moderate paced miles and a faster shorter longer run than I usually do. I think this will build a nice aerobic base. Then after that, I will start working on my speed and getting into more race specific stuff for the next 12 weeks. I plan on racing a couple of times a month from March through the end of my training cycle in May. I'll do everything from 5k - 10k, but my main focus will be 5k. If my times get down to where I want them, then I will train for a fall 'thon. If not, then I will reassess and decide where I want to go for the fall. I could keep working on the short stuff and see what happens in the summer and if things look good by the end of July, I could still jump in an October or November marathon or a half any time in the fall. We shall see!

In the meantime, I'm just building back up and doing a little up-tempo here and there. I'll probably run three or four short races between now and the new year just for fun and to see where my fitness is.

Here are last week's numbers!

M: Off

T: 9 with some friends and the strollers (2x BOB)

W: 7.5 with Evie and the kids (2x BOB). Another fun Wednesday run and play!

Th: 8 on the mill during nap time. Did 5 x 800 hard\800 moderate. Paces were 6:58 and 7:53. Not crazy hard, but not an easy workout either. 4 x 100 @ 6:00 after.

F: 6 easy with the kids (2x BOB)

Sa: Annual girls Halloween Run! Met CV for 4.5 and then ran 7.5 with the crew. Ran with a 2:44, 2:49 and 2:52 marathoner. Can I get fit by osmosis, please?! Super fun! Averaged 8:12 pace on the trails, which is very good.

Su: 7.5 alone. Averaged 8:19 pace. Did 7 x 100 strides during mile 7.

Total: 50

Weight: Lost another pound. Slowly getting there.


Monday, October 25, 2010

Happy Birthday Mrp!

Today is sweet sweet mrp's birthday! Peanut, #2 and I have lots of fun things planned. I can't tell you about them though because sometimes mrp sneaks a peak at this here blog and I don't want to spoil the surprises.

It's kinda funny. Before we had kids mrp and I always said birthdays and Hallmark holidays were dumb and that as long as we appreciated each other the rest of the year there's no need to go bonkers for these holidays. Well, cue life with two under two and suddenly if we don't celebrate birthdays and other holidays well, we'll just fall asleep long before we ever remind each other how much we appreciate each other! So, although the tots and I can't offer up anything spectacular it's important to us to show daddy and mrp how much we love him!

In other news, that last post was just kinda hanging out there with no explanation. Sorry about that. I wanted to articulate those ideas before I forgot. Basically, I've been thinking a lot about what makes me happiest about running and what I want from it. I love the social aspect so much more than I ever thought. I love finding out new stuff about myself. I love being pushed further than I could ever push myself. I love improving as a runner and as a person. It's not just about the pr's I log. There's more to what I want from running than that!

I am a pretty self-motivated person and can achieve a lot on my own by sheer will, but I also know that I can do a lot better and enjoy myself a lot more if I have some company. That company can be a team I'm on whose members support each other. That could be people to run easy with or on the track with or other workouts with. This seems like no big deal, but with two babies it's kinda hard for me to get away from extended periods of time. Basically I have a short window every day to get my running in and that rarely lines up with anyone else's window. I have a feeling I will just have to enjoy the few runs for which I have company this winter and figure out how to make the rest of them entertaining!

As far as coaching, I think I really need to switch things up and attack my weaknesses and hone my strengths as a runner. I have come to realize I am not nearly as self-aware as I once thought I was, so I think I need some objective eyeballs on my training. Lucky for me I have an awesome husband who is both incredibly insightful about me and running. The only thing is he is wary of coaching me again. He coached me through my first half and first marathon which both went great! I exceeded my goal both times, never got injured and enjoyed training thoroughly. I was new to the sport and started reading about other theories of training and decided to try some things on my own. According to mrp I fired him, but I just needed to learn about other training techniques and experiment a bit to grow as a runner. Now that I've done that I feel like mrp and I together could really do something special together. How awesome would it be to achieve success together in this way. Once we get my training plan together we'll have to work on mrp's comeback plan, but that's for another post!

Here are last week's numbers

M: 6 EZ with 2x BOB

T: 8 with "tempo" with 2x BOB. Since I had the stroller I just wanted to run 4 at an up-tempo. I made it 7:59, 7:54, 7:39, 7:25. Not bad. The first 2 were slightly uphill and the last two were into the wind so I'll take it!

W: 6 EZ with 2x BOB with friends averaging in the 8:40's.

Th: 8 with the 2x BOB with 6 x 100 strides in the grass (I parked the stroller in front of some construction vehicles working so peanut would be entertained by more than just his insane mother sprinting back and forth in front of him :)

F: 6 EZ with 2x BOB

Sa: 14.1 averaging 7:44 pace! I ran the first half with my friend BB who is training for NYC. She was supposed to do 18 at 7:40 pace. We ran most miles in the 7:30's together and then she went on while I turned back and ran the second half alone averaging in the high 7:40's. Great run. It felt way easier than I feared it would.

Su: 6 EZ with the 2x BOB

Total: 54.1

Weight: Did not lose a single pound! But I really think something's going on because I feel a lot leaner. Trying not to sweat the scale!


Thursday, October 21, 2010

Not Always About Time

Top 4 running goals for 2011

Basically these can be summed up with two words: have fun.

4. Be a part of a racing team--one that feels like a team and acts like a team (you know cheering for each other and helping each other meet our goals).

3. Get a coach who actually knows me and helps me maximize my strengths and work around my weaknesses.

2. Find training buddies to challenge me, keep me company, make me laugh, put up with me and vice versa.

1. Find a way to balance training with the rest of my life (find a way to train to my potential while still raising great kids, maintaining a great partnership with mrp, getting my chores done, keeping my foot in the career door, etc.)

Monday, October 18, 2010

My Glamourous Life

Whew! What an exciting weekend of running and it wasn't my running that was exciting. I've said it before, but it's worth saying again: the next best thing to running a great race is cheering on friends while they run great races.

That being said, I actually had a very solid week of running. My mileage is on the up and up and my paces are coming down and down. I am almost exciting to race the half marathon in three weeks. It won't be a pr (unless miracles do happen), but I think I've managed to get myself in good enough shape that it won't be a waste of time to go. I would like to have had a 14 miler or two in the books before hand, but that's not going to happen. I've done several 12's and did 13 yesterday. Hopefully the weekly mileage is enough to compensate for that and I won't die the last couple of miles!

In kid news, #2 is doing much better with the nursing. She still has her moments, but now that we're back on our normal routine she seems much happier. She's been waking up a couple of times at night though, but it's not that bad. I do miss her nights of 9 straight hours of sleep, but they'll be back again some day. Besides that the girl has been babbling seemingly non-stop! She just jibber-jabbers all day. It's funny how different two kids can be. I don't think peanut made a noise other than crying until her was about 6 months! Yet, he was super physical and rolling over at 11 weeks and things like that. #2 STILL hasn't rolled over even though she's been trying for weeks now! She is such a happy little baby. We took her to get her baby glamour shots last week. Isn't she just the cutest little chub chub!!!

Peanut is going through a crazy verbal stage too. He can say the letters of the alphabet and count with help. He knows his colors and can say his name and tell you how old he is. He makes simple sentences, "Hi baby!" and "Bye bye dadda!" along with "I love you" and "all done please" (for when he's finished eating--so polite!) He is such a happy and sweet little boy. When we were at the picture place getting #2's photos, he went up to another little red-headed boy and gave him a kiss! And he hugs the trees at the park and waves bye-bye to the rocks and sticks. I have to say, I love toddlerhood! He can be a "terrible" two forever as far as I'm concerned!

Anyway, here our last week's numbers:

M: 10.25 alone averaging 8:14. Hilly and last 5 sub 8 pace.

T: 6 with the 2x BOB. Slow. No watch.

W: 8 with the 2x BOB with friends. No watch again.

Th: It rained so I was stuck on the mill so I decided to do a workout. Did 8 including 4 x 200\200\400 with equal rest. Started the workout at 6:40 pace for the intervals, but that felt too easy so got down to 6:22 pace by the end. Not all that bad. Of course, E just ran her marathon at my 400 interval pace, but I'll just ignore that fact for now :) Averaged 7:58 pace for all 8 miles though so that's good for now.

F: 4.68 miles with E while my mom watched the kiddos. Averaged 8:18 pace. Felt pretty good.

Sa: 6 while mrp pushed the 2x BOB. Family run. Was awesome and fun! Hope to make it out regularly while the weather allows it!

Su: 13.07 miles averaging 8:28 pace from home to the park around the trails and back. This is a brisk pace for the trails so I am happy with that.

Total: 56 miles!

Weight: Down .5 more lbs, but starting to look and feel like my old self. Still have 15ish lbs to go.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Ode to E

I remember once a long time ago, maybe even before I even met her in person, some dude gave my friend E crap on her blog about calling herself E-speed. He basically said she wasn't speedy and the name didn't fit.

I remember a while later I had to convince the girl that she could run a sub-20 5k. It took a lot of work to break her down and convince her to drag her butt out to the race, but she came. Of course, I was right.

I remember another long conversation on the phone after E ran a 50k. I remember telling her if she focused she'd be a great marathoner. "Eh. I don't know," she said. She liked pacing and ultras and running with friends slowly for fun (like running 11:00 miles with me when I was pregnant with peanut!). She wasn't sure she could give all that up in the name of making a name for herself.

I don't know what finally convinced her to focus on her own running, but she did and in 2 short years, her pr went from 3:16 to 2:49:53!

I always joke with her that if I can't train and race at a high level, she can do it for me. And she did. So awesome! And inspiring. In no way do I want to diminish from her amazing achievements, but witnessing her improvement makes me know I can do it too. Maybe not make quite such a big leap, but there's a whole heck of a lot of untapped potential in these here legs and with the right mix of hard work, support and hutzpah I have some big prs to come!

Maybe some guy in blog-land is rolling his eyes and saying I can't make big improvements as a runner with two babies to take care of or because I'm getting old or just because I'm me. But the key, as I have learned from E, is to aim high and keep aiming despite the naysayers, the bad races and workouts and the doubts. Keep your eyes on the prize and believe.

Not My Marathon Morning

It's a perfect day for racing a marathon. I'm up early and getting ready to head out for my long(ish) run while ~80% of my peeps are in Columbus making their way to the starting line as I type. Part of me wishes I was there. Part me wonders where I'd be running-wise if I didn't get pregnant last year. All of me is happy I'm at home now with peanut thunking upstairs in his crib (he's up and ready to party, apparently!) and #2 asleep in hers. I am happy with how things are. But that doesn't mean my running dreams have disappeared.

I have a running bucket list, of sorts.

5k: 17:xx

5 mile: 29:xx

Half Marathon: 1:23

Marathon: 2:59


I've been giving it a lot of thought and I think that I don't want to train for a marathon until my short races indicate I am more than capable of a sub-3. I just don't want to commit the time and energy and redirect that away from other things unless that goal is well within reach. I think if I reach my shorter race bucket list times then and only then will I go for a full again.

So, I guess that means I'm training for short stuff for a while. I have no idea how to go about doing that! Can I achieve these goals on my own? Do I need a coach? Can I find some training buddies who are willing to work with my goofy schedule?

I am getting up there in age, so honestly I do feel a little pressure to get on it! But at the same time I've really only trained somewhat seriously for 2 years, so I think there is still quite a bit of improvement ripe in these getting-old legs.

So this morning as I cheer on many friends achieving their running dreams, I'll be taking one tiny step towards mine.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Baby on Strike

It's 8:26 and I'm the only one up. I love rainy days for this one reason: sometimes the darkness inspires the kiddos to sleep way in! Otherwise, they stink because I feel like a jerk taking them out for a run. It's probably another treadmill day.

In other news, (****TMI ALERT****turn away now squeamish readers!)

***

I got my period. UGH! I'm only 3 months post-partum. That's no fun! That in itself is kinda lame, but it's accompanied a nursing strike. I'm not sure if it's too many bottles over the busy weekend or the hormone shift affecting the taste or the supply of my milk, but little #2 has been a pain about nursing. She just cries and fights at the boob. It's been a few days and it's much better now after spending most of Tuesday with my shirt off to provide some skin-on-skin contact which I read is supposed to inspire the rooting instinct. It definitely worked, so hooray for good advice! We're not totally out of the woods. She fought me during her last feeding before bed last night. I wasn't about to undress her from her jammies so I just worked through it and tried to be patient. She eventually was at least semi-satisfied and fell asleep. However, she proceeded to wake up a bunch of times and not go back down easily. It was a rough night. Of course #2's bad night would have been a great night for peanut so I really should shut up and quit complaining!

As a positive spin on things, I wonder if maybe the return of my period means the weight is going to start flying off and I'll get into shape more quickly. That would be a nice trade-off!

Cheers to hope for a better day today!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

A Dunk and Two Good Runs

It's been a very busy week around these parts. Sunday was #2's baptism. That means I was busy frantically cleaning and prepping to host 40ish guests, which is kinda hard when you have two babies to take care of too. It didn't help matters that mrp was out of town from Sunday to Wednesday. But it did help that I hired a cleaning lady and had two moms to help me with the food, etc. All in all I am pretty impressed with myself that I didn't freak out and I managed to delegate well and didn't feel guilty about it. Usually I feel like I'm lazy or inadequate if I can't do it all myself, but I'm starting to see that this attitude contributes to my problems getting things done more than helps. Being capable of asking for help is a good thing and a necessary thing. I'm figuring that out. I know. You're all thinking, "DUH!" I'm late to yet another party!

But the baptism itself and the party went well. It was all kind of a blur. By Sunday I was already pooped, but decided I NEEDED to run so I woke up at 5:30. After some coffee and psyching myself up, I headed out for some miles in the dark before mrp and the kiddos woke up and before the frantic preparation for the day's festivities commenced. Strangely, I have never run in my neighborhood in the dark like that. Although I can see why. I was petrified I'd be attacked by the coyotes we hear hollowing at night or skunked or snatched my a predator or abducted by aliens. We live on a countryish road with no street lights that runs along a river. It's heavily wooded in spots and just plain scary in the dark! Every time I heard a noise I clapped my hands as loudly as I could to scare the phantom coyotes. I probably just looked like a goof, but it helped make me feel a little more in control.

I managed to eek in 7 before 7:30. I ran an out and back course and just as I got to 3.5 the sun started rising and when I turned the corner to head back down the big hills I saw the beautiful valley dimly lit, gloriously showcasing the fall colors. There were deer frolicking by the small lake I love to run by and a slight mist rising from the grass. The scene more than made up for the first scary half hour of the run!

Once I was down the mega-hills and when I had two miles left I picked up the pace a little bit. Lately, my runs start slow--over 9:00 and then end in the 8:30's. I'd say 8:45 seems to be about my average easy pace right now. Surprisingly, when I picked up the pace my Garmin was hovering just below 8:00 and gradually dropped so that my last 2 miles were 7:57 and 7:25
pace and it just flowed.

Yesterday, mrp took the day off from work so we could recover from the crazy weekend. We lazed about, played outside, ate leftovers, put some party stuff away, and generally had the nice relaxing family day we needed. When the kiddos went down for their naps I snuck out for a run. I decided I wanted to run to a park I don't go to very often to check out a scenic overlook and bask in the autumnal awsomeness. It's 5.15 miles exactly from my driveway to the overlook and since I live in the river valley, it's a climb all the way. It was kinda hot--sunny and mid 70's--and my first mile reflected my baptism-induced exhaustion: 9:10. And it felt kind of hard. But then the next mile was 8:38 and didn't feel *too* bad. Just a little. And then I had three straight miles up relentless uphills. I tried not to dread the hills and just take them one mile at a time. I decided that I just wanted to keep each hilly mile under 9:00 pace, knowing the last mile with the steepest hill on trails would be the hardest.

It was work, but each hilly mile was in the 8:40's. That last mile was tough! But was worth it once I saw the view. I could see all the way to downtown Cleveland and Lake Erie and in between me and those points were miles and miles of beautiful leaves. I turned around and started back. I was shocked to see the Garmin showing sub-8 pace and I hadn't even hit a downhill yet. Hmm. I just continued on and Mile 6 was 7:54, even on trails. Maybe it was a fluke, since it did have a giant downhill in it (although I always slow down a bit on big downhills). I took a little shortcut out of the park and hit the road again. Mile 7 was mostly downhill and 7:51. Still could be a fluke from the downhills. Mile 8 is flat with one big scary downhill with blind spots and traffic so I figured this one would be slower. Nope. 7:50. The downhills were over and the last two miles roll all the way home, with the worst rollers in mile 9. Even so I managed 7:46. I was feeling good at mile 9 so I picked it up and was shocked to roll into mile 10 at 7:08 pace. I decided I better cool it and trot in the last .25 miles and the funny thing is that at that point trotting was 8:12 pace.

What a weird run. I was dying running 8:40's and then all of a sudden sub-8's just felt good. Whatever. I'm happy with it, especially since I still have 13 pounds to lose!

Last week's numbers plus this Monday

M: 8 miles alone including 3 x 1:00; 1:00; 2:00 fartlek. My first post-#2 workout. It was really hard to move fast, but I managed to average around 6:35 for the hard sections.

T: Crap weather forced me on the mill. 6 miles averaging 8:36 pace.

W: (2x BOB) Met friends at the park. Wanted to do 8 but it was cold and rainy so we cut our losses and quit at 6 before giving our kids hypothermia!

Th: (2x BOB) Took the kiddos to the park to enjoy the gorgeous Indian summer weather! Did 8 with no watch.

F: (2x BOB) Ran with the kids in the hood while the cleaning lady worked in the house. Did one mile out and back 4 times with a few slight variations. Peanut only complained the last time we passed the house. What a trooper! Took the Garmin and was pleased to see I averaged 8:54 for 8 miles with the 2x BOB.

Sa: Off to frantically prepare for the baptism!

Su: 7 miles alone in the wee hours of the morning. Averaged 8:28 pace.

M: 10.25 hilly miles alone averaging 8:15 pace.

Total: 43 last week (not counting this Monday)

Weight: Lost 2 more lbs!

Sunday, October 03, 2010

Family Dinner

I am so proud of myself! I resolved to start having family dinners a couple of weeks ago. I wasn't sure how it would go trying to prep dinner for all of us with two babies to care for. But, somehow I've managed to do it almost every day for two weeks! We even have #2 sit with us in her bumbo. Sure some days it's spaghetti with frozen turkey meatballs, sauce from a jar and bagged salad. But I've also managed to make some good ones. One night I managed grilled salmon, spinach and parmesan quinoa and roasted acorn squash! I've also done a couple of taco nights and for me that means either grilled chicken or scrambled eggs, some sort of bean concoction and roasted veggies. I think the scrambled egg tacos are peanut's favorite.

A nice bonus is that mrp and I now have more time to do other stuff after the kids are in bed since dinner is already out of the way. Also, we didn't necessarily eat poorly before, but knowing peanut is looking to us for examples of healthy eating we are more inclined to add a few extra veggies on our plates.

In running news, this week the fall rain has started up. That means one thing: treadmill season has officially begun. I actually enjoy the treadmill sometimes, so it's not that big of deal. The only thing I don't like about it is that there are days I have no choice but to run on the mill because I'm on kid duty with no babysitter and its pouring outside. And then even then I'm beholden to my kids' napping schedules and need to keep my fingers crossed #2 will sleep for a solid hour or be content to roll around on the floor next to me. If you know her, it's a good bet she will. She's good to her momma!

The one nice thing is that if I get into a good routine with the mill I can count on it to do workouts this winter. With just peanut I always had to hustle to find a sitter or bolt out the door when mrp came home from work to get in any kind of quality training. It's much harder to saddle elderly in-laws with two babies and I don't like bolting out the door now that we have family dinner time. So, that means if I'm going to do a tempo or whatever I need to get it done on my own so the treadmill in the early a.m. or during nap time is my best bet.

Here are the numbers! Mileage is creeping up and weight has finally started to fall off. Sweet!

M: off

T: 8 averaging 8:44 pace on the mill during nap time. It actually worked out well. I checked on #2 at mile 4 and she was still sleeping. Then I ran up and poked my head in at mile 6 and she was awake in her crib so I brought her down with me and she contentedly rolled around on the floor while I finished up.

W: (2x BOB) 6 very easy with buddies at the park.

Th: (2x BOB) 8 with no watch.

F: (alone!) 7.52 averaging 8:52 pace. My mom came over and watched the kiddos and I ran from home to the park, around the trails and back.

Sa: (alone!) 12.49 averaging 8:46 pace! Very happy with this. Miles 2.5 - 6 were almost all uphill. I averaged 9:05 for the first half. Mile 7 is a gradual downhill and mile 10 has huge downhill sections, but other than that it's not a particularly fast course going home. I picked up the pace the last two miles and ran 8:14 and 7:47!

Su: (2x BOB) managed to squeeze in an easy 6 in between rain storms. Had to bundle everybody up. It wasn't even 50 degrees out!

Total: 48

Weight: Lost 2.5 more lbs! Just 15 to pre-pregnancy weight. I finally feel like I'm not a blimp!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Freedom

I had a great time at the Akron marathon yesterday! That race never disappoints. Even last year when I DNF'd I had a ball. This year was no different. I will get to that, but first I need to vent.

Today was one of those days where I just couldn't seem to find an hour to get my run in. I finally decided enough was enough and booked outside while mrp and peanut ate dinner, figuring I'll just eat after the kids are in bed. I'm so glad I did. I was in a bad mood all day and the run, even at a measly 4 miles, was just what I needed.

But the day made me miss the old days, before kids. Don't get me wrong. I LOOOOOVE my mrp, peanut and #2 more than anything and wouldn't change a thing. Oh no, I would not! That doesn't mean I don't look at those pre-kid days and kick myself for not appreciating my freedom more. I had so much time and could run anywhere anytime. I wish I would have trained with others more. I wish I would have traveled for races more. I wish I would have savored the miles that I was not pushing two kids in a stroller and that I wasn't worried about whether my newborn would take a bottle or whether peanut would not get into something while I was gone or whatever it is I'm worried about on any given day these past two years.

And this too shall pass. But in the meantime, I do appreciate my little bits of freedom now. And I will work on leaving the worries behind when I hit the road!

In other news, my race went great! I aspired to run 7:30 pace for my 7.9 mile leg of the relay, but since I've only run one mile under 8:00 in 5 months I figured that might be a bit of a stretch. Turned out to be a great goal. I ended up averaging 7:28! My last two miles were 7:15 and 7:14 and I felt good! I had a great time cheering for the marathoners as I passed them and working on getting my team under 3:30. When I got the hand-off we were at about a 3:33 pace, but I managed to get us in in 3:27:56!

It's kind of funny that all my marathons have been faster, but hey--it's all relative. And for right now this was a big accomplishment. I'm still a good 20 lbs heavy and at just 12 weeks post-partum I am proud of myself. And I am proud of my team. Jen C, Triple H, BS and Parsley: each ran faster than she thought she would!

Anyway, here's this week's numbers:

M: (2x BOB) 6 miles easy

T: (2x BOB) Hit a different path that is incredibly awesome for running with the stroller and did an easy 8.

W: (2x BOB) Hit the neighborhood park with the girls and BOBs. Got drenched in a surprise downpour. #2 stayed dry and peanut thought it was awesome so Evie and I soldiered on and had a great 7 mile run together averaging 9:12 pace.

Th: (2x BOB) Was thinking about a day off but needed to run so did 6.

F: (2x BOB) With the race on Saturday and the hot temps I decided 4 was sufficient.

Sa: I ran 11 total. 2 mile wu with my old fast friends MR and E-speed. Averaged 8:18 pace for the wu and felt surprisingly good. Then 7.9 miles at 7:28 pace followed by 1.1 mile slow cool-down--ouchy quads!

Su: Alone for an easy 4.

Total: 46 miles

Weight: Lost 3 more lbs!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

An Akron Marathon Carol

The 2010 Akron Marathon is on Saturday. It will be my fourth time participating. Each year's race has been its own exciting adventure for me.

In 2007 I ran my 10k p.r. It was just 6 weeks before I married mrp and I ran the third leg and he anchored. We had a super fast team. When I got my hand-off I was the lead woman in the entire race! It was exhilarating to run through the University of Akron campus and hear the screams and cheers from the spectators. Too bad my leg veered onto the desolate towpath around mile 2.5. Oh, I will never forget how hard it was to keep up the pace on the soft surface with nobody around. My first half of my leg was sub-19, but the second half was way slow as I rolled in with a 39:05. But, it was a big pr. My previous best 10k race was more than 10 minutes slower!

In 2008 I ran the anchor leg of the relay, ~8 miles while 31 weeks pregnant. My team, the Speed Bumps, was composed of 5 pregnant women. We were quite the hit. We did t.v., radio and newspaper interviews. My big pregnant running self is even in the promo video for the 2009 race. I ran somewhere south of 9:00 pace to get us in under 4:00. It was a super fun day! Looking back, I can't believe I was pregnant with peanut just two years ago!

Last year was going to be my year to do the full! I was super excited. But by the time the race rolled around my life was pretty stressful and I think my taper wasn't the best. I ended up DNF'ing. I've never ever done that before, but I felt so crappy and was having trouble even running my rock-bottom pace. I had worked so hard that I couldn't see breaking myself to run a subpar marathon, especially when I had a baby boy to take care of. Plus, I knew that mrp and I would want another kiddo fairly soon a spring marathon probably wouldn't be in the cards. So I decided to fold and try the marathon again in a couple of weeks at the Towpath Marathon. I ended up winning the Towpath marathon and had no calamities during the race (novel for me in a marathon!), but was pretty confused by why my time was way slower than I felt like I was running. I bemoaned it and whined about it until a few days later when I noticed my tummy pooching out and then starting feeling nauseous and then took a positive pregnancy test! Well, I guess we got on that second kid thing a little sooner than I had planned!

This year, I have my first race post-#2 in Akron on Saturday. I'm running the same relay leg I ran as a Speed Bump two years ago, but this time with four awesome running mom friends. I'll be 12 weeks post-partum so I don't think it's going to be an epic performance or anything. My goal for Saturday is to race for the shape I'm in on Saturday. That's it. Do my best. Although, it better be faster than two years ago!

When I reflect on Akron marathons past I realize how much my life has changed in such a short time. Hopefully, someday I'll be able to beat the 10k p.r. I set in 2007, but for now I'm happy to be where I am in September of 2010.

And with that, here's this week's numbers!

M: (alone!) 7 hilly miles averaging 8:56 pace.

T: (2x Bob) 6 easy

W: (2x Bob) 6 easy with friends.

Th: Off. Ran 9 days in a row, so think I earned this one!

F: (2x Bob) Was going to meet friends, but decided we needed a low key day so stayed local and did an easy 6 at our home base park.

Sa: (alone!) Ran 12! Ran 2.5 on the roads from home to the park to meet friends. Then 6 with said friends before hitting the trails for 2 and then ran home on the road. Overall pace was slow--friends miles were slow and then trail miles were slow, but averaged under 9:00 for all road miles alone. Longest run since the Towpath marathon!

Su: (2x Bob) Took the kiddos to the park and hammered (heh) out 8 on the bike path. Was kind of fun to see so many different people at the park on a weekend rather than the usual crew we see on weekdays.

Total: 45!

Weight: Lost another .5 lbs this week. Kind of a bummer, but a loss is a loss so can't complain! 23.5 to go.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Growth Spurts

I got myself all excited about a half-marathon in early November because it was offering cash for breaking age-group records. My pre-old-lady age group's record was 1:38:xx and I thought that would be a good goal for me and I could bag money to cover the entry fee and the gas to the race. Well, damn if I didn't stalk the entrants list and see that a very fast local woman also just entered my new age group. Oh well. I still think that's a good goal: 7:30's for a half 4 months post-partum. Feels like a huge stretch from this vantage point, but I never would have thought I was where I was 4 months after peanut at 11 weeks out either.

In other news, peanut is suddenly talking a blue streak! Yesterday, I asked him if he wanted to wear his white t-shirt and he said, "No, blue." Where did that come from?! And then today he said, "I love you, momma." Oh bestill my cold cold heart!

And then little #2 is all of sudden trying her darndest to roll over. Peanut rolled over at 11w 4d, so #2 needs to roll over tomorrow if she wants to keep up with her brother. No pressure, toots! (Why, that attitude isn't going to cause any sibling rivalry at all!) But man that little girl is a cutie. She's laughing and chattering most of the time she's awake. She even giggles when I tickle her. I love it! It's so awesome to watch her awaken to the world.

It's funny how they both seem to be going through huge developmental milestones at once. I'm starting to see shades of them interacting. I can picture the group bath time and fighting over toys and huggy cuddles. Sure, having two so close in age is very hard at times, but it's so much sweeter than I thought it would be even now. Even now when I feel like my body has been ravaged by two back-to-back pregnancies, I wouldn't change a thing.

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

So It's Not the Kool-Aid

So... remember a while back I was bemoaning my money management skills. I also mentioned from time to time my lack of domestic ability and my propensity for being a slob. I decided I wanted to fix these problems and while I was researching I discovered something that shocked me.

*** drumroll ***

Maybe it's ADD. I always thought ADHD described little boys who drank too much kool-aid, not professional women who have trouble concentrating, have an embarrassing propensity for mess making, have problems paying attention to detail or organizing anything. Interesting. It's a weird thing--I'm honestly not sure what an official diagnosis will do to help me. I doubt I'd want to take medication, at least for the time I'm nursing (and if #2's anything like her brother--who's still nursing 2x a day!--it'll be a while!) and even after that, I'm not sure I'd want to.

I did a little research on how to manage life with ADHD and I actually found some things that might help me. First of all is to acknowledge what I'm not good at instead of fighting to try to be good at it. Face it folks--I'm never going to have a balanced check book and if I'm in charge of the bills some will be missed or late, etc. So, I handed them off to mrp. This way I can spend my time scheduling my days with the kids and planning meals and other stuff that I'm good at rather than wasting time screwing up trying to be good at something I'm not good at.

Another thing is to remove stimulation from my environment. I like this plan. In law school I had no tv and only dial-up internet. Now tv is everywhere and my laptop is on the kitchen counter. I don't want the distractions in my face. My plan is to move the t.v. to the basement (where I can see it in front of the treadmill of course!) and to finally clean and organize the office space down there so my laptop can stop being such a source of distraction.

I don't want to check my e-mail while peanut eats his breakfast and I don't want to reply to e-mail while I'm eating dinner across from mrp replying to his e-mail. I'm sick of it. I want a rich family life free from silly distractions and I don't want my kids growing up in a hyper-stimulated environment. I'm glad I stumbled across the possibility of ADHD to help me realize a few things to make our life better.

In running news, things are slowly coming around. But again, I'm not in a hurry. Here are this week's numbers!

M: off (I sacrificed my run time for mrp because I love him and he so rarely makes the effort to run these days and I know it makes him happy when he gets to do it)

T: (2x BOB) Squeezed in a boring ol' 6 at the park before #2's pediatrician appointment. No watch. #2 is 13 lbs and 25 inches. 90th percentile for both height and weight!

W: (2x BOB) My friends Parsley and HH and their girls met us for 8. 8 with the 2x BOB. Go me!

Th: (2x BOB) Another boring ol' 6 at the park. No watch.

F: (2x BOB) Met Parsley at the CVNP for 6. Felt decent for the first Friday in a while. Probably because I didn't take Thursday off. (It's weird how sometimes I feel worse after a day off and sometimes a day off makes me feel spectacular the next day. Go figure.)

Sa: alone! Ran at noon on a hilly 10 mile course averaging 9:14. This is a killer route from my in-laws. I love it, but it is really challenging. It rolls the entire way, but the last three miles are all almost all uphill. I felt good and never really pushed the pace.

Su: (2x BOB with only one kid). Peanut was still napping and mrp had to get ready for a business trip so I had this great idea to take #2 out in the BOB and run a mile around the neighborhood and back and pick up peanut when he woke up from his nap. All mrp would have to do was walk him down to the driveway for me. I did all three laps with no peanut or mrp in sight. Peanut slept for 3.5 hours! Growth spurt! Averaged 9:08 for 6 miles with the 2x BOB without trying! Sure, there was only one kid but it was windy and that thing is hard to push in the wind. I am going to claim that as a mini victory :)

Total: 42 miles

Weight: lost 2 more pounds. 24 to go!




Tuesday, September 07, 2010

My Pickle

Per usual I found myself feeling stressed out, as if I was putting too much pressure on myself.

"I NEED to lose this weight!"

"I NEED to get back into shape!"

"I NEED to get in at least 40 miles!"

Yadda yadda yadda. What else is new? I always seem to get into this pickle. At least I caught myself. On my run on Saturday, when my back was hurting and I felt myself bemoaning the slow pace and my fat butt, I decided enough was enough. I had a baby 10 weeks ago. Who cares where I was at this point after my last pregnancy. Who cares where other people were at 10 weeks post partum. I am where I am and I'm happy. Sure, I want to lose the weight and get faster, but now is not the time to MAKE it happen. Now is the time to get back into running and have fun and let nature take it's course. It's not the time to push through injuries and be a hero. Duh.

So, instead of doing my hard longer run of 10 hilly miles I had planned for Sunday, I left the watch at home and enjoyed 7 easy hilly miles. It doesn't sound like much of a compromise, but in my head it was. I had to shut up the "go go go go GO! No matter what!" voice and deviate from my plan. Nor surprisingly, my back is much better (I must have po'd my sacroiliac joint which manifested in a dull ache in my lower back and a sharp stabby pain in my groin if I laid on my side.)

In other news, #2 is 13 lbs! She's 90th percentile for height and weight. Atta girl! She is so stinkin' cute! She smiles and babbles and is so so lovable. I never thought I could love another as much as peanut, but lo and behold I do!

And with that, here's what I did last week!

M: (2x BOB) 6 miles no watch

T: (alone!) My mom watched the kids and I ran 6.12 alone averaging 8:41. Last mile was 7:51!

W: (2x BOB) Met my friends and their kiddos for 7. Definitely feeling Tuesday's run!

Th: off

F: (2x BOB) Another friend run. Felt like poo.

Sa: (alone!) Ran 8.1 hilly miles averaging 9:16 pace

Su: (alone!) 7 very enjoyable easy miles. No watch.

Total: 40.22 miles

Weight: Lost 2 more lbs so that's a positive. Still have 26 to go.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Two Months

It's been two months now since #2 was born. Perhaps because of this small milestone I've been reflecting on her birth quite a bit the last few days. It was such an intense experience and I shocked myself with my ability to confront the pain and GET.IT.DONE. in a way I have never ever done before. When I was scared and wanted to quit, begging mrp to find me drugs there was really no way out and I had to enter the pain. I couldn't run from it like I so often do.

In my everyday life I have used this experience to cut through the boredom and get the cleaning done or my contract work done. I have used it to discipline peanut when it would be easier to give in to his 21 month old demands. Soon I hope to use it to lay down a killer workout and then eventually to power through the final miles of a race like I powered through the final stage of delivery. All these little things pale in comparison to what I did 2 months ago.

When something looks yucky or scary to deal with, I think back to my labor and how much I wanted out of the pain, but how freakin' amazing it was that once I let go and went with it I was able to do something magical. And it really wasn't anything to be afraid of. I didn't die. In fact, in the thick of it I was more alive than I have ever been. And I am much happier surmounting the little everyday molehills head on.

And with that, this week's numbers:

Mon: 6 (2x BOB) Had to up the effort the last two after #2 decided to start crying. She actually fell back asleep with about .25 to go, but it felt good to open up the stride and shake some speed out.

Tue: 6 (2x BOB) Went out later in the afternoon and peanut was super chatty and not trying to sneak in an illegal nap like he does on our morning runs (we like to save naps for the crib!)

Wed: 7 (2x BOB) Met up with 4 other friends and their BOBs. Super fun!

Thu: Off.

Fri: 6 (2x BOB) Met 3 friends and BOBs at the towpath. Felt sluggy, but got it done and had fun doing it.

Sat: 8 (alone!) First run this week with a watch. Averaged 8:56! Woot! Super hilly route near my in-laws. I love it, but it's super challenging especially when I'm out of shape!

Sun: 10 (alone!) Another hilly run, but I did not push it as much. Averaged in the 9:20's. I felt toasted starting out and each and every hill was way tougher than Saturday, but super happy to get in a solid 10.

Total: 43!

Weight: Still not weighing myself. Scared! (I suppose this is inconsistent with the rest of the post, but I'm not sure what good it would do to know so no use in courting depression :)

Ok. Against my better judgment I snuck a peak at the scale only to find I've only lost 2 lbs in the last 2 weeks. UGH! By this point after peanut I was 6 lbs less than I am now and I gained more when I was pregnant with him. I am not eating like a hog, so what's the deal? This chub is really starting to p*$$ me off!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Crocodile Rock

It was an interesting week. #2 Slept 6 hours on Monday, 7 hours on Tuesday and then 8 hours on Wednesday! Since, the best she's done is 5. I think we just got lucky there. But, I am NOT complaining about 5. 5 works! She goes straight back down after nursing, so getting up once or twice a night is no biggee.

On the peanut front, I bought him some crocs this weekend totally on a whim. I wasn't sure if he'd like them but judging from his reaction this morning, I guess he does! He saw them on our recliner as we were walking down from his room and demanded I put them on him over his footed pajamas. He just gets cuter every day! Although, I can't get the kid to try new fruits and veggies. He eats strawberries, bananas, raisins and cucumbers but won't try anything else. I tried red peppers picked fresh from the garden and he refused. Today I tried little cubes of plum and he ate a couple but then refused to eat any more of them. It was a delicious sweet juicy plum. Who wouldn't like that? Is he just trying to get under my skin? Any suggestions for getting him to be more willing to try new fruits and veggies?

As for running, I feel like I am getting back into shape. I have been feeling better and better on the run. I did three 6 milers with the double BOB and it wasn't bad at all. I didn't take the Garmin--I'm not sadistic :)

I did take the Garmin out for my weekend runs. I did a little over 8.5 hilly miles averaging 9:14 pace. My first mile was 10:21 or something atrocious--it's uphill, but still. Ugh. I managed to run the last 2.5 in the 8:30's so that made me happy. I was working, but not as hard as I had to work to run 8:35 for one mile last week. Then I followed that up on Sunday with another 8.25 miles with MN around 9:20 pace. I am not sure of the exact pace because I forgot to restart my the watch after stopping to fix my shoe. It was great to get out with a friend!

Anyway, I am hoping that by doing two longer runs on the weekends when I can run without the kids that running with the massive duallie stroller will feel easier during the week. So far the strategy seems to be working.

And with that, here's what I did last week:

Mon: (2x BOB) 4 miles easy

Tue: (2x BOB) 6 miles easy with Carmen and her boys. 2 double BOBs chugging down the path: Look out!

Wed: (2x BOB) 6 miles easy at NC. I even did the hills! Go me!

Thu: off. The farmer's market takes a lot out of me and I need a break!

Fri: (2x BOB) 6 miles with Evie and her little one on the towpath. I could run forever on the towpath!

Sa: Alone! 8.53 in 9:14 pace. Ran from home to NC and around the trails and back. Super stoked with the pace with the hills and trails.

Sun: Ran 8.25 (no kids!) with MN around 9:20 pace. Hilly, but overall an easy effort and a fun time.

Total: 38.78

Weight: I feel like I'm starting to lose it, but I decided I'm not going to weigh myself for a couple of weeks because I was obsessing and getting depressed seeing the huge number. Also, weighing myself everyday at this point is like watching the kettle. It'll happen. I have faith!

Monday, August 16, 2010

Thirtysomething

I feel like I am officially back up and running. I logged a little over 30 miles last week and felt a lot stronger and more normal on every run. Over the weekend, while I was able to run free of the giant BOB duallie I made it a point to challenge myself on some serious hills and log two 6+ milers, which is substantial mileage at this point. My last mile on Saturday was in 8:35, which wasn't particularly easy but faster than I felt like I was going so I'm happy. On most runs I'm starting slow, but once I get warmed up I drop the pace at least 30 seconds a mile. I'll chalk that up to rust :)

Now that I feel like a runner again, I have to admit the babyweight is really starting to bug me. I am exactly at the same weight I was after peanut at this point, which makes me hopeful but also depresses the heck out of me. I am confident I can lose it within 5 or 6 months like I did last time, but I'd rather not be a big blob right now. It's a forest versus the trees kind of thing--in the big picture this isn't a big deal but in the here and now I'm a chub. Me no like chub.

Too bad my body likes the chub when it's making and feeding a baby! Oh well. It's worth it. I gotta say my kids are pretty darn adorable and perfect :) Peanut is talking up a storm and said I love you for the first time a couple of days ago and #2 is the sweetest smiliest little thing!

But yeah. Chub sucks.

Anyway, here's what I did last week:

M: (2x BOB) Hot 4.08 mile death march in 9:46. I had to work hard for that. Ugh.

T: (2x BOB) was smart and left the watch at home. Hot as hell. 4 miles.

W: off for the farmers market

Th: (2x BOB) smart again and left the watch at home. Forced myself to do 5 in the god-awful heat. Felt like total garbage, but got it done by telling myself it will get easier. It will right?

F: (2x BOB) met up with my beautiful wonderful awesome friends! Thank goodness for running friends! 5 miles in 9:32 pace. I'll take it!

Sa: alone! Ran a very hilly 6.14 miles from my in-laws' house. First mile was 9:45, but last mile was 8:35. Managed to average 9:12 for the entire run. Legs were tired after this one, but it felt GOOD!

Su: alone again! Hit the trails for 6.02 miles. Set the garmin to only show distance. Saw a couple of splits over 10:00 pace, but for the heat, hills and the trails themselves I'll go with it. I feel like I actually got in some good work this weekend. Yeah! Hopefully it will make those short stroller runs in the cooler temps feel easy this week!

Total: 30.24 miles

Weight: too much. Ugh.

Sunday, August 08, 2010

Cold in the Summertime

For the most part this was a good week. My hope at the outset was to run 3 miles continuously by the end of the week. I ran 5 hilly miles continuously this morning, so I far exceeded that goal. It felt good physically and I was so happy to get out by myself and enjoy a gorgeous summer morning on the run.

Really the only bad thing about the week was that I caught a cold and then peanut caught the cold and then poor #2 caught the cold. How pathetic my poor little 5 week old was snorting and sniffing. I felt awful to watch her flail around trying to clear her airways. All the weeks of battling peanut's stuffy nose during the winter he was born paid off and at least helped me not feel as horrible as I would if I never experienced it before. It seemed to be a very mild cold, but even that seems vicious when it afflicts a newborn. Poor girl. We managed to help her sleep by putting her swing in our room and putting her in it without it swinging. It worked well. She slept 5 hours straight on Friday night and 6 hours straight last night! Hopefully that carries forward when she's back in her bassinet in a day or two. We're all on the up and up now though, thank goodness.

Anyway, despite the cold I got out and ran 6 days this week and felt darn good all things considered. Some may disagree, but I find getting a run in actually makes me feel better when I have a cold.

Mon: 2x BOB walked .25 miles then ran 1 mile, walked 1:00, ran 1 mile walked 1:00 and then ran 1.5 miles for a total of 3.5 miles of running.

Tue: 2x BOB super hot out so just ran 1.5 took a water break and then ran 1.5 back.

Wed: off to make time for an epic playdate with all my cousins' kids and then the farmers market

Thu: 2x BOB first running day with the cold and I wasn't sure what to expect. Ended up running 4. Took a short walk break around .25 miles in and then another at 2 miles and then ran the 2 miles back without stopping.

Fri: 2x BOB. Still sick. Boo. Didn't let it stop me! Ran 4 miles only taking a short break to show peanut a deer a little shy of .5 miles in.

Sat: 4 miles all by myself! Ran my usual 4 mile route from home during nap time and averaged 9:32 pace. Yeehaw!

Sun: 5 miles! Ran alone in the morning and felt really good. Left the watch at home and just enjoyed every second of it!

Total: 24 miles!

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Out of the Haze

I am crazy busy these days. Now that the post-birth haze and the post-grandma-dying haze have worn off I am left to clean up all the things I've neglected the last few weeks. One thing I need to do is start decluttering my life both literally and figuratively. Now that I have two kiddos I have even less time for other things. Besides getting my house even further under control (I have managed to keep it much tidier these last few months) I also need to start weeding through my time commitments and figuring out a short-term and long term plan for myself, mainly focusing on my career but also my life generally.

Of course I still have time to run as it makes me exceedingly happy! Hopefully I will at least post summaries of my weekly training now that my comeback is in full effect.

4 weeks post-partum

M: With both kids in the double BOB (2x BOB) 5:00 warm-up walk (w) and then 15 x 1:00 run (r); 2:00 (w) and then 5:00 (w) cool-down. Running intervals btw 9:03 and 10:38 pace.

T: (2x BOB) 5:00 (w) and then 16 x 1:00 (r); 2:00 (w) and then 5:00 (w). Running intervals generally faster than M.

W: Off. Busy day selling veggies at farmers market (mrp and I have a side business growing and selling veggies)

Th: (2x BOB) Met AS and her one-year old at the park and did 5:00 (w) and then 1:00 (r); 1:00 (w) x 20 and then 5:00 (w). Averaged btw 9:00 and 10:00 for the running paces.

F: (2x BOB) 5:00 (w) and then 2:00 (r); 1:00 (w) x 11 an then 5:00 (w).

Sa: By myself! .25 mile (w) and then 1:00 (r), 1:00 (w); 2:00 (r) 1:00 (w) x 2; 3:00 (r); 1:00 (w) x 3; 4:00 (r); 1:00 (w); 5:00 (r); 1:00 (w); 2:00 (r); .35 mile (w). Started slow, but got progressively faster. The last 2:00 was 8:20 pace!

Su: Busy day so no run.