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

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Running Errands, Part 3

Part 1
Part 2

I think this will be the last time I post about running errands because I think we approaching the end of the running era.  We have ran much longer than expected - we endured multiple 110-degree summers, half marathon training, speed work training and potty training.

There are a lot of times, if not most of the time, I am outnumbered by toddlers.  There are moments (like nap time) where it feels like a me vs them situation.  But not when we run.
When we run, we are a team.  A unbeatable trio.
It's been a blessing to share my passion with my kids.  And just like me, they seem born to run.
I think we have all appreciated the escape that running provided.  Sometimes you need to leave the house but you have no where to go - running was always the agreed upon solution.

And sometimes, you do have somewhere to go - and running was the best way to get there.

Yesterday the kids accompanied to the voting polls.
It was a short run - just a mere mile away - but it was an essential errand.

The kids were quite interested.  And all the old people where interested in them.
It's hard to see in this picture but we all have voting stickers.
Brenna wore her sticker all day.

After I voted, we had to rush home so that the kids could get ready for preschool.

The kids have been in preschool for 6 months now, but they just started the three-year old class.  This class meets every morning.  There is not much time between their wake-up time and the preschool drop-off time, and it takes quite a bit of time to get two toddlers ready.

Of course I plan on squeezing every last mile out of that stroller as possible - but as my kids embark on a new stage in their lives, I am releasing my grip on the handlebars and starting to let go.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

I Did Something Right.

I was a little surprised to see that my last entry was nearly 10 days ago.  It doesn't feel as if 10 days has passed.  We have been really busy.

We are still running.  The kids have a new thing where they like to put their arms up when we run "fast".  I use the word "fast" really loosely - our avg pace these days is over 8 minutes per mile.

We are also still peeing in the potty.  This takes up a lot of our day.

There have been some frustrating days (unrelated to potty training...although, finding a large poop next to the toilet doesn't particularly help.)  "They" say that the terrible twos are nothing compared to the terrible threes, and I may just have to agree.

Brenna, despite her speech delay, has perfected a few words.  Her most common word is - "no."
Here are some of our daily conversations.

"Brenna, eat your fruit."

"Brenna, put on your shoes."

"Brenna, come inside."

"Brenna, stop poking your brother's ear!"

She is not saying "no" simply because its a word that she can say.  She is saying "no" because she is acting like a brat princess.  Dealing with her can be daunting, toggling between wondering "am I being too hard on her?"  and "am I being too easy?"

Parenting is hard.  I willfully admit that I don't know what I am doing.  
But then the other night there was a moment - it was like someone turned on a bright flashlight in a dark cave. 
In the fog of all my doubt and insecurity was the shining revelation that *I* did something right.

For many, many years I have bought a huge bag of spinach at Costco every week.  It's a lot of spinach - but it's only $5.  And so for many many years, I have had a large spinach salad with my dinner.  I love spinach.   The kids have been eating spinach for many years too - I have always mixed their applesauce with spinach puree.  They have no idea that applesauce is not supposed to be green.

At dinner, I eat salad and they eat green apple sauce.
Lately, they have been interested in my salad.  Especially Brenna, which is funny because like any typical toddler, her vegetables have the tendency to end up on the floor.

But I decided to test them and made small salads on their dinner plates.
Laugh if you must, but fewer things could have made me prouder.

Hayden really only ate his salad out of default - there was nothing else left to eat.

I didn't get too excited right away though - toddlers change their mind just as much as they pee.  However, it seems to be fact - the kids like salad!!  

It may be a small deal to most, but when dealing with three year olds, you need to relish and rejoice ALL victories - it is a matter of survival.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Pools and Potties, Part 2

Saturday was Day 1 of the Three Day Potty training method.  As expected, Hayden was resistant.  We followed the rules in the literature that David instructed me to read.  Unfortunately, I opened it up with good intent but got hung up on the 30 pairs of underwear mandated for each child.  Who has time to read when they are frantically shopping for 60 pairs of underwear?

I had some sticker shock over the price of underwear - but between Target, Walmart and Amazon, I was able to fulfill the underwear requirement without entirely draining the bank account.

The first step to the method is to have the kids carry out all the diapers and put them in the trash.  (Of course this is wasteful and just for show).  Then, you put them in their underwear and say, "Who wants juice??"

To them, juice was water that tasted like candy.
Their minds were blown.

They guzzled sippy cup after sippy cup like college kids on spring break.  Their little bellies grew like water balloons.

"Do you have to pee?" David would ask them.
"Do you have to pee?" I would ask them.
They would shake their head, extend their hand to pass us their empty sippy cup and demand,  "More juice."

They held their pee for an impressive amount of time, but what goes in must eventually come out.  And when massive amounts go in, massive amounts come out.  I will spare you the descriptive (and dramatic) details.

Sunday was Day 2.  It is always peaceful after a storm.

By Day 3, we were back to our normal routine, except always with a towel in tow.
We went to Costco:

We went running (it was too early for Hayden to be photogenic)

I took us to see the cow just in case we had to make a pit stop.  This road already smells like poop.

We also went to the mall:

So far, accidents have been few and at home. Of course, I am knocking on wood as I type this.

I know, it's not a very fun topic.  My apologies in advance.
I started logging my workouts two weeks ago.  I will refer to this as the beginning of training.
Week 1 included three intervals workouts (in addition to Masters and endurance workouts):
Workout #1 was 250x4.  My fastest was 4:36.
Workout #2 was 200x5. My fastest was 3:40.
Workout #3 was 100s. My fastest was 1:42.

Week 3 I revisited these intervals with the following workout:
250 x 2 - 4:21 / 4:21
200 x 2 - 3:28 / 3:23
100 x 2 - 1:36 / 1:37
200 x 2 - 3:30 / 3:30

I am not really sure what those numbers mean in regards to swimming 1500 meters in open water.  BUT, I know that 4:21 is faster than 4:36, 3:23-3:30 is faster than 3:40 and 1:36 is faster than 1:42.   This may be a new road but I think its the right direction - so far.  I am still knocking on that wood.

Monday, August 13, 2012

5K Summer Series, #5 FINAL

There are 5 races in the summer series.  The worst race is dropped.  For me, this was race #4 since I missed it due to the triathlon.  I also had that bad race for race #2.  Those two races balanced out my two wins - and I was tried for first place for the series.

If I won this race, I would win the series.
If I lost this race, I would come in second.

Historically, I do not perform well under pressure.
I tried to convince myself that second place was still very good, but I could not shake off something my elite runner friend/mentor said a few months ago:  Second place is the first loser.  It sounds harsh.
But it is also true.

The night before the race I was watching the Olympics' Mens 5K Final.  It is interesting watching track events because they run directly next to their competition for most of the entire race.  I usually have no idea where my competition is unless they pass me.  In the spirit of the Olympics, I decided to try something new.

On the start line, I saw the girl who was racing me for first place.  She is a nice girl, I like her.  I stood next to her and said, "I am going to run with you today."
Her response?  "Bring it."  It made me like her even more!
We friendly chatted until it was time to race.

These 5Ks always have a fast start.  And this was no exception.
I knew right away that this was not a sustainable race pace so I let myself fall behind.

But by Mile 1, I had caught up. I heard my Garmin beep - I had it set to auto-lap every mile.   I did not look at it.  There really is very little to gain by looking at the Garmin - unless it is the perfect number, it can send you into a mental tailspin.

Mile 2 included a large uphill.  Hill running is my forte and it did not faze me.
At the turn around, I realize I had a substantial lead.  Now, I just had to to sustain it on the downhill.

The downhill was relatively easy. My Garmin beeped again.

Mile 3 rehashed the rolling hills in the beginning.  At this point, I became uncomfortable.
For some reason, the balls of my feet were burning.  Perhaps my shoes were too big but this did not happen at my last race?  My stomach also started to feel alarmingly unsettled.

The nice thing about the last mile is that you can remind yourself: It's the last mile.
Anything is tolerable for just one mile.

I was relieved when the Garmin beeped at Mile 3 but the finish still seemed far away.  I believe this course was closer to 3.2 miles than 3.1.  My feet and stomach were begging for the finish line.

When I asked my Dad (post-race) if it looked like I was running fast, he said no.
But when I turned the corner and saw the clock, I did sprint the last the few steps.
Chip time = 19:10,
Gun time = 19:13.
Mile 1 = 5:58                     
Mile 2 =  6:10
Mile 3 = 5:56

.21 = 1:35 (because I forgot to stop my watch for about 1 minute.)

In 90 + degree weather, I am proud of this performance - it was good enough to win the series.

It was also good enough for another gold medal to bring home to Brenna.  She immediately put it on and did her poses.

I promise I am not priming her for Toddlers and Tiaras.  She developed these poses completely on her own.
She is simply a natural in front of the camera.  Here she is a week earlier:

I also promise that I did not pick out that outfit.  She also did that completely on her own.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Pools and Potties

I realize to my kids that pools and potties are one of the same, but despite that, they are two things of top priority as far as twins and triathlons are concerned.

The twins have shown about as much excitement towards potty training as I have towards swimming.  But, it's to the point where we no longer have choices, it's time to press forward.

We have dabbled with potty training in the past.
At first, the little potties were a novelty.  They sat on them.

After about a 5 minutes, the potties were forgotten.  They were moved into a corner and collected a disturbing amount of dust.

I re-introduced potty training again as we came closer to the third birthday.  Everyone kept saying that they were old enough to understand. 

We tried pull-ups.  The first thing Brenna did was pull hers down - she definitely understood that part.

Like the potties, there was a short-lived initial novelty.  They laid on the floor as if they were testing them.

A few minutes later it was determined that a pull-up was just another kind of diaper and they had no interest.

A few more months passed and I encouraged them with a rewards chart.
Brenna made some attempts:

Hayden has taken a more lackluster approach, as evidenced by his chart.

I totally get it, there are much better things to do than sit on a toilet - like play with cars, trains and dinosaurs.
I have always had better things to do than swim - like bike, run and run more.

But even though Hayden will vehemently disagree with me, its time for us to both to just suck it up and do it.

I started first by examining my barely-existent swimming schedule.
I decided to ease into this whole swimming thing by swimming 3 days a week.
Then I added a Masters class for a 4th day.
And then I added a 5th day although this is hard, since you know, I do have a job and stuff.

I have seen some results.  My 100s have gone down from 2 minutes to 1:37-1:42.  But, I cannot swim 15 at that pace without stopping.  This has made me realize that I have a long, long road ahead of me.

I am hoping the potty-training takes a much shorter (and drier) road.
We are using a technique called Three Day Potty Training
I will report back but I want to ensure you that I will not:  
  1. Post pictures of poop.
  2. Post pictures of pee.
  3. Provide any description of poop or pee.

I bought each child 30 pairs of underwear and we are beginning this process tomorrow morning.  

After I go to the pool.

Friday, August 3, 2012

The Belated Birthday Post

I believe that it is important to consume copious amounts of cake on your birthday. 
Preferably awesome cake, like those in the shape of inanimate objects or multi-tier custom designed cakes.

But can a novice palette of a three-year old distinguish and appreciate awesome cake? 
The answer, displayed in delight over subpar breakfast “cupcakes”, decided NO - a three-year old has no clue about the quality of cake.  

It reminds me of a horrific moment that happened many months ago at Walmart.  I was at the register feeling frustrated and flustered (my typical response to Walmart) when I glanced down to see Hayden on the dirty ground.  I started to ask, “What are you doing?” but before I could finish the question, I gasped in horror as I noticed he was LICKING THE WHEEL OF THE SHOPPING CART.  

Could there be anything worse in the world to lick?  As those behind me deemed me as the worst mother in Walmart, I determined that his taste buds must be under-developed because he had this ridiculous grin on his face suggesting that he enjoyed it.

Now, their breakfast “cupcakes” were far superior to a Walmart shopping cart wheel.  They were made out of oatmeal, pumpkin, whole wheat pastry flour, cinnamon, vanilla and blue berry syrup.  The “frosting” was an amalgamation of cauliflower puree, whipped cream cheese and honey greek yogurt.  It was garnished with a dried-fruit birthday candle.

Please note that I never said they were pretty.

I get that it sounds gross (or interesting?) but my kids were clueless.  They ate their cake in the jogging stroller because naturally, we celebrated with a run.
 See? They like it!

Nothing says a perfect birthday like cake for breakfast and a beautiful morning run.

When we got home, they requested demanded more cake.  Since each cupcake was a serving of vegetables, I obliged.

Before you feel too sorry for the kids being stuck with a cake made of vegetables, let me assure that you they did get real cupcakes, too.  I didn't even eat any of their butter-cream frosting beforehand.

And they also had stash of presents - including books, shoes and of course, a yellow car.