Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Best of 2009

I reviewed my 2009 goals today and was pleasantly surprised to see that I did pretty well. The rundown:

Goal 1: Run a sub 54:00 10K. So close. But just couldn't quite eek it out.

Goal 2: Run a 4:30-ish marathon. Done.

Goal 3: Run sub-2:05 half marathon. Done. Although as the year went on, my goal morphed into a sub-2:00 half. That one will have to stay on the list for next year!

Goal 4: Get a Mora Classic medal. I'm 3/4 of the way there. The final event is in February (the cross country ski). Guess I best dust off those skis and get my butt in gear.

Goal 5: 2009 miles in 2009. Um, big fat fail. I'm not even going to hit 1000 for 2009 - more like 930. On the positive side, that's more miles than I ran in 2008.
Although I've had a lot of running highs in the past year (and a couple of lows), there are three memories that really stand out as my favorites. The first: the Madison Mini Marathon in August. I didn't set a PR, but the race was so much fun and really restored my love for running after a tough couple of summer races.
My second favorite running moment of 2009 was running with Sophie in her very first race at the Grantsburg 5K in June. Sophie ran the distance of a football field and got her first race medal. I'm happy to report that running seems to be in her blood - she can now make it a whole lap around the track (and today, when she saw me in running clothes, asked if we were going for a run at the running track).
But my absolute favorite running moment of 2009 was running the lap around Lambeau field at the finish of the Green Bay Marathon. It wasn't just the thrill of running on the field (although that certainly was a part of it). Everything just came together - all of the hard work put in through what I considered my best training cycle ever, all of the times I kept pushing during the race, and all of the emotions of being close to the finish and knowing I had smashed my marathon PR. Definitely a runner's high if there ever was one.
Aside from the running highlights, I am also proud of how I incorporated cross training in the past year. I added biking this summer (and have stuck with it this winter using my trainer), I fell in love with kettlebells two months ago and have been going strong, and I've been regularly submitting myself to Jillian Michaels' various forms of torture.
It's been a great year and being part of this runner blogging community has really enhanced the joy I find in running. Thanks for following along with all my adventures and for sharing yours with me!

Monday, December 28, 2009

Proof that I Was Good This Year

Alternate title: Santa Loves Runners.

I got the running motherlode for Christmas this year. Two running tops, two pairs of arm warmers, a Running Room gift card, and enough gu to get me through two marathon training cycles. I also got a new camera, which should help with all the race pictures.

All the new running stuff has me extra motivated to get training. Good thing, because I stepped on the scale this morning and yikes. Time to channel my inner Marlene and become a lean, mean running machine.

Hope everyone had a great Christmas!

Monday, December 21, 2009

3 out of 5

Last week, I made it out for an early morning, pre-work run three mornings. Tuesday and Wednesday were just too cold (windchills in the double digits below zero? No thank you.).

I'm going for 3 out of 5 again this week, although it will be more like 3 out of 3 (perfect!) because I am not working Thursday or Friday. I am loving getting back into the routine of early morning runs. Much better way to start my day than pushing snooze 18 times and rushing around to get ready.

It was tough to get up early this morning. I was on the run from Friday after work until 10:00 last night and was so tired. But I had a great weekend of Christmas party, shopping, Christmas concert at church, and cookie baking. Santa brought me an early Christmas present - a continuance of a jury trial that was supposed to start today. Whew. I do not want to try a case in front of a bunch of jurors who are pissed about being on a jury four days before Christmas!

Happy Monday!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

A Boost from my Personal Cheerleader

First, Merry Christmas! Please consider this your bloggy Christmas card. This is the picture we used on our cards this year, as my child refuses to pose for a picture and this is the best I could do.

Last night as I was getting ready to leave for kettlebells, I gave Sophie and hug and kiss goodbye. Because I was dressed in running clothes, she asked, "Mommy go for a run?" I said "Yep, Mommy's going to run and exercise." Her response? "Go, Mommy, go!" So well trained.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Desert and Dessert

First, the desert. My skin. One of the downfalls of winter running is the dry skin. It's bad enough anyhow in the winter, but after running outside in the blustery wind this weekend and this morning, my face and hands are so dry. Yeck. I put on so much lotion before I went to bed last night, I almost slipped out from under my sheets.

And now, the dessert. Much more exciting topic. I'm in charge of dessert for Christmas Eve (I think my mom puts me in charge of this because she knows we can always get pies from Baker's Square if I screw up). I'm trying to decide between: oreo cheesecake (Cheesecake Factory recipe), boston creme pie, candy cane pie, and this double chocolatey cheesecake thing. Any suggestions? I think I should probably make two given the number of people we have.

I ran three miles this morning. We got a few inches of snow overnight and it was still snowing, so it was like a little winter wonderland. I felt less lovey about the snow when I was slipping and sliding while trying to run up a steep hill. Might be time to break out the yak trax.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Return of the AM Runs

For the past four years, my running partner Jim and I have run early every morning before work - an easy 3 miler just to get moving. I do my long runs, tempo runs and speedwork on the weekend or evenings after work. But since last spring, the morning runs haven't happened. My child does not really believe in sleep. During the spring and summer, she took this to a whole new level - up several times a night, and then awake for the day at about 5:30 in the morning. But lately, she's been sleeping better. I hate to even say it, but for the last week, she has slept all night long and I have had to wake her up at 7:45 to get ready for daycare.

On Tuesday, I saw Jim at the courthouse. We had the following conversation:

Me: "I need to start running the mornings again. I feel all twitchy. Sophie's sleeping better. Let's start up again tomorrow."

Jim: "Okay that sounds great. But you know it's supposed to be kind of cold tomorrow."

Me: "I don't care if there's eight feet of snow and it's 20 below, we're running in the morning."

Jim: "Um, okay."

Wednesday morning, I was up bright and early and piled on all the layers. I looked at the temps: 3 below with 15 below windshill. Jim and I sort of have a rule - below zero, not so fun to run in the dark. At this point I knew the run probably wasn't going to happen. But I stood there in my hat, mittens and orange traffic vest for about 15 minutes waiting. I could have gone out to run by myself but running in my middle of nowhere neighborhood in the dark is a bad idea.

This morning was even colder. I hear that it's supposed to warm up tomorrow. Hopefully the true return to morning running will happen then.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Running? Blog? What?

Can I still refer to myself as a runner if I haven't run at all the whole month of December? My running log looks so white and clean, it makes me sick. The combination of sicky coughness and then busy weekend and then nasty guardianship trial has contributed to the ugly whiteness of my running log.

Here's why I think I can still say I'm a runner: I have read the new Runner's World. That counts, right? Also, I am so pumped to start training for a spring marathon. I can't wait to get back on a schedule and have a purpose for each run. I've been working on my training plan and looking at possible races for early 2010. I'll post about all this fascinating stuff sometime soon, I'm sure. Until then, I need to put on my twenty layers of clothes, get out there and run!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

A Cougher's Guide to Exercise

My cold has morphed into a lovely hacking cough. Lay down? Cough all night long (thank God for Nyquil Cough). Try to run (as in take in deep breaths of cold air)? Someone get me to a hospital.

A brief hiatus from running thanks to the cough. But don't worry, I'm fitting in other exercise. Kettlebells was okay, and only left me lying on the floor gasping for breath six times. The scheduled for the rest of the week:

1) Tonight, I'll bowl without drinking beer. That means I'll maybe actually burn a couple of calories. Unfortunately, without the beer, my bowling will probably suck even more so than it usually does.

2) Friday, I'll try to get on my trainer for a little bit and then let Jillian bitch slap me around for a while. My massive bruise from my mishap in getting off my trainer on Sunday is almost healed, so I think I'm ready for another go.

3) Saturday, I'm headed to Mall of America for some Christmas shopping. That's at least a couple of miles of walking, while carrying heavy bags. Let's just ignore the fact that I'll probably be drinking wine with lunch and dinner that day.

Hopefully by Sunday the cough will be gone and I can get back outside for a run. At this rate, December may be an even lower mileage month than November.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

This Rest Day Brought to You By . . .

Sore throat. Fever. Stuffy head. Take your pick. I started feeling sick Sunday evening, but thought it was allergies from the dust storm created during my Christmas decorating efforts. By 9:00 Sunday night, it was clear that it was not an allergy attack. Thanks to the wonder that is Tylenol PM, I got a great night's sleep Sunday night and woke up feeling like crap Monday morning. Yesterday was actually the rest day. I'm feeling better already today and am planning on going to kettlebells tonight. The thought of working out in a warm gym is more appealing than taking my sore throat and stuffed up head out to the cold outdoors for a run.

In other news, what the hell happened to the month of November? I checked out the running log last night for my monthly stats and the running numbers were a bit disappointing. Plus side: three races (a 10 miler and two 5K's). The mileage was low, but not terrible considering I took an 8 day hiatus to get Sophie over the piggy flu. The big news from the month of November? 16 cross training sessions. That's got to be some sort of world record, right?

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Race Report - Anoka Jingle Bell 5K

I finished out my 2009 racing year this morning with the Anoka Jingle Bell 5K. I've done this race a couple of times before and really like it. It's at my old high school (which I graduated from just a couple of years ago, of course), most of the race is on a paved trail along the Rum River, and it's just the right size - not too big, not too small. I set my current PR (24:45) at this race last year and was hoping for a new PR this morning.

Sophie and I were at my mom's after Thanksgiving, so instead of driving 70 miles to Anoka, I left her house at 9:20 and was at Anoka High School by 9:25. Registeration, bathroom, and about 8 minutes of easy jogging for a warmup and I was ready. I remembered my Garmin this weekend and was hoping a visual reminder of my pace would keep me moving.

What is up with race amnesia? I did not remember this course as hilly at all. And then we turned onto the path along the river and started with the rolling hills. I felt like I managed the hills well and ran the first mile strong at about 7:45. I started feeling it the second mile. This is an out and back course, so I felt a surge once we hit the turnaround point and I knew we were on the way back. But I still managed to slow down a bit in that second mile. The third mile, I was done. Less than a quarter mile from the finish, I walked. Seriously. Just stopped running and walked. When I realized what I was doing, I got my ass moving again. Ran up one final hill and saw the finish. Crossed the line at 25:28. So much for a new PR . . . but for my second 5K in less than a week, not too bad.

It's been a fun year of races. I'm looking forward to running some easy base miles in December and the first part of January, and then ramping up the runs for marathon training. 2010, here I come!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Race Report - Turkey Trot 5K

Sunday morning, I pulled on my turkey socks, yanked Sophie out of bed while it was still dark, and headed down to St. Paul for the Turkey Trot. This race as been my kick off to the holiday season for the last five years or so, and I was especially excited for it this year because the weather was awesome - capri weather!

We had to stop and pick up Mac on the way to the race. He wasn't up yet, so we had to wake him up and wait for him to get ready. So we were a little late. Note to Mac: no more karoke the night before a race. Thankfully the kid's race went a little long and we had time to get our bibs and use the bathroom before the race started.

With all the rushing in the morning to get Sophie out of the house, I sort of forgot my Garmin. Or any other timekeeping device. So I ran the race without any sense of time. Since I don't have mile splits to give you, I'll give you my "feel" splits. Mile one: I hate 5k's. Mile two: I think I'm having a heart attack. Mile three: That must have been awfully slow because I feel lik I can breathe again. Mile three point one: 25:35. Forty-ish seconds slower than my halloween race a couple of weeks ago. Apparently I need a cape on to run fast.

After the race, I had a chance to observed a few "What Not to Wear: Race Edition" samples. For the guys: just say no to super short (like peekaboo I see your penis short) with the polo shirt tucked in. And for the ladies: even if you are a teeny, tiny little lady in your late fifties, super tight tights and a sports bra that looks like a regular bra? Please, oh please, put a shirt on.

I'm hoping to get caught up on all of your blogs . . . jamming a week's worth of work into three days is making it difficult! On the upside, so happy to have a short week.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Thursday Secrets

Here's my bullet point confessional for the week:
  • I am so far behind on my laundry, Sophie had to wear jammies that are four inches too short to bed tonight. I'm not sure what either of us are going to wear tomorrow. It will probably be either dirty or nonmatching.
  • Hershey's Dark Chocolate chips? Delicious. Those same dark chocolate chips melted over cheesecake and topped with whipped cream? Therapy.
  • I've been a tad impatient at work this week. I may have busted out the lines "Half of zero is zero" and "Real life is not like TV, and this courtroom is not at all like Law and Order" at least once a day.
  • I'm on a bowling team. I started with some of my golf girls on Thursday nights in September. I am a terrible bowler. My team should probably fire me.

Things to make up for my week's worth of sins? I've either run, done a strength workout, or rode my bike on the trainer every day this week. Today I also walked to and from lunch. I've got a date with Billy Blanks tomorrow night for a little boot camp, yoga on Saturday, and a 5K race Sunday. Oh, and all that laundry piled up and waiting for me.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Dear Jillian, Thanks for the Sore Abs

With my shut in status last week, I hit the workout videos pretty hard. After spending Friday night with Billy Blanks, power yoga Sunday, and doing as many rounds of the 30 Day Shred as I could handle, I decided I needed another video to spice things up. I stopped at Target and picked up Jillian's No More Trouble Zones Video.

All in all, I thought it was a good strength workout. It didn't get my heart pumping as much as the 30 Day Shred, but it's a longer video, so that's probably a good thing. Hello heart attack. What I really like about this video is the feature that allows you to select individual circuits. So you can do the whole thing (approximately 55 minutes total once you add warm up/cool down), or do one or more individual 5ish minute circuits. So last night, after spending an hour on my bike trainer, I added two core circuits. Abs? Burning.

In running news, I'm getting back on track. The weather was beautiful over the weekend, so I was able to get out with Sophie in the jogging stroller. And this afternoon, I may have breached a few rules of courtroom etiquette in order to bust out of there fast enough after my three and a half hour hearing to get a run in before I had to pick Sophie up. I do have priorities.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Oh Failure

Why is it that when I can't seem to get out to run, I also happen to completely pig out? A week of the flu (Sophie, not me) plus my husband working insane hours because of deer season apparently equals gain 100 pounds. The saddest part is that while I've been stuck in the house, we have been having the best weather we've had for at least the last month. And we probably won't see such nice weather again for 6 months. Sob.

Okay, pity party over. I'm going to call it a taper for my 5K next Sunday. Sophie is doing much better and is able to go back to daycare tomorrow. That means I'll be back to work and back to running. Thank God, because, you know what? I really like to run.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

My Own Personal Jail

The plan for this morning: bring Sophie over to my friend Jim's house, where his wife would watch her while we run 10 miles. What actually happened: stuck inside the house with a sick kid. The flu has decided to visit our house, and the son of a bitch decided it should come right when my husband is busiest because of the deer season opener (he is a DNR officer). I'm making lemonade out of lemons, though - I did Jillian's 30 Day Shred while Sophie laid on the couch watching Curioius George. Better than nothing, right?

Last night, I convinced my friend Erin to come over after Sophie went to bed and I had sufficiently disinfected the house and we did Tae Bo. Afterwards, we ate pizza and drank wine. It was like being in college again!

Hope you have a great weekend.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Race Report - Freedom Run 10 Mile

So when we last left off, I was drinking a warm apple cider/Captain Morgan walktail and trick-or-treating with Curious George. After getting Sophie to come down off the candy high, I tried to take advantage of daylight savings time and get to bed early for some extra sleep.

Sunday I was at the door at 10:45 to get to White Bear Lake for the race. While I enjoy not having to rush in the morning for an early start, fueling before a 12:00 start is kind of difficult. I ate cereal at 6:45 with Sophie and then another little mini-breakfast at 10:00. This was a very small race (just over 100 people), so I had no trouble getting my chip and bib, and using the porta potty before the race started.

My legs were tired from the hard 5K Saturday. I wanted to use this race as a good, strong longer run and not worry about time too much. I had it in my head that I for sure needed to keep it under a 10:00/mile pace and if I could break 1:35 I would be happy. Although I've run a few 15K's, this was my first 10 mile race, so it was an automatic PR no matter what happened.

It ended up being a beautiful fall day for a race, and I am really proud of how I ran. I kept an even pace over a quite hilly course. I took two short breaks at water stops at the 3.5 and 7.5 mile markers, but otherwise, just kept chugging along. The finish was uphill and I really kicked it into gear, passing the girl right in front of me just before the mat. 1:34:03. I met my goal, and ran a strong race less than 24 hours after my 5K.

My legs were pretty achy Sunday night, so I took a much needed rest day Monday. Monday night, I was in bed by 8:00 (although this had more to do with being in the office by 4:30 Monday morning and working until 5:30 - yuck). Last night was back to kettlebells, and I've got 8 miles on the schedule tonight. Only two more 5K's left and my 2009 race calendar is finished! Where did the year go?

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Race Report - Gray Ghost 5K

You know the old fairy tale, Little Red Riding Hood, Curious George, and the Two Freaks? Oh, wait, not a real story. Because of a little costume snafu on Saturday, I was wolf-less for the Anoka Gray Ghost 5K for the first time in five years. But I did have two mustached pervos chasing me around for three miles - you take what you can get. You'll be happy to know that I outran them both.
This race is special to me because I grew up in Anoka and, during the several years that I worked overnights at the Anoka Police Department, I had to work the Halloween race and parade. Running the 5K beats the hell out of standing on the street corner in my dispatch uniform telling people to stay out of the road.
The weather gods cooperated and, for the brief time of the race, the sun came out. It was a brisk, windy day and the sun was very welcome. We started off the race along the parade route. After the first five blocks, I saw my mom and Sophie. Shortly after the first mile marker, I performed a flying leap over the yahoo who decided to stop right in front of me to tie his shoe. I think the cape helped me get some air on that jump.
When I heard the splits at the second mile, I knew I was on track to beat my time from last year. I kept telling my feet to keep moving. We made the final turn and I knew it was one push up the last hill and then a downhill coast to the finish. I counted down the driveways and mailboxes coming up that hill - I was done. Finally I was at the top and could see the clock. I knew if I busted my butt I could make it under 25:00. I ran, ran, ran and crossed the line at 24:57. A new course PR! Pervo #1 (aka Jim) crossed the line about 45 seconds later. Pervo #2 (aka Mac) came in just under 30 minutes, meeting his goal.
The three of us then walked back to where my mom and Sophie were still enjoying the parade. Halloween version of post-race recovery? An hour at the parade, Chipotle, and sipping on a warm
"walk-tail" later while trick-or-treating with Sophie.
Stay tuned for another race report from my 10 miler this afternoon . . .

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Motivation Monkey

We love, love Curious George at our house these days. I tivo the episodes every day on PBS and Sophie and I usually watch them together at 4:30 in the morning when she gets up for her midnight snack (growth spurt anyone?). This morning's episode was Curious George Personal Trainer. George helps a professor at the museum go from workaholic to runner so she can race in a footrace to earn money for the museum.

George makes up these cute little training notecards after watching a video called "Run for Life." He has the professor stretch, run at a consistent pace, and drink water. But the professor still hates running and thinks it is boring. So George, being a smart little monkey, has her start running towards fun things - a ferris wheel, a big fountain, a carnival. The professor loves running and finishes the race. She then rewards her monkey trainer with her race medal.

Lessons from Curious George Personal Trainer?
1) I watch too much Curious George. I know more about what happened during this show than what went on during last week's Grey's Anatomy.

2) Know the basics. Stretching? Good. Consistent pace? Excellent. Water? Necessary.

3) Make it fun. I'm off to hunt for the closest ferris wheel and/or giant fountain. I may have to settle for the mud puddle at the end of my driveway.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Oh Monday

The Pollyanna buried deep inside of me has decided to post a list list of things I am thankful for this Monday:

1) Winter hat weather. I love how I no longer have to worry about my hair being in my face and driving me crazy while I'm running.

2) Kettlebells class. I get so snapped up on endorphins during this class, it's funny. I started singing during class a little bit a couple of weeks ago and was promptly rewarded with a heavier kettlebell. Apparently if you are singing, you're not working hard enough. Who knew?

3) A great weekend of races coming up. Saturday: the Anoka Halloween Gray Ghost 5K. Little Red Riding Hood is going to run her sassy self all over the place. And on Sunday: Freedom 10 mile. Just because I can.

4) A great weekend of relaxing with my mom and Sophie this past weekend. Pumpkin patch. Pumpkin carving. Pumpkin cupcakes. Book trivia with my mom (I can't convince anyone else to play with me). All so fun.

I am a happy, happy girl. Happy Monday!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

A Minnesota Girl's Guide to Surviving Winter Running

As promised, I'm finally getting around to post my tips on running through the winter. All of you lucky ducks who live in Florida, Hawaii and Texas need not read any further. I've been running outside through the winter for the last five years, and have run on a treadmill maybe three times total during that five years. Reasons? Well, I don't have a treadmill. Also, I hate it.

First (and probably most obvious) thing you have to figure out with winter running: apparel. The key here is layers. For the coldest weather (20 degrees and below, in my book), I start with a base layer of Under Armour cold gear. Their warmest tights and a turtleneck. On top, I add a middle layer - another Under Armour zip up shirt. The next layer: wind resistance. I found a pair of Nike pants at Run n' Fun in St. Paul a couple of years ago and they are the greatest. They are fitted, and made of this great wind resistant fabric that manages to keep me warm but not trap in my sweat. On top, I have a very light weight wind jacket. Of course, you can't forget the hat, gloves, and (if it is very cold) a face mask. A note about face masks: they do help, but when you breath onto them, they tend to get wet and then cause chafing. I only use my face mask when it is below zero.

Second: accessories. Because winter running usually also means running in the dark, I tend to get a lot of use out of my headlamp and orange construction worker vest. The vest also comes in handy during hunting season, when I like to make it clear that I am not a deer. If you're going to run outside in the winter, you'll also need to invest in some Yak Trax. Runner's World had an article last year on how to screw your own shoes, so you could try that too. Either way, in order to avoid falling on your ass, you gotta have something on the shoes.

The third thing to consider with winter running is your route and fueling. Even if you are feeling hot and sweaty, your water in your fuel belt can freeze and your sport beans or clif blocks or what have you can turn into little ice pebbles. I did a lot of my long runs for marathon training in January and February last year, and for the most part made them loops so I would pass by my house at least once during the run. That way, if I was too hot and needed to ditch a jacket or my water was frozen and I needed new bottles, I could easily stop and take care of it.

Even though I do my fair share about complaining about winter weather and the cold, I actually sort of enjoyed marathon training through the winter months last year. It gave me a reason to get out the door and something to focus on other than the constant cold, dark weather. It also made me realize that it is often easier to run in the super cold than in the hot humidity of summer. All that being said, I'm perfectly fine if we have 60 degree weather until January.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Race Report - Run for the Apples 5 Miler

After what feels like months of crappy weather (okay, it's only been a couple of weeks), this morning I was shocked to see some light creeping in through my bedroom window. Two possibilities: alien spaceship landing in my front yard or the sun. Even though I thought the alien spaceship was more likely, the sun was actually shining. A crisp, sunny, perfect fall morning.

Sophie and I picked up Jim and we headed to White Bear Lake and the Pine Tree Apple Orchard. This race starts a couple of months of my must run races and I have been looking forward to it all summer. As we were standing around waiting for the start, I got to meet Melissa. It was a great surprise to meet a fellow running mommy blogger.

Once the race started, it was a s-l-o-w first mile with lots of walkers and runners just mish mashed everwhere. When you have hundreds of people running through the paths of an apple orchard, it really takes a while to spread out. The first mile marker is right back near the start, so I was happy to be able to ditch my jacket with my mom and Sophie. The sun was warming me right on up!

The second mile starts with a really tough hill. The word "hill" doesn't really do it justice. I just kept reminding myself that this was the worse it gets. And kept putting one foot in front of the other. I slowed up a couple of times to wait for Jim because I really wanted to run this race for fun, together. About a half mile from the finish, I could hear the crowd and the announcer and felt the excitement of being so close to being done. Kick time. The final downhill was slick and I really had to concentrate on not falling on my face. Success. Crossed the finish line in 44:51. Garmin says 44:17, but I wasn't sure exactly where the start line was, so who knows. Either way, another year at a fun race.

After we had a chance to catch our breath (and preview the awesome finish line picture my mom snapped - hopefully I'll be able to edit this post tomorrow and add the pic), we headed into the apple store to load up on apple treats. Yum.

For post-race recovery, I've been channeling my inner domestic godess. My grandparents, mom, and in-laws are all coming over tomorrow, so I cleaned, scrubbed, organized. Oh, AND I made some delicious cornbread from scratch and my first ever cheesecake (pumpkin). Hopefully it tastes as good as it smells! Enjoy the rest of the weekend.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Confession Time

Running the risk of embarassing myself even more so than I did by posting my reenactment picture, I think it's time to tell you all the truth. I cannot do a true, for reals, push up. Well, I can sort of do one or two. But several in a row? Like is required during Kettlebells class? Um, no. Big fat fail.

I can do a bazillion push ups on my knees. No problem. But make me go on my toes and I shake like a leaf and collapse onto my belly. It is really humiliating. I need to figure out how to toughen up and do a real push up.

So I will make you all a deal. YOU teach me how to do push ups. Give me whatever advice you have. In exchange, I will impart really the only piece of wisdom I have: how to survive winter running. I may not be able to give any advice on any other area of running, but I have run through cold Minnesota winters for several years and I know my snow and ice. But first, I need to figure out how to do push ups. Because I have a total girl crush on my kettlebells teacher and I want to impress her with my superhuman strength.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Snowy Run

I don't have any way to prove this, but I'm pretty sure I wore my running hat and coat the earliest ever last night on my five-miler. I don't think I've ever pulled out the winter gear in October before. Granted, it wasn't full on winter gear (the Under Armour extra warm tights and double layer turtle necks are still in the closet), but still. Winter, you and I didn't get along very well last year. And you're really pushing it already this year. Watch it.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Running + Sunshine = Happiness

A couple of weeks ago, I took off from the office door for a run and cursed the sun. It was too hot, humid and ugh for my liking. All I wanted was a little rain cloud to block the sun and cool me off a little.

Last night, I took off from the office door for a run and did a little happy dance because the sun was shining. I commented on how great and warm the sun felt on my face. What a difference a couple of weeks (and a forty degree temperature difference) can make!

The sun is trying to peek out from the clouds now, so it looks like my post-work track workout could be another sunny one. After what feels like nonstop rain for at least a week, I'll take it.

Good luck to everyone racing this weekend! I'm so jealous of all of you headed to Chicago, I can almost taste it. Can't wait to read the race reports!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Nuun Love

A while back, I got lucky and won some Nuun from the lovely Marlene. Last weekend, I was very happy to get my super cute little box of Nuun in my mailbox. An eight miler last Wednesday night was the perfect time for a test run. I dropped a tablet into my water bottle and let the fizzy wonder begin. By the time I set out for my run, I had a tasty bottle of Nuun waiting for me.

The first taste of Nuun surprised me. It tastes almost carbonated (maybe it is carbonated? who knows?), and is very light. I liked it a lot. Regular Gatorade tends to get overly sweet and heavy for my tastes. So the verdict on the Nuun? Loved it. Now I'm hoarding the rest of my supply until marathon training starts again. And adding a handheld water bottle to my Christmas list!

Other things I'm loving tonight:
  • putting on a pair of jeans I haven't worn since before I got preggers with Sophie and finding that they fit just right
  • Twins WIN!!!

Not so much loving all the rain we are getting though. Blech. Kinda ruining my annual steamy love affair with fall running. Oh, and someone told me it's supposed to snow on Saturday. Spare me.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Marathon Envy & September Recap

Oh, fall marathons are everywhere! All of our local news stations were giving the "Twin Cities Marathon forecast" last night. All you bloggy people are running fun marathons. And I am jealous. Not of all that long run training during the hot summer months, but I want to be running a marathon. All that marathon envy has me looking forward, trying to pick my spring marathon.

Here's the tentative plan: run either Madison or Fargo in May. Still trying to decide between the two. Madison? Loved the half there in August, lots of family close by, and I think the course would be awesome. Fargo? My sister ran there last year and I spectated - seemed like a fun environment. Also, they're doing a deal this year where you get a special medal if you run the 5K Friday night and the marathon Saturday. Like North Dakota's version of the Goofy Challenge. Sort of tempting for a medal whore like myself. Anyhow . . . I'm also going to put in for the lottery for Grandma's half, but sign up for the full if I don't get in. And possibly run a marathon in May AND June. Nothing for some of you pros, but a big deal for a once-a-year kinda gal like me. So yeah, I've been spending a lot of time on marathon websites. Dreaming and drooling.

Looking back: September was the first month of my 350 minute per week (of exercise) challenge. It was very successful. Highlights - tons of cross training (everything from biking to Jilliam to kettlebells). Managed to lose 5 pounds without changing my diet. Lows? The running mileage. Lowest mileage month so far. So my October goal is to keep up the 350 minutes per week but get those running miles back up there.

Tomorrow my baby turns 2! I've scrubbed the house, bought the makings for lasagna, and wrapped all the presents, so I'm ready. Also looking forward to reading all the race reports from this weekend. Feed the marathon envy. :)

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Finally, Dorkiness Confirmed

Luckily for me, this picture is quite blurry. I think you can probably still pick up on my clenched fists, knock-knees, and staring into outer space. Just remember, this was a reenactment -- this is NOT how I actually run. Well, at least I think it's not.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Race Report - Audubon 10K

On Saturday, I ran the Second Annual 10K at the Northwoods Audubon Society in Sandstone. I ran this race last year too, so I guess I can say I've run the race every year it's been offered.

Over the weekend, I was on a little scrapbooking retreat (nerdy, I know) with some friends, but I was still only 15 minutes away from Sandstone, so figured I could still make the race. Although I stayed up later than I usually would before a race and fueled a little bit differently (chips and salsa and peanut butter M&M's are good pre-race foods, right?), I felt good when I got up Saturday morning. Jim picked me up at the scrapbooking house and we headed to the race.

The 5K and 10K start at the same time together, and a lot of people walk the 5K. Can you see where this is going? Right at the start, I had the always pleasant experience of running a few steps only to have to slam on the brakes to avoid plowing over a walker. Once the 5K split off from the 10K, things cleared out considerably, since there were only about 30 people running the 10K.

The first mile is on the dirt roadway/driveway leaving the Audubon Center. I wanted to keep myself from going out to fast, and running on dirt helped! The next three and half miles are on paved roads going around Grindstone Lake. It really is a beautiful course, especially this time of year with the leaves changing. At about the 4.5 mile mark, we are back on dirt roads heading back towards the Audubon Center. The final mile is actually on the trails through the Audubon property.

I ran a strong race and kept a consistent pace, which made me happy. The last stretch through the trails in the woods really took it out of me. I wanted to give a good kick to the end, but my legs just weren't having any of that. Cross the finish "line" (okay, patch of grass) in 56:09. At 6.4 miles. Damn long race. At least I remembered that the course was long from last year, so I expected it. But still. I was done at 6.2! Although my finish time is slower than my August 10K (normal distance), I improved on last year's time from the "maxi" 10K by 2 minutes! I'll take it.

I'm still debating about whether to post the "reenactment" picture Jim took of me running through the trail on the woods. I look like a complete dork, so I have to decide how much I'm willing to embarass myself.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Kettlebells = Love

Last night, I went to my first Kettlebells class. I had no clue what to expect, except that I was convinced I would end up with a few bruises out of the deal. After all, what else would happen when you are swinging a 20 pound metal ball all over the place?

I had a fantastic time. The hour long class went by really quickly and it was HARD work. I found myself shaking like a leaf several times. After the class was over, I had a huge endorphin high. I was blabbering like a fool about how much I loved the class for at least an hour afterwards. This morning, I talked to my friends who went to the class with me, and they said they did the same thing - so at least I know I'm not a complete nerd.

When I got home, I played with Sophie and got her to bed, then put my bike on the trainer and watched my Tivo'd Biggest Loser. I think I may have my new Tuesday night routine . . .

Oh, running blog, right. Track workout Monday night. I've got 8 miles on the schedule tonight, hills tomorrow, and a 10K race Saturday.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Mora Bike Tour

This morning was the Mora Bike Tour, the third event in the Mora Classic Series (canoe race, half marathon, 50-mile bike, and cross country ski). Jim picked me up at 7:00 and we headed over to Mora. When we arrived, we checked in and were asked what time we wanted to start. Nice flexible start! I was happy not to start with a big group of bikes - a sure recipe disaster for my klutzy self.

Once we were off, the miles clicked by pretty quickly. I'm glad I decided to wear my Garmin, because there were no mile markers. I tend to get a little panicky when I don't know how far I've gone or have left to go, so Garmin was a life saver. Jim and I kept up a decent pace - not too pokey, but not too fast either. We had plenty of time to catch up, which of course included a nearly word for word repetition of this week's episode of The Office.

Before I knew it, we were done. A great ride with no problems (except the tiny little issue of missing the final turn and riding an extra mile - oops). Finished in just under four hours. We enjoyed our free lunch and came home. Now I'm spending the evening relaxing and playing with our new laptop. Have a great rest of the weekend!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

And then, there was the Perfect Run

I don't know how it is for all of you, but for me, the running gods are sort of stingy with the perfect run. Most of my runs feel pretty damn hard. Since the marathon (way back in May, my how time flies), all of my long-ish runs have been pretty much impossible. From the beginning, I struggle with motivation to complete the run.

Enter last night. I decided to run 8 miles after Sophie went to bed. Jim and I headed out just as the sun was setting. We rounded the corner between two farms (yes, I live in the middle of nowhere) and were treated with a gorgeous panaramic view of the sun setting against the trees and farm fields. The weather was perfect - nice and cool, no wind.

Aside from the beautiful scenery, I for the first time in what feels like forever felt motivated to run the distance. I never uttered the words, "Let's just cut it short tonight." Although our pace wasn't earth shattering, it wasn't a pokey little walk in the woods either.

Running the last three miles down my dirt road we picked up the pace. By this time, it was full on dark. We're not in headlight mode yet, so we were pretty much using the river and the narrow strip of sky visible above the trees as our guide. Running through the dark, looking up at the star-filled sky, I thought, "Ah yes, THIS is why I run."

Monday, September 14, 2009

Catching Up

I've been swamped. Not so much the working hard variety (although there's been some of that), but more the playing hard variety. We were up at a friend's cabin this weekend and had a super fun time. Even managed to fit in a run (to the bar to pick up our truck - aren't we responsible?). With all the um, business, I only managed 13 miles last week.

Time to get back at it. I'm headed to the track after work and hoping to get in a good, hard workout before I need to hurry home, shower, and go to a meeting. If I get home early enough from the meeting, I'm also planning on doing a little 30 Day Shred. I have my big 50-mile bike "race" coming up on Saturday, so my plan is to work my legs hard in the beginning of the week and then take it easy so they are nice and rested for Saturday.

Looking forward to also catching up with all of your blogs. Happy Monday!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

350 Minutes

No, that's not how long it took me to run 3.3 miles yesterday. Although it felt like that.

Rather, that's how much time exercising I'm trying to get in per week. I've mentioned on this blog before that I tend to forgo cross training and just focus on running alone. Before I had Sophie, I was better about fitting in strength training, but in the past two years it's been pretty nil.

Hence 350 minutes. Yes, that's seven hours a week, which is also one hour per day. So you might think I should just call it an hour per day. But I like 350 minutes better. It's like a little piggy bank I fill up. Two hours of biking? 120 minutes in the bank. 10 minutes of sit ups and push ups? In the bank.

This is my third week of focusing on 350 minutes. I have noticed already that it really does help me add in the cross training. After I put Sophie to bed in the evenings, I have been doing 30 day shred, different ab or strength workouts, yoga, even Tae Bo to add time to the bank.

My running is still adjusting to the added cross training. My legs have felt dead on all of my runs the past two weeks. I'm sure it is from all the extra squats and kicks I've been forcing them to do. But I think once I get adjusted, it will actually help make my running stronger. What do you think?

Monday, September 7, 2009

Labor Day

After sleeping in until the glorious hour of 8:00 a.m., I loaded my bike in the back of the truck, picked up Jim and his bike, and we were off to the Munger Trail, a paved bike trail about 15 miles north of my house.

The weather was perfect and we had a great ride. Thirteen miles north, where we stopped for breakfast at a cafe, and thirteen miles back. It was a relaxing morning, but still enough miles to build confidence for the 50 miler I have coming up in a couple of weeks.

After I put Sophie to bed tonight, I did half an hour of yoga to get the kinks out . . . kinks caused by Tae Bo boot camp Friday night (it's been a few years!), 18 holes of golf yesterday, and some questionable dance moves/group hula-hooping last night. It's been a fun weekend!

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Weekend Treats

First off, Happy 34th birthday to my hubby! He had to work all day and is finally home, so we'll be cutting into the French Silk pie I picked up for him soon . . .
Since my whinefest of Thursday, I've gotten in a couple of good runs - a hill workout on Thursday that felt terrific and 6 miles this morning that, well, I survived. Isn't it funny how you can run a half marathon one weekend and feel great and run less than half the distance the next and feel like you're dying? Oh, the mysteries of running.
Aside from running, I'm enjoying a nice long weekend. Picked up a big-girl bed for Sophie today (free from some former neighbors - score!), golf tournament tomorrow and Sophie spending the night and Grandma and Grandpa's, and a long bike ride on Monday morning.
Have a great rest of the weekend!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Collateral Damages

So I had a great race on Saturday. What I failed to mention were the negative side effects (not just of the race, but really of running in general).

1. Chafe/wound on my chest from the Gu I stuck in the strap of my sports bra. Ouch. Oh, by the way, during the race, said Gu worked its way pretty far down into my sports bra. Pretty sure anyone who saw me groping around for that Gu later got quite the show.

2. Cement legs. I tried to run at the track on Monday. After three measly 800's, I realized that I could still make it to the grocery store before I had to pick Sophie up from daycare. Done. Tuesday, I ran five miles after work. My legs? Still felt dead. We'll see how the hill workout goes tonight.

3. Bad hair. My hair looks like crap. A few weeks ago, my own mother told me she thought "there was something wrong" with my last haircut. So I scheduled another haircut, with a new person. Last weekend, my grandma said "What's wrong with your hair? It's sticking out all over the place." This immediately after I had finished styling my hair to go to a party. Seriously considering shaving my head and starting over. What color wig do you think I should get?

So there you have it. You may now commence feeling sorry for me.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Race Report - Madison Mini Marathon

So you know a couple of weeks ago when I said I was going to focus on running shorter races for the remainder of 2009? I fell off that wagon. Just briefly. I had a trip planned to southern Wisconsin for this past weekend for a family event. And then happened to see on Tony's blog that he was running the Madison Mini Marathon on Saturday. And Madison is only about an hour from where I was going to be staying . . . can you see the wheels turning? So I signed up.

After 6+ hours in my mom's little Honda, with me seated quite comfortably in the back seat between Sophie's car seat and my niece's booster seat, we made it to Madison at about 7:30 Friday night. I dashed in to pick up my race packet and we stopped at Noodles for dinner. We got to my grandparents shortly after 9:00. After visiting and letting Sophie run off her long day in the car, I finally got to bed at about midnight.

That 4:30 a.m. alarm Saturday morning went off for about 5 minutes before I realized what was going on. I was tired! I forced myself off the couch I was sleeping on and got ready. My mom and grandma (who apparently also heard my alarm - sorry!) got up to keep my company while I got ready. I choked down a couple of pieces of toast and I was out the door. I stopped at my aunt and uncle's to pick up my sister and cousin (who graciously agreed to be my cheering section for the day). Because it was still pitch dark, I had some trouble remembering where exactly my aunt and uncle lived. Pretty sure the car that saw me driving slowly up and down their street three times called the cops. Honest, I was not casing the neighborhood.
I finally found them and we were off to Madison. We found a parking spot in a garage very close to the start. The spots were metered and had a two hour limit. As it appeared that many people running the race were parking in this garage, I decided to roll the dice and park. I filled the meter with as many quarters as it would take, reminded myself that I was driving my mom's car not my own (so any parking ticket would go to her), and we headed towards the start. I had plenty of time to do my thing and look for Tony. Unfortunately, it was very crowded and we were never able to connect. The blogger meet up will have to wait for another race!
I crammed my way into the starting corral and was once again reminded that there are a lot of girls who wear full on makeup to races. What? I don't get it. If I thought a nice thick application of eyeliner would get my a PR, I'd be all over it. But I can just imagine that stinging myself dribbling down my face. Anyhow . . . national anthem, countdown, and go!
This was the BEST half-marathon course I have ever run. The first part traveled through the UW campus area, the state capitol, and downtown Madison. Then, suddenly, it was as if we were running in the woods around a lake. Once we finished the lake portion, we went through a residential area, and then onto another lakefront path. I was having a great time, and the miles seemed to be going by very quickly. I kept a 9:15-ish pace for the first 6 miles or so. At about mile 7, I started to get lightheaded and tired. A Gu chased with two cups of water helped a lot. I picked it up, but was not able to resume the pace I had kept for the first half.
As I saw my Garmin ticking closer to the 13 mile mark, I began to get a little confused. We were running on a gravel path along the lake, and it did not appear that we were anywhere near the downtown area. I had seen the finish line from the start and new it was in the middle of the campus buildings. How on earth we were going to get back there with only a quarter of a mile to go? And then I ran past a building by the lake, around a corner (and straight up a hill, by the way) and realized we were back near the campus buildings. Who knew? I saw my sister and cousin cheering my on, and turned the final corner to the finish. I felt like I gave one hell of a kick and sprinted to the finish. 2:07:22. Not a PR, but I was happy with it (and a 20 minute improvement from my Mora half two weeks ago!).
As I was walking from the finish to meet my sister and cousin, I felt something flapping at my side. I looked down, expecting to see a ripped bib. Instead, I saw the tag from my shirt. Yep, I had my shirt on inside out. Loser.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Hill Workouts are SO Easy

I'm going to save this jogging stroller. When I am 60 and Sophie is 30, I'm going to plop my wrinkly ass in the stroller and make her push me half a mile straight up hill while running. And, for old time's sake, scream "Run faster mommy" the whole time. Good times.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Why Biking 26.2 Miles is Easier than Running 26.2 Miles

1. I can eat pancakes half an hour before going out and not have to worry about pooping my pants, puking, or both.

2. Having all of my sportsbras in the wash machine doesn't mean staying home and stewing about a missed workout.

3. 4:00 miles? Yeah, that never happens when I'm running.

I rode 30 miles this morning. I called Jim when I was on my way out the door and told him I would meet him at his house so he could ride with me. He decided to ride to meet me instead. Unfortunately, I went the long way (all tar roads) and he took the shortcut (dirt roads). We finally found each other 10 miles later. Oops.

It ended up being a really fun ride, which surprised me. For some reason, I thought spending that much time on my bike would be boring. I definitely need to invest in some padded bike shorts though. My girl parts? Ouch.

Now we're just waiting for Sophie to wake up from her nap so we can go out golfing and enjoy this beautiful day. Happy Sunday!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Fresh Start - Fast Fall

I'm going to let you all in on a big secret: I am a huge nerd. Oh, you already knew that? Okay. Part of my dorktasticness is my LOVE for all things school. I love the back to school time of year. The thought of buying a nice, clean new backpack and loading it up with fancy mechanical pencils, pink pens, and crisp notebooks gets me quite excited. I almost bought a protractor at WalMart today. I just can't stop myself.

Unfortunately, going back to school isn't an option (at least not until I pay off the $60,000 I owe from the first go-round). But I can mimic all the back to school sports that are starting up. The tennis team with their drills, the cheerleaders with their learning how to spell DRAGONS, you get the picture.

I have been running without a plan since May and my big marathon PR. June, well that was a recovery month. July, I went on vacation, focused on golfing and drinking, and barely ran at all. So far in August, I've managed to eek out a 2 second 10K PR and crap out a 10+ minute half-marathon PW. I feel like I need to hit the reset button.

My focus for fall is on shorter races - a 5 miler and fun 5K in October, and two 5K's in November. Last year, I set successive PR's in all of these races without really training or trying to do so. So I started thinking about what I could do if I actually trained for the 5K. I have never specifically trained to get faster in a 5K.

Welcome to the new plan. Speedwork at the track on Mondays. Tempo runs of 5-8 miles on Wednesday nights (well, on Wednesday nights after golf is finished -- only two weeks left). And faster "long" runs on the weekends. Easy runs throw in between. The "long" runs aren't really long at all - 6-9 miles. But I am planning on attempting these at a significantly faster pace than I run true long runs. We'll see how it goes.

If I can improve my 5K and 5 mile times, I will consider the plan a success. An added bonus? I'm hoping that the faster "long" runs will give me a good boost going into marathon training in January. Now I just need to go pack my running clothes into my new backpack . . . some things never change.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Race Report - Mora Half Marathon

Or, more aptly titled, "Non-Race Report."

Don't worry, I showed up. But I definitely didn't race. I'm not sure what it was -- maybe that craptastic month of training (or not training) that was July, Sophie being up all night Friday night, or the heat and humidity -- but I just wasn't feeling it yesterday. When the race started, I began running the first mile thinking I would shoot for a 9:15 pace. After the first mile marker, I decided that I just didn't feel like running and didn't really care what my time ended up being.

We kept plugging away. My running partner Jim was really struggling and just shy of the four mile marker told me to beat it. He stopped to walk and I just kept going, telling myself I would walk at all the mile markers. By the time I got to the halfway point, I was pretty concerned about Jim. He never wimps out and is usually pushing me to toughen up. Since I had already decided I didn't care what time I finished in, I turned around to find him. You should have seen the looks I was getting from the people I passed going backwards. Maybe they thought the heat was getting to me . . .

I found Jim and he was still having a tough time. We ran/walked together for a couple of miles and he insisted again that I go ahead. I fought him - I wanted to support him, but he said feeling like he was holding me back was making him feel worse. I kept moving.

By the time I got to mile 11, I was over it. I thought about walking the rest of the way. I didn't feel miserable, because I hadn't been running hard at all, but I just did not want to be running and did not want to be out in the sun anymore. I resisted my temptation to walk, and barely resisted my temptation to jump into the lake and swim the rest of the way, and finished. 2:27:something. Seriously. Worst. Time. Ever. Thank you, Mora Half Marathon, for the new personal worst!

Highlights: the volunteers were AWESOME. Especially the guy at the 5 mile water stop who drenched me with cold water. What is your phone number? Because I would like to marry you. Oh wait, already married . . . Also, my mom and Sophie were at the finish. After Sophie's sleepness night, I told my mom not to worry about coming to the race because I thought Sophie would be too crabby and difficult. But I was so relieved they were there (and to be done running), I almost cried when I saw them.

Taking it easy definitely had one benefit - no heat stroke (which I suffered from last year during this race), no sore muscles, and no post-race exhaustion. And later? Chipotle for dinner. Yum.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

What Not To Wear - Traffic Court Edition

If you ever find yourself in a position to go to traffic court and you think you might want to convince the prosecutor and/or the judge for a good deal, I'm going to give you a little bit of inside advice. Don't wear the following items:
  • Black satin tapered leg pants with a bright orange cotton tank top (that I'm pretty sure I saw on the floor of WalMart recently)
  • Ratty t-shirt and cut-off jeans. Oh, and did I mention that the t-shirt had a picture of a giant hand flipping the bird on the front? Classy.
  • Transparent, gauzy black fabricky shirt (likely also from WalMart) cut so low I had to consciously avert my eyes. To avoid not only the ridiculous cleavage, but also the ginormous tattoo (heart with thorny roses, as if you needed to ask) that appeared to completely cover the left breast.

Three words: guilty, guilty, and guilty.

In other news, it's about 90 degrees, the sun is shining and it's T-minus 1 1/2 hours until golf league time. Anyone want to place bets on whether I will (1) drink too much and fall on my face again; (2) along with Erin, earn enough points to clinch our first place position; and (3) drink too much and laugh my fool head off?

Oh, and because this is a running blog, I ran 6 awesome miles last night. Perfect. I'm trying to ignore the forecast for Saturday (90+ degrees and humid). Half marathon? How about march of death.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Hello Summer, Bye Summer

After a decidedly fall-like summer, we are finally getting some hot and humid weather around here. I'm not complaining, because I love summer, but I must admit I really enjoyed running in the cooler weather.

At the same time, I'm getting all sorts of reminders that summer is almost over. Our local fair has come and gone (with a successful boycott by yours truly, but that's another story). Back to school specials are everywhere. I'm making plans for Labor Day weekend. Sophie's new (insanely cute) habit of saying "night-night sun" as the sun sets is happening earlier and earlier every day.

Usually I would be on the brink of depression realizing that my beloved summer days are numbered. The thought of freezing cold, short days, and losing my husband to his mistress -- ice fishing -- usually sends me to internet searching for jobs in California or Hawaii.

But this year? I'm sort of excited for fall and winter to come. I'm changing my focus in order to change my attitude. Don't I sound like a self-help book? Instead of focusing on how freaking cold it's going to be, I'm focusing on what the second week of January will bring -- Marathon Training.

I've kept to my word and not run another marathon in 2009, but I am already gearing up for 2010. I liked running my marathon in May, so I've been looking at the May marathons. Right now, my number one choice is Madison. So even though I know when the time comes I will certainly do my fair amount of whining about the cold and snow, right now I am excited to be back on a plan and have a big goal to work towards. Plus I will no longer be tempted to skip running for golfing (sidenote to the track: hope you didn't miss me too much last night, it was just too nice to pass on a night of golf with my hubby and Sophie).

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Proof that Running and Alcohol Don't Mix

In each of the three marathons I've run, the token frat boys have been on the sidelines at some point during the race offering beer. I've always been tempted, but have never tried drinking beer while actually running. The closest I've come was my lukewarm sip of beer after finishing Green Bay, which nearly made me hurl.

Last night, I received conclusive proof that I should definitely not drink and run. Wednesday is golf league night and I have to preface my story by saying that my golf partner (Erin) and I have two main missions this summer during league: (1) drink alcohol every week; and (2) take a picture every week to add to our summer collage of golf pictures. For the last month, we have had a particular picture we have wanted to get which involves another member of our league and her very unique method of lining up her putts. (Yes, Erin and I are complete bitches and we like to make fun of other people. It is was it is.)

We had just finished putting on the sixth hole when I heard Erin say, "There they are." We looked over to the 7th green and saw our dream picture opportunity waiting for us. I started sprinting for our cart. Erin was right behind me. When I got to the cart, I threw my golf clubs on the ground, grabbed my camara, and kept sprinting towards the seventh green. As I started to run past a group waiting to tee off on 7, someone tripped me and I fell flat on my face. Okay, no one tripped me, that was a lie. And I don't think I can blame a rock, a stick, or an errant piece of grass. I fell over my own two feet.

I heard Erin in the cart behind me laughing. The ladies waiting to tee off started walking towards me, asking if I was okay. I just bounced off the ground, with the front part of my golf sandals now stuck underneath my toes and flapping awkwardly against the ground, and kept running until I was close enough to get my picture. Mission: complete. Once I was safely returned to the cart, I turned to Erin and said, "If that little antic broke any of my running parts, I'm going be seriously pissed at myself tomorrow." And she promptly laughed and spit her drink in my face.

Note to self: don't drink and run.

Disclaimer: Further studies need to be conducted to determine the adverse effect on running of one sip of beer 20 miles deep into a marathon versus four mixed drinks over a period of two hours. Maybe there's a difference?

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

All Good

Never underestimate the power of running. As a runner, I am constantly asked, "How can you do that?" How can you go out day after day and pound the pavement? I often want to ask, "How can you not?"

As fellow runners, I think most of the readers of this blog don't need a lecture on the physical or mental benefits of running. But it never hurts to be reassured. I have been dealing with a lot of crazy at work. Yesterday afternoon, I had an hour long meeting with a client that brought me down. Way down. I left the office for the track feeling exhausted and questioning whether I ever do anybody any good.

Ten minutes later, I started my track repeats. I decided to do 400, 800, 1200, 800, 400 to mix it up a little. As soon as I started the fast repeats, my self-doubt started to disappear. Because there's no room to feel exhausted or worthless when you are using every ounce of your being to fling yourself around the track as fast as possible. And when you're focusing all of your concentration on getting to that finish line (or in this case, the spot where my G2 was waiting) without puking, it's hard to feel bad about yourself.

I left the track, having accomplished exactly what I set out to do. I was proud of completing a tough workout. I was sweaty and tired, but nowhere near as exhausted as I was when I left the office. And even though my difficult clients were still waiting with all of their drama and problems, running reminded me to put everything in perspective. I don't create people's problems - I just try to fix the messes they get themselves into. Doing this job isn't what defines me and if I have a bad day, it doesn't mean that I am a failure or a worthless person. But being a runner (and being a mom and a wife) DO define me. Succeeding in those things is where my sense of self worth comes from. And if that doesn't keep me going to the track, I don't know what will.

After I got home from the track, my hubby, Sophie and I headed out to golf nine holes. My general Pollyanna sense of happiness just kept going and going - we had a perfect night of golf, with perfect whether, and a perfectly behaved near-two-year old (is that an oxymoron?). I went to bed last night feeling like it had been the perfect summer day.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Race Report - Pine County Fun Run 10K

Let me start by saying I don't think I really like 10K's. They're just too hard. Short enough so you feel you have to run fast (and remember, fast is relative, because I am not fast) and long enough so you feel you are going to die. Anyhow . . .

Saturday I ran the Pine County Fun Run 10K. This is the ONLY race I know of that is held within 6 minutes of my house. My friend Cheryl is the race director. I always help with registration, so I was out the door at about 6:45 Saturday morning. We had a very busy hour registering runners (twice as many runners this year than last year!), and then it was time to start.

My goal was to run an 8:30-8:45 pace. My training for the month of July has been a little lacking, so I thought that was a reasonble goal. We started off and I immediately started out too fast. A ton of people were running the 5K, which started at the same time, and I'm blaming those fast 5K runners for my fast start. First mile: 8:07. I backed off a little the second mile and managed to get closer to my goal pace at 8:24. Once the second mile is finished, you turn onto a stretch of road that I simply refer to as "that bitch." It is a long, wide open expanse of hell. I started feeling nauseous and I'm sure it was just the mental block I have in my head about this stupid road. Mile 3: 8:45.

We finally hit the turnaround and I was on the way back. A little over a mile of my nasty road nemesis and then it was back into neighborhoods. At this point, I was just out of steam. I really felt my lack of training taking its toll during miles 4 and 5. I did not want to have any 9:00+ miles, but just could not get my legs moving. Both 4 and 5 clocked in at 9:17. I picked it up during the last mile, knowing I was closer to the finish. When we turned the final corner, I realized that I may still have a shot of finishing in under 54:00, so I really pushed. I just missed it, crossing in 54:02.

Which is a PR. By two whole seconds. So I should be happy, right? But I feel sort of crappy about the race because I don't think I ran very well. And I feel disappointed in myself for slacking during the month of July. On the plus side, I am finally feeling super motivated again where running is concerned. I want to get my miles back up this month and be ready for my short races in October and November. I also got some running loot for my birthday - my hubby bought me new running shoes, and with my birthday $ I bought a new sportsbra and some Gu (because Gu is like birthday cake, right?). I'm headed to the track after work to try out the new shoes. Hopefully all this broccoli I'm eating for lunch won't make a reappearance . . . .

Monday, July 27, 2009

What I Did on My Summer Vacation

Pushed Sophie on the swings. A lot. Also managed to chase her around in the sand, play with her in the lake and watch Finding Nemo a few times. I did fit in a little running, some biking, and some bean bag toss (or, as my father in law calls it, cornhole -- he insists that's the true name). I had a great time and wish I could have spent another week or so up there.

But I'm back. Unburying myself at work, washing massive amounts of laundry, and, most importantly, running. I ran 8 miles yesterday and it felt great. I'm planning on heading to the track after work. I've decided to let go of the sub-2:00 hour half marathon for my Mora race (on August 15th). I just have not put in the long runs. I'm still running the race, but with a new goal of simply doing the best I can. My focus now is on the shorter races I have scheduled for fall - a 5 miler and three 5K's in October and November. Last year I set new PR's at all of these races and I would love to be able to do a repeat this year. So I'm going to continue my weekly track work and focus on really speeding up my 800's. I'm also adding a weekly hill run (which for now will replace my weekly mid-distance tempo run). I think I need to shake things up a little to keep me excited about running.

I'm looking forward to catching up on what all of you have been up to for the past two weeks!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Daisy Downer

I'm looking for my running mojo. Has anyone seen it? It's average height, blond (smoking hot, of course), and oh, smoking fast. It up and took off and in its place left a drab, slow, blob-girl counting down the dwindling final days of her twenties. (That's right, my big 3-0 is only two weeks away. Candy and running shoes are acceptable birthday gifts.)

I ran a 5K on Saturday and it was just blah. I can't figure out what the problem is - I know I can run faster, but the last couple of races, I just haven't cared that much. I think some apathy I've been feeling in other areas of my life (hello, work) is dripping over into running. Which really pisses me off. So I've got to chase it away somehow. Just haven't quite figured that out . . .

On a more positive note, I am leaving for vacation on Saturday. A week at the cabin with the family. My husband sent a list of all the things we need to bring (boat, fishing stuff, etc.). I responded with: "Don't forget, I want to bring my kayak, my bike, the jogging stroller, and Sophie's little car." His response: "We're going to have to rent a semi."

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Call it a Brick

I have to admit that I've been getting a little tri-envy lately. I read tales of my fellow bloggers training for and completing triathlons and I think, "ooh, that sounds fun." And then I remember that I can't really swim. And the thought of swimming in open water (without a life jacket, kickboard, arm wings, or rescue boat) and crashing against other people while swimming completely terrifies me.

Even though I'm NOT training for a tri (I know my limitations, after all), I am trying to diversify my training a little bit. I've been biking. And last night, I added swimming. I took Sophie to a tot's swimming class. So maybe putting your chin in the water, blowing bubbles, putting your nose in the water, and putting each ear in the water isn't a traditional swimming workout. It's in the pool, so it counts. If I keep it up, in ten years I may be ready to take on that tri.

To create my "brick" workout, I ran 6 miles when we got home from the pool. If you count the wrestling match I had with Sophie getting her out of the pool and changed into dry clothes before we came home (can we say terrible twos?), then I really did have my own little triathlon last night.

Sidenote to Athleta: I love you. You know I do. But you really should add a warning to the description of the Shirred Bra Cup Tankini. I suggest the following: Even though this swimsuit is marketed to our larger-breasted customers, BEWARE, you may end up looking like a porn star. You SHOULD NOT wear this swimsuit to baby swim class. You WILL look like a whore. Sex-starved fathers of infants and nursing babies may stare. A lot. You may feel like you are swimming in shark-infested waters covered in blood rather than in the kiddie pool.

And that's all I have to say about that.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Can I Get a Do-Over?

I give myself a big fat F for Fail on the healthy front for the weekend. Let's break it down. I was visiting my grandparents in Wisconsin from Thursday night until late last night. How many runs? Zero. How much DQ ice cream cake? Um, too embarrassing to tell. To top it off, I couldn't get my lazy ass out of bed this morning to get in a run before work.

Eight hours into the week and I am working like a fool to make up for my weekend debauchery. Healthy eating? Check. (The lunch makeover is going extremely well - enjoyed another big salad today.) Running? I'm just getting ready to change into my running clothes and head to the track for a speed workout. Then I'll pick up Sophie from daycare and hit the grocery store on the way home for some healthy stuff to grill for supper.

There is one little gray storm cloud on my A+ Monday. A teensy tiny headache. Okay, a big giant headache. Ice cream withdrawals? Probably.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

No Lions, No Tigers . . . Just Bears

I'm usually pretty tired (okay, half asleep) during my easy early morning 3 milers, but this morning I got a big wakeup call. About a half mile from my house on the way back I saw a black bear come up from the river and cross the road. I pointed it out to Jim (who runs with his head down and never sees anything - kind of our standing joke) and he got super excited. We continued on and a truck pulled up to us. The driver told us to be careful because he saw another bear in a driveway just up the road. When we ran up to that house, we saw a HUGE black bear practically on these people's porch. We looked at each other and said, "Maybe we should run a little faster." I talked to my mom this morning and told her about our bear spotting. Her suggestion? To carry a tin pot and wooden spoon while we are running so we can make a lot of noise. Probably not going to happen.

Anyhow, Sophie and I are off tomorrow to southern Wisconsin to visit my grandparents for the long weekend. Hope everyone has a great 4th of July!

Monday, June 29, 2009

Lunch Makeover

I used to be really good about bringing my lunch to work. I'd pack my little bag with a Lean Cuisine meal, yogurt, some fruit, and I was good. I'd occasionally go out to lunch with friends, but would always get back on track with bringing my lunch. In the last year or so, I have completely fallen off the wagon. I have been going out to lunch every day.

It's easy to see how it happened. I got sick of Lean Cuisine meals (no shock there). Then I started bringing these wrap sandwiches. Got sick of those too. But now I'm really sick of eating out. I live and work in a small town, so it's not like there are many tempting, delicious optiongs. It's expensive, and I'd rather spend my money shopping than on the same crappy restaurant meals. And it certainly isn't healthy.

Because it's summer, I've been in the mood for salads. So I stocked up on spinach and a bunch of veggies and decide to bring salads. Today was day 1: I just feasted on a bowl of spinach, red and orange peppers, cucumbers, carrots, strawberries, walnuts and dried cranberries. It was delicious. Now I just have to figure out a way to mix it up so I don't get sick of salads too . . .

Running: ran an easy three miler this morning. I have a track workout on the scheduled for tonight -- 3 to 5 1200's. It is much cooler here than last Monday, so I'm looking forward to a better speed workout.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

100th Post

I tried to think of something special to do for my 100th post. 100 things about me? Can't really think of that many. A giveaway? Too much work. So instead I decided to post a picture of my ridiculously cute child with her race medal from a few weeks ago. I'm pretty sure she's thinking about how she could have kicked a little harder at the end and taken that four year old who beat her . . .
I'm off to the wonder that is Wednesday traffic court. Happy Wednesday!

Monday, June 22, 2009

Race Report - Garry Bjorklund 1/2 Marathon

Alternate Title: Grandma's Still Hates Me
Alternate Title #2: The Time You Spend in the Porta Potties Still Counts

After getting to bed at 8:30 Friday night, I woke up to my 2:30 a.m. alarm feeling pretty well-rested. I had packed everything Friday night, so all I had to do was get dressed and get myself out the door. I was at my friend Cheryl's by 3:30 and we were off. Once we got to Duluth, we had no problem finding parking, finding the bathroom, and finding the lines for the buses to the start. I felt really good and even had some moments of wishing I was running the full instead of the half.

Sidenote: I decided to go with Outfit #2, the bright pink Addidas tennis skirt and white Nike tank. This was an excellent, trampy choice. But definitely not as trampy as the girl who was wearing a short gray cotton skirt (like the one's you get a Victoria's Secret) that said "Daddy's Girl" across the ass and a matching gray cotton teensy tiny bra. With tramp stamp on full display. This? Was not an attractive look, especially when drenched with sweat. Unless of course this girl reads my blog, in which case, I think your outfit was really cute.

So where were we? Oh yes, the race. We started off and I felt strong and had no problem locking into my 9:00/mile pace. It was warm, but not unreasonable. There were tons of people, but I didn't feel like the dodging was taking too much out of me. At about mile 2, my stomach started complaining. I was able to maintain my pace, but by mile 4 I had to stop at the porta potties RIGHT NOW. With waiting in line and, um, going, my break was just under 4 minutes. But I felt much better and got right back into my groove. I kept telling myself that I would have no problem making up those few minutes.

At mile 6, I took my first Gu. Almost immediately, my stomach started making itself known again. I kept telling myself to just ignore it and keeping running. This became impossible by mile 8, when again I had to stop at the porta potties. This time, my break was nearly 8 minutes. And I felt worse after than I did before. I struggled to get back on pace. By this time, it was also starting to get much warmer, which didn't help.

During mile 9, my stomach started to feel a little better. I had one more Gu with me that I had been planning on taking at mile 10. I spent much of mile 9 debating whether I should take that Gu. I felt like I needed it, but did not want to make any more porta potty stops. Finally, I decided to just take it. With a total of 12 minutes so far in the porta potty, I knew that my time was shot. After the Gu, I was able to finish the race without any further toilet breaks. My last three miles were all under 9:00 miles. Because I was now running in a slower pack, it felt like I would just get into a groove and then hit a wall of people. The dodging took a lot out of me and felt much worse than it did at the start of the race.

About half a mile from the finish, I ran around a corner and had some girls yell, "Cute skirt." Then I heard some people yelling, "Go Heather!" I looked and had no clue who they were. So maybe they were cheering for another Heather. Whatever. I waved and smiled. I'll take what I can get.

I turned the final corner and felt a mini-rush from all the people cheering on both sides of the road. But mostly I felt disappointment because I was so far from my goal. I crossed the line in 2:14:48. Not a personal worst, but close. Fourteen minutes and forty-nine seconds worse than my goal. The part of me that knows I am capable of a sub-2:00 half was very disappointed. But for the most part, I have come to accept that I did the best I could given the crappy (literally) circumstances. And now I've got to work my ass off to get that sub-2:00 in Mora in August.

The best part of the race? Coming home to find Sophie down for a nap. I had time to shower and lay down and take a half hour nap myself!

Friday, June 19, 2009

Father's Day & Race Goals

First, just a little tribute to the dads in my life. Neither of them run, but both of them support and inspire me to keep running. My husband constantly says he doesn't get running. He says he stopped running and riding his bike when he got his driver's license. But even if he doesn't get it, he is (most of the time) very good about watching Sophie so I can go out and get my miles in. And he's a wonderful dad to Sophie, so I can run nearly guilt free knowing that Sophie is getting the chance to have some one on one time with daddy.

My father-in-law is also a big inspiration to me. I have always looked up to him, but last year he was diagnosed with diabetes. He was placed on meds, but immediately changed his diet and started exercising. In less than 3 months, he was able to go off the medications because he had completely overhauled his lifestyle. Everytime I get tired during a race or feel like slacking off, I think of the commitment he's made to being healthier and the example he sets at every meal and it helps me keep going.

So Happy Father's Day to the two Eugenes, and to all the other dads out there!

Finally, some race goals. I mostly want to have fun. I really, really want to break two hours. But I won't cry myself to sleep if I don't make it. I haven't been doing any real specific training since my marathon last month - rather, I've just been trying to maintain my fitness. I developed a little plan to really work on my half-marathon speed between now and my next half in August, so I know I'll have another chance if I miss my goal tomorrow. It's going to be an early morning - I'm meeting my friend Cheryl to drive to Duluth at 3:30 a.m. I thought I would get a good night's sleep in the bank last night, but Sophie had other plans for me (specifically between the hours of 1:30 a.m. and 3:30 a.m.). Oh well.

To pump myself up for tomorrow (and because I finally have a court-free day!), I'm wearing my run like a mother t-shirt I picked up at the expo last night. Check it out here. These girls have lots of cute stuff.

Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009


I'm currently holding some auditions that I'm certain are as well attended and as popular as those for any Broadway show. Yep, I'm auditioning outfits for my half-marathon this Saturday. I really only have two standards for judging the outfits - comfort and appearance. I've only got three runs left until the race, so the top three are making the call backs.

Outfit #1: blue Nike shorts w/longer tank top. This outfit is super comfortable, and looks good too. I am loving the longer shirts that are in style this season. (And if longer shirts are no longer in style, please don't tell me. I live in the woods and we are a little behind.) So much better (and more flattering) than the short crap that was popular for so long. One drawback: the shorts tend to bunch in front while I'm running, especially once I start to get sweaty. Bunchy crotch area is never attractive.

Outfit #2: hot pink Addidas tennis skirt w/white version of longer Nike tank top. Hands down, cutest outfit that showed up for auditions. And the skirt's short length gives it some nice built in air conditioning. Downside? My husband thinks the whole outfit is a little trampy. Two things he may not realize: (1) when you are, um, well-endowed, like I am, most outfits are a little trampy, and (2) a little trampiness never killed anyone (at least not the kind of trampiness that I can pull off).

Outfit #3: Nike capris w/short sleeved shirt. This is my go-to running outfit this year. It was solely responsible for my kick-ass marathon PR. It is so comfortable. I love it in every way. But my prior experience in Duluth for Grandma's is that it will be melt your face off hot. So my beloved outfit might need to go to the bottom of the drawer until fall.

So there's my big, boring dilema. Once the call backs are final I can make a decision. Of course, I'll then have to get my act together enough to do some laundry so my race-day wardrobe selection isn't limited to whatever stinks less.

Sunday, June 14, 2009


I'm waiting for Garmin Connect to decide it wants to upload my latest activities. And by latest, I mean everything from the entire month of May and June so far. Guess it's been a while . . . maybe my own fault that the website isn't cooperating?

I'm waiting for my mom and my sister to get here so we can all go on a long(ish) bike ride together. I've been building up the bike miles slowly, mostly to get Sophie used to riding. But I've got the 50-mile tour (call it a tour, not a race) in September so I want to start adding on the miles.

I'm also waiting to get re-acclimated to summer running. I ran 8 miles yesterday (started at 8:30 a.m.), and even though the temps were only in the mid-60's, it was hot! Kind of humid, and the sun was very warm. Note to self: get out of bed earlier.

Enjoy the rest of the weekend!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

A Little Stir Crazy

I've heard of taper madness, but has anyone ever heard of post-marathon stir craziness? Symptoms: inability to focus on anything other than running another marathon, ignoring work-related tasks in order to search the web for fall marathons, frequent and prolonged fantasies about finding a training program and sticking it on the fridge. A little self diagnosis? Yep, I've got it.

Since Green Bay, I have not been able to stop thinking about running Twin Cities in October. I really, REALLY want to. But for many reasons (the preservation of marital bliss tops the list), I really can't. I didn't experience this problem after my first two marathons. Of course, the circumstances were a little different. After Twin Cities '06, got knocked up. And Grandma's '08? Well that just plain sucked. No need to fantasize about repeating that. But Green Bay was awesome. If ever I have experienced a "runner's high," it was the last half mile of that race. And I'm anxious to get back into some serious training and continue to improve upon my PR.

I've been using the banana chocolate chip muffin treatment that worked so well for my taper madness, but it's just not dulling my crazy marathon fantasies. I briefly toyed with idea of getting knocked up again (but hubby quickly vetoed that plan). I've also tried focusing on some great races I have on the calendar (Grandma's half next Saturday, and another half in August). Monday night I created a little training plan to take me from post-Grandma's to my Mora half marathon. An eight-week, FIRST inspired "see how much we can break two hours by" type of plan. I'm very excited about these races and looking forward to improving my speed at shorter distances. But, BUT I still can't stop thinking about the marathon. Help!

Monday, June 8, 2009

Race Report - Grantsburg 5K

I decided to run a 5K on Saturday because several friends from church were running. And, of course, I'm always looking for an excuse to run another race. This one is nice because, although Grantsburg is across the border in Wisconsin, it's only about 15 minutes from my house. I don't often get to have such a short trip to a race.

I've driven through Grantsburg many times and somehow got the impression that the town is flat. The race course (just a few blocks off the main drag)? Not so flat. It was an out and back course with rolling hills. Large rolling hills. (Why does rolling look like it is spelled wrong?)

About 200 people ran the race. I lined up and prayed for the gun to go off soon because Sophie was standing with my mom on the side of the road screaming. The race started and we were off. We went down a steep hill about 1/4 of a mile in, and for the rest of the race, I was dreading coming back up that hill. After the turn around, I was able to run past all of my friends from church (several of whom were running their first race ever). It was fun to be able to cheer them on and give out high-fives.

Finally, the hill of death was upon me. I pushed up the hill, repeating over and over that it was just a couple of short blocks to the finish. I saw my mom and Sophie (Sophie was standing in the road jumping up and down and clapping for all the runners - so cute) and gave it everything I could. Crossed the line in 25:05. Not a PR, but not too shabby. Especially considering that my pre-race ritual on Friday (which is usually lots of water, relax and early to bed) was replaced by an all-afternoon/evening golf tournament, several of my new favorite drink (UV Blue & Diet Mountain Dew, in case you're interested), and not so much sleep. I ended up fourth in my age group, but I'm calling it first, because at least two of the people who beat me were 20. And I'm about a month away from checking in to a whole new age group. So really, I was first. See how that works?

The best part of this race was the kiddie race, which ended up being Sophie's first race. They lined up on the football field and did a 100-yard dash. Sophie was by far the youngest kid to run. I ran with her and held her hand the whole way. She took last place (but there was one kid who broke down sobbing halfway through who took a DNF), but we finished. The race director was running behind the kids and grabbed her other hand to cross the finish. She showed off her medal the rest of the day. My mom got a couple of pictures that I will have to post when I get them. I've got my future running partner in training!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Cross Training

Try to ignore the creepy chick on the right who may or may not be me.

Around Easter, I bought a new bike. My hubby installed a bike seat for Sophie, and tonight we took the bike for its maiden voyage. Gotta say, I don't really remember, but I'm pretty sure I was not this nervous when I rode a bike without training wheels for the first time. I was really worried about falling over with Sophie on the bike. The whole "You better not fall" lecture from my husband didn't help.

Our first trip was a whole two miles and took about thirty minutes. Not because I was riding that slow (although I was going pretty slow), but because we stopped to visit our friend Anita and her horses. And then we stopped to visit the new baby alpaca at the alpaca farm around the corner.

Sophie loved the bike, I didn't fall, and we made it back home in one piece right before bath time. I think this whole cross training thing might work.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Track Star Triumphs Over Stressed Mommy

Hmm, chronological order means mommy stress comes first . . .

So yesterday, our daycare e-mailed out the summer schedule. And apparently once a week they are doing "bring your lunch to daycare" day. You wouldn't think this would be that stressful, but it sort of freaked me out. I mean, I have to buy Sophie a lunch box and then once a week pack it with some sort of lunch that (1) isn't so lame that she gets teased by the other kids and (2) isn't so unhealthy that our daycare lady calls child protection.

I went to Walmart straight from work and found an acceptable lunch box (slim pickings this time of year). I also looked at their toddler swimsuits because they are supposed to have a swimsuit that can stay at daycare all summer. You wouldn't think it possible, but all of the swimsuits in the 18-month size at Walmart are made for toddler whores. Every single one of them.

I left Walmart and headed to the track, determined to run out my feelings of being convinced I am a bad mother and convinced that Walmart is indeed the evil empire. First 800: still nervous about whether packing a Lunchable in Sophie's new Cars lunchbox will make daycare lady judge me (they are pretty high in sodium). Second 800: if I'm already this worked up about stuff and Sophie isn't even two, what am I going to be like when she goes to school? I need therapy. Third 800: hey, I just lapped that chick. And she doesn't even look like she is running that slow. Fourth 800: I lapped her again. Awesome. Fifth 800: wow, I'm getting tired. But not too bad for my first speed workout since the marathon. Sixth 800: Just make it to the last straightaway, you're almost done.

So there you have it. Proof that running indeed does calm the nerves and reduce and release stress. I should have been a scientist.

** Oh, by the way, I know that this whole lunch issue is not something I should have stressed about to begin with. But I'm sort of lame like that.