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

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Far from where I want to be

I am about 375 miles away from where I want to be.

As I mentioned in a previous post, I should be in California right now. I should be running on the beach, swimming in the ocean, making out with my husband in the sand and sipping on a mid-day cocktail.

Instead, I am on my couch.
Watching Food Network.
My husband is napping next to me on the couch.

Unfortunately there was some family health issues that forced us to stay at home.

I cant say that I handled it like a mature adult.
I whimpered. OK, I cried.

OK...OK....I sobbed.

It wasn't really so much about being in California (although that part was pretty cool), it was more about getting a break.

Being a parent can be daunting; sometimes a simple trip to the grocery store leaves me more exhausted than a 15 mile run. Especially with Brenna.

I guess she takes after me because she is very emotional and complex. And since she doesn't talk, I never know what she wants. I offer her food, water, her blanket. I change her diaper. I put on her shoes. I take her shoes off. I pick her up. I put her down. I pick her up again.

95% of the time doing all that fixes NOTHING.

And, to make it even more dramatic, she will run into a room and slam the door. I wasn't expecting this until the teenage years.

Brenna can only slam doors, not open them. So after she slams the door, she is stuck. This only makes her more upset.

At this point, I usually let out a long, audible sigh.
Because I know what is awaiting me behind that door.

Please note that there are no tears running down this child's face.

And what does Hayden do during these dramatic moments?
He chills. Just like his Dad, he is the epitome of simplicity and calmness.

And yes, those are underwear!

But no, he is not potty trained. They were on the Clearance rack for 99-cents and undeniably cute. I could not resist.

Anyway, I always try to look for a positive: one positive thing about not going to California is that I was able to run with my running friends. We met at 5am and ran 10 miles. It felt good to be back - and it felt even better that I ran all 10 miles without ANY tightness Whatsoever!

Folks, I am healed.

This pleases me immensly, however in my two week hiatus I managed to lose a lot of speed. I feel very far away from where I want to be for the Womens Half Marathon in Novemeber. I have a lot of work to do.

And of course - I will be documenting it all here.

Until then, I leave you with this. Enjoy.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

The ART of Healing

The combination of less mileage + Active Release Therapy + K-Tape has been very successful on my leg. My legs, perhaps, feel the best that they have felt in a long time. I think after awhile of daily running, I forget that my legs are not supposed to feel tight and sore. It doesn't hurt normal people to bend over!

Now that the inflammation is gone, I can pinpoint exactly where my actual trouble areas are. The butt pain and leg pain that I had in my left leg are completely gone! I now realize that it was actually my other leg that was giving me problems. I was over-compensating.

I am going to continue to do the Active Release Therapy,
and re-build my mileage slowly.

It's nice to have loose, limber legs. I want to keep them this way.

On Sunday, I stuck to my bike and rode at South Mountain. This ride included going up South Mountain (4000 ft elevation gain). This is the nice thing about having running friends who cycle - you dont have to completely miss out!

The rest of the week looked like this:

On Monday I ran 5 miles. And I swam!
On Tuesday I biked 21, ran 3.5
On Wedneday I ran 6 miles. And I swam again!

Next time I update this I will be in California.
This is a rarity.

And to make it even more special < whispers > I am not taking the kids!

One of the kids happens to be sick.
She woke up on Monday with a burning forehead.

Somehow we made it two years without any illness so this is new territory for me. I gave her medicine and let her eat her breakfast on the couch:

And just for the record, that banana ended up on the floor 2 seconds after that photo was taken.

Hayden enjoyed the moment because this was the first time in two years that he was able to eat breakfast without someone trying to steal his banana. Sometimes, Brenna gets so aggressive that she actually grabs the banana out of his mouth while he is chewing it.

I didn't really find having a sick child to be difficult (at least, this time). She slept in, took long naps and I let her watch a lot of TV. Like mother, like daughter, that girl loves her television.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Update on my Leg #2.

My leg is feeling much better! I have been limiting my runs to 30 minutes because I dont want to injure myself. I feel really confident that I will be 100% by next week. However, I dont want to jinx myself so my fingers, legs and toes are all crossed right now.

I have been getting Active Release Therapy from my chiropractic friend. She also taped my legs so now I am very colorful and stylish:

She did advise skipping my long run this week. As much as I wanted to run with my friends, I listened to her.

Instead, I rode with my cycling group.
I am so thankful that I love to makes missing a long run so much easier.

Today, my cycling group attached to much faster cycling group. We went all the way down Pecos road at 32+mph. It was not physically challenging to go that fast because of the draft, however, I dont have a lot of drafting experience and I dont feel comfortable drafting with strangers. So, I hung onto the back of the pack and clung on like crazy. All I could think was that Mr. Bike Man would not approve of such behavior at my skill level.

When I do my long runs and my long bikes, David wakes up with the kids. He always tells me that they wake up in good moods. But something happens as soon as I walk through the door...I am always greeted with these faces:

But, a few hugs and kisses...and a lunch...and an episode of Yo Gabba Gabba...and more kisses, will usually get them in a good mood. And then they look like this instead:

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Update on my Leg

Hopefully no one has lost any sleep over this - I assure you guys that my leg is OK.

I did an easy test run yesterday, 6 miles at around an 8:10 pace. There was no pain, but there was significant tightness. I made the decision to take the rest of the week off.

Being injured is my biggest fear - I rather rest now and feel great next week than push it now and be injured next week! It's a bit hard because my leg is a lot looser today. I can jump and skip with glee...but, the pain during the race was very real, so I want to remain very careful.

There is smart. And there is silly.

In life, I tend to be silly. For example, the other day I took my daughter grocery shopping dressed like this:

Mommy Tip #285: When taking your toddler out in public, dress your child so ridiculous that the only conclusion is that your child dressed themself. This way, no matter how much they run

or how loud they yell

they wont get a single dirty look. Even the bitter old lady wont have the heart to do so.

But anyway, it comes to training, I dont want to be silly. I want to be smart. Since I dont have any races right now, it only makes sense to take a few days off...even if I think I feel fine.

So, I put Mr.Coach on hold for two weeks. That gives me this week to recover, and next week to vacation.

Since Mr.Coach is on hold, I decided to go to Mr.Bike Man. I am a relatively new cyclist. Not that long ago, I didnt even consider myself a real cyclist. In the past few months, I have gotten much faster and now not only am I a "real" cyclist, I am an arrogant and cocky cyclist.

One of my favorite things to do is play the game: Find a Man on a Fancy Bike and Pass Him. The more they resist, the more fun the game is. Sometimes I even play Find the Group of Men on Fancy Bikes and Pass them All. I never lose, and I return home feeling like I have done a service to women everywhere by proving that skinny girls in pink bike shorts can kick ass.

However, I keep hearing from my friends that I can be an entire mile per hour faster with aerobars. One of my friend even gives me aerobars. They say "Ironman" on them and this makes them cool. I figured, If I put them on my bike, I will be cool too!

So, hence my visit to Mr.Bike Man.
Unfortunately, he did not think they were cool. They were on his "unacceptable parts" list. However, he said he could "make it work."

He also did not seem convinced that I was ready for aerobars.
Mr. Bike Man is very wise - he knows there is more to being a good cyclist than going 22+ mph. There is skill.

To prove his point, and rightfully knock me off my pedestal, he made me put my bike on rollers:

Based on this single experience, I have concluded that rollers are stupid.

In order to balance on the rollers you have to use your hips - which is the same concept of aerobars. I lasted a whopping two minutes.

Regardless, I know I have aerobars on my bike.

This means that I am either now a force to reckon with,
or a disaster waiting to happen.

I'll let you know!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

5k Summer Series, #5 and Free Science

The Summer 5k Summer series is over.
And, unfortunately, it did not end well.

I felt pretty comfortable with my "pain in the butt". I had 2 massages, lots of stretching and I did a short run yesterday, which felt really good.

I got to the race, warmed up and stretched - again, it felt good.

The race started and I immediately felt stiffness in my hamstring. I focused on staying relaxed. Mile 1 was in 6:20. Leg was tight but I felt okay.

Next there was some hills. And my hamstring did not like the hills. Got to the turn around right on pace (avg 6:45). Now the remainder of the course was downhill. The plan was to fly.

I did not fly.
My hamstring flared up and every step hurt. I considered quitting but the athlete in me said, No, just keep going. So I turned off my watch and kept going.

I finished - not sure what my time was. Ignorance is bliss.

Usually, when I finish a 5K, I feel exhausted. When I finished this race, I did not feel fatigued at all. I barely feel like I even worked out today! But regardless, I was so happy when I finally passed the finish line.

I popped immediately on a message bed and got a 20 minute massage. My muscle was having spasms at first but by the end of the massage, it felt pretty good.

I came home and iced and now it feels just fine. It actually feels very loose, thanks to the massage. I'm going to cautiously take it day-by-day and keep you guys updated.

on a happier note, the Science Museum was free this weekend! It was very crowded and hard to maneuver our limo-stroller:

Even with the crowds, the kids managed to get some learning in:

Even David got some learning in:

And I even found ways to be tough ;)

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Important Appointments.

So yesterday I met with a running coach.
This coach came highly recommended by some very fast friends. He is known for coaching very fast people. I, obviously, am not very fast. But I guess somewhere in the back of my head I think maybe that one day I can be?

Our conversation went like this:

Mr.Coach: So have you ever had coaching before?
Me: No.
Mr.Coach: So have you read any books? Begins listing off a bunch of books, including one about Jack Daniels...ew!
Me: No, I have never read any of those books.
Mr.Coach: Looking slightly confused - So where do you get your training plans?
Me: Training plans? Oh, I have never used a training plan.
Mr.Coach: Looking more confused - So how do you come up with your schedules?
Me: Oh, I just run what I feel like running.
Mr.Coach: Looking stunned - Really? I personally cannot imagine running like that.
Me: Shrugs - I like it.
Mr.Coach: How do you log your running?
Me: People do that?
Mr.Coach: Wow. Everyone else I work with can tell me exactly what they ran this day five years ago.
Me: Huh. That would be cool!
Mr.Coach: I have never worked with anyone "like you."

"Like me?" I really had no idea I was such an anomaly. It's not like my workouts are completely random - I know to alternate hard days and easy days. I just dont really plan out exactly what my hard days and easy days are. For example, I may wake up on a speedwork day and feel like doing 800s. Or, I may feel like doing mile repeats. Does it really matter?

Apparently, Mr.Coach thinks that it does. He said that the success I've had up to this point has either been from luck, or talent.

I am not offended by this, however I am very intrigued. So I am going to use Mr.Coach for the Womens Half Marathon. He is coming up with my training plan as I type this.

I have shifted my goal from 1:35 (taking a measly 9 seconds off my time from last year) to 1:30 (taking a whopping 5 minutes off my time). I will honestly be happy with anything in between but let's see what this so-called "training plan" can do. I will post it once I receive it.

The second appointment was to the babies' 2-year doctor visit. As usual, they behaved perfectly in the waiting room. They really like the little mini chairs. It's really really hard to get them to sit still and both look at the camera. This was the best I could do:

As expected, Hayden was big.
85% for weight.......... 90% for height

Brenna, who used to be a peanut, was not far behind.
70% for weight............70% for height

And then they each had one shot. And neither cried! Or even flinched!

And I wont lie, I may have walked out there with a few of those grape flavored tongue depressors in my purse. OK...maybe its more than a few...maybe like 30. But hey, I figure if they work for shots, they will work for tantrums.

The kids did qualify for Early Intervention since they are still not talking. This is what I was expecting, and this is what I wanted. They will send a speech therapist to our house. The kids understand everything that I say, but they wont repeat anything back.

If you ask Hayden what sound a cow makes, he will say, "moooo". That is his single word. And he is ahead of Brenna!

Monday, August 8, 2011


I always believed that I was a Garmin user, not an abuser. After all, I love just hitting the trails with a naked wrist. It's so easy to get caught up in all the numbers that I forget sometimes why I run - it's not to be fast, or hit XX miles a's because it makes me feel good, and it makes me feel like me.

But then this morning I woke up for my 430am Monday speedwork and MY GARMIN WOULD NOT TURN ON.

Dont worry - I have backup for these kinds of situations. I busted out my old Garmin. It looks a bit beat up but it works.

I warm up and stretch.
This is going to be fun!

I run to Papago park to do some 800s on the hills. The first 800 feels so good I make it a 1200. The next 800 is slower, but uphill. My legs feel lose. I am flying!

I start the third 800 and look at my watch. It has turned off!

I turn it back on.
It turns itself back off.

I remain calm...Just enjoy the run I tell myself.

I do some unmeasured fast runs up and down the hills as planned, all the while wondering what I am going to do about my 5K this Sunday. Will I be able to run it without a Garmin? How will I pace myself? I wont know my splits!

By the end of my run, I was in panic mode. This is when I realized that I dont train with a Garmin, I depend on a Garmin. I am a Garmin addict.

Luckily, there are hundreds and hundreds of other Garmin addicts out there, so I was able to learn how to fix my Garmin in the total of 1 minute. In case this ever happens to you, simply hold down the Mode button and Reset button at the same time for 5 seconds. Then turn on your watch. Crisis diverted!!!

So sure, maybe I dont run only to be fast or hit XX miles a week - but lets be real - the numbers are fun. Well, at least on good days. Perhaps this entire post would have been different had my Garmin died on a bad day.

It's such an extreme difference from when I started running in high school. Back then, we wore cotton sports bras, carried Walkmans and thought that GPS was a punk band.

Ah, to be young and clueless!
(This one is so clueless she can't even match her running shoes)


Saturday, August 6, 2011

Pain in the the Butt

For awhile, I have been experiencing a nagging tightness where the butt meets the leg. Admittedly, this is the result of me pushing too hard this summer. The whole reason I only do 5Ks in the summer is so that I dont push too hard - yet, I was out there running 50+ miles per week.

A few years ago, I would have kept running as is. Afterall, its a nagging tightness - not an injury! And, of course, it would have became an injury.

But now that I am approaching 30, I am older and, I backed off. This is one reason why I do triathlons: I have the tendency to over do things. And, cross training is great for running. The stronger I get on the bike, the faster I run and visa versa. (Swimming is another story but we can talk about that another day).

Luckily for me, since this is not an injury, I dont need to stop running - I just need to stop running like a crazy person and train like a smart person.

This means subtracting a few miles from each run to take the adequate time to stretch. Luckily for me, my running partners are also excellent stretching partners! And they are freakishly flexible.





On a side note, I have decided to Nathan's olympic triathlon in Sept and possibly another one in October. I think this will bode perfectly with half marathon training because it will keep me cross training - instead of over training.
(Plus triathlons are just plain fun!)

Wednesday, August 3, 2011


I have registered for the Womens Half Marathon in Tempe, Arizona on November 6th. I am very excited about this race since it will be my first half marathon in over a year. I ran the Sonoma Half Marathon in northern California last October. And while that race was a PR by a handful of seconds (1:35:09), I didn't have a strong finish (I hit a brick wall at mile 9). So I am looking forward to better pacing myself this time and breaking 1:35!

I am also excited that the Womens Half Marathon has picked me to blog about my training. I will update this blog three days a week to talk about training. But don't worry, there will still be pictures of the twins!

One thing about being a runner and a mother is that it takes a full crew to get me to the finish line. I could not reach my goals if I did not have the support and encouragement of the rest of the team.

First, there are my twins. They just turned two on Sunday.

They got a trampoline, which they loved:

Although they may have loved the cupcakes more, Hayden managed to eat his in a single bite!

Then there is my husband. He never complains about waking up with them so that I can go running with my friends and I always count on him to be at the finish.

And of course there are the grandparents. They understand how important it is for me to take a break to squeeze in a run.

Finally, there is BOB.
We have spent countless hous running together, conquering miles all over the city.

Happy training!