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

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Yes, We Still Do That, Part 2

We may not be as fast, but we are still out on the road for our third summer.

The kids wake up.
I change their diapers and ask, Do you want to go running?

They quickly let me know that they do want to go running.

They wait because I was not ready yet.

Breakfast is served - it's time to hit the road!

Brenna peaks back to say hello.

Water break number 1.

Water break number 2.

We cool-down and stretch.

And then we realize there are ants and rush inside.  
But still, it's a rather perfect morning with perfect running partners.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Base Building - Training Your Weaknesses

I got a friendly text a few weeks ago from a former professional triathlete.  She was just not a pro, she was a great pro.  She traveled around the world and competed in the world championships multiple times.  She said she thought I had potential and offered to help me, free of charge.

I have always been tentative about coaching (remember this?) but I can get aboard anything if its free.

Like those stale, week-old cookies they give away at the grocery store before throwing them away?  I love those.  

In college, they were what sustained my once beloved cookie jar.
I do miss that cookie jar.

Anyway, the problem with coaching is that sometimes you are told things that you do not want to hear.  For example, that you have to train your weaknesses.

This is right on par with base-building and a terrific summer time activity.
The problem is that our weaknesses tend to be the stuff we enjoy the least.  For me, this is swimming.  I don't have an issue necessarily with swimming more, but with the sacrifices that are attached (specifically a reduction in my running).

This begs the question, How badly do I want it?
And, Is it even possible?  Can I be a good swimmer?

Like I tell the kids:  You never know unless you try.
So, I am going to give it a try.  Or at least try to try.

Last week I thought I suffered from heat exhaustion but it turned out that I had a mild bug (which I kindly passed along to David and my mother).  This week, I felt much better, even with the high temperatures.
I still did quite a bit of running, but not as many miles as usual.

Monday:  1 hour aerobic run.

Tuesday:  Flew to Lake Havasu for some open-water swimming.
I am not a huge fan of small planes because they give me motion-sickness and I am scared of crashing.......... but no one wanted to drive.                          

I am also not a fan of Lake Havasu.  It was pretty much Yuma with the London Bridge.  (Yuma is known as the "armpit" of Arizona).

Wednesday:  1 hour run (tempo intervals) - I just can't quit it!  But, I also swam for 30-minutes non-stop and did flip-turns the entire time.  Flip turns are another weakness.

Thursday:  24-mile bike ride where I was told my gear was too high and my cadence was too low.  And, another swim!!  Again, with flip turns.

Friday: 1-hour on the indoor bike, low gear/high cadence, using my new cadence monitor.

Saturday:  90-minute progression run (12 miles).

Sunday:  35-mile group ride with lots of hills, focusing on my cadence and not my speed.  What I naturally do is go up one gear too big, which slows my cadence to 86.  When I am in slightly smaller gear, my cadence is 91.  I caught myself going into the bigger gear about a dozen times.

So that is pretty much what I was doing all week.
My kids were busy this week too - mostly just playing.

A few nights ago, David and I were sitting on the couch talking.  I looked at the clock and it was almost 8pm.  "Holy crap!" I said.  "We need to start bedtime routine!"
In the absence of my kids, I almost forgot them.
And, perhaps this their intention.  They are quite skilled when it comes to delaying bedtime.

I got up and found them in Brenna's room....each dragging their respective blankets, while doing something with a flash light and an over-sized stuffed mermaid:

Although they fight quite a bit (I had to get up four times while writing this post because Brenna kept stealing Hayden's blanket), it must be pretty cool to have a permanent playing partner.  

Every few weeks David suggests that we move them back in the same room.  Sure, this is nice in theory - but in reality, they wouldn't sleep.  They would play.  

And fight.
Because as cute as these moments are, it's only a matter of time until one of them decides to poke the other in the ear.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Okay, Now it's Really Summer Time

I knew I spoke too soon, but clearly it was much too soon.
Now, I see that weather was just a preparation for the real deal.  With the high-temperatures past 110, I am now brutally reminded of what a real Arizona summer feels like.
I feel perpetually thirsty and the profusion of sweat leaves my muscles achy, my eyes stingy and my body tired.  I really don't remember being this miserable!

I'm usually not one to complain about the heat because dealing with the natural elements is just part of the sport that I so deeply love - but excuse me, because I feel like complaining.  Perhaps this is just an adjustment period that is quickly forgotten, or perhaps in my ripe old age of 30, my ability to deal with the physical effects of such discomfort is dwindling.  You know, in the same likeness that I can no longer tolerate a hangover.

Saturday morning I met my running group at 5am.  It was already hot.  I didn't feel like running, which is an extremely rare situation.   But of course after slathering yourself in sun screen and tying your running shoes, you do not go back to bed.
I managed 11 miles.  There was  day that 11 miles would have never qualified as a long run.  But these days, I struggle to make it past that.
I guess I ask myself:  Why? I am not training for anything.  Why risk the chance of injury?
But I also ask myself:  Am I making a reasonable decision or a justification?

After my miserable 11 miles, I went home and collapsed on the couch.
I would have stayed there but we had a birthday party to attend.
An outside birthday party.

Although it was hot, the kids really enjoyed themselves.  Most of the attendees were adorable little boys so I taught Brenna how to flirt using the aloof Hair Flip Method.

And Hayden liked the food.  He always likes the food.

But afterwards, everyone was exhausted.  We did an early nap-time but even three hours later, no one felt refreshed.  (I probably would have felt better but I used the time to catch up on Next Food Network Star).
Even a simple errand, like escorting David to Home Depot, was too exerting.  No one felt like walking. 

Clearly we have some work to do if we want to survive the summer.
It's only June. 
This is only the beginning.

Monday, June 11, 2012

5K Summer Series, #2

I reverted to some old habits during this race:  a fast first mile, a decent second mile and a dreadful third mile.
Old habits die hard.
When I stood on the start line next to Daniel, he asked, "6:18 pace?"
I agreed.
But then I found myself running sub-6.  And although I knew I was running too fast, it felt manageable.
Maybe on another day it would have been manageable.

Let me back-track to Monday.

Monday started off as a normal day.  I went running before work, had a productive day and went grocery shopping to raid the clearance section of meats and veggies that expire at midnight.
When I was driving home from the grocery store, absolute exhaustion hit me like ton of bricks.
I just needed to lie down.

Once I lied down, I did not get back up.
My 75% discounted, but needed to be ate immediately, meats and veggies did not get cooked.  I sent David out for fast food instead.  This is a never-seen occurrence.  Not so much the fast food, but letting food go to waste!

Around 10pm, I was suddenly awakened by throbbing, aching arms.
I woke up David, who told me I had anemia and needed a juicy steak.
I called my mom, who said it sounded like the flu.

My mom brought be both a steak and Tamiflu the following morning (and chicken noodle soup).  Although nothing made me instantly recover, I felt mildly better.  I slept the entire day.
I slept most of the day on Wednesday but by Thursday, I was able to watch TV in between naps and check my Facebook.  All my Facebook friends were alive.

Some people have asked me what I did with my kids during my 4-day hibernation.  As always, I utilized my help.  But, they also did a good job entertaining themselves.
It doesn't really take much to entertain them, a simple office chair in the kitchen will do the trick:

Hayden played with cars:

And Brenna huddled in blankets, just like her mother, and watched him.

such a good girl!

My mom warned me not to run over the weekend.
She said, "You don't want to relapse!  Take it easy!"
Even though she is always right, my brain convinces me that I need to do the opposite.
Like I said, old habits die hard, right?

A bunch of other things then proceeded to go wrong in the next day:  insomnia, bloating, lower back pain and a new blister.  I don't know how you get a blister from being bed-ridden.

This 5K is my favorite one of the series because it is a trail run.  It's not technical nor difficult, but a trail is a trail and it's always better than a road or sidewalk.   I decided that I was okay not winning this race and formulated two reasonable goals.  The A goal was sub 6:20.  The B goal was sub 6:30.

So you see now why it really made no sense for me to run the first mile in 6 minutes flat.
I will say what I always say, it just felt good.
That first mile always feels good.

The second mile felt okay too.  There were some tight turns and mellow dips that naturally slowed me down for a 6:12 mile.

The third mile is where my race spiraled out of control.  I started the mile with fatigue so I transitioned to my A goal.  I focused on keeping my breathing smooth and solid.  But as the mile progressed, my physical state withered.  I lost control of my breathing and found myself gasping.  My chest hurt, my heart rate was too high and my arms were tumultuously tight.  In between moments of telling myself, "I can't" and reminding myself, "I can", I focused on shaking out the arms and taking deep breathes as I transitioned to my B goal.

I think a well-performed 5K should hurt.
But I don't think it should hurt like that.

I got passed in the last mile which did help me achieve my B goal (6:29).

I finished second overall but only because the course was short - it ended at 3 miles exactly.  Had there been a .1 sprint, I would have come in third - this runner and I had an identical chip times, I only beat her with the gun time.  And, unlike me, she didn't look like she was meeting death when she passed the finish.

When they called me up for my award, I promptly grabbed my medal and went over to a bush to puke.
I would have felt sorry for myself, but it was poor pacing on my part.  You have to race according to your capabilities for the day, not your capabilities in general.

When I returned, the kids were excited to see me back in my running shoes that had collected dust on the floor next to the door all week.  They got in the stroller and sat in it for quite awhile.
I love that my kids love to run.
But they will have to wait until next week.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Yellow Cars

There are a lot of things that I do not understand about 3 year-olds.
There are a lot of things that I do not understand about boys.
So it is no surprise that there are a lot of things that I do not understand about 3-year old boys.

It seems to be prototype among toddler boys to enjoy matchbox cars.  I remember my brother also loving these small cars. He used to place a shoe box on the floor, roll them off the couch so that they would fly through the air and attempt to make them land in the shoe box.

Unlike my brother, Hayden realizes his cars do not fly and rolls them on the floor.  He will do this for hours if left on his accord - he will do it until he passes out.  Exhaustion and dinner are the only two things that make him stop playing.
But as much as he loves playing with all his cars, he shows a strong affection towards a certain yellow car.

Yes, I've mentioned this yellow car before.

There is very little in life that makes him put down his yellow car.  It is with us everywhere we go.
It sneaks into every single picture.

I thought it would be a fun game to try to find real yellow cars, and that our yellow jogging stroller would be the perfect vehicle.

The first yellow car we came across was looked a lot like his yellow car - it even had the black stripe.

The second car we found was a nicer version of the yellow car.  The sales-man at the dealership took the opportunity to sell it to me.
In general, I think any car that has a 3-point harness seatbelt is probably not the right car to try to sell a mother of two young children.  It must have been a slow sales day.
Or maybe he was desperate.  
Maybe yellow cars lose their enchantment after the age of 5.