Like a wet blanket…

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A humid Texas morning is often described as feeling like you’re out in the heat with a big, wet blanket draped over you. Definitely the case today….it was brutal. But I knew it would be. We are in the dog days. So I tried to psych myself up all week that it would just be hard. It was. At 5:30 am it was 82 already. The run was pretty much brutal from mile 10 on….and I did 20. I was happy to have buddies for this one. But, on the home front, the morning had been plotted out for me to run, I really felt fine, just hot, so I had to suck it up. I’m glad to check the 20 miler box, but I’m hoping the next one isn’t quite so hard. I honestly think 20 on the treadmill may have been easier than this. And note to self….if I drive to a 20 miler, pack a snack for the ride home. I was scavenging the glove box for a half eaten jolly rancher or something…..anything. I don’t think I’ve ever been so hungry.

Now I’m at a bounce house sipping Nuun and wearing compression socks. I look ridiculous, but I don’t think the 4-7 year olds around me care. The adults around may question my outfit, but I don’t think explaining ” I have on funny socks because I ran 20 miles in the heat that you are currently inside escaping.”, would do much for justifying my fashion choice. Luckily at the bounce house Jasper has no trouble playing with other kids and going all out so I just sit on the sidelines and ignore the urge to lay down on the couches set out for parents.

But it’s done! Always a big victory to knock out 20 milers in marathon training cycles. Even if it was done under a wet blanket the entire time.

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Better? Easier? Different?

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It wasn’t that  long ago that this was most of my runs…

Jasper is 4 1/2 now, and I think we’ve finally hit the point where it a lot easier to do just about everything. Not that all the other ages didn’t have their merits…they did, but there were a lot of challenges. Birth to age one is just a blur of sleeping in 2 hour stretches, and little did I know this would continue for a LONG time. Actually, predictable sleep , finally at age 4, is what has made things much better. Its totally changed my running. We said good bye to the running stroller at 4, and I was ready to strike out on my own again. Over the last few months I’ve started meeting other people to run much more regularly. We’ve started using the gym childcare and all the classes I’ve wanted to do for the last couple years are now a possibility. I’ve been able to run errands with Jasp without massive tantrum protests. I credit a lot of the changes to going to OT, and some of it I think was just aging out of toddler behaviors.

We do a lot more stuff than we did a couple summers ago…..I’m never really at a loss for activities and we get a lot more variety. The big challenge that has started at 4 is scheduling. We’ve got a lot more activities and I feel like we have days we never slow down. But I’ll take it.

Another really nice thing about age 4 1/2 is I’ve added a lot of my stuff back into my life. I’ve been really fortunate that I’ve never really had to give up running, even when Jasper was a baby. But I put other stuff on hold. My evenings are much more predictable now than even a year ago. I’m reading real books again! Some nights I’m really tired because we are always on the go, but I now have a pretty good idea of what time I get to have a little downtime, and I don’t worry about going to bed only to get woken up a couple hours later.

Travel is waaaay better too. No more pull ups, diapers, bottles and all the baby supplies. We have to pack all Jasper’s special foods still, but at least that’s it. I look back and wonder why we ever took vacation when he was little. It was so hard! Our last trip he did great, other than a hunger strike, but I guess living off milk and crackers for a few days won’t kill him.

So very cautiously, I say things have gotten easier. We’re crazy busy, but I get enough sleep most nights, I can schedule my runs when I want to do them ( not at 4am with a stroller, and a child who woke up at 3:00), and we get to do a lot of fun things together. Like today….gym, Trader Joe’s and swimming. It’s going to be a good day….

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Feeling fuzzy…

After spending the last 2+ months saying, “It’s not that bad out”, but it got real over the last couple weeks.  We finally hit a super hot long run this weekend.   multiple days in a row of 100 degrees means it just doesn’t cool off that much overnight.  I hyped it up in my head all week, since I’d come home overheated from just a short, weekday runs.  I guess I hyped it up so much in my head, it ended up being not that bad.  It was hot, but I felt no worse than I have on any of the other long runs I’ve done lately.  By evening I had a touch of fuzzy headedness….I always attribute to mild dehydration.  I just don’t think it’s possible to completely replace all that gets sweated out when it’s this warm out.  We skipped core class at the gym and instead I took Jasp to a new bounce house and did my own core class at home…which I must have done a good job because I am sore today.  Jasp spent the entire weekend on the move with flag football, swimming, trampoline park and a bounce house visit.   I think I absorbed some of his tiredness afterwards or something, because this morning I had the “I just don’t feel like I can wake up” sensation, and it was actually a welcomed off day.   But the really cool thing is I can tell I’ve been running hills.  They felt easier.  Dare I say training works?  This coming weekend is the first 20 miler of this marathon training cycle, so it’s really starting to come together. 

Not a whole lot to add…it’s been a busy couple weeks, feeling pretty stacked with all the stuff we put on our plates.   But sometimes that’s just how life is….schedule it, and get it done.

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The weekend of a 57 year old…

Forgive all my food pictures, I must have been hungry this weekend, but come on, homemade pizza!!

Forgive all my food pictures, I must have been hungry this weekend, but come on, homemade pizza!!

I am digging my new running schedule.  I went so long stressing out every Saturday run, trying to make it to Jasper’s activities on time, and now on Sunday, I just try to finish by a time that is considerate to my family…but it’s so much less stressful!  Plus, taking Monday as an off running day is serving me well.  I am always tired and sore Monday, so it just makes sense. 

This weekend was how I define a good long run.  Company…yes, Steve joined me (thanks!), challenging…yes, we had some REALLY good hills, everything cool on the homefront…yes, this part is critical.  I so much appreciate my family excusing me for a couple of hours, (or 3 since I’m slow).  We did what is officially my favorite route through north Austin, which includes plenty of water stops, and always some wildlife sightings.  Next, taking advantage of Jasper’s still present declaration of love for the Y’s childcare, Mike and I went to another core class.  I would not normally do that after a hard long run, but you don’t always get to pick when you have free time, and you go when you can go.  I had to take a short nap or I may have died before taking Jaspy swimming.  He’s such a good swimmer now that I really don’t have to do much.  It really just means a lot of time in the sun which can be tiring after a long run, but then homemade pizza afterwards refueled me well!

These are the kind of run weekends I am thankful for.  I’ll take what I can get, and if the treadmill is what works, so be it, but a nice morning outside, followed by a nice day (and good food), is what makes me love marathon training.

Of course today I am sore, sore, sore.  The core class didn’t seem as intense as last weekend’s but perhaps I underestimated how much I’d feel it today.  And my legs felt it enough last night that I slept in compression socks…yes, I am a pitiful.  Speaking of, Jasper got a Wii Fit game this weekend after earning good behavior stickers in multiple categories (Wii Fit is not cheap….he had to pool together A LOT of good behavior stickers).  I created my profile and based on my BMI and balance score, it said my fitness level equates me to an age of 57 years old.  Yes, after my high of running 18 miles and doing 30 minutes of various plank exercises, a video game managed to put me back in my place.  I’m old, but not quite 57.  I’m hoping to knock a couple of years off  by the end of this marathon training cycle….or at least manage not to add even more years….

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Snow monsters in August…

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Pure taro deliciousness….in the bowl, please excuse Mike’s arms

The above is a Taiwanese ice cream, aka a snow monster. It super fine crystals of taro flavored ice milk that just melt in your mouth, and the purple stuff is taro pudding. Let’s just say I have a new favorite dessert.

In other news…..I have 18 miles, a core class, and an afternoon of swimming with an extremely active child scheduled tomorrow. That could mean another snow monster….

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Trying to keep up the marathon prep…

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I’d do a training update, but it’s just not that interesting. I’ve been consistently running hills once a week with my new neighborhood buddy. The rest of the week is pretty mellow. The weekend has it’s long run, and I’ve been really working hard on working in the “other stuff”. I only make it to yoga class once a week, but all week I try for about 20 minutes an evening of something…yoga, core, lunges etc. I’m doing push ups everyday. I still do my hamstring chiropractor stuff every couple of days. All this is the hardest part for me. It does chip away at my time in the evenings to relax, but if you want to run marathons when you are old, you have to do something to prevent them from breaking you.

This weekend it was just me and Jasper, so I plotted a down week for mileage. I did two 10 mile runs on the treadmill and am calling it a good effort. I am well aware there are those who will bust out a 20 miler once their kids are asleep and finish a run at midnight, but I don’t have the mental fortitude for such things. 3:30 am runs before work, yes, midnight runs, no. The really neat thing that happened this weekend was Jasper did the child care at the Y. I’ve never really done it since he’s already in child care 40 hours a week. But we walked by the child care area on our way to flag football ( extreme cuteness BTW) and he said he wanted to go. So today I found a core class and dropped him off at child watch. The class was amazing and I will definitely add it to my rotation and Jasper said he loved child watch! I think because it’s just a lot of toys and art supplies, not like his school where’s there’s a schedule, he really enjoyed it. It’s a perfect way to sneak in a short class and actually use they gym. In all our time there I’ve only done yoga and swam in the kids pool. I could also sneak in about 6 treadmill miles if I needed to long run (run on my home treadmill early morning until Jaspy wakes up and then later do a second run at the Y). Anyhow, this is very exciting to me since Jasper and I are solo a lot. We followed child watch time with a couple hours at the pool and then fro yo. So, a good day.

Yesterday we did kid sports all morning and into the early afternoon, and then went and saw the new Planes movie in the late afternoon. It was really cute and I loved the nod to the National Parks. I also loved that it’s a relaxing, not hot and outside activity. This weekend has been heavily slanted toward activities that completely wear me out…..

As much as I think we did pretty good all weekend, I am looking forward to running outside this week though. I’m also wondering how sore that core class is going to make me tomorrow….

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Sunday is the new Saturday…

Saturday morning has been “long run Saturday” for me ever since I quit working weekends about 11 years ago.  That’s a lot of Saturdays.  I always preferred Saturday to go long for two reasons:  1.  If something goes wrong, weather, stomach ache, you name it, then there’s still Sunday to get the run in.  All is not lost.  and, 2.  If there are fun weekend plans, they can happen after the run.  There’s no worries about eating food at a barbecue that will sabotage a long run, no worries a beer will cause dehydration…the run is done, so on with the weekend.  But kid sports have changed all that.  After several weekends, and two in particular of feeling like crap all day, I am finally giving in and admitting I just cannot run > 2 hours, shower, eat, and be ready to leave the house at 8:30 to spectate one of Jasper’s games.  Not to mention rushing out for errands immediately post game and not eating a real meal until hours after running 16 miles in high humidity (and not getting morning coffee either…the horror!…yes this scenario just happened to me).   Jasper gets Saturday, I’m taking Sunday.   Nothing goes on Sunday morning…it’s a relatively guilt free run.  Why did it take me so long to give in and change days?  I’ll just deal when social functions come up Saturday, and figure out a way to fuel my long run the next day, but Saturday has become so rushed and crazy, it’s the busiest day of the week.  Yikes!  I’ve also learned that finishing a long run in the Texas summer heat, and going straight from run to shower, means general misery the rest of the day.  For some reason, my body needs at least 10 minutes or so to cool down before a shower, or I spend the rest of the day feeling like I have a mild hangover, like I never quite “normalize” post run.  So bring on the Sundays!

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