Thursday, March 26, 2015

The year of me

I got this as a gift years ago. It fit me then.
Now that I've crossed out the NOT, it fits me now. 

As I said last time, this has been an awesome year. I don't mean the last 3 months, I mean since September. When you have school age kids you tend to think of years as Sept-August.

LightRunner is not yet in preschool so there's no rush to get out the door. We get up when we want to, get dressed when we want to, do what we want to. I haven't taken on any extra responsibilities-- no room mom, no special projects. I've said no to things. I'm wrapping up my cookie mom duties and that will be a big relief. I have my preschool playdates, but that's it. This relaxed schedule has definitely made it easier to make my running/biking/exercise a priority. 

I feel like this is my second chance. My opportunity to really enjoy being home with one kid in ways that I couldn't when I only had one kid and I was working full time. Sure, right now he's doing that toddler thing when it takes an hour to do ANYTHING because he has to try to do it himself first (brush teeth, change diaper, get dressed, etc) but we're not on a deadline! If we don't leave for target until 11 am, so what?! The only thing that gets affected is my exercise which is why I don't leave the house on Tuesdays if I can avoid it (speedwork is more important than an easy run, can't miss it).

I wish the winter had been a little less frigid and that spring would get here so we could spend more time doing fun things outside. I had such grand plans of weekly playdates & stroller runs while my friend is on maternity leave and instead we hibernated in our houses waiting for the cold to stop.

Everything changes when the bus pulls up and the big 3 get home and we're in crazy homework, dinner, meetings mode. So I've been focusing on being grateful for the one on one time I do have with LightRunner. He talks SO MUCH and we have actual conversations all day. He has a real sense of humor and most of the time he's in a good mood. I think it's partly because most of the time I am in a good mood and we are just happy together (which is why I've put my foot down about the big kid messes!). Grumpiness is contagious, but so is happiness. Toddlers pick up on the things you don't say just as much as the things you do; they read emotions so much better than we think they can. Happy children come from happy parents. 

Next year I will go back to rushing out of the house to do preschool drop off and pickup. Sure, I'll have 2 days a week with 2 1/2 hours to myself... but he'll probably stop napping so I'll actually wind up with less time. So this year I am enjoying our care-free mornings, our spontaneous tickle and cuddle times, and getting up at 8. Ish.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

It changes

I'm midway through my half-marathon training plan and things are going really well. I am loving this run-walk method for my weekend long runs, I'm having successful speedwork runs because I've taken a step back and not jumping into speeds that are too fast for me to do properly, I'm enjoying my biking days. I had planned on having one day of separate strength training but as I was driving to the grocery store on Monday (with my workout clothes underneath my regular clothes), I decided that I needed to rethink my schedule. So, rather than strength train on Monday I did some chores that needed to be done. On Tuesday LightRunner and I stayed home, I did my speedwork in the morning with him playing next to me, had a quick lunch, then did a total body workout and then an additional legs workout. Then I put him down for a nap. It was awesome. Unfortunately my afternoon was eaten up by computer network troubleshooting, but in the future it will be even more awesome. It was tough doing the legs workout after intervals, and it's tough being on the bike right now, but I think this will be better for me. I'm not pushing myself on the bike, just recovering. If I had done the legs on Monday and then intervals on Tuesday I'm not sure how well I would have done.

So for now it's: 
Monday: rest (grocery shop, catch up on laundry, blog, read)
Tuesday: speedwork, strength, legs
Wednesday: bike
Thursday: easy run, please with the stroller & not on the treadmill
Friday: bike, strength, arms
Saturday: long run
Sunday: rest

I prefer my long run on Saturdays so I have Sunday to rest, but sometimes it doesn't work out that way.

In addition to being better for my legs, hopefully this will be better for my sanity. As well as my running & biking are going, I feel like I've lost my grip on everything else. I have 3 book reviews I need to write (for myself, no deadline), I'm falling behind on laundry, I have completely lost control of my house, particularly upstairs. I have been very lenient with my kids & their rooms, but I have reached my limit. I'm at the point with the girls that I feel like I need to box everything up & throw it all out. Our new playroom is a distaster. I'm supposed to have a preschool play date on Friday & I don't know how I'm going to (haven't even planned it yet anyway!).

I have never been one of those really anal moms who needs everything dusted and sanitized. But clutter? Stepping on toys? Not being able to sweep up dead flies because of too many toys on the floor? I am losing my mind.

Here's the thing though, it's not the 2 year old.

Mostly it's the girls, but the boys participate as well. It's not just toys either. They leave dirty clothes on the floor, dishes and crumbs on the table, they leave everything. 

Today it changes. 

They are old enough to clean up. They are old enough to pitch in & not say "but I didn't do it". They are old enough to face real consequences if they don't. I will cook & do dishes & laundry & clean toilets. But I am not taking time away from my day to clean up after them anymore. For the most part this has been an awesome year-- the year of me -- and I'm not letting this continue to stress me and ruin it. When I think about how I want to spend today, and tomorrow, it's running, biking, reading, writing, tickling my boy, laughing with my kids, and enjoying each day. It's not cleaning up their messes & yelling at them when they don't. I want to spend my rest days RESTING & reading & blogging.

So. Today. It changes.

Monday, March 23, 2015

My beloved Bia & unexpected choices

I'm trying to Suck It Up ButterCup, I swear.

I received an email on Friday that I honestly did not anticipate getting. My beloved Bia will stop working the way I want it to on April 3. It will continue to function as a GPS giving time, distance and pace. But if that was all I wanted I wouldn't have paid $230 for it two years ago. The watch doesn't store any information on it so I would lose my mile splits as well as the SOS function, which was the major reason I bought the watch before it was even released. I am annoyed because the watch I loved will not work the way I want it to, I'm annoyed that the features I was looking forward to will not be coming, I'm annoyed I have to spend more money. But I am also sad. Biasport was not just a watch maker--it was a community. We all had this really unique watch because we all believed in this company and this product. I am sad to lose that. I feel especially bad since my blog just convinced someone to buy one in the past month!

So, my options. 
1. I can continue to use it as just a GPS watch.
2. I can go back to using the Garmin Forerunner 305 I had before. 
3. I can use my iPhone & an app.
4. I can get a new watch. 

1. I have big races coming up and I need to track my progress with mile splits. I need more than simple distance/time.
2. If I had been happy with the Forerunner 305 I wouldn't have bought the Bia to begin with. I can't wait 5 minutes to get a satellite signal. I'm kind of assuming it still works anyway. I haven't turned it on in months. 
3. I always run with my phone--for safety reasons. I don't like to run down the battery. I've just started playing music & that seems okay, but I am a little wary of doing too much. Have I mentioned my paranoia when running? Also, I put my phone in my pocket and don't look at it again until I finish my run. I need to look at my watch to know how far I've gone now that I'm doing the run/walk. And so I know when to turn around since I often do out and backs or crazy loops. 
4. The downside to this is $$. 

I'm pretty sure I know what I'm going to do. I'm tempted to find a new watch that doubles as an activity tracker, but I don't think I will. My phone does track my steps and I really don't need more than that. I don't sit at a desk for 8 hours a day. I don't sit ANYWHERE for 8 hours a day. I am constantly on my feet. I don't think I need an activity tracker to motivate me or keep me active. I need a running watch. Garmin has come out with a couple of different models since I bought the 305 and one in particular seems promising. The 220 has what I need-- basic time, distance, pace, but also lap pace, interval settings, custom workouts, beeps/vibrates, and when used in concert with your iPhone it can get the satellite in seconds. Amazon has a rebate for it right now and I also have points on my Amazon credit card to lower the price further... It doesn't have an SOS function, but nothing does right now. (I wouldn't be surprised if Garmin or some other company makes a deal with Biasport and we have a watch with SOS in a few years. But I am not waiting a few years.)

I'm annoyed that I have to make this decision but I am not really annoyed at Bia. They did everything they could to make this work. I just wish more people had realized what a wonderful product it was and helped keep the company alive. 

Sunday, March 1, 2015

February stats & recap

Daily Runs

February was definitely better than January (but strangely less than last February. Had I done my long run yesterday it would have been more, but alas, I did not.) Despite it being one of the coldest Februarys we have had in centuries (for reals), I did all of my long runs outside and even managed  a rare midweek run on the road too. 

Daily Rides
I have not done very well with strength training or core or anything besides running and riding. I've decided that for the time being I am going to try to do strength/core/other stuff just once a week instead of trying to fit it in on my running/biking days. I have a limited amount of time to do anything and I have plenty I'm doing. So we'll see how well that works. 

I have been pretty consistent with the bike rides and have advanced to doing more than just nicely pedaling the time away. I've added some resistance training. I was going to just do "speedwork" on the bike and pedal really fast for certain intervals, but I think it'll be better for me in the long run if I do the resistance training. So rather than pedal really fast, I increase the resistance for a minute and pedal as fast as I can (not very) and then recover for a minute with lower resistance. The funny part is that when I am doing an easy bike ride I wind up with speeds of 11-12, but when I do the hard bike ride my hard speeds are 11-12 and the easy recoveries are much higher. So I am actually biking faster anyway. I think this will strengthen my legs, particularly the parts that don't get a lot out of running. 

I've got 61 days until my "A-goal" 5K race and 76 days until my "B-goal" half-marathon so only time will tell. 


Mileage: 52.1 miles
Runs: 11
Races: 0
Bike: 67 miles
Rides: 8
Crosstraining: 3 

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Winter running

Anyone who has known me for more than two seconds knows how much I loathe the winter. I tolerate December because of Christmas, but after that I'm done. I like a snowfall or two, fires & hot chocolate. These things do not need to last for 3 months. Or 4. But this winter, just like all of them, will not end when I would like it to. I do have to say that usually by this time I am ODing on Vitamin D, but I am using exercise & Essential Oils instead and I have not had to increase my Vitamin D just to get through the day. So there's that.

Unlike previous winters, I actually HAVE to do my long run (on the treadmill, no way) because of that May thirteener I have coming up, so I need to get over my extreme aversion to the cold and just get it done. Over the years I have bought various things to help me with that. Some have worked, some have not.

Right now what's working for me is:

Warm leggings from Target (maybe these?) that I got on sale for less than $15. If they had more than one in my size I would have gotten them all. They are warm and comfortable and I don't have to wear anything else (I have not run in negative temps with them but I don't plan to. I have limits.)

I recently bought a thicker pair of Injinji socks. I will only run in Injinji socks. Before I bought the thicker pairs my toes were freezing. I doubled up one day and that worked out well. But the mid grade ones seem to be working ok on their own. I run in minimalist shoes which are great but don't have a lot of extra material to keep my delicate toes toasty.

My mom got me the base layer shirts from Target to wear underneath my running shirts. I've one that is a smooth dry wicking material and one that is fleece. They both work well but I save the fleece for really cold temps. I have thicker running shirts as well, but I've found that when it's really cold I'd rather layer. So I wear the base layer, a thinner long sleeve running shirt and then a jacket that I got from, you guessed it, Target. This has been working for me this winter. 

I used to run in gloves and my fingers would freeze. But I don't like mittens because I have less control over my fingers and I often have to blow my nose. So I compromised with these gloves. I can wear them as mittens or pop the top off and expose my fingers. They are really warm.

The highlight is the face mask I just bought (Amazon). I LOVE it. It has a ponytail spot for extra lovability. Even while wearing a hat my forehead would get cold, my cheeks, my nose. If I focus too much on my face hurting I don't focus enough on running. With the face mask my head and cheeks are protected and I can choose to cover my mouth and nose, or just my mouth, or nothing. I have yet to find a satisfactory solution to fogging sunglasses (that I wear to protect against wind or sun) so I sometimes cover my nose and sometimes don't. If it's super cold I'll wear a hat too, but the face mask is enough in regular cold.

Face mask and jacket from Target. 

I've always been interested in yaktrax but they're pretty expensive and I'm not sure how well they would work with my minimalist Merrel's. So when I saw these in the grocery store--that's right--for a wicked cheap price I figured why not. I haven't used them yet but they fit on my shoes. I'll let you know if they're cheap crap or actually worth it.

I ran in 6 degrees a couple of weeks ago and while it was cold, I didn't die. I can't say I was warm but I was able to do 6 miles mostly because of all this stuff. I never use to run if it was below freezing before, so this is a pretty big step for me. 

When I run in the treadmill I wear capris and short sleeves but changing into them and out of my warm winter wear is often the biggest hurdle to my weekly running. So this winter I have done something different and not changed. When I get dressed in the morning I put on my exercise clothes, whether it be for running, biking or crosstraining, and then my "day clothes." When it's time to exercise, I just have to take my outer clothes off, put on my Injinji socks and shoes, and I'm good to go. This has the added benefit of acting like long johns or thermals so I'm not as cold during the day. Boom.

I'm finishing up my biking right now and I will diffuse some Citrus Bliss later today. It'll take the sting away, but I'll still be dreaming of summer tonight. 

Monday, February 23, 2015

Farther and faster

The kids have been on school break all week and have had various playdates and activities but I did not miss one scheduled run (or bike)! I did skip a couple of Jessica Smith videos I intended on doing, but that was because I pulled a muscle in my shoulder/back when I increased the weights I used on Wednesday. (A little Deep Blue oil & I'm all good).

Yesterday was the first day in weeks that the temperature was above freezing. It was amazing how much of a difference it was in my running. The sun was strong, the wind was low, and I felt my toes and fingers the entire time. I planned on running 8 miles with an 11-11:30 average page. I've been doing a run/walk method and walking for just one minute at the very beginning of each mile. It's making a huge difference. Last week I was supposed to run 7, but I could only do 6 because of time, and I was concerned about jumping to 8. But doing the run/walk meant no problems. Breaking the run down mile by mile and knowing that I have that walk coming up makes me feel more energized and capable of running faster the rest of the time. I have a friend who swears by this method and she has cut her half marathon time down significantly!

I misjudged how far I had to run so I would up with 8 miles before I got back to my car. Instead of stopping I continued running another .73 (I wasn't really paying attention or I would have done an even .75). I felt so good I could have continued running. I wound up doing a 10:37 average pace. I did do a couple of sprints but for the most part I was running easy. It was such a good run and I even forgot my water at home but had no bad side effects. I ran farther than I did last weekend and much faster and I really think it was the sun & warmer temps. Sadly, we're right back to frigid. But having this run in my mind should help me out later. If I can run strong in 34 degrees I know I can run stronger in May! 

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Essential Oils

My last post (Believe) leads me right into this one...

I'm a pretty big skeptic. I don't believe a lot of things. I don't believe in ghosts, I don't believe in religion, I don't believe most things unless they are confirmed in multiple places by independent unbiased sources. Which is why it took me so long to look into Essential Oils. A couple of friends of mine have been selling them through Doterra (visit Essentially Happy Living at Doterra to buy yours) for a while now, but I resisted. Until this winter from hell when I decided I was ready to try anything.

I still believe in modern medicine. I still believe in vaccines. But I believe in Essential Oils now too.

My own personal evidence:

Over the last couple of years whenever I've gotten a headache Tylenol wouldn't work. The only thing that did was Naproxen Sodium, which is not great for kidneys. I'm not talking migraines, just regular headaches. Over the last couple of weeks when I had a headache I used a blend I made of lavender, peppermint & frankincense. The first time it did not get rid of my headache BUT when I took Tylenol it did. Since then if I use it as soon as I feel something I don't even have to take the Tylenol. Once again, these are your run of the mill headaches, not migraines. I haven't had one of those in a long time.

Last weekend my throat started to hurt. I gargled with salt water and oregano oil twice and it went away and never developed into anything. It was gross and I think I burned my upper lip a little, but I just put lavender oil on that and it's all good. 

I stopped taking my allergy pills and started sneezing again (yes, year-round allergies, joy). I use a blend I made of lavender, peppermint and lemon every day now. Sometimes I'll use a stronger blend from Doterra called Breathe. No more problems.

The Princess also uses the same allergy blend every day. At night I put Breathe on her chest and in a diffuser in her room and I haven't heard her snore. She was on allergy pills and a nose spray and STILL snored. 

In addition to these medical benefits to oils, there are also emotional ones. Now, here is where my skeptical nature has a hard time. I'm not sure I believe that rubbing oils can help emotions on a cellular level. But I do believe that smelling uplifting oils can help. And I am a HUGE believer in the power of the mind, the power of positive thinking. If my kids believe using oils can help them snap out of a bad mood, I don't care if it works on a cellular level or not. If they believe, it'll work. I made the Princess a Be Happy blend in her own roller bottle. When she feels like she's losing control, she can use it. She hasn't had to yet. When she gets going with a tantrum there is no stopping her. No logic. No threats. She needs to get herself out of it and this is a tool to help her do that. All she has to do is believe it will work. At least, that's my theory. Since I made her the blend she hasn't had any out of control tantrums. Maybe it's working already.

I've been using a diffuser in my room at night as well and I have been sleeping much better. No more coughing, fewer wake-ups. No more feeling like I will never fall asleep.

It may have taken me a while, but I'm a believer now. If you're interested in learning more about Essential Oils, visit my friend's website: . She'll make a believer out of you too.