Thursday, April 17, 2014

Dodging those damn deer again


In two days I will run my first race since the half marathon in October. All of the jedi, with the exception of the youngest, will be racing. Chewie will do the kids sprint, Skywalker, the Princess & Vader are doing the one mile and then I am doing the 5K. Unfortunately, Chewie has soccer practice at the same time as the 5K, so they will run and Vader will take them to practice. I will either run home or hopefully catch a ride with friends. Or maybe stay and wait for Vader to pick me up.

It will once again be on the chillier side. Last weekend was sunny and warm and beautiful. Race weekend will be chilly & probably include rain. Awesome.

I've thought long and hard about what I want to do for this race. My "goal" race is in 2 weeks so I don't want to go all out. I've been putting the miles in and doing my speedwork but I haven't quite been feeling as energetic as I could be. I'm not going to stress out when I have another race in 2 weeks (and a Ragnar after that!). I want to push myself … but only so much.

C. Beat my last time for this race: 28:26
B. 28:00
A. Find the joy in the run again.

If by some odd chance I manage to beat my overall PR (27:35), yipee. But I'm not focusing on that. I really just want that runner's high again.

Whatever happens, the day is sure to be a good one. I'll be racing with my new Bia watch (review on that coming soon), my kids are running, and the best part is we'll be having our good friends over for dinner. You can't beat friends and pizza after a race!

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

March stats and milestones

Like I said, March wasn't the best for me. But it wasn't the worst for me either. I had good speedwork sessions, long runs with friends, and I ran a mile with SkyWalker.


Stats:

Mileage: 48.8
Runs: 10
Cross training Days: 12

I did lots of good cross training routines. I joined a forum on Jessica Smith's website for extra accountability.

I've switched my speedwork to traditional intervals instead of the fast 30 second pickups. I did fast quarters and tomorrow I will do half-mile repeats. I'll get up to mile repeats before my goal race in May. I've failed miserably at the tempo runs and discovered that they were actually causing me more stress than they were worth. I've also had a hard time with my long runs, feeling like I just have no energy and am dragging through the whole thing. So I decided to focus on the intervals and drop the tempo run. I think I need more easy runs and less stressful ones… I might replace the tempo run with some (treadmill) hill runs or just keep it easy. My "tune-up" race is in just a couple of weeks so I'll see where I am then and re-evaluate.

While on my last long run, I passed 700 miles on my Dash Gloves. The beauty of minimalist shoes, no cushioning to break down means no reason to buy another pair until they start falling apart. So far, so good:

Taken right at the 700 mile mark.


I'm hoping April is a bit better and I can get some stroller runs done. Running outside--even with a stroller--is so much better than the treadmill. I am grateful for it and the week I couldn't use it sucked, but it just doesn't compare to outside.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Oh March

I thought we could be friends. I thought you would be warm and kind.

Oh March, how could I have been so wrong?

I was still optimistic the very first weekend of March when I skipped my long run because of a basketball tournament. It's okay, I thought, I will have plenty of time to run. Just a few days after that my treadmill started feeling wonky and then it got worse and I couldn't run on it at all. The drive belt inside the motor had to be replaced. So my one skipped run turned into 3 more skipped runs. I managed my long run but because it had been a while and I had to pick up 82 cases of girl scout cookies that day I cut it short and just did 6. We got my treadmill working and I tried to start where I left off, but that wasn't a good idea. Since then I've had to skip runs because of class field trips and days of no school and yesterday when the newspaper delivery guy decided to come to my front door which never happens and wanted to hand deliver the paper only I had no idea if he was my newspaper guy because the paper is always at the end of the driveway and never ever hand delivered and after some discussion and no response from the actual newspaper I decided to call the police just in case they were looking for houses to rob and so then I didn't want to go downstairs and run on the treadmill in my basement. So, yeah, there have been lots of skipped runs this March.

And it has not been warm and kind. It has been cold, so cold, and wet. I will be glad when March is over.

Hopefully April is kinder, because a couple of weeks ago when I was having a particularly not fun day I decided to sign up for a couple of races. On top of the races I had already signed up for. So I have:

April 19: Dodge the Deer 5K
May 3: Spring Runoff
May 9-10: Ragnar Cape Cod
May 31: Freihofer's

I'm letting Vader mow the lawn and transition to his new job in June and July and then:

August 16?: Clove Run 5K
October: Mohawk Hudson Half Marathon

I have a new-old plan on my fridge to get me PR-ready for the May 3 race, so now I just have to actually stick to it and not let any more random things get in the way!

Saturday, March 1, 2014

And February is done



I always make some sort of excuse for my February stats saying that it's the shortest month so I had less time to run. I'm really pleased that I didn't use that as an excuse this month. Even with taking most of the February break off from running & exercise, I still did pretty well.

Stats:

Mileage: 58.9
Runs: 11
Cross Training days: 9 (I'm including days I shoveled snow instead of following routines, because I did a lot of that)

I ran 5 fewer days than I did in January but only 3.1 less miles. Last February I ran 34.3, so I am definitely going up. I'm doing better with my tempo runs and still doing well with the intervals. I had been focusing on increasing my speed for each fast interval and lengthening the time of the fast portions, but last Thursday I decided to take a different approach. I went back to doing just 30 seconds at 7:30 (8.0 with 1% incline), but instead of walking each slow part, I ran slow. I wound up walking only 4 of them (compared to 12), so I was pretty happy. It's all well and good to get my faster parts faster, but if I have to walk after each one I'm not going to make that much progress. So for now, I'm going to master running in between each interval and then bump up the speed again.

I should be out doing my long run right now, but it's cold. I just don't have it in me to do it now. I also don't have any motivation to do 8 miles on the treadmill. I am afraid tomorrow won't work either because it's going to--surprise--snow again. If SkyWalker wins his basketball game later today, he'll be playing in the semifinals tomorrow anyway. His team has won one of the tournament games and lost another, so this game will decide it. I am technically not in training for anything specific, so I am okay with skipping it this weekend if I have to. Sometimes you need to let life be in charge.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Running with Jimmy Fallon

This winter has royally sucked for running. Snow, ice, bitter cold, wind. One at a time, all at once. A couple of weeks ago the temperature wasn't too bad so I decided to do my long run outside. I had the right clothes, I had a hat, a neck gaiter thingy, and swim goggles. Wait, what? Yeah, I had swim goggles because the neck gaiter makes my sunglasses fog up. I need the neck gaiter because my face gets too cold and if I breathe in the cold air I have a much harder time, but I need the sunglasses to keep the wind out of my eyes. And the sun. Such. A. Pickle.

So, I tried swim goggles:


They didn't work out the best. They started out okay but then they started fogging up too. And they were less than comfortable so I wound up taking them off and putting them in my pocket. Which was am amazing feat because my hands were horribly frozen. I was wearing running gloves but they just didn't cut it. When I started out the sun was out and everything was ok, but then the sun went away and it quickly went downhill. I had in my mind though that I needed to run 7.25 so I could get 20 miles for the week. So that's what I did. I knew I wasn't in danger of real frostbite, but my hands were seriously cold. It was so bad my left hand started cramping up towards the end of my run and stayed that way until the next morning. That was NOT fun. I think I'll just wear my regular old winter mittens the next time I go out. If that ever happens.

The next weekend was another snowy frigid one and I wasn't going to attempt another outdoor long run. But I needed to run long. So, I hopped on the treadmill. I rely on the treadmill during the week to do my tempo runs and intervals and easy runs. I can do 4-5 miles when I break it up into intervals. But doing a long slow consistent run would make me go insane. Nonetheless, it had to be done. I grabbed my water, my iPad and headed down to meet the only person who could get me through it: Jimmy Fallon.
I took this pic before my run on Tuesday, which is why it's The Tonight Show.
I was watching Late Night when I did the 7 mile long run. 
I've been running with Jimmy a lot this winter. The only danger is when I have to hold on so I don't fall off laughing. That's happened a few times… I may have also gotten a little choked up during his farewell episode of Late Night and his first episode of The Tonight Show. I made it through 7 long slow miles and there is NO way I could have done it without Jimmy. I want to get my long run back up to 10 but I'm seriously hoping the weather warms up enough for me to do it outside. I'm not sure I could do that on the treadmill. Even with Jimmy Fallon. 

I've wound up taking most of this school break week off from running/exercising, but I've done some tromping though the snow with the kids and I'm okay with it. I think it's good to take a break every once in a while. I'll be back at it soon enough, especially now that I know which Ragnar legs I'm running! 16.9 miles in 2 days. I'll be building the mileage up again pretty soon. Good thing I have Jimmy Fallon to get me through it!

Friday, February 7, 2014

Those kids I have

I was going to write about yesterday's kickass intervals, but I haven't done a kid-post in a while.

Last month LightRunner turned 18 months old. I can't quite believe so much time has passed. I think it's a bit more bittersweet knowing he is my last and I won't experience those early infant days again (and I do love those early infant days.) But 18 months is also my magic time… I can see his little brain ticking. I can see him absorbing EVERYTHING. It's so unreal how you can just see the difference when their little wheels start turning. He stops and thinks before he does things, he does things to deliberately make me laugh, he remembers things from day to day. He's starting to say a lot more words and repeat a lot of sounds. He helps me unload the dishwasher and hands me each individual item saying "he-ah" (here) after each one and "thank you" after I thank him. He loves his Haze, but he also loves playing with his siblings. The Princess can make him giggle just by looking at him and sticking her hand out to pretend to tickle him. The other day he jumped on SkyWalker and wrestled him. I love this time when he is learning so much and everything is a wonderful new experience for him (and mess for me). Next year it will be just him and me and I am already planning on resurrecting my Preschool Playdates program and really cherishing our last year before preschool starts.

Chewie is doing really well with her speech--twice a week--and enjoying her new preschool. She talks to other kids in gymnastics and at preschool and has come a long way. She and the Princess are always playing make believe and when the Princess is not here Chewie just plays by herself. I frequently hear her talking in the living room living out whatever fantasy she is making up. She is ready for kindergarten and going on the bus with big sister. I'm not sure I'm ready for her to go, but we have 7 months to get ready.

The Princess is as crazy as ever. I've talked to a lot of moms with 6 year old girls and it's almost universal. The happy one minute biting your head off the next syndrome. She has done better with her tantrums, but she is still very quick to anger. Over the most ridiculous things. She's doing very well in school and I have no problems there. She does her homework right away, works hard on everything she does, and is well behaved when she is there. She doesn't seem to involve herself in any of the girl drama. I suppose it's better that she saves her crazy for me, but I look forward to this phase ending.

SkyWalker is not crazy but he is lazy. He is SO smart but he just dislikes doing hard work. And anything that he thinks is going to take more than 5 minutes is hard work. His handwriting is horrible, still, and he will often put the minimum amount of effort into anything (except Minecraft). His first report card was so good--nothing below a 90--but the one he will bring home today will not be as good. His grades have fallen in both math and science, mostly because of the ridiculous common core that's supposed to make things so much better. If he had a worksheet of simple multiplication or division to do the old fashioned way he would get it done no problems. But he can't do it the old fashioned way. He has to use their strategies. Look up number discs. It is the most ridiculous thing in the world. Vader and I don't agree on much but we are in unison when it comes to this common core crap. Anyway, SkyWalker gets annoyed that he has to do this extra work when he already knows what the damn answer is and he tends to skip directions and get points off. In the last couple of weeks he has improved a lot with math and is putting more effort into following directions and labeling. I threatened to take Minecraft away and that seemed to have an effect. This is the first year that he cannot rely on his raw intelligence and he has to actually work. I think his grades going down might actually be beneficial for him (and his low grades are 85s, we're not talking failing). He's playing basketball and seems to enjoy it a lot more than soccer. He's not very good because he's just not an aggressive kid. He told me the other day that there are two boys at his table at school and one was kind of mean to the other and said that he was going to work on a project with SkyWalker and that the other kid had to work alone. SkyWalker said no, they would all work together. So, I'm okay with him not being aggressive enough for sports.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Little pangs



Facebook is having their 10 year anniversary and making little movies of highlights for people. The very first picture in mine is of Isaac. Which is fitting since I've been thinking a lot about him lately.

Mostly I've been thinking about how different our lives would be if he were still here. We wouldn't bring Haze down to LI with us. I would have to lock up the dogs whenever Chewie's speech teacher comes or we have playdates or it's nap time and I don't want any barking. The biggest thing though is LightRunner. He and Haze have a bond. They curl up together, he follows her around saying "Heze, Heze." He pets her and grabs her little face and she is the BEST dog ever and tolerates everything he does and just cuddles into him.

Which would never happen with Isaac here. First, Haze wouldn't pay as much attention because she would be too busy licking Isaac. But mostly Isaac wouldn't want LightRunner anywhere near him. Well, that's not true. But he certainly would not tolerate LightRunner crawling on their bed for a snuggle! I would have to jump every time LightRunner went near him. Not that Isaac would seek him  out to hurt him, but that he just did not have the patience for shenanigans that Haze does. It is so unbelievably cute seeing Haze and LightRunner curled up together sitting on our speech teacher's feet. And every time I see it and smile there's a little pang of guilt that it's so much easier without Isaac. Haze is easier to calm down, barks less, there's no play-fighting to scare people away. I don't have to worry as much. Which is really nice, but really sad at the same time. LightRunner will never say "I-a bark" like SkyWalker did but I console myself knowing that Haze and LightRunner wouldn't have the relationship they do with Isaac here and that relationship is pretty special and that sometimes things work out for a reason.