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

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Brenna's New Shoes

After "losing" the car sandals, I decided it was time for Brenna to get a pair of running shoes, too.  Her shoe of choice lately has been a pair of green crocs that previously belonged to Hayden.  I hate these shoes for a few reasons.
1) They are ugly.  I bought them because they were cheap and I bought them for a boy.
2) They make her feet stink.

The initial appeal of the shoe was that Brenna was able to put it on and take it off without assistance.   I never thought that it would become a non-negotiable staple in her wardrobe.  

Shoe shopping seemed like the ideal activity for our weekly mother-daughter Tuesday outing.  At first, Brenna did not want to go.  Even though Brenna has a very strong opinion about her outfit every day, she has not shown any interest in shopping - so I was not surprised when she refused to get into the car.  However, I reminded her of Hayden's running shoes.  The fact that he had running shoes, and she did not, had taunted her all week. 

I promised her pink running shoes and she agreed to go.  I was ecstatic.  Shoe shopping is one of my guilty pleasures.

I took her to Payless and told her the coveted words that every daughter hopes their mother will say:  Pick something!  Anything!  I will buy you whatever you want.

Payless had a lot of sneakers that I was sure Brenna would love:  sneakers with rainbows and butterflies! princess sneakers that light up!  Dorah the Explorer sneakers! 

But the shoe that captivated Brenna was a very sparkly mary jane:

Not only was this not a running shoe, it was not a comfortable shoe.
And, it was not a shoe that they carried in her size.

Look, I get it.  I love sparkly shoes.  If ever a mother hoped their daughter would want sparkly shoes, that mother is me.  But I just couldn't bring myself to buy shoes that did not feet her feet. 

The end result was me dashing out of the store, clenching Brenna, who was clenching her green crocs.  Luckily the tantrum ended shortly after we started driving home.  Shocked by the silence, I started to tell Brenna about the best shoe store in the entire world:

Together, we perused pages and pages of pink toddler shoes until Brenna picked something out. They were pink.  They were sparkly.  They were perfect.

And, after an exuberant shipping fee, they arrived at our doorstep 2 business days later.

The first thing Brenna did was compare her new shoes to Hayden's  used and dirty shoes.  She was pleased.

Brenna has since worn her new shoes on multiple outings.  Like Costco.

And the Arizona State Fair (we used our passes).  She was very good about not stepping in any animal poop. 

I think the kids liked the fair.  I was surprised when the both wanted to go on the biggest ride that the fair offered - the grand Ferris wheel.  You can't see my left arm but it's firmly gripping the seat.  Unlike my three year olds, I don't like heights.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

AZ State Fair 5K

I don't really like writing race reports too many days post the race - all the magic and memories quickly dissipate once I return to real life.  Although I would describe this specific race as more mediocre than magical.

Aside from a 5K three weeks ago, I have not done any speedwork since the beginning of August.  So, I wasn't expecting too much from this race...I just knew it was going to be a fun race because it was at the state fair.  I love the fair!  I also knew it would be a great race to distribute my SunRype bars, since there would be a lot of kids and people like this:

The race was at 8 a.m. and the fair opens at 10.  I did my warm up around the empty fair, inspecting the rides and the different food offerings.

The race was only $22 and you received four passes to the fair.  Each pass is worth $10 so it's almost like they pay you to do the race.  I will be bringing my kids next weekend but one thing is for sure - we won't be eating!   An ice cream cone, the size you get at McDonalds for $1, cost FIVE DOLLARS.

I could tell during my warm up that it was not going to be my best day.  But it was a free race so I was just going to go with it and enjoy it.

I was disappointed in the course.  Aside from starting and ending at the fair, it was very boring.  And there was wind.  We know I hate wind.

My first mile was 6:02, which is a standard first mile.  Unlike my race three weeks ago, it did not feel easy.  Mile 2 was 6:05 and also did not feel easy.  Mile 3, which was in the wind, was 6:15.  Ouch.

The course was short (3.04) so my time was 18:43 but it would have really been 19:03 on an accurate course.  I came in 2nd place.

I brought home a new stuffed animal.
His name is Dos Ajos for obvious reasons.

Our previous Panda only had one eye:

And, I swear, I did not remove his eye for Halloween.  He has always been missing an eye.

I also did not decapitate Mr. Wonderful's head.  One day I found his body in Hayden's room.  A few days layer, his head was located in the ballpit.  

Anyway, this race reminded me that I have two upcoming races:
a duathlon in two weeks and a triathlon in four weeks.

As previously stated, I have not been doing speed work.  Nor have been been doing bricks.  Or bike rides.
I kept thinking, I don't need to worry about these races...they are not until November.

But yet here it is - the end of October.

It's not like I have not been running - I have been running a lot, with very talented, amazing and interesting people.   These people have seen things, done things and know things.  For the first time in a long time, I feel like I am learning things.  But alas, if you don't use your speed, you lose your speed.

After the race, there was a kids race.  This is standard and I have been waiting for the day when my kids would participate.  And by participate, I mean actually move from Point A to Point B.  I passed out fruit bars to the kids and took note that a lot of them were three years old.  There was even a two year old!  There was no reason why my kids could not do this.

Well, except one reason.
I am not sure if you have noticed, but in every recent picture of Hayden, he is wearing a pair of car sandals.  In rain or shine, he is devoted to these shoes.

And yes, they are doing yoga in Home Depot.

It is an acceptable sandal.  But not an acceptable running shoe.

I had a pair of shoes for Hayden, it was just that he refused to wear them.  With winter approaching, I knew his feet would require socks.  And I was dreading having the kid who wore socks with sandals.  Inspired by the kid race, I knew it was time to make a move.

We "lost" the car sandals.
They were not in his room, they were not in the playroom, they were not in the living room nor under the couch.  

There was a small fall festival at the nearby church and Hayden wanted to go.  But, he could not go without shoes!  Forced with the decision to stay home with no shoes or wear running shoes, he wore his running shoes.  Although reluctant at first, he was easily impressed with how easy it was to run away from me.

Luckily my camera has good zoom.  As usual, he found something gross to lick. 

The bounce house.

Different shoe, same boy.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

The Bitter-Sweet Routine

So first, an update -
The kids no longer take a nap.
It was a looming unavoidable predicament, but I was hoping praying to extend the nap for as long as possible, preferably until kindergarten.   Unfortunately, I cannot force someone to take a nap.  Trust me, I tried. I can tell them to take a nap, or yell at them to take a nap, or beg them to take a nap - but ultimately, that is as far as my power takes me.

The extended day + incessant  bickering (+ overtired kids x 2) does not equal a pleasant afternoon.  On any given day, sometime around 3:30pm, Hayden is running around the house in tears, waving his Thomas the Train above his head.  A naked Brenna chases him, taunting, "my train!  my train!"  She catches him by the shirt and his shirt collar chokes him.  He falls to the ground and Brenna grabs the train.  "My train!" she shrieks one last time for emphasis before she runs away.  Hayden gets up and chases her while crying, "Mommy, Mommy!" He grabs her to the ground and Brenna starts crying, "Mommy! Mommy!"

I intervene and I take the train. Hayden will ask me to dry his eyes and blow his nose.  Brenna will ask for a kiss and a hug.  After I oblige, I can breathe a few breaths before Hayden starts playing with a dinosaur and Brenna starts chanting, "my dinosaur!  my dinosaur!"

After that, it's usually a Lightening McQueen car, a book, a ball, a random toy that was found under the couch, a water cup, an identical water cup, and then the lid to the third identical water cup.

Here they are fighting over a cheap, unopened loaf of sale-bread from the grocery store:

If I am buying white bread, it means I was desperately trying to get out of the store before Round 3.

The new routine, derived from my lovely mother, was to separate the kids two nights each week.  Not only to give me a break, but them a break as well.  You know the saying, Too Much of a Good Thing........

Each kid has a designated night at grandma's house.  She honks her horn at 4pm, usually right before the fight over the second water cup.  I rush out a crying kid and a plastic bag of clean clothing.

And then its over.  Completely over.
There is no screaming, yelling or crying.
Just one silent child with a dry tear on their cheek.
And I simply say, "So what do you want to do?"

Activities with just one kid is like training for a 5k instead of a marathon.  There is no stopping us - we can do anything!  The world is our playground and we don't even need a double cart.

Brenna usually rejects all my fun offerings (shopping, the park, taking a walk, etc).  But she is always satisfied with the suggestion of eating.

Hayden is more open-minded but his activity of choice is always the park.  His night is also running club night.

I know I usually don't run in the evenings, but I've made an exception to meet my best running friend.  Her name is Michelle.  I bring David and Hayden:

And she brings her husband and son.   

It seemed sad to have half the stroller empty.  That is what makes this new routine bitter-sweet....even though the world sometimes seems to be meant for only one kid, everything in our life is meant for two.  Two toddler beds, two little tooth brushes, two sets of dinner plates, two car seats in the car............

And of course, the kids miss each other.
And of course, I miss my missing kid.

But as they say, absence makes the heart grow fonder - and it's only a few hours a week.

Plus, we manage to find ways to fill in the gaps.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Cactus Cha Cha Race Report

I thought it would be fun to trail race two weeks in a row - and I was hoping I could win two weeks in a row as well.

When I got to the race, I was immediately disappointed when I realized that I accidentally grabbed my road racing show (Saucony Kinvara) instead of my trail racing shoe (Brooks Pure Grit).  They are both blue and equally wonderful shoes, but the Brooks have tread so that you slide less.  And fall less.

I was 90-minutes from home so there was nothing I could do except dwell on it.

But, as soon as we started running, I forgot about my shoes.  I love trail running and I love racing so I was instantly in bliss.  I was also the leading lady.  This start, however, was not slow like last week.  I was mildly concerned that I started off too fast.  But I think its best to start off too fast and get a good position rather than start off slow and be stuck behind people.  The trails were technical, rocky and other words, best suited for single-file.  I was surprised when a girl effortless pranced past me, probably close to Mile 1.

I let her pass and then focused on keeping the distance between us short and steady. Around Mile 2, we encountered a headwind that accompanied a gradual uphill.  Uphills are my strength and I found myself in ideal positioning - right behind her. This was perfect because 1) I could watch her footwork, 2) I could let her pace me, and 3) There is much less pressure being the person  behind.

I wanted to be sneaky so I tried real hard not to breathe heavy but my nose was running.  I did some snot-rockets and I am pretty sure she heard them.  And probably grossed out.

At Mile 3, she let me pass.  I said, "Good job," and waited for a few seconds in case she changed her mind. I really didn't want to pass her.  I could see this was going to get awkward if I did not pass, so I did.  And, I was not sure what to do.  Should I run fast? Should I run the same pace?

I suspected that she had a plan - something amazing like 5-minute miles towards the end.  My plan is always the same no matter the race - and that is just to run like a fool.

Mile 4 had a massive hill and Mile 5 had the downhill.  Despite my lack of proper footwear, I let my legs just go.  This is key when trail racing, you have to trust your feet and your instincts.  Aside from a couple expected fumbles, my legs did me well.  Miles  6-7 were my two fastest miles (7:00 each) of rolling hills.  I was tired but slowing down was not an option because I was sure the other girl was running a 5-minute mile right behind me.  Also, slowing down isn't always easier because you lose momentum.  It just sounds easier.

I finished the race (7.06 miles) in exactly 51 minutes - and unlike last week, I only had a 1-minute cushion to my win.  I also got better awards - a hand crafted trophy and $120 for new running shoes!

My kids have been missing ever since my return nearly three hours ago.  I mean, I know they are with my mother, I just don't know their location or estimated time of return.  There naptime was 10 minutes ago.

But I am not complaining because I had time to write this race report without having anyone bring me a booger or bang on my keyboard. Nor did I need to break up any wrestling matches, clean up spilled milk, or wipe any butts.  Three year olds are a lot of work and I am admittedly going crazy.

But we these unexpected moments where  they are both happy, and amazing, and I feel like everything is the way it's supposed to be.   

The problem is that moments end.  
But, at least sometimes I save them.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Xterra Estrella Race Report and Then Some

There have been blog postings that I've wanted to posted but it is getting exceedingly hard finding the time to write.  The most reasonable time is after the kids go to bed - but I think I have been honest about my questionable taste of television and my continued devotion to certain shows - so that hour before bed that most would perceive as "free time" is actually very busy.

I have not been doing any training but managed to pull out a win at the first Xterra trail race of the season yesterday.  Unlike road running, trail running isn't so much about speed as it is about skill.  It's perhaps more like cycling in that cardiovascular ability only accounts for half the sport - the other half is experience and technique.  There were quite a few falls yesterday, including the men's winner who fell twice.  It's part of the sport, since there are lots of loose rocks to slip on.  Perhaps the biggest mistake though is not lifting the feet enough because there is always one rock, and usually its a small rock, that is sticking up a little higher than the rest.

I knew within the first minute of the race that I was going to win  because it was such a slow start.  But I didn't know that I was going to win by 4 minutes!  Only 3 men beat me out of around 140 participants.  I won a cup.  This is my 4th Xterra beer mug.

After a trail race, I always think, "Trail running is so much fun!  Why do I bother road running?"  But, if given the opportunity, I always opt to trail run.  Sometimes though there is just not enough to drive to the trails.  Which brings me back to my original complaint - there is not enough time in a day.

At least the weather is cooling - my life changes drastically in the fall when I can go outside past 9am.  Not only can I start trail running again, I can start running with my kids again.

Although the definition of "running" is changing as they get older - 5 mile runs are now 2 mile runs.  Our 8 min/mile pace is now almost a 9 min/mile pace.  Also, I no longer get to pick the route.  

For example, on Saturday.  I chose to run to a garage sale.

Admittedly, it was a sub-par sale, but it could have been the grandest garage sale and Hayden would have still demanded to go see the cow.  And we did go see the cow.

But then he wanted to go see a goat.
And a pig.
And a sheep.

He was equally unsatisfied the weekend prior when I ran us to Walgreens.  I don't think he realized that the bags that surrounded us were filled with candy.

We didn't buy any candy though.
We bought a bloody foot that was on clearance!  And I swear Brenna has on shorts.