Saturday, March 24, 2012

half-marathon training [week 11]

I cannot believe that my half is a week from tomorrow. I'm not at all nervous. Okay, that's a lie. I'm so nervous that I might simultaneously throw up and pee my pants (which, after two kids, is not far outside of the realm of things that now go hand in hand, ahem). I know I've trained for it, but I also know that sometimes I just have inexplicably bad runs and what if this is one? At least I'll be running on a pretty route and I have lunch plans with friends afterward. Heck, even if I have to crawl across the finish line, I'll still have a sense of accomplishment.

This week was weird because I only ran three days instead of four. It was a hard adjustment to go from running three days to four back in January, but I've definitely gotten used to it. After nearly passing out in the heat last week, I decided to avoid the unseasonably high temps (seriously, we had NINE straight days of record breaking temps!) by running before work. I have a love/hate relationship with early morning runs. On one hand, it's quiet and peaceful. It's so nice to have my run done before my day really starts. On the other hand, I am generally a big chicken and totally mistrust people, so I don't really like running alone in the dark. It messes up my pace because there are some DARK areas in my neighborhood, in between street lights, and I end up going way too fast to get to the main road (which is well-lit and heavily trafficked). At any rate, I'd say my Monday and Tuesday early morning runs were successful.

And then I did nothing Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday, which was nice in a bizarre way. This morning, I intended on running as soon as it got light out, but I woke up feeling headachy and under the weather, so I stayed in bed until a little after 8. Shane took Tommy and I just kind of stayed in that dreamy, half-asleep state. This rarely happens and to illustrate why it rarely happens, Tommy slipped past Shane, came running in, and jumped on my head, thus ending my rest. I took this as my cue to leave and headed out the door. Today was an 8 mile run and I decided to do hilly country roads as a change of scenery and a bit of a challenge. It was not as flawless as I would've liked. My legs felt weirdly heavy and my hip flexor started acting up, but I finished with a 10:16 pace in spite of how I felt. Could I have done five more miles today? NO WAY.

Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to go spend the next eight days obsessively refreshing

Tuesday, March 20, 2012


I've been running in the morning to avoid the insane afternoon heat. Despite it still being dark outside, the air is warm and the birds are chirping and I just think that this season makes life worth living.

spring card

Saturday, March 17, 2012

half marathon training [week 10ish]

This was the week that wasn't. I knew I'd have one of these weeks, which is why I gave myself an extra week to train. I just wish it wasn't so close to the actual race, but it is what it is.

I missed running on Monday and Tuesday because I had a horrible change of weather migraine. I felt like I still needed to rest Wednesday, but I finally got out for four miles on Thursday. Unfortunately, I am horribly unused to eighty degree weather and it sucked. I ran again Friday after work because we had so much going on this morning. This was dumb. I planned for eight miles and I did it, but this was my slowest run yet. It was just so hot and my legs were so tired. The first two miles went well and were under 10 minutes, but then I got into the subdivision where I planned to do the bulk of my run... and I kind of died. It was HOT. There was no shade, no breeze, just the glaring, hot sun. I did the best I could and pushed through, knowing that my car was at least two miles away, but it was miserable. The more miles I did, the more I was walking. I grabbed a compression tank instead of a regular tank and the sweat was just sitting on me with no air flow.
I finally picked up the pace a little in my last mile, where there was shade and breeze again. Then I blissfully went to Starbucks where I bought TWO Venti passion tea lemonades and chugged them both.

It was definitely a discouraging week. I'm trying not to freak out about running 13 miles after two awful runs, but it's hard not to... I know my base is there and this week isn't going to destroy me, I just need to keep telling myself that!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Tommy Time

Since Tommy was born, Shane and I both became more conscious of making time for one-on-one time with Luke. It's hard when you go from being the center of your parents' universe to one of two centers. As Tommy has grown, we've kept that up, but somehow, we kind of forgot how beneficial this one-on-one time would be for Tommy, too.

Saturday, Shane and Luke went with Shane's dad to visit his sister and her family in Milwaukee. I opted to stay behind with Tommy because Tommy was fighting a cough and also because I had so much to do that I knew I'd lose my mind if I spent a whole day away. I forgot how very easy it is to get things done with just one kid around. I was like superwoman! Mostly, though, I didn't realize how much fun Tommy and I would have just hanging out together.

Luke taught him how to make funny faces. He's pretty proud of this new skill.

I asked him if he wanted to go to the post office (not that he actually had any choice in this matter), and he very seriously considered it before responding, I think so.

When we got to the post office, he jumped up and down in the lobby and yelled, post office post office post office!

Hmm... maybe the kid needs to get out a little more often. After the post office, we went to CVS. While we were waiting for my prescription, he ran his fingers up my arm and said, spider, spider, spider, causing the old man in line behind us to laugh and say that I should look into some bug spray. Tommy plays the spider game all the time. When we're not in public, I shriek and say, SPIDER, AHH!! GET OFF ME!
I bought him a green Matchbox car at CVS. When we got home, I took it out of the package and he played with it next to me while I cleaned out dressers and closets and sorted out too small clothes. See also: things you can get done with just one kid home.
After this, we ate lunch, then Tommy napped while I tackled vacuuming, mopping, bed making, and clothes folding. Cleaning machine.

When he woke up, I asked him if he wanted to get dinner out somewhere. When I asked this question, I meant somewhere with a drive-thru and a value menu. Tommy is not a cheap date, though, and he requested a specific sit down restaurant. I could not deter him, even with the promise of a Happy Meal and toy. He was all, Nah. Train restaurant. So, away we went. He sat in the booth like a big kid and colored and ate his dinner. We shared a dessert. Hilariously, the apple pie was too warm for him, so after his first bite, he didn't want any more. I half-heartedly tried to convince him that it cooled down... and then I inhaled it all by myself.

On our way home, Tommy asked if we could drive past the school and look at the school busses. He loves to do this. For some reason, he always says that one of the school busses is crying. I can't figure out why. After he announces that one school bus is crying, he then gets really excited at the sight of all the busses lined up.

Then we went home, took a shower, and cuddled, followed by pajamas and me smelling his freshly washed hair.

The best part was that we had such a great day together that he wasn't at all upset that Daddy and Luke went somewhere with Grandpa. Instead, he couldn't wait to tell them about going to the train restaurant and the post office. I love this kid. Now I just need the stars to align for some Lukey time.

Monday, March 12, 2012


“For, lo, the winter is past, the rain is over and gone; The flowers appear on the earth; the time of the singing of birds is come, and the voice of the turtle is heard in our land;" ~ Song of Solomon 2:12

I know that it's not quite spring yet--and I'm probably jinxing us into a giant March snowstorm--but didn't yesterday's sunshine feel so good? (Unless you live somewhere that was lacking sunshine yesterday, then I apologize for being a braggy jerk.)

We were all in heaven.

We opened up the sandbox, a plaything with which I have a serious love hate relationship. The kids love it and can play for hours, but the SAND. Why is sand so messy? And why does Tommy always have so much of it in his pants?


The best part is knowing that even if I jinxed us into a snowstorm or even if the next two weeks are rainy, we are going to have more and more days like this. Yes, knowing that put just a little spring in our step.



Saturday, March 10, 2012

half marathon training [week 10]

I can't believe I've done ten weeks already! It honestly seems like just yesterday that I was looking at the calendar, figuring out when would be a good time to start training.

Mostly this week, I tried to push myself with speed. I have NO PLANS at all to run this half at some sort of amazing race pace. My only plan is to cross the finish line with my dignity intact, and if that involves moving slow as can be to maintain my energy, that is what I plan to do. That said, I do have huge issues with pushing through when I'm tired or out of breath or feeling like I just don't want to run anymore. The second anything starts to feel at all difficult, I back way off. I think there is something to be said for no pain, no gain, so I just wanted to see if I was capable of more.
I really didn't want to head out Monday. I was more tired than usual and my calves felt tight from Saturday's twelve mile run. And also, I just wanted to sit on the couch, so with that in mind, I pushed hard. I had a stitch in my side and I felt like I was gasping, but I finished a 5k in 28 minutes with a 9:14 average pace. This is fast (for me)!
And then Tuesday and its stupid 40 mph winds came along. Tuesday was gorgeous. I ran in short sleeves. I really appreciated feeling the warm sun. I did not appreciate the ridiculously strong, coming from every direction winds. It was a long, slow five mile run. Forget about pushing myself or keeping a fast pace--it was all I could do to not just give up and walk this entire thing. But I finished and that's the important part.

Thursday was another three mile run. I mapped out a route while at work, then started out. I quickly ended up mixed in with a group of students walking home from school, and I honestly could not think of a worse group of running partners. Suffice to say, I hightailed it in the opposite direction and ended up doing an out and back. In my haste to get away from the students, I ran my first mile in 8:54. And then I collapsed and died. Or would have collapsed and died, had I not slowed my second mile down to 10:20 in an attempt to begin breathing again. Although I clearly couldn't maintain it, 8:54 is much faster than I ever thought I could run a mile!

Because last week was such a long run, this week's long run was not really so long--only six miles. I knew that Shane would be gone all day today, so I decided to get it done Friday night as soon as he got home from work. Words cannot describe how much I did not want to do this. My first two miles went pretty smoothly, and then I hit an open area that is always like a wind tunnel. I'm not sure why. Even on days that aren't windy (at least, I think so... I swear, it's been about four months since I last had a non-windy run), this area seems to be breezy. So on a windy day, forget it. I usually just give up and walk for a portion, because struggling into a strong wind isn't worth it. My pace dropped to 10:40 for this portion, but I picked it back up as soon as I was out of the wind. I finished in a little under an hour, with a 9:58 pace. Although not a technical sub-hour 10k, because I stopped at 6.02 miles, it definitely gives me hope that I could run a sub-hour 10k someday!

Three weeks until the half! I'm not sure if I'm more nervous or excited.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012


I was snapping pictures of the boys in their matching St. Patrick's Day pajamas, looking for a share-worthy picture.

This was an outtake. Perhaps not worthing of making into 8x10s for the grandparents, but completely begging to be shared.

This picture embodies the adventure of having two boys with two completely different personalities. One smiling sweetly, as asked. The other, doing his best T-Rex impersonation.
Luke's teachers eagerly ask when Tommy will be joining them. I smile and tell them they'll see him in a year and a half, but I also quietly assure them that Tommy is not Luke. Where Luke is calm and even-keeled, Tommy is loud and makes bold decisions. With Luke, the terrible twos were nothing. Tommy breaks and tests and pushes buttons. One day, I caught him in the refrigerator slowly and methodically dropping eggs on the floor. When I asked him why, he said, Because. Because he wanted to see what would happen, of course.

The beauty of this is that although I love them each the same, I love them differently. Luke often seems wise beyond his years, so much that sometimes when he acts just like a five year old should act, I get frustrated at him for not being more mature. Luke likes to play house and pretend. Tommy's favorite game is Monster, which involves running around the house and roaring.

Two boys have brought so much to my life. Noise. Laughing over bodily functions (really, bathroom humor is so not funny to me). Trucks and trains and bulldozers galore. Tickle fights and wrestling matches. Muddy shoes and dirty fingernails.

Mothering two boys is kind of big and scary. I want them to grow up and treat all women the way they'd want their mother to be treated. I want them to understand that the world is there for the taking, but that they cannot take simply because it is there. Mostly, I just want to honor and keep their different personalities, their different ways of being intact. I can't wait to see where life leads them.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

half marathon training [week 9]

Another week down. Less than a month until the half!
Monday was the usual three miles. Nothing remarkable here, except that my armband kept slipping off midstride. And when I say slipping off, I mean the stupid thing would fly off my arm and I'd have to catch it. To say that this makes it difficult to maintain a consistent pace would be an understatement.

Tuesday was a four mile run. I followed a path near my school. It was a pretty rough run. One of those runs where I felt like I could not catch my breath, like my legs were made of lead, and like it could not end quickly enough. Apparently a co-worker passed me and waved, and I scowled at him in response. I don't even recall this, but I imagine I had a pretty permanent scowl on my face throughout the run. I was pretty frustrated! I finished with a 10:30 pace, but felt it should have been better if I wouldn't have had to take walk breaks and could've made my legs MOVE.

Wednesday I managed to not die during the Tough Mudder workout and did two real pushups. I am so weak in my upper arms! Thursday was only a mile run. I finished one mile in 9:24, which is pretty fast for me. I passed a woman with a walker on my run and realized that someday, I won't be able to run. This helped me push through my tired legs and really give it what I could.

Saturday was the big one, my longest run before the half marathon. This is silly, but I tossed and turned all night long Friday. It was super windy. Every time I'd wake up, I would hear the wind howling. Last Saturday's long run was a miserable endeavor due to the wind, and I just couldn't handle another painful, cold run, you know? If last night was an indicator of what the night before my half will be like, I am not looking forward to it.
I drug myself out of bed at 6:20, complete with a lack of sleep and weather change related headache. I did not want to go, but I also just wanted to get it done. I set out slow. I altered my usual route, because I felt like I was getting bogged down with it. I live in a small town, so finding a route that would cover twelve miles is NOT easy. It most certainly involved going out and a back and it involved going through every side street and cul-de-sac in a neighborhood. I am not exaggerating. I started out on a country road that I don't usually run. It is hillier than what I usually run, and I reminded myself to keep it slow. Because I was running on the road and wanted to be aware of my surroundings, I didn't have my earphones in. I almost always run with music, but I found myself lost in the rhythm of my footsteps and breathing and the sound of the early morning birds. Even when I got into a neighborhood, I kept my earphones out. When I neared what I thought was the six mile point, I put them in. Until this point, I had no idea what my pace was, just that I was keeping it slow and felt good. I was a little surprised to hear that my average pace was 10:39, as I felt like I was going to slower than that. I am definitely not complaining!
At the halfway point, I'd planned on stopping and chewing a shot blok, but I felt good. I didn't want to stop. I have a problem with stopping, because once I stop, I don't want to start again. I kept going. Of course, by this point, the wind had picked up and it'd started snowing. I played a mental game with myself, telling myself that I was stronger than the weather. I knew I had a stretch around ten miles where I'd be straight into the wind for awhile, so I worked myself up for this moment. After that stretch, I had to stop for traffic at a little over ten miles. I only had to wait for two cars to pass, but I used this time (less than a minute) to pop in a shot blok and continued. My legs started to get heavy as I neared eleven miles, especially as I was going up hills that seemed MUCH bigger on the way back than on the way out. I was so excited when I got near the field behind our house and could see the back of the house. I may have thrown my hands up in the air!
I finished with an overall pace of 10:26, which made me pretty happy. I'm happy if I can do less than 10:30 on a six mile run, so to maintain it for twelve miles? I am proud of myself! This is the moment where I definitely see the nine weeks of training paying off, because seriously? I ran for TWO hours and five minutes. When I first started using DailyMile, I laughed at the space to punch in a number for hours because I couldn't fathom running for more than 45 minutes. But I did. Aside from two stops for traffic, I ran for two hours without stopping or walking! I kind of can't believe it.

One last thing. As I mentioned above, I've been having a ton of problems with my armband. I've also been kind of annoyed with an armband in general, because it gets heavy sometimes. Unfortunately, I am directionally challenged and NEED my phone to tell me how far I've run. Someone in a Facebook running group recommended that I try a Spibelt, saying that he uses it with his iPhone. It came yesterday, so I ran with it today. I can't say enough how much I love it! When it came in the mail, it looked SO tiny that I couldn't imagine it fitting my phone, but it did. I was able to run with my phone, two shot bloke, and a Gatorade G-series bite and had room left for money and a key, if necessary. I was worried about bouncing, but it fits snugly enough that there's no bouncing. After a mile, I forgot that I was even wearing it! Much, much better than an armband and more useful, too.