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

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Something Very Important

It has dawned on me that while I have been distracted by all these 5Ks, I have neglected to mention my other passion: Cycling. Specifically with the wonderful women of Scottsdale. We ride 30-40 miles every Sunday morning and it is always one of the highlights of my weekend.

Today we did 42 miles of tough hills in Paradise Valley. I went as slow as 8 mph going up the hills, but as fast as 38 mph coming down them. Talk about exhilarating!

Here are some photos from this morning - see if you can spot me!



Thursday, July 21, 2011

Is it summer or is it me?

I guess I am lucky that I am asking myself this for the first time at the end of July. Although Arizona is known for having a dry heat, in the months of July-Sept, we have this lovely thing called the monsoon.

Well, it's "lovely" if you are not a runner.

90-degree weather at 5am on it's own is not miserable, but throw in some humidity and it's painfully wet. Like dripping in sweat uncontrollably wet. Like this:

When I come inside from after a run, I leave a trail of dripping sweat from the front door to the shower, where I undress.

My runs this week were hard, and the speed that I was craving just wasnt there. Now, it would be so easy to blame this on the weather! I mean, all that must be why it's hard, right?

But I also just kinda feel tired.
My muscles feel tight.
My legs feel heavy.

So, it does beg the question if it's the weather, or if it's me.

It might just be time for *a little less* running and *a little more swimming*. Something that I have to do anyway since my next triathlon is quickly approaching.

And just like the heat has made running more challenging, it has made parenting more challenging as well. The afternoons are the most difficult, it is so hot that we dont even want to leave the house.

Needless to say, everyone is happy when David arrives home at 530. They are so sick of me by then and jump into his arms:

I love my family.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

5k Summer Series, #4

This was a PR for me! Only by a few seconds, however I set my previous PR before I had kids. This means I am officially faster than I was pre-twins.

I snagged another first place in my age group, but my competition stepped it up a notch - I think its going to be a real race for the next one.

You never expect to PR in the middle of July when you live in Arizona. Not only is it hot, but it tends to be humid, thanks to the monsoons. However, we had a monsoon last week and this week it dried up. Although warm, it was lovely weather. I knew the night before that this was going to be a very fast race.

And it was - the gun shot and everyone literally flew off the start line. My first mile was fast, 6:20, but it didn't kill me.
I went into mile two feeling in control. I missed the mile marker for mile 2 so I didnt not lap until 2.1...6:59 (aka 6:23 pace). At this point, I am on target for a sub-20.
I did not specifically train to run this fast so I did start to feel tired. But I told myself I only had one more mile and I clung on as much as I could. My last mile was in 6:36.

Now here is the thing - the race did not end, there was an extra .05. OK, so in the real world, .05 is nothing. I probably walk that distance just to get from the couch to the bathroom. But in this case, it was an extra 10 seconds.

My Garmin, which is God, says I ran a 6:26 pace.
6:26 for exactly 3.1 = 19:59.

OK, I know I am splitting hairs but I have been trying to break 20 minutes for pretty much my adult life. It's a tad frustrating to come so close!

I would make this goal for my next race, but it's
1) in the middle of August. it will be super hot.
2) at South Mountain. it will be super hilly.

So this particular goal is going to have to sit on the back burner for now.

When I got home, my kids did not understand that I ran without them. They jumped in their jogging stroller, ready to go.

But no, I am not hardcore enough to run again, so we went to the mall so that I could get my eyebrows threaded. Now I have pretty eyebrows, which will last for about a week (and then I will pluck them and mess them up).

The kids played at the play area. The key of taking toddlers to the play area is to go early, before all the big kids come.



and a really unique photo of them playing in the same area!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

To marathon, or not to marathon

That is the question!

I am 75% sure that I am going to run the Tucson marathon at the end of the year. But, I keep wavering. It has been 4 years since I ran the Portland marathon in 2007. Since then, I have been busy having kids and decided that the triathlon was my preferred sport.

But I just have this uncontrollable itch to run the Boston marathon before I retire as a marathoner. So, I need to qualify. Qualifying, at one point, was a piece of cake...I can run a 3:40 pretty easily. Under the new standards, I need a 3:20 in order to get in. That is a lot harder.

So - the positives:
- I will get to do a bunch of long runs, which I enjoy
- I will get to experience the post-marathon high, which is something I love
- I will get to train with my friends

And - the negatives:
- I will have to put some of my other athletic goals (ie sub-20 min 5k) on the back burner. I will be able to do my September triathlon, and I will be able to squeeze in one half marathon, but that is all I can fit in. That means no more triathlons for the rest of the year.
- I dont have a good track record with marathons, they tend to lead to injuries.
- The commitment. After all, I do have a job...and you know, twins:

We've been staying busy with our usual grocery shopping, running, family outings and playing. And,
we have made some great progress in the pool. We are now to the point that they do not scream when they see the pool, nor do they cry when they go into the water.

We also have upgraded to fancy re-usable swim diapers. I like them because they look like speedos:


I think its about time to start swim lessons!

Monday, July 4, 2011

5k Summer Series, #3

This "5K" was actually a 4-mile race, in honor of the 4th of July. I only learned that it was a longer race a week ago - but that allowed me to adjust my final speedwork accordingly.

I was not sure how to pace myself given the extra mile, so I went based on effort. I think I am getting this pacing thing down! The first mile was slightly downhill, so it was a bit fast (6:32). The second mile had some more downhill, so it was fast too (6:33). The course then looped around so miles 3 and 4 were uphill and slower (6:49 and 6:50 respectively). Final time = 26:41.

I did win bling, although it appears I won the wrong bling. I was awarded 1st place but apparently there was a time discrepency and I really won second. Here I am, back when I thought my bling was legit. My friend Louise also has bling. (and free Snicker Marathon bars, which makes her my bestfriend).

It doesn't really matter much to me if I won first or second since ultimately I am racing against myself; each race should be better than the last. I only have two weeks to improve until the next one.

To train for these 5ks, I have been doing one interval workout and one tempo run per week. The rest of my schedule consists of a little cycling, and some jogging with my teammates, usually to a park. The other day, we ran around the lake and fed the ducks:





The babies really like ducks. In fact, I think it may be Brenna's favorite animal! (Hayden's favorite animal is the cow).

UPDATE: My medal is legit.