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

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Our last run of 2012

Distance:  7.1 miles.
Pace:  8:30.

So, it wasn't our fastest run and it wasn't our longest run. There was a point in the beginning of the year when I knew, by instinct, that I would probably never push the stroller far nor fast again.  But, this was perhaps our most productive run.  In fact, we ran all our errands.

Our first stop was Costco for free samples:

And to pick up something from the pharmacy:

We also had our infamous lunch of pizza AND hotdogs:

Next, we ran to Walgreens to pick up some digital pictures and Christmas stuff for 50% off.  We got Christmas lights, candy canes and whatever else we could cram into our stroller.

And then finally we ran to the grocery store.  This would have been better if we had more room but we got some Christmas coffee peppermint coffee creamer for $1, yogurt and popsicles:

OK, so I understand that a play-by-play of our run is not the most exciting entry, nor am I closing out the year with a rooted deep-thought or retrospective post.  But, this run is a good summary of what our life has been like this year.

1) We ran.  I ran a lot.
2)  We went to Costco an embarrassing amount of times.
3)  We ate food.  A lot of food.  
4)  We went to the grocery store because you just don't need 20000 servings of mustard. 
5)  We bought junk because it was on sale.  I confess, when my three year old tells me that he needs to have a blue cup that lights up or My Little Pony bubble bath, I agree with him if it's under $5.

We are ending this year happy and healthy (aside from a brutal head cold) and my only resolution is to do everything possible to ensure that we are just as happy and healthy in 2013.

From a running perspective, it was good racing year, probably the result of staying uninjured.  My main accomplishments were winning the 5K summer series and placing 2nd and 3rd overall in triathlons despite my lack of swimming skills.  I don't really have any athletic goals for the next year except to continue to train my weaknesses.

This year found out Brenna has Apraxia but she has not let this stop her - both kids are flourishing in preschool and becoming little independent people.  Like right's quiet because they off playing together.  Hmmm, or because they in my room taking all my socks out of the drawer.  Or because they have discovered the boxes of Powerbars in the pantry.  Or because they found a Sharpie and are drawing imperfect circles all over the living room walls.  Or because they have turned on the bath and poured an entire bottle of bubble soap.  

And that is my queue to end this post.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Non-running Activities

Even though I kind of hope that one my kids will love running like I do, my main hope is that they just love something.  I am very lucky to have passion.  And, no matter what happens in my life, I know I have my running to make me happy.

It remains unseen what Hayden's first interest will be, but Brenna has blatantly fallen in love with ballet.  I think its a wonderful first sport since it includes her other two interests:  pink things and mirrors.

Her 30 minute dance is comprised of three components:  tap, changing shoes, and ballet.

Luckily we have all the equipment required for her to practice at home - a floor and full length mirrors:

The only problem with dancing (if she decides to take seriously once she realizes she looks good in other colors) is that it is hard on the body.   I watch Dance Moms so I know a little about it.  And, I relate to it because if anything is harder on the body than dance, it is running.

I am extremely proud to say I have managed to make it through the entire year of 2012 without a single injury. 

For a split second, I forgot why I did not get injured.
I forgot why this blog is called Twins and Triathlons, not Twins and Tons of Running.

Even though I enjoy biking and tolerate swimming, at the end of the day, I rather run.  I mean, at the end of the day, I rather run do just about anything.  I continuously and conscientiously must keep myself in check to maintain self control.  But lately, things have felt so good and have been so fun, I started to question if I wanted to do triathlons.  Why not just run?

I canceled my cycling coach and skipped my swims to frolic at South Mountain.  My heart thought it was a brilliant idea but my body thought otherwise.  Only after two weeks, my hip started to hurt.

I refuse to be sidelined so I immediately returned to my normal schedule.
I went back to hot yoga.
I went back to Masters class.

And I resumed my cycling coach.  

I am lucky that my body lets me run over 40 miles a week without injury.  I will never be an elite marathoner with that mileage but I dont even like marathons anyway!

On the bright side, it is rewarding to get better at three sports vs one sport.
Well, at least I think I am getting better at swimming?
And I think I am getting better on the bike?
At least better outside - not so much better on the rollers.  I am going to call this the Before Video because I am hopeful.  And obviously do not embarrass easily.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Desert Classic 30K Relay

This was a spur-of-the-moment race spawned from my best running friend, Michelle.  When I say "spur-of-the-moment," I mean I woke up at 6am on Sunday morning with a text that said, "Call me."

Originally, I was not enthusiastic because the air was wet and cold from a night of gentle raining.  But, after slipping on my compression socks and swallowing a few sips of caffeine, I grabbed my Garmin and felt rather good.

I was running the first leg - a 5K - of a 30K relay race.  I arrived at the site and immediately began warming up.  Within the second mile, the rest of my team arrived.  We scrambled to the registration table and each began filling out an entry form.  We paused in unison when we got to the line item, Team Name.

After passing around blank stares, someone suggested Lady Runners, which we all wrote down in haste.  Well, everyone except me - I absent mindedly wrote our name as  sentence.

Thus, our official tame name: The Lady Runners.  

Michelle and I managed to coordinate half a team outfit (from waist down):

But then we failed to communicate this to half our team.

Even though not intuitive by team name or (lack of) uniform, we were a force to be reckon with.

Not to say that we I didn't drop the baton (which was really a wrist band and hard to pass) or that no one tripped and fell during transitions (at least it wasn't me) but we won for first females.  We were the 4th team overall - even our credentials could not compete with the teenage-boy cross country runners.

My 5K resembled the bulk of my 5Ks this year:

Mile 1:  6:00 (slight downhill)
Mile 2:  6:05 (sharp turn-around)
Mile 3:  6:06 (slight uphill)
.15     : 52
Final = 19:03

Earlier this year, a 19-minute 5K would have me gasping for air at the end and collapsing at the finish.  But this time, I sauntered over the finish with barely a drip of sweat.  OK - the sweat part was because it was freezing cold, but I do think I could have held on for another mile.

Maybe that means I should have ran faster, but maybe it also means that it is time to run farther.

2012 was the year of 5Ks.  2013 is the year of distances longer than 5Ks!  But nothing crazy like marathons.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Hot Chocolate 15K Race Report

I signed up for this back in August.  It seemed like a fabulous idea at the time - I mean, it promises you CHOCOLATE at the finish line.  Could there be a better incentive?  Apparently most women agreed with me - there were twice as many women in this race as men.

But months passed and I smoothly transitioned into my off-season.  I completely forgot about this race.

Then on Thanksgiving I attempted a turkey trot.
I never spoke of it because it wasn't worth speaking about.
I had to DNF.

The race was a 10K.  I had no speedwork to back up anything amazing so I went just to run for "fun."  But from the minute I started running, it wasn't fun at all.  My stomach hurt.  My chest hurt.  At Mile 3.6, I saw a gas station on the other side of the street. When the rest of the runners turned right, I went straight.  And straight into the gas station's bathroom.  It confirmed there was something really wrong with me and so I did not rejoin the race.  

It was not a race I anticipated or trained for, so I was not distraught over the lack of finisher's medal.  But it was the first non-trail race I attempted this entire year that was longer than a 5K.  It did make me doubt my ability to be more than a one-trick pony.

In the midst of that 10K, I remembered my looming 15K.

There was not enough chocolate in the world that could make me excited for this run.  I found myself dreading it.  And to dread a run - of ANY distance - is simply inappropriate when running is your favorite thing to do.

There was not enough time to improve my running, but there was enough time to improve my attitude.  By the time I stepped onto the start line, I was excited to be there.  A lot of my friends were there - including the super fast girls from my running club.  It made me glad I wasn't planning on racing because I stood no chance of winning.

Just because the goal is not to win, does not mean there are not other goals, though.   My first goal was to do negative splits.  My second goal was to smile the entire race.

As always, the race started fast.  I checked my Garmin obsessively for the first mile, attempting to keep it over 6:30.  By Mile 2, I found a groove and I was passing poor people who started too fast.  Often, they would competitively pick up the pace.  I knew it was too early, so I would remind myself of my two goals: Negative splits and smile.

When I saw the marker for Mile 4, I let loose and started to run.  Even though I checked my Garmin 100 times during the first 4 miles, didn't look at it a single time for the remainder of the race.

By Mile 6, I was in 5th place.
By Mile 8, I was right behind the 4th place girl.  And that is where I stayed the race of the rest.

But I was ecstatic with 5th place - there were 1,839 women behind me.
Plus, it was my largest age group win (1/294).

But even more importantly, I accomplished my goals.

Mile 1:  6:39
Mile 2:  6:46
Mile 3:  6:48
----------------5K = 21:03
Mile 4:  6:32
Mile 5:  6:19
Mile 6:  6:15
----------------10K = 41:09
Mile 7:  6:24
Mile 8:  6:27
Mile 9:  6:34
.4 :     :  6:27
----------------15K = 1:01:17
Avg Pace = 6:31
Avg Race Pace (since I went .1 over) = 6:35

I would have preferred Mile 9 to be under 6:30, I would have preferred to have a better kick, and I would have preferred to do a better job running the inside of the course so not to accrue that additional tenth of a mile - but that is needless nitpicking because it was still negative splits.

And as (chocolate) icing on a cake, David showed up with my kids.

And just like me and all the other 2,000 women, Brenna was all about the chocolate.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Shoes, shoes and more shoes

I've always have had a thing for shoes.
Maybe it’s to compensate for ugly feet, but I just love having a variety of shoes.  This has always been something that drives David nuts because not only do I love having a lot of shoes, I love leaving them all over the house.

As a compromise, I have bought shoe racks.  They hang on the bedroom door, master bathroom door and sit in every closet, as demonstrated in this vintage photo of Hayden wearing my dress:

The completely filled shoe racks did more than deal with the clutter - it worked as a deterrent.  If I bought more shoes, Where would I put them?  

But given the number of shoes that I own, it should not shock anyone that I also like to have a lot of running shoes.  It reminds me of the time I accidentally brought my road racing shoe to a trail race instead of my trail racing shoe....that is like grabbing a pair of Chucks to wear to a wedding!

Picking out running shoes is very personal.  I rarely read reviews because one person’s experience is irrelevant.  When I want a new shoe, I spend hours trying on different make /models and testing each pair with a 2-3 minute brisk run.  If I like a shoe, I may run 6-10 minutes.  I may do running drills. Or sprints.  Or cartwheels.

But even though I find reviews irrelevant, here are some thoughts on the current players in my shoe rotation:

1. Saucony Kinvara 2 and 3
I LOVE THIS SHOE.   This shoe does not like running slower than a 7 minute mile.  It’s made for speed.  It weighs practically next to nothing and although it has very little cushion, it is surprisingly comfortable.  The only downside is that because of its minimalist-style, it only gets 250ish miles.  I currently have 3 pairs, plus an additional pair for racing.  I feel that by giving the shoe at least 48 hours between wears, I can get at least 300 miles.  I wear them for speedwork, tempo runs, 5K - half marathons.  The 2’s are discontinued but just as good as the 3’s – if you can find them, buy them.  Unless you wear my size.  Sorry, but I bought every 10.5 I could find on the internet.

(If you need a shoe that offers stability, I recommend the Saucony Cortana.  It is like the Kinvara’s cushioned cousin and comes in prettier colors.)

2.  Saucony The Ride
Compared to the Kinvara, running in this shoe is like running in bricks, although still relatively light for its kind.  It’s good for a leisurely long run. 

3. Brooks Ghost 4
I alternate this shoe with The Ride.  Pros:  It has a wider toe box.  Cons:  It feels a little heavier and loses its bounce way too quickly.

4. New Balance 890s
I never thought I would run in New Balance sneakers but I must say, the 890s were a surprising treat to the feet!   They have more cushion than the Kinvara, but still very light weight and fast.  It’s a good suggestion for a non-minimalist, but minimalist-like, shoe and good for less leisurely long runs.
5.  Brooks PureGrit
I got these shoes two years ago on my birthday.  I couldn’t believe how simultaneously light weight and supportive they were.  I am hesitant to say more because I have not tried the newest model – I did, however, just buy two new pairs of the older model.  I know many other lightweight trail shoes have been introduced in the past two years, but the PureGrits have a special place in my heart.

6.  Newtons Distance
I am falling in the love with this shoe.  I won’t lie, it does help that the limited edition is pink.  Either you love Newtons or you don’t love Newtons.  They don’t have much cushion but they do have something that feels like a little spring board.  I feel like Newtons is a great shoe for running fast, but unlike the Kinvaras, I can just go jogging in them, too.  It’s just a comfortable, high mileage shoe that you can wear for any workout.  I’m currently not doing a lot of speedwork, or tempo runs, or long runs….so this is the pair that I find myself reaching for the most.  Plus, did I mention they were PINK?

In lieu of quicker runs, I've rekindled my relationship with my BOB - turns out, the spark is still there.