Monday, July 7, 2014

39

I turned 39 on Sunday. My last year in my 30's. I am totally fine with it. 

We celebrated on Saturday by going to a local lake and watching Vader fish for far too long and then finally we were able to swim. We brought a little grill and had hamburgers and hot dogs and lots of unhealthy potato chips and cheese doodles. I soaked up the sun and it was awesome (on the beach. Dealing with a bored cranky toddler watching Daddy fish was less fun.) We went home and quickly showered and then went back out for dinner. We wanted to go to the same Tiki Bar place we went to last year but it was closed, so we went to another favorite of ours instead. I had my birthday cheesecake but the restaurant didn't have ice cream for the kids. Vader suggested we stop and get ice cream someplace else and when we all stopped gaping in surprise we agreed. It was a late night but it was worth it. 

I started out Sunday with a long slow hot run. Well, actually I started out Sunday taking care of breakfast for everyone since Vader was already outside mowing. Then I went on a long slow hot run. I've been running down to the park so I can go to the bathroom and see the river and break up the monotony a little bit. I did 7.8 because it was 3.9 x 2 and I didn't feel like running 39 miles (or just 3.9). I didn't care about time or pace or anything, I just ran (and walked up my monster hill).  



The girls and I had a birthday party to go to at a local minor league baseball game in the late afternoon, so I got to have pizza and cake on my birthday. Even better, I got to see some of my closest friends. Win-win for me! 

Melissa, Sara, Jen & me. Tracy is off vacationing somewhere. The nerve. 
I know a lot of people get upset at turning 40, but I say "bring it." I wouldn't go back to being a teenager or in my 20s for anything in the world. I am in better shape, more active, healthier, my family is complete, I have awesome friends, I don't have a job getting in the way of my life. I'm going to make 39 my best year ever… until I hit 40.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

June: lasts, kids, & stats

June is always such a crazy busy month. Field trips, field day, flag day, last parties, early dismissals, birthdays. This one was no exception. Chewie turned 5 in the beginning of the month and we celebrated by getting her ears pierced and having lunch at Dave & Busters and swimming in our new pool and Mommy not running. Oh well. The girls will be having a joint birthday pool party next week to continue the fun. We also went to another 30th birthday party just to make me feel even older. 

Chewie graduated from preschool and had her last gymnastics class (I don't do it once they're in school). I'm not planning on putting LightRunner in gymnastics, partly to save some money next year, but also because if I'm going to put him in anything it will be basketball. He truly loves it and I think he could do really well. I don't think there are any programs for 2 year olds though. Chewie also had her last speech session and that was actually a bit sadder than her preschool graduation. She doesn't need any services over the summer and when she is in kindergarten she will have what SkyWalker did--speech correction once a week. The speech teacher there thinks she probably won't need it for long but after a summer of nothing and with kindergarten so demanding these days, I wanted to make sure someone was keeping an eye on her at school. She is doing SO much better and I would hate for her to lose her progress because they have kindergarteners doing advanced calculus now. 

LightRunner will be two in 18 days and is less and less baby-like and more big-boy like every day. It is bittersweet. I eagerly look forward to not changing diapers (10 years is a long time) but he is my last. He plays with cars all the time and says "weeerrrr" and we could probably get rid of all the baby toys we have. He repeats nearly everything we say and calls me "Mama" and sometimes makes me want to have another one. But I don't want to jump the shark. I'd rather end on a high note. He is definitely embracing two and likes to make things difficult sometimes but knows when to use his dimples. I had to stop giving him big boy cups--not because he couldn't drink out of them but because he is a thrower. He intentionally throws his cups of milk across the room and I couldn't stand it anymore. So we're back to sippy cups until he can control himself. 

SkyWalker is at basketball camp and will soon be taller than me. He survived 4th grade and pulled it together at the end. His grades in each subject in his last report card went up (except social studies which stayed at 98). He got above 90 in everything and really worked much harder than in the middle of the year. I hope this means 5th grade won't be so tumultuous. 

The Princess had an awesome report card and once again got S+ in Art. She's a hard worker in everything and likes to teach Chewie things. She's slightly less batshit crazy, although yesterday she told me sometimes she gets angry for no reason and then she just has to stretch it out. Oookay. I need to get her running longer distances. 

They are all going to camp for the next 4 weeks. It was hard for me to fill out the paperwork and actually do it this year, but I am telling myself that it's not babysitting, it's an opportunity for them to all have fun without each other and without me and to do new things. It'll be good for Chewie to make friends with kids going to kindergarten. It'll be good for me to have some time to get boring stuff done (filling/trashing all the paperwork on my office floor!) and to do some stroller runs and have some one on one time with LightRunner. I can't send them everyday because I am odd, but I'm planning on sending them 3 times a week. I wish I could be one of those moms that just says "See ya" and ships her kids off here and there, but I'm not. Even if they drive me crazy, I'll take that crazy over anything else in the world. 

I've probably gone over my break time and I still have 3 book reviews to write. 

Stats:

Miles: 43.8
Runs: 9
Races: 0
Cross training days: 6 (not including swimming!)

Not my best mileage month, but not my worst. Last June was 28.4 miles!! I've got my half-marathon training plan on the fridge so I should start seeing that mileage go back up. 

Friday, June 6, 2014

Sweat Pink

Those of you who actually visit this blog instead of reading it in your reader of choice may have noticed a new badge in my right sidebar. I am now a Sweat Pink ambassador! I never in a million years thought I would ever run willingly and actually enter races and care about it, but here I am. If I can help someone else realize that she too can do it, well, that would be pretty awesome.

I also added a link to Bia but they don't have pretty badges yet. I think I'll break them down and make them make me an ambassador one of these days. I recommend it everywhere I go!

Thursday, June 5, 2014

May stats


I started May with a race and ended it with one! It was actually a pretty light running month because I did have so many races. I like to take a couple of days off before and after a race. And I took some extra time off after Ragnar. 

Stats: 

Mileage: 46.9
Runs: 7
Races: 3 (I'm counting the 3 Ragnar legs as one race) Spring Runoff, Ragnar, Freihofer's
Cross training Days: 3. I know I know. 

I'm hoping June will have a little more consistency and cross training. There are always so many school obligations though so I'm not beating myself up. I've started on the right foot by getting up wicked early (4:30) on Wednesday to get in a short run for National Running Day with some of my best running friends. And then spending 3 hours at Field Day because that's what Running Mamas do. 

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

2014 Freihofer's Run for Women recap

We've had a run-filled week. Last Thursday the kids and I completed the first Wildcats Marathon at our local high school. SkyWalker ran with his friends so I'm not really sure how he did except that he was way in front of us. The Princess refused to be more than 2 inches away from me at all times and spent most of her 1.2 miles whining and complaining that she couldn't do it and we were even walking too fast. At the last minute I decided to let Chewie run because she wanted to. She started out so fast I had to run to catch up to her but by the end she petered out and this happened:
Chewie on my back, The Princess beside me pretending she wasn't whining the whole time.
Whining aside, it was a great program and I look forward to doing it again next year. 

Just a couple of days later I ran in my 4th Freihofer's race. I didn't post any goals or anything ahead of time because I didn't really have any. I just wanted to run as well as I could and not pee myself. The kids decided they wanted to go this year so we skipped their soccer games and went as a family. Unfortunately we couldn't all go up as a family--they wouldn't let non runners past a certain point on the road we were walking, so Vader and the kids had to take the long way around. I met up with my friends but I really wanted to see my family before I started. I lined up with the yellow group again (3rd group from the front) and got a text from Vader that he made it to the viewing area and would try to at least get a starting picture. The race started and I got stuck behind a bunch of people but I was okay because I was intentionally running slower and looking for him. I spotted him on the side and he was able to grab a quick picture:

I was just happy to see him.
After I saw him I knew it was time to speed up a bit and try to reclaim some lost ground. Once I got into the park things opened up a bit and I was happy to see that my first mile was in 9:12. I had thought for sure I had lost too much in the beginning. I ran pretty well and every time I wanted to slow down I just sped up instead. I truly wasn't aiming for any particular time, I just wanted to run well. I did my second mile in 9:05 and was just happy that I hadn't peed myself yet. I was getting a bit hot and tired but after doing Ragnar 3 miles is a piece of cake, so I just pushed myself on. My last mile was 8:30 and the last bit was 7:11. I was thrilled that I had negative splits and was able to kick it in the end. I crossed the line at 28:16 and was happy that it wasn't 28:30. But then I remembered 28:16 was my gun time and I was not right at the start line when the gun went off. My net time was 27:59 with a 9:01 pace. It was a definite post-baby PR and just 1 second away from my course best. 807/3611 total 68/389 division. 

I felt like I ran well and I didn't pee myself (although the Tena pads did come to the rescue when I had to walk a bit to get to the bathroom after the race). I tried to just be grateful that I was able to race at all and that my family was there and to just enjoy it all. Getting back to 27, even with a 59 behind it, was just an added bonus. 

I'm taking a break from races for now, even though there are a bunch I want to do, so that Vader can get some work done on the weekends and we can go to soccer games and not split ourselves. I'm planning to do the Clove Run in August but I haven't seen any registration info for it yet which is a bit troubling. I was hoping to get Vader to race it with me so I really hope they're still doing it. 

Friday, May 23, 2014

There's totally enough time


Awhile back I was running on the treadmill and listening to the Another Mother Runner podcast.  The guest that day was Jill Farmer, author of "There's Not Enough Time… and Other Lies We Tell Ourselves." The basic gist I got from her was that her philosophy was less about how to do things faster  to save time and more about changing the whole IDEA of time. And since I am a big proponent on changing one's perspective and definitions of things in order to make life saner/happier/better, this book sounded right up my alley. I checked my library and they didn't own it, so I went to Amazon and on a whim I bought the e-book right before I left for Ragnar. I read most of it in the van and then finished it back home. I was right, it was totally up my alley.

I'm not going to do a real book review here because I do book reviews over here and I'm not interested in being even remotely professional on this blog.

The biggest things I got from the book is that we like to make ourselves be busier than we are so that we can have excuses for not doing things, and so that we feel "important." I think the latter is the biggest culprit for those of us who take care of our kids all day and don't work anywhere else (yes, I still hate the SAHM label and avoid using it). If I can appear to be as crazy busy and frazzled as working moms than surely I must be doing something of value. You get the idea. I am guilty of putting so many things on my to do list that it's impossible to get it all done and then I wonder why I can't get it all done and knowing I can't get it all done I avoid starting anything and waste more time on Facebook and twitter because why start if you can't finish? (Sidenote: SkyWalker's favorite argument for not wanting to start his school projects is "I can't finish it in one day!" Apple. Tree). Farmer has some good tips for distinguishing what really belongs on your to do list, your calendar, and a 2 minute list. If you need to call the dentist it doesn't need to be on your to do list. It takes 2 minutes. She recommends your to do list be no more than 5 items and one way of whittling it down is to get all those 2 minute tasks off it. Redoing my to do list has been a major help. I printed up a new Monday-Sunday page with a separate section for 2 minute tasks and Bigger Projects. Every day I have dishes and laundry to do and put that under the appropriate day. I don't REALLY have to put dishes there because I know I have to do it, but I like crossing it off. Things like grocery shopping, particular cleaning, planting the garden are all on the to do list. Calling people, responding to birthday invitations, mailing things, are 2 minute tasks. On my Bigger Projects list I had things like clean off my craft table, pack up the baby toys, pull the girls too small clothes. Things that would take a while but I didn't know which day I would be able to get to them. Appointments and exercise go on the calendar.

I have gotten ALL of my bigger projects done this week. Sure, I have more, but all of the ones I listed, ones that have been in my mind and just not done and bugging me for months are ALL DONE. I've been planning on calling the dentist for MONTHS and just never got around to it. But seeing it on the 2 minute list and knowing it would be done in 2 minutes was good motivation. BOOM. Productivity.

Of course I haven't been running or exercising much this week so the true test will be when I ramp that up again.

The other big thing I got from the book was more philosophical. If you think there's not enough time, you will sabotage yourself. You'll be stressed and frazzled and make mistakes. I have taken wrong turns and missed my road so many times when I'm late for something. Or you're rushing and drop things and then have to stop and clean that up. Now, if you've given yourself 5 minutes to get to preschool and it takes 20, well, no, there's not enough time to get there in time. But if you chill out and just think hey, I've got plenty of time to get it done, you'll relax, make fewer mistakes and you'll be 15 minutes late instead of 25. Simply changing HOW you think can change how you react and that can indeed save you time.

Also, it's okay to take breaks--lots of them--and do whatever you want to do. Breaks are good. You don't have to be busy busy every second of the day. I always think that if I sit to read a book when there are dishes in the sink that I lose my credibility… but taking breaks even before all your work is done can help you get motivated to finish up.

I am a big believer in self fulfilling prophecies. If you think this day is going to suck, it will. If you think the universe is out to get you, it is. Thing negative, get negative. Think positive, get positive. This book takes that idea and applies it to time and productivity. If you're one of those people who think you can't get it all done (whatever it is) or that there just isn't enough time, you should read it. There are plenty of tips in there I haven't even mentioned.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Bia sport watch review


Watch, Go Stick, charger & cool packaging
I've been meaning to post a review of my Bia for a while but I thought it would be a good idea to wait until after Ragnar and see how it performed then. Before I get to the review, a little history:

I buy almost everything after reading tons of reviews and getting input and doing research. 80% of the internet research I do is product reviews. I bought my first sports watch, the Garmin Forerunner 305 based on reviews of friends. 

Over a year ago I heard about a kickstarter campaign for a new sports watch and I was intrigued. The watch would have a really cool piece that no others have had-- an SOS alert or "panic button." For a paranoid runner like me who often runs alone down country roads and thinks every white unmarked van is going to kidnap me, this panic button idea was awesome. I checked out the kickstarter and a bunch of other people must have thought it was awesome too because they were fully funded pretty quickly. I didn't add my 2 cents because I didn't really have it to add. 

A little while later I heard they were looking for product testers and in a rare move I actually applied. I didn't get picked, but I was given the opportunity to buy the watch at a cheaper price than what the retail price would be. I decided I believed in the watch so much and the company behind it, that I would go ahead and buy it without reviews, without the product even completed! It was a total leap of faith for me. It took a bit longer than we all thought to get the watch ready, but Bia was very honest and forthcoming and communicated everything to us early adopters. 

The watch is shipped in a cool cylinder with a little drawstring bag to keep it safe. There are two components-- the watch that you wear on your wrist and the Go Stick that you clip anywhere. It should be on the same side of your body as the watch so it can communicate better. The Go Stick is what communicates with the GPS and has a "cell phone" chip in it which enables it to: immediately upload your run as soon as you hit stop & send the SOS text message alert. I haven't had the Go Stick fall off me yet and it picks up the satellite about 3 days faster than my Garmin. The Go Stick is the only thing that needs to be charged. There's a USB cable included that you can hook up to your computer or a wall outlet or a portable charger in a van down by the river. Right now the battery last roughly 6 hours, but they are rolling out an update this week with a 17 hour battery life! I'm not sure how long the battery lasts on stand by. 

The watch fits nicely and is shaped so differently than any other watch I've worn. I've had no problems with the fit. Once I think some of the velcro strap attached itself to something I was wearing and the watch was yanked a bit, but once I realigned the velcro better it didn't happen again. 

There's one button and only one button on the watch. It's large and easy to press. You can choose between run, swim or bike. There are some options listed that aren't available yet. But because of the handy dandy cell phone chip, this watch updates itself! You don't have to go run out and buy a new one when they add a new feature. Already since I got it I have had it update to include mile splits. Unless they change a hardware feature, there shouldn't be a reason to need a new watch for a while. Which is AWESOME. The directions on the watch are pretty straightforward and easy to follow. When your run is done it also gives you a little compliment ("Badassery") or motivation ("Just one more?") or instructions ("Breathe," "Go Shower"). 

The one button is on the left.
I used my Bia during the Ragnar and had no problems. I brought a portable charger with me just in case and charged it but I don't think I really needed to. I was concerned about my night time run because there's no backlight on the watch, but if it's dark enough for me to need a backlight I probably have my headlamp on, which was the case at Ragnar and I had no problem seeing the watch with the headlamp. Once I got in the car and there was no light I couldn't see the screen but I didn't really need to. It was so convenient having my runs automatically uploaded when I was sitting in the van. I brought my Garmin as a backup but never used it.

I love the look of the watch, I love the feel, I love the SOS (it sends a text message to phone numbers you input. In a later update it will also notify emergency services. The text includes a map of your location!). I love the instant uploading. I use Running Ahead as my log so I still have to input it there, but I can download the raw data and upload it there if I don't want to do it manually. Right now it will automatically send info to its own Bia site, Strava, and Map My Run. I love so many things about this watch and I am so glad I took the risk and pre-ordered it.

There are some things I would improve (and some of these may be addressed in future updates):

1. It's impossible to see the lights on the Go Stick when you're in sunlight. I wasn't sure if it was awake the first time and had to go in the garage to check. Minor quibble.
2. The only way to know if it needs to be charged is to start a run. While you're running you can see a battery indicator, but I would like to be able to look at it (either the watch or the Go Stick) the night before and know whether or not I should plug it in.
3. There's no auto-pause (yet) so when I stop and pee I have to manually press the button. You then have the option to continue your run or stop it and save. But if you get distracted and don't save your run right away the only option is to continue. Hopefully auto-pause will fix that.
4. It would be nice to hear a louder beep at each mile. If there's any sound I haven't heard it yet.

It seems to be pretty accurate with the mileage and pace. I used it at the same time as my Garmin and the only difference was because of the auto-pause of the Garmin. It doesn't have as many bells and whistles as the Garmin does--right now it doesn't do intervals. But they are adding features as we speak. They are very responsive to feedback, whether it be through email, Facebook or twitter, and they take customer suggestions very seriously. The company was created by women and run by women and that's an added bonus. You get the sense that they really want to offer a great product and they are willing to take the time to make it right. The bottom line really seems to be customer satisfaction and not just money.

I'm holding on to my Garmin for now but my kids are using it more than me. But I don't see myself giving up the Bia any time in the foreseeable future.

**If you want to buy one, you can here: http://bia-sport.com
edited to include link on 5/22

********
I bought the Bia with my own money (okay, birthday money) and was not compensated in any way for this review. This is my honest, unsolicited review.