I wish my running shoes were as cool as Jaspy's are.

The blur of Christmas is over.  A brief summary would be Jasper just isn’t quite old enough to get it.   We started some traditions he really enjoyed this year though.  He got some really good gifts that he actually plays with, and we didn’t end up with Christmas excess.  I SWEAR I will get those thank yous out this week!!!!

And now New Years is here.  Many bloggers share their resolutions.  My resolution is to be less ambitious this year.  Huh?  Well, Jasper is almost 2, and by now I’ve learned to quit giving myself 101 goals that I never, never seem to achieve.  The day to day really keeps me busy enough.  I have bucket list goals, and some may have to wait a few years.  But I don’t want to make this sounds like a bummer.   I think it’s just easier for me to make up my goals week to week.  This week Jasper and I have been working every night on getting his letters down.  For a little boy who doesn’t really talk he is repeating a new one just about every night.   I’ve got a killer hill run in the morning for my Boston training.  This weekend I hope to get Jasp to Yogurtland because we haven’t been in a week and we go together every weekend.  And, just like that….goals.   I also have learned to give myself the “I really want to do this, but I’ll be happy if I only get to this point”  My yoga is kinda done this way.   It’s really the best I can manage right now,  and there’s no point in setting myself up for failure.  I also am trying to focus more on non-athletic goals  I have an ideal in my head every week for training goals, but there actually was a time where I planned more on the weekend than running, yoga and two Jasper activities a day. Right now I am keeping it simple with a couple of books I want to get to.  I guess that is my really is my 2012 “resolution” ….just try to keep it simple…or make it a little more simple…or simply the 800 things I try to do…well, you get it.

Anyhow, on that note, I’ve got a great book Mark gave me for Christmas on the history of the Boston marathon calling my name.  Merry New Year….

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I may look funny but at least my feet feel good…

Jasp at the park

It’s Christmas Eve, eve.  I’ve had great ideas for running posts all week, but like everyone else, not much free time.  Ok…here’s what I’ve been doing:

I went out for sushi for a friend’s birthday, and totally loved it.  Austin is a super-foodie town, but I rarely get to take advantage of it.  We went to a new, foodie-insider type place, and it was so much fun to try all kinds of new things.    Jaspie and I have been practicing the alphabet at night.  He’s got a couple letters down which is huge for the little boy who doesn’t talk (minus screaming Ma-ma! all the time).  I also have been riding the trainer some mostly so I can watch a movie.  I highly recommend Ride the Divide, if you have Netflix instant watch.  I dare you to watch and not want to go on a mountain bike ride…in the wilderness somewhere.  I also had a super successful shopping trip…..for me.  Ha!  I had to take Jasp to daycare on my day off so I could go to an appt, and then I had to kill time until his nap was over, so I hit some huge sales and got a bunch of stuff I’ve been needing for months.  Skinny jeans and I still are not friends, BTW.  I also got a pair of Ugg slippers.  The doctor who is my director at work gave them to all of us.  Hello, why have I not discovered these sooner?  Best thing ever for a runner’s feet.  Now I see the allure of the $150 boots.  So, that about covers my week.  Now onto running…

I always run on Christmas.   I may not be able to when Jasp gets older, but I get up painfully early and enjoy some quiet miles.  Everyone always leaves their Christmas lights on, and there is zero traffic.  Just like Thanksgiving I always think it’s a great way to think for a bit about what holidays are really about (what, Christmas isn’t about 40% off sales at Banana Republic and eating piles of cookies?)  It also is a great way for a little alone time if we are doing a lot of family stuff, and then the obvious reason of I will spend the rest of the day eating.

So what do you get as a last minute gift for the runner in your life (or ask for if you are the runner.)?  Well, I would say if you want something not too expensive that they probably would not buy themselves (those are the best kind of presents), I would say arm sleeves or compression socks.  Now don’t freak out and call me a sucker for trends.  Arm sleeves are great ONLY for someone like me:  cold natured.  I use the heck out of mine.  I throw them on under shirt as an extra layer, in addition to wearing them at the start of a long run to shed them later.  If you can run all winter in a thin little long sleeve shirt, then they are not for you, but if you pile on 3 shirts at a time and you are still cold, like me, try some arm warmers!    Compression socks probably do nothing.  I only got a pair because I had a 50% email coupon.  But, do they ever feel good after a long run, and they are really warm.  I don’t run in mine, but I slip them on after a long run under my jeans.  Mine are pink and just look like knee socks.  I even slept in them one night.  They aren’t crazy expensive, (mine were $25), but more than the average pair of socks, and I think that prevents a lot of folks from getting them.  But who doesn’t like something that makes their feet feel good?  In fact, I may spend this very cold holiday weekend in a pair of arm sleeves under my sweater, compression socks, and my new Ugg slippers, while sipping hot coco, stuffing my face with Christmas cookies.  And isn’t that what Christmas is really about?

Hope everyone has a great holiday.

 

Check the box…

I had my marathon pace team run this morning.  Most of the two people who read this probably already know I pace the 5:00 group (or 4:55 as it was changed to this year).  While I am a far cry from being speedy, I am a little quicker than this and I have to work to get this pace just right.  It’s a little unnatural for me, and some practice is good.  Last year’s practice pace run was just miserable:  it was pouring, 45 degrees, and after doing 8 miles at marathon pace, my small group mostly wanted to do a lot of walking, which given the weather I just couldn’t take.  I had one taker on running back, but it was a tough, cold day of 22 miles.  So yeah, I was kinda dreading today.

It wasn’t so bad.  We were told in advance we were only obligated to do the first 8 miles of a 22 mile run at our assigned paces and then could do what we pleased:  leave the group, continue on with them, run ahead, etc.  I opted to run 8 then call it quits.  I met Mark at 500 to get in 12 miles before meeting the pace group, so I would end the morning with 20.  I had 4 people who wanted to run my pace, plus friends Stephanie and Teresa who were really just being nice and joining me for a couple miles.  After Stephanie and Teresa turned off, I had only two runners stick with me for the whole pacing run.  They were very nice and it really was not bad, but I admit I was a little discouraged that only 2 people did the pace run.  I’m not sure if the other pacers have this experience or not since they are always done and gone by the time I finish with my group.

We always seem to have a pretty good turn out on marathon day.  I’m sure this year won’t be different.  I would love it if the marathon got rid of the half and just ran it at another time of the year.  I am sure this would be expensive and I believe a lot more people enter the half these days, so I’m sure it will never happen.  But I kinda feel a marathon is a marathon, and every year I’ve done this we have 3/4 of our group turn off at the half marathon turn off and have just a couple people remain to finish the whole thing.

Hopefully this year will still be a rewarding experience.   It’s great to watch folks finish their first marathon, and do something they never thought they could do.

Teeth and strollers…

Been meaning to post these pics forever.  It was super cold and windy on this day, and we were the only ones there.

Mike has been out of town (back now), and while nothing horrible happened, Jasper did manage to have teething pain and an asthma attack, so my sleep was cut into somewhat.  He did my least favorite sleep antic:  a wake up right before my alarm goes off at 430.  Then I am faced with let him cry and hope he goes back to sleep on his own, and if he doesn’t miss my run,  going in and trying to get him back to sleep, but risking completely waking him up, or being in his room for an hour and missing my window to run.  Neither are really good options.  I opted to try the second option and we had a massive failure.  He was up, running around at 430.  There goes my run, and my only chance to run since Mike is gone.  Just for grins I opened the garage door and pulled out his hated stroller.  He freakin’ climbed into the thing!!!  Shortly after that, all 3 of us were off (Pancake suddenly wanted to run too).  It was drizzling and Jasp’s legs got a little wet (it was warm though), but he never made a peep.  Just sip milk and ate some dry cereal.  Who is this kid?  He must have known that after a 430 wake up and an hour and a half crying session the night before over teeth, I REALLY wanted to go run.  Every now and then, things just work out perfectly.

The rest of the day…not so perfect.  A 45 minute nap, a melt down at the car dealership during my pre-scheduled maintenance appt (we just had to leave.  Hopefully my car will make it until another time), and finally an over tired asthmatic boy refusing to let me put him down.  He weighs over 30 pounds.  My arms are actually sore today.

But at least I started my morning with a sweaty 7 miler up and down the neighborhood streets, with the Christmas lights still lit, and a happy boy and a happy border collie.

Ok bed calls….Who know what those sore teeth have in store for me tonight.

 

Tree…

Christmas tree farms are the way to go.  Much more fun than going to Home Depot, and this tree is soooo much better than the one we got last year.

We headed out to the farm right after I ran an 18 miler.  So, yes, I was totally pooped and Jasp and I both fell asleep on the way home.  I made all 800 feet of that paper chain to have something safe for Jasp to pull off the tree if that is what ends up happening.  I put a few soft and non-breakable plastic ornaments up and…..drumroll…..the house finally feels Christmas-y.  Last year Jasp completely ignored the tree.  This year he loves it and like to go up and practice his “gentle touch” on a branch.   I really like our tree.  I was glad we could support some local farmers who have been devastated by the horrible drought this summer.   From now on we’re getting a farm tree every year!

Today I had a great run with my friend Anna who braved the maze that is Mueller to meet me.  Then I got to hit my favorite Ashtanga class.  Only 4 of us showed up today which usually means prepared to get your butt kicked.  The instructor always has a lot more time to give one on one help and introduce new postures when the class is small.  I will have some serious soreness tomorrow.  But, I am loving doing this heated class on cold days.  If you’ve never tried yoga, try a hot class on a cold day…it feels amazing.

Jasp and I tried to go to the Cherrywood Christmas Art Fair.  We’ve picked up some great gifts from local artists here in the past.  I should have known he just wouldn’t be into it though.  Most the kids’ activities were just too old for him or had closed up shop by Sunday afternoon.  He was more interested in playing in the street which really isn’t an option.  So we just walked all over the place while Jaspy kicked a half deflated soccer ball we found.  There were wonderful looking food carts, and I did snag a pineapple empanada after waiting in line for it with a screaming Owl, who darted towards the street the minute I tried to fumble for my wallet.  Maybe this event will be easier next year.  Last year, I wore him in a carrier…that was much easier than chasing him.

Oh well, at least he loves our tree!!

Upcoming this week:  Mike goes out of town 😦  maybe, just maybe finish Christmas shopping, and marathon pacer run.

I also swear I am going to start writing up memorable runs posts.  Just gotta do when I have a little bigger chunk of time.  More to come….

3 Movies and 15 Cookies…

I should be doing my yoga core routine right now.  I am actually pretty good about doing it at least once a week.  It’s a 15 minute routine that Mark gave me and it’s pure pain of 100% core work.  I hate it, but do it so I can stay healthy for my real love…running.   So in the name of procrastination, here I am blogging.

It’s been a cold, cold week.  I’ve bundled up quite well though, and actually have been a little toasty on a couple runs.  This weekend I kick off the first really long run of the Austin pacing/ Boston training.  Boston seems so far away, but Austin does not.  Last year I suffered mightily at Austin…I just wasn’t used to being out for so long on my feet.  This year I have vowed not to suffer which means throwing in a few more long runs than normal.

Has anyone seen the website for the new Western States movie?  I am just about 100% sure I will never run this race, having missed my very narrow window to apply a few years ago.  Now, I don’t think I will ever do that kind of trail running again.  But, I feel like I know what it’s like to run a 100 miler, even if the only one I ever did wasn’t a mountainous course.  I notice it’s not being screened in Austin even though we have umpteen billion running stores now (it’s being screened in theaters and running stores alike).  This means to see it I’ll have to buy a copy.  It’s the 3rd Western States movie to come out, and you really have to wonder “how many of these do I need to own?”  It’s a little like getting a drink at Starbucks:  there are people without enough to eat in the world and yet I occasionally spend $5 on a cup of coffee and potentially might own 3 movies about a 100 mile run that most people in the world would find utterly ridiculous. I’ve hinted to Santa that I would like a copy of the movie, but I doubt the Santa I know would ever want his name on an email list of ultra running film making company.  So, I’ll probably give in and order it at some point.  BTW, how in the heck did moms used to shop before the internet?  Or anyone for that matter?

Ok, ok.  The core routine calls.  It’s really not a bad idea since we did a cookie exchange at work today.  I only sampled about 15 different items…

Catching up…

I love our gingerbread house!
A blurry but cute picture of Jasp in his Thanksgiving headdress

For someone who said I want to write in my blog everyday, I do a terrible job.  I could write a really long post on my utter lack of time management, but that is not very interesting.  I’ll keep  it at a plea for someone who has figured out how to squeeze everything they need and want to do into 2 weekend nap sessions and about an hour in the evenings to let me know how they make it work.

And, as has been my theme, I really don’t have anything going on that would really excite anyone else.  I am someone who is pretty happy with the status quo…I like routines, but I recognize routines don’t make for interesting reading material.

I’ve been very inspired by Murakami’s What I Talk About When I Talk About Running.  I hope to finish reading it in the next couple days.  What is so great about it is the running talk is all fairly routine daily run type stuff, but he somehow manages to elevate into wonderful story telling.  Maybe that’s the only place I can take my blog right now…the everyday routine, and try and find the story in it.

So this week has been true winter running so far.   We don’t get as cold as a lot of the country does, but the last 3 days I’ve had overcast, drizzly runs in the 40s.  It’s character building weather.   I admit, I put off going out into it as long as I can, but I have every intention of getting out.  I may cut a 20 miler short or something like that, but I seldom let weather scare me off.  Warm clothes help.  I refuse to freeze and like a light layer of sweat when I run, so I end up much more heavily dressed than most of my running friends.   My current warm outfit of choice is arm warmers under a long sleeve shirt.  This morning I put a windbreaker on top of that and I was toasty.  Typically on a windy, cold , drizzly day, I will not see another runner.  Weekends at town lake are different…there’s a lot of folks who will brave it, but on a weekday like today I was alone.  These are always really good runs when you get right down to it.  I make a deal with myself and on total suck it up and get out the door type mornings, I throw away any speed training, hill work, and just run a routine loop without checking my watch.  I will also say, I come home feeling pretty empowered after a run that has a grit your teeth feel to it.   Now these runs are really great on a weekend when I get to come in, strip off my cold, wet clothes, put back on flannel PJ bottoms and a sweatshirt, grab a cup of coffee and start my stretching. Then finish stretching and sit around with coffee a while more before showering.  And the absolute best is after stretching is to make some kind of hearty breakfast like pancakes or homemade oatmeal, and not feel rushed to get myself or a certain little high energy boy dressed.  But…this is not how a weekday goes.  It’s much more rushed, but I’ll still take the run.  These super alone runs in the cold are the ones where I really notice things.  This morning the lake at the Mueller trail was flooded, creating more of a wetland than a trail.  I saved this section for last, knowing my feet would get soaked.  All the ducks were standing on the trail with water up to their little duck knees and their heads tucked into a wing.  I guess it’s how they stay warm.  Or who knows, maybe they really don’t get cold and they were quite comfy in a 40 degree drizzle.

Tomorrow is supposed to be even colder and it’s most likely I am meeting Stephanie.  Meeting someone is huge motivation on these cold mornings, but I still try and enjoy the alone runs.

I’m going to start a little series on memorable runs.  I challenge my bloggy friends to do the same.  It should make for some good reading.