No rest for the weary…

“I’m very cute despite requiring constant activities.”

It’s 5:20 and I’m sitting here waiting on coffee brewing, not getting ready to go run. Gasp! I’m taking Jasper to a kids run today, and rather than get up and run at 4am, I scheduled in an off day. I actually wanted to take it. Yesterday was tough. I over scheduled massive amounts of activities and failed to ever get the chance to eat a real meal. And I fell into a massive heap at 9pm, completely spent. It was all my doing and part of the reason it was so hectic was I ran 20 miles. I’m the one who prioritized both kid sports and my own running, so I have no right to complain about the chaos the two create when they meet. However, I reserve full rights to bitch about another brutally humid run. I was good for 14 miles, but the last 6 were overwhelmingly hard. And the humidity was so high I was uber- soaked two miles in and a pair of freakin’ biking style shorts caused massive chafing. WTF? I am running out of short options here. The waistband, the legs, uggg. Sport bra chafing is a given, and I’ve accepted there’s nothing I can do about that. Shorts and sports bra combined rubbing off a good amount of skin made for a painful shower. Next weekend has got to be better….
The kids run should be interesting. Jaspy did a couple when he was about 2, but showed no interest in doing more and they are not cheap, so I quit signing him up and quit offering them. He found a shirt from one of them he’s never really worn, and begged to run again. The race he’s doing today is a true kids race, 1K, with lots of post race activities, so we’ll see how it goes. We currently have soccer and swimming, so I’m not sure we need another activity, but we could probably work in an occasional kids run. By the way, we got 4 year old sized soccer socks and shin guards, and they are about the he cutest thing ever.

It’s all about the treadmill this week and trying to get in yoga at home. Last week was a yoga fail due to Jasper getting a massive asthma type reaction that meant two missed days of school, two trips to the doctor, and two nights of terrible sleep. Yoga is funny….when I haven’t done it in awhile I just crave it. My body feels like it really needs to be stretched out, but then again maybe it’s because I ended up sleeping on a loveseat one night this week and pretty much slept folded in half….when someone insisted on sleeping on the other one after not breathing all night. Sigh…….

Ok…time to get ready for the kids run. Wish me luck.

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Beaching and running don’t mix….


This is not a post about lovely beaches, and days spent by the pool. We just got back from a family trip to Florida with lots of other family members for my brother in law’s 50th birthday. This is a running blog, and other topics and interests must satellite around running, so there you have it. Just so no one thinks ” you went to Florida and all you can talk about is running?

Briefly though…. the beaches are pretty spectacular. I am not a beach person….I get bored laying out and I currently don’t own , nor have ever owned a bikini. Shudder….. But even I, as a non beach person, was impressed with the beach and loved how warm and clear the water was. Why can’t the Texas gulf be so pretty?

The running in Florida? Ack!!! I have not had good luck with running in Florida. I always seem to be by a busy major road when I go there, as was the case again this time. I did find a little paved path just off the main road though and ran on that.

Now any marathoner will tell you vacation during peak mileage makes one’s brain spin. Peak mileage means things are pretty regimented and life revolves around the long run, trying to eat healthy, getting enough rest, and stretching/ yoga/ whatever you do to stay injury free. All of this can be curtailed by any little curve ball and vacation is a big curve ball. I tried to be rational realizing that being too much of a marathoner would make my vacation miserable. I took a down week. I knew ice cream would happen and plenty of alcohol. I knew pulling a foam roller out of my suitcase and rolling around on the floor is not the way to make inlaws pleased you are part of the  family. The foam roller stayed home, and I didn’t resort to a 3am run to make it 20 miles….and then try and convince family members that it’s a reasonable thing to do.

The running was brutal! Floridians……I concede. You have it tougher than we do in Texas. We are hotter, but your off the charts humidity and full sun by 6:15 makes your running tougher. And please don’t design anymore running/ bike paths without water fountains and bathrooms. Full sun plus screwed up stomach on account of eating that ice cream does not make for a pretty long run. I made it 13. That was my goal. I ran to a beautiful state park and back. They whole way was really exposed and hot and I finished at Starbucks. Yay me. Vacations make me feel like I need $5 coffee.

Tomorrow is a recharge on the training. I’m giving myself one last night of doing nothing. Why does sitting on an airplane all day wear you out so much?

Ok….my bloggy time is up. Got some seaweed to rinse of of my frumpy swimsuit…..then some sleep catch up to do.

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The green band, shopping, and garmin woes…


Note the green band….it’s value? Priceless.

Let’s get it out of the way that this weekend was another 20 miler. It went well. I’m never fast, but the best part was I felt fine the rest of the day. No headaches or feeling hung over. I’m pretty sore from yoga, and some at home strength stuff, but I am feeling both of these helping me through long runs. Hallelujah… works.

We swam A LOT this weekend. Our pool requires passing a swim test to swim without a parent and to go down the super awesome water slide. I thought Jasper could pass the test back in June, but he seemed scared to take it. I offered it every single time we went to the pool, and he always said “no thank you”….I didn’t want to force it. This weekend his answer was “maybe I’ll try it”. Well, short version is he rocked it and became one of the few 4 year olds to get a green ” I can swim on my own and do the giant water slide” armband. Now I still think a 4 year old needs an adult’s eyeballs on them at all times. But I can sit poolside and do that as opposed to always being in the water at an arm’s length. It’s very nice for me, and Jasper’s confidence in his swimming has skyrocketed. I am super proud of him!!!

We also did some shopping. I’ve wanted a puffy jacket for about 3 years, but couldn’t pull the trigger on the famous puffy jacket brand’s $300 price tag. REI had a very nice one of a different brand on sale for much less, so I now own my puffy jacket!!! I hoping I can al least wear it to the KC marathon, as there will be no need for it in Austin for at least 4 months. Jasper cashed in is his good behavior stickers for a Halloween costume at Costco. They actually seemed to be going quick and they are about half the price of other costumes I’ve seen, so I agreed to getting a Halloween costume 2 months early. I’m digging his choice….I just hope it sticks until Halloween.

Finally another Garmin bit the dust for me. I’ve yet to have one of these little boogers last more than about 13-14 months. My battery life is only about 3 hours now, and when you are old and slow like I am, a long run/ marathon takes longer than 3 hours. A little plug here….I did some research online and discovered the excellent DCRainmaker site. This is the site to go to for endurance sport related electronics reviews. It actually steered me away from Garmin for the first time. I use very few functions on a GPS watch, so I’ve ordered a much cheaper Timex. We’ll see how I like it, but the price is right ($76). Hopefully this battery can last through a long run or I need to run faster. Mike also asked me ” do you really need to know the pace of all your runs? These garmin watches would last a lot longer if you I didn’t use them almost everyday.” Yes, I remember a time when every run was based on a rough estimate of what I ran per mile divided into the total time I spent running. Anyone else remember a time when a run ended at a logical stopping point and not, “oh let’s run up and down this path until the run comes out to 10 miles since it’s really only 9.7 miles.” Yes, runners are rational people. I may have to start doing those runs where I don’t know how fast I am running, or in my case, how slow. :)

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Austin suffers from big little city syndrome. We are on not really a little city anymore, but not quite a big city. We have the restaurants of a big city, certainly the traffic, and a massive university. We are definitely lacking the museums of a big city. Our children’s museum had a recent upgrade and is better, but still not on par with a major city. While Waco is much smaller than Austin, their children’s museum absolutely rocks. Jaspy’s daycare was closed today, so we headed up north to Waco.

First we hit the Y, and he did child watch while I did yoga. I also ran this morning at a ridiculous hour, so I am completely pooped now, and the yoga teacher was a bendy, little Lululemon model, so I will be hurting tomorrow. We went straight from the Y to the highway. First stop was Cameron Park, which is one of the best parks I’ve been to. 20 miles of trail, people! How awesome is that? And it’s just beautiful. There is a fantastic race here every spring that I’ve done twice…it’s a trail race that is super hilly, but runnable. And 100% old school….inexpensive with a post race fajita cook out. Note to self….must do it in 2015. We hit the splash pad which was just meh, but just being in a new place on a “trip” made Jasper declare it’s awesomeness. We next hit the playground which was pretty good. Then we headed over to the museum. I was starving by this point, and Jasper was living on crackers and milk, so he could care less about lunch and was foaming at the mouth to get into the dinosaur exhibit. I pretty much drug him to a Starbucks on the Baylor campus and ate their last breakfast sandwich and inhaled a latte. I found it odd the Starbucks had kid’s squeeze-y fruit pouches. I’m pretty sure Jasper is the only child to ever hit up the Starbucks at the Baylor science building….but we were happy to find a kid’s food.

The museum was just amazing. I love natural history museums and this was a mix of natural history and kids discovery stuff. It seemed endless. We had a great time. Friends with kids listen up…I totally thought this was worth the drive. Just don’t go on a football game day. I thought it was vastly better than the Austin museum. I coerced Jasper to leave by giving in to a gift shop purchase, and we ended the day with a trip to Sonic in nearby Lorena. Side note: are you a Sonic or a DQ person? I hate to admit, but I think I prefer Sonic. If I’m on the road and in a food wasteland, a Sonic grilled cheese will do the trick. Anyhow, I’m tired now….and in need of popcorn and a movie in bed.

In running news…it’s going. It’s the meat of the marathon training. My victory this week was hill running on RainCreek parkway. Trust me, it’s hilly, and forcing myself to run hills at 5:30 am is a victory, no matter what the pace. And I listened to an old Western States podcast at work this week. Why did I do that? It just makes the wheels in my head start turning when I should not think of such things. Then again, a day with a long drive, a park, and museum and a long drive home with a hyper 4 year old is probably the equivalent of a 40 mile run. Can you say training?

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This is a very old picture. Probably about 13 years old. Scary. But it remains one of my favorite runs ever. It was on a path in Montana that was a perfect 6 miles long along a rushing river. What made it so perfect? Great weather, a very runnable path, some hills, and beautiful scenery. This is my favorite kind of run. I never loved trail runs for rough rocky trails. I much prefer something runnable with pretty views, but still with some challenges. Some of my top runs meeting this criteria have been the Estes Park marathon, the St George marathon, my running last month in Langley, WA.

One of my few running pictures…

I bring all this up because I have been doing a great long run route from my house that fits my criteria. Now it’s obviously not in the mountains, but I get views of Balcones Canyonlands, there are some very challenging hills, and I usually see deer. There are definitely plenty of reminders of the suburbs, but overall it’s a run that recharges the soul after a week’s worth of sitting in traffic and the general rat race that happens most weekdays.

Side note: Have I mentioned we are going to Florida in a couple weeks? We are doing a big family trip for my brother in laws birthday near Destin. My fingers are crossed that I find a route meeting my criteria, and that we are not up against a major highway or that I’m limited to running up and down a touristy strip of neon tshirt shops and piped in Jimmy Buffet songs. Give me some pine trees and white sand please!

Anyhow, a good running route is a precious thing. A good running route close to home is as good as gold…..or at least as good as dark chocolate.

Ok, time for a little core work since I have a fondness for dark chocolate…..

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Like a wet blanket…


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?

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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