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

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Splash and Dash - Race Report

So yes, they fixed the PH balance of the lake, meaning that the swim portion of my upcoming triathlon is a definite thing.

In preparation, I did a splash and dash: 1000 meter swim, followed by a 5k.

I busted out my wetsuit that had not been worn in many, many years. Mind you, many many years ago I was a bit more narrow. And, even then, the wetsuit was questionably too small. Last night I managed to put it on with just a little sweat and tears, however it was hard to breathe.

One could have easily argued that I did not need a wetsuit (the morning temperature was 65) but for those of you who know me, you know that 65 degree weather is coat weather for me. So my options were:
- wear a wetsuit that was too small (and potentially get stuck)
- suck it up and freeze (and potentially get hyperthermia)

Luckily for me, I was able to borrow a wetsuit at the event from a very nice man named Barry. It was too long but at least I could breathe.

The swim course was two 500-meter loops. My friend Shelly was just doing the 500.
I soooo desperately wanted to do the 500 as well. But since my triathlon has a 1500 meter swim, I needed a longer practice.

The first loop was horrible.
I was kicked in the face.
I swam over people.
I swam under people.

Eventually, we all spread out and I was able to just try to get finished. But, was I swimming in the right direction? Every time I put my head up, the sun was in eyes and I was unable to see the buoy.

After the first lap, I had a little confidence which made the second lap slightly easier.

Nonetheless, I was thrilled when I was done!

I jogged over to the transition and peeled off my wetsuit. I dried off my feet. I put on my shoes.

And then I ran.

I was doing the 5k as just part of my long run (Shelly and I had another 6-8 miles planned) so I did not run all out. But even holding back, I had the fastest woman's run time.

Shelly told me that I looked so fast yet controlled when I ran, and that I was fun to watch. I think that is perhaps one of the best compliments anyone has ever given me!


My swim time: 24 minutes (UGH)
Transition + 5k time (22 minutes)

Placed 2nd in age group but there was no bling at this race. I did win a RoadID though.

Speaking of bling, like mother, like daughter:

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Big Kid Beds

We moved into our current house when I was 31 weeks pregnant and on bedrest. Because of this, I never had the opportunity to create a nursery. So all this time the kids have been sleeping in relatively boring bedrooms.

Finally, 20 months into it, I finally decorated their rooms.

Yes, their rooms do include "big kid beds" but no, they do not sleep in them. They just jump on them.

Brenna loves her new room! I am a little worried that I overdid it with the pink. I am such a sucker for anything pink or princess-themed. I seriously have no control, which is why she owns 10 pairs of pink sandals. I see something pink and I just NEED to buy it. Hopefully Brenna does not mind that I am projecting my love of all things pink on to her.

Hayden's room is more gender neutral and as you can see, he is neutral about it as well.
But really, a slide and ballpit in his bedroom? He should be thrilled!

So, after the excitement from our big win, I looked at my calendar to realize that my triathlon was just weeks away. I enthusiastically went to the pool.

I swam my normal 20 minutes/1000 yards and all of a sudden it hit me for the first time: the olympic swim is 1500 meters. Folks, do you know how long it has been since I have swam that far?? And in open water, no less?

So now I am forced into doing a swim race next weekend so I can get some experience, assuming they can balance out the PH balance of the lake.

I hope that the PH balance is not fixed by May so that they just cancel the swim (like they did for a race a few weeks ago).

Swimming is lame.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Won Our First Race!!!

We accomplished our sub-21 minute goal...official time was 20:52, which won us the race!

A 20:52 is typically not fast enough to win a race, but we strategically picked out a small race. Hey, a win is a win, right?

The other runners were very nice and good sports about being beaten by a jogging stroller. In fact, we beat most men, too - we were the fourth overall competitor.

I wasn't sure if I was going to be up to par to run fast since yesterday I was sick. The sickness started with my Dad and spread to the babies. Let me just say that dealing with two puking babies is much harder than running a fast 5k with them! David had asked me if I was going to blog about the experience but I opted not to because it was just too gross. Trust me, there were no photo opportunities.

Yesterday I took a nap when the babies napped and found that I was unable to get up. I refused to accept that I would miss our race so I took every medicine we had in our medicine cabinet, went to bed at 7pm and hoped for the best.

I woke up feeling better, albeit not perfect.

I asked myself, Should I run? Should I not run?
One moment I would feel fine, the next moment I wanted to lay down.

Ultimately, I decided to gulp a bunch of coffee and pretend that yesterday never happened. I was never sick.

By the time we got to the race, I was in the mood to run. That is what happens when you put on a cute running skirt, your running socks and drink a bunch of must run at that point.

I surveyed my competitors and decided that this would be our race to win. The race started with a long downhill and ended with a long uphill - just as I expected. It also went along the path we did our speedwork on and just like I expected, we would have a tailwind in one direction and headwind in the other.

I knew if I wanted to win this race, I had to fly down the downhill..which I did, at a 5:30 pace. Here we are leading the pack:

and flying:

There was a bit of a setback at the bottom of the hill since we had to go over a curb to get onto the sidewalk. After that obstacle, I tried to run as fast I could to make up for it. We ran to the end of the lake, up another little hill (the one we included in Tuesday's training) and then turned around to face the headwind.

The headwind was hard and I kept fantasizing about stopping and laying down in the grass. But that is pretty normal for me during a 5k...I always feel like stopping after mile 2.

I push on and we get to the uphill which I had been dreading in the back of my head the entire time. I knew the number 2 runner was trying to catch me and this uphill was her advantage. The hill hurt just as much as I expected...Just keep running. You are almost there.


You always know I am hurting when I dont turn my head and smile at the camera:

It felt pretty good though to finish number one...although technically Brenna was the first overall female!

My friend Suzanne ran the race (with a double stroller) too and brought special medals for this kids!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Jogging Stroller Session #3 (Final)

This was a fine run but I am very uncertain about our ability to run a sub-21 minute 5k on Sunday, now that I inspected the course.

I am not entirely sure what the course is, but it includes the North side of Tempe Town Lake. Which direction, I am unsure. For today's run, we did speedwork going in both directions.

mile: 6:44 (had a headwind)
quick 30 second recovery jog
mile: 6:47 (had a headwind)
90 second recovery jog + filled up snack bowls
1.5 miles: 9:53 / 6:36 pace (tailwind)
short recovery
.15 mile uphill: 1:07 / 7:25 pace
800 x 2 (3:21 / 3:17)

The headwind was very hard. We ran at 9am, the race is at 9am..I think we need to expect a similar headwind.

My biggest concern though is that the only way to get from where the race starts, to the path by the lake, is a huge hill. Much larger than that silly .15 hill that we did. Hills slow us down soooooo much.

So, I need to expect my last mile (going from lake to the finish line) to be real slow since it will include a large hill. thus, if i want to break 21 minutes, i need a really fast first mile, like a 630. And then sustain 645 for the second mile, and keep my third mile to around 7 minutes..and then sprint back down to a 645 pace.

It will be hard.
Doable? I really have no idea.
My saving grace will be the taper. My legs were tired from Sunday's long run and yesterday's brick. Fresh legs will help.

I kind of wish that I started at the race start so I could run up/down that hill. But instead, I parked at this neat park about a 1/2 mile away from the lake...its a park comprised of all slides!

Unfortunately, Brenna did not want to go down the slides. There was a time in her life where she loved all slides, and would slide down them with no fear. But lately, she has been timid. She spent a lot of time just sitting there:

Hayden loved the slides, but he only loved going down them head first:

They also played in dirt. Dirt is awesome.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Ending the Baby Phase...very slowly

As much as I want my kids to stay babies forever, I realize that they are embarking on the next stage of their life. With pre-school looming just months away, my "babies" barely qualify as babies. However, there are few things that keep us lingering in this stage.

One of those would be self-feeding.
Oh, my kids know how to feed if they are wild animals. Ideally, I think a non-baby should be able to understand the concept of biting and chewing. And even moreso, be able use a utensil.

We gave this a shot with a little 4oz container of yogurt. They grasped the idea immediately and with excitement, each placed their little plastic Gerber spoon into the yogurt. And then they put the spoon in their mouth:



I'll give them credit here for accomplishing step 1 and step 3 but they never quite understood step 2: you must scoop the yogurt onto the spoon and then not turn the spoon upside down.

Since step 2 was never quite mastered, this is what we were doing nearly 45 minutes later:

After the longest, yet smallest, breakfast ever, we moved on to our potties.

Another thing that separates a baby from a non-baby are diapers. As long as I am changing 4.3 pounds of diapers a day, then they are still babies.

They sat on their potties and stared at each other.
And then Hayden screamed:

And then Brenna screamed louder:

And that went for a quite awhile.

And then they sat

and sat

and sat.
and sat.

So, at this pace, I think I will have babies for awhile longer, which is fine with me!

Friday, April 8, 2011

Stroller Session #2, and a Brick

Thursday - 8 mile w/ run with the stroller...with 4.5 miles at tempo pace (6:56)

Unlike speedwork, I dont focus on my pace when I do a tempo run. I focus on how I feel...I make sure that I am out of my comfort zone, but not hurting. I make sure that I am breathing hard, but not panting.

For those of you following our training, you know that a 6:56 pace is fast for us. Back in March,our tempo pace was 7:06.

I am wondering what my tempo pace would be *without* the stroller. I cannot remember the last time I did a tempo run without my kids. I have a feeling that I may run faster with the stroller .

Our tempo portion ended at a street we needed to cross. There was another runner waiting for the signal; we exchanged hellos. When the little walk man appeared, she darted off in front of me. There was a little headwind and I decided it was time to cool down.

We proceed at our cool down pace and it was the same pace as the girl in front of me was running. Just run comfortably behind her,I kept telling myself. After all, I was cooling down.

But after almost a mile, I just couldnt take it anymore. I HAD to pass her. So I sped up, quickly made my move and then dashed ahead. So, the last stretch of our "cool down" was a 6:23 pace.

Friday - my first brick of triathlon training!
35 mile bike ride (hills) with a 2.25 mile run. We have a storm coming in tomorrow so it was super windy. Wind + hills = hard but it was also validating because unlike last week I was actually able to move (19mph). Wind sucks, but it sucks less when your break is not rubbing against the wheel.

This storm is bringing in cooler weather and we're enjoying. After this, its going to be hot. and then hotter. and then hotter.

I actually dont mind the heat but I will miss hanging outside with the babies. They love being outside.

Today we went to the park:

We go to the park often but never stay long. It's just so nerve wracking because they love to climb everything. I always have a sense of relief when they decide they want to swing. This blog cant have too many pictures of them in swings, right?

When we were getting ready to go to the park, I asked Brenna to go get her pants. I took off her pants before her nap and they were sitting openly in the middle of the playroom. She toddled away. After a few minutes, I went to see what was taking so long and I found her in her room, looking through her clothing. She picked out a new pair of pants:

These...they are actually pajama bottoms.
Size 9 months. She is 20 months.
I think its time to clean out the drawers!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Sometimes all you can do is laugh

My grocery store, Frys (which is Kroger in other parts of the country) has senior citizens day on the first Wednesday of every month.

On this day, all senior citizens (55 and older) get 10% off their entire bill. They also put out free coffee and donuts. Now, as much as I love a stale powdered donut, this is not the best day to go grocery shopping. The store is overran with old people all stocking up for the month. This is a true test of patience when shopping with two toddlers because the checkout lines are long - and they are slow.

We are usually the only family at the store on senior citizens day. I think other people avoid this day...the store is crowded and as much as I dont want to make any negative generalizations about old people, at my specific grocery store, they dont seem to be very friendly.

So why do I knowingly grocery shop on senior citizens day? For the 10% discount, of course. The discount comes off when your store savings (VIP) card is swiped - and my birthday year was entered incorrectly when I registered. Whether or not this was done on purpose is irrelevant.

My kids like grocery shopping. They sit in the car attachment of the cart and honk the little squeaky horns. They also like to play the Grocery Store Screaming Game. To play this game, one baby screams. Then, the next baby screams louder. Then they laugh, which makes it almost cute for one second, until the screaming continues.

Look, I am not going to say its not annoying.
It IS annoying.
But they are toddlers and this is what toddlers do. Sometimes I can ask them to be quiet and they listen. Sometimes I give them balloons to distract them. Sometimes I even give them a small piece of cookie in exchange for being quiet.

The screaming game is still better than the fighting game (where Brenna repeatedly pulls Hayden's hair and pokes his eyes) so ultimately, it doesnt bother me.

But it does bother the senior citizens.
I lost count of how many bad looks we got somewhere after 20.

And I find that strange considering most of them cannot hear anyway.

At one point, we are walking down the deoderant isle and this old lady comes up from behind me with a sponge. "Your KID dropped this," she scolded me. Apparently my DD had been reaching for anything in reaching distance.

I look around, surrounded by old people glaring at me, old people music blasting through the store's speakers, my kids screaming at the top of their lungs and now my DD is grabbing all the deoderants off the shelf...and I still have this one old lady growling at me.

What could I do?
Sometimes there is only one thing you can do - laugh.

So I laughed.

And we survived. Until next month.


Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Jogging Stroller Session #1 (I think?)

There is another 5k next Sunday - 10 days away. That gives us two more speed workouts if we choose to do this.

I talked to the race director, who was very welcoming. The race is almost flat, except with a slight upgrade at the end. The path is wide and paved.

My only reservation is that my triathlon (which cost $140 to register, btw) is only a month away. I have not long-biked in two weeks (and I am still licking my wounds from Sunday) nor have I done a single brick. I will need to sacrifice focus, plus one weekend of training, to do this race.

On the other hand, I really really want to break 21 minutes with the jogging stroller. The weather is only getting warmer, and the kids are only getting heavier. I almost feel that this is a "now or never" situation.

So that begs the question, Can I run a sub-21 minute 5k next weekend?

To do this, I need a 6:45 race pace. We played around with this pace today:

5 minutes @ 6:45 pace (uphill)
2.5 minutes @ 6:45 (still uphill)
3 minutes @ 6:11 pace (downhill)
2 minutes @ 6:41 pace (back uphill)
1 minute @ 6:07 pace (downhill)
4 minutes @ 6:33 pace (flat)
2.5 minutes @ 6:31 pace (slight uphill)
2 minutes @ 6:43 (slight headwind)
5 minutes @ 6:45 (slight headwind)

recoveries were between 1-3 minutes, depending on whether we needed to cross a road or refill a snack bowl.

In case anyone is curious, the way I did this workout was I had my garmin show me three things:
Average Lap Pace / Lap time / Lap distance
I attach the garmin to the handle bars of the stroller so that it is visible at all times.

If you are trying to run a certain pace, I recommend this view. I knew I didnt want to run slower than 6:45 so no interval ended until my average lap-pace was at least 6:45. For example, it took me 5 minutes for interval 1 to get my average lap-pace to be 6:45 so that is why that interval is 5 minutes. It's not nearly as random as it looks.

When I told the kids this morning that it was speedwork day, I got these looks:


The kids really do like to run. Maybe I should just do it because we would have fun.

My Dad is over watching the kids while I do this blog update. When I told him I was updating my blog, he got excited and asked if there would be pictures. I guess my running blabber is not interesting unless you are interested in running. I respect that, so here are more pictures:

Hayden wearing Daddy's shoes:

Brenna wearing her new gymnastic leotard:

I just couldnt bring myself to cover up those thighs so that leotard was her complete outfit all day. She didnt mind, she loved it:

Sunday, April 3, 2011

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

The good:

Friday's workout: 23 miles @ 20.5 mph! I was by myself so no cheating drafting.

Saturday's workout: 13 miles w/ 4.5 miles of intense hills. Avg 8:20 pace and it felt really comfortable.

The bad:

Sunday's workout: A failed attempt at a bike ride. It was windy and I felt like no matter how hard I worked, I couldnt get any speed. I was unable to keep up with my partner and felt like such a failure. I figured it was the wind that was making the ride so difficult so I forced myself to keep going. Finally, 75 minutes and 20 pathetic miles later, I gave up. I get off my bike and it is even hard to push. Could I be THAT tired?

I called my husband who pointed out that my front gear needed to be adjusted - It was rubbing against the tire! So not only did I ride 20 miles in wind, I did it while riding my break.

This mean no long bike ride for the week, unfortunately.

The ugly:



Yes, that says 4.3 pounds.
We go through 4.3 pounds of dirty diapers per day.