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.

Thursday, July 02, 2009

Did you hear that thud? And then a bump?

That was me falling off the wagon and then being run over by the wagon as it rolled away with my motivation on it. Ugh. Since the last week of May I have squeaked out maybe two runs a week. Strength workouts? None. Bike and swim workouts for the triathlon I have SIX weeks from today? None. I've got a run tomorrow morning and that will end the LAST lazy week! I've got 12 weeks from Sunday to be ready to rock the next half. Or at the least not want to curl up into a ball and cry for the last three miles. That's my real goal.

On a super-cool "I'm so much more excited for this than I should be" note: Hot Wheels is going to be registered for his first triathlon in September! He'll be competing at the minimum age of 6, and I keep telling him how jealous I am that he'll do his first triathlon 26 years earlier in his life than I did mine. I mentioned it to him in passing to see whether he was still interested and he jumped at it. His age group (6-8 years) will have a 75 yard swim, a 0.75 mile bike and .25 mile run. The bike and run distances aren't too tough for him, but three lengths of a pool is not something he's done yet. It's an open water beach swim, though, and it's all staged in the shallow area where they don't encourage the kids to walk but they are allowed to take breaks and stand up if they need to. He's very excited and I can't wait.

Here are the kids from a recent trip to the children's museum.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

The next countdown

I survived 13 nights of college anatomy and physiology, 4 hours a night, 3-4 nights a week. It was a tough time, for the whole family, but I managed to get an A. I'm hoping this will put me in good standing for acceptance into the nursing program that starts a little over a year from now, but I won't know until next April so I've got to try not to dwell on it. I also found that stress and anxiety could be the key to weight loss for me as I lost about 8 pounds in four weeks. However, I believe I've already gained three back in the three days since class ended.

I was able to get in only about one run a week because I was getting home at 10:00pm and going straight to bed, only to get up at 4:30am the next day and do it again. I felt like every waking minute was spent either working, in class, or studying. It was a real pain sitting at the kitchen for hours over the past three weekends wishing I could play with the kids, but knowing that I had to get that studying done. At least it was a successful endeavor in the end, so I guess the short inconvenience was worth it.

Now, I've got a half marathon 14 weeks from tomorrow that needs some attention. Last night I dragged myself down to the treadmill and squeaked out a pitiful one mile run before I walked the next three. I really enjoyed the show I was watching and decided I'd get showered and watch the rest in bed. Well, Princess had other ideas, so I spent the next hour next to her crib trying to keep her calm and eventually asleep. She took no nap yesterday and still fought like crazy at bedtime. Her brothers both gave up naps before they turned two, we're really hoping she's not headed down the same path. She sometimes sleeps three hours at nap time, so yesterday could have been a one-day anomaly. I'll find out about 1pm this afternoon.

I also have a sprint tri added to the schedule, August 13th. Maybe I should get my butt on a bike since I haven't ridden AT ALL since last September? This year they've got a biathlon option with a 3-mile run substituted for the 0.5 mile swim. And that half mile is generous, I'd be surprised if it's much over a third. I can't imagine wanting to run rather than swim, but I know for many people the swim is a deterrent. So the rest of the summer is shaping up as: a sprint tri, a 5K (I'll probably be pushing the boys in the stroller so I won't be going for time), and another try at the half in September. Should be fun.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

A nice time for a break

This morning was the 5-mile race. Sort of the end of my "race month" of the 5K, half marathon and now this race. Last year my time was 47:21, the thing I remember most about that race was that I felt awful by then end. This morning we woke up to a beautiful overcast day with temperatures in the low 60s. Most of the course is along the water and the only downside to the day was a wind. Not a breeze, a wind. It was behind us on the way out, but for the last 2.5 miles it was a headwind. I brought my iPod this time after the lo-o-o-ng experience at the half marathon and I lined up towards the back of the pack of 170 racers. We took off and I was keeping a relatively comfortable pace. Mile 1- 9:44; good pace but maybe a little slow given that it's a race. Mile 2- 19:40; okay I'm definitely taking it too easy at this point but I just don't feel like I can speed up for some reason. There was a water stop at about 2.5 miles and for some reason right after the water stop and the turn around I felt an increase in energy. Mile 3- 29:03; things are improving, and I'm starting to pass people despite running into a pretty strong headwind. Mile 4- 38:01; now I feel like I'm moving along and it's still nice and overcast, the wind is keeping me cool- this is nice. Mile 5- 46:44- fastest mile of the race came last. Overall a 9:21 pace and almost 40 seconds faster than last year. The best part was at the end, unlike last year, I felt great. Maybe a little too good, should I have gone out faster? It was a race after all. No matter, I finished, I felt good and I finished pretty well for me. I think I was 130/170 and 14th in my age group, not last but not near the top either. I'll find out the real numbers tomorrow when they're posted.

I've mentioned that I found a great running partner at work, we run almost exactly the same pace, we work in the same building and we both like running in the mornings. This past week we did a hill repeats workout and an easy 4.5 miler. We were pretty proud ourselves pulling off the hill workout on our own at 6am. It felt good. She's very nice and we chat during the easy runs as well. She's thinking of starting a family which makes me sort of sad because I finally find someone to run with and she'll likely be pregnant in the next few months. But I'll take it while it works for both of us.

When I logged in to write this I saw that I have 299 posts, so this is post #300. It's been fun writing here and I'll still check in from time to time but I feel like I'm not really putting much out there that's worth reading. Lisa, I love reading your blog, I really appreciate all your comments, and I find you quite an inspiration. But there aren't many other people "around", and while I do write this in part for myself, I've got a paper journal for the same reason. I'm about to start a night class and work's getting quite a bit busier, so I think this is a good time for me to step back and bit and maybe take a break from blogging. I'll stop in from time to time, especially to show off picture of the kids, and I'll update when I've got a race report or something that I think/hope might be of interest. To those that have stopped by over the past couple years, thanks. I've always appreciated all the comments and support here. I hope that in the future I'll have more to share. Until next time, enjoy these photos of the kids from the day today. Hot Wheels and Spiderman both completed the 1/2 mile kids race and did a wonderful job! Princess enjoyed spectating and I think she'll be happy to be included in the racing next year.

Monday, May 11, 2009

What it's really about

A completely non-training related post since I've done not a single step of running since last Sunday. Yes, it's been over a week. But, I'll get back at it tomorrow morning and I've got a five mile race coming up a week from Saturday and then it's back to half training full swing.

I've just got to share my mother's day experience because this year was so special for me, it was the first year the boys really understood and got into it. It started Friday when Hot Wheels came home from school and said he wanted to look through his paperwork in his backpack (he's never done that). I pretended not to notice that he grabbed an envelope and headed upstairs claiming "I've just got to check on something in my room, mom". Spiderman had been asking me since Thursday if I'd like to open the present he made for me in preschool. Yesterday morning I heard whisper-yelling at 5:40am coming from the boys room. Here was a little of the conversation:

H: "S, it's Mother's Day!"
S: "Yes, Mother's Day!" sound of jumping as Spiderman jumps out of bed and then up and down. "I'll get dressed in my clothes so mom doesn't have to."
H: "Okay, I'll go see if mom's up." (I pretend to be asleep) Then, while he's still in my room "No, she's still asleep, I'll go downstairs".
S: "Okay, I'll get mom and wake her up." He does.
I come downstairs and am greeted by both boys with their wrapped presents for me and the home made card that dad helped them to spell. I got a wonderful bookmark with a picture of Hot Wheels and Spiderman made a great votive candle holder, so we had mood lighting for the morning with his beautiful candle. It was really so sweet to see how excited they were to give me their gifts. Then we went to my parents' house in the afternoon to celebrate my dad's birthday and Mother's Day. Overall, just a wonderful day with family.
Here's a picture of the kids with my parents:

And here's a new favorite "race photo" of me and Spiderman at the kids run after the 5k a few weeks ago:

Saturday, May 09, 2009

It IS a real race

This week a few people asked me how the half went. For the most part people were very complimentary of the accomplishment and I appreciated that. For me, I've mentioned was a little disappointed with how it ended, so I was losing sight of the fact that the end was a 13.1 mile finish line. Once I decide to do something, I generally consider it done so sometimes the actual finish is very anticlimactic. Now that I've had more time to reflect, I'm happy with the experience and I'm looking forward to improving next time.

But, a few times people followed up quickly with the question- do I want to do a "real" one? I know they mean full marathon and they didn't mean it as an insult, but what's not real about a 13.1 mile race? For right now I don't have the time to devote to training for a full marathon and I know that. I'm very happy with the idea of improving my half marathon for the next few years (or as my schedule allows). If I can maintain a lifestyle where going for a 5 mile run is a regular, non-heroic effort, I will be happy with that. I've got three relatively young kids, I work full time and I'm about to add school to the mix shortly. I'm doing what "real" I can handle. Okay, rant over.

Monday starts training again, I've taken this week off entirely. The next half is 19 weeks from tomorrow, this time I'm quite sure I'll be plenty prepared barring injury or life event obstacle. I'll be using a different training schedule, one that has 4-5 days of running per week as opposed to the three days on the past schedule. I think that Friday nights will be long run night, on the treadmill, because I can't fit in the long runs in before work anymore. Sunday night will be short run night, also on the treadmill, so that I won't have to give up weekend family time for training, that's one trade-off I'm not yet ready to make. We'll see how that goes for a while and whether I want to maintain it for the full training program. I'm also going to get back to the hundred push-ups challenge. I won't likely be going to the gym regularly, so I need to find effective training options that don't require the equipment. I'm looking forward to the "next phase".

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

The nitty gritty race report

Before the details get too fuzzy in my mind I want to get down what the race was like on Sunday. More for me to look back on in the future, but feel free to come along on the ramble....

I woke up before the 5am alarm and got in the shower about 4:45am. Yes, it may seem ridiculous to some people to shower before a race, but it helps me wake up and I just feel icky until I've showered. I was on the road at 5:20 to meet up with my coworker, Kelley, since we had decided together to train (on our own) for the race we wanted to travel up together. Otherwise we never would have found each other in the 2500+ runners. I had a piece of toast with peanut butter and a small glass of water with imodium before leaving the house. We arrived at the registration hotel a little before 7am and I ate my banana as we headed for the registration area. We got our bags, went back to the car where I took my inhaler and proceeded to forget the vaseline I brought for my toes. BIG MISTAKE. But I wouldn't realize that for a couple hours yet.

We headed to the start and we were not too far from the front, but it didn't seem as though there was any time seeding, so we stayed where we were. We heard the gun and a few seconds later the crowd near us started moving. About 14 feet later we stopped again. We finally got underway for real, crossing the line about a minute after the gun. Kelley and I have never run together but we were thinking we might be similar pace runners so we stuck together. First mile: 10:14, felt pretty good and we were intermittently chatting. Past the first water stop just after the 1 mile mark but we decided to skip that one. In hindsight that might have been a bad idea because the next one was not until about mile 4.5. We ran through the city and there were some small hills but we were holding under 10 minute mile pace pretty easily for the first three miles. Miles three through six still seemed pretty comfortable for me, but Kelley wasn't feeling so great so at six miles she stopped to walk a bit and I went ahead. To that point I'd thoroughly enjoyed myself running with her. No pressure to talk, but no resistance to conversation, either. Mile seven is basically a long shallow hill. I passed a local guy with cerebral palsy that is working towards completing 51 marathons by pushing himself backwards in his wheelchair with the one leg that he has control over. I think his average marathon time is somewhere around 9 hours and I heard this one took him about 11. As I passed him I wished him luck. Miles 8-10 were on a nice paved trail, I ran most of that on the grass next to the trail and that's where I realized that I had not used the vaseline and I was developing blisters on my big toes.

Mile 10 was probably about the highlight of the day where after a short steep hill I hit a water stop for water and some gatorade as well. When I passed the 10 mile marker my watch time was somewhere around 1:42. I don't think it was entirely psychological because I was really excited when I hit 10 miles and I felt so good. But, things went bad amazingly fast and by about 10.5 miles I was hurting and barely moving forward. I'm not sure whether it was just too little water and no real calories to that point. Maybe it was partly psychological since my longest run ever to that point had been 10 miles. For whatever reason I switched to a run/walk/shuffle that was just slow. Everything from the hips down felt like it was cramped up. My ankles were really hurting for some reason and I've never had that problem before. I also think that if I had an iPod that it would have helped at that point. Kelley and I both read they're not allowed so we didn't bring them, but just about everyone else did. So there was no one to talk with or to work through it with. Kelley passed me a little after 11 miles and she wasn't feeling great, either, but she was moving faster than me. I could see her most of the way. I'm thinking that mile 13 must have been about 20 minutes. I could not imagine that I was going to get through it. It basically sucked. Then, all of a sudden, there was the mile marker and only 0.1 miles left. I was able to get myself running again and I finished running, but I did not feel wonderful. I have no pictures of the race, maybe next time.

I am happy with the overall result, I think that my time was pretty decent for a first-timer and I learned some things to remember for next time. I have to invest in a running water bottle/gel belt and get myself used to taking in nutrition during a long run. That's the key, I think. We'll find out in September.

Sunday, May 03, 2009

It's done anyway

So this morning was the half marathon and I have to admit that if I look at the big picture, I'm very happy with the result. If you told me before the race started that I would run 11:04 pace and finish in 2:25, I would have been pleased. However, at the ten mile mark I was on track for about 2:11- 10 minute mile pace! Or I thought at least a sub 2:20 was likely. However, the last 3.1 miles were awful. Awwww.Fullllll. But, there are lessons to be learned here, I'm going to try to learn.

1) I was clearly dehydrated. Throughout the race I stopped at 5 water stops. Each water stop had a dixie cup of water with somewhere around 3-4 ounces of water. That's only 15-20 ounces total. At mile 10 I also had 3-4 ounces of Gatorade. That's 18-24 ounces of liquid in 2 hours and 25 minutes. I had taken some hard candies with me because I was battling a bad sore throat this morning and hoped that would help. I used two, they're about 15 calories each. So, in total I took in probably 100 calories of liquid (if Gatorade's 200 cal/8 oz, I'm not sure) and 30 calories in candy. Clearly not enough. I AM going to invest in a belt with water/gel flasks for long distances and figure out how to fit that in.

2) I forgot the vaseline on my toes. By eight miles in I had blisters. By 11 miles in, those blisters had babies. They're only on my big and small toes, so it doesn't appear to be my old problem of the toes rubbing against each other as much as my toes rubbing the shoes.

3) Longest training run was 10 miles. I think that in the future I will pick a training plan that includes a run at least up to race distance, if not one with a longer run. Something happened at mile 10 and everything from the waist down cramped up, and my hips, ankles and feet were in serious pain.

Overall though, I made it. Some mile times were: Mile 1- 10:14, Mile 2- 20:03, Mile 4- 38:59, Mile 6: 58:58, Mile 9 1:31:47, Mile 10 1:42: 07, then I didn't look at my watch again for splits until the finish because I just didn't care at that point. Then I came home and had a big slice of pie. Yum. Pie.

I have to say that right now I have NO interest in a full marathon, but I'll try the half again in September and I'm definitely planning to hit this course again next year.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

PR: check

This morning was the 5K race that's an annual family event. My husband, brother-in-law and I run the 5K and then our kids run the kids' races. I was on a business trip from Wednesday morning until last night and let's just say that my nutrition over those days left much to be desired in the way of health. However, it was tasty. At least I avoided the breakfast pastries in favor of cereal and fruit, and I skipped the lunch time desserts. But, I still ate more than I should have and knew it might have an effect on my race. Also, I slept awful. I thought that for sure with a king sized bed to myself, no kids to wake me up in the middle of the night and no husband snoring like a chainsaw, I'd sleep like a rock. Nope. Up many times both nights and then slept awful again last night. The forecast was for possibly up into the 70s for the race, and considering it's not been that warm since September, that was not a good sign. But, we woke up to overcast and 50s. The race started at 10am and it was cloudy and cool until about 9:58 am. We were literally at the starting line when the clouds just disappeared and in rolled the sun and heat. I've set myself up here to use many excuses, but I actually had a pretty good race. First mile: 8:38, second mile 8:44, (those times were by my watch) last 1.1 miles was 9:22, for an overall 26:44- 8:37 pace. (My watch times don't really match up with the final time but I'll take it) Woohoo. I started out feeling pretty good and the first two miles were strong. Then, it got hot and ugly. In all honesty, the thought that kept running through my head was that I could not possibly enjoy running another 10 miles after this race was over. And next weekend I'll have to do just that. Granted, I do not intend to start out anywhere near the same pace, and I know I'm trained and capable of finishing. But it might not be too pretty. For today I finished up 73 out of 139, and 8 out of 20 in my age group. Last year the same time would have been good for 4th in my age group. Oh well. Not sure how realistic it would be for me to try to shave off another minute next year, but maybe I'll give it a shot. Pretty happy with the effort and I was really proud of the boys. Spiderman and Hot Wheels were both dressed in long pants and long sleeved t-shirts because of the cool weather when we left the house. By the time the kids' races went off it was easily in the mid 70s. Spiderman was in the 5 and under quarter mile race- he paced himself well and ran the whole way. He held my hand for about the first 300 meters and then let go to finish the last hundred meters on his own. He came in at 2:32 for the quarter mile. Then Hot Wheels had the option of a quarter mile or half mile race and he chose the half mile, because his cousin wanted to run that one as well. He was a total trooper. He was the youngest in the race, since he just turned six a few weeks ago. At the start the other kids took off and he was dead last for the first half loop. He kept going at his steady pace, though, and soon he was passing other racers that had gone out too fast. He slowed to a walk probably twice during the two laps, but it was briefly and he was determined. He crossed the line in 4:58 for the half mile.

Speaking of kids, I was beaten by 8 kids under the age of 13, including a 7-year-old that busted out 7:51 pace and an 11-year-old that flew through 6:38 pace. Wow. At mile 2 I passed a girl who was either 9 or 10 years old. She was hurting and crying. She said she had a cramp and she just looked so upset. I told her to stretch her arms up and try to work the cramp out. She kept going and she ended up either 5 or 10 seconds behind me (I'm not sure which of the finishers she was), that was pretty good, I thought. This race attracts quite a few younger racers, there were 18 finishers under 14 years old- I thought that was quite a high showing for only 139 racers total. It's great to see all these kids out there running, and all the families with kids in strollers- including a guy that I think finished fifth pushing two kids in a jogger. A great event for all involved.

A week from tomorrow. The half. It's getting close.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Ten in the books

Last night I got on the treadmill after the kids were in bed and ran 6 miles at 10:00. I got off the treadmill and thought I'd go to bed, but I could hear my husband snoring from downstairs and I wasn't all that tired, so I headed back down to the treadmill for another 4.1 miles. They were in the 11-13 minute range, depending on when I could jog or just walk. After the first six I had a glass of chocolate milk, and that was not going to sit well if I tried running hard again. I finished 10.1 in under two hours. Now I know I'm ready for the half. Not that it was a great run, since I only ran the first 6 at a good pace, but I covered the distance and I know I could have gone another 3 miles after that. Going to bed at midnight is definitely not my style, but it was worth it. I'll try an easy 2-3 tomorrow and then I'm taking off until Saturday- it's 5K day! This morning the weather man predicted that Saturday will be 80 degrees- ugh. Too hot for me. I hope it's not that hot for the half on May 3rd, but with early May I guess you never know.

I leave for work in the morning. I'll only miss two bedtime tuck-ins (well, three for Princess since she'll be asleep before I get in Friday night), but it's still hard. Has to be done, though, and everyone will survive. I feel so much better now that I've gotten that long run/walk in!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Great weekend

What a wonderful weekend, yesterday was almost 70 degrees and then today was in the upper 50s. Friday afternoon we hit the local park for a hike and then a picnic. Followed by many races up and down a very large grassy hill in the park. I love that the kids all love to run and I hope that we will be able to keep that fun and love for running as they grow older. We played out in the yard for a while yesterday, using the new soccer goals that Hot Wheels got for his birthday. Then later in the day I took Spiderman to a birthday party, his first kid party with all his preschool friends. They had a battery powered car that didn't have a working battery, but they have a downhill driveway so the kids could ride down, they just couldn't get the car back up. So, for about 40 minutes, I pushed kids up the hill in the car and then ran down the hill holding onto the car because some of their 4-year-old driving skills couldn't get them down the driveway safely. I sure got in a a good workout there.

Then today my husband and I packed up the kids in the two jogging strollers. Hot Wheels was in the single and Spiderman and Princess rode in the double. We headed down to the beachside boardwalk for a nice two mile run. It was WINDY! I had Hot Wheels on the way out and then I got the double on the way back. I think I got the short end of the stick there because the double is heavier and the trip back was into the wind. It was a nice short, but tough, workout. Then we played on the beach for a while before heading home.

On the training front things are just alright. It hasn't been the stellar month that I had in March, but I'm getting through. My mileage is down this month, but Friday morning we headed outside for a 4.5 mile run that was under 10:00 pace. I went with a woman that I rode with last year before our triathlon. It was our first time out running together and it was great having a partner that runs a very similar pace and we get along just fine. I'm looking forward to running together for the summer as it gets light earlier. I was quite embarrassed, though, that at 4.5 miles of the 5 mile planned run I had to stop due to some major intestinal distress. I ended up walking back while she ran because I wasn't sure I would make it to the restroom in time if I kept up the running. As it was I only barely made it. Not my best showing for a first run with a new partner, but she seemed quite understanding. I've missed two long runs now, I'll only get in one more before my May 3rd half marathon. I'm pretty sure I'll cover the distance, although it might be ugly towards the end. Not sure why I'm having these intestinal troubles, though, I had a repeat problem today. Must be something diet related but I can't pinpoint it right now.

Overall, life is great. If the biggest of my problems is related to something as non-essential as running, I'm doing pretty well. I've got a three day business trip this week. It's the first time I'll be away from Princess for that long, I've only missed her bedtime a few times since she was born. I don't want to go, but it has to be done. And, I'll get to have dinner with my sister and see her new house so that will be nice.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Phew, I didn't forget

So this week was not great, following my previous not great week, and it started to make me nervous. I missed Monday's scheduled long run and there was a part of me that was really afraid that my body would just completely forget how to run after two weeks of less than great training. Last night I decided to hit the treadmill after the kids went to bed. I wasn't sure how long I'd last, I ended up running 5.1 miles and felt really good, I was even at 10:00 miles the whole time. (except one commercial break bathroom stop) I was ready to switch my long runs to Friday nights because I don't have to get up early, try to fit it in on a weekend day and worry about the kids giving me a hard time, and I enjoyed the Friday night TV more than the early morning gym TV shows. However, I took a shower at 10pm and then I couldn't fall asleep for a long time. I'm not sure that's the best solution for me, but it's definitely an option. I haven't watched a 60 minute TV show in ages. It was fun. I do plan to get in the 9 miles on Monday, then I've got a 10-miler before the race. I can't believe it's only 3 weeks from tomorrow. At least now I'm sure I'll finish, the back end miles might slow down, but they'll get done.

Wednesday, April 08, 2009


Maybe not my smartest decision ever, but after taking the past two days off because I just felt run over, I decided that today was going to be my first outdoor run of the year. I took a puff of my inhaler and headed out the door, into the 36 degree weather with a 10mph wind. The weather website now says it's 39 but feels like 33, I ran 2 hours ago, so I don't know what it felt like temperature-wise, but it did feel cold. I didn't really know how long the route was, so I just ran along, periodically checking my watch so I could track my times when I got back and mapped my route. The run felt pretty good, although I was NOT pushing myself due to the cold. I was running next to the water, into the wind, for a while, and my eyes were watering so badly I was constantly wiping off tears. Even with my inhaler, by the time I came to the last section, my chest was tight and uncomfortable. I'm alright now, I just sound like I smoke a pack a day, that should subside by this afternoon. I was pleasantly surprised when I got back to my desk to find that I ran 3.7 miles in 37:30. My long runs on the treadmill have all been at 10:20 pace and they felt more difficult. I think it's just the actual moving and being outdoors that helps. I do hope that the spring weather actually arrives soon, I'd like to move outdoors for good, but will have to wait for a day warmer than today to try this again.

Next time I'll share pictures of yesterday's awesome afternoon at the playground. It was cold, but the kids had a blast, and that's what it's all about. It's a shame that so many very nice school playgrounds sit empty while kids are on their couches these days.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009


missed my planned 4-miler on Friday, but made up for it with a 3.6 miler on Saturday. Wow did those 3.6 miles HURT. I had thought that overtraining only affected ultra athletes that did some extreme training, but I looked it up yesterday and I've got just about all the symptoms. Muscle soreness, fatigue, insomnia, headaches, irritability, got 'em. Weight loss? Nope, don't have the one symptom that might be of some use to me. I was up for a couple hours Sunday night with Princess and yesterday morning's planned 9-mile run just wasn't going to happen. I had enough trouble dragging my lazy butt out of bed and to work, forget going to the gym, it just wasn't going to happen. I know that trying a treadmill run when I felt that way has lead to tripping in the past. Maybe it's just my inherent laziness coming through after a few weeks of training. It's just so annoying, though, because two weeks ago I ran my longest run ever, 8.25 miles, and I felt great. Now with four weeks left to go until my half marathon, the thought of dragging myself across 13.1 miles is the last thing I want to do. I hope that missing yesterday's long run won't be too detrimental to training, but I have to remember that training schedules don't take into account sick kids, family obligations, work conflicts, etc. This morning I got up and even though I didn't do training of any sort yesterday, I hurt. My arms, legs and core are sore as if I had a really tough workout. I'm skipping one more day at the gym and then I hope to get something done in a workout fashion tomorrow. I really wish I had just stayed in bed.

Saturday, April 04, 2009

I'll fake it 'til I can make it

This was just a crappy week on the physical fitness front. Not really sure why, either. It was a recovery week on my running schedule, thank goodness, but even the short 4 mile runs I had scheduled seemed long and painful. I'm NOT looking forward to Monday's run, it will be 90 minutes on the treadmill, it's supposed to be a 9-miler, but it will likely be a bit shorter than that since I'm not at 10:00 miles yet for that distance. I was going to transition to outside runs Monday but I decided I'm going to wait until Wednesday and go with a shorter run for my first outdoor foray. I've still got to get a good water bottle belt and I know that there will be some additional aches and pains transitioning from the forgiving surface of the treadmill to the pavement and concrete outdoors. So, one last boring treadmill run and then I'll have two long distance runs before the half. Only four weeks from tomorrow!

Strength training was weak this week, too. Tuesday I was just too lazy and bagged it. Then Thursday I went to the gym with the schedule from my trainer but I knew I wouldn't push myself as much as I should. So, I switched to a class instead. It was a good workout at least. And I got my miles in, so overall it wasn't a total loss, but not as good as other weeks have been recently.

On the non-fitness front, we're preparing for Hot Wheels' sixth birthday. SIX. I feel like I say it all the time, but I can't believe how quickly time just flies. The kids and I went to an Easter Egg hunt with my mom this morning. Spiderman and Princess were in the 2-4 year-old hunt, then Hot Wheels was with the K & 1st graders. Princess wasn't technically eligible yet, but she's taller than many two-year olds, and she thinks she's a four-year-old like Spiderman, so it worked out fine. That girl's a challenge, though. She's into testing limits like nothing we ever experienced with the boys. She's got a temper and a fierce independence. Things that will make her a very interesting adult, I think, but add to the challenge of parenting her. This phase too will pass, and some day I may long for these days of toddlerhood. Although I've yet to find an age beyond 12 months or so that I don't completely love. I'm not a real infant person, but give me a toddler on up and I just love it. I've got to get to cleaning now, we're hosting my husband's family for the birthday party tomorrow. We haven't gotten into friend parties yet, but our family party has 7 cousins ages 11 and under, so that's plenty of activity.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Saw that FOUR!

Last week was a little discouraging, I felt like I was stuck at a weight plateau and my motivation was just failing a bit. I did get through my 8-miler last week and this week was 8.25. Next week, outdoor runs will happen! Maybe not all of them but at least one will be outside. Also, today's weigh-in was a nice way to end the week- drumroll please, 149.8. That's 11 pounds since the start of the year, and I'm out of the 150's for what I wish I could say would be the last time in my life. I would like to think so, but we'll see what happens down the road. For now, I can proudly state that I can no longer race Athena, I'm an Age Grouper from here on out.

I went to core training again and I have to say that there are some things I can do now that I never thought I'd be able to do. When we're using the swiss balls, I can pike up into a full pike position, I could never do that before. I can do a solid backbend, and when we're doing heel touches, I can lower my heels all the way to the floor without putting my hands under my lower back. All good things, but I've still got a way to go.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Comfort Zones

I hit the treadmill for a 5K today and decided I was going to push it. I started out at 8:49 pace for 1.6 miles, I notched it up to 8:41 pace for 1.1 miles and then the final 0.4 miles was back at 8:49. Grand total: 27:19- my fastest 5K time ever. If I had my water bottle I would have kept up that pace, I think, but I was really pushing it and needed the dial back just a little. It didn't really feel much easier, but at least I finished without throwing up, something I was worried about at one point. I'm pretty pleased because last April was my personal best 5K at 27:41, and I've still got five weeks until that race. Could I potentially come in under 27 minutes?! That would be awesome. I pushed that comfort zone today.

However, I've got to move off the treadmill, my other comfort zone, and get outside. All of my training has been indoors thus far, because my asthma is really aggravated by the cold weather and because I'm running at 5:30am and I'm a wuss about the potential wildlife with raccoons and skunks around. But, I don't know how to pace myself for personally propelled running anymore. A treadmill is easy, dial in a pace and boom, steady pace. I've got a high boredom tolerance I guess, as long as I've got my iPod, or even the TV sometimes, I'm alright on that dreadmill for long periods- at least up to 85 minutes. That's how long I was on there Monday for my 8-miler. I maintained 10:21 miles for the whole 8 miles and really it felt like just about the strongest run I've ever had. The treadmill also helps me to push at times when I'm sure I would slow down under my own pacing. I've got to figure out how to start out. I don't want to start too slow and cheat myself on a good workout, but I don't want to take off blazing and blow up five minutes into a run. I know this is something I've just got to do, can't wish it to happen. I supposed if money were no object I would invest in a heart rate monitor with pace output, but right now that's not a very feasible option for my finances. I was hoping to one day invest in a Polar S625 (or something like that), so I can make cool graphs and stuff, but maybe that's more than I need and a more basic one would be worth the money. Maybe I'll see how the outdoor runs start out and evaluate from there. A couple more weeks and it will be warm and light enough to hit the outdoors.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Status Quo

Nothing too exciting to report, but it was a pretty decent week. After a great start Monday and Tuesday, I was a little stiff and sore so Wednesday's run was a bit shortened. Thursday was a good strength training workout, yesterday morning the run was not quite what was planned but then this morning I actually got my butt out of bed and put in three miles on the basement treadmill. All in all it was a 16 mile week with two strong strength classes. Monday is planned as my first 8-mile run. At my pace I might not quite complete the 8 before the 90 minute time limit on the treadmill runs out, I'll be about a minute short. I suppose I could always start the treadmill again and finish, but I'll likely hit 8 miles in the cooldown. By the time I hit 9 and 10 mile training runs I'm hoping I can start outside and put in a couple miles and not need to spend the whole time on the treadmill. But, we'll just see what happens. Overall I'm very happy with how training has been going and I'm confident that I'll be able to complete the distance in seven weeks.

A bright spot for the week was that I hit the ten-pound mark for weight loss. I was at 150.8 yesterday morning. And that's fully clothed at the gym so I'm flirting with that Athena limit, guess I'll be racing age group from here on out. If I can keep up the approximately 1 pound a week loss until the race I'd be under 145 at the starting line, a number I don't think I've seen since 2000. My ultimate goal is to be at 140 in October, our tenth wedding anniversary, to be back at my wedding weight. I think that's reasonable at this point, although I have no illusions that the last 10 will be easy, I think those are always the toughest.

We're up for a day of play with friends and then we're hoping for a trip to the playground with grandma and grandpa tomorrow. Spring is on its way!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

the long and short of it

Yesterday's long run was 7 miles. It started well and then at mile three my stomach started rumbling. I got off the treadmill and took a pee break. From mile 3-4 I wasn't sure my stomach was going to hold out, but then from 4-6 it felt fine. Mile 6-7 was sort of ugly, but it got done. Final time: 72:02 for 7 miles. I was at 10:21 at first and ended at 10:32 pace. I was happy with that.

This morning was strength class so I went for a short speed run before class. My 1-mile time was 7:52. Then in strength class I did 2 sets of 10 full pushups.

A pretty good start to a week if I do say so myself. Here are a few more recent pictures to share.

Princess with her home-cut bangs.
The boys at the local aquarium, right after Spiderman fell in a puddle.
When a snowball's coming your way, little brothers are a good shield.

Saturday, March 07, 2009

Recovery Week

I've never done any sort of training that was intense enough that I had a recovery week in the middle. It was sort of cool, but I realized that I may want to be a middle distance runner. (Of course I realize everyone has a different definition of distances and to an ultra-marathoner I'm obviously still a low mileage runner) But, I've always considered anything in the 5-10 mile range a middle distance. Once you get beyond 10, that's long distance to me. It was nice to be on and off the treadmill in 30-40 minutes, but I felt like I wanted to go a bit longer. I didn't, because I want to follow the training schedule, but 11.2 miles for the week, which I had never even done before 8 weeks ago, seemed a little anti-climactic. I'm going to get back on the strength training this month, although I had to miss Thursday morning because I pulled a much-of-the-nighter with Princess Wednesday night.

We had such a great day today. We had 12 inches of snow on Monday, so there was still a bit left this morning, so we went out a built what is likely our last snowman of the year. It was already over 50 degrees at 9am, and he's already fallen over because of the melting over the course of the day, but it was a nice day to play in the snow in our snow pants and no coats. I was wearing a t-shirt and running pants with my boots because it was so warm . Then the boys and I went to a grammar school carnival where they won some prizes for tossing bean bags and we found some cheap books- always a highlight of my days. The whole family took a walk down on the boardwalk near the beach and we skipped rocks, found shells, ran some races and just had a great early taste of spring time. I love winter and the snow, but getting back to hikes with the kids and days at the beach is very appealing. Here's a picture of Mr. Snowman with the kids.

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Another month gone by

I've always heard people say that as you get older time seems to pass more quickly. I can't imagine that it could get any faster! I just took Cutie for her 18-month check-up yesterday (she's happy, healthy and on her way to potty trained!), and Hot Wheels will be six years old in about five weeks. Wow! The boys have also told me that Cutie should be Princess from now on. She is in love with anything Princess, pink, and girly. So, Princess it is.

I remember only a month ago, I looked at the February training program and saw 5, 6 and 7 mile runs on there. I really wondered how on earth I'd get to seven miles before the end of the month. This past Monday morning I hit the treadmill and 82 minutes later I had completed 7.1 miles running and then a cooldown. For March I've got a recovery week followed by another seven miler, I think my longest this month increases to only 8 miles. The training program I'm following (from Runner's World on-line) has only a 10-miler for the longest distance run. It makes me a little nervous to leave an additional 5K un-practiced before the race, but this seems like a common thing. I'll know whether that works for me and I can always change it up before the September half. And by the September race I will have run the whole distance at least once anyway.

Overall, it was a great month. I ran a total of 52 miles, did my first tempo run, speed workout, and I did complete that 7-mile long run on schedule. I missed one run due to child illness and I missed one strength workout due to laziness. There was also one strength workout that was done on the Wii fit- not quite as challenging as it should have been. I have a little less motivation in the strength training department, not sure why. I'm up and motivated for all the running workouts, but I find myself dogging the strength a bit. I may go back to group classes just to keep me on track, we'll see. I'm just not usually interested in the drama of the group classes. On the weight loss front I did manage to lose a little more, Friday's weigh-in was 152.4. A few people have even commented that the weigh loss is noticeable, which I will readily admit is quite flattering and motivating. Overall, on a good note heading into a new month.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Why the starting is easy

I think one of the reasons it's so easy to start new things is that it's so gratifying to accomplish a first. This week I completed my first 10K distance run. It was on the treadmill, and it took me 64:26 to get to 6.2 miles. But then I went on to finish a total of 6.6 miles, so I'm half way to the half marathon distance. This week also marked the most miles I've ever logged in a week, 15.8. Thinking back I can think of quite a few years where I probably didn't run 15.8 miles in an entire year, so I'm pretty proud of that accomplishment, especially coming off a stomach virus last weekend. I could see a point where for me, running the same distance would lose its excitement when it's not something new anymore, but maybe it won't, because I certainly hope to try to maintain a higher level of running than I have in the past.

I've figured out a few things that most people that are seasoned runners/athletes would probably read and say "duh", but it took some figuring for me. I realized that while I've been doing well with my weight loss so far (yesterday's weigh-in was 152.8, so I'm eight pounds down from the beginning of the year), I'm going to have to increase my calories from approximately 1300 the days before I run a longer run, and probably during the day after the run. On Tuesday I made sure I drank plenty of water, something I've been slacking on recently, and I ate closer to 1700 calories for the day. Wednesday morning I had a banana before my run and really, it was the best run I've had so far. During the day Wednesday I kept myself to about 1600 calories, but I felt quite hungry. Since I had burned off over 850 calories according to the treadmill tracker, I probably could have gone a little higher but I didn't want to. I think that for the rest of training I may have to accept that weight loss shouldn't really be a goal I'm focusing on if I want to effectively train for the half. The running and strength training will help with my overall body shape, I'm already able to put on and take off my size 10 jeans without even unbuttoning them. At Christmas they were feeling a little snug. So I know the change there is due to the toning up from exercising as much if not more than due to the calorie reduction. So, I'm going to have to efficiently fuel my body for working out, that might mean more calories but it will get me through tougher workouts feeling stronger.

I'm looking forward to this evening because my husband and I have a date. My parents are hosting "dinner and a movie night" for the kids at their house. We're going to an Italian restaurant for dinner where I'm sure I will far exceed that calories I need for an entire day, but I'm giving myself the night off from worrying about it. We haven't had a dinner to ourselves in many months and it will be nice to spend time enjoying our food without worrying about cutting or cleaning up everyone else's. I heard that the average couple only spends about 12 minutes a day actually talking to each other and that sounds about right in the case of our life recently. Happy weekend to all.

Friday, February 13, 2009

The week that wasn't

I knew I'd hit a bump the training road some time, I was hoping it wouldn't be quite so early in the training process, but, oh well. Monday morning was supposed to be my treadmill 10K and I was actually quite excited about it. Got on at 5:35am and things started out just fine. I usually cover the display with the towel so I'm not staring at the time that's going (or seemingly NOT going by). Especially when I entered 68 minutes for time it seemed it would never end. About 40 minutes in I was sweating more than I could wipe with my shirt sleeve so I took the towel off the display and wiped my face. Then I put the towel back in the small holder on the side of the treadmill. I didn't realize at the time that the cord for the magnetic stop button got wrapped up in it. So, when I went to wipe my face again at 4.75 miles I pulled out the magnetic stop. The belt stopped, I ran into the display, as I've done before. I was fine but when I tried to get started again I just couldn't get into it. Tuesday was a nice highlight to strength training as my three sets of full push-ups were 8,7 and 7. I was also complimented by another member on my push-up form, so that was nice. Wednesday was a 5K plus a little extra and it felt good. Yesterday's strength training went well, too.

Here's where the life-drama disrupts my plan again. Monday night Cutie was sick over night. We thought it was a reaction to fish sticks. Unfortunately for my wonderful husband, she had thrown up overnight and not even woken up so by the time he got her in the morning it had dried and covered her hair and much of her upper body. It took three days, four baths and finally a mixture of baking soda and baby soap mixed into a paste to get the awful smell out of her hair. Then yesterday morning I called home to find out that Hot Wheels had gotten sick early in the morning, in our bed and then in his room. More laundry for my wonderful husband. Last night Spiderman came into our room just before 2am and I realized, after he laid down in my bed, that he had been sick some time earlier and was also covered in it. So, it was into the tub for him with a thick baking soda/baby wash paste to get the smell out of his hair and off his body. I was up watching him for a while, afraid he was going to get sick again in our bed, since I'd already stripped the sheets off his bed. Needless to say, my planned 5 mile tempo run and Friday morning weigh-in at the gym just didn't happen. I went to work and work only to try and get a little more sleep between 4- 5:30am. I'm the only one in the family that hasn't gotten the bug yet, but I'm not feeling great so it's not looking like a 5-miler on the basement treadmill is in tomorrow's cards either. It's only one run, I'll be okay, but I'm still disappointed. My husband does deserve husband-of-the-year after the week he's had. He washed and changed each of the kids sheets and did our three times. Ugh.

In addition, my car ended up unworking and immovable in a parking lot last Sunday. My little Civic did give me 14 years and almost 150,000 miles so I really can't complain. We donated it and bought a brand new '09 Honda Fit Sport on Tuesday and I feel like I'm living in luxury with power steering, power windows and locks, I even have air conditioning, cruise control and remote entry. We got a decent deal and if it lasts another 15 years it will be well worth it. But I'm still a little queasy when I look at the bank balance now.

Sunday is the Penguin Plunge. The weather is forecasted to be almost 40 degrees with the water temp about the same. Should be a good time and it's for Special Olympics so it's a very worthy cause. Happy weekend to all.

Saturday, February 07, 2009

New month, new goals

My run mileage for January was 43 miles. That's the most I've ever run in a month in my life. This week I was feeling a bit drained, and the runs were definitely a little harder. My schedule right now is that my long runs are Monday, Wednesday is hills with a steady pace mile cool-down and Friday is a 5K or so. Tues and Thurs are strength with light cardio like the elliptical trainer. This week starts the tempo and speed work on the schedule from Runner's world. Monday is also going to be my first 10K ever. I'm very excited, although hanging out on the treadmill for 66 minutes sounds incredibly tedious. At least I'll have the iPod and random elevation program. My goal for February is 50 miles, that's an average of 4.1 miles per run, a lofty goal for me but I think I can do it.

The good news this week was that my weigh-in yesterday was 155.6. That's five pounds down since I started and I'm settled back into a more mindful eating routine. I think that's really the key for me, I don't need to write out everything I eat, I just need to be aware, as if I am going to keep track. That, and a 700 calorie workout Monday and 400 Wednesday and Friday certainly help.

Friday morning's run was the toughest, as I had a flashback to only a few month ago when Cutie still wasn't sleeping through the night. Thursday night I went to bed about 10pm, a little later than usual. Then, at 12:30am we were awoken by our dog having a seizure. He's had them before, but we need to sit with him to make sure he doesn't try to get around because he could run into the wall or fall down the stairs. So I was up for a while. Then at 2am, Cutie woke up screaming and I went in to calm her down so I was up a little while then. Finally at 3:15 Hot Wheels came into our room complaining that he'd had a nightmare and since I knew I wouldn't get back to sleep with my dear husband snoring like a chainsaw, I just told him to climb in my bed and I slept in the top bunk until the alarm went off at 4:30. Ugh. I thought about skipping the run entirely and while I'm glad I didn't skip it, I'm lucky that I only tripped once. And I was expecting it might happen so I didn't get hurt. I'm not sure how I survived almost six years without more than maybe a dozen nights of sleep without waking up at least once or twice overnight because someone needed something. But I'm not complaining, I'm just loving my sleep these days!

The week was tough on a couple fronts, I broke my self-imposed rule of not crying at work, fortunately it wasn't a complete breakdown in front of anyone. Trying to figure out what I'm going to do with my life is causing me a bit of stress and while I know that I've got to figure these things out for myself, I'm not used to being at such a loss of direction. I'll get through it and things will be fine I'm sure. Sometimes I just lose sight of that and the stress gets to me.

I'll leave you with a kiss from Cutie, it always brightens my day.

Sunday, February 01, 2009

I should qualify that....

Reading over my post from yesterday I would imagine it comes across as preachy and judgmental of others. Not really my intention, I include myself among the people that justify things about life. As Lisa pointed out, things like the BMI charts are also not accurate for many people with a large frame size. And, when I mentioned my mother weighing 125 pounds at 5'7", I do not think that people should aspire to waif-like thinness without any fitness. I don't want to be skinny, I want to be healthy. I'm not sure that at 125 pounds I would be able to run 4 miles or do a single push-up, I'd probably be eating only 1000 calories a day and I'd likely be hungry and weak. Or maybe not. Just because society has adjusted what is considered "normal" for size, it doesn't mean that people reap the health benefits they did years ago. I think our daily calorie consumption has increased by something like 20%, and for women more than men, and our lives have become increasingly sedentary. Just random thoughts to try and get myself out of "excuses" mode.

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Selective Hearing

I had a frustrating week this week on many fronts. Large number of former-colleagues were laid off and left work, had some major road blocks thrown up for my application to nursing school and it seemed the scale was just not going to move. In the end the weight thing turned out to be a hormonal issue and yesterday's weigh-in came in at 156.8, over a pound lost since last Friday- good week after all on the weight front.
The weight issue has come up with a few people lately for different reasons and it surprised me how often we delude ourselves to think that we are the exception. People rail against BMI charts and call them crazy because people that consider themselves to be non-overweight are classified as such, sometimes even to the point of obese. When I had my initial assessment with the trainer, my BMI according to an on-line chart was just under 24.9 (it only does whole pounds, so it's not exact), then Chris did the measurements with calipers and my body fat percentage was 24.5, pretty close. Now, I think I'm a relatively strong woman and my muscle mass is maybe a little higher than average, at least in the circle of women that I know and speak with. Another woman mentioned to me that according to those BMI charts (said with a look of disdain), she's overweight, but those are clearly wrong because she has a lot of muscle mass so she's not really overweight. I think that some extreme athletes may have enough muscle mass that the BMI charts are inaccurate, but I think for most of us average people, they're a decent measure, even if we don't like the result.
Then this week I was talking with another woman about being a little frustrated that the scale hadn't moved even though my clothes were fitting a bit better. She says- well, you're building up muscles and muscles weigh more than fat. People always spout that gem as well. No, a pound of muscle and a pound of fat weigh the same amount. But yes, a pound of muscle will take up less space than a pound of fat. However, I think people really overestimate how easy it is to build up a pound of muscle. Just lifting weights a little more often isn't likely to build up my muscle mass that quickly, at least I don't think so. At this point I would doubt I've put on any actual muscle weight, although I'm glad to be reducing my body fat weight.
My mother talks about the days when she was a size 8, she's about 5'7" and she weighed 125 pounds. These days I'm sure that would be a size 2 at the most. I'm not delusional enough to believe that at almost 157 pounds I'm really a size 8, but that's what the clothing manufacturers want me to believe, and I'll readily admit I'm sucked in. But I don't have the health benefits of being a size 8 from 30 years ago when that was about 30 pounds less. I'll likely never get close to that and I think I can still be happy and healthy, a weight of 140 would get me to a BMI of 21.9, I think that's quite reasonable. I'll admit that sometimes I'm the one that hears just what I want to hear, but I think that as a society we want to think that we're good the way we are, eating what we want, living as we want, and justifying our weights and our lifestyles. I don't know whether that's bad or not, it's just the way we are.

On the training front it was a great week. Three strong runs and two tough strength sessions with some light cardio on weights days. Finished 11 miles total running, including 2 miles of treadmill hill work that had inclines up to 7%. Monday is my first 5-miler of this training season, I'm looking forward to it. I've got new songs on my iPod all ready to go, love my shuffle.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Nice start to the week

This cold is still hanging up but giving up a little of its grip, and I did hit the treadmill this morning and ran 4.2 miles. I was at 10:43 pace and the random incline level was set at 4, so it ranged from 0-3.4%. Felt pretty good, but I'm supposed to do 5 miles next Monday and by the time I hit 4.2 miles I was pretty well done, and soaked. I'll worry about that next Monday. My stomach also started protesting a bit, hoping that doesn't become an issue, but I might start taking a precautionary Immodium pre-run for Monday runs.

One of the trainers, Chris, stopped me on my way out of the gym to tell me that my running form looked really good. He mentioned that he was watching myself and two other runners and of the three I looked the most natural. It makes me chuckle that my running could ever look natural. As I walked out to my car to drive the 0.3 miles to my building, because I was too lazy to walk over in the cold this morning, I was thinking of the other people running. Depending on when he was watching three of us, it could have been when the only other people running were two regular marathon runners, or it could have been towards the end of my run when there were a few beginners on the treadmills. Either way I'll take the compliment, but if I want to delude myself I could think that I look more natural than marathon runners.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Enough is enough already

I woke up this morning congested and coughing for probably the 16th day in a row. I never had a really awful sick day with this cold, you know the one that completely knocks you out and then you start recovering? So I think my body just forgot to start recovering. I ended up cutting short the second run of the week this week because I was afraid of drowning in snot. (Okay, and I accidentally hit the emergency stop button and ran into the display of the treadmill, and then I lost my motivation) Yesterday I used the elliptical rather than strength training and my plan was to use the Wii fit today. Unfortunately, some domestic chores got in the way of that plan, and tomorrow's not looking much better, so I threw in a few sets of push-ups and called it good. Monday is supposed to be my 4-mile run and I'm NOT getting off track this early in training. I weighed in yesterday morning at 158.0 (of course the trainer checked my weight after my workout and I'd gained 0.4 pounds because I drank water) so it looks like I lost nothing this week, but I know I did. Oh well, focusing on the long term goals here, a little blip here and there isn't important. And, my size 8 jeans are more comfortable and less obscene to wear. I still sometimes cringe at these jeans styles with a more fitted hips/thighs area- I'm a mom and I don't see what's wrong with "mom jeans".
We're finally really cleaning up the family eating habits and our plan is to have not a single meal on the credit card this month. For us that means no eating out since we pretty much never carry cash. My mom did buy McDonalds for the kids and I today at lunch (I love the southwest salad), but grandma's house is sort of the no-rules zone. Although they're supposed to be starting the South Beach Diet next week so I'm hoping they'll be giving up junk food as well. I'm even planning to start helping with the cooking more. I made one dinner last week and my husband said it wasn't bad. That's high praise for my cooking which usually borders on the barely edible. I'm not much help around the house. At all. I don't cook, I don't do laundry, I don't mow the lawn, just about all I do is clean the bathrooms and shovel snow. But, my husband puts up with me anyway. And I am going to start cooking, healthy meals that we can hopefully all enjoy. And then we'll play Rock Band.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Two trees and a shrub

The boys both love doing yoga. We call it home made yoga because in addition to very few actual yoga poses we spend most of the time making up our own. Sometimes the boys just try to tie themselves up in knots. Well, Cutie has decided that she can clearly do anything that her big brothers do so she joins in the yoga party fun. Here they are practicing tree pose. She doesn't quite get the feet part and the boys were holding it so long waiting for her to join in that they lost their balance by the time I snapped the picture. We decided that since she can't quite do the whole tree pose, hers is shrub. This is just one of my favorite things about having kids. Here are a few other recent family fun adventures.Rock Band has become one of our favorite family past times. Here's Superman rocking out. He's prefers to sing, especially to The Who, Who Are You. He's also informed me that now that he's four his "code name" should be changed to Spiderman, so I will indulge him.
Both Cutie and Spiderman would live outside if given the chance. With a fresh snowfall the other afternoon we spent time outside sledding and swinging. Since our backyard has no real hill to speak of, sledding is really dad running behind the sled to push the kids across the yard. But they enjoyed it. Things like yoga, playing in the yard, going to for hikes together, those are truly the best times of my entire life and I am always amazed that somehow I did something to deserve all of this.
Training started out a little rough this week as I had a cold that's really just hung on for quite some time. Monday was only a 2.0 mile run before I switched to walking for another mile and a half. Wednesday and Friday, though, were really good runs. I have found that the random incline program on the gym treadmills is the key for me. Running at a constant speed and incline I get much more bored. I did 3.25 miles on Wednesday and 3.65 miles on Friday and felt really good at the end. Strength sessions are going well, I'm doing three sets of regular pushups rather than modified. I'm only doing 3 sets of 6, but it's an improvement over where I was. And my weight after Friday's run was 158.4. Creeping down slowly, but at least it's the right direction.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

A first

In contrast to "resolutions" of years past that have ended in disappointment after the first week, my year is starting off on quite a positive note. While on vacation last week I tried to get in a few treadmill workouts in the basement. My husband routinely heads down there for workouts of 30-90 minutes and life goes on for the rest of us upstairs. Not exactly the case when I headed down myself. After the first workout, during which I practiced selective hearing to ignore Cutie yelling at the door for me, I was met with her wailing and crying and clinging as I tried to get upstairs to shower. Then on day number two, Superman got stuck in the cat door trying to get downstairs to see me on the treadmill. After some hysterics on his part, pushing and pulling on the part of myself and my husband, he was free and I was done. Day number three I got dressed to head downstairs and just bagged it when Hot Wheels was going through a bout of constipation, Cutie was miserable for some unknown reason and Superman was acting like a nut. I decided that I had made a decent effort and there really was a reason I don't usually workout at home other than my own general laziness. It just doesn't work. Not until the kids are older and I can get away and get my mind and body focused. Until then my home "workouts" consist of Wii games, some family yoga and stretching, our hikes and neighborhood walks. And you know what? That's good enough for me.

Returning to work Monday morning was difficult, just because the 4:30am alarm seemed to darn early. But in a way it was good because we all needed to get back to a normal routine. Twelve days of vacation is too long for a kindergartener, preschooler and toddler, and add to that the excitement of Christmas, Superman's fourth birthday, and a mom that wants to fit in "fun stuff" like aquarium trips, children's museum trips and gatherings with friends most days- and it's just a recipe for some fried kids. By Sunday afternoon they had just gone insane.

I hit the gym at 5:40am Monday, only 10 minutes after it opened and the New Years Resolution spectacle was in full force. I ended up on the last treadmill open, the one off in a corner with no TV or radio speaker. I had also forgotten my iPod, so the 3.25 mile run was painfully boring. Tuesday/Thursday were decent strength workouts and additional runs on Wednesday and Friday totaled the "first" of the post title. While some people run 10 miles in a single workout, I think this week was my first ever 10+ mile week. Wednesday my 3.5 miles was on the random setting that changes the treadmill elevation. The level selected only went up to 4.3% incline, so it wasn't too difficult, especially since I had lowered the speed a little bit anticipating that I wouldn't be able to maintain my blazing speed of 6.0mph on elevation. I was pleasantly surprised that the workout was not as hard as I had expected and next week I'll either be increasing the speed or the level. When Cutie naps in a little while I'm going to hit the Wii Fit for a while as the boys watch a movie. It won't be a very taxing workout, but some hula hoops for cardio and some pushups for strength can't hurt. I do enjoy the 6-minute hula hoop challenge.

The half marathon is 16 weeks from tomorrow. I'm pretty confident that I'll be able to do it. I've had a few people try to convince me that distance training with my Nike Free shoes will lead to injury, but I know another woman at work that has run 3+ marathons including an iron distance triathlon event and always used her Frees. I've never had shoes that I felt that good running in. While an overuse injury is possible, or I've been known to break my foot walking off a step so anything can happen, I think this is going to work. Ben is a great trainer and he's going to help me stay on track. I've got weigh-ins on Monday with him and on Friday with another trainer. So the diet portion is really going to get more focus from here on out. I was at 160.8 last month, 159.4 last week, so I'm not dropping pounds like flies, but as long as the general trend is in the right direction, we're good.

I've started studying for my anatomy and physiology prerequisite for the nursing school program. I've forgotten how happy I was to get out of school almost 10 years ago, getting back into studying is kicking my butt. At least I enjoy the subject material, it's just that focusing, by myself, is more difficult than I remembered. But it will pick up as I move through the book and get to some next stuff, I'm sure. As I'm sitting here with Superman hugging me, I'm reminded that I am just so blessed. While all these goals for 2009 are good, I've got far more than I could ever need right here. But I'll still keep working on them, maybe it could be even better.