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

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Turkey Trot and Turning 30

The turkey trot went very well this morning - The kids (and I) beat our last 5K time by 20 seconds!

I woke everyone up by singing, "It's Race Day, It's Race Day!"
Some were not that excited to wake up.

Others could not wait to get in the stroller.

We got to the race, warmed up, and found a spot on the start line. My plan was as soon as I ran over the timing mat, to move all the way to the right. The most important part of this plan was to keep up with the fast starters so I would not get in anyone's way.

And the start WAS fast. It is a lot harder to accelerate quickly when pushing 110 pounds. I eyed my Garmin as the pace dipped into the 640s, the 630s, the 620s and the 610s. Were people really going to keep this up?

The answer was - no.
Except for the winners (Katie Ellis!!) of course. The rest of us found ourselves in our pace groups at around a half a mile. My group included a few men, and two strong-looking women. We passed Mile 1 in 6:36.
I let the other women pace and concentrated on not breathing hard. At around Mile 1.5, Brenna became fussy. I passed her a banana.

We passed Mile 2 in 6:32. My legs felt great but my arms were burning. This is getting hard.

Somewhere in Mile 2, I found my groove. I pushed past the other women and passed Mile 3 in 6:28. I kicked it up for a sprint to the finish (.15...why is there always an extra .05??) for a final time of 20:32. The announcer made a big deal about our finish, and people at the finish line told me how awesome I was.
Look, I wont lie about it - who doesnt enjoy their ego stroked now and then?

Also at the finish, I found my friend and long-time running partner, Dan:

David ran the race too (in 31 minutes with no training!) and that was a special treat for all of us:

It's always nice to PR but it's especially nice to PR on the last day of your youth.

I turn 30 tomorrow.

I have mixed feelings about it.
On one hand, look at all the glorious things in my life.
On the other hand, I am old.

OK, OK...before everyone over 30 gets offended, let me explain that I know 30 is not "old." But lets be real, it also is not "young". I struggle with the idea of no longer being young.

I've never dealt with aging gracefully. I think this goes back to my aforementioned dislike for change. Aging = new stage of life = different.
When I was 17, going on 18, I got a tattoo in an attempt to forever hold on to my childhood. I added to that tattoo in an even lamer attempt to foever hold onto my youth.

I also got a second tattoo - I love this one because its totally me at any age.

My whole life has been setting deadlines for things to do before I am "old"...
buy a house before I am 30.
get married before I am 30.
have a career before I am 30.
have a kid before I am 30.

So now that I am 30, and I have reached all my life goals....

And that is where I struggle.
It's a lot easier to look at where I have been.

And I must say, its been pretty damn good this far.

THE Oreo:

Old school Salty Poo

Lots of races and 2 BQs

Learning to bike

First time in a wetsuit. Wore it backwards.

More old-school Salty Poo

Getting Married

Cutting off a chunk of my finger and not being too grossed out to take a picturePhotobucket

Congress. We should have known one day Salty Poo would kill him but I never expected to see his body come out of the garbage disposal when I ran the dishwasher.

And of course,

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Jogging Stroller Session #5 - Fast, but we're no Ironman

Jogging Stroller Session #5: Mile repeats.
You must have known these were coming! Each one was followed by a .1 sprint.

Mile 1: 6:26 (+ 37 sec sprint)
Mile 2: 6:21 (+ 38 sec sprint)
Mile 3: 6:18) (+37 sec sprint)

Also did a short ladder :.1x2, .2, .1x2 - all sub620.

Call me crazy but I actually think that I could possibly break 20 minutes on the 5K with the double jogging stroller. Can I really be faster with the stroller?

Unfortunately, I dont think this turkey trot will be the right race for us to find out. I made a point to find a family-oriented race with a very wide road, but I think it may be too large. One of the largest rules of racing is to respect other runners - there are limitations since we are so wide. I dont want to run anyone over. Hopefully there will be enough room for us to run our pace on the outer edge of the course.

Although I do think a 6:18 mile is impressive, it is nothing compared to the amazing athletes we witnessed at the Arizona Ironman. I am so proud to say that many of these athletes are my friends, and that I had the priveledge to train with them.

For those who do not know, an Ironman is a 2.5 mile swim, 112 mile bike ride and a 26 mile run. Yes, all in the same day!
Why do people do this? I have no idea.

We arrived at the race at 3pm to watch the professionals finish. I missed the first male, but we arrived in time for the first woman. So we waited.
and waited:
and waited:

and then finally, we saw her! For like two seconds.
You see that blur? That is her.

After that, we ran the Ironman running course and cheered on all the athletes. A lot of them said to me, "now THAT is a workout" or "wow, you are awesome!"
Um, me? Um, I did not just bike 112 miles!!!

Everyone was too nice and we had a wonderful time.
Unfortunately, the kids started whining after only 6 miles. I managed to bribe them for a little extra time with cheerios, though. I could have stayed out there all night.

Congrats to all the participants!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Jogging Stroller Sessions #3 and #4

This is my first time using Blogger's new interface. So excuse me if I get a little excited over some of the NEW things that I can do without having to bust out my college HTML book.

Jogging Stroller Session #3: Speed Intervals (800/1200/800/1200/800/400x2), 7 miles
800 #1 - 3:22 (still warming up)
1200 #1 - 4:55 (6:34 pace)
800 #2 - 3:15
1200 #2 - 4:57 (6:36 pace)
800 #3 - 3:16
400 #1 - 1:36 (6:24 pace)
400 #2 - 1:35 (6:24 pace)

I need a sub 6:42 pace in order for the kids to PR.   So on paper, these paces look spot on. But in my head, I feel rather done. Tired. Burnt out.

I want to train. I like training.
But the pressure to constantly do better is exhausting.

So I took a different approach with Session #4: Hills.
I have gotten into this very nice routine of doing playdates on Thursdays at this adorable place called Toy Town. It's very similar to Imagination Ave (aka the Imaginarium) except that it has very cool rules:

It's kind of nice to have other "mom" friends. And the kids play independently for hoursHayden loves the train-set:

and Brenna loves being a 1950s housewife.  Trust me, she has never seen me in the kitchen wearing high heels!

The icing on the cake is that Toy Town hugs the base of South Mountain.  After the kids get worn out, I put them in the jogging stroller for lunch. It's perfect.  But it's hilly.

One nice thing about the Garmin is that you can choose what information you want to see, and what information you dont want to see.  If you are like me and enjoy intervals, sometimes its nice to just use the stopwatch and not stress about your pace.

It still records that information if you want to look at it at the end. And yes, that is sparkly text!

Anyway, here the workout:
12 minute warm-up
4 min @ tempo pace x 4 (1 min RI) up a long gradual hill
5 min of hill repeats
2 min @ 5K pace x 4 (20 sec RI) of rolling hills
10 min cool down
= 55 minutes, and 7.2 miles...not too shabby for a bunch of hills and a slight breeze!
and I must say, I loved doing the whole run without knowing my pace.   I see more of these in my future.

As for Blogger's new interface, I cant say that I love it.  But then again, I never love change.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Sometimes All You Can Do is Laugh, Part 2

In case you forgot: Part 1.

Grocery shopping with two toddlers in tow is simply never easy. To avoid this, one of my favorite things to do is go to the grocery store when my husband is home, or on the weekend. This way, I can bring one kid.

Everything about the experience is easier with one kid. I place the single child in the single cart seat, so that they are facing me. Instead of fighting over who holds my purse, the single child holds it without anyone stealing it.

We walk through the store and the single child has all my attention. I dont have to chase anyone, or break up any fights. No one screams. I dont have to beg anyone to be quiet.

We walk around the store and I point out things.
What color are the bananas? Yes, they are yellow!
Oooh, look at this pretty apple!
Do you know what these are? Yes, they are your sweet potatoes!

Every so often I lean forward and kiss the forehead of my single child.

Even though I know its an act, I feel like such a cool, chill, complacent mom. I never get frazzled! My single child is perfect!

But mid-week outings cannot be avoided.
We always need something.

Yesterday was the last day that Chex cereal was on sale for $2.25. I had four $1-off-2 coupons, which meant each box was $1.75. This is a good deal so off to the grocery store we go.
Update:And of course, the DAY after we rushed to that sale, three other grocery stores put Chex on even a better sale. They must conspire against me.

I park next to the cart corral. There are no double carts.
I put my son in the front seat. He screams.
I put my daughter in the basket. She screams.
I switch them. They scream.

I push my screaming kids into the store. We go directly to the cereal isle and I start selecting my 8 boxes of Chex cereal. My son climbs out of the basket and starts selecting his own boxes of cereal. He throws boxes of Raisin Bran into the cart.

My daughter wants to join in on the fun and demands out of the cart with a blood-curdling scream. She kicks her feet against the cart.

By now, my son has filled my cart up with boxes of Raisin Bran.

Sometimes all you can do is laugh, right?
And record video.

After this, my kids ran to the other side of the store, ignoring me as I called their names, and giggling in delusional delight that they think they could actually outrun me.

I buckled down the ringmaster and he quietly accepted his defeat.

And now we have a pantry full of corn, rice, wheat, cinnamon and chocolate chex.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Jogging Stroller Sessions #1 and #2

With Thanksgiving comes an abundance of turkey trots, so we are back to training! We only have 2.5 weeks - I am hoping to fit in 5 speed, are almost already half way done!

Session #1: 800s.
This was my first time running fast with the jogging stroller and Mother Nature welcomed me back with wild, gushing winds. I think I have said this before, but it doesnt get any less aerodynamic than a double jogging stroller.
800 #1 - 3:22
800 #2 - 3:15
800 #3 - 3:26
800 #4 - 3:24
800 #5 - 3:22
800 #6 - 3:10
Most of the time I had a cross-wind or a headwind, but obviously I had a trailwind for that 3:10. It felt like cheating so I voluntarily turned into the wind for the last .15. I am sure people wondered why I was running ferociously into the wind, grunting and cursing. I am sure we were quite a sight.

Session #2: Tempo.
11 mile run, last 7 with the stroller, last 3.5 @ tempo effort.
I could tell immediately that something was not quite right - no matter how hard I pushed, I couldnt run faster than a 7:45 pace. After a mile of wondering if it was me or the stroller, I stopped to examine the situation. Turns out, we had a flat.
There is not much you can do since AAA does not cover jogging strollers. So we moved slower than we liked, but we kept moving.

That is one thing about running with a stroller - between the wind, flat tires, hills, and dropped water cups - consistency is impossible.
However, another thing about running with a stroller is that it takes a lot of the weight off the legs. After months of dealing with tightness and tendonitis, my hamstrings and glutes are loose and limber!

We ended our run at the local race going on at the lake. It was a 3000 meter swim and a 5K. We put on our cheering faces!

It's a pretty big deal because next Sunday is the local Ironman.
This race is crazy - its a 2.5 mile swim, 112 mile bike ride and a 26.2 mile run ALL IN THE SAME DAY. Of course, we will be out there cheering on all my crazy friends.

So this is very important practice! Brenna got very good at cheering, she really likes to clap her hands:

As you can see, Hayden looks ready to go.
He was good at cheering too, just not for as long as Brenna. I let him out of the stroller to walk around and he promptly put his blanket away:

And then to further show me that he was ready to leave, he opened up the car door! His strength and ability never cease to amaze me:

After that, I felt like we had to choice but to follow his lead. This satisfied him every much. But little did he know that I was going to leave soon anyway.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Showing my Kids my World

When I was younger (still a kid myself), my mother exercised at gym inside of a resort. At the time, it was called The Point. These days, it’s called the Arizona Grand Resort. It's at South Mountain, which is an awesome stretch of mountains that run along the entire south border of Phoenix.

For a while, she dropped me off in the small child daycare. I remember once, she dropped me off with a huge bag of pink jelly beans. That made me very happy.

As I got older, the daycare became boring and I explored the exercise machines that surrounded the aerobics floor. I dawdled on the Stairmaster, elliptical and treadmill as I watched my mother do her step-aerobics.

These machines were rather boring, but it was fun watching my mom take her step class. If step-aerobics was a competitive sport, my mother would be an Olympian. When most people used one, or two steps, my mother used three. When most people stepped onto the step, my mother sprung. When most people hopped over the top, my mother leapt.

This was back in the day when people wore spandex. And to make it worse, wore leotards over said spandex. If it wasn’t her amazingly high kicks, or her undisputable enthusiasm that made my mother stand out, it was her unconventional, hippie-inspired and non-existent method of hair removal.

So at a very young age, I learned 3 things:
1) Standard gym equipment is boring
2) If you are going to jump, you might as well jump the highest and not care who is looking
3) I was going to shave my arm pits

At some point, my Dad started joining us. We would hike the trails at South Mountain while my mother dominated her step-class. As we became more efficient, we started to run stretches of our hiking path.

Running made me tired; I could not go for very long.
But I have been running those exact same trails ever since - so around 18 years. I became even more familiar with the park during high school cross country, since it hosted our home course.

As much as I love the excitement of the triathlon,
or embrace the challenge of road running,
my heart and soul belong to trail running. I am first, and foremost, a trail runner.

It is my drug,
my therapy,
my identity.

When I am trail running, I feel like ME. And for that hour, everything is right in the world and everything makes perfect sense. I guess it's the combination of adenaline and mother nature at its best - it makes you feel life.

Anyway, in all my years of trail running, I have seen ONE jogging stroller. And of course, ever since that moment, I have been dedicated to one day running the trails with my own kids.

I have never seen a double stroller but I wasnt about to let that stop me. I knew my BOB Ironman could handle at least the most modest trails. With the durability of my stroller, and my knowledge of the trail system, we went out and conquered nearly 6 miles of beauty.

Along the way we saw one mountain biker. It was very quiet, the only sounds were my breathing, and my kids squealing with delight. To them, this was a rollercoaster.
To me, it was perfection.



Sunday, November 6, 2011

Womens Half Marathon Race Report

This was a good race for me although I do wish that I had a stronger finish. I seem to give into wimpiness at the first sign of discomfort.

Also, their website says I ran a 1:33 - I am absolutely 100% sure that the clock said 1:32:XX when I crossed the finish line. I know this because I thought, "Well, at least I did sub 1:33".

I do feel like they have just denied me of tiny bit of glory!
UPDATE: This issue has been corrected!

I was a little concerned about my legs, since I was diagnosed as having "tendonitis of the butt". But, I binged on ART, got a massage, iced and hoped for the best.

When the gun went off, I felt tightness in my legs immediately. The good news is that it didnt feel painful, and it didnt progress.

Mile 1 felt easy. Too easy.
I knew going too fast for the first few miles would hurt me the last few miles so I pulled back, and took it easy.

Mile 1: 6:59
Mile 2: 6:58
Mile 3: 7:02
Mile 4: 7:05. I was bummed this mile was on the canal; the shoes that I wore slipped back a lot on the dirt.
Mile 5: 7:02
Mile 6: 6:48. Downhill.
Mile 7: 6:53. Uphill and Downhill.
Mile 8: 6:52
Mile 9: 6:54
Mile 10: 7:14. Uphill.
Mile 11: 7:07. Another uphill.
Mile 12: 7:20. This is where I start to die.
Mile 13: 7:29. Headwind. Total death.
.15: 59:63

Total Distance: 13.15
Total Time: 1:32:42
Average Pace: 7:03

And this corresponds with the clock I saw at the finish, the clock my husband saw at the finish, so it is the time that I am sticking with.

Up until my death at mile 12, I stayed true to myself and enjoyed myself to the fullest. I smiled at every spectator, I waved to every Policeman, I thanked every volunteer.
Up until mile 12, I was nothing short of a ball of sunshine.

To get ready for my race, I dressed my daughter and I up in matching outfits.

Yes, those are itty bitty little girl compression shorts!! When I saw them at Target, I knew Brenna needed them ASAP.

And Yes, I know I said I would stop buying us matching clothing from the Girls department, but these shorts are actually quite cute:

And Yes, I know Brenna has the BEST legs in the ENTIRE world.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Why I Run.

When I was pregnant, and all full of crazy hormones, I went to the mall with my husband. He was doing something (probably putting Ghost Armor on his phone because that is the only business he ever does at the mall) and I was patiently waiting in a chair by a small fountain. It was the kind of fountain that you throw a penny in while making a wish.

I watched two young kids gasp at the fountain, finding it totally fascinating. They were so impressed and entertained at such a small thing.

When my husband returned, I was crying. I told him that being a kid was so great - everything is exciting and you learn something new at a blink of eye - but we were passed that stage, and we would never get it back. I told him that I wish I could re-do my childhood because I took it for granted. I wish I had appreciated it.

He told me that no child appreciates being a child; it's simply not a concept that their brain can comprehend. But that the neat thing about being parents is that we would get to re-live all those experiences through the eyes of our kids. We would get to appreciate it for them.

Hmmmm, although I am picturing my husband as conjure up this memory, I am hearing my mother's voice. But look, you should have known this was going to be a convoluted memory when I said that I was "patiently waiting" earlier. Does that really sound like me?

But it's the message, not the speaker, that is important.
It is a message that I promptly forgot and did not think about again for over 2 years.

I did not think about it again until a few days ago when I took my kids running. Not running in their stroller, but actual running - on the running path, with their little legs and little feet.

They ran much farther than I expected,
and for much longer than I expected.

They ran with such determination and delight!
But yet, for no purpose.
They dont understand the concept of exercise.
They dont understand the distance nor triumph of a mile.
They dont understand the difference between fast and slow.

They embraced running in its most simple and purist form. They did not need a Garmin, fancy socks nor an iPod with 200 songs.

The ran for the reason that I run - and for the reason that I will always run:

It is so easy to get caught up in how fast I run, how far I run, how many miles a week I run that I forget WHY I run.

During this taper, I realized that training became too serious.
It was my first time using a coach, my first time using a training plan...I put an absorbent amount of pressure on myself to make this race a PR-bashing race, and it soaked up the real reason I am doing it.

The difference between a 1:30 or 1:33 or even a 1:36 has no impact on my life. One result does not make me more of a runner. So why the stress?

I am going to run this race for all the right reasons:
Because I can.
Because I want to.
Because I love to run.

I am going to smile.
And pace myself.
And have a lot of fun - because that is why I run.
I am not going to wear music, or obsessively look at my Garmin.
I am going back to my roots.

Like them: (press play)

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Halloween, 2 Ways

Way #1: The Toddler Way
This way involves getting dressed up in really cute outfits and hitting the streets as soon as the sun shows the slightest start of descent. For us, that meant rolling at 5:30. We were the first trick-or-treaters - but someone has to get the party started, right?

Our first house involved a lot of confusion.
But it was justified confusion. I am sure my kids were thinking:
Why are we at this house?
Why are you making me hold this bag?
Why is this thing on my head?
I am dressed as...a what??
What is thing you want me to put in this bag?
Now what? NOW WHAT???????

But with a little coaching, they started to get the hang of it:

Brenna wanted to go inside everyone's house.
She also did not understand the concept of "Just One". Or "Just 10". Most of her candy came from one very nice neighbor's bowl:

Hayden lost interest early on.

So we invented the concept of Drive-Tru Trick Or Treating!

Once we got home, both kids abandoned their candy.
But they had fun. And we certainly have come a long way since their first Halloween:

In celebration of surviving from Halloween #1 to #3, David and I also partook in:
Way #2: The Adult Way
This way involves getting dressed up in really awesome outfits and hitting
up downtown Scottsdale at the same hour you would usually be going to bed.

Our awesome outfits involved a $5 bottle of blood, and a very over-priced nurse and Dr outfit.

Ultimately I learned that:
- I cannot stay awake past midnight
- 1 martini is enough
- Hangovers last an extra day once you become a parent