Sunday, February 14, 2010

Still around

I'm not doing much worthy of posting lately. Working as usual, anticipating a possible job change. Taking a class on Saturdays from 9am-3:30pm, so life is spent doing a lot of studying, working, hanging with the family and just trying to fit stuff in. Not a great set-up for training, so the plan I had made for a half in May has been put on hold. The half is the day after I have a large class project due and the week before an exam. So spending the day away from the family for school and then driving a couple hours away for another day away from the family for a race just isn't motivating me. I'm still making it to the gym most weekday mornings, but the stomach bug hit two weeks ago and this week a head/sinus cold knocked me out. I'm not recovering from these illnesses as quickly as usual. Maybe due to stress or just whatever. I've lost a little weight that I had packed on over the holidays, so at least that part is headed in the right direction. I'll have to miss the annual family 5K/ kids race because of aforementioned class, which I'm really bummed about. Not sure about the annual 5-miler/ kids race either because of schedule conflicts, oh well, these things happen. I'll find out in May whether I'm accepted into nursing school and whether I start in September or January. If I get in, life's in for some more big changes. While I'm doing my best to make health and exercise a priority, actual races just aren't top right now.

For the next two weeks I've got the Olympics to watch, though, I love the Olympics. And that usually gives me some motivation for a while.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Ready to go

I haven’t actually fallen off the ends of the earth, and I’m honestly not sure what I have been doing that’s kept me from posting. Except that I don’t think I’ve done much worth posting about. I had some grand plans for starting my half marathon training in October, and now those plans are to start half marathon training in January. I’m registered: Sunday May 2, 2010, 8am start for my third half marathon, a repeat of the course for my first race this past May. I don’t have a great training program picked out that matches up with my weekly schedule, so I’m going to be going mostly on my own. I’m excited about a change-up in the classes schedule at the gym, though, so I’ll be putting spin back into the rotation once a week, at least for the first 8 weeks. And there will be at least once weekly strength training. In addition I’ve joined a judo club, along with Hot Wheels, so that’s sort of a mini strength training session once a week.
I have managed to gain back about seven pounds since the half in September. So, at my weigh-in at the gym for our holiday “maintain don’t gain program”, I’m one and a half pounds under where I was at this time last year. Overall, a 1.5 pound loss for the year isn’t bad, but the fact that I lost and gained about 10 over the course of the year is depressing. This coming year will have an added bonus on the weight loss front, though. My husband is motivated to lose some weight as well. That means we’ll have less junk food in the house, he’ll be making meals with a healthier focus and it will be easier to stay on track in general. The hard part is that he will decide to lose 20 pounds and will just lose them like that. It’s frustrating to watch that knowing that if I’m ever going to lose these last 19 pounds it’s going to take a LOT of work and dedication. Not sure I’m even up to it, but I’ll try to eat well, make good decisions, put in good workouts and not just focus on a number. I once told myself that if I could ever get up and on any random day run three miles, I would consider myself to be pretty fit. Well, I can get up on any random day and run five miles, so I’m at least meeting that part of the goal. I think we’re going to put together a Wii challenge and track our progress there, we’ll make a family project out of it.
I’m sitting at my desk, thinking about the work I could be doing, but am not doing. Taking a few minutes for myself before I head home at lunch time for what might be the best vacation time I’ve ever had. That’s the new theme in my life. For the past few years, every vacation I’ve had has been the best time I’ve ever had. As the kids get older it just gets more fun! Today we’re heading out for our first “real” sledding. We’ve done the small hill in grandma’s back yard, but now we’re headed for the hill down to the kickball field at a local school. We had 20+ inches of snow over the weekend so there’s still plenty left. The boys are looking forward to it and while Princess has no idea what we’re talking about, I think she’ll love it. I’ll cut this novel short here and maybe update more over the vacation. I wish you all a merry Christmas (I already missed it if you celebrate Hanukkah)- and a happy birthday to Siren!
As always, some kid pictures to share.

This was the best visit with Santa Claus, ever! I thought that Princess, at 2-years old might get upset but she just climbed up and gave him a big hug.

The biggest snowfall I can ever remember. We shoveled out a clear tunnel to take the picture.

Hitting the limit of a two year old's energy when the snow is as high as her chest.

Saturday, October 03, 2009

No training in sight

It's been a quiet week of recovery. Soreness passed by Wednesday, in part because I had popped my blisters (even though I've heard you're not supposed to). I had a lot of work to do this week, so I didn't make it to the gym, but Monday starts the next training phase. That's regular strength training, back to base training for run mileage, and losing some weight will help with the goal to drop 13 minutes in May.

Just for fun here are some little snippets of life at home recently:
If Princess wants a banana and it's not peeled enough, she'll hand it to us and say "Turn it louder", if she's hungry and dinner's still cooking she'll say "Want to have chicken nuggets. In my mouth!"

We went to spectate at a high school robotics competition this morning that's associated with FIRST (Dean Kamen's program to increase science and math exposure for children), Hot Wheels will be joining the Junior Lego League next month and I will be volunteering as a program mentor. We're both really looking forward to it.

Spiderman is enjoying his second year of preschool. He's asked his friend, A. to marry him and apparently she's said yes. He's going to build a house for them in the backyard, so they can come in for dinner. He's fascinated by science and space and he's generally a happy kid.

Here we are with Hot Wheels after his triathlon two weeks ago.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

I'll take it

This morning I left my house in low 60 degree weather with plenty of rain and some wind. Nice day to spend about two and a half hours running, right? Actually, except for the fact that it prevented much spectating by the kids and my husband, I rather enjoyed the weather. I lined up at the very back of the pack of 500+ runners and we headed off on a two loop course that is pretty much completely flat. I know the course very well, since the starting line was about 3.5 miles from my house, we've spent much time in the state park we went through as well as the adjacent neighborhood. Here's the picture of a decidedly NON-negative split race.

mile 1-10.11
mile 2-10.36
mile 3-10.20
mile 4-10.29
mile 5-10.34
mile 6-10.48
mile 7-10.44
mile 8-11.06
mile 9-10.56
mile 10-11.23
mile 11-12.00
mile 12-11.59
mile 13.1-12.52
As you can see, the first seven were decent. It went downhill from there, but in contrast to my first half where I ended up walking most of the way after mile 10, I only stopped running for about 30 seconds to hug my kids and my husband at mile 10.5. Overall, I felt better than I did in May, but I've definitely got to put in more higher mileage runs to acclimate my feet and legs to the 10+ mile distances. I have to mention that my husband walked, in the rain with three kids, about half a mile to find a spot to spectate. Then they waited around for me because the race started about 15 minutes late, and had to walk back uphill to the car to go home. He's the most awesome husband ever. And seeing the kids was such a total boost for me, it got me through miles 9-10 without stopping and then once I'd passed them around 10.5 I figured I could at least keep running for the remaining 2.5 or so. I came in 479 out of 510, 76/84 age group and pulled off a 55 second PR, 2:24:05, for 11:03 average. May 2nd, 2010. Half marathon #3- goal- 2:11:00. It's on.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Ready or not. I'll go with not.

But tomorrow morning the half marathon will be here either way. It's supposed to rain, I've got a cold, I developed a blister on my toe doing a three mile run this week and I'm just altogether uninspired for this race. I've put in a few longer runs, but I've missed enough regularity in my workouts that I'm just not feeling confident. Also, I left myself in a bad place as far as goals. I kept saying I just want to get through it and feel better than last time. Well, that's just not a concrete enough goal for my uptight schedule-loving self. So I'm putting it out there today for 31+ weeks from now. My May half marathon goal is 2:11, 10 minute miles. Tomorrow I'll finish, maybe soaked, cold and cranky. I don't really care when I cross the line, I know I'll get there but I don't think it will be much fun.

On a much happier note, Hot Wheels was awesome in his first triathlon last weekend! He really enjoyed himself and already wants to do it again next year. He certainly wasn't the fastest one out there, but there were only six 6-year olds and his division was 6-8 year olds. Those 8 year olds are just so much more developed, it's not about the competition for the younger kids. Fortunately he didn't even care about who got trophies, he was a bit worried he wouldn't get one before the race. But once he crossed that finish line he just beamed for the rest of the day.

Here's his race report. We got there about 8:15 am and found an open transition spot near an edge, because parents weren't allowed in transition I at least wanted to be able to see and talk to him. Turns out other parents just ignored the rules completely, but we'd been through our transition practice so I knew he could do it. We went down to the beach for the start and the race directors were talking to the kids. Hot Wheels was off in space a bit and we had no idea whether he'd paid attention at all. They fired the gun and he stood there for a minute, then when the other kids hit the water, he ran in. He dropped and dog paddled pretty quickly, I thought he was going to walk until it was a bit deeper. The water did get deeper than his height, but he didn't seem to mind he really swam the whole way. There were lifeguards with floats and he stopped, along with most of the kids, to take a breather a few times. When he reached the shore I wondered whether he'd look around for all of us or stop. Nope, he was focused and determined. He motored up the really long run from the swim to transition area and he had a really quick transition to the bike. He had a volunteer assist him with clipping his bike helmet and then he was off on the two loop 0.75 mile course. He was nervous about stopping before the line from the bike-run transition, but he did manage to stop without falling. He had another volunteer help him unclip the helmet before heading out for the run. I couldn't see the whole 0.25 mile run course but he said there was a water station and he stopped for a drink. He was a little nervous when he couldn't find a garbage can so he stopped to ask the volunteer where to throw his cup. I thought that was cute. He was a little annoyed at all the littering until I told him that volunteers would clean up all the cups. He crossed the finish line and was ecstatic, the first thing he said was "Can I do it again next year?", then he said he was really tired. What a great event this was and we'll definitely be back again next year. I was just so proud of him, it was one of the most awesome things I've experienced.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Guess I'll taper

The half is a week from Sunday and I've put in two runs over 9 miles or so. I was planning to get in another 10+ miler in, but it just didn't work out that way. As I've been going along with this training plan, knowing that school, vacations and life in general was going to get complicated at times, I've done okay. My motivation has been decent, but not complete. I've put in most, but not quite all, of what was planned. If I can just get through and not feel as awful as last May, it will be a success. If not, then I know what to work on for next May.

But, the highlight of this weekend will clearly be HotWheel's first triathlon on Sunday. Last weekend we did a "wet run". I hosed him down in the backyard and he went through transition and then did a bike/run workout. We don't have a good pool or swim option, so the hose was the best approximation we had. I didn't push the practice much this summer, but he knows that if he does it again next year he'll have to practice more. Not because we want to push him to win, but just because that's part of the event. But for this year I let him sort of dictate when he biked/ran or didn't. The transition to first grade and full days of school has really taken away alot of his Lego time. He would play with his Lego collection for multiple hours a day if given the option, and that's what he did most of the summer. So when he gets home from school, if he doesn't want to bike or run, or do much of anything other than build for an hour or so, I just go with it. That's his relaxation, and it could be much worse. He hasn't even asked to play video games during the week at all, and while I'm not completely against video games, I'm glad that he prefers the more creative Lego option.

I'll have photos of the event to share soon, please hope for good weather for us! I may race in the rain, but it will be miserable if we're all out there cold and/or wet.

Saturday, September 05, 2009


So much going on, I'm not sure why I haven't posted except that I just haven't had the time. I now have a two-year-old, a first grader and not to ignore him - a middle child that starts 4-year old preschool next week. This summer was just about the best I can ever remember. Fun trips to the beach, a family vacation with my family, and a small trip to Story Land for just the five of us. Last weekend we discovered the fun of geocaching, where you download coordinates to a GPS unit and tromp through the woods looking for a "treasure chest" of sorts. The kids had an absolute blast and now I'm going to invest in a Forerunner so I can have a watch GPS for future geocaching trips. (there's more information at if you're interested)

On a training note, I'm very happy with how the half marathon training has gone. I put in a 9-miler last week, a 9.5 miler yesterday and they both felt pretty good. I was at 10:02 pace yesterday, which I was very happy with. I still have a fear of the last three miles, I'm hoping to get in at least one run over 10 miles before my race on the 27th. I'm not really approaching it as a race, I just want to be able to run through it as if it were another training run. I'm not worried about the time, I just want to get to the end and not feel completely awful like I did in May. My running partner is pregnant, she's about 18 weeks along now and she's still running 4-5 miles at just about our normal pace. For my long run days I've been going out for 4-5 on my own and then meeting up with her for a second "loop". I'm very happy for her that she's pregnant, but I'm a little sad that I'll be back on my own in the not too distant future. However, next summer she'll be back, I hope, and we'll get back into the same routine.

Of course I have more pictures to share, so here they are.
Here we are on our geocaching excursion. Princess with her pony on her birthday. Yes, she accessorized herself and the pony was from a tag sale. But she never needs to know that.Hot Wheels heads off to first grade.We all head off to the bus stop together.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Experiment successful!

Thursday afternoon was the triathlon with work colleagues and this year there was the addition of a biathlon- 3 mile run, then the 12.6 mile bike and 3 mile run with the triathlon participants. I can't imagine choosing to run 3 miles rather than swim half a mile, but it did attract a few participants which was really nice because there were more people out on the course. My only disappointment for the day was that it rained off and on until about 3:30pm when we decided that my husband and the kids would stay home and I would go by myself since it might rain again and spectating in the rain wouldn't be fun for any of them. About 4:30pm as I was packing up the car it really started to look like it was clearing and I was hoping my husband would spontaneously decide they would go with me. After 10 years of marriage I should be a bit more familiar with him, he's not going to say something like that, I should have asked again. Crossing the finish line without them there was a real letdown since this is the only event that they can easily attend and I didn't realize just how much it means to have them there until they weren't.

Anyway, let's recap before I give the race report. My last swim was some time in February, when I was randomly putting in about 25 minutes during the boys' swim classes. My last bike ride was the triathlon last September when I rode 15 miles in the pouring rain. My last run, however, was just this week and I've been doing a lot more on that front. I'm at exactly the same weight I was last year, so I raced Athena again- there were three of us in the division.

People remarked that the water was cold, I thought it was just about perfect- I think it was upper 60's. They told us the start would be in the middle of the beach, so I stood in the middle of the beach before the start siren. However, when they counted down from 10 seconds, people were already standing ankle deep in the water, which left me at the back of the pack of 52 swimmers. It wouldn't have made that much difference in the end, but I probably spent about 30 seconds trying to get through the pack to a spot where I could swim. I was also clobbered in this swim more than in any other I have participated. I was dunked once, but really nothing that caused me to panic. Honestly the swim just felt great. It was a two loop course with a short jog across the beach between loops. By the time I got to the third leg of the first loop we had spread out a bit and I had a nice spot to swim. Time: 12:47 (I still doubt it's an actual 1/2 mile course, especially based on that time)

Then I got on my bike for the oh-so-fun 6 loop course. My bike computer worked for about 34 seconds and then turned off. I managed to hit the timer on my watch to get an idea of time and double check that I did 6 laps without losing track. There was one spot on the course where they had a traffic sign set up that displays your speed as you approach. I was excited to see it say 17mph each of the six times I went by, so I didn't slow down much over the course of the leg, at least not at that area.
12.6 miles, time: 46:15 (only 17 seconds slower than last year despite not a single practice ride)

As I headed out on the run the sun came out- bummer- and it was hot for the first portion of the course. My legs thought about cramping up at the same point I had terrible cramps the past two times, but this year the extra fluids I took in on the bike must have helped because after some mild tightness for about a dozen steps, they stretched out and I felt pretty good. My only disappointment was that I was hoping to break 30 minutes on this run and I cam close, but not quite.
3.0 miles, time: 30:11 (Last year was 33:09, so that's a good improvement)

I think overall this was my best race ever. I know I was working as hard as I could have. I felt that I'm-about-to-vomit-if-I-don't-back-off feeling a couple times on the bike and once on the run. I was second in my group, but I think the first place Athena was about 8 minutes ahead of me, so it's not as if I just missed out. I truly hope to race age-group next year although there's no chance I'd ever place age group, because I'll be below the weight cut-off for Athena. And, while it didn't go poorly this year despite my lack of training, I intend to put in a well-trained effort next year. And unless it's pouring buckets, the family's coming with me!

Monday, August 10, 2009

I be a scientist

I decided to do an experiment this summer. Actually I guess laziness put me into a situation where I'm making excuses for the laziness under cover of an experiment. I have a triathlon in three days. I've been running quite a bit and I'm very happy with my progress on that front. When was my last swim you ask? Oh, about February, when I was doing laps while the boys had swimming lessons, until I started teaching the swimming lessons so we could get them for free. And where is my bike? On the garage wall, where it has been since my triathlon LAST September. Yep, a practically un-trained-for triathlon. Guess I'll be able to determine whether it's really all about the run. But, it's only a sprint, it's very low-key, being a bunch of people from work and all I want to do is finish. Barring a flat or some mechanical catastrophe on the bike, I know I'll at least do that. The most important part to me is sharing the evening with my family so the kids can see that this is what we do as a family, incorporate fun exercise in our lives.

I'm happy with the half marathon training. It's eight weeks from yesterday, I put in a 7.4 mile run on Friday, so I'm planning to run past the 10 mile training distance I used for the first half in May. Friday's run I managed to maintain a 10:35 pace for the 7.4 miles, the strongest mile was actually the last. This morning was a short run- 3.36 miles and I kept up a 9:40 pace. It was 100% humidity and 70 degrees so it's just nasty out there, but I did it and it felt strong. I'm taking off until Thursday afternoon's triathlon, just hoping for a little cooler, drier air. I've found the motivation that was failing back in June and I'm feeling great. Except for about 4 pounds that I recently packed on and I'm not sure how or why. But, overall feeling great.

This summer has been just about the best I can ever remember. I'm not on the computer at home very often anymore and I don't usually have time to post from work. The kids are thoroughly enjoying themselves and we're hitting the beaches, parks and outdoor activities with regularity which makes all of us happy. We did also buy Wii Sports Resort for those rainy days and evenings, everyone's enjoying some new games and the boys are expert swordfighters. In two weeks we celebrate Princess' second birthday, which I can hardly believe is here already, and in three weeks Hot Wheels starts first grade. Sigh, just going by so fast. I'm taking a psychology and sociology class in the fall also, so the busy pace of life goes on.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Best brick ever

Last week we had an awesome family vacation down at the shore. My parents rented a house for the week so they went down there and we joined them and my sister and her husband as well. It was so great to get up in the morning and not even put on my shoes, just walk about 200 steps to the beach. I got out for an early morning run one morning and it was beautiful. I could really get used to running like that in the morning, but it didn't work out more than once. We all spent about 75% of the time barefoot, I love being barefoot. It wasn't the most relaxing vacation, trying to keep three kids occupied away from all their stuff and their normal routine is difficult. But we spent all five mornings at the beach and made a trip to the playground just about every afternoon. Such a great time together, we were so lucky to have that time and those memories.

Now we get to last night's brick workout. Hot Wheels is very excited for the triathlon in September. (We tend to go through the year waiting for each next major event. The triathlon is after the start of school but before Halloween, and it's getting much attention right now.) So, we pulled out Hot Wheels' bike the past few nights and last night we decided on a two loop ride. The hardest part is the getting started. Right now that still requires a curb to step off from, but we've moved up from requiring a push so we should be able to get up to a no-curb start come September. I pulled out the $25 mountain bike that we got at a tag sale last month. A nice little buy, especially since my road bike is still on the rack in the garage- and yes- I have a triathlon four weeks from tomorrow. (yikes) We were cruising along at about 15- that's minutes per mile- and we rode about 1.25 miles. Then he decided to take a break and Spiderman came out for his turn riding the loop. He's still got the training wheels so starting up isn't as difficult, but the speed is an issue. We got four houses down from ours and I realized I just couldn't go slow enough on the bike to stay upright so I ditched it on some understanding neighbors' lawn. They chuckled and said they remembered those days well. I was walking with Spiderman and after about 15 feet or so he looked up and me with these big eyes and said "But mom, you're not running to keep up with me". So, I started running. Or really, I started bouncing to give the appearance of running. We held a blistering pace of about 2mph, so the 1 mile loop took half an hour. My legs were actually sore from the weird run after 30 minutes of bounce-running-without-really-moving. It was a great time, though, and I'm just so glad the boys are excited about biking, running and fitness stuff. Just to brag about Spiderman for a second, we went to the playground earlier yesterday and he crossed the monkey bars on his own- seven monkey bars- which seems really good for a four year old.

I did get out for a run on Monday, a regular three mile run. This morning I headed out for a hill workout, it was 3.4 miles, and of that about 1.2 miles was 6 hill repeats. It was tough but felt strong compared with recent runs. Less than 11 weeks until the half, I think I'll be alright.