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

Monday, January 30, 2012

Babies Race - The Report

I knew that the babies were not going to win this race, and even more so, I knew they were probably going to come in last.  I figured two things would happen to make this the case:
1) They would be the youngest kids
2) They would "hit a wall" and sit down

But none of these turned out to be the case.  There were actually lots of little tots in their age group, all accompanied by a parent's hand. In fact, I think if my kids ran the way we trained, they could have beat someone!  But really, in your first race of any new distance, it's a learning experience.  One of the joys of being a new racer, or racing a new distance, is that it is an automatic PR.

But here is a philosophical question:  Is it a PR if you manage to get yourself from Point A to Point B, receive a finisher's medal, yet did not take a single step?

Some of this was just bad timing:  the race fell promptly at lunch time and encroached on naptime.  I knew this was risky.

Some of it was just bad luck:  no one was in a good mood.  Hayden left the house with no shoes and socks, and Brenna was not exhibiting signs of excitement:

But these things are not unusual.

However, then we got to the packet pickup and both kids hated having something pinned to their shirts:


But then, like most races, the start was delayed.  And during this time, moods did not improve:

We went to the start line anyway.  What is another 5 minutes?

Can you spot us?

Just in case you are reading this on a small phone screen, I will make it easy for you:

And yes, Brenna is on the ground.  Both kids refused not only to run, but walk.

At least someone got a workout!!

For a free event, I thought this race was executed great.  All kids got a goody bag and a finisher's medal.  They even had a clock at the finish:

There were a lot of kids, and coupled with being hungry and  tired, my kids just did not cope with the environment.  But, one nice thing about a bad race is that you are guaranteed a better race next year!

And, go figure, once the race was over THEN Brenna decided she wanted to run.

I think we will leave races for the stroller for a tad longer.

Props to the babies though for being good sports.  A hectic start and pre-race jitters are hard for adults to handle -  nevermind toddlers!!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012


As I mentioned a few weeks ago, preschool was on the horizon! I specifically was trying to get Brenna into a developmental preschool program - but all I managed to do was get her on the waiting list.

So as we wait, I enrolled both kids in an ASU pre-school course. It's two hours every Monday and Wednesday morning. Half of that consists of snack time, because two hours is too long to go without food.

They encourage kids to eat their snacks with the appropriate utensil, and also encourage kids to drink out of cups (as opposed to sippies or straw cups). This means that Hayden comes home very dirty every day but aside from that, preschool has been very successful!!

In fact, ever since they started 2 weeks ago, Brenna has not thrown a single tanrum when I dress her. Sometimes she will pick out her outfit, encoaching on what could perhaps be considered "couture".

Although I am not claiming that I dress her any better, the other day I winced when I saw her backside in a pair of pants leggings that I selected for her. Leggings need to be layered, even on the best behinds:

It just makes me giddy when I say, "Brenna, would you like to get dressed?" and she smiles and comes and sits in my lap.
So easy!
So simple!

The ASU toddler preschool program is fantastic. It is run my grad students so each child gets a lot of attention - and ASU itself makes for fantastic stroller much pavement.  You just need to watch out for all the other wheels (cyclists, skate boarders, rollerbladers, electric scooters, segways - it is quite crowded out there.

I am not the only one who has been running, the kids are still training for their upcoming 100 meter race. We were sidelined over the weekend when Hayden got sick. I knew he was sick when he fell asleep watching Dance Moms:
   A. He has not fallen asleep on the couch since he was 3 months old.
   B. Who can fall asleep during the riveting and addictive drama of Lifetime reality TV???

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Coldwater Rumble Trail Run Race Report

Even though I know this does not sound like me, I did go to the race with any competitive intention. The race was 12 miles, and I only have ran that distance once since November. And, it was on difficult (hilly and rocky) trails: (photo courtesy of race website)

Trail miles are harder than road miles and I did not feel prepared. But I love trail running, as you guys know, so I was excited for the opportunity to do something a little different.

It was a chilly morning - we got to the race early and sat in the car awhile. Finally we braved our way and huddled around a space heater:

You see those mountains in the background? Yeah...we ran up those!

The race started on a dirt path and it started fast.
I was a little concerned about starting a race that fast, but at the same time, it felt good and almost natural. After the first 400 meters, I was the 2nd female and I maintained that position for the first half of the race.

The trails were curvy and sometimes you could get a good glance at those in front of you, and those behind you. Instead of chasing the number one woman, I decided simply to make sure that I stayed ahead of the number three woman. I was okay with second place and in fact, it sounded rather nice.

The number one girl maintained her lead. I could tell she was a serious runner because she had very fancy sunglasses.

At around mile 4, we entered a wash. I was expecting this and I was told running in sand was very hard. But it didn't feel hard to me at all - and by the time we were at Mile 5, that number one girl wasn't very far ahead. I considered catching her, but it was too early in the race to make a move.

By the time we reached the aide station a little past Mile 6, she was probably around three seconds ahead of me. It was tempting to catch her but we were already moving pretty fast - I knew that if I increased my speed, I would get tired and she would just pass me back. Also, I didn't want to lead the race. The trail was marked by orange markers, but it was a lot easier just to follow someone rather than pay close attention.

However, Mile 7 was uphill and I had no choice but to pass. Maybe she got a cramp, or felt light headed...maybe it was just a bad day.

I was having a great day though! My legs felt light, my muscles felt loose and I was so happy to be trail running. And I just kept trail running, all the way to the finish for an unexpected win!

I lucked out with this race because instead of going to my mother's house on Friday, they went to the zoo with my Dad. So, Mom didnt mind watching them so that I could do this race instead.

The kids had fun at the zoo:

But preferred the fake animals over the real animals:

However, please note that Brenna is wearing pants. Lately, I have found that I can actually reason with her but I don't want to talk about that too much yet so that I don't jinx it.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Babies Train, Session 2

The babies and I hit up the park for our regular exercise training.

I could tell it was going to be a good day when everyone allowed me to put on their shoes and socks. I won't say that there was no resistance, but it was minimal. These days, "minimal" is as good as it gets.

After playing, I asked, "Who wants to run?" and both kids dashed over the sidewalk. And just like that, Brenna flew off in an impressive sprint, leaving Hayden in the dust sand.

Pacing is a learned skill and Brenna quickly tired out, giving Hayden the opportunity to catch up:

And then Brenna become distracted by something on the ground, something so minuscule that only a toddler's eye would be interested. Perhaps it was an ant, or a piece of grass.

Hayden decided to steer clear of the course to run down a hill. Brenna gleefully followed.

As we all know, downhills are fun but uphills are work. Hayden got fatigued and Brenna sprinted forward once they returned to the sidewalk. Just like her mom, she sticks her tongue out, revealing her deep concentration.

Unable to resist his urge to peer over the overpass, point and say, "car", Brenna made the final pass:

And like nothing short of a rock star, Brenna gave it her all until the end:

Although it wasn't technically the end - we still had a little longer until we returned to the park - but in the life of a toddler, the end is when you feel like being done. It's where you sit down.

After all, when you are two, logistics are not your problem.

Monday, January 16, 2012

2nd Week of Training

Monday - 7 mile trail run at South Mountain

Tuesday - 7 miles w/ the jogging stroller

Wednesday - 4 miles - very short speedwork session to see if my fast-twitch muscles were working:
400 x 2, 1 min RI @ 7min/mile (1:28, 1:26) + 1 x 800 (2:52 - not sure how I ran so fast, and the crazy thing is that it didn't feel hard!) followed by 1 hour of hot yoga.
Side note: I am undecided about my feelings on yoga. I don't dislike it, and I think the stretching feels good. On the other hand, I get bored after 30 minutes.

Thursday: 6 miles w/ the jogging stroller in the wind

Friday: 2 miles at South Mountain, downhill to the u-shape canal.
6 x .44 miles (odd distance but that is the length of the canal). Alternated between 6 min/mile pace (tail wind) and 6:20 min/mile pace (headwind), 1 min RI. Then ran 3 miles, all uphill, back to the car.

Saturday: Watched the Marathon Olympic Trials! I even let Hayden skip his nap so that he could watch, too:

Sunday: 12.5 mile run at the local Rock and Roll race. First I cheered on my friends who were running the half marathon, and then I cheered on (and ran along side) my friends who ran the full marathon. It was a lot of fun..............but I am glad that I was a spectator, as opposed to a participant.
First, I got to sleep in and spend a lazy morning with my kids:
I didn't have to leave my house until 8:20! By then, the sun was up and it was no longer cold outside. I also didn't have to wait in line to use a stinky porta-jon.

I felt a little badly that I did not take the kids, especially when Brenna got into the stroller,

Watching the marathon is something that we have done every year. In fact, 2 years ago, was our first outing with the jogging stroller!

I just knew that they would lose patience after an hour, and I would want to stay longer. I ended up being gone almost 3 hours - they would have been miserable.

Watching the marathon re-affirmed my decision that it's a distance that is simply not for me. Everyone looked like they were in so much pain! Don't get me wrong, I am not pain-adverse; pushing yourself past discomfort is what makes someone a better runner. But I prefer to be in pain for less than 3 hours, and recovered by the time breakfast is over. I think it's almost intuitive to want to do a longer distance after conquering a shorter distance - for example, it almost seems natural to do a marathon after completing a half marathon. But why go longer, why not go faster? I think that will be approach for the next few years - it just seems easier!

But for now, I am concentrating on the 12 mile trail race.
After 2 weeks of training, I am already in the taper.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Babies Train, Session 1

Now that the kids are nearing two-and-a-half, it pains me to say it but our running days are short-numbered. I cannot believe we have been hitting the pavement together for nearly two years!

I cannot fathom NOT running with them, but perhaps the definition of "running" simply needs to change to adapt to our new situation.

*GASP*....yes, ME - suggesting adaptation! I think we all know that I am a stick in the mud when it comes to change. But one thing motherhood is teaching me is that I must accept change gracefully and "go with the flow."

The babies are registered for their first race! This will be their opportunity to show the world that their little legs can move. The distance is 100-meters and the race is in 2.5 weeks. All kids win an award.

Hayden was very excited to put on his new running shoes!

Brenna tolerated the activity, but was less enthusiastic:

She was more interested in playing in the playground, which is cool - we can call it "cross-training". However, she had some technical difficulties since she refused to wear a sock. For whatever reason, it was acceptable to wear a sock on her right foot, but the worst thing in the world to wear a sock on her left foot.

And thus, she learned the hard way that it is not fun to play when your shoe is constantly filled with sand and you do not have a sock! It is a very important lesson.

After that they ate lunch in the stroller and we discovered that BOB has an injury. Considering he has over 1,000 miles on him, I guess it was bound to happen. He is simply missing a bolt:

So when the sunshade goes down, Hayden cannot see.

And even worse, he cannot kick his sister in the face, like this:

I will try to fix it with duck tape, since that is how I fix things. Until then, the easy solution is not use the sunshade.

Speaking of ducks, we saw a lot of them on our run...really really big ducks!

Saturday, January 7, 2012

First Week of Training

2012 has started off with a really good week.  Hayden is registered for preschool (he starts Monday), Brenna allowed me to dress her a few times and I've started to feel my motivation return.

Although I have turned back on my Garmin, I don't feel quite ready to bust out the speedwork.  So, for now, I am training for trail races and 5Ks with the jogging stroller.  These races are nice because it takes off the pressure of needing/wanting to be fast.

Monday - Nothing!
Tuesday - 6.5 miles with the jogging stroller in the wind.  This was our first run of the year:
They were quite happy about it:
Wednesday - 9 mile trail run at South Mountain.  This was a pretty hard run since it was all hills, but a decent pace nonetheless.
Thursday:  7 miles with the jogging stroller.  We played around South Mountain.
(and in case you are curious, no, Brenna is not wearing pants).
Friday: 21 mile bike ride @ 19.8mph bricked with 2.5 trail miles.  I say "trail" here rather loosely because it was more of simply off-roading through desert terrain.  But I was resourceful and ran up this neat hill a few times:
Saturday - 10 miles, which included a 2 mile uphill and about 3 miles on wonderful trails.  I also had wonderful company!  This originally was only a 8.5 mile run but it bugged me that my "long run" was not the longest run of the week.  I guess I finally found myself a pet-peeve.
Sunday - That is tomorrow so I cannot report it yet.

So now that I have started training, I just need to fill out my race calendar.  There are a lot of races so it is somewhat overwhelming.

The first race in consideration is the Coldwater Trail Race. I am actually sure that I am going to do this race, I am just undecided about the distance. My options are a 4-miler and an 11-miler.  It feels strange to be timid about 11 miles, but I think this is going to be a very hard trail.  I know that part of it is through sand, and I know that there are boulders that you need to climb over.

My friends are doing the 11-miler.  But my friends are also Ironmen.

There is an Exterra trail race a few weeks later that I am considering as well.

And then finally, there are a TON of 5Ks in February. I see no reason why I should not do as many as I can with my stroller.  This will be our last year running together, I want to make it special.

I am not going to plan anything past February, so we will revisit this conversation in March.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

New Year Races and Resolutions

Twins: I think this is going to be a very exciting year for the twins! Hayden has been talking up a storm lately, and even putting together complete sentences. Last night, he picked up a pair of Brenna's shorts and said, "I see pink."

And, he was right. Sometimes he is right when I don't even notice he is right. For example, a few nights ago I was pulling him closer and kissing him. I asked him, "What is this?"
I was fishing for him to say, "Kiss!"

Instead, he said, "It's hot." So I repeated. Turns out, after 5 times, he was saying, "It's a HUG." And I was indeed hugging him.

This will be a big year for him with preschool and potty training. He is currently growing out of his 3T clothing so I expect him to be massive by the end of the year.

Brenna has been trying to talk and this is a child that needs to talk. She has been getting very frustrated and has a short patience. This is particularly prevalent when she is getting dressed, however the tantrums now occur over seemingly nothing.

We had success over the weekend dressing her in our adorable matching running skirts. Although she was surprisingly cooperative putting it on, she was less cooperative taking a photo.

But that is okay, we had just spent the afternoon playing outside and it was past nap time. I expected nothing less from a tired 2-year old!

Brenna will be attending a developmental preschool in just a matter of weeks. This will be the first time the twins will be separated. As a mother, and a blogger, it is a fine line to adequately share, while not over sharing. I want dont want to misrepresent out lives because its not all PRs, puppies and rainbows (although we do love seeing those things with the jogging stroller). At the same time, I dont want to encroach on Brenna's privacy. I am hoping that separating them temporarily gives Brenna the chance to relish in the success of her own accomplishments at her own pace.

The key to this will be leaving the house every day. After her wonderful day spent in matching running shirts, I attempted the next morning to dress her in a brand-new, beautiful dress. Brenna was not going to allow me to control her outfits 2 days in a row - that was pushing it.

But Hayden modeled the dress for us instead.

Triathlons: I havent pieced together my race schedule yet, although I think my first race will be on January 28th, on an arduous trail. I have not signed up for the race, nor picked my distance - my options are 4 miles or 11 miles. After that, I plan on focusing on the bike and doing some duathlons.

I dont have any specific goals for 2012, but here are the times I need to break for any PRs. It would be nice to PR in every distance:

Desert Classic Duathlon - 2:09
Olympic Distance triathlon - 2:28:5X
Half Marathon - 1:32:52
5K with stroller - 2:32
5K no stroller - 19:42
5K in summer heat - 20:09

If I feel crazy, there is always an option for a 70.3, but I dont think this year I am quite physically ready for that. Perhaps that is on the agenda for 2013!