Tuesday, October 22, 2013

The sisterhood of mothers

Last night the Princess asked me to read her Someday by Alison McGhee, a book that chokes me up on an ordinary day. I read as much as I could, trying not to cry, and when I got to the page about one day you will hear such sad news that your body will fold with sorrow I could barely get through the sentence. We finished the book and I quietly cried and then noticed that she too was crying. I asked her why and she simply said "Because you are."

It is the crying we do for other people's pain that is the hardest to stop.

Yesterday was no ordinary day.

Yesterday I learned that a friend of mine from high school lost his 11 day old baby. I had been following her progress on Facebook since the day she was born. I had been hoping and wishing and even forced my heathen self to say a prayer or twenty. I asked friends to do the same. But yesterday she lost her fight and they lost her.

I haven't seen my friend in 20 years. I have never met his wife. But I cried for them. I cried in the preschool pick up line. I cried in the shower. I cried myself to sleep.

They talk a lot about the mommy wars. Working moms, stay at home moms, breastfeeding moms, formula feeding moms, attachment moms, um, non-attachment moms. Screw that. We are all mothers. Mothers who love their children. Mothers who love ALL children. When one of us hurts, we all hurt. When one of us cries out in sorrow, we all cry out in sorrow. This is the sisterhood of mothers. While I cannot hope to know the pain, to fully understand it, I feel a paler version of it. I feel it for you. I cry for you. Today I give you my sadness, my tears, my anguish. I hope tomorrow to give you my strength. To give you some small solace in knowing that you are not alone in your pain. That I will not forget. This is the sisterhood of mothers. You are not alone. We are not alone.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Half marathon race report

This past Sunday was the race I have been training for and thinking about for a very very long time. It was my first half marathon, but I set out with a particular goal in mind: 2:15.

The weekend started with packet pickup on Saturday. My friends and I all went and what could have been a stressful situation for me with parking and doing it alone was transformed into a fun event! We picked up all our stuff and grabbed whatever freebies we could. 

I got up as early as I could Sunday morning and had my tea and my breakfast-- toasted white bread with jelly. I haven't had white bread in years but I was trying to avoid fiber. Vader and Nana got the kids ready and we piled in the van and headed to the start. It was probably much less stressful than it would have been without Nana there. Since she is capable of reading a clock and understanding how time works (unlike other grownups in the house), we actually left when we wanted to and arrived at the start with plenty of time for me to pee again and get a few pictures. 

The Strong Running Mamas (some of them)

Castleton Runners

I knew I had to average 10:18 a mile if I wanted to hit my A goal of 2:15. I figured I would run in the 10-10:20 range for the first few miles and then gradually speed up and then put into high gear for the last mile. 

That did not exactly happen. Actually, it wasn't even close to what happened! The first mile was on a narrow trail with lots of slippery gravel and not really the best running conditions. The first 8 miles I ran much faster than I had intended:

Mile 1: 10:27
Mile 2: 9:40
Mile 3: 9:49
Mile 4: 9:40
Mile 5: 9:40
Mile 6: 9:58
Mile 7: 10:07
Mile 8: 10:10

I was feeling okay though and I was keeping up with my friends so I just went with it. I was leaking pee but I was wearing Tena pee pads and I highly suggest that if you're in danger of leakage that you check these out! By the end of the race they were completely full and I never had any spillage. At some point I started to smell ammonia while I was running and I figured I was probably peeing blood (I was!) but I just put it out of my head and concentrated on finishing the race. 

I started to really slow down at mile 9. At some point my friend Jen was having hip pain and needed to walk. I stopped with her. I was doing okay and didn't need to walk (I even took my chews without stopping!) but when she stopped my first thought was Screw the A goal, I'm staying with my friend. She didn't need to walk for very long and only took a couple more breaks, but I stuck with her. 

Mile 9: 10:31
Mile 10: 10:42
Mile 11: 10:53
Mile 12: 11:02

At the 12 mile I just kind of lost it. I stopped for about 10 seconds (and Jen stopped with me) and then we started again and she caught up to Tracy and Sara and I tried to but just missed it. They crossed the finish line holding hands and I came in 2 seconds later. In some ways missing it by 2 seconds was a million times worse than if I had been 15 minutes behind them, but I was happy that I had kept up with them for most of the race. 

Mile 13: 10:26
Last .1: 9:40

That's the gun time.
 I did it. My net time was 2:15:02. Even with stopping to walk I hit my A goal. I am super excited that I finished when I wanted to in my first half marathon! I am happy that I ran most of the way with my friends. I am happy that for most of the race I felt good. I would have preferred to run slower in the beginning and not peter out at the end, but it is what it is.

478 out of 800 people
58 out of 104 in age group
Net pace 10:19

Me and Felice after the race. 

Castleton Runners finished!

So many of my friends ran wonderful races! Bridget had a major PR. Felice did what she always does and nailed it. Karyn had a great PR. Tammy ran it in 2:00:10. 10 seconds slower than what she had wanted but still amazing! Stephanie ran the full marathon in 4:18! Jen's husband Jim ran the full--his first--in 3:08 and qualified for Boston! In his first marathon! Crazy! It was such an amazing experience.

I'm taking the next two weeks completely off. My kidneys need a rest--a real rest--and I need to get this tendinitis sorted out once and for all. I'm going to slowly return to running and max out at 6 miles for my long run. I don't have anything on the schedule until the Ragnar in May, but I would like to get a 5K or two in before that. I'm not sure what or when but I'd like to get myself back to what I was before I got pregnant. I don't think I'll do another half until next year's MH. So I've got a year to work on my speed and not be 2 seconds too late again.

In the mean time I have this to tackle:

My "craft/working" table. 

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Half goals

Week 16.

I am in Week 16 of my half marathon training plan. A plan so long it took 2 pages on my fridge. Spanned multiple months (duh). My "taper" has coincided nicely with the plague that has overrun my house. The Princess missed 4 days of school last week. It is now Chewie's turn... Coughing until vomiting and getting snot all over. Just for the fun of it LightRunner decided to get a fever too. He seems much better though so maybe his was a fluke. I am drinking EmergenC every day and looking for bubble wrap.

I've had some good long runs and some bad long runs, some good speed work and some bad, and I'm as prepared as I'm going to be at this point. It is my first half marathon and everything I have read everywhere says to just run it to finish and not even think about time. (I didn't even have to do the speed work! It was just for fun!) And those are people without kidney stones and blood in their pee and smelling like ammonia after a run. Just finish.

I have no doubt in my mind that I will finish. I'm pretty sure I can do it without walking, but I may choose to walk while eating my Clif chews. But I can't just go in to finish. That's just not me. Not anymore, anyway.


My goals, because you know I have them:

C. 2:30 I truly believe I will beat this, but it could turn out freakishly hot & it's super important I not get dehydrated.

B. 2:20 I think this is also doable.

A. 2:15 or better. I did a 12 mile run with some rolling hills and stopped to walk for my chews in 2:05. I think I can do another mile in 10 minutes. 

I will be happy with any of these goals really. It *is* my first half and whatever I do is an automatic PR! But I'm going to do my best to reach my A goal. I don't want my kid to settle for a B, so why should I? 

My non-time related goals are harder to put into words. I want to truly enjoy this experience. I want to smile. I want to have fun. I want to finish with my friends. Training with friends has been so amazing. I couldn't do this without them. I hope that I can keep up and finish with them, instead of, you know, last. I want to push myself and run the best race I can and not leave thinking, I could have done more.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Sink or swim

The ginormous binder my 9 year old has to lug to school each day.

This is it.

No, not my half-marathon post. That'll be coming.

This is the year that I finally let SkyWalker sink or swim. He is so very very smart but so very very lazy. He has made it this far because I have nagged him to get his work done on time and I have pretty much held his hand each year. I don't do it for him because I'm not that bad. But this year he has to be responsible for himself. He has a giant binder and sees all three teachers and it's kind of like middle school in 4th grade. So he has so much more work to do. I have tried to teach him not to wait until the last minute, not to put off his work just because it's not due yet because he doesn't know how much more he will get by the time it is due. I've tried to teach him to take pride in his work and do a good job. 

But I've got to stop holding his hand. I've got to stop checking his homework to make sure he hasn't made stupid mistakes because of rushing to get it done so he can play minecraft. I've got to stop micromanaging and telling him what to get done. I've got to let him be in control. Even if it means his grades suffer and he doesn't live up to his potential. He has to learn to swim or he will sink. And I will have to let him.

He just turned 9 years old. I look at him and see him at 9 months old. But I need to look at him and see him at 19. Confident, indepedent, hard-working people don't wake up that way. They are made that way. I knew when he was first born that if I wanted him to sleep on his own I couldn't feed him, or rock him, or let him sleep in my bed. I had to teach him as a baby to do it by himself. The same is true now. If I want him to work hard and be successful, he's going to have to learn how. He's going to have to learn failure as well as success. I'm not doing him any favors by shielding him from that failure now.

So this is it. This is when I step back so that he may step forward. All I can do is hope that he actually does.

Monday, September 30, 2013

I made it through another September

September is such a crazy month for us. School, preschool (which was crazier than normal, but that's for another blog post), soccer, swimming, allergies, back to school colds, SkyWalker's birthday (he's 9 now! What the hell? 9?). I think in years past I've often taken some time off from running in September until we get established in our routines. I didn't last September but that's because I was just returning to running so I wasn't doing all that much. This September I couldn't even think about a break.

On top of it all, Vader and I have been doing a Plank challenge for the month. We started on September 1st with a 20 second plank and we will finish today with a 4 minute one. It was a good idea in the beginning of the month. Not so much now.

The half-marathon is in 2 weeks. Today is supposed to be my first day of Week 15 of my training, but the Princess is sick and I'm not going to get it in. But that's okay since I'm tapering and I can make it up on Friday. Next week is Week 16, the final week, the culmination of everything I have been thinking about for months.

This September I ran my highest mileage EVER. Since I started running in March of 2010.


  • Mileage: 84
  • Runs: 15
I probably won't be seeing mileage like that again any time soon. I'm taking two weeks off after the half and then I'm slowly building up my base again. I've got to rest my foot and my kidneys so no more 10 mile long runs! But that's okay. Because for one month I was able to do it all--all the crazy family & school stuff and run a lot. Well, not all. I'll never get that damn dusting done.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Sometimes you need to go it alone

11 solo miles, my longest ever alone. Time of day is irrelevant.

It's been a tough couple of weeks around here...  Very busy with some good and some not so good stuff. It has all caught up to me and when my alarm went off this morning for my long run with friends, it just wasn't happening. My head hurt, my throat felt weird, my cheeks and teeth hurt and I'm pretty sure I skipped the cold part and went straight into a sinus infection. I decided to just sleep--which actually meant listening to sick LightRunner cry and the rest of the children be way too loud. I sacrificed my long run with friends for that! I got up and thought how much doing 11 miles alone was going to suck. Luckily I quickly realized it would indeed suck if I thought of it like that. So I flipped around and reframed it as an opportunity, an opportunity to test my mental strength and to do things you just can't do in a group--like play with my pace. I decided to do the first half slow and speed up the second half, which is the goal all the time but doesn't necessarily happen.

I started out with the first mile really slow as a warmup. Usually I go too fast in the beginning but I made a conscious effort to really slow down. Then the next couple of miles I went slightly faster but still on the conservative side. When I hit 4.5 miles I sped up a lot and ran a mile as fast as I could. I had really wanted to do the 11 miles in 2 hours and when I saw that if I sped up just a bit I could reach the halfway point in an hour, I decided to go for it. I made it there in time and was really happy that I had been able to speed up after already running 4.5. I freely admit that when I reached 5.5 I stopped the clock, ate my chews, drank more water, and blew my nose again. I started up again rather slow, slower than I intended but not too crazy. When I thought I wouldn't make it in 2 hours I dug deep and sped up, determined to have my second half faster. I repeated "I will do this" over and over and it worked. I started running much quicker and feeling like I could do what I wanted if I just didn't give up. I kept reminding myself that if I could run 5 miles pushing a stroller and keep up an 11 min pace, then I could run 5 miles without the stroller much faster (I left out the part about already running 5 miles). When I got to 8.5 I was getting tired, but I really wanted to do this. So I just kept the mantra going, kept my legs moving, and then I was at 9, and then 10. When I reached 10 miles I had 11 minutes until the 2 hour mark. I sped up and truly pushed myself and didn't accept any excuses (nope, sorry little bladder, not stopping this time!). The watch hit 11 miles at 1:59 and I couldn't have been happier (that's a lie. I can always be happier, but it was pretty good.)

My first mile was 11:21 and my last was 10:03. My last was much faster than all the rest and I was super stoked that I managed to do it on tired legs. The first half, 5.5 miles was 1:00 and the second was 59:26. While not by much, I did what I set out to do. I ran the second half faster, I ran faster on tired legs, and I ran the last mile the fastest. And I did it all alone on country roads with rolling hills and no houses let alone people to cheer for you. If I can do that, I am sure I can do this half marathon.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

ENERGYBits giveaway winner

Thanks to everyone who entered my ENERGYBits giveaway. I wish I had won some myself, I could have used them during my terribly inconsistent intervals today. But, I digress.

Using random.org, the winner is comment #4. FunRunner! Email me your info (name & address) and I'll pass it along to the good people at ENERGYBits.

Edited September 30, 2013

I haven't heard back from FunRunner at all, so I've used the Random Number Generator to pick another winner. Comment #5, Sara King, you've now won the ENERGYBits! Get me your info and I'll pass it on.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Twelve glorious miles

Me, Tracy and Sara right after finishing our first 12 miles.
My friend Jen is not in the pic because she was too fast
and was already in the shower!
After my painfully slow Clove Run, the next long run I did was just as bad. It was hot and humid and I could not keep up. Our group split up and Sara stuck with me to finish our 10 miles. While I knew I could finish the half marathon I began to seriously doubt whether or not I would do it with my friends by my side. I didn't want to slow them down.

And then last weekend we all got up early and ran at 6 am on a Saturday. The air was brisk and dry, there was no humidity, no glaring sun, nothing to dehydrate me even more.

It was glorious.

There were times when I slowed down a bit and I even walked when I ate my Clif Shot Bloks. But I was able to catch back up each time. I was able to put on some speed during the middle and end of the run. When I reached the 10 mile mark it was a full 10 minutes faster than I had done the Clove Run. I was ecstatic. We continued and I hit 12 miles at 2:05. I finally felt like I did before I hurt my feet, before I started having kidney stone problems. I desperately needed this run.

The weather definitely helped. I ate a banana before I left and I haven't been eating anything so that could have helped too. I also did something shocking... I wore my old Mizuno shoes. My minimalist soul died a little, but I figured that while I'm battling this tendinitis (because really, it's not going to go away until after the half when I stop stressing my feet out so much) my feet could use a little extra support. I apologized to my Dash Gloves, laced up the Mizunos, and hoped I wouldn't immediately fall into heel striking the entire time. I think that the shoes worked for me. It gave me that extra stability that my feet need right now. I wore my Dash Gloves for a 4 mile run yesterday and was absolutely fine too. So I think I'll be able to keep them for shorter runs and just use the Mizunos for the long ones until I get this half done.

I am supposed to do another long run this weekend but I will be going away with the Princess and her Girl Scout troop. So instead I will have to get up wicked early Friday morning and run before school and then do a stroller run during preschool. I won't be able to get 12, but between the two maybe I can get 8-10 and hopefully that'll be enough. After that is just one more double digit run and then I start the taper!

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

ENERGYbits review and giveaway

I'm pretty active in the running communities on twitter and I had heard a lot about ENERGYbits, little algae tabs that were a good alternative to the high-sugar gels that runners use to fuel a long run/race. I've been searching for something that I can use that will have me running for the finish line and not running for the toilet, so when ENERGYbits asked if anyone was interested in trying out a sample I raised my virtual hand.

The first time I tried the bits was for a midday run when I knew I didn't have enough time for lunch but I didn't want to run empty. The serving size is 30 tabs. I dutifully started swallowing tabs and quickly realized that there was no way I could do all 30. I cut it off at 20 hoping that would be enough (I'm smaller than most people anyway). I did my run expecting some crazy burst of energy but there was nothing. Nothing unusual in either a good or bad way.

I decided I'd try another run before I made my mind up about the ENERGYbits. I made plans to run at 5:15 in the morning on Monday and I thought it would be a perfect time for my second test. When I woke up at 4:30 I was starving. Full on tummy rumbling hungry. I didn't eat anything other than 20 bits. I kind of lost count of how many I swallowed, but there are 20 left so I am guessing I managed to do another 20. I met my friends and we set out on our run. I immediately noticed I was running a lot faster. It was pretty cool cold out and I figured the lack of humidity and the brisk air was just putting an extra oompf in my step. We ran 4 miles and I ran them quicker than I have in months. I never once felt any hunger or nausea or ickiness that I sometimes feel with gels. There was no hyperactive energy burst  or slowing down running through molasses feeling, but rather a consistent steady pace. I think the ENERGYbits definitely affected my run that day.

I think that they are a good alternative to eating a meal before a run, but there is no way I would be able to swallow the bits during an actual long run. It was difficult to swallow 20 of them sitting at my table. I'm not one of those swallow a bunch of pills at a time girls so it was a long and tedious process. I couldn't do it running. Or even walking. They can also be chewed but I wasn't brave enough to try that.  I still have 20 bits left and I might add them to a smoothie and see how that works.

Overall, I was pleased with the way they worked for the second run. I would recommend them to other runners looking for meal replacements or substitutes for the high sugar gels. I like that the ENERGYbits have one ingredient--algae--and nothing hidden. I don't think that they would work for me while I was in the middle of a run and that's really what I need right now, so I probably would not buy a whole supply on my own. I am interested in trying them out before my speed work tomorrow.

If you'd like to try ENERGYbits out for yourself, you can use the code "BLOG" in the coupon box and receive a 10% discount.

You can also enter my giveaway to win a free sample! ENERGYbits are graciously offering to send one free sample to one of my lucky readers. Please note that "ENERGYbits are only available at ENERGYbits.com and Jonathan (their Brand Manager) has shared with me that he'd be happy to connect anyone with a current ambassador to share a discount on a bag of bits-- you can email him at jlevitt@energybits.com".

To enter just leave me a comment telling me why you would like to try the ENERGYbits. I will choose a winner on Monday, September 16. Please make sure you leave a valid email address so I can reach you.

If you are on twitter you should join the ENERGYbits Health and Fitness chat every Tuesday night at 8 PM (EST) by using the #poweredbybits hashtag.

EnergyBits sent me a free sample but I was not otherwise compensated for this review. 

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

August stats

Tomorrow is the first day of school. We are so not ready. We have all our supplies and have everything labeled, but *we're* not ready. The Princess got out of bed at 8:45 today. Tomorrow she will be on the bus at 7 (earlier actually). This is going to hurt.

I did everything in my power to stop it but September is here again. Which means August is over.


  • Mileage: 38.9
  • Runs: 7
  • Races: 2

I took some time off when we went to LI right before the Clove Run to try and rest my tendinitis foot. Otherwise I think my mileage would have been as high as July. I'm slightly annoyed that I keep having setbacks--aching feet, kidney stones--but I have to remember all those months I wasn't able to run at all when I was pregnant. I really need to stop comparing my numbers from before I was pregnant and start looking at it as a clean slate. It has officially been a year since I've been running again after having LightRunner. I started up again when he was a month old. Last August I managed to do a whopping 10 miles for the entire month. On Sunday I ran 10 miles in a single day. What a difference a year makes! If I forget about before and just think about this last post-baby year:

Considering I've had to take time off to battle kidney stones and tendinitis, it's not bad. And most of this time I was breastfeeding a baby! (We finished that last week.) 

I hope to get back to some cross training now that school is back in session. I also plan on adding another weekly run. My ideal schedule will be to get my butt out of bed early Monday mornings and run before school, do intervals on the treadmill on Wednesdays, run with the jogging stroller on Fridays, and long run on the weekend. I'm aiming for Saturday followed by both swimming lessons and two kids with soccer games. I'd rather get it done Saturday so I can sleep Sunday.

I think there are only 5 weeks left before the half marathon so it's crunch time! I'm supposed to do my longest run (12 miles) next week but the Princess and I will be camping with the girl scouts. I'll have to do it the week after. I am looking forward to tapering. I'm looking forward to the half being done. I'm looking forward to my long run being 6 miles and not 10. I'm looking forward to enjoying pain-free running again. I'll do the Ragnar in May and another half sometime--maybe a destination half--but I'm really looking forward to just running for the sake of running.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Another summer of fun

A perfect summer beach day with our family.
I love how many kids there are!
I feel like I wrote this yesterday. Lamenting the loss of another summer and the return to school. And yet here we are again. I'm happy to say that so far we have NOT repeated the fighting and yelling and pushing each other away! Possibly because we've done our fair share of bickering this summer but also because I planned things a bit better. We had our Long Island trip in the beginning of August followed by fun at home and then our first real vacation as a family. We went back to the mountain that Vader and I got engaged on and spent a few days doing fun family things. They weren't perfectly behaved every single minute (well, the Princess wasn't) but they did really good and it was a lot of fun and I hope we get to do it again. Since we got home we've had nonstop fun. Our last trip to the local small amusement park, playdates with good friends, and this weekend we'll have a BBQ with some newly discovered local second cousins. This summer we've caught fireflies, gone fishing, done a lot of swimming in various places, gone to museums and playgrounds. We've had lots of family time with LightRunner's first birthday party and our trip to LI. We've truly packed it in. We had wanted to do a drive-in movie but that just wasn't in the cards this year. We also wanted to do a local hike but I discovered that they've closed it... but it's okay since we managed to do a hike while on vacation. We've managed to do all this between speech for Chewie and PT visits for me. It really was a great summer.

Will we resort to the moody yelling this weekend? Maybe. But I'm going to really try to prevent it. We've been having major battles over food--what else is new--but I'm trying to institute change slowly so we're not at war every night.

In just a week they will be back at school and we will go back to the demands of homework and projects and school lunches. Chewie will start her second year of preschool the week after. LightRunner and I will fill our time with food shopping, running, story time, and whatever else I can manage. But this week we are still enjoying summer. I'm trying to get as much laundry and crap done today so we can have one more Friday Fun Day tomorrow. Instead of lamenting the fact that it's over, I want to celebrate all the fun we had and start planning next summer.

Monday, August 19, 2013

This one goes to 11

Even though I still have kidney stones rattling around my insides and I've been battling tendinitis and have barely run in the last couple of weeks (my last long run was July 27), on Saturday August 17th I laced up my new ankle brace and set out to run the 10 mile Clove Run for the first (and only) time. I LOVE the 5K. It's local, it's small, it's fun. I always do my best there. I LOVE making it home in time to cheer on the runners doing the 10 mile that goes right past my house. But this year I decided to do the 10 mile instead--as preparation for the half in October--and to prove to myself that I could do it a year after having a baby. My fourth baby. It was kind of a bucket-list race. This was going to be my one time doing it so I could go back to the 5K and get back to cheer my friends on next year! So, even though I've had some set backs and I knew it was going to be the hardest run I've ever done, I felt like I had to do it. The race course is made up of my local country roads. Long, hilly, deserted country roads. I drive these roads all the time. I knew every hill and long stretch of corn fields coming up. It's kind of tough to keep running when you know EXACTLY how far you have left and what's around the corner.


Before the 10 mile I ran the 1 mile with the Princess, SkyWalker and Vader pushed Chewie in the jogging stroller while Grama stayed with LightRunner. It was the best mile I ran that day. SkyWalker took off and Vader had to really run to keep up with him. He walked a couple of times but for a lazy kid who complains about everything he did really well. I'm not sure how quickly he did it because I was with the Princess. She had to walk a bit more, but when she was running she did pretty good. We finished in the 12 minute range, which meant SkyWalker finished well before that. Which is pretty awesome when they've never done a 1 mile race before. I thought the 1 mile would be a good warmup for the longer race and I think it was.

I started the 10 mile with my friends (who all did wonderful! Bridget did awesome and had a major PR. Felice was her usual amazing self despite being sidelined with an injury not too long ago) and as usual I started out too fast. But my foot would not let me keep it up. I knew I wasn't "racing" and I knew that the half marathon is the more important race, so I just fell back and ran my own race. Quite literally my own race. I ran up the first smaller hill and had to stop and walk so I could adjust my water belt and my bib. Then I kept going and going. When I got to mile 6 I realized that the only person behind me was on a bike. I asked if I was last and he diplomatically said "we were at the end." I had NO idea until then. I knew there were still two big hills coming up and I still had the hardest part of the race to go and I was already last. There was a woman about half a mile in front of me and I hauled ass to pass her. I caught up to her and ran with her a little and then we walked the first big hill and then I was on my road so I started running ahead of her.

I passed the house and the kids had signs and were cheering and Vader was there and I wanted to just stop and let him carry me inside. But I kept going and going. I passed the house when I told him I would so I really wasn't running much slower than I anticipated. It was just that everyone else was much faster. But somehow I made it to the end of my road and the last 2 miles of the race.

The last part of the race is the most brutal. There is a a huge hill (I walked) and then you still have more to run before the end! There's no crowd support. Nothing to get you through. I almost tripped and the old volunteer dude said "We can't have any falling now." in that funny old man way so that helped. I got to the last half mile or so and one of the Strong Running Mamas was running in the opposite direction but turned around to run with me and it was exactly what I needed. Just to have someone else with me.
When I sprint, I heel strike. When I run normally, I don't.
When I started to turn the corner for the home stretch I sprinted to the finish and then I was done. 10 miles done. 10 miles after a 1 mile fun run. So I did 11 total miles, my longest ever, with tendinitis and kidney stones and still nursing this baby, and I did it in less than 2 hours (1:54:36 official time) which is what I expected with the hills. I've looked at previous years results and there were more people in this race but they were all so much faster! There were people who finished in 2 1/2 hours in the last couple of years. Clearly they've been training! I'm not really thrilled with it, but I'm proud that I finished and I'm okay with my time. I wasn't racing it, I was just trying to run it. And I did.

And I did it on my 11th wedding anniversary, so that's pretty cool. But no, I won't be doing 12 miles next year.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Firefly race recap and tendinitis

So, those strained ligaments in my right foot that were bugging me? Turned out it's actually tendinitis or tendonitis depending on who you talk to you on the internets. Luckily I was smart enough to go to an actual Physical Therapist/Sports Doc who did all sorts of crazy things like move my foot and watch me run. I went for my first actual PT visit on Saturday, the day of the Firefly 5K. He hooked my foot up to some crazy machine so it could be all nice and tingly:

This is actually from today but the same thing happened.
Then he used an ultrasound (not diagnostic) to try to heal the area even more. The last thing he did was tape my foot up with KT tape and other tape and have me run in the parking lot. The pain was SO so bad. I would have kept running but I don't think I would have been able to keep it up for a 5K. So he retaped it and had me run again and it was AMAZING. To have so much pain and then to have none just because of repositioning some tape was truly just amazing.

This too is from today. The tape for the race was a bit more.  But you get the idea.
The race was an evening race and not knowing how the tape would hold up since he had to wrap it so early, I really tried to not put pressure on myself for a particular time goal. I wound up running 28:28, 2 seconds slower than the Dodge the Deer and 2 seconds faster than the Freihofer's. Which is... interesting. I won't lie, I am disappointed that I am still a minute slower than I was before I got pregnant. But, since I'm not lying, I will also freely admit that I am not doing the work. I'm not doing speedwork religiously like I had been. I'm not pushing myself right now. I am increasing mileage and having fun with my kids this summer. Once school starts again I think I'll buckle down (I don't know if that's a phrase, but I'm going to use it as such) and get back on the speedwork track and clean up my eating and get focused. But right now I want to enjoy as much as summer as I possibly can.

When I think logically and if I were listening to a friend talk... I first started running when Chewie was just turning a year old and it took me a good couple of years to get my 5K time to my PR (27:35). LightRunner just turned a year old, I barely ran when I was pregnant, I took it nice and easy when I started again. Instead of thinking that I'm still a minute away from my PR, I would tell my friend, look, you're ONLY a minute away and this is just your 3rd postpartum race! AND you have kidney stones and tendinitis. I'm not making excuses--like I said, I admit I'm not doing the work--but all things considered... I'm doing pretty well. When I look back at the Firefly 5K, I started really strong with no foot pain, I ran up hills instead of walked them, and I finished strong.

Official time: 28:28 Splits: 8:52/9:46/8:50 and 86/317 people.

(Although I did not PR, I was so excited to be there for Bridget who did PR, after running 5 miles in the morning too. She ran a super awesome race and I'm so very glad I could be there with her!)

For your amusement:
This is how I had to shower after today's run.
I put clear wrap around it and taped it.
It did not keep it dry. Sigh. But it wasn't soaked.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

July stats and where has the summer gone?

It is August 1st. August. 1st.

I'm not sure how that happened. Which is pretty usual for the summer. We look forward to it all year long and then it gets here and it just goes SO quickly. I decided the other day that if NYS ever extends the school year into summer I will either home school or move. Probably move.

We've been both busy and not busy. Lots of library programs, playdates with new friends and old friends. We've also spent quite a bit of time in our little rinky dink pool. Now that the heat wave is over and nights are getting chilly, the pool is back to being cold and is not quite as much fun. During the heat wave that everyone complained about the pool was actually quite lovely. Lovely in water temperature sense, it was still rinky dink in every other sense. There's a hole I can't find in the ring at the top. The pool itself has just been stretched out from years of use so it's not actually 3 feet. But they have fun. I've decided--with my MIL--that we will get an above ground pool installed for next summer. Vader can either have input as to where it goes or he can not.

The first week of July the kids went to gymnastics camp. I spent $300 for the three of them to have 9 hours of fun. Every summer I think about camp but I don't want them to be away from me and they don't want to be. Gymnastics camp was just half a day for 3 days. It was good, but expensive. I looked into the town camp that I never want to do because it's pretty much a school day (9-2) and for the three of them for a month it'll cost $250. Next summer Chewie will be able to go since she'll be entering kindergarten (gasp). The cost maxes out at $250 for a family. So I think I will sign them up for that and just send them a couple of days a week. It will solve the problem of them wanting constant entertainment and not understanding that I still have to go food shopping and do laundry and dishes and things like that. I'll still have LightRunner but hopefully he'll be okay. Wouldn't it be funny though if he goes from being the best baby ever to the worst 2 year old?

We just celebrated his first birthday and it truly is bittersweet. He is just a joy. Happy and easy going and truly delightful. He is crawling up the stairs and standing on his own for brief snippets. He can cruise along furniture but hasn't attempted to walk and I am fine with that. He is 19 pounds 6 ounces and 28.5 inches long. He misses the jedi record by two ounces... the Princess was 19, 8 at a year. The other two were 16 pounds. He loves eating meat and vegetables. We started cow's milk and he has been just fine with it, which was a relief after all his gassiness and crankiness from dairy early on. I nurse him morning and night but it is clearly just for me. I feed him in the morning, and 15 minutes later give him a sippy cup of milk and he smiles and claps for it and drinks it all down. The bedtime feed is really just him humoring me. For 4-5 minutes. I wanted to make it until the end of the summer but I don't even know if we'll make it the end of the week! He is independent--he likes to feed himself and Mama doesn't quite fit into that.

I started my half marathon training and I have been pretty vigilant about sticking to my plan this time. No extra miles. I've strained the ligaments in my right foot and sometimes my left foot gets sore from compensating. After I do the Clove Run in a couple of weeks I might have to take some more time off. I don't want to, but I want to be able to do the half in October and if resting for a couple of weeks will make that better than I should probably do it.

I've also signed up for a Ragnar in May. 24 crazy women from my local town are sleeping in vans and running a total of 180 miles over a weekend. It is insane. I am pretty sure that this will be a once in a lifetime thing. I am looking forward to getting to know the local ladies better and to do something so insane, but I think I like the idea of a destination half a lot more. Run 13.1 miles, stay in a nice hotel.



  • Mileage: 28.4
  • Runs: 6
  • Races: 1


  • Mileage: 56.1
  • Runs: 12
I'm not even bothering to list cross training since it was nonexistent. Well, I've done a lot of bike riding, swimming, pushing strollers and shopping carts, furniture moving up and down stairs, and non-traditional exercise. I'm pretty sure July is my highest mileage month in quite a while. And I even took a whole week off to go to the foot doctor and deal with my foot and its tender ligaments. 

I'm starting August off with a nice easy evening run with a friend and a 5K race this Saturday. It's an evening race with glow sticks and laser shows and all sorts of fun. I'm not even thinking about goals. I just want to run and not pee my pants during the race, pee blood after the race, or want to chop my feet off. There, those are my goals. 

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Welcome to funky town

I have not run since the Freihofer's race. I planned on taking the week off to catch up on all the things I have been neglecting the last couple of months. Instead, I had birthday parties (one we hosted for Chewie and a couple for the Princess to attend), multiple school visits, field day, doctor visits, dentist, etc. I shlepped poor Light Runner around so much. I planned on just taking last week off but I had also planned on getting stuff done! So, here I am this week trying to scramble to get it all done. I've managed to clean a couple of toilets, repeatedly straighten up the kitchen, finally have clean underwear to wear, straighten up the deck, clean off my craft table, and there's so much more I still want to do. I feel slightly better that I'm getting some of this stuff done, but I am in a serious non-running, non-exercising funk. It's my own choice,  but I know that with a 16 week half marathon training plan coming up, I need to get my affairs in order.

Part of those affairs was seeing a stone specialist about these damn kidney stones. Long story short, I have NO plan for these stones other than to "wait and see." No blasting. No magic pills. I can drink citrus to try to prevent them and to try to help with the blood in my urine when I run, but other than that there's nothing that I can do. On the one hand I am glad I don't need parathyroid surgery. On the other hand I don't want to be in the middle of running the half in October and start passing kidney stones!

Another loose end that has been finally wrapped up--Chewie and her speech. I received a letter a couple of weeks ago that she qualifies for twice a week services, no meeting necessary. Ooookay. We had our review meeting yesterday and she will not only get twice a week services in the fall, she'll also get it in the summer. Easy peasy.

School is winding down and I can't wait for it to be over. We've come up with a list of fun things we want to do and I plan on actually doing them this summer. Instead of waiting for friends to invite us to things we're going to make our own fun. We're also going to be doing a lot of running. In addition to my 16 week training plan on the fridge, there's also an 8 week plan for the kids! It's a 5K plan, but the biggest ones will be running a 1 mile race in August. The Princess wants to run a 5K next spring, so I figure we'll train this summer. If SkyWalker can last a mile without complaining he can do a 5K sometime too. I'm looking into getting a jogging stroller for LightRunner, but I'm not quite sure what I'll do with Chewie. She can run, but I'm not sure she can run that much. I don't want to get a double jogging stroller though because I hope to run a lot when she is in preschool three days a week next year and I just have LightRunner. I'm thinking of seeing how I can do with the stroller I have now that lets her stand in the back. We aren't going to be running fast or far, so I might be able to get away with that and just get a real jogging stroller for the fall.

I can hear LightRunner crying in his crib so my brief naptime break is over. But one more thing--if you actually visit this blog instead of just read it in a reader, you'll see a brand new image over to the right. I am now a #RunChat Runbassador!  Those of you on twitter who also run should definitely check out the #RunChat tag, it's super helpful. On Sunday nights there's sponsored chats, but the rest of the time it's just runners exchanging info. I think they're still accepting Runbassadors, so click on the image in my sidebar and fill out the form.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Running smart

I know. It's been a few days.

So, my goals for the Freihofer's were:

C. Beat my last 5K time: 28:26
B. Beat my last Freihofer's time of 27:58 (I need to double check this!)
A. 26:30 or better

I didn't do it.

I would be lying if I said I wasn't slightly disappointed, but this year the cards just seemed stacked against me.

For the first time I was able to see the starting line from where I was. The first year there were hundreds of women in front of me. This year I was in the 3rd corral and could see the elites and the road ahead! Crazy. I started out strong with a good first mile and got slower with the second and even slower with the third. It was WICKED hot. I didn't go to the bathroom before the race and I wound up having some complications from that. And then in the home stretch when I wanted to speed up, my shoelace came undone. For the first time ever.

I kept switching sides when I was running to try and stay in the shade and I freely admit that I didn't "empty my tank" (well, I emptied one of them, hahaha). In fact at the finish line when most women stopped or passed out, I kept on running. I could have run longer. I think I'm okay with that now. I didn't stop to walk, I didn't have to visit the medical tent, didn't pass out, didn't vomit. Didn't collapse. There will be other races when I can give it my all, but when it's already 79 degrees at 9 in the morning and I have EIGHT KIDNEY STONES and four little children to go home to (they were at soccer and missed the big race)... well... I think I ran smart even if I didn't run exceptionally fast.

I wound up finishing with a net time of 28:30 (gun time 28:45. I was only 15 seconds from the start!).

How cool are these results? I mean, the layout, not the time.
My friends all ran great and did really well in the heat. It's so nice to be a part of a supportive group.

I'm taking this week off from running and exercising and trying to get to all the things I've neglected. Laundry, toilets, my poor garden. I've been doing tech support with our wireless network and security camera for the last 2-3 days. Today we had a birthday party from Chewie who has managed to turn 4. I need to start planning Lightrunner's first birthday party next month. I see the stone specialist on Friday and hope I have some more answers and a plan for these stones. My next planned race will be the 10 mile Clove Run in August (on my 11th anniversary. Maybe I'll run the 1 mile fun run with the kids to make it 11 total!). I'm not thinking about that yet though. I'm keeping my fridge plan-free for a little while. 

Friday, May 31, 2013

May Wrap-up, Race goals, and Another Mother Runner house party

It all comes down to this. 7 weeks of running and cross training and preparing. My "A-goal" race is tomorrow. I've done all I can do.

But first:

Last night a bunch of my running friends and I went to a local shoe store to meet the authors of Run Like a Mother and Train Like a Mother (take a look in my sidebar at my favorite books section.) The original Another Mother Runners Dimity McDowell and Sarah Bowen Shea read from Train Like a Mother, raffled off cool prizes (I won a gift card to Saucony for a FREE pair of shoes or apparel!!), and gave us a bunch of swag (now I can try Nuun and various gels that I will need when I start training for the half). They mingled and talked to us and it was funny immediately recognizing their voices because I listen to their podcast. It was such a fun night and made even better by having so many of our Strong Running Mamas there (even though I missed the group picture because we left a little early).

7 weeks done!
May wrap up:

I had a bit of a setback in May because of these kidney stones. But considering that I have EIGHT KIDNEY STONES it's kind of amazing that I've done anything besides lay on the couch and bemoan my fate.

  • Mileage: 46.2
  • Runs: 11
  • Cross training days: 16
  • Cross training sessions: 25

So, my mileage was down, but not really by all that much. But my cross training was way up (thanks Summer Shape Up Challenge!). Hopefully it will be enough. I attempted my mile repeats last week and that didn't go well. I never did wind up trying again later that night because I was just too wiped out. Last Friday I tried again and I had to stop and pee halfway through the first mile and I was struggling. So I decided that what I needed more than mile repeats was to feel successful and I switched it up and did my favorite fast pick ups instead. And after that I did kickboxing (with much less energy than normal). I don't think one particular speedwork session is going to make or break me. Either I'm ready or I'm not. 

Tomorrow is going to be wicked hot. I have EIGHT KIDNEY STONES. When I did 35 minutes of cardio and then ran 3.5 miles on Wednesday I peed a bunch of blood. There are a million excuses to accept less than my best tomorrow. 

But I'm not. Accepting less than my best, that is. I'm going for it. 


C. Beat my last 5K time: 28:26
B. Beat my last Freihofer's time of 27:58 (I need to double check this!)
A. 26:30 or better

I guess I should also include "pass at least half my kidney stones immediately following the race" as a goal as well. I go to the stone specialist next Friday and will hopefully have a plan of action besides drinking a lot of water and waiting.

I'm not going to beat myself up if I don't make it. But there's no reason to not give it my all. 

Monday, May 27, 2013

Cross training and Jessica Smith's Summer Shape Up Challenge

The only exercise I have ever stuck with is running. It's remarkable really. But I'm at the point now where I want to improve my running and simply running more just doesn't cut it. I've tried over the past couple of years to add other things, weight-lifting, yoga, etc, but nothing ever lasted more than a week. Until I found Jessica Smith on the exercise On Demand. Specifically the 10 minute workouts. I started doing those and then I bought the book/DVD combo (Thin In 10, you can find it over there in my right sidebar) and then I subscribed to her YouTube channel (you can find that over in the right sidebar too). I would pick whichever routine I could squeeze in. I've had some good weeks with a lot and some bad weeks with a little.

My willy nilly days of picking the shortest workouts whenever I feel like it are over. I'm following along with Jessica's Summer Shape Up Challenge. It's a 5 week program with exercises 6 days a week. She posts the entire week's plan on Sunday--but just a week at a time. I'm used to thinking in months and not weeks so that's a bit of a challenge to me. But it's good. All of the workouts are free through YouTube and we comment on each video so she knows we're keeping up. It's a great motivator. I'm sure she's not going to hunt me down if I don't do a day, but it keeps me accountable and I find myself rearranging things so I can do it. I'm so excited that I'm sticking with something other than running that I am planning on donating to her website. I'm getting quality workouts in the comfort of my own home that I would normally have to go to a class to do. I just started Week 2 today and so far the only pain is that the rest day doesn't always sync up to my running rest day. Week 2's rest day is Saturday--the day I will be racing the Freihofer's. But once the Freihofer's is over I can try to plan my weekly runs around the Shape Up Challenge. I'm not sure what I will do if I wind up having to get these kidney stones blasted. But I'm not thinking about that yet. 

I'm hoping that all of this will make me a stronger runner and that by the time I do the half next fall it'll be a piece of cake (yeah, I'm kidding.). I guess I'll see on Saturday how well I do (provided I don't have any more complications). I know that I've lost 3-4 pounds in the last couple of weeks and my clothes fit differently. (I don't really track my weight, I've never cared that much about it, but I still weigh LightRunner every week and that involves me weighing myself first and then holding him). But really, the only numbers I'm concerned with are the ones on the clock at the finish line.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013


Yuck. Image from MedicineNet.
It has been a crazy week. Besides all of the good stuff like the Princess turning 6 (no superheroes this year) and going out for Mother's Day dinner, there's been some less fun stuff too. Like trips to the doctor and the ER.

Just a couple of months ago, I wrote this about hydration and how important it was because I had recently been diagnosed with a UTI and we concluded it was from dehydration. I may have been wrong. Not in the importance of drinking water and staying hydrated, but in the cause of my UTI.

On Mother's Day I ran 6 miles with a couple of friends who are MUCH faster than me. Midway through the run I needed to stop at one of their houses so I could pee. Blood. Yup, peeing blood again. Awesome. I returned to running, drank more of my water, and attributed it to running with people much faster than me. Then a couple of days later I did a nice easy 4 mile run early in the morning. I had made sure to drink plenty of water the night before and I think I may have even had water with me as I ran... and I peed blood again. That's no good. I went to the doctor the next day (Wed) and she prescribed me antibiotics in case I had another UTI and sent me for an ultrasound. I went to the ultrasound on Thursday and the tech just happened to be a runner. So we chatted a bit and she was a little more forthcoming with the info than any other tech I've seen. She told me right away that I had kidney stones. Argh.

Here's where it gets really fun. I started to feel less than 100% on Friday. Light headed, shaky, back hurt, cramps. Had I not known better I would have thought I was going into labor. I got in touch with my doctor who told me I did not have a UTI but that I had kidney stones (I pretended not to know already). I described what I was currently feeling and she said it sounded like I was passing the stones. Or trying to. She instructed me to go to the ER if I started to feel worse because I didn't need to just sit there in pain, I could go and get medication if I needed it. I talked to my mother who has had a zillion kidney stones and she described her symptoms when she wound up being septic and she said they would probably do a cat scan at the hospital and I thought I might as well get that done instead of having to schedule one later and well, for once I decided to play it safe and just go to the ER. I sat there on a stretcher in a hallway, alone, watching trauma victims come in and wondering what the hell I was doing there. I had started to feel a bit better (really it was the shakiness and feeling like I was going to pass out that concerned me, not any pain) except for being hungry. They took my blood and tested my pee again and said they would do a cat scan... and then they didn't. The doc on duty didn't want to expose me to radiation. So they did an ultrasound instead. I still had the stones (I'm not sure if they moved or not since we didn't have the first ultrasound results to compare it to) and some "weirdness" where my ureter joins my kidney. The doc on duty recommended I take ibuprofen, which is when I decided I needed to go home--since everything I had read said to NOT take ibuprofen. A different doc discharged me and said take tylenol, follow up with urologist. Oh and pay $70 on your way out.

Waste. Of. Time.

I suppose it was good to know I wasn't septic or suffering from a kidney infection. But other than that, I really didn't need to be there. I could have just gone to lay down and been okay. Oh well.

So here I am now, drinking water like there's nothing else to drink, and while I didn't quite pee blood during today's scheduled mile repeats, it was darker than it should have been. I have a follow up with my primary doc tomorrow and an appointment with a urologist scheduled for next week. I am planning on trying the mile repeats again tonight after the kids go to bed and I've spent all day hydrating. If I have the same problem... well... I'm planning on doing an easy 4 mile trail run on Thursday evening. If I still have the same problem then I'm going to have to accept that I need to re-evaluate my race goals. You know, for that race I have in 11 days.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Bye-bye April

While I might be trying to hold this baby back, I am pushing my running forward. Last week I had very specific intervals I was supposed to run: 1 mile warmup, 6 x 400 m @7:30 pace (8.0 with a 1% incline on the treadmill), .5 mile cooldown.

I didn't quite make it. I think I did the full 400 m (1/4 mile) for half of them, but the rest I just didn't last that long. Instead of looking at it as a fail, I tried to see it as progress. Up until that day I had only run at 8.0 for 1 minute intervals and here I was doing it for longer than a minute, just not quite as long as I should have. It was hard. When I started feeling like I had to hold on to the treadmill to keep going I realized that it wasn't worth it. I truly didn't feel like it was a fail though.

Today, I once again had very specific intervals to run: 1 mile warmup, pick-ups of 30 seconds each (for 2.5 miles), .5 mile cooldown.

I nailed it.

I think 30 seconds is my magic number. There was no holding on, no fear of falling. After each 30 second interval I either walked for 60-90 seconds or I ran slow (@ 5.5) for 60-90 seconds. I think I did more 60 seconds than 90. I wound up doing 17-18 pick-ups when I usually do 10-12 during the Fast 40 workout I do.

It was great. I felt strong. I enjoyed it and remembered why I love intervals. I have mile repeats coming up on the horizon and I think I may actually get up early and run on the road instead of the treadmill. I don't think long intervals on the treadmill works for me.

My April stats:

  • Mileage: 50.2
  • Runs: 12
  • Cross Training Days: 4?
  • Cross Training Sessions: 5

I had 2 miles less than March, but I did those miles in fewer runs. It must have been those longer runs with friends ... so I'm okay with that. I don't even want to talk about cross training.

I'm happy with April and looking forward to May.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Holding back

I've been trying to keep this little baby from growing and getting older. I've tried SO HARD, but time insists on moving and I have so little control over it. He is now 9 months old, longer out than he was in... Crawling everywhere, babbling, eating his cheerios and anything else within reach. I am absolutely certain that he is our last, we are done, we are complete, my dinner table is full. I had no problem giving away all my maternity clothes. I gave away the co-sleeper that held all four of my newborns. But I keep holding on to stuff... not because I want another baby but because I don't want him to stop being one. The swing he never sleeps in still takes up space in my kitchen. He's STILL in the car seat carrier even though it kills me picking it up (he is smaller than most 9 month olds though). I just want to freeze time... hold him where he is... he is so happy, so content, so full of joy. It is impossible to look at him and not smile. Impossible. I just don't want this stage to end.

His 9 month check up went well. He's back on the growth charts, albeit barely, and is a whopping 16 pounds, 5 ounces. 27 inches long. He's gained and is clearly healthy and his pediatrician is happy. He gets three meals a day now, including his yogurt lunch, and although we still nurse four times a day I can feel it starting to peter out. It's supposed to... and yet I want to hold on. I have always cut down on nursing at a year old and just done the wake-up and bedtime feedings with cows milk in between. I have all of these running plans... and yet... I just want to hold on. He's my last.

A few weeks ago I said that after having the kids home for spring break I was ready for them to be home for summer and I meant it. Naturally people laughed and didn't quite understand why. I'm not saying that everything is blissfully happy all the time--it's not--but I really do just want them home with me. If for no other reason than that I am painfully aware of the passage of time.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Running friends

I think I mentioned a couple of weeks/posts ago that I've been running with some local friends.

It is awesome.

Ever since I started running I wanted to have someone in my neighborhood to run with. I'd run to the window whenever I saw someone pass the house. I stalked someone who turned out to be a teenager. I scanned the local race results for people who lived in my neighborhood. No, I'm not kidding. My happy runner friend started a facebook group for us but there were mostly people from her neck of the woods. And then one day there was a whole boatload of people from mine. But I was pregnant and barely running so the timing just wasn't right. I've been back to running for serious for a few months now and in a rare case of "things working out" I signed the Princess up for Girl Scouts, the Girl Scout leader is a runner, the Girl Scout leader was added to the facebook group I'm in, we both signed up for the local half marathon next fall and she added me to her neighborhood runs. I have to drive there but it takes me 5 minutes, 7-8 if there's a car in front of me. I've run with her neighborhood posse quite a few times now and I repeat:

It is awesome.

Last Sunday I planned on running 5.5 miles (because that's what my refrigerator said) but the group was running 8 and I didn't feel like turning around and running on my own. So I said "Why not?" and ran 7.8 with them. The longest distance I've run since having Lightrunner. And the longest distance I've run without stopping for a walk break EVER. EVER. I have never run over 5.5 miles without walking. And I ran 7.8! AND part of the last mile included a hill, not a major hill, but a decent hill, and I SPED UP and ran up the hill on my tired legs. There is no way I could have done that without my friend (the Girl Scout leader) by my side. None. Especially not at the end of the longest run I've done in over a year. I'm not sure if she truly knows how much I needed her next to me and how very grateful I am that she was there.

It was amazing.

Equally as amazing, I got up at 4:40 this morning and joined them for a 5:15 run. The moon was still out. The sun was not. It was cold and dark and I was tired but I knew these people were there waiting and I made myself get out of bed--no snooze button today--and I did it. I hadn't had my tea or pumped or fed Lightrunner, but I got out there and just being there was SO GOOD. There were seven of us pounding the pavement in the wee hours of the morning. I keep picturing what we must have looked like to people who happened to be up early and glancing out their windows... a pack of talking laughing women running in the moonlight, drawing strength from each other, pushing each other to just keep going.

I have no doubt in my mind that I will run the half marathon, that I can do it, and that I'll cross the finish line with these special ladies. And hopefully many more.

Friday, April 19, 2013

New race, new plan

7 weeks of training fun! 
I'm still sad and angry over the Boston Marathon bombings. I'm sure every other runner out there feels the same way. But I'm trying to focus on the future and on the things that I can control--which is very little.

Now that the Dodge the Deer race is over I'm setting my sights on my next 5K: the Freihofer's in June, which if you recall was my very first race 3 years ago. I am SO lucky to have a friend who loves to spread the joy of running so much that she makes training plans for her friends. Felice made me a new plan to get me where I want to be for the FRW and I took it and incorporated it into an overall exercise schedule which is now proudly hanging on my fridge. Unless I have a plan on the fridge it seems less official. I like to check off the runs and exercise that I do. This week got a little screwy with an unexpected stomach bug coinciding with my first scheduled run. Life happens. I plan on having the rest of my runs checked off and not crossed off, but when you're a Mama of four, sometimes unplanned things happen.

While so much seems out of my control and there's so little I can truly do to end the appalling violence our world seems hell bent on creating, I'll check my runs off, tickle my kids, see my friends, and try to hold on to the humanity we have left.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Be nice

First, I just want to say thank you to everyone who commented here on the blog and on facebook and in real life about Chewie's speech situation. I want to reiterate that this NOT a mean girl problem at preschool. Every time I volunteer I am surprised by the mellowness of the class and the few problems. There have been some aggressive kids in the past few years but there are NONE this year. This is simply a problem with Chewie's speech, other kids not being able to understand her and her confidence because of it.

As a runner, parent, and human I am so deeply saddened and angered by what happened at the Boston Marathon yesterday. Much like when the Newtown tragedy happened I am left feeling powerless and unable to do anything. Sure, I can donate money and I can run in honor of people and I'm wearing my race shirt today. But what can I really DO?

Be nice.

That's it. It sounds so simple. I can be nice to people. And more importantly I can teach my children to be nice. Not because they want to get something or it's in their best interests, but to just be nice for the sake of being nice. Regardless of race, nationality, religion, regardless of any of our differences we are ALL sons and daughters of this Earth. Every single one of us is a son or a daughter. We are all people. I can teach my children to be a friend to everyone, to fight meanness and bullying with kindness and caring. Maybe if we all teach our kids to be nice and to respect and celebrate life, we can stop having to come together in the face of tragedy.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Reigniting Chewie's spark

As I mentioned a couple of weeks ago we had Chewie evaluated (again) for speech problems. The speech pathologist told us she wouldn't qualify based on scores but she would write the report as negative as she could because she felt she would benefit from the help. The second evaluation was done by the psychologist who told me that she would absolutely qualify because she couldn't understand what she was saying. She scored well on the intelligence and self help and all the psycho tests and it was just in expressive language that she needed help.

We had our hearing last Wednesday and I was a bit surprised that I had to truly argue that she needed the services. Everyone in the room agreed she would benefit. But they weren't sure if the county would foot the bill because on paper her scores weren't bad enough. Because that it what our educational system has come to in NYS. Children are not whole pictures. They are numbers. Just numbers. She did qualify for once a week, even though everyone said that twice a week would be the best for her. One of the areas that she scored high in was in social skills and playing with friends. Luckily I had volunteered at preschool after I answered those questions at the evaluation so I was able to amend them at the hearing. I was basing my answers on what I saw with her friends at home and places where I am with her to translate. Turns out when I am not with her she is a different kid.

When she first started preschool she was so ready to go, happy to go, there was no clinginess, no transition problems. After some time I would ask her who she played with and she would say nobody because no one would play with her and I just figured she was not serious. I always saw her running around with kids on the playground at pick up time so I assumed she played with them inside too. There were a few times when she said she didn't want to go to preschool but I discounted that too. Lately I've been noticing a bit more clinginess at drop off. A bit more reluctance to go.

Let me interrupt myself to say that she LOVES her teachers (as do I) and is happy there. There are no mean kids, no bullies like in previous years.

When I volunteered I saw that she didn't really play with other kids inside. Her teachers confirmed it and I just figured that she was used to entertaining herself because I'm always taking care of LightRunner.

I was wrong.

The psychologist observed her at preschool to try to build a better case for twice a week therapy. She told her teachers that she was completely different than how she had been in her office during the evaluation. Her teachers said that she will often try to get the girls to play with her when they are playing princesses or Mommy/baby or pretend play but they don't understand her so they don't play with her and she gives up and goes to play alone or with blocks near the boys since they don't talk either. She comes into preschool all fired up and by the end she is subdued (until she gets to the playground where it is a more equal arena). She follows the teachers around because they can at least understand half of what she says. It is a significant barrier to her relationship with the other kids.

This just slays me.

She is so spunky and full of life and not even close to being shy and to think of her getting rejected--even if it's not in a mean way, it is still rejection--and her spark getting dimmer and dimmer... well it's not easy to think of that. I am glad that she is starting the once a week therapy but I will be pushing for twice a week. We'll do what we have to do. I'm glad that she has older siblings to play with and that it hasn't broken her spirit yet. I'm also going to try to line up as many playdates for her as I can so that she has positive interactions with non-siblings as well.

My mommy guilt is in overdrive right now. It was rainy and hailing and gloomy today but we still went out. She got her hair cut, we went to a local children's museum and then to Cracker Barrel for lunch. We made corn muffins for snack. We're going to have a movie night tonight. I hope she doesn't ask for a pony because I really don't have the time to take care of one of those. (See, that right there is what we call a defense mechanism. Make a joke. Find something to laugh about. Because otherwise it gets too painful to bear.)

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Giving it my all

I'm sure you're all dying to know how it went.

If you don't feel like clicking back, here's what I was hoping for:

C. Beat 29:25 my last time for this race.
B. 28 minute range
A. Beat my overall PR of 27:35

We got there in time for the kids race and all 3 mobile jedi children ran. The eldest complained that I signed him up for the 200 meter dash instead of the 1 mile but I think we all know what would have happened if I had signed him up for the mile! They all had fun and that's what counts. I think I will sign SkyWalker up for the mile next year... and listen to him complain about it being too much.

I then stood in the cold wind for another 45 minutes waiting for the race to start. Last year, when I was pregnant and didn't run, it was 70 and beautiful. This year was much like my first year, cold and windy. The sun was strong and that was nice but the air was just cold. I don't like to be late, I don't like to rush, and I get stressed out if it feels like I'm going to be late. But 45 minutes in the chilly air was a bit much.

There's always a half-naked dude. What the hell?
I found some friends and stood way too close to the front. Will I ever learn? I even said this is too close but I didn't move. And when I started out too fast I said, this is too fast. When I passed the first mile marker it said 8:00 and I thought crap. (Although my garmin says 8:50. Who knows. It's a trail run and the garmin is probably less accurate in the woods.) I knew I couldn't maintain an 8 mile pace for 3 miles. Not yet. I slowed down a bit but not too much. Then I sped up a bit but not too much.

Trying to smile. 
The sand wasn't as bad as I had thought last time and I didn't have any problems with the roots and branches and rocks. I did step on one rock that could have led to something bad but luckily it didn't. I tried to just focus on running my own race, not tripping, and just being happy that I was doing this. I also tried, as much as I could, to look around me at the river and the scenery and enjoy the moment. That was harder to do.

But trail runs are hard. They feel entirely different from running on pavement. It's not a bad thing, just different. I had my Merrell Pace Gloves on because they are trail shoes and I didn't want to get my Dash Gloves too dirty. Yes, I said I didn't want to get my shoes too dirty. I've done my last two treadmill runs with the Pace Gloves so I remembered what they feel like (there's a half size different between my Pace & Dash Gloves) but it was still a bit different.

Just slapped the Princess's hand.
I hit the 3 mile mark at 27 something and thought I could get there by 28. Then when I came out of the woods I saw my Jedi and their smiling little faces and the Princess reaching out for a high-five and I slowed down a little and veered so I could slap the Princess's outstretched hand and then ran as fast as I could towards the finish. I managed 28:26. Could I have beaten 28 if I hadn't gone for her hand? Maybe. Do I care? Not much.

I would have been thrilled with an overall PR, with anything faster than 28, but I'm pretty happy with how I did. It wasn't an easy race, I had a hard time breathing in the cold air, and as I was running I felt like I was giving it my all. I am still sneezing and coughing and having my post-race running induced allergy attack and I STILL (hours later) feel like I can't breathe too deeply. So I think I really did give it my all. Particularly when I remember I just had my 4th baby 8 months ago!

And that's what matters.