So be sure when you step. You step with care and great tact and remember that Life's a Great Balancing Act.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

New Bike - The Review

I guess running up a mountain, as fast you can, pushing 60-pounds of babies, can really do a number on your legs because I have spent the last few days very sore. But with some rest and stretching, I'm recovered.

Which means I finally got to go out on my new bike!

31 miles @ 19.6 mph at Pecos Road.

My initial reaction - disappointment. Apparently now matter how nice your bike is, wind still exists and its still frustrating and annoying.

But once I accepted the wind, I appreciated my new bike. The first thing I noticed was how quiet it was. It's a bike for a ninja - it doesn't make a sound! It is also a very smooth ride...it almost feels like I am gliding.

Here is the bike:
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I spent hours get measured, with angles getting calculated...there is a lot more to bike fitting than just getting the right size frame. The new position made my back hurt a little bit but I am hoping once I adjust it is more comfortable.

I also finally got some cycling shorts, courtesy of the magnificent Jacquie Lockwood. Her name is actually written on the tag - such an honor!

My goals for my new bike:
- ride consistently in the 20-22 mph range
- learn how to change my tire

I am now going to share some photos from a small family gathering over the weekend. My dad's sister came in town, with her son/daughter-in-law/2 grand-daughters. They live in the midwest.

Here is Brenna looking "cool" in sunglasses:
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Here is me and David looking a lot less cool..bunny ears are sooooo second grade:
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And all three takes of our family photo. Brenna wasn't in the mood to pose:
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Saturday, March 26, 2011

Damn, the zoo is hilly!!

Ran our 5k today with a final time of 21:30.

It was 30-45 seconds slower than I wanted, and definitely not as competitive as I wanted (although we were the first jogging stroller in by a long shot!)

I seriously had no idea the zoo was so hilly. I know, I know...I live right there, how could I not know this? I realized it was not flat, but I really didnt realize that it was on a mountain. The course was two loops, each one all the way up. During the first loop I said out-loud, "You must be kidding me!"

I consider myself a trail/hill runner first and foremost - usually hills excite me because I consider them an advantage. But not with the stroller. It doesnt matter how good you are, or how determined you are, pushing 60-pounds of babies uphill is a lot of work.

With the course in mind, I am happy with 7-minute miles. I am going to do one more race with the babies before it gets hot - I know we can break 21 minutes - we just need a flatter course.

One of my favorite thing about running with the babies is that for 20 minutes after the race, I have a moment of super-stardom. I play it off as though its no big deal, but just between us, I love having a slew of people come up to me afterwards and tell me how awesome I am. It's not like that happens very often in life.

As usual, I made it a point to smile for the camera:
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As far the zoo goes, I think the kids were still a bit young. We saw a neat monkey, an awesome vulture, some birds, a massive turtle, a jaguar, and this thing that my dad thought was a swan but I am sure its not...pelican?
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I was a fan of this bird:
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There was a tree house (albeit not in a tree) that the kids enjoyed playing it. It had little rooms with a bed:
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and a chair:
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There was also a slide. Anything with a slide is super cool.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Jogging Stroller Session #7 - Mile Repeats

We couldn't end training without squeezing in some mile repeats!

In high school cross country I dreaded these workouts.  DREADED them.   And somehow, during the last 10 years, I have grown a weird fondness for them.  They are a great indicator of improvement and since it's a longer interval, you don't have to do as many.  Seriously, does 8 800s sound more fun?  Or how about 16 400s?  Exactly.

When training for 5ks and half marathons, sometimes I like to stick an extra .1 after the mile to emulate the last stretch of the race.  .1 doesnt sound like much, but its an extra 30+ seconds.

Anyway, the kids and I rocked this workout:

1.1 miles (7:38 / 6:58 pace)
1.1 miles (7:29 / 6:49 pace)
1 mile - 6:47
1 mile - 6:39!!!!!!!

1 minute active recoveries - plus two recoveries where a little longer because I needed to refill snack bowls.  Today they had cheerios, freeze dried apples and freeze dried strawberries.

That last mile may have been the fastest mile I've ran with the jogging stroller.  Honestly, at .8 of that mile the kids started fighting which made me run even faster.  One rule of speedwork: we do not stop in the middle of the interval.  I will run faster to finish the interval, but I won't stop.  Before each run, we go over what the workout is, so they know that if we are running fast, they need to just wait it out.  Or in this case, hash it out.

This morning:
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Monday, March 21, 2011

Flipped!

Yesterday, at 20 months, we flipped the car seats.

My reason for doing this was because lately the temperature has already reached 90-degrees and my car was getting hot.  In Arizona, cool air blasting on your face is a must and you cannot get that experience when you are in a carseat facing backwards.

Of course, the DAY after we flipped, a storm came in, cooling the temperature to a mere 60...and the AAP officially came out with the new guideline of keeping children rear facing until two.

I do feel guilty that we flipped early.  However, I know next week when it is hot again, the kids will be a lot happier.  I also feel a little sad because this is yet another step away from baby-hood; my babies are real kids.  I am realizing that before I know it, our days of running with the stroller will be over.  I am going to try not think about that, but instead savor every single one of our runs.  I am so grateful that they love the jogging stroller and that I have been able to share one of my biggest life passions with them.

Anyway, back to the car seats  - our first car trip was to Trader Joes:
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Thursday, March 17, 2011

Jogging Stroller Sessions #5 and #6

#5) Tuesday - Speedwork (7 miles)...double ladder

ladder 1 (one-ish minute recoveries)
800 (3:25)
.35
400 x 4 (1:40-1:43)
.35
800 (3:20)
*short recovery*
ladder 2
1 min/45 sec/30 sec/20 sec/20 sec/30 sec/45 sec/1 min

While the paces were OK, my legs felt tired. I did a long run (13.2 miles/1 hr 50 minutes) on Sunday and then a pretty hilly 7 mile trail run on Monday. My legs were due for a break.

I took one Wednesday and cycled instead ( 23 miles @19.4 mph).

#6) Thursday - Tempo run..... 7.6 miles - with 5.2 miles at tempo pace (7:06). I did have to stop three times for about 20 seconds to refill the snack bowls. I forgot their blankets today so they needed extra snacks. They go through a lot of cheerios when we run but only about half the cheerios make it into their stomach, as you can see:
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I am very pleased with a stroller tempo pace of 7:06! That is around 15 seconds faster per mile than our tempo pace last week. While I would like to attribute it to my awesomeness, it could have been the route - I do believe today's route was more flat. We drove to Kiwanis park in Tempe.

I wanted the kids to play at this park so that they could swing in these neat swings:
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Brenna really liked the swings - she wanted to swing almost the entire time.

Hayden was more in the mood to climb:
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Luckily, there was nothing really high for him to climb so he was able to play while I pushed Brenna in the swing. Going to the park is never easy, but it's always a lot of fun.

They also did some sliding:
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Yes, I realize that Brenna is exposing some skin, but if anyone can pull it off, its her!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Week-End Check List

  • Biking - Check! (70 miles outside, a session on the trainer
  • Running - Check! (42 wonderful miles..I love running!)
  • Video taping Brenna shove pizza in her mouth - Check!
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  • Swimming - FAIL. I actually forgot that this was part of the triathlon. I cant remember the last time I swam.
  • Watch the Real Housewives of Miami - Check! But what is wrong with Marysol's mother's face????????
  • Drink Chocolate Whipped Cream Vodka - Check!
  • Take photos of the kids - Check!!
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Saturday, March 12, 2011

Lets Talk Serious Biking.

Up until now, I have felt like runner on a bike. And, as of now, I still feel like a runner on a bike.

But I am ready to change this.

Last week I paid $36o to get a professional bike fitting. It was a 4-hour process.
He is using the measurements and angles that were determined to find me the perfect bike! However, this cost also included adjustments made to my current bike. My current bike will never be a perfect bike - the frame is too big and heavy. But, with the adjustments, my current bike is a lot more comfortable:
- The seat was moved up, and back
- The handle bars were moved down, and moved forward
- The cleat at the bottom of my shoe was moved directly all the ball of my foot.

I rode twice with these changes and I am thrilled with the results.

Friday's ride = 23 miles @ 19.1 mph. I did the EXACT same route last week at 17.9mph.
Saturday's ride - 47 miles @ 19.9 mph. That is a new PR for me - I have never averaged that speed unless I was racing. Also for 47 miles? I almost seem like a real cyclist!

One thing I need in order to be a true cyclist is the proper gear. The only gear I have thus far is a sub-par bike and a helmet. No gloves, no shorts, no water bottle, no extra inner tube and I DONT EVEN HAVE A PROPER BIKE PUMP.

The bike pump is my first priority.

So you know these skinny road bike tires? They have a presta valve. The cheap bike pumps come with an adapter for these valves but they dont work. Where does one buy a presta bike pump? This is what I need to figure out. I can tell you where they dont have them though - Target and Walmart.

YES, I braved Walmart on my hunt for a bike pump. And, I went with the kids in tow. We lucked out and got one of the TWO double-carts my Walmart has. Despite that, you can tell the kids are not thrilled to be there:
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There was free pizza, though..and they really liked that:
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We did buy a pump but it was another adapter pump so of course it didnt work. Now, I have to go to Walmart AGAIN to return it.

But the trip to Walmart was not a complete waste of time because Brenna did get this skirt for $5, because you know she doesnt have enough stuff like it:

Also, Walmart has the best donuts. Better than Krispy Kreme and better than Duncan Donuts.

Wow, that was tangent?
What was I talking about??

Oh yeah! Cycling gear!

So after I get a bike pump, I also need cycling gloves. To be honest, I am not sure why I need cycling gloves, but every single person tells me that I do.

I also need cycling shorts. Someone (a professional) has a surplus of shorts and offered me some...this is easy enough. I really cannot see myself purchasing cycling shorts; they are expensive! And ugly.

A repair kit + extra innertube in a must, although that means first I need to learn how to change a tire. Somehow I have managed to get this far without ever having a flat...*bangs ferociously on wood* Hmmm, this is definitely a high priority item.

Since rides are long, the temperature at the start of the ride is colder than that at the end of the ride. To account for this, cyclist wear arm sleeves...like this:
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I made my own arm sleeves using a pair of babylegs. (If you dont have kids, babylegs are baby leg warmers)...like this:
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Mighty clever, huh?! I am not sure if anyone noticed that my arm warmer was indeed a baby leg warmer...I tried to hide the Babyleg logo. But anyway, if they did notice, they were kind enough not to mention it out loud.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Jogging Stroller Session #4 (First day of Sandals!)

Another day of training with the babies!

Today we did 7 miles (56 minutes) which included 2 tempo intervals (7 min, 30 seconds each...7:21 pace and 7:19 pace ). This was 10 seconds faster per mile than last week, which pleased us. We are getting very excited for race day!

Today was also the warmest day of the year - high of the 88 but according to my car thermometer, we hit 90. 90 felt hot - it was a grim realization that soon this is the weather I will be running/biking in...but alas, that is life when you live in Arizona. We had a wonderful fall, and a beautiful winter. I cannot complain.

Since it was so warm, I dressed the babies accordingly...in sandals! I bought them each new sandals during the winter. Well, I bought Hayden new sandals - I bought Brenna 3 new sandals (white, gold/pink, purple)...girl shoes are just so much more fun!

Here they are last summer - this is the first time they ever wore sandals:
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Here is Hayden today...checking out his new shoes:
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He likes them?
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Brenna wants to wear her sandals:
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She likes them (of course)
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Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Jogging Stroller Session #3

Half way done until race day. Today we did a fartlek style run around Tempe. A fartlek style run is a form of speedwork....instead of doing a concrete interval, you run to certain landmarks.

We started at a park near ASU and did a warm up to Mill Ave bridge...and then the fun started:

- Run over bridge (.35 mile/6:48 pace)
- Run through Tempe Town Lake Park and to the Art Center (.57 mile/7:15 pace)
- 90 seconds x 2 w/ 35 second recovery (6:45/6:55 pace)
- Run under the Mill Ave Bridge (.6 mile/6:58 pace)
- 1 min "on" (sub-7)/40 seconds "off" all the way past Rural road
- 40 seconds "on"/20 seconds "off" back to Mill
- Run back over the bridge! (7:15 pace this time, I will blame a gentle headwind)

7.2 miles total, 58 minutes.

The kids were definitely ready to get out the jogging stroller when we were done so I was thankful that I started at the park. The park was big and of course they wanted to climb up everything, nearly giving me a heart attack.

I was so happy when I finally had them contained in swings!

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Sunday, March 6, 2011

The Princess Rides a Pony!!!!

You may remember this darling video of Brenna, dressed as a princess, riding her toy pony:
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These days, Brenna still rides her pony quite often. Sometimes dressed as a princess, sometimes clad in just a diaper.

Today, she got into her princess outfit and did what every Princess is born to do - she RODE A REAL PONY!!!!!

As you can see in the photos, at first she was unsettled; I think she was disappointed to find out that real ponies are not pink. Nor do they sing musical songs when you squeeze their ears. This is a coming of age moment that all princesses must endure - sometimes lessons of life teach us things we wish were not true.

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The pony was the highlight of our weekend but the entire weekend was very enjoyable.

Training was a 13.5 mile run on Saturday and a 45-mile bike ride on Sunday (group ride!!) I felt very strong and fast for both of those workouts.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Running with a Jogging Stroller (Sessions 1, 2)

Running with a jogging stroller is a different sport than running. First, the obvious - the constant resistance. In my case, this resistance is almost 60-pounds...and increasing:
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They really don't look like babies much anymore, do they?

But aside from the obvious, it requires developing an entirely new running form. Perhaps with a single stroller you can push with one arm, but to a double stroller requires two arms; swinging your arms is a huge part of running, although a part that is overlooked until you cannot do it. Next time you are running and you are tired, try swinging your arms more. You'll notice increased speed and less fatigue. With the stroller, that advantage gets taken away.

However, it is replaced with the fact that you can lean forward and put some of your weight on the stroller. This is a huge advantage! So, I would not say that running with a stroller is harder per say, but it is quite different.

Also, the elements become more challenging. A simple, innocuous breeze feels like a full forced headwind. A gentle, gradual upgrade feels like a mountain.

And, lets not forget - you have the rest of your team to worry about. They dont like to run into the sun, they dont like their snack cup to be empty, and they like to toss their toys overboard. And, sometimes they like to sing Old McDonald Had a Farm. Over and over again.

We are going to run a 5k at the zoo. We dont have much time to get into stroller-running shape, but we will cram some training in and see what we can accomplish.

Tuesday Baby-Training: 5 miles w/ speedwork
-4.5 min "fast"** x 2 (1 min recovery) **sub 7:25 pace
-1 min "fast"** x 6 (30 sec recovery) **sub 7 pace
-2 min "fast"** x 3 (50 sec recovery) **sub 7:15 pace

Thursday (today) Baby Training: 7.1 miles w/ tempo intervals
-13 min @ 7:30 pace
-9 min @ 7:25 pace
*insert 4 minute stupid hill*
-15 min @ 7:30 pace

As not to disturb our morning routine (because Hayden and I hate change!) I did these workouts in the afternoon. I have always failed as an afternoon runner. By the time late afternoon rolls around, I have already ate two breakfasts, two lunches, a few cookies and a handful of candy. It's really not pleasant to run and digest at the same time. I have no idea how people run after dinner. I am the type of girl that likes to run marathons on an empty stomach.

I was able to overlook the tummy cramps as I was running - and I wont go into detail but lets just say that there was some uncomfortable aftermath.

Since summer is approaching and change is inevitable; next week we are going to resume our morning workouts. This means no more spin classes :( I am going to miss them.

Also, in the morning, the babies are unusually cuddly; it]s the only time of the day they are willing to sit still. Sometimes I try to snuggle with Hayden after work and he screams like world is ending. So in the mornings we all pile on the couch and watch cartoons. I will also miss this:
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