Ready for a new week…

Rainy day playdoh

Today’s 20 miler was blissful for many reasons.  The weather was perfect.  60 degrees with slight humidity.  Other than the last two miles where I’d finally bonked a bit after weathering some shut off water fountains, I ran strong and felt effortless the whole way.  I had company for about an hour and I really needed time to chat with a friend.    I’d run on the treadmill all week, and just really needed some outside time.  It was a challenging week, and I was desperately needing some “me” time.   Finally, I realized it’s my last 20 miler for a few months at least.  That was serious motivation to get it done.   

So yes, the week had some ups and downs.  Jaspy went to spring break camp by our house.  It was simply amazing to cut his daycare out of my commute and have him close to home.  I went home first everyday and took the dogs for a quick little 1 mile or so run, then went and got him.  His mood was sooooo much better without another 45 minutes of traffic.  I am really, really looking forward to the fall when his school is by our house.  Having a few minutes to make the doggies happy, made me much more relaxed in the evenings.    But we had our challenges.  Changes in routine and schedules always cause behavior jags and bad sleep so there were times I was really looking forward to my outdoor runs returning for my mental health.  My treat to myself was renting Gone Girl for a run and then finishing it that same night.  Total disappointment.   Am I the only one who hated it?  Bleh.  I watched about 5 episodes of season 3 of House of Cards, and can’t decide if I should keep going.  It’s just not that good, but I’m pretty invested at this point.   At least I have Vikings.   This is spring break when you’re forty something…..Netflix and a glass of wine.  

My therapy of choice to cope with a stressful week?  Retail of course.  I am anxiously awaiting some items from the Oiselle outlet sale.   Yeah, even on sale the stuff is freakin’ expensive but nothing cheers up a slightly stressed out runner like new gear.   

So onward….a new week, new gear (hopefully) and new attitude.  Spring is here!

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Back to reality…



Too cute not to post…



And, good ‘ole reality again….After a couple days to ease back into life post vacation we were back up full speed.  I got mostly back on track with marathon prep.  The weather was pretty grim when we got home and I had a window of dry, pre day light savings time last Saturday morning.  I had a great 16 miler, all hills, all solo, and kept my head in the game the whole time.  I was too slow though, but I tried not to think about that.  Sunday I did 8 in pouring rain.  Monday I could not get my ass up in time and had to cut my treadmill run short a couple miles.  Tuesday went well and I saw the first number of my mile splits start with an “8” as they should!  Wednesday I forgot to set my alarm and had to cut another run short.  Thursday I did 8 fast for me miles and felt like I was back on track.  Even with cutting some runs short I still added some bulk to the weekday runs, a la my new plan.  Next week will be a challenge…..Mike is out of town and I’m doing all my runs on the treadmill.  Which likely means my little partner will get up too early, which means I may cut some runs short.  Jasper has day camp by our house and I am really hoping not having to go to his daycare which is out of my way helps cut my commute time and I can sneak in a couple miles with the dogs in the evenings.   But it is SXSW aka, add an extra 100,000 people into downtown Austin, aka some ugly traffic.   So we’ll see.   I’ll just hope for the best.

My issue of the week was I strained a deep back muscle and did not notice it Tuesday on my run, but when I got home I really noticed it and it was sore for about three days.  Running was ok once I warmed it up, but other movements were not.  The irony is I did it doing core work to help strengthen weak muscles to avoid things like back injuries.  Yes, it’s almost laughable how pathetic I am….I get hurt doing exercises to not get hurt.  It seems better now, so I’m hoping it was just something to irritate me for a few days.  As every runner knows, little twinges can cause great worry….

Jaspy’s had some ups and downs getting back into school after vacation.   I fell back into the swing of things pretty quick but after reflecting on vacay for a few days I realized I really want to go back now that I have some idea of the lay of the land at Disney and what we like to do……and that I really missed out on all their really good eats.   A do over is in my future somewhere.  In the meantime I am planning out Washington trip in about 5 weeks.  I think one of the keys to happiness is to always have a vacation on the horizon. 

Time for me to start shutting it down.  I’m aiming for 16-18 miles with a 5:30 start tomorrow and a full day including tackling yard work.  3 weeks of wet weather makes for some serious weed-age.  There are few things I dislike more than yardwork, but I suppose one of them is being the house that’s bringing down the property values for the neighborhood, so yardwork it is. 

 Plan for the night….finish reading Gone Girl so I can rent it next week as my treadmill treat.  You know you’re a runner when you think things like “ohhh!  That will make a good treadmill movie!”

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Disney done…



Slightly posed by Jasp, but one of my favorite pics.

Hula hooping on Main Street.

You don’t even want to know how much face painting at Disney costs…..

Tomorrow we head home. Whew!  Jasper is passed out next to me right now, so I figure now is as good a time as any to recap.

We planned to go to disney about a year ago.  I wanted to go before Jasper started school,  when that would lock us into only going at peak times.   I did a lot of research via podcasts.  I can listen while I work, so it was no extra time for me to do a lot of trip planning.  I listened to bits and pieces of several, and kinda take it all with a grain of salt.  The podcasters are all disney fanatics, so their suggestions may not work for an average family, but I still got a lot of good tips.  I picked our hotel based on podcast reviews and was happy with what I got.  I went off the theory “why spend $300 a night for a room you are never in”.  We stayed at a budget place on disney property (art of animation hotel) It still wasn’t cheap, and it was a modest level of amenities, but it was new, clean, and very, very fun for kids.   Staying on property was a great choice I thought.  We spent very little time getting in and out of the parks.

We did animal kingdom for just a few hours when we got here, magic kingdom for two days and Epcot for one.  In hindsight,  I may have skipped Epcot and done another magic kingdom day.  Epcot had one really great ride, Test Track, but I thought the rest seemed dated and slightly sad.  Animal Kingdom was very well done for what we saw, but very few rides.   Jasper had no interest in seeing animals or shows so there wasn’t much there.  Expedition Everest was super awesome though, and it would be hard to come here and pass that roller coaster up.

I guess I’m a classic disney ride kinda girl.  I had the most fun at Magic kingdom.  So did Jasp.  I LOVED the new Seven Dwarfs mine train ride.  The waiting area, the ride, all like classic disney and a completely fresh idea for a ride all at once.    And while Dumbo is strictly a kids ride the new circus themed area around it and the super cool system for waiting made it one of my faves.  The kids get to play in a circus tent inside playground that is amazing and you get buzzer.  When it goes off, you get to ride.  Genius.   Jasp rode Pirates of the Caribbean three times and I love that he loved one of my favorites.  We picked a great time to go too….the weather was mid 80s, and the crowds were quite low.  Other than the really new and popular rides at midday, most stuff we got on in under 20 minutes and some stuff no wait at all.

What I didn’t get:   All the people who say the food is really good.  It was passable.  There are plenty of treats unique to the park like Mickey ice cream bars and the orange citrus swirl vanilla cones that have a nostalgic quality  that are fun, but I’m definitely looking forward to eating my own food again.   I also hate/ don’t get the whole character thing.  When I was a kid they just wandered the park.  Now they are in designated spots with long, long waits.  And all the podcasts said a breakfast with disney characters was a must do.  I thought it was a massive waste of money.  And yes, you gotta accept money will slip through your fingers like never before, but that’s part of what you sign up for.  

And finally the running. Turns out you really can’t run on the roads between parks and resorts.  It’s like a Disney superhighway with no shoulder.    There was a nice running path around the hotel.  There was pretty landscaping and cute things to see.  It was great….for the first loop. And seeing as how it was just over a mile, I ran lots of loops and by the 6th one the path became less cute.  I was determined to stay on my training plan and failed.  I ran 6-6.5 each day and will just have to consider that a victory.  I had a nine miler scheduled but that’s 9 loops, plus it was so hard to stay out there for long knowing the fam was up and eager to start the day…so that became a six miler. We walked for at least eight hours a day, so I guess I have to count that plus the running I did do as good enough.  And Jaspy ‘s energy level totally played to our advantage.  He never gets tired.  He walked every step, every day and never complained he was tired. Then he’d swim back at the hotel and jump on the beds until I would drug him with melatonin. 

Would I do it again?  Probably.  Just stick to Magic Kingdom/ Disneyland though.   I’m not planning it anytime soon,  though….I got my fix.  

Looking forward to seeing my doggies, sleeping in my own bed, eating vegetables again, and running on a real road.  

I’m happy my angel had fun and I’m happy in his own little five year old way  told me he appreciated the trip.



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Bleh!  And gratitude…



BFFs?

This was week one of the new marathon world order assault plan, aka changing it up based on the Hanson’s training book.  It was like the running joke in Airplane! “Looks like I picked a bad week to quit smoking”.  Looks like I picked a bad week for some hard runs….two freezing rain incidents in a week that is normally spring like in Texas?  WTF?   In a nutshell, my plan is run more M-F and run harder.  Run less on weekends, but run harder.   Monday was an easy day, but it was on the treadmill thanks to freezing sleet. Tuesday was 30 degrees, and those of you anywhere else in the country can curse me right now, but I couldn’t do it.  It’s mostly running in the dark the whole time that gets me when it’s that cold….so hills were done on thre treadmill.   Those suckers are hard.  Wednesday was 8 miles with 6x 1 mile, which I actually did 4x 1 mile.  Six is pretty ambitious for someone just starting speed work.  I was very happy with my pace.  Thursday was another easy run and I beefed up miles everyday to give me 5 more than a regular week, but that’s about an entire extra run.  I got in a yoga class and core a few nights plus I pulled weeds for an entire afternoon which crippled my forearms and shoulders the next day.  This weekend is 14-15 then 10.  The weather is atrocious so I may end up on the treadmill, but I read this http://talk.brooksrunning.com/2015/02/26/preparing-for-boston-2015-desi-linden/ article about Desi Linden doing training runs in -12 and it made me want to toughen up a bit.  I’m no pro runner, but I’d like to think I’m not a total wimp.   But yes, the weather is bleh!

I had a mini freakout this week.  Every single weekend until this marathon has some sorta event…including two stints where Mike is out of town.  Jasper is back to waking up before 5 am which makes for various challenges.  Why am I adding more stress?  Mike assured me we would work around it all and make it work out.    Can you say gratitude?   I’m so thankful my family helps me do the things I want to do. Running marathons is entirely self serving, but yet they still help me do it.   Jaspy’s recent sleep strike isn’t the most helpful though 😊.   But I’m still thankful for a lot.  Hello Disney vacation in warm, sunny Florida in just a couple days!  Plus, in the big picture, a warm home on a cold night is ALWAYS something to be thankful for.  

And finally, to really get out of my comfort zone, I signed up for a 10 mile race.  I got a discount code and while it was still expensive, I justified it because 1.  It’s very close to my house, logistically easy.  2.  That is a great distance to push hard,  3.  I’ve only paid for one race this year.  The 30k I did in January and the marathon a couple weeks ago were comped.  I paid for my April race and that’s it, so I figured one more wouldn’t break the bank too much.   4.  Being so close to home it’s fairly guilt free. I won’t be gone all day in another city, so it’s a low burden on the fam with the little child who starts bouncing off the walls at 5am.  

Well, I gotta get some rest since someone has woken me up the last three nights in addition to 4:15 wake ups and my eyeballs hurt at this point.   Got some packing to do tomorrow too!

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Recovered and pink blood….

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Because running blogs are really about narcissism….

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Jasper completes an item on his bucket list…..eating cotton candy on a stick. Once it got a little melt-y, he declined saying it had too much pink blood on it.

Happily after a few days of post marathon misery, I was feeling pretty good. Jaspy got better, I got some sleep, and I made it to yoga. I foam rolled, did some gentle walking……and then poof…..time to start prepping for my April marathon.

I’ve done the Austin to Boston double 4 times and this is the same thing, since it’s the same weekend as Boston. It’s tricky….there’s too much time in between races to ride the training for Austin and just maintain, but too little time to take a break and retrain. This week was super easy, and next week I start “heavily modified Hanson plan training to hopefully run a super hilly marathon a little faster than I would have without doing a plan”. Yeah, good luck with that.

In 8 days training challenge number one: running on a disney world vacation. Not a bad problem to have. This trip has been about a million years in the making, so it hasn’t quite sunk in that it’s happening. I have no idea what to expect. We are taking the trip at an easy pace and have no “must do ” rides. Only goal is fun and a much needed break. Our hotel doesn’t have a gym, but a 2 mile running path. I’ve had conflicting reports if you are allowed to run on the roads within the Disney property. If not, I have a lot of two mile loops coming my way, and it will be the happiest two mile loop on earth. Not sure if I’ll get the prescribed mileage, but I think I can give myself some bonus miles for walking in the parks.

Ok, time to make some red velvet crinkle cookies per Jaspy’s request. Aka red blood crinkles.

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Ausitn marathon 2015…..the good, the bad, and the ugly

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Despite their smallness, those are actually shorts I am wearing and not black underwear…

First off, this is probably my 15th time writing an Austin marathon report, as this was my 15th one. Nothing to be proud of, just something to make me feel old. 😱

The good: perfect weather. It’s 40 and rainy today, so mid 60s yesterday was heaven. Stacey was an awesome partner. I definitely need my cheerleading and enthusiasm to build a bit and do most in the later miles, but she is ON from mile one, which makes us a great pair. I think I nailed my training. My legs were never fatigued and I felt trained for the hills. My stomach was good and I’ve got my nutrition down after about a million tries. I really love running this event more than any other. It is hard, no doubt, but I love that we have a hometown marathon. A handful of people stayed with us in the later miles and used us to pace, which is more rewarding than us being alone those final few miles. The expo was fun but tiring and it always feels good to help calm first-timers’ jitters. And the gear was sweet this year. Super nice shirts and no chafing today. Yes!

The bad: Friday night Jasper earned a night in his sleeping bag in our room, per his request as a reward for good behavior. Never again. He was up every two hours and at one point I laid down on the floor with him and fell asleep, waking up with stiff neck and shoulders. Then spent all day on my feet at the expo getting stiffer. I came home exhausted and really sore. Not how you want to start your marathon weekend. Marathon eve was a repeat. Jasper had a little cold, but he gets reactive airway when he has a cold, so more lost sleep. You know when you look at the clock and think, “If I fall asleep now, I will get two hours of sleep.” That’s where I was. I was almost crying when both Jasper and I finally dozed off about 2 am for a 4 am wake up. I can’t say two bad nights didn’t affect me. I would’ve been ok with one, but two left me with some stiff back and neck muscles that I really felt during the race. There was a good 10 miles of teeth gritting.

The ugly: I passed out at 9pm last night in my post marathon haze. An IPA was probably a bad idea, but I must have a celebratory beer. Jasper was up at 3am crying that he couldn’t breathe. So I started my day at 3am…..and calling into work, so we could do breathing treatments all day. I had some things that needed my attention at work, but I can’t say that being home today was the worst thing ever. I’m not exactly 100%. This marks day 3 of crappy sleep…..but he seems better after some treatments and I’m hopeful that this is the tail end of this airway episode…..and I am thankful the worst of it came after the race.

More good….I still really enjoyed the marathon. They all won’t be perfect and sometimes you have one that is a struggle. It took me a minute to count them all, but this was marathon # 33…..they’re always hard and they’re always rewarding. I’d like to make to 50 marathons, but I’ll take them as they come. Each one is really a blessing of health, good people in my life, and being very fortunate and I never want to take all that for granted. So despite feeling pretty rough today (mostly from sleep deprivation though!)….. I’m happy. If not a little dehydrated. A big thanks to Stacey for being so positive and pacing so well. I did learn that a new, more accurate Garmin may be something to ask Santa for this year.

And now there is small child who just passed out from exhaustion, so that’s my cue to roll out these poor legs.

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It’s marathon week!

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Pacer gear!!!

I’ve started this post a million times in the last week. It’s just been busy and a bit stressed out with being a bit heavily scheduled. We had Jasper’s birthday last week and it was a whirlwind of family time and a lot of trips to Costco. His party at home per his request was fun for the kids, but definitely a fail on my part for not being too chaotic. The kids didn’t seem to notice but the parents did. Maybe next year we’ll strike a balance. Games are fine if all the kids will play. When only half do what do you do with the other 10 kids? I have super cute pictures on the camera I’ve yet to upload. It took me half a week to just get to putting out clean towels….so pictures will get their time. We had gobs of left over birthday cake all week, and I’ve decided that I think Costco is my favorite birthday cake. I love the filling.

I was smart and wrote off trying to squeeze in one last hard, long run. I did 13 before work last week with a 4 am wake up, and didn’t go long over the weekend while we had company and the party. This is marathon week, so it will be pretty easy going. I’m watching the weather like a hawk and wearing compression socks with outfits I probably shouldn’t. And I get pacer gear this week! My partner sent me the photo. Yay for pink….but I’m wondering if the jacket is white or clear. I’ve never worn clear clothing.

And speaking of running gear, we got Jaspy a pair of Asics at Academy today. There are not words for the cuteness. They are regular Asics running shoes but kid sized. Now, he just needs kid compression socks.

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