Wednesday, November 18, 2015

If you buy a running picture, you'll probably want it framed

I never buy race pics. I usually have someone with me who's taking pictures and after spending money on races and running clothes and gear I usually can't justify spending money on pictures. But  how often do you cross a finish line holding hands with one of your best friends? So after Wineglass, Jen and I decided to order one of the pics and split the cost. 

And then I started thinking. Which usually isn't a good idea. 

What if I framed it for her (us)? From there it went to, what if I get a silly race-specific frame? I almost bought a Sole Sister frame but it was vertical and the picture I ordered was horizontal so that wouldn't work. In the end I decided to get a plain silver frame and have it engraved with the name and date. Cheesy, but classy. 

The frame came before the pictures. I excitedly opened it up... and it was vertical. Yup, the picture of the frame on the website was horizontal but I didn't check the tab next to it, so I ordered a vertical frame. Ack!! I researched how to "sand off" engravings so I could just get it re-engraved. I researched anything I could think of to repurpose the frames. 

I quickly realized I was stuck with the frames. So then I thought about the picture. I could scan it in and make it vertical, right? I *could* do that but while my printer is decent, it's not top of the line. So, I did what one always does when one has a problem of this nature. 

I emailed my Daddy. 

I still didn't have the prints but I decided if I wanted true high-quality I couldn't just scan them in. So I bought the digital version and sent it to my Dad to work with. He was able to convert it but because of the nature of the picture the cropping was just too tight. He suggested adding text at the bottom--like the race name and date. Which was exactly what I had engraved on the frame. So, I decided to just suck it up and buy new frames. 

Except the horizontal frames were out of stock.

So, I went back to my Daddy. He filled the bottom with purple--a favorite color Jen and I have in common--but it needed something else. Then I figured if you're going to be cheesy, be cheesy. This entire year I've focused on one word. I had just bought Jen a mudlove bracelet with that word. It's as cheesy as you can get. So, after all of that: 

Center stage of my "running" desk.

The moral of the story is two-fold. Always double-check before you order. And you're never too old to have your Daddy save the day.

Monday, November 9, 2015

Mondays or how time works differently with kids

This is not a running post. I have a few of those on the back burner, but today I need to just mind-dump. It's been a long time since I've done that here. I've been caught up lately in the "busy" trap & thinking there's not enough time to get everything done. I reread my There's Totally Enough Time post and that helped me a bit, but I was thinking about it more today when at 1 pm I felt like my day was over and all I had done was gone food shopping.

With a 3 year old.

And there's the rub. There's the normal time-space continuum that civilized people have agreed upon and then there's the one that happens when you throw a kid--a toddler/preschooler--into the mix. Time doesn't work the way it always has before. This is my day thus far:

  • Wake up around 5ish to the sound of the treadmill. Barely fall back to sleep before waking up to kids in the kitchen and husband shaving his head. 
  • Hear alarm at 7 and groan. Lay awake and contemplate ear plugs. 
  • Groan more when 3 year old jumps on me--and my full bladder-- and kicks me with his cold feet. Argue over taking off his pull up. Finally get out of bed at 8.
  • Make breakfast for myself while 3 year old cries over yogurt that does not magically appear in the fridge. Offer him yogurt we do have. Finally accepts. Sit down to eat my breakfast & 3 year old cries because he wants mine, not a little of mine in a bowl, but all of mine. Muddle through breakfast and wish I liked coffee. 
  • Do the dishes left from the early people who think dishes magically get done. 
  • Remember to go through the coupons and the shopping list. Listen to 3 year old yell to stop cutting the paper. Pick up all the coupons the 3 year old stole. 
  • Get dressed. There's no showering with crazy 3 year old.
  • Argue with 3 year old over which toothbrush is his, which toothpaste he can use, and whether or not I can even brush his teeth. Wipe the yogurt off his face while he cries at the injustice. 
  • Attempt to get him dressed. He manages to simultaneously have jelly legs and yet also be completely stiff and unyielding. How is that possible? 3 days later I finally have him dressed. Now we argue over shoes and jackets. It is after 10 am. 
  • Go to first store for just a few things not available at main store. Turns into more when 3 year old flips out over needed totally unhealthy smoothies because of the cool picture on the bottle. Screw you world. 
  • Go to second store and argue over whether or not he should get out of the car. Reevaluate getting groceries delivered. 3 year old desperately wants to go to Panera for lunch. We are not near Panera, nor do I have the money to keep taking him to Panera. Finally convince him we need to go inside and finish food shopping. Manage to get all of our stuff without further incident. It is now 12:00 pm
  • Get home and have panic attack when I can't find house keys. Realize the last person who had them was 3 year old. Have bigger panic attack. Luckily, the keys are in his pocket. Unload groceries while he steals the change from my car. Get everything put away so we can have lunch. 
  • 3 year old needs the ridiculous smoothies for lunch. I don't even care. Helps himself to two, sees my english muffin and needs one. I make him one. He sees my yogurt and he needs yogurt now too. I make him a small bowl. He rips the english muffin and while banging on the island, all the pieces fall on the floor. He cries that he needs a new english muffin. He gets them himself and nearly grabs two before I can intervene. I relent and let him have a new one. He eats neither the english muffin nor the yogurt. 
  • I do the lunch dishes and he helps himself to cereal. 
  • Realize I still need to make bread so I get that going in the bread machine while he runs to the bathroom and tells me he's pooped. Argue over washing hands. Argue over whether or not the safety flashlight is a toy. 
  • Decide I need to blog while he helps himself to tomatoes. 2 minutes until the big kids bus is here and then it's homework and refereeing and snack time and then I have to think about dinner before basketball practice. 

And just like that my day is over.

Monday, October 5, 2015

Catching Up

Seriously nice bling

It's been a while.

First things first. The stats.


Total 103.4 miles
Running: 91.3 miles
Biking: 12.1 miles
Cross Training: probably none
Races: 1


Total 76.2 miles
Running: 76.2
Biking: 0
Cross Training: Ha
Races: 0

August was a great month. I ran a lot. Vader and I raced a 5K together again and I broke my PR again. 27:05. Second in my age group. Just prior to that race I helped my 5 year old nephew run his first 1 mile race. That was awesome. As was having my sister at the finish line to watch me break that PR. It was a great day.

September was full of back to school nights and kid sports and birthdays and while I did my running I didn't do much else. I really felt the stress of the plan this month.

The plan that ended yesterday.

Yesterday was the Wineglass Half-Marathon that I have been training for these last few months. I had originally aimed for a sub-2 time but as the summer went on I let that goal go. My speed work was good (and clearly helped my 5K time) but the weekly tempo runs were sucking the enjoyment out of me and I decided I didn't care enough about a sub-2 to keep doing them. There was also the issue of my BRF recovering from mono and I switched my focus to just finishing the race with her.

We had a bit of a drive to get out there and stayed in a crappy Days Inn for the few hours of sleep we were able to get. The half-marathon started at 7:45 but we needed to take a bus there and the last bus left at 6:30. The weather was iffy all week--we weren't sure if the predicted hurricane would be bringing us rain--but as we lined up for our final portopotty time the sun started to peek out and I was glad I stuck with my tank and arm-warmers instead of a long sleeve.

A couple of weeks ago we decided to switch our run-walk ratio from 1 mile/ 1 minute to 4 minutes run/1 min walk. We planned on doing that for the half and it definitely worked well. We started the race really strong--maybe a little too strong--but we felt good. We settled into a good relatively consistent pace after the first few miles.

Mile 1: 9:47
Mile 2: 9:24
Mile 3: 9:44
Mile 4: 9:51
Mile 5: 9:51
Mile 6: 9:55
Mile 7: 9:56
Mile 8: 10:03
Mile 9: 10:05

I started to lag behind Jen and she actually missed a couple of walking breaks because she was running so strong. At mile 10 my calves started to really tighten up and it was painfully difficult to keep running. I couldn't catch up. Jen saw and slowed down enough for me to get closer, but I just lost it at miles 11 and 12. I can't remember exactly when but the 2:10 pace group passed us and that kind of broke my spirit. We had been running so strong and I just totally lost it.

Mile 10: 10:20
Mile 11: 10:35
Mile 12: 10:37

Jen was up ahead and she was flying. You would never have guessed that just a few months ago she had mono and couldn't even get out of bed. She looked so strong and powerful and I thought there's no way I can catch up to her and finish with her. But I really wanted to. I rallied and pulled it together the last mile.

Mile 13: 9:55

The finish line was in sight. My legs were protesting every single step. I thought about just laying down and rolling over the finish. But when I needed it most, Jen went off to the side, slowed down, and reached out her hand. I had to get there. I busted my butt, caught up, and we finished holding hands. I wasn't breathing very well because I'm pretty sure I was sobbing.

Mile 13.16 8:38

We finished at 2:11:17, 10 seconds away from my PR but a big PR for Jen and that was awesome. I felt pretty bad that she could have done even better had she not slowed down for me, but I know that I would've done the same for her. (But oh the irony! For so long she was afraid of slowing me down because of the mono and here it was the opposite! I think I saw smoke coming out of her shoes!). I didn't run my best race and there are a number of things that probably contributed (fueling, water), but I will never ever forget this one. When it gets tough you need your friends to help you through and I am so grateful to have one like her.

Saturday, August 8, 2015

July stats

I know it's already August 8, but it's been busy busy busy here. Also, blogging requires stillness and I have not been very still as of late. But that's another blog post. 

My birthday month is over and it was a pretty good one. I had some great runs and some crappy runs but I had ZERO TREADMILL runs so it was awesome. My speedwork is coming along, I continue to hate tempo runs, and my long runs depend on many factors. Today's long run was spectacular because I ran with a couple of friends, one of whom is my BRF who hasn't run long in quite a while since getting mono! It was so nice just to run with her again. But today is August and I need to talk about July. 

Total 68.6 miles
Running: 50.9 miles
Biking: 17.7 miles
Cross Training: 5 sessions
Races: 0

I skipped a couple of days of running when we went camping for the first time ever. I did do a lot of walking however and tallied 27 miles in the 4 days we were away. I also skipped some biking before and after camping. I did good with cross training the beginning of the month but then things got away from me and on the list of priorities it was low. I did do quite a bit of swimming and while we were camping I did some rowing in the canoe. So maybe I should count those. 

Thursday, July 9, 2015

June stats

Total Mileage: 68.3 miles
Running: 55.9
Biking: 12.4
Cross training: 4
Races: 0

Running-wise June was ok. I started training for my next half-marathon. It's the toughest training plan I have ever done-- faster speedwork, tempo runs, faster long runs. There will be no stroller runs this time around. Vader has been working a lot of early days which means he's getting home early enough for me to run outside. Other days I've paid a babysitter. I've been lucky enough to not do a treadmill run since May 5! I'm hoping to keep that trend up this summer.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

This is 40

I meant to do so many posts over the last month but nothing has quite been how I planned it. I'm going to try to prevent writing a novel here, so to be very brief:

In early June, within two days Chewie broke both of her arms-- her left wrist and then her upper right arm (proximal humerus). She has a cast on the wrist and a sling on the right arm. We hoped to get rid of them both last week but they haven't healed yet. No summer camp for her, no swimming, no playing, no running and jumping and enjoying summer. She is now able to feed herself some things but still cannot dress herself or brush her teeth. I bought her an iPad mini and she uses it all the time. She will have major withdrawal once her arms are working again and she has to follow the same electronics rules. It is impacting everything-- LightRunner's behavior, our routines, everything. Right after she broke both arms, the Princess came down with both strep throat and a mystery high-fever virus, and then Chewie caught the same bug. Anything I hoped to accomplish before school was out was thrown out the window. No special LightRunner and me time.

At the opposite end of the spectrum, also in June, Vader threw me a "surprise" early 40th birthday party. I knew it was coming but not where or when (until that week). It was a great night filled with wonderful friends and the perfect beginning to what will no doubt be my best decade yet.

Surrounded by friends! Ignore the red eye. 
On my actual birthday, Britt came over with pizza and peanut butter brownies that she spent all day making, despite her son's severe peanut and milk allergies. That's love.

I celebrated by running 8 miles (8/2=4 and also it was on my plan) the day before my birthday and running 4 awesome miles of speedwork yesterday. Truly awesome. I paid for a babysitter to watch LightRunner and Chewie so I could do my speedwork at the track and it was worth every penny.

June pretty much sucked and was not at all what I planned and I'll admit I had a couple of days when I was not at my best. But we adapt. We do what we can do and we move on. In my 20s and early 30s I would have wallowed and lamented and cursed my fate. But what's the point? You do what you can do. And let the rest go. And *that* is 40.

Monday, June 1, 2015

Defining moments

May was a really good month.

First, there was that PR-breaking 5K. Then that PR-breaking Half Marathon. I took a week off from running and then the kids and I did the second Wildcats marathon at school. SkyWalker ran on his own and although the Princess started out with me she eventually ran ahead too. I had to stay with Chewie and motivate her to keep running when she stopped to walk every two minutes. It was a really long 1.2 miles but there was no crying this year and I was mostly just really happy that the Princess ran her own race.

The gang
I wasn't intending on doing the Freihofer's this year because it was just 2 weeks after the Half Marathon and I took a week off from running and I don't want to get injured and yadda yadda yadda. But it's been FIVE YEARS and I only ever skipped it once when I was pregnant.  How could I not run it? So when a friend said, hey wanna do Freihofer's?, there was really only one choice. We both said we would take it easy and just enjoy it since we both had different reasons for not wanting to push it.

Me & Jen before the race
We started the race together and even though we never once talked about it and we didn't say a word to each other while running, we stuck together. There were times when we took different paths to pass people and one of us would get slightly ahead, but then we'd be together again. There were roughly 3200 women running so it was a bit congested in the beginning. I did the first mile in 9:07 and thought ok, taking it easy. But then we were speeding up and around 1.5/1.6 I started doing the math and thought, hmmm, we might actually do pretty well if we keep this pace up. I did the second mile in 8:48. Around 2.5 my bladder hit and I was super glad I was protected. Jen got slightly ahead of me and I started to doubt I could finish strong. I could still see her and I just focused on her and tried to forget my rotten bladder. I tried to speed up but it wasn't happening.

Had to steal a couple of glances at my foot,
since I seem to have lost my SRM bracelet!
Then at 2.8/2.9 I thought, this is it, if you're going to make a move, you've got to do it now. This is your defining moment. You can either accept a perfectly reasonable time after having just raced a half and taking a week off, you can be satisfied with this, you can be complacent, OR you can rise up, accept the challenge and get it done. I chose the latter. All I focused on was catching up with Jen and I closed the gap so we finished together. I did the last mile in 8:28 and the last .1 in 7:09.

Perfect negative splits:

This makes me giddy. 

We passed the clock at 28:01 and I knew that would be a PR for her because of our distance from the start line. I wasn't even thinking about my time. I was just so happy for her. She wound up with 27:26! A major PR after having a baby in September! Isn't that amazing? I was so proud of her! My net time was 27:24. Yes, 2 seconds shy of my new overall PR. I was THRILLED. I hadn't intended on running fast, I haven't been doing speedwork, I haven't been biking, I took a whole week off from running! And there were 3200 women running! It was a definite Freihofer's PR. Everyone says you can't really PR in this race because of the size, but we did pretty good. (Our speedier friends finished with unbelievable times). We beat over 2500 other women! I love that I finished nearly 6 minutes faster than my very first time, I love that I finished 34 seconds faster than last year, I LOVE that we did perfect negative splits, but I really love that we finished it together.

No age awards here, but not too bad!

Total Mileage: 49 miles
Running: 49
Biking: 0
Crosstraining: Um. Does pool cleaning and gardening count?
Races: 3

Lots of double run days!

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Garmin Forerunner 220 review

Not a picture from today. 

I've had the Garmin Forerunner 220 for a while now. I miss my Bia telling me I was a badass for running, but for the most part I love the forerunner. I had a Garmin 305 for a couple of years and the 220 is SO much nicer. Besides it being purple, which is my favorite color these days, it works so much better. My big problem with the 305 was finding the satellite. I would stand at the end of my driveway with my hand held high just in case the extra few inches would make it easier for the satellite to connect (it didn't). I wasted so many minutes (just run you say, who needs a watch you say. I do. I need one). There's none of that satellite malarkey with this version. I think it can remember satellite positions for up to a week if you use it with your iPhone. I do have it linked to my iPhone and I always have my iPhone with me so it finds the satellite easy peasy.

I also love the vibration at each lap. Because I walk 1 minute at the beginning of each mile for my long runs it is super helpful to have that extra reminder that I've finished a lap. I have my laps set to a mile, but when I do an interval run it will vibrate at whatever distance I've chosen. You can program multi step runs (Pyramid Intervals) using Garmin Connect or you can do a generic run/walk interval workout (1/4 mile repeats, etc). 

Because I run with my phone, as soon as I hit save on the watch my run is uploaded to Garmin Connect (which then feeds into MapMyRun). I can see my mile splits, elevation, & cadence (!) through the Garmin Connect app (or website). For a data geek like me, it's super. There's a bit of a translation problem between Garmin & MapMyRun. The mile splits are never the same when they are imported into MMR & sometimes the average pace is just totally wrong. I usually just edit MMR. I don't really care about MMR except that all of my friends are on it. I've stopped using the Everymove app so I don't even really need MMR. Anyway, I digress. I don't really do too much with Garmin Connect but I love having the cadence info! 

I've also been able to wear the watch while using the treadmill. The accuracy has been hit or miss. I still have my footpod I bought to go with the 305 so if I really care I can sync it with the 220. I don't really care that much except I would love to see the cadence info while on the treadmill. I think that I take way more steps on the treadmill and that's one of the reasons why it's so much harder for me. Just a theory.

Another feature dependent on having your iPhone with you is Live Tracking. At the last half marathon I was able to send an email invitation to Vader and he could watch my little blue dot progress on the map. There's an option to also send an invite to Facebook and Twitter, but I'm not sure what that does. I chose Facebook thinking that a link would go out on my timeline, but that did not happen. I don't know if it spammed all my Facebook contacts instead but I haven't heard anything. 

It may not be "beloved" yet, but I do not regret spending the money and buying a new watch at all. I really do like it, love it even, and I think I chose the right one. There was a rebate going on (expires May 31st) so I should be getting $25 back in a couple of months which is even better.

For an actual detailed analysis and review of the watch, check out DC Rainmaker's post.

I bought this with my own money and reviewed it so I can pretend to have things to do.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Believe, part deux

I didn't get a chance last week to write up my race goals for the Steel Rail Half Marathon. It was a really busy week-- I was a surprise guest reader in Chewie's class and the Princess turned 8. The Strong Running Mamas celebrated our 5 years together with a night out not wearing running clothes. So, just trust me when I tell you what my goals were (although I think I may have talked about them once or twice before): 

All I wanted to do for this half was get back down to my original half marathon time of 2:15. That's it. I'll admit that I after my 5K PR, I did plug my times into the McMillian calculator to see what a 27:22 5K would mean for a half marathon (2:07) but I decided to just stick with my original 2:15 goal. I was slightly concerned that I hadn't done as many double digit long runs as I should have because I had those 2 5Ks. So much of my mental focus in my training has been on the 5K and not on this race, but I was fairly confident I would be able to do 2:15 again. I also really wanted to run negative splits which is always a goal of mine. 

My day started at 6 am which is wicked early for me. I wasn't able to eat much because of nerves and the time but I had my normal cup of tea. I also brought a hot cup of Runner's Tea for the car. In addition to the 40 ounces of water I had in my hydration vest, I had an extra bottle of cold Runner's Tea. I was pretty set with the liquids. We carpooled to the race and got there around 8:30. 

There were so many friends running this race. Lots of Strong Running Mamas:
Strong Running Mamas before the race
Lots of local running friends. And our very own Boston-finisher-should-be-elite runner: 
Me and Jim before the race
There were roughly 600 runners but it really didn't look like it. I tried to line up in the middle of the pack so I wouldn't go out too fast. I didn't realize there was a starting line so I started my watch when the "gun" went off which was 16 seconds away from the start. I realized it though so I decided to just use the mile markers on the road as a guide for my walking. At each mile sign I walked for one minute and drank the Runner's Tea and then my water. Anyway, as usual I started out way too fast which isn't the right way to go when you really want to negative split. My goal was a 10:18 pace and my plan was to run 10:20 for the first half and then speed up. My first mile was 8:49. Oops. I tried to rein myself in for the next few miles:

Mile 2 9:30
Mile 3 9:59
Mile 4 10:15

Around Mile 4 I realized that I needed to go to the bathroom. I knew there was a port-o-pottie somewhere around mile 6-7. I willed myself to just make it to the potty and then I would speed up. 

Mile 5: 10:21
Mile 6: 10:22
Mile 7: 10:03

I can't remember exactly where the potty was but it was a beautiful thing to see. I didn't care if I would lose a minute. I knew if I didn't go I would spend the rest of the race slowing down. My watch automatically paused which was both good and bad. I now know I only "lost" 1 minute 7 seconds thanks to the data on garmin connect. But I didn't know how much I had lost while I was running so I figured I should try to run a little faster. 

Once I had that out of the way I focused on running slightly faster and starting to pass some people. I was constantly taking stock-- my legs were good, my breathing was good, I was well hydrated, not too hot, not too cold. 

Mile 8: 10:08
Mile 9: 9:52
Mile 10: 10:14
Mile 11: 10:16

I started to falter just a bit at 10 and 11, but I knew I still had some time to play with because I was still above my 10:18 average pace goal. I walked for the last time when I saw the mile 11 sign. From then on I put it into high gear and tried to run as fast as I could and pass as many people as I could. At mile 12 I found Bridget and ran with her for a short time and then I just let it go. 

Mile 12: 10:01
Mile 13: 8:58
.17: 8:42

The last mile I ran with a huge smile plastered to my face. I knew I was not going to run 2:15. I was going to finish faster. The last 10th of a mile I saw Super Runner Jim (1st in his Age Group, 8th finisher overall) cheering me and it carried me through. 

My official time was 2:11:07 (that includes the potty break. The time on my watch because of the auto-pause was 2:10:16) with a 10:00 avg pace. 4 minutes faster than my half marathon PR, 12 minutes faster than my time in my last half just 7 months ago. I was not at all anticipating a PR. I was aiming for 2:15 and I was going to be happy with 2:15. But when I hit the half mark and did the math I knew I could do it. I just had to keep up the pace or preferably run faster and I chose at that moment to just BELIEVE I could do it. And at each mile I kept believing until I crossed the finish. 

Overall: 324/608
Females: 166/384
Age Group: 51/117

Despite starting out too fast, I think I still managed to run the second half faster (the first 7 miles: 69.19, last 6: 59:29). I know I definitely felt stronger and in control. My legs felt fine (although my toes did hurt a bit again), my breathing was fine, everything was FINE. I think that training in the heat definitely helped me because I was not at all bothered by it like everybody else was. I actually kind of liked it... I think the Runner's Tea helped me. I think adding biking to my plan, even though I haven't done any this month, helped a lot. Walking every mile REALLY helped. All the speedwork I did to PR for the 5K probably helped in this race as well. But more than anything else it was BELIEVING I could do it. I knew I was running smart and I didn't allow ANY doubt. 

So that's 2 PRs in 2 weeks. I can't even tell you how much I love that this is happening this year. In just a couple of weeks it will be 5 years since the very first race I ran and here I am running my strongest year. Just a couple of months before I turn 40 too... which is good because those ladies are FAST. 

I am super stoked and elated and really looking forward to NOT running this week. If I can get all the stuff done I need to do (clean the pool, finish the garden, plan a birthday party or two, scrub some toilets, write a MILLION book reviews), I'll start running again next week. If not, my first run back may be at the Freihofer's! 

Me, Bridget and Elisa after the race

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Runner's Tea

Back in January I started seeing some tweets (there's that Twitter again) about something called Runner's Tea. I was immediately intrigued. I've read before that coffee can be great before a run (provided you're not dumping a bucket or sugar and milk in it which is what I would have to do to drink it) but I don't drink coffee. I've been a tea drinker for a couple of decades now. Ok, maybe a few decades. Anyway, when I saw that someone had come up with a tea specially formulated to help with running, I HAD to try it.

When I say I'm a tea drinker, I mean, I put a tea bag in my mug with a dollop (not a bucket) of sugar & milk. Less and less sugar actually. I'll drink any kind of tea when I'm out, but I usually drink Lipton at home. So I'm not quite the tea connossueuir... The Runner's Tea does not come in tea bags. It's a powder with herbs and spices. It's packed quite full of useful things like lemongrass and cinnamon and cayenne! You can find a list of ingredients and their health benefits on their website. This is not your regular run of the mill tea.

I bought a little ball infuser to use with the tea and it worked horribly. Well, it worked just fine but for me it was horrible. I have super texture issues-- I'm the girl who buys No Pulp orange juice and gags if there's a little bit in there. The infuser let lots of the smaller herbs through and I just couldn't deal. The website has instructions for using the tea both hot and cold and I remembered my iced tea maker that I hadn't used in a while... So I made a pitcher of the tea with that and it was awesome. No little bits floating in my tea and enough tea to last me a few runs! I've used it on a couple of long runs (cold) and I also used it for the pyramid intervals I did a couple of weeks ago. Hot is supposed to be better for speed so I put the iced tea in a mug and heated it up in the microwave. I put it in a travel tea bottle I have & actually drank it before & during my intervals. It worked great. It was a really good treadmill run. Hopefully the microwave is not mutating the organic goodness of the tea because I've done this for both speedwork and my race and it was awesome. I drink it hot while doing treadmill intervals (I know, but it works!) and then I drank it hot in the car on the way to the race. Which turned out pretty well. 

I can't say for sure if the tea is having an actual effect on my running, but it seems to be working out. I've had decent long runs after drinking it, I've had quality speedwork while drinking it, and I had an awesome PR-breaking race after drinking it. I don't want to discredit all the hard work I put into my running this training cycle and say it was the tea. But I think it definitely helped to give me an extra kick. I don't use Gatorade or energy drinks and I haven't had to use Nuun at all. I have the citrus mint flavor now and might try the berry one. There's also a new recovery blend I'd like to look into. I've had NO issues with my stomach while drinking it and it didn't conflict with the Honey Stinger chews I used on a long run. I'll definitely be buying more of this tea. 

I was able to purchase this tea at a discounted price thanks to an ambassador on Twitter. But I did purchase it on my own and I'm reviewing it so I have something to blog about not because they asked me to (they didn't). If you'd like to try some of your own, check out their website:

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

April stats

I'm still riding pretty high from Saturday's race. I had to tell Lauren Fleshman how I did because we're besties now and she replied and retweeted me. Such a perfect day. The best part though was having my family there and my kids seeing me get the medal.

April was a pretty good month. I was able to do some stroller runs, some decent long runs, good speedwork & I ran a race. I upped my running mileage and for the first time in months I ran more than I biked! I seem to have forgotten to do any strength training. Oh well.

Total Mileage: 129.4 miles
Running: 72.4
Biking: 57
Crosstraining: Oops
Races: 1

Monday, May 4, 2015

Strong Running Mama

I started running 5 years ago. I really didn't know anything about running. I had no idea that when you first start out you make tremendous gains in a short amount of time without even really trying. I PR'd every race that I did--by minutes--and I thought that was the way it was. I had no idea that 5 years later I would have to work so hard and fight for SECONDS. But that's the way it is, you reach a point when you are no longer a new runner and you have to work harder and change things up if you want to progress. I've learned a lot in the last couple of years. I've read as many articles about running and speedwork as the miles I've run. 

I've worked hard this training cycle--I've added cycling with the exercise bike, I've been pretty diligent about my speedwork, and I've tried to run smart. But the biggest thing holding me back wasn't my legs or my breathing or even those kidney stones and the fear of peeing blood, the biggest thing holding me back was my mind. You know that saying that runners like to share about not competing with each other, but rather with the voice inside their own heads saying they can't do it? The voice inside my head is pretty loud. "Why are you even doing this? You've been a couch potato bookworm your entire life. You don't belong here. You can't do this, why even try? Who do you think you are?" I've had a few good runs in the last couple of weeks to help mute that voice, but it was still there. 

And it was there when I lined up to run my A-goal race on Saturday. It was there when the horn went off. And then... then, I shut that voice up. 

Sara (1st woman overall), Kathleen (4th overall & 1st in Age Group), & me
Before the race

I wanted negative splits for this race but it didn't quite work out that way. I had planned on 8:55, 8:50 and 8:48. I started out way too fast, as usual, but even more so because it really is a small race. I looked at my watch and saw I was doing 7:30 and decided I needed to rein myself a bit. I wanted to finish fast, not last. So I forced myself to slow down and hit the first mile at 8:33

Starting a wee bit too fast. 

A bit faster than my intended 8:55. The second mile I ran into a herd of fundraising walkers (from a benefit walk being held at the same time on the same course) and that slowed me down. There was a lot of weaving around dogs on leashes and bikes and kids and it was not exactly fun. I finished the second mile in 8:57. I knew that all I had to do was keep running, not slow down, and I could get to my goal. I just couldn't give up. That voice in my head tried so hard to knock me down, but I tried harder. I sped up. My legs were fine, my breathing was fine, I was strong. I knew I could do it. I just had to hold on. I finished the last mile in 8:45. While not true negative splits, at least it was faster than the second. I saw the finish line and the time on the clock and I gave it everything I had. I did the last .15 (according my to watch) in 7:28

I finished the race in 27:22, beating my A-goal, 13 seconds faster than my almost 4 year old PR, and 44 seconds faster than when I did this race last year. I came in first in my age group (7 of us), 2 minutes ahead of the second woman in our AG, 7th out of 52 women, 27 out of 97 total. 

I needed this race. I'm thrilled with the results, I'm thrilled with my effort. I didn't give up. Didn't give in.  I fought for those seconds. I worked for them. And when that little voice asks "Who do you think you are?" again, I have the answer:

Strong Running Mama

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Running goals

This weekend is my A-goal 5K race. It is also week 13 of my half-marathon training plan so I am supposed to do 8-10 miles. I have discovered that if I care about how I do at a race I am NOT one of those people who can run a few miles before and a few miles after. So I was going to do 8 yesterday to make up for missing it this weekend. I figured I'd do 5 miles of intervals on the treadmill and then get another 3 when I dropped the Princess off for Girl Scouts. But the 2yo wasn't interested in hanging out while I ran and we wound up cuddling on the couch reading books and then walking around outside and swinging. He didn't go down for his nap until too late and my treadmill hopes were dashed. But it was ok. I still had my evening run planned. 

As we know, Tuesday is speedwork day. I always want to do tempo runs but I fail miserably at them on the treadmill. So I thought I'd attempt one on the road. I figured I'd run at a 9:30 pace, that seemed pretty challenging to me, but not all out interval-pace. I was lucky enough to have a speedy friend who met me at the school to keep me on target. We started out (I forgot to do an official warm-up, but just before I had been running with the Princess on the playground, so I'll say that counted as a warm-up). I did the first mile in 9:30 and I felt pretty good. I wasn't dying and I was able to actually maintain a conversation, albeit not quite as easily. So I sped up a little bit. My friend and I parted ways and I continued and sped up more. I felt GOOD. I felt like I was running fast and strong, but like I had more to give. It was awesome. I finished up the 3 miles and walked a bit. I thought about continuing but I had to pee really bad so I wound up stopping at 3.21. I should have just stopped the damn watch at 3, but every bit counts. I knew my average pace (for the 3 miles) was 9:17 so I was pretty happy I had come under my goal but didn't feel like I had just raced. If it hadn't been for my bladder doing it's own running, I could have continued. When I checked my splits though I was SUPER STOKED. I am always aiming for negative splits but I can usually only manage to get the last mile or two faster (depending on the distance). Last night's run was PERFECT. 9:30, 9:12, 9:09. I felt strong. Even better, when I peed it was nice and clear. Because I didn't run until 6 pm, I had all day to hydrate, so I had hit my target water goal (80 oz) before I even left.  

I've been having such successful runs lately that I am feeling pretty confident about my races. Like I said back in January, before that Runner's World article started circulating, I'm really trying to base my success on my effort and not on exact times. I might not break any PRs this weekend, but I feel really good about my training. I am starting to think that my body can run faster than my mind thinks it can. When I thought about doing 9:30 last night I pictured a lot of huffing and puffing. But there wasn't. I was in control and was even able to talk a little. I think I can do more. 

But I'm not setting myself up for failure again. Race goals:

A. 27:35 or better
B. Better than Course PR of 28:06

Whatever I do, I want negative splits and I want to finish strong. I don't want to start too fast & slow down. I want to race smart and I want to run happy. 

Monday, April 27, 2015

About those 11 miles

I'll be reviewing this soon too! 

My 12 mile run a couple of weekends ago was ok and I was able to do some of those miles with friends so that was good. But when I hit mile 8 I kind of petered out. My last few miles were much slower than the previous ones. I felt totally drained.

So, yesterday before I set out on my last double-digit run before the thirteener, I had some goals. I wanted to finish faster than I started and I wanted to run smart. I knew I needed to run 11, which sadly is not evenly divisible by anything. I made do though and broke my run up into uneven sections. For each section I had an average goal pace. For the first 3 miles I wanted to warm up and run slower, 10:45-11:00 min pace. The next 3 I wanted to pick up the pace and run slightly slower than race pace, ideally 10:20. Then I would slow it down again, around 10:30-10:40, for two miles and finish up the last three faster than race pace, preferably at 10:00. I wanted to wind up with a 10:20-10:30 average pace for the whole thing. So, that's basically what I did:

1. 10:43
2. 10:22
3. 10:44
avg: 10:37

4. 10:16
5. 10:24
6. 10:20
avg: 10:20

7. 10:33
8. 10:24
avg: 10:29

9. 10:38

10. 10:11
11. 9:28
avg: 9:49

I realized as I was heading back that mile 8-9 was going to land me right up a hill so I decided to just let it go and not worry too much about being faster. Although I had walked the first minute of each mile up until that point (1-8), I wasn't planning on walking for miles 9-11. All things considered I'm not too disappointed with a 10:38 mile going up hill, especially on tired legs.

Full disclosure: I stopped to take this picture while running up the hill. 

My warm up was pretty close to what I wanted. I wasn't sure why I ran slightly faster in mile 2 & then I remembered the dogs barking in their yard motivated me to go a little quicker. I just don't trust invisible fences. I'm pretty stoked that I ran the second part exactly as I wanted to, as well as the third. I am SUPER stoked that I ran the last part much quicker and that my last mile was my fastest. I had a bit of help from some cowbells and good friends who magically appear on their doorsteps at the exact right moment. I did the whole 11 miles in 10:23, which was faster than I have ever done 11 miles before. I was hurting a bit when I was done but not as I expected. I actually felt pretty strong and like I could continue running. Except for the extremely painful chafing! My target skirt just didn't cut it. I ordered a new skirt with longer compression sleeves underneath that are not supposed to ride up, so I hope it gets shipped soon. Until then I'll have to run with capris and compression sleeves and hope I don't sweat to death.

Besides having a specific plan for this run, I did a couple of other things differently to avoid the slowdown at the end. I've been experimenting with Runner's Tea, a special tea blend made just for, you guessed it, runners (look for a full review soon!). I had some for my 12 mile run but I didn't drink it until the latter half. Yesterday I drank it right away, during the first 3 miles and then the rest of the time I drank regular water. I also recently bought more Honey Stinger chews. I haven't been using anything on my long runs and thought I was ok but after the 12 miler I thought it was a good time to get some more chews and see if they would make a difference. I started using the chews, two at a time, around mile 4 or 5 and finished them by mile 8. I think the combination of the Runner's Tea and the Honey Stinger chews kept my energy up, even though I was running much faster than I normally do for long runs. I didn't feel weak or tired.

I think I'm going to stick with this plan for my half. I'm sure with adrenaline and running with friends I'll be able to knock off a few seconds from my average pace and get back down to 2:15. The hard part will be not starting too fast. I may force myself to walk the very first minute to try to avoid the big rush of going out too quick. I really want to finish faster than I start.

Before I plan my strategy for the thirteener, I need to run my A goal race this Saturday. But that's another blog post.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Twofer Tuesday

Tuesday's are my speedwork days. I am a creature of habit and I stick to things much better when they are part of a defined regular routine. I hemmed and hawed all day Monday about whether I should do my intervals on Tuesday since I had just run a race on Sunday. I decided if I felt ok I would do it and if not I could do an easy run and switch it to Thursday instead. But I am, like I said, a creature of habit. So I really wanted to just do it on Tuesday.

Unfortunately, the cards seemed stacked against me yesterday. LightRunner and I lazed around like sloths during breakfast. I wanted to do pyramid intervals but for some reason I REALLY wanted to use my new watch too. So I programmed it to do the intervals I wanted, but then realized I messed up the number of repetitions so I had to edit it before I started running. It was already basically lunch time before I hit start. I was so focused on the damn watch not being in sync (I think the auto pause messed me up) that I ran longer than I wanted to for the initial intervals. Then I had to stop because LightRunner disappeared and I found him upstairs eating an apple. I had to deal with that and by the time I got to the "peak" of the pyramid, I was just done. So my 5 miles turned to 3. It wasn't an entire fail because I did run really fast for those early intervals, I just didn't do exactly what I set out to do. Did I need to use my watch? No. Not at all. But I wanted to. I cut it short at 3, took LightRunner back upstairs & intended on exercising before I ate lunch (LightRunner had eaten multiple snacks). But I got a phone call from the school nurse than the Princess was tired. So what, right? She had rammed her head into a pole earlier in the day and had a huge goose egg & being tired can be a sign of concussion. So off we went to pick her up and by the time we got home I really needed to eat lunch & get LightRunner down for a nap. No more exercising. 

If the Princess was feeling okay, we had to go to Girl Scouts that evening, so I planned on doing my remaining 2 miles outside around the school. Luckily, she was doing just fine and we could go.

Now, keep in mind, when I run speedwork on the treadmill, I generally do between 8:32 and 9:00 depending on the distance. I always have the incline set to 1 (except yesterday I kept it at 0). I thought about doing an easy 2 miles. But it was Tuesday. And Tuesday is speedwork. So I said screw it and planned 12 repeats of 1 min fast, 1 min walk. On the treadmill I usually do the fast portions at 8:32 when I do this workout.

I warmed up for only half a mile and then went right into it. I planned on running as fast as I could, rather than hit a particular pace so I also planned on waking each resting minute. I wound up with:


The slowest, 9:24, was up a hill. I had to run up that hill for portions of other fast repeats, but that particular one was entirely up the hill. My goal 5K pace right now is 8:48. So for 11 out of 12 repeats, I ran faster than my goal pace. And for 8 of them I ran way faster than I ever do on the treadmill. I wound up with 3.32 miles instead of 2. Oopsies.

And I did this after already doing intervals that day and running a race on Sunday. It was exactly the kind of confidence booster I needed just a couple of weeks before my goal race. I really think all the biking is helping me and doing the run/walk for my long run as well. At one time if I ran more than I should have I would be destined for some kind of injury. But I feel great. I hope I can carry this into the race in a couple of weeks... And then to the half-marathon.

Monday, April 13, 2015

2015 Dodge the Deer

Damn straight

I didn't get a chance to write up my goals for this race so you'll just have to take my word for it when I tell you I did what I wanted to do.


We did NOT get there as early as I wanted to--again--so we scrambled for the kids race--again--with Chewie and LightRunner lining up just in time. It was LightRunner's first race and he loved it! He ran the 200 meters with Daddy while Chewie ran ahead. He even fell at the finish line, got up, and kept on running. It was awesome.

SkyWalker, the Princess and I ran the 1 mile kids race next. The Princess started out WAY too fast and had to walk a few times. But she was motivated by her friends so she didn't give up. She only held my hand a few times. We finished in 10:37 and it took 12 minutes last year. SkyWalker ran ahead of us and even though he walked a few times he finished in 9:30 which was a PR for him too!

The 1 mile wound up being the perfect warmup for my 5K race. My A-goal race is in a couple of weeks so I was looking at this race as a tune-up where am I now type of race. Which was what I did last year too. But this year I took a step back and tried to think more logically. I've done this race a few times now and I always compare it to the other races I do when I think of my goals--but this isn't like the other races I do. This is a trail race not a road race. There's a narrower path to navigate, sticks, roots, trees, sand, mud, etc. I can't be disappointed if I don't break my overall PR because I'm running under vastly different conditions. I haven't even run the trail since the last race I did there in November. I looked back at all the times I've run this particular race and my fastest time was 28:26 a couple of years ago. So I set out to beat 28:26. I also wanted to run negative splits. Those were my only two goals (besides running happy and enjoying it).

I was warmed up but I lined up at the back end of the race to try to avoid going out too fast. It worked great. Almost too great--I started to fear that I'd never get around everyone else. But instead of starting out with a 7-8 minute pace and getting slower and slower, I started out with a 10 minute pace and got faster and faster. I passed people, weaving around them, and felt in control. According to my watch I hit the first mile at 9:08 which was exactly what I wanted, but as it happens EVERY SINGLE YEAR, the clock said something different: 9:18. It always happens at that first mile. I sped up a bit but tried to control it so I could run faster in the third mile. My watch and the clock were pretty close for the second mile (9:00 and 8:59). I really really wanted that last mile to be my fastest but the last mile is when the sand and the mud hit and it just didn't happen. Glancing at most of the other runner's splits though shows the same thing. A few runners managed negative splits but most did not. I did the last mile in 9:15. But I did it with a smile on my face and crossed the finish line at 28:19. I beat my Course PR of 28:26, last year's time of 28:32, and last November's Celebrate Women race time of 29:37.

I'm pretty happy with the results but now I'm going to focus on my next challenge: my A-goal 5K race in 18 days. And the half marathon in 33 days!

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

March stats & wrap-up

Guess where I had that kidney stone problem...

March could have been a bit better if I had not had that damn kidney stone problem. It cost me 14 running miles! Grrr. Overall I'm okay with it. I'm not a 100 mile a month girl. Running 3 times a week & biking twice is working out for me. I'm not quite sure what the proper terminology is for biking... I'm on a semi--recumbent bike. Is that still biking, or cycling, or spinning? Does it matter? I'm on it right now which is why I'm musing about it. When I add my running and biking miles together it's a decent amount:

Total Mileage: 128 miles
Running: 63.5 miles
Biking: 64.5 miles
Crosstraining : 7 sessions

I skipped my strength training yesterday. I did my 1/4 mile repeats and I was really feeling it since it had been my first run since doing them last week. So I decided not to push it. Which kind of sucks since I'll be missing it on Friday as well. I'll just have to be more vigilant next week--when the kids are on school break.

I feel like my running is getting better, my biking is getting better, and I'm hopeful I'll do well in my next 5k. I've increased the resistance on the bike and I'm doing speeds I did at the lower resistance. That's progress. My speedwork is feeling better and my long runs are going well. The easy runs on the treadmill are NOT working out, but I am hoping to do my first stroller run tomorrow. I should just get up earlier and run in the morning but I think I need the sleep more. 

My next 5k is just a tune-up race to see where I am right now. Chewie & LightRunner are doing the 200m, SkyWalker is doing the 1 mile, I'm doing the 1 mile with the Princess and then I'm doing the 5k. That will give me 4 and I need 10 for the day so I'll have to stick around and run some more. 

I'm looking forward to my first double digit run this weekend (since my last half). I'll be using my new Garmin Forerunner 220. I've heard good things about it so I hope it can fill some of the hole left by my beloved Bia. We'll see. I'll have to squeeze 10 miles in to the weekend and see my sister's new twin babies too. I can't wait! For the babies. I'm looking forward to doing 10 miles again, but not in the same way.

Monday, March 30, 2015

United Snails

I had to skip my long run this weekend (major bummer since it would have been my last with my Bia) because of pesky kidney stones. I was super bummed not only because it was going to be first double digit since the half-marathon, but because my United Snails team could have really used those miles.

I'm on Twitter. A lot. It's kind of perfect for the way my brain works. I follow lots of runners and lots of runners follow me. Back in the fall I heard about something called Earthathon, a 25,000 mile virtual relay race. 25,000 miles is the approximate circumference of the Earth so we'd be running across the Earth as a team. I needed the motivation to run having just completed my half and facing the cold winter, so I joined the team. It was a great experience of runners congratulating, motivating and inspiring other runners.

The method is a little different for 2015. Instead of one team and 25,000 miles there are 10 teams running. When we are all done we will collectively have run 250,000 miles. That's pretty cool. We all tweet our runs and then log them into an online spreadsheet. There's a competition between the top teams on who will reach 25K first. I am helping lead a team and we are nowhere near the top which is actually a little freeing. Although there's competition, there is unity as well. When the top teams finish, they will help the lower teams finish. So eventually we'll all be one big team again.

There are roughly 60 members of my team but not all of them are active. There are a handful of really active runners-- people who run all the time, people just starting out training for their first 5Ks and those of us in between. People who can't run much but cheer for the rest of the team. We've got streakers: Rob, Warren, & Phil who never miss a day of running. Rob often does double digit days as well! He is the definition of hardcore. John is a new addition to the team who runs 6 days a week and logs a lot of miles. We've got Tamara who just finished her first marathon with 4 little kids at home! We've got Xina & Lisa who ALWAYS have a kind supporting tweet for all of us. Lisa just did her first half-marathon. Soo balances cycling and running in the never ending winter of Canada. Laura finds time to run on a busy nurse's schedule. Claudio is a long distance runner from Italy who is not afraid to run in a speedo. We can always rely on Martin, Sarah, and Stefan for some quality long distance miles. Charles, Jeff, Mark, Paul M., Erik, Susan, Fi, Maggie, & Shannon all contribute to our hardworking snail team. Not all of the runners are far away... one of my BRF's, Jen, is a snail too! Our leader, Michael, is battling some shin splint problems and taking a much needed break from running. He excels at finding snail clip art. I'm sure I've left someone off this list but there's only so much I can remember. They are all so supportive and inspirational! 

The cheering and support from this team has made running this winter bearable. The bond we've created--people from all over the world--is simply awesome. We may be at the bottom of the leaderboard in miles, but we're at the top in enthusiasm and support. I couldn't have picked a better team and I am so lucky to have been chosen to help lead them. 

If you're a runner looking for some virtual support, it's not too late to join. Make sure you choose UnitedSnails as your team.

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