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!