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