Friday, June 24, 2011

Hello Again

I have thought quite a bit over the past months about what to do with this blog. Delete it in its entirety? Just leave it be? Actually try posting or updating? Sort of stuck in limbo I just pushed it from my mind, which has been all too easy.

And then I started having that old desire again. The desire, that is, to write. I picked back up the old journals for a while but lately I just feel the desire to blog again. I have thought about starting a new blog, mainly because this blog's identity seems to be so confused, but then I decided that is exactly what I am, confused. So here we go again. Can't promise for how long, but at least for today here I am.

There is no way to sum up the past 9 or 10 months in a single blog post so I will be as brief as possible. I continue to run. Actually my running changed last October and that is pretty much when I let the blog go. As I have mentioned before I am very single minded and one idea obsessed and so my life became taking care of my family and running. And that was about all. I ran races almost every weekend from 5ks to halfs, and upped my training even further, focusing on injury prevention and distance running. On New Year's Eve I signed up for a 10k, a marathon and a 50k. I made 2011 goals and started waking at 5 am to run long runs with a group of runners I had managed to meet at local races. At this point there is so much to say and I will not attempt it in this blog. But I ran, and I ran and I ran. I got faster and faster. However, something happened, a miraculous thing completely unexpected and at the moment I am lucky to run 10 miles a week. But I am still a runner and I am still running. So far this year I've run 12 races, among them 5ks, 10ks, half marathons, 25ks and a 50k. I am planning more running and racing for the year but am also excited about the prospect of running for the next 39 years. Even if I am never as fast as the likes of Deena Kastor or Kara Goucher I will still strive to be the best that I can be because I realized earlier this year that I was born for this.

Our children are growing. The twins are so big I can't even believe it myself sometimes and I see the transition every day no matter how subtle it is. They are an active bunch but that mostly means they a fun bunch. I never thought it would be this hard, this trying. I want to (and do) scream a lot. But I want to be with them, spend time with them. I know how lucky I am that I get to stay home with them, lucky that Todd and I both find that a priority. Sean is almost two which seems impossible. He is a mover but not a talker. Everything is "ah, huh, eh, nuh" with him. He has me nervous that he is behind developmentally but I took him to the pediatrician and he wouldn't stop saying 'car' and pointing at everything in the office throughout the evaluation so the doctor wasn't a bit concerned. So I decided to look into early intervention on my own and he chose that day to finally say 'more', 'shoes', and 'pool'. So I've decided for now that he's just decided that his place in the family will be the quiet one. If only the twins weren't capable of singing "American Pie" all the way through I might be able to leave his speech delays alone but I still fret over why he seems so far behind them.

Earlier this year we decided to sell our house. We didn't want to but work was slow and it seemed like the best option. Now we are not selling the house. Work is still slow but we sold our big SUV and refinanced and are cutting out every like extra we can afford to live without and are holding at the moment. We've had a couple things fall into place for us this year and though it's been a tough year it's not been a bad one if that makes sense.

I don't know when I'll find the time to write. Cooper has decided naps are for girls and two-year-olds but not three year old boys, it just so happens we had a long pool day after a busy night running 100ms with them at the track until 9 pm last night so he is for once sleeping during daytime hours. But it I should ever stop this way again, I'll try and write a post or two.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

I've gone and really done it this time.

Today I uttered four terrible words.

OK, today I uttered at least four terrible words. Maybe as many as 25 but no fewer than four.

Four words I had told myself I would never ever say. Just bad parenting, I told myself.

That'll never be me.

I'm too high and mighty to say such foolish, pointless, terrible things.

And then, just like that, the four words were out of my mouth and in the air before I even realized what I was saying.

I will admit, I was distracted. These size sixes needed to be boxed up. Do we have any other 12-18 months pajamas? You know the sort of distractions.

But still, it's no excuse.

I was frustrated. Everything, everywhere was a mess. I just wanted some order. Someone, anyone to listen to me.

I was on the warpath see. There was no control to be had. But boy did I want some.

Those four words, they didn't give me any comfort, control or peace.

I didn't even know they were in my vocabulary. But apparently they were on the tip of my tongue, just begging to be let free.

It can't be that bad, you're wondering, what four words could it possibly be.

I'll tell you, but please don't judge to harshly.

"Because I said so."

I know, it's all downhill from here.

Virginia 10 Miler

This past Saturday Todd, Erin and I all ran the Genworth Virginia Ten Miler in Lynchburg. The Ten Miler is Lynchburg's biggest race and has grown in the past few years, the race saw over 2700 participants between it's three races; the Amazing Mile (an all children event held downtown the evening before) the 4 miler (which boasted a "walking" section this year) and the 10 miler. Saturday morning's start was a cool one that turned warm before any of us crossed the finish line (except for Benson Cherulyst who crossed the finish line in 49:23). It was Todd's second 10 miler (he ran a 1:36:07 last year when he ran his first ever road race). It was my first 10 miler (I ran the 4 miler portion last year in 45:45, also my first ever road race). It was Erin's first 10 miler as well, she wasn't even running last year when the 10 miler event occurred.

This race was actually my "anniversary" race. I ran my first mile since high school last year during the first mile of the 4 miler section. I quickly turned to walking with some occasional jogging after that first mile but it was that event that started it all for me. Ever since the 4 miler last year I have been immersed in running, training and racing. I have seen huge improvements over the past twelve months (from that 11:11 pace at last years 4 miler I have seen race paces as good as 7:39). Because of the meaning this race has for me I really wanted to run it and run it well. That is why I joined a 10 miler training group at the end of July and that it why, when three weeks ago, my knee started to hurt that I was stricken with fear and worry. The knee pain got so bad that I have only run a handful of short runs in the two weeks leading up to the 10 miler. The few days before I was unsure whether I would be running at all.

But I'm strong (read that 'stubborn') and I showed up on race day, downed 4 ibuprofen and joined the ranks crammed in elbow to elbow at the start line. The first mile was fine, it is mostly downhill (the race is the 10 miles off continuos uphill and downhill) and I kept a steady if not fast pace. Then at 1.16 the knee started up, then at 1.5 the other knee started to complain. By two miles both knees were hurting and I was seriously contemplating walking. I was crying in my head and thinking only about my knees. Finally, I told myself to change to positive thoughts or drop out of the race. I knew that negative talk, even if only to myself, was going to make the next 8 miles even more difficult than my knees were already making it. I tried to speed up but the knees and the friction caused by my IT bands were making it rather impossible. Feeling like my training may have all been in vain I pushed on. I told myself if I got to the five mile mark in 40 minutes I could walk. I didn't. It was 41:33. I continued to run through the park and decided to look for my sister, once I found her coming in the other direction I would allow myself a walk. I passed her coming into my sixth mile. I decided to keep pushing a little further and thus started counting runners running the opposite direction (the 10 miler is a loop and these people were behind me as I ran back to the start/finish line). At reaching 7 miles at 1 hour I told myself to keep running. Having already beaten my knees up for an hour I figured another half hour of running couldn't do that much more harm. At 7.5 miles I had an especially bad bout with my right knee that had me wincing in pain and doing a funny shuffle run. I again contemplated walking, but fought through again. Up ahead, at 8 miles, was the famous "Farm Basket Hill" 1.5 miles of all uphill taking you into the home stretch. Having run that hill at least half a dozen times in training I wanted to show off my ability on the hill, make my training count for something. I braced myself and headed uphill into the direct sunlight and towards my reward, the finish line. I did the hill well, but not great. I did pass a few people coming up the hill but try as I might I couldn't break 8 minutes on the hill. It was as bumming as my knee pain was. Finally, after what felt like far more than 10 miles, I saw the finish banner and line up ahead. Unlike the VA Beach Half I was able to kick it up, having grown used to running on my painful knees, I sprinted in like I am accustom to, and heard the announcers recognize my effort to cross which made the moment, if only a little bit, all the more rewarding.

I finished the 10 miler running. I didn't meet my goals of sub 80 or even of a 82. But I ran on knees that begged nothing more than me to walk making this by far my hardest race ever. From this point I am focusing on recovery. I start back running today with a 2 mile run and will work up from there, but this time I am going to listen to my knees. They were so angry they made it tough to walk around for most of the weekend.
My overall results:

1:24:54 (8:29 pace)

337 overall

14th in age division

Monday, September 20, 2010

My Beautiful Boy

Being Vegetarians we have had a whole slew of questions thrust upon us over the years pertaining to how we would raise our children, beginning long before conception and as recently as last week people have asked how will you react if your children choose not to be vegetarians like you when they grow up? Thanks to this line of questioning occurring over and over again I have had the chance to contemplate this scenario ad nauseum. I have, what I think, is a rather rational approach to this dilemma. One that seems like the level headed response that shall be borne from necessity should your child ever choose to snub your belief system. I feel ready and willing to cross that bridge should we ever come to it, and I think that with love and understanding Thanksgiving will still come to pass around here regardless of who has turkey and who does not.

What no one ever brought up and what caught me completely off guard, leaving me wishing someone had asked me how I would handle the situation, was allergies. As I've mentioned before our youngest child is allergic to egg whites, milk and soy. Leaving him, due to our ovo-lacto vegetarain lifestyle, a vegan.

Having never given the vegan lifestyle more than a passing thought I have never realized just how restricting and difficult a diet it truly is. Some things are obviously on the restricted list; scrambled eggs, french toast, macaroni and cheese, mashed potatoes. Some things it takes a second thought or glance to know they're not ok for someone who is a vegan or has a slew of allergies; any oatmeal of the 'cream' variety as well as those deluxe varieties, dinner rolls, cinnamon rolls, Zataran's Yellow Rice (a favorite of mine), 'mock' meat, you get the idea. But even being very diligent there are still times when his face breaks out or he gets a bad diaper rash because I wasn't reading labels carefully enough. Lance Peanut Butter crackers are okay for him (we know from the allergy test he's not allergic to peanut butter or tree nuts) but another brand names Peanut Butter crackers has milk in them and I didn't think to check because the Lance ones are okay. Gerber Veggie Sticks have milk in them leading me to have to give him a dose of benedryl after snack time last Friday. Some sandwhich breads are not okay. All Quaker granola bars have either milk or soy in them. Most cookies and crackers are on the banned list due to other genetically modified foods that are derived from milk, eggs or soy.

It isn't easy or fun yet it's manageable with a little diligence however, the worse part for me is Sean. He is such a laid back, happy, loving baby. He seldom cries and has been our cuddle bug from the start. He rubs my nose with his before a wide mouthed kiss. He's small and quiet, sometimes he gets a little overlooked he's so easy going. And he doesn't know yet that he can't eat moms macaroni and cheese so she hasn't made it in four months. And he doesn't know that he's missing out when we have Chocolate Cream Pie, not yet anyways, but it's already breaking my heart.

I know a food allergy is not really a big deal. He could be a sick child. There could be so many worse things that I won't even begin to travel that line of thought. I know that there are other foods for him to eat, but I find myself thinking at least once a day, please be one of the 85% who outgrow these allergies.

His size doesn't make this predicament we find ourselves in any easier, a child who was born in the 50-75th percentile now finds himself in the -3 percentile. I feel as though I am constantly on the hunt for nutritious and fulfilling things for him to eat. The child has fallen out of love with pureed foods and has never shown much fondness for fruits or green vegetables. I am always worrying if he's gaining enough weight and counting up his grams of protein for the day. Rest assured is no longer in my vocabulary.

He will outgrow these allergies or he will not. We will either way, live through it. If he can never eat real cheese or eggs we will find ways around it. But it certainly will take some getting used to. I keep thinking if I was strong enough or a really good mom, I too would go vegan. Unfortunately, I'm much better at sympathizing than changing.

I do however, choose Jif. I'm hoping that counts for something.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Another Terrible Movie...

or just awful parenting advice?

I mean with lessons like "Never look in your rearview mirror, it makes no difference what's behind you" when your son is in the driver seat you really should be worried about something other than finding Mr. Right.

Sadly I am quickly losing my interest in cinema.

The Worst Movie Ever?

I mean when your tag line is "But sometimes you just need to sleep with a 25 year old", how great could your movie really be?

I'm guessing not all that good, so I won't even add it to my Netflix Queue.

Sometimes I get so worried about the human race that I can't even sleep at night.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Two minute post.

I don't have a lot of extra time these days so I thought I would just jot down the thoughts I was having before I get carried away by two year old traumas and crumbs from breakfast.

I have been drinking a lot of coffee lately. I have grown to like it over the years but this year I have found I actually need it in the mornings. Last night I had three large cups at book group however and feel as though I got absolutely no sleep as a result. Note to self: Decaf after 7 p.m.

Speaking of coffee and two year olds, coffee table books are certainly a thing of the past. I got a wonderful book for my birthday that would fall ideally in the coffee table variety. However, the coffee table is not safe these days for coffee, books or photo albums. The coffee table isn't even safe completely cleared off. Toddlers think coffee tables are the perfect height for climbing. Perhaps you already knew that. I did not. Lesson learned.

I never got leg cramps before my pregnancy with Bailey and Cooper. Now however, I get them as often as once a week. This morning I was awoken at 6 a.m. with a rather nasty cramp that is now making it painful to even walk across the room. Between my knees, my ankle and my leg cramps I'll be lucky to walk today yet alone run. I am really starting to feel old.

I got a new c.d. for my birthday. I left it on repeat yesterday so that I couldn't hear my knees cracking as I walked around. I am really digging it, especially this song.

A group of teenager who were at our house for dinner this past weekend made it rather clear that my choice of bands at the moment and the ratio of banjos in said bands make me pretty uncool. I guess it's not just a feeling, I am getting old.

Wait, I've always loved banjos. I have always been uncool is all.

Whew, that was close.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Tell Me Do You Miss Me?

I figured you guys were probably missing me. And when I mean 'you guys' I mean those of you whose comments are abundant and yet whose language I cannot even begin to decipher. So after an almost two month hiatus-here I am.

Things are well here. And not so well. And it's beautiful. And frustrating. And I believe that is the way it is supposed to be, don't you?

For every failure we seem to have success. This morning I made Cinnamon Rolls from scratch. Complete and utter failure. Twelve rolls, into the trash, almost in their entirety with the exception of the two bites Bailey and I truly tried to swallow. But this past Saturday, I made one of my 2010 Goals a reality. And had one of those truly blissful evenings with the family. I managed a 23:48 on a 5k, and not just any 5k. A particularly difficult 5k with rolling hills and two nasty uphills that had several folks ahead of me walking. And yet I beat my PR by 1:15 and took 1st in my age division. All this with a nagging Illiotibial band issue that just won't let up.

Three weeks ago I also ran my second half marathon (the first in August), knocking another goal of my to do list for 2010. Both of my times were acceptable but I am rather proud of my finish at the Virginia Beach Rock 'N Roll half marathon were I finished in 1:48:10, over four minutes faster than the half I ran in August, but also finishing in the top 10% overall and in the top 4% of women. These things make my running effort even more worthwhile.

The knee is still an issue. Now instead of the left one it's the right, threatening to effect my big race looming ahead, the Virginia 10 Miler, my anniversary race. What began as just another goal for 2010 escalated to goals of running it in under 90 minutes. Then I ran an 86 10 miler during the Lynchburg Half Marathon in August and then an 82 minute 10 miler during the VA Beach half. Unfortunately, the knee gave out on me at the 12.5 mile marker at VA Beach and I've been terrified ever since. Yet I have several people telling me they think I can do the 10 miler in sub 80. I don't agree. Have I mentioned the 10 miler course is just a lot of hills?

But despite the nagging knee pain I am loving running. It's crazy how something I hated to do for 25 years is giving me so much joy and fulfillment. Of course, it probably has to do with my ultra competitive nature.

Having completed two halfs this year with a possible third in October (a trail half) I have begun shopping for a full marathon for 2011 and maybe even an ultra race. And of course now that I've done the sub 24 minute 5k, can I do sub 23?

On a side note, are you looking to steer teenagers outside to get some fresh air? Or just get them to leave the room? Well apparently this song will do it. I like it (maybe because of the North Carolina references?) but it apparently drives teenagers mad. You can thank me later.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Re: Confusion over common definitions

Dear Universe,

The other night when I was wishing to myself "man I wish I were hot" I appreciate that you were listening, that you wanted to help me out. But I think we may have gotten our signals crossed. I meant 'hot' in a Victoria Secret model sort of way, not in an air conditioning broke down on us in the middle of July kind of way. I understand, you may have been confused. Hot is such a vague term, and in your credit the number one definition tends to be "having or giving off heat". I should have clarified, I get that now, I should have said I was referring to the Urban dictionary definition, 'smoldering sexual appeal'. You went with the 'having a higher than desirable temperature' meaning, I see that. However, I was hoping that if we could clear it up, if we understood each other, maybe we could get to work on the hot in the Gisele Bundchen way.

Also, now that we're clear on the meaning of hot, whose responsibility is it to fix the air conditioning? I was sort of thinking since it was your bad, you could take care of fixing it, we would certainly appreciate it.


Tuesday, July 20, 2010

5 Miler Race Recap

"You have to have confidence in your ability, and then be tough enough to follow through."
-Rosalynn Carter

Last Thursday's training at the Lynchburg track had me really pumped on Friday. I was thinking of faster 5k times and completing half marathons. I didn't let Saturday morning's looming race get me down, I fought my anxiety off and laid my clothes out before going to bed. I slept a little less than six hours before jumping up and out of bed to gear up for the flat and fast race.

We managed, with the help of my wonderful brother and his girlfriend, to leave before the kids awoke. This gave us enough time to properly warm up for our five mile run. I did a good stretching session and then we jogged a mile warm-up followed by a little more stretching. My knee was hurting at a level 2 so I took several Aleve and began to worry if I would be able to run the whole five miles.

I started talking to other runners I know, with each run we meet a few new people. People with similar goals, people who've come from the same place, people who love to do what we love to do, run. I think the conversations were as good a warm up as any, hearing others fears and worries, aches and pains. We took our places at the start, as near to the front as possible, let the faster runners pass us. I placed myself behind a runner who is in my age group and a slightly faster runner than myself. My plan was to pace her as long as I could. I did after all have a lofty goal of under 42 minutes for the race.

The horn was blown. Off we went. I stuck with Todd for about 1/8 of a mile before he was gone at which point I realized I had passed the runner I was supposed to be pacing with. She then spoke up and I realized she was behind me, 7:20 pace, she warned. I knew I wasn't going to be able to keep up that pace for five miles but there was a spark of pride that I was leading my running buddy, we finished mile 1 in 7:18, a mile PR for me. Then my shoes laces came undone. I had to work my way over to the side and stop. I hate, HATE, hate having to stop to tie my shoes, but at a race, precious seconds slipping by. I tied them as quickly as possible and looked up to see my running buddy a good 100 meters ahead. I had to do a little sprinting to catch back up but I knew that I had to keep pacing her if I had any chance of placing. I caught up to her but made sure to stay behind this time. I know myself, I do better running right behind someone then right beside them.

I was feeling good despite the heat. I kept right along pacing, mile 2, 15:12. As the half way point neared I started to slow, I couldn't, like I'd feared, keep the pace. A running buddy of ours passed me and told me I was doing a good job pacing. I started to see the people ahead running back towards the finish. I started to count them. My running buddy whom I was pacing with began to get farther and farther ahead. At the half way point I was the 68th runner, the time was 19:18 at 2.5 miles. My pacing buddy, having gotten quite the lead on me, cheered my name as she ran back off of the island. For some reason this moved me so much that I picked up my pace, for me, for her, for runners everywhere. I decided to focus on my 5k time. I was starting to wear down but I was gunning for a PR, I finished 3.16 in 24:18. A new 5k PR even if it wasn't an actual 5k race. I guess my running coach was right, I can do under 25 minutes and now I don't have to wait for October to know for sure. At four miles a female runner gained on me, time 31:50. I decided I could, I must finish in under 40 minutes, I could do it. I tried to pick up the pace, I felt like collapsing. I accepted, for the first time in my racing history, water from the volunteers, I poured it on my head. So cold it gave me a start. I trudged on. I started counting trees, counting seconds, counting steps. I just wanted it over with. At 4.5 I had exactly four minutes to finish in under 40 minutes and I was loosing energy quickly. I rethought not having anything but a handful of Peanut M&M's pre-race. I rounded the turn coming off the bridge to the homestretch and there was my running coach, out to cheer on his runners. He called my name, he cheered me on, I pumped my arms. Neck and neck with the female runner pumping along beside me I had completely lost track of my running buddy/pacing buddy. With the finish line in view I saw the big time board, twenty seconds to finish in under 40. I let out my sprint, I gave it all I had crossing the finish line at the same time as a 13 year old cross country runner, 39:50. They gave the 68th place to her, the 69th to me. I didn't care. I had three new PRs, I had finished the race two minutes faster then I thought was possible for me given perfect circumstances and I had held my spot in the race until the very end not letting others gain on me even if I couldn't pass those ahead of me. I realized my knee wasn't bothering me. I realized for the first time that I was drenched in sweat. I found my husband waiting for me at the end of the shute with a cup of water in his hand for me.

I finished 24 seconds behind my pacing buddy who took the third place in our age division. I am not jealous, I am thankful, had it not been for her I would never have finished in under forty minutes. Besides, she turns thirty today, thus leaving my age group for two years before I join her in the 30-34 ranks. I went up after the race and congratulated her, she did the same to me. I love running. I love racing. I finished 59 seconds behind Todd who went out too quick and burned out, usually at a 10K he has me by about six minutes at the finish. I ran an overall 7:58 pace. My fastest overall race pace to date. My Ukrop's 10k pace was 8:14 and I went around with a smile on my face for days. Today however there is no smile. I'm too busy planning, too busy scheming, calculating pace and locating races throughout central Virginia this coming fall.

I came home and began training for next months half marathon. I took a day off in between of course. I am starting to believe in myself, in my ability to run any distance. Call me crazy, but I've even started considering running an ultra next year, a 50K race in February.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Coming up on 11 months

So I want to go pro, so I did the logical thing and hired a running coach.

Ok, so I would love to go pro but know it's never going to happen and I simply cannot afford the individual love and attention of a running coach so I did the next best thing in these parts. I joined the local training group for the Virginia 10 Miler, which I plan on running here in about eleven weeks.

It wasn't cheap as free and it isn't a large group (probably because it isn't cheap as free) but tonight's first meeting has me stoked and believing that I might just be able to run the 10 miler in 90 minutes.

Last year I ran the 4 miler portion of the race. I had just had a baby not quite 5 weeks earlier but I ran the race in 45 minutes, despite the feeling that I was about to collapse it was an amazing experience. And even though we have two half marathons on the calendar before the 10 Miler I feel a true desire to do well at that race as it is my anniversary.

That's right, I ran my first mile at the VA 4 miler last year, my first mile since high school that is, and have been running miles ever since. But I'm big on anniversaries and I want to make a statement about the last year. For me, a 90 minute 10 miler would do it.

For my first group training (there are five other people) we did 4x800 and hill repeats. I've never done this sort of speed training, or hill repeats. For the amount of pain involved you would have thought I was at Disneyland. I ran with a guy who runs the trails with us on Wednesdays and who paces quite well with me on the trails. Being the ultra competitor that I am I decided to run his paceat the Lynchburg College track this evening (funny thing, both me and my running partner went to Lynchburg College, neither of us had been on the track before tonight). It was work and it was hard but I LOVED it. My times weren't half bad either: 4:06, 3:55, 3:40 and 3:23. My coach thinks I can run a sub 25 minute 5k right now. Unfortunately, we don't have another 5k on the calendar until October.

My coach is going to send me a weekly training schedule, I am to follow it and follow up with him weekly. I can run in addition to his workouts but he will formulate a plan for me that should help me attain my new goals.

The last two weeks I have run over 20 miles a week. To ultra runners that may not seem like much, but to me who hasn't run that much since pre-knee injury it feels awesome. My knee is still giving me a little trouble and I usually take Ibuprofen before runs but it is nowhere near as bad as it was in May. I need to do better however at doing my stretches before and after runs.

This weekend we have a 5 mile race. Everyone I know who has run it tells me that it's the only 'flat and fast' course to run in Lynchburg. I am nervous. I think I prefer hills to be honest. I want to see sub 42 minutes but I don't know if it's in me. I have done three five mile trails and the fastest was 48 minutes. Can I really shave off six minutes on race day?

From now until Saturday morning I am going to lay off the running and focusing on hydrating and fueling for the big day. And maybe peruse the many race calendars and schedules on line.

I would love to find a 5k to test my coach's theory out before October.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

What a difference a month or six weeks makes. I haven't been on to blogger for some time, and not surprisingly, the site didn't recognize me. Asked for a password and everything. As soon as I was through that hurdle (wherever did I put that list of passwords and security information anyways...), I was asked if I wanted to work with the sites new template designor? I said yes.

Note to self: Next time, say no.

Now here it is over an hour later, I don't like the new design and I have all but forgotten why I came here in the first place.

I have been seeing a physical therapist. She noted the knee and told me that she thought it was the illiotibial band without me even suggesting it. I also seemed to have a little fluid on my tendon below the knee. And my quadriceps are weak. So she's set me up with stretches and strength exercises and sent me on my way again. However, I've yet to run more than about ten or twelve miles in one week since about April. So much for my high hopes for summer training. And to top it off, it's hot as Hades around here. But I am pushing onwards and still setting my sights on a sub 25 minute 5k this year (my last two have been 25:02, I mean two seconds, really?). And of course there's that half marathon looming ahead in September.

Now that my knee is becoming less and less of a problem I had to move on to something else to worry about. Sean was there, as if on que, to give me that something else. I won't go into all the details that led to my suspicions and I will just jump to the point. I was becomingly increasingly convinced that my child was allergic to milk, especially with the introduction of more and more table foods that were resulting in more and more blotchy patches on my child's face and tummy. Yesterday we went to see an allergist and my fears were confirmed. Even more so, actually. The poor child is allergic to eggs, milk and soy.

We are and have been for sometime, vegetarians. It has never been much of a problem to supplement our diets and eat a well balanced and healthy variety of foods without any meat or seafood. However, the elimination of three more sources of protein has me a bit flustered. We are pretty much left with legumes for protein. Fortunately, all children love beans. Oh, wait...

To top it all off, I am still nursing so the elimination of eggs, milk and soy has to begin with me, immediately. We're on day 2. I've been pretty successful with eggs, but milk is in EVERYTHING! Skipping a glass of milk or two is just fine by me, I've never been a fan of plain milk, but eliminating milk means eliminitaing butter, cheese, sour cream, cream cheese, buttermilk and a whole slew of other ingredients. I've been checking my pantry and it appears everything I possess contains some soy or milk.

Several people have kindly suggested that I switch Sean to formula, namely to Alimentium or Nutrimigen. I'm just not ready to give up nursing Sean however. Not only are these hypoallergic formulas even more expensive then the stuff I was trying to avoid by breastfeeding I have committed to a year. And I am afterall, exceedingly stubborn. It's only two more months...

The allergist told us that they would refer us to a nutritionalist/dietician if we wanted. I think we probably will look into that route, just for more ideas and to confirm that we're giving him a well balanced diet with so many foods on the 'do not' list. We've also been given an even stronger steriod cream to fight the eczema that has been plagueing Sean since last fall on and off. The allergist did try and give us a silver lining, 85% of children outgrow these common allergies.

But it could be several years before he does. I have been reading online and many families eliminate these certain foods from the grocery list, however, with our diet being restricted to begin with, I don't think I will be eliminating milk and soy from Bailey and Cooper's diets. The whole family will be cutting back on eggs though, which is what Sean is most allergic to.

I feel so bad for the little bugger. He is such a sweet and happy baby and he has had such a rough and difficult time this first year. First there was the colic, then the eczema, several coughs and then surgery at six month and now this. I know he doesn't hold it against me that I've been consuming eggs and milk like crazy these past ten months but it doesn't stop me from feeling guilty, especially as I watch him scratch at the eczema and think we could have been preventing this a long time ago.

And because I carry a little bit of crazy with me wherever I'm at in life, I have already begun researching what he can have to celebrate his first birthday. Other than bloodwork to see how the allergies are progressing that is.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Stubborn, Not Stupid

So I took a few days off other than an easy run on the treadmill like I mentioned in my last post. I thought I knew better than everyone else offering me advice and I decided that because my knee wasn't currently causing me any pain that I would go out for the Candler's Mountain Wild Wednesday Trail Run last Wednesday. I even decided to go on the longer of the two designated runs.

For the first two miles I was fine. No pain at all. I wasn't running particularly fast but I was passing runners who normally beat me at races by a long-shot going up the hills. I was enjoying myself immensely. And then somewhere around 3 miles the knee started up. It wasn't too bad so I kept going. I walked a little but I was on trails I was completely unfamiliar with so I didn't want to get too far behind the other runners. I talked with a few other runners I caught up with about my knee. Each of them had similar stories to share with me. It seems if you run you will ultimately endure a knee injury of some kind. Each of them told me the same thing, stay off of it until it heals. No one could tell me how long that will be.

By five miles my husband reappeared having long since finished the run. When he saw that my knee was bothering me he understandably shouted at me to stop running and berated my poor judgement for the rest of the run for which I was almost in tears for all of it because I was concerned, embarrassed and wanted nothing more than to run.

At the end of the run I talked with a few of the runners who had told me they had suffered knee pain or more specifically iliotibial band pain. They recommended a visit to a physical therapist and rest. Maybe some ice, but definitely rest.

I have not run at all since Wednesday. I called a physical therapist first thing Thursday morning but I can't get in for three weeks. I iced the knee several times, ordered a Pro-tec Iliotibial Band on Amazon and am working on an addiction to ibuprofen. I vowed to take several days off, though I haven't decided exactly how many, I am going to let my knee decide when it is ready. Then I am going to start especially slow and with distances of about 2-3 miles. Having taken the last five days off my knee is feeling fine but I don't want to rush it. I also have been going to the gym (3 times last week) to work on strengthening my hips and leg muscles. For the past eight months I have focused almost solely on running and cycling. Stretching and strengthening have not really been a focus of my training. I am now beginning to think that my training was suffering because it wasn't really fully rounded. I have also been paying more attention to my protein intake.

I believe this is my running trying to teach me something else about my life and my body. I am trying to listen. Really. I haven't registered for any of the three races coming up at the end of the month though I would be lying if I said I was content not running them. The one I want to run the most is a trail run two days after my physical therapy appointment. I am going to see how the knee is feeling and what the PT says before I make any decisions on that race.

I charted my running for the year last night and found that my running during April had been for long distances but had been fairly sporadic due to illness and other factors. Then in May when I tried to return to a normal routine and reach 15-20 weekly miles I injured myself. Overuse? Increasing distance too fast? Overpronation? I'm not sure what exactly caused the injury but I know that above all else I want to still be running in six months, in six years, heck maybe in sixty years, so I have to be more level headed.

I am not running this weeks Wild Wednesday Trail Run. I am going to sit at home, ice my knee and pout while Todd does.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

The good, the bad and the stubborn

Two weeks ago I ran a 10k trail race. It was difficult, hilly, landscaped with large rocks and roots. I started slow but picked up quite a bit of time on a steep downhill at around mile two. It was almost like flying. I struggled up one hill and then another, jogging at an abysmal pace as I passed walkers who would only pass me once they too reached the top of the hill. I ultimately walked one hill only to feel like the largest failure. I berated myself for the next half mile until a cramp just under my chest had me wondering whether or not I could finish the race. And then I found myself approaching mile five and I found my second wind. I picked up the pace and finished out with my normal sprint at 1:02:09. I didn't feel particularly good or fast but somehow came in second in my age division, bringing home a nice medal with a bald eagle on it.

Two days later I managed a nice tempo run of four miles. I wanted more. I have three races within eight days of each other at the end of the month. I needed more miles, more training, more speed and confidence. We went out the next night for another tempo run.

I don't know if it was the veggie hot dogs or the heat but I almost immediately took to a cramp in my chest not unlike the one at the trail race. I hoped it would pass so instead of slowing down I continued to try and pace with Todd who was after all, pushing the massive Triplette holding our three children. At three miles the cramp was only worse. Then at just over three and a half miles, I had my first ever knee pain. At four miles I was grimacing and contemplating tears with my family long gone ahead of me.

Todd came back and asked if I was OK. I managed a no and told him about the pains in my side and my knee. Well stop running you fool. I did and took over the Triplette responsibility so that he could get a decent run in. My side eased up by mile five and we were approaching the tunnel that rains down whether we've had rain all week or not so I thought I would try and jog through the tunnel pushing the more than one hundred pound stroller. Bad. Idea. Immediately my knee hurt worse than before and I knew to stop. I pushed the stroller another mile before Todd once again took over. I cursed the seven mile loop and the distance left to make it to the car. I was embarrassed that I was walking. I was frustrated that after so many warnings about knee pain that it had finally happened to little old invincible me.

I would have cried had I not already sweat out all the fluids in my body. We iced the knee and later wrapped the knee in ace bandages. I hoped the next morning would find me well rested and good as new. The next day I could barely do stairs. I took a few Advil and continued on worrying only a few dozen times whether my knee injury was serious.

I listened to Todd and rested. I took two full days off of any exercise. Then on Friday I thought I would try again to go for a run. I would take it easy, listen to my body and bring along a knee brace. The first mile went fine. And then the second. I started to get cocky and thought about pushing through to six miles when the pain came back. Then another female runner passed me. I never let other female runners pass me on the course without a fight. Unfortunately, there was no fight in me, only pain.

I stopped, I put on my brace and tried again to run. I could go about 200 yards before the pain was too much to keep going. I would walk and the pain would go away. So I would try again to run only to have the pain come back a little worse each time. Again, I really wanted to cry. Or kick something. Or scream. Instead I started to sulk and turned around.

I pledged to take the next several days off from training. Four days off from training gave me ample time to search the internet for a diagnosis. It was easy to come by. It is more than likely that I have an Iliotibial Band injury. I know it's a self-diagnosis on the Internet but it sounds exactly like the pain I am having. Especially since the only other pain I have had as a runner has been in my hips. I spent several hours yesterday reading up on the iliotibial band and exercises to strengthen it alternated with time spent worrying about whether or not my training will be further postponed.

But I am pretty damned stubborn. So I iced my knee for a while before bed last night. Then I stretched this morning doing several of the stretches I read about on the Internet. Then I loaded up the car with my beautiful children, took 600 mg of Ibuprofen and headed to the gym. I did several reps on a few machines focusing on the part of my body I believe to be weak. Then I stretched some more and headed to a treadmill. I really wanted to do a mile, play it safe, see how my knee felt. I wanted to focus on my pronation (I was just recently told I overpronate), as well as my overall form.

I began my mile on the treadmill, walking three minutes, running three minutes. No pain. Only a little stiffness. I upped it to six minutes running, two minutes walking. Then I decided to run two miles. I followed through with eleven minutes of running and decided to go for three miles, then four. I even got to a sub 7:30 pace, which on the treadmill is pretty good for me. At 3.8 miles my knee started to give me just the slightest twinges. I'm not that thick headed so I decided to cool down. I don't want to end my training, I told myself. Three races in eight days three weeks from now.

I did some more stretching and a few more reps on the hip abductor machine. I came home and iced the knee some more.

So far it isn't giving me any trouble. I am so thankful. I realized this past week that it has officially occurred. I am indeed addicted to running. I have been really distraught all week that I couldn't run. Both my husband and his brother told me I might have to take a few weeks off. I know it may sound irrational but I don't have a few weeks to take off. I have PR's to set and new distances to cover. I have already been slowed down by weeks of blistering cold weather, then by a terrible sickness. As I see it in my stubborn little head I really can't afford an injury. Especially one that may take visits to a physical therapist.

I am going to continue to ice the knee, take the ibuprofen and work on stretching and strengthening the hip abductor muscles. I am also going to make wishes in penny fountains and see to it that Bailey and Cooper jump cracks in concrete. And of course pray that I don't have to take a month to six weeks off of training for a bum knee.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

The down side.

The first year of the twins life I sat around blogging, watching You Tube videos and eating frozen burritos. Naturally, I gained 25lbs on top of the 20lbs I should have lost before getting pregnant with the twins. I was just thinking of losing the weight when I luckily got pregnant (and I mean luckily). When I was in my second trimester I decided after seeing some very poor shots of my pregnant self, to cut back from four slices of toast for breakfast to only two. In my ninth month, I took up walking two to three days a week in the hopes of bringing Sean on naturally.

I spent a lot of my pregnancy with Sean contemplating weight loss, exercise and my love of food. I want to eat, drink and be merry. Unfortunately, all the weight gain was causing me to be less than merry. However, I was ready and seemingly more determined after Sean's arrival. I set many weight loss goals for myself and hoped that my small 5' 2" frame would one day see the 120s on the scale again.

It took several long months, a lot of running and even less bread, but I took the weight off. I even took off more weight than I had planned. My clothes started to get truly baggy and everyone was commenting on my weight loss. It made me feel good, at first.

Then I upped my running goals and threw in a half marathon to the list of races to tackle this year. I finally managed a few 20 plus running weeks and I lost a few more pounds. I am happy with my new body, for the first time in well maybe forever I am happy with this strong body that can run 13 miles and bear three children. I'm proud of this body (OK, maybe not the stomach but everything else, really).

However, lately more and more people have been making jokes or other unnecessary comments about my weight. (Several people apparently think the "be careful, soon we won't be able to see you when you turn sideways" comment is funny. It isn't.) I have been told I look 'gaunt'. I have been told that I have lost weight when I haven't lost any weight. It was starting to get annoying.

Then I went and got the worst case of strep throat I have ever even heard about. My throat swelled so badly I couldn't eat or drink. I went to the doctor and got an antibiotic. Then my throat got worse and I couldn't even swallow my own saliva or the horse pills the doctor had prescribed. I was dehydrated and my milk was drying up. I went back to the doctor pleading on paper because I couldn't talk. They gave me several shots in my derrière and finally, six hours after the anti-inflammatory shot I was able to swallow some water. Unfortunately, being sick cost me four pounds. Four pounds I really didn't want to lose. The comments began to rush in.

So I ate. And I ate. Six powdered donuts for breakfast, a whole pizza for lunch, then another lunch two hours later of Macaroni and Cheese followed by a whole can of green beans and chocolate chip cookies. I ate around the clock, at midnight and 5 a.m. I ate all the foods that I had strayed from since having Sean because I know they are not the best foods for me. I ate and ate and yet people still made comments about my weight.

At this point, I have gained back the four pounds I lost plus one more for good measure. But I am starting to get annoyed. My BMI is in the healthy range and I am already eating somewhere around 4,000 calories a day. I've thought about it a lot this week because the comments are beginning to truly bug me. Am I supposed to feel bad for finally losing the weight? I feel as though I am eating more than I should be and eating even more of the wrong foods to try and avoid the ridicule or speculation that I'm not eating enough. My mother-in-law's boyfriend commented the other day that I have no bottom and am too thin, Todd comments that I eat enough for three people. I truly feel like screaming "leave me alone" at the top of my lungs like a moody teenager and slamming the door to my bedroom.

For the first time in my life I was managing a healthy lifestyle. Running and cycling four days a week, more whole grains and leafy vegetables, less powdered donuts and cherry coke. And I thought it was working. Now, however, I don't know how to handle my detractors. Are they really worried about my weight or are they a little jealous? A few months ago all of my friends kept telling me I must have a thyroid problem because of my weight loss. When my hormone levels came back far more normal for me than usual, I gathered a sense of disappointment from a few of them.

I'm not really sure what I'm going to do but I do know that if another person says "Go ahead, have another slice of Cheesecake, you look like you need it" I don't think I should be held responsible for what I may do.

However, if it's Heavenly Chocolate Cake I'll probably just sneer and have another helping.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Where I Stand

I spent lunch time today eating things covered in powdered sugar (donuts and banana cake for the most part, but I also tried a Chocolate Chip Cookie that way, I think I may need counseling) and analyzing my 5k race times. It's the sort of thing the obsessed and deranged do. But I saw a pattern of improvement emerging.

Here are my times for the nine 5k's I've done since I began running (now almost 8 months ago can you believe it?) :

If you take away the Girl's On The Run Race that I do not believe was a real 5k (how else can you explain my 25:15 time?) and the two trail runs I did in February you see this list of numbers:

When I look at it like that, I see a marked improvement on my 5k street races over the past six months (the first was run in October). You see, I spend alot of time looking at numbers. ALOT of time, time I don't even have. I study my numbers, I study other people's numbers, I cross reference years of races in my age division and then study those numbers.

I see it now. I could never run for exercise. I just don't care enough about weight or bulge to make any change to my lifestyle on those factors alone. But call it training, sign me up for a competitive event, and you will see a whole new side of me. I knew I was a little competitive, but at times I disgust even myself.

My wonderful husband lectures me on competing with myself, beating my own personal records and striving to do the best for myself. That's wonderful. I even understand what he's saying. However, I want to compete. I want to pass the person in front of me and I want to place. I am becoming increasingly competitive actually. To the point that if I don't think I am going to run very well, or didn't get decent training in, I don't even want to run.

Two weeks ago we had a big run. I had been looking forward to it ALL YEAR LONG. I cross referenced the numbers. I got a tummyache. I worried that I hadn't trained enough. I went out two days before the race and did my first ever true speedwork out. A slow mile. 4x400's with two minutes jogging in between. I calculated splits even. When on the last 400 I maintained a pace under 7 minutes, I threw my hands up in the air like I was an Olympic Gold Medalist. It was pathetic. But I was confident. I was ready to set a new PR.

And then I got sick. Really, really sick. The kind where you lose five pounds you really didn't want to lose so you go around the whole next week eating everything you can covered in sugar. The worst thing about getting sick. I didn't get to run in that race.

Lots of people I know would have swallowed their loss and moved on. I couldn't. I can't. I am still depressed that I didn't get to run that race. There is something about racing that makes me pick up the pace, makes me work myself harder. And then there were my rivals, a couple of girls who ran cross country in high school were running it (I also study entry lists, sick I know). I was looking forward to competing with them.

I have a theory about why this running hang-up. You see when I was younger I liked to run. Actually, what I really liked to do was sprint. I thought I was fast. I thought, with training and determination, I could be even faster. I thought about joining the track team. Or trying out anyways. I shared my dreams with my father and a few friends. All of them told me I couldn't do it. They told me that I couldn't just decide in high school to pick up running, that those people already on the track team had been running for too long and I could never catch up. The one I remember the most was my dad though, he told me that I couldn't do it and that he didn't even really think I would stick to it so basically, why bother. So instead of proving him wrong, I listened to him. I couldn't be a runner I decided, it was too late for me. I started instead, to tell myself I couldn't run. I told myself that for over the next ten years.

In the past six months I've learned a lot about myself. I've learned that I have a competitive streak sure, but I've also learned that I can endure a good bit of pain and discomfort. I've learned that I can commit to something and stick to it. I've learned that having something, especially as a parent, that is just a tad bit selfish, is good for your well being. I've learned that I can be a hard worker, that I am determined and stubborn. I've learned that it takes me two miles to get warmed up completely, and then I'm good for five to seven miles before I start getting physically exhausted. I am still learning, both about racing and about myself. I'm also learning about parenting. My father should never have told me I can't. He should have been my biggest cheerleader. He should have told me, even if he didn't believe it, that I could make it happen if I really wanted it.

I got sick and didn't run for ten days. I rested and napped when the kids napped. Yesterday Todd took me running and his mom watched our clan. Todd pushed me to run further than I had ever run, 13.5 miles. Today, I can barely walk, but I feel incredible. A year ago I told myself I couldn't run 200m, yesterday I ran further than a half marathon. I'm starting to tell myself that I CAN run a marathon. That I can endure. That I am strong.

Whether or not I'm crazy or fast, running is one of the best things to ever happen to me.

And to us. Todd has always loved running. Now it's something we can do together (even though I am still a bit slower than him and I can't quite tackle the distances he can). We can go to dinner with the kids, and we can watch movies at bedtime and talk on the phone at lunchtime. But going running together, stuck out there alone for hours at a time on the trail, I really think it's brought us even closer together.

He is after all the one person who has always, always said that I could run. I guess I just didn't want to believe him.

I guess one more time admitting he was right won't hurt me.

Friday, April 23, 2010

I'll Return To You

I know, I know. It's been like a month. But if you'll recall my last post was about having absolutely no time. I've even thought of giving up on the old blog, I just can't seem to give it up.

It's been a heck of a month. Or a little over. Sean had surgery. Sean did fine with surgery. Mom (me) surely suffered more than he. I had to organize, prepare and delivery several hundred dollars of baby gear for a local consignment sale. I made enough money to buy the kids spring clothes but have yet to find the time to do such frivolous activities. We went to Richmond and ran our first 10k. I did well. Better than I thought I would. Then I stopped running. Or so it feels. We've just been so busy. We threw a large Easter Egg Hunt Brunch with twenty toddlers and several hundred eggs. I ate coffee cake, quiche and casserole leftovers for days. The kids got to have Cadbury Eggs and Jelly Beans for the first time ever. We celebrated Easter with meals too large for even our families size. We went to the first ballgame of the season to see my nephew throw out the opening pitch. We went home, an hour later, disappointed by baseball players who won't play ball in the rain. Sean pulls himself into a sitting position and yet still refuses to open his mouth for solid foods, from apples to green beans he's just not that interested. We went to birthday parties with dirt cake and birthday parties where we were treated with convertibles and little ponies. We had dinners out and a few, if I might say, truly delicious meals in. We went to Target 47 times. The Walmart and Kroger 13 times. There was Romp 'N Roll and playgroups at churches. There was lunch and dinner at La Carreta, once in the same day even. There were trips to two children's museums. We took the twins hiking for the first time, even if it was only a mile. Then, well let's see, I got sick. That is another post.

I think that catches us up.

There is another thing. You know that movie Watchmen. Well when it came out I was probably the least interested person you could find, there were lots of conversations I overheard but didn't take part in and several magazine articles I turned the page on, but somehow it eventually ended up on our Netflix Queue and then in our mailbox. So we watched it. It began with this intro to which I looked over at Todd and said "I think this movie really wants me to love it already." But then can you go wrong with Dylan? If you haven't seen the movie and this intro doesn't move you, you probably won't like the movie but if it does and you have Netflix...

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

The one were I ponder where all of my time went.


A long time ago (2 years, 3 months and 12 days ago to be exact), I had entire empty days and nothing in which to fill them.  Those days would have been, could have been, great blogging days.  But alas, my first blog was created on the eve of Bailey and Cooper’s birth.  And then, BAM, motherhood arrived keeping me perpetually busy.

These days I often wonder to myself (usually one evening a month I find myself alone in the car and I actually get twenty minutes to actually THINK)-‘what in the hell did you do with your time before you had all of these kids’.

The answer?

Well, I watched T.V.  A lot of T.V. From C.S.I. to Big Love, House Hunters to Myth Busters.  If a station showed it I would watch it.  Hours upon hours.  If only I could get just a few of those hours back.

I searched the Internet.  Everyday I searched, in the days before my hcg levels began doubling, I searched for cures and treatments to infertility.  From Amazon to buy The Infertility Cure or A Few Good Eggs to places like for Basal Body Thermometers and Ovulation Predictors (that was money well spent). Once pregnancy became me, it was baby names and stroller reviews, gender prediction quizzes and back to Amazon to order A Child Is Born.

I also ate.  Again, I did this a lot.  Even when I wasn’t hungry.  And I shopped.  Surprisingly more than I ate, I shopped.  I would drive some afternoons the twelve miles into the city just to walk the isles of the Baby Depot at Burlington or window shop Mother Goose.  I was obsessed.  And more than just a little depressed.  I would venture into town some days just to order a large Coke (not diet) and an even larger order of onion rings from Burger King.  I spent a lot of time with my Grandmother.  That may be the single thing I will never regret.  That time was never wasted.

I would stay home on occasion and having done the five or six loads of laundry for the week I would wash guest room bed linens when we hadn’t had guests.  I would actually fold underwear.  I would fill a bucket with water and work my way throughout the house scrubbing baseboards and wainscoting .  Or I would spend the morning dusting bookshelves and books, then organize them by genre, then size.

I read.  Boy, did I read.  Sometimes three of four books a week. I won’t go any further on that subject as that’s one of the only things I am still mourning the loss of as a parent of many young children.  But I didn’t just read novels and novellas.  I read magazines and junk mail. 

I may sound as though I am complaining.  I’m not.  I am trying to characterize that lonely life for you in which I used to live.  The one where sleep was uninterrupted, the floors were clean, and the rooms were quiet.  Too quiet.  I had to quell the silence with television and Rhapsody playing constantly, the unsettling silence was deafening.  That life was, if nothing else, boring.  There were no noses for me to wipe, there were no disputes over who was playing with the Fridge Phonics last, there was no screaming in the backseat, only Talking Heads.  If those days were empty because of waiting for the children I longed for, these days are filled to the brim with activities in which to fuel their toddler brains or to keep my sanity. 

I was not right with myself for a very long time.  Even, to be honest, after the twins were born, I was still in some ways, struggling with depression.  But in these past few months, as the days have become busier and busier, I have smiled more, frowned less.  I am for the first time in a long time, if not ever, at home in my life.  I am satiated with this nuclear family of mine.  When Cooper wakes up from nap and looks at me with those eyes for which I’ve no name for the color and says “Mommy, I was tired.” I think, ‘me too, buddy, what took you so long.”

Monday, March 8, 2010

The one where I lose a watch, but win a medal.


This weekend was our second official race of the 2010 season.  This race, another trail run, was held in the heart of the Blue Ridge Mountains on the trails of the beautiful scenic Explore Park in Roanoke, Virginia.  The recent history of the park, and its limbo status, were enough to have my interests peaked in this race however I was a little worried after the Liberty mountain trail run how efficiently I could tackle another snowy trail.

Fortunately, the weather has been a tad bit warmer in these parts the last two weeks (40s and even some 50 degree days) and the trails were about 99% clear.  I had done some extensive result studying where I tracked the overall results of the Mountain Junkies Explore Your Limits last five races in my age group and decided that if I could muster up the strength and energy to finish in under 33 minutes I might just place in my age group.  The week prior to the race I had the best intentions to get a few runs of at least 5k distance in.  I got one.  On race morning, as on every race morning before, I was incredibly nervous and completely unsure of myself.    There seemed to be a lot of runners at the race who appeared to be in my age group and I was convinced I wouldn’t be able to finish the race in the time I had allotted myself and that I wouldn’t place. 

On the starting line Todd and I decided we would run together for the first mile with the hopes of him pacing himself better so he didn’t go out to fast and with the hopes of increasing the pace at which I began the race.  I always start races slow, it has something to do with that story of the Tortoise and the Hare I think.  “Slow and steady” wins the race (I literally repeated that mantra to myself at the Liberty Mountain run).  When the race began I held up with Todd for about two minutes.  He however, couldn’t bear my 8 minute mile pace and I was soon just a memory for him.  I did my best however to run fast enough to finish with a respectable time but so as not to bonk.  I was doing well until I reached the bottom of the first real hill.  The hill slowed me down so much that when I took a look at my Garmin I was convinced I wouldn’t finish in under 34 minutes.  My mind was apparently a little exhausted though because I wasn’t figuring my pace accurately and before I knew it I was at the top of the hill and then the next one and then before long I heard a volunteer shout ‘only 200 more yards’ at which point I switched into sprint mode, past the 41 year old man whom I had been pacing with for about a mile, and sprinted to the finish.  My time: 27:18.  I was ecstatic.  But not convinced that I had indeed placed. 

Within minutes the rest of our team had finished and we were all downing water and Gatorade.  We moved ourselves inside to partake in the famous Mountain Junkies Pumpkin Bread (which was delicious) as well as bagels, bananas and cookies.  Man, I love the free food that accompanies a great race.  We ate our food as they tallied the race results and handed out door prizes (Jordan, who is the luckiest person we know, won a door prize yet again).  And then it was time for awards. 

I am pleased beyond measure that I can claim second place in my age group for Saturday’s race, especially since after the official race results were posted I learned that I did indeed run in the largest age group (there were 16 in my age group, all other groups peaked at about 5 or 6 runners).  And I am just as pleased to tell you that East Coast Madness came home with four medals, three second place awards and one for third (yeah! Go Tyler!). 

I am not as pleased to tell you about what happened when I got home.  My watch, my most handy Garmin Forerunner, that I got as a Christmas gift from Todd and have yet to be able to really test all of it’s features, didn’t make the trip home with us.  I tore the house and car apart looking for it Saturday afternoon before emailing the race director with my lost watch woes.  Turns out someone had indeed come across my watch (which I had removed in the women’s bathroom when I went to pump) and turned it in.  My watch is now waiting for me in Salem, Virginia.  Not as close to home as I would like, but far better than it being lost to me forever.

Overall, it was an awesome race.  A huge thank you to Mountain Junkies for their ability to put on one amazing race!

I am looking forward to warmer weather (it’s 61 today), training outdoors (we got in over 15 miles this weekend) and seeing more marked improvement on my times.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Safer of just plain lazier?

I was perusing Facebook this morning, which I will admit I do quite frequently, when I came across a status having to do with the apparent redesigning of the hot dog.

That's right, the hot dog, around in some form since the fifteenth century, may be getting a new look due to it's status as a common choking hazard. Now don't get me wrong I know that hot dogs can be dangerous. The only person I have ever seen choking was in fact choking on a hot dog. My brother's toddler lips turned blue before my mom successful unlodged the hot dog from his throat and it's a scene that has always remained in the forefront of my mind when preparing them (the vegetarian version anyways) for my own children. But really this proposed redesign has me thinking only one thing: Will this change make our kids safer or just us parents lazier?

Will selling hot dogs in the shape of dinosaurs or smiley faces make them safer for our children? Perhaps, but what is so wrong with the slice and dice method that parents have been using for ages? And besides there will still be foods that pose choking hazards, which truly can be any food, but what about grapes, nuts and popcorn? Is it only because hot dogs can be altered that the suggestion is being made? And while you're at it APA, why not try suggesting they be made a tad bit healthier? I mean nitrates? The childhood cancer link?

Overall, my biggest problem lies in the fact that a lot of these suggestions made by the American Association of Pediatrics wouldn't even need to be made if parents were more on the ball with their children. I know the American Association of Pediatrics is only trying to inform parents in the hopes of keeping them safe. It seems to me that parents, myself included, are the ones who need to be making changes, not Oscar Meyer.

But alas, if made some people will buy the sliced and diced hot dogs, Oscar Meyer will make more money (because they're bound to charge more for that convenience) and some children, unfortunately, will continue to choke on hot dogs.

Damn that glass looks half empty.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Snowy days and Wednesdays


I am just so done with all of this snow, ice, sleet and slush.  Done.  Do you hear me Mother Nature?  D-o-n-e.

I understand that we live in a part of the country that gets four definite seasons.  I am generally good with this, I like to watch the seasons change and it’s nice to have a few cooler months following the warm and humid summer months.  But this winter has just been ridiculous.  I don’t recall seeing any giant acorns lying about but so far this winter we have seen more accumulation in these parts then in any previous winter in my lifetime. 

The weathermen used to cry wolf, threatening us weekly with flurries that never came to fruition.  Now they are always right.  They call for snow and we get it.  Lots of it.  We have had snow covering the ground since December.  December.  That never happens. 

Today’s forecast?  Flurries.  And we’ll probably see some.  And then they’re calling for more snow next week.  In the past I loved getting a good snow once or twice a year.  But then it would warm up a little and melt.  It’s been a record breaking cold winter and the snow is hanging around.  Having everything around us covered in snow, a lot of it grey and black tinged, it’s effect has worn off.  I’m just plain sick of it all.

And if I could get my hands on that little punk Punxsutawney Phil, I’d tell him what I thought of six more weeks of this stuff.  I mean come on, get over your shadow already.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010


I am having a hard time making it downstairs to the treadmill.  It’s not the distance in feet or the stairs that are making it difficult to get to the treadmill either.  I still handle stairs alright at this age, it’s everything else.  Like the cute little bugger to the side there and his little siblings. 

Today Adobe Photoshop Lightroom arrived in the mail and I am just itching to tear into it.  I had Lightroom before I lost it in the fire when the old Toshiba died last summer but this version was shipped to me directly from Adobe if you catch my drift.  Just another thing to keep me off target and away from the basement.

My hair is still falling out but I’m feeling a little better about it.  First, I talked to a girlfriend who had a baby three weeks after me and she said that her hair is falling out in fistfuls too.  Secondly, I went in for some blood work two weeks ago to have some things checked like my blood count, testosterone and thyroid.  My doctor called me today to tell me that everything looks ‘quite good’ and I appear to be quite healthy.  Even my PCOS seems to be in remission.  I’ve heard having a baby or babies can do that to you.  And lastly, my dear old husband is going bald and I still love him so I’m hoping that if I am indeed going bald he will at least still love me and perhaps even hold  my hand and kiss  me gently when we go wig shopping.

That is if he doesn’t run away with Twittergirl anytime soon. 

Do you ever have those dreams where your significant other runs off with a nameless faceless beauty? I was lucky enough to have one of those dreams just the other day.  I can’t recall much of the dream but boy did I wake up angry.  Unfortunately, Todd was still home and I was feeling like I had slept on a board and my mood was perhaps showing that when I told him about his ruthlessness in my dream.  He just looked at me and smiled, “You’re angry with me aren’t you?”

Well, wouldn’t you be if your husband brought Twittergirl home to live with you?  Twittergirl, the nerve of some people and their usernames.  Imagine if I called myself Blogspotgirl or Flirkrgirl.  Wouldn’t that just annoy you?  Especially if I moved in with you and your mate.  You are feeling me on this one, right?

I’m thinking that perhaps I watch too much Big Love.

Or that I’ve been spending was too much time lately trying to be witty and catching in 140 characters or less.

Either way I haven’t been finding my way to the treadmill, that’s for sure.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Giving up is too decisive for me.

Last week was a good week.  Despite a lot of snow that we in these parts are just not accustomed to, I actually ran over 17 miles.  That’s right, first week all year to actually reach my goal of 15 miles.  I felt so good about it that this week I’ve run two miles.  I’m sort of like a roller coaster, I know. 

Despite my pathetic totals for the week I did go ahead and register for my first real race of the season.  A 5k trail race held by Liberty University next Saturday morning.  We even have a babysitter lined up ahead of time.  Of course, we still have snow everywhere and they are already calling for more so the race will probably get cancelled but I am going to hold on hope for just a little longer.  The true beginning of the race season, which begins full force the beginning of March, does have me excited.  I knew the winter would be hard but we haven’t had snow like this…well not since before I was born, and this winter and all the snow has been constantly testing everything I worked so hard for last fall.  But I think despite all the draw backs I’m getting better.  I did only two  miles last night but they were sprint intervals at which I was running about 8% faster than my 5k pace on the treadmill which should amount to even more on the actually road because I always find that I run faster on the actual road than on the treadmill. 

I have been baking a lot.  I just love it, you could even say I’ve become addicted to it.  I make the kids something from scratch almost every morning nowadays.  They had cereal for the first time in over ten days this morning and that’s because we were running behind, because I have Buttermilk Pancake batter just sitting in the fridge ready to go.  I have also been submitting my work to a trendy food site.  And being constantly rejected.  It is really bruising my ego.  And has made me start to really criticize my food photography and realize a lot of my photos are crap.  I also wish I still had Adobe Lightroom, it was so awesome. So I’ve been researching technique and  new recipes.  This weekend I am going to try my first scones ever and perhaps some Beignets.  I am also going to attempt a Valentine Cake for my sweeties. And of course take four hundred photos.  And resubmit to snobby but very trendy food site. And then, because they’re bound to reject me, resubmit again.  I. Must. Get. Accepted. 

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Ten Years.

This year I celebrate ten years since I graduated from high school.  As things go, that means that it is time to celebrate with our first class reunion.  When I was still close with a few friends from high school I figured it was a done deal, I would definitely be going to the reunion.  However a few things have changed in the last year and lately I haven’t been so sure.

Despite being friends with 50 or so people I went to high school with via Facebook, I am not really in contact with anyone from that time in my life anymore.  It’s somewhat sad but I seem to have lost contact with all of my friends from high school.  Sure we occasionally say hello to one another on a social network or chat in passing at Target but it’s more like acquaintances than friends nowadays.  I am now surrounded with friends whose children are the same age as my own.  I think that’s pretty typical, but I wonder what will happen to those bonds when our children get old enough to make their own friends.

So I wasn’t so sure I was even going to be attending any reunion when I got invited, via Facebook of course, to join a Facebook group entirely dedicated to my graduating class’ reunion.  A week or so later I even got a personal message on Facebook asking whether or not I was planning on attending whatever event is chosen.  The note moved me, that someone actually gave a hoot whether or not I would be attending the reunion kind of made my cold heart soften, just a tad of course.  Then yesterday I noticed that I had been tagged in a picture on the group wall.  The picture is from Ring Dance, junior year.  I’m wearing that cheap velour dress I bought from Value City.  My mother’s friend had tried for over half an hour to do something with my dense coarse hair (ah, when I had a full head of hair, those were the days).  My girlfriend and I went to the dance together.  She didn’t have a date and I was hopelessly in love with a guy who had moved across the country to live with his family, so I didn’t have a date either.  We rode to the dance in my little ‘89 Pontiac Sunbird with the ewok, Wicket, hanging from the rearview mirror and probably Dramarama playing on the cassette player.  That picture really seems to have shaken something in me.

It’s not that I have decided to attend the reunion, they have after all, joked about having it at Putt-Putt.  And it isn’t even that I am nostalgic for old times or old friends, even though there are honestly a few I do miss or would like to see.  Honestly, it just made me feel old.  And not ten years older.  Like twenty, maybe even twenty five.  I honestly don’t even recognize the girl in the picture.  I went and looked in the mirror afterwards just to see if it was me. 

My face is clearer, that’s for sure.  My hair which is still falling out, is shorter with lots of gray.  My eyebrows were….oh let’s just say my mom used to affectionately tell me I looked like  Brooke Shields, but only in the eyebrows and only Brook Shields in the “Blue Lagoon” movie.  My sense of fashion in no keener.  But it isn’t just in the appearance that I look so different to myself, it’s the fact that I can almost feel the ten years difference when I look in that picture. 

They’ve picked a date for the reunion.  I don’t have a run or adventure race so far that weekend.  But babysitter’s aren’t always easy to come by and I’m pretty sure the only way they’re going to want your children to come are as 2x3 wallets.  It’s in October, so I have time to think about it. 

But it didn’t hit me, until I saw that picture, just how long ten years feels.