I like it when 5am goes my way…

I really need to take new pictures. This was all I could find on my phone that I haven’t already used.

So far this week has been a reminder that just getting out the front door in the morning to run is small miracle.   Jasper had 3 days in a row of waking up at 430.  That is right when my alarm goes off, so I am up, but that’s my time!    One of the mornings, I managed to get him back to sleep and just went for my run late, and then was a little frazzled getting off to work, but at least I got my run.   Two of the mornings this week I just had to take him with me.  Mike put a bunch of games on the iphone for him, so taking it along ensured he was happy in the stroller.  I guess I’ll count it as a bonus workout that I pushed an extra 40 pounds or so in 80 degrees and 80% humidity….at 530 am.  I don’t really mind taking him, but at almost 2 and 1/2 years old, would a little bit of a schedule be too much to ask for!?!  I was feeling kinda low over the fact that some basic things still seem so hard and it seems like by now we should be over some of the hurdles. 

BUT…we had our first occupational therapy session and that really rewired my thinking.  Please don’t think of me and some crazy, over protective, worrier parent.  Everything Jasper is involved with was recommended by a healthcare professional.  His speech therapist has been pushing for some time for occupational therapy, which it seems like in the pediatric world works a lot with difficult behaviors, including refusing to eat more than a couple foods (the Jasper diet).  I won’t go into too many details, but if any mom friends have questions, please email me.  Anyhow, after a 4 hour eval that was pretty intense at times, the therapist in so many words, said “this has been really hard for you, hasn’t it, and it’s really worn you out.”  I wanted to hug her.   It was just nice to hear some one “get it”.  I don’t want to sound as if my life is difficult or unhappy, but there are times I just wonder “Is this hard, or am I just a wimp and can’t deal?”   Sounds a lot like running, doesn’t it?!

So this morning, when Jaspy stayed asleep and I snuck out to run at 5am, and got home to still find the house still asleep, and sat and had a cup of coffee while I stretched watching the sun come up…I enjoyed every minute of it, and felt much more ready to tackle whatever the day is going to offer.

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Maybe…

Not the Western States trail (I’ve never been there), but a really nice trail none the less.

Like a lot of runners, I spent Saturday checking and refreshing the Western States 100 online feed.   I only knew one person doing it this year, and I didn’t really know who many of the top competitors were, but it was a lot of fun to track.  For many years getting to this race was my goal.  I never made it, and now I think I probably  missed my window.

Let me explain…..if you don’t know, this is the equivalent to the Boston Marathon in the ultra running world.  Everyone wants to do this race, but it’s hard to get into.  Qualifying is actually not very difficult.  Any 100 mile finish in the time limit gets you in, or there are 50 mile and 100K qualifying times that are not very difficult, provided you aren’t on an over the top hilly course.  I qualified several times…and trust me, I was not the strongest ultra runner.  The hard part is getting in the lottery.  Once you qualify, you are in the lottery for only a couple hundred slots.  Over the years, the odds have gotten worse and worse, and the race gets more and more popular.  Last I read it was about 1 in 10.  When I first qualified, it was something like 1 in 4.   Plus, it is getting to be more and more of an insider, elite event.  There are fewer and fewer slots for those who just want to finish, and more and more slots for those who are looking for top competition.

I never put in for the lottery.  This race is very expensive to do, and I always felt it would be too selfish of me.  Maybe a little part of me was worried about the training too.   Obviously I missed my chance at decent lottery odds.  I also missed my chance to have the time and flexibility to go for such an undertaking.

Plenty of people with kids run 100s.  And really, if your only goal is to finish, and not death march for the last 40 miles, the training isn’t horrendous.  It’s not a heck of a lot more than what I do right now.   But, it would be more.  It would be driving to some hilly areas and grinding out some miles there.  It would be pretty much all solo running really early.  I suppose if I really, really wanted to I could pull it off, but I’m not so sure anymore.

There are a lot of factors that make me think it’s ok to let this goal go.   I wanted to run a 50, then run a 100.  I did that.  How many people get to say to huge things on their bucket list are done?  Many mornings Mark and I start our run by saying “I’m so glad we don’t have 30 miles to run!”  Yes, those really long runs are tough!  Also, of course I question if taking on any challenge bigger than a marathon would cut into my time with Jasper too much.

A little part of me still wonders if I have it in me to do give it a go someday.  I know I am a much tougher runner now than I was then.  I have so much more confidence and I am so much better at taking things as they come.  22 mile runs followed by a very active non-stop Jasper day is excellent training.  I cannot count the mornings I’ve headed out to run after really minimal sleep, but I force myself to suck it up and go.

So who knows.  Never say never, but unlikely.   I’ve got to do some fantastic runs, and am still doing them (as I get ready for marathon # 26!).  Also, there are so many places I want to visit and run still; places that would also be fun for Mike and Jasper, as opposed to a big trip that is only for me.  For now, I’ll just enjoying reading about others who are achieving their Western States goal.

On the home front….a good final marathon prep run the past weekend, despite really hot temps, and all of Texas collectively holds its breath wondering if this summer will be as hard as last summer (104 today!).  Jasp is loving his swimming lessons and starts a new therapy this week, which I am pretty excited to see if if helps him with some things he has a hard time with.  I’m two for two on my strength training foolishness, and 2 for 2 on yoga this past week.  And only 1/2 a cupcake.  So let’s see how this week goes….

For your listening pleasure…

In addition to dropping my phone and cracking the back into a million little pieces, Jaspy also managed to take this really cute picture of himself yesterday.

Here are a couple of really good podcasts I listened to today.    Waterlogged.  This will make you question everything you’ve done about drinking on hot/ long runs.  Very thought prevoking.    This   is an interview with an elite from this weekend’s big Western States 100 mile run.  It’s super refreshing to hear someone sound so normal and low key, and remember that we do this stuff for fun. 

Enjoy!

Not the smartest thing I’ve ever done…

At least the 22 miles were pretty…

I really had to psych myself up for my run this weekend.  I had a 20 miler planned, all solo.   I’m not super excited about starting at 5am in the pitch dark on the trail, so I planned to run around the subdivision next to the trail until it got light.  The plan was run up the street from my car, hit a cross street that runs down to the trail, by the time I hit the trail, it would be light.

In addition to it being dark, and solo, I was really, really sore.  Remember my foray into strength training last week?  Well, I was sore, as I expected, then I hit yoga Thursday night, and by Friday I was super, “hit by a car” sore.   Saturday morning it was starting to ease up, but I felt like I did 800 push ups.  But it was my only day I could do a long run this week.  I had to just suck it up.

My goal was a 5am start, but when you aren’t meeting anyone, it’s soooo hard to be on time.  I ended up starting at 515, knowing I would need to book it to be done in time to make it to Jasp’s swimming lesson.

The run went really well.  Just as planned I hit the trail as the sun was starting to come up, and about 2 miles into the trail I started seeing other runners.  I felt good, and the miles were ticking off.  I made it to the end of the trail, and turned around to head back, knowing I had a big hill to go up the street I had used to get down the trail , then back down to get to my car.

Here’s where I get stupid.  I hit the road at about 16.5 miles, and figured the run would be 19.5 miles.  Good enough.  Up the hill I went and it seemed like the street to my car should have shown up already.  It’s seems impossible to screw up, just one turn involved in all of this.  I start questioning things thinking “I’m not sure I’ve seen that before”, but I’ve only done this in the dark, and this whole area is a pretty nondescript  subdivision.    I’m close to 19 miles, so I know something is wrong.  I finally admit I have never been where I am running  stop a cyclist.  I asked if the street I needed to turn on perhaps changed names at some point.   “Yep” he said.  Of course, that’s how I missed it.  But when he told me it was about a mile and a half back (plus I had another 2 down the street to my car), I had my Darwin award moment.  Why in the hell did I keep running when nothing looked familiar?  Looking at my watch I was now at the time I told Mike I would be on my way home, and I had 3 miles of running at least.  Time to haul butt, at least as much as I could.  I watched the minutes tick away.  Swimming lesson starts in 30 minutes, I guess I won’t wash my hair, I don’t really need to eat, forget coffee…all this went through my head.  Also, I hope Mike just thought I was stupid and not dead, since I was going to be 30 minutes late.  I hit my car…22.5 miles.  Ok, feeling confident about my marathon, but not about getting to swimming lessons in time.  I see the missed calls from Mike, call him and explain I’m fine, just stupid, and get home.  Run into the shower (15 minutes until swimming and it’s a 5 min. drive).  Rinse off, try to dress while still sweating, toss Jasp and bag in the car and get there with a minute to spare.  I cannot stop sweating in the little indoor pool, 100 degree room.

I down coconuts waters while I’m in there.  Despite feeling faint, I have to admit that swimming lessons are so cute this year..it’s so much more fun for me to watch than be in the water…and he seems like he’s picking it up fast.

The whole day was one activity after another.  I was soooo tired, and slept in my compression socks, because I’m a total geek.  But I have 22 in the books for my race, and I’m feeling good about it!

Ran 7 the next day with Mark.  It’s a farewell run….as he’s out of town for the next month.  Somehow over the last couple years my running buddies have vanished.   I still know a couple folks who run, but no one wants to start at 500 when I need to …..except Mark.  So if you are in Austin and interested in running with a couple of middle of the pack folks, let me know!  Mark and I really want to get a little group back together.

So there you have it….a couple more weeks, and I am ready to hit state #10…hopefully I’ll be a little smarter when I’m there.

 

Popeye, I am not…

Eating cherries, OCD style

I think after over 2 years now, I am finally coming to terms with the fact I am not going to do anything in the evenings unless I leave the house….which doens’t happen a lot. I’m on this big kick lately that I really want to supplement my running with other things: yoga, some strength training (did I just type that, yikes!), some walking. I set myself up for failure again, and again, planning evening workouts that never happen, but there’s only so many hours in the day. I just don’t know how you fellow moms do it.

Fact is, as I get older, I just need to pay more attention to things like my gut and my arms, and just a couple 20 minute sessions a week is probably good. I’ve made peace with doing things at home. A whole different rant of mine is that gym memberships often add yet another task for many of us, and finding things to do at home is much more useful. I finally got my copy of Train Like a Mother.  If you are a runner mom, and you are not on this website all the time, you need to be.  These ladies are super funny, have amazing give aways, and tell it like it is.  I wish they were based in Austin, because I would stalk them until they become my running partners.  I am on there as one of the A-Z moms, and stupidly sent in a photo of me and Jasper with a giant beer in the foreground….classy, I know.  But seriously, Train Like a Mother has some great tips, and a nice strength session to do at home.  I am committing to doing this sucker at least once a week.  I am soooo not a gym person, that until yesterday I had never done things like single leg squats.   Yes, I know how unlikely that sounds and how laughable it is for me…but the more I listen to running podcasts and read, the more I realize to be in for the long haul you’ve got to keep yourself strong and flexible.  So as long as Jasper keeps napping,  I will do my best to squeeze this in.  I’ve given up on evenings.  They are for eating Ben and Jerry’s Greek yogurt and watching Game of Thrones (I just started this…hello new addiction!)

But if any of you more fitness minded moms have tips on this whole strength training thing….send them my way.

Get it done run…

Pretty Champion Park

Do you ever have these?  You have something on your run schedule, do not want to do it, but somehow just convince yourself to get it done?  I had one today.  It was a drop back week with 16 miles.  In my ultra days this was nothing, but for a marathoner, it’s still a decent run.  I also had no running buddies today, but figured no biggie, it’s nice to run solo every now and then.  When I woke up though, I soooo wish I had someone to meet.  I went to bed with a headache, and woke up with a worse one.  It was pitch black, and I really hate running at 5am, completely alone in the dark.  I compromised with myself.  Tylenol and food, wait 30 minutes for headache to get better, then go.

It sorta worked.  I felt better, but not totally optimistic I would follow through on all 16 miles.  6 sounded better.  I also was not loving the very dark trail.  About a mile and a half in, I saw some other runners.  Ok, feeling better, I am not totally alone out here.  I hit my first turn around and was back at my starting point pretty quickly.  6 miles down.  What’s 10 more? (kidding…it’s a lot)

I really enjoyed the next section of trail, because Mark and I always run it in the dark, so it was like it was brand new.  Sports beans in (Jaspy only eats about 5 foods, but somehow added my running jelly beans to his list…at least he will have enough electrolytes), temps not too bad.  Suddenly I am at 10 miles.  6 to go.  At the turn around I am at 12.  All I have to do is follow the trail back and I am done.  It was actually a really, really nice run.  I am way too embarrassed to tell you my pace…it was so much slower than it felt like I was running.  WTF?  BUT, the miles were ticking off, and I guess that’s all that mattered.  I hit my car at 15.6 and did the Garmin nerd thing, and ran it down the trail until it beeped 16.  DONE!

Now here’s where the day gets really fun….rush home, pick up breakfast tacos on the way home.  Shower and inhale tacos in 30 minutes, no time to stretch :(.  Take Jaspy to his first swimming lesson of the season.  Just about die in the indoor pool room with 110% humidity and 90 degrees.  Head is pounding now.  Go to Starbucks, in desperate need of iced coffee after swimming.  Go home, run in , change clothes and all of us take both cars down to the dealership to drop my car off for service.   Jasp falls asleep on the way home, right on time for his nap.  Get him in, then rush to Costco to shop while he sleeps.  Total score with $18 Adidas running skirt.  Get home, put away groceries, see if Mike need my useless help while he replaces the last of the hideous 80s ceiling fans (RIP brass and faux Victorian fan).  Get Jasp up from his nap, pack up for Kid and Play bouncy gym.  Watch Jasp jump, go back to dealer and pick up car, now $400 poorer, go grab dinner at Black Star (beet salad! and Pale Ale), head home, Jaspy bath, Jaspy bed routine.  8:20…Jasp is asleep and here I am…totally crashed out.  This is why mom running is so hard.  It’s not the running….it’s everything else.  Where is my post run nap and massage?

So while the day was super tiring, a lot got done.  I did the run I did not want to do, and there’s another brass ceiling fan headed for the landfill.  Yay!

 

I run for frosting…

There are still plenty of wildflowers at Brushy Creek!
Jumping nonstop in the splash pad

One of the challenges of maintaining this blog is that my life is pretty routine, so it’s not always easy to come up with post ideas.  When I started the blog I did a lot more big trail runs and races and it was a place to report on “epic” events.  Now my runs are often just a matter of “gotta get it done” and it’s wherever and whenever allows me to accomplish this.   I’m not so sure detailing my run through suburbia each morning would be that interesting to everyone else.    This Saturday was such a nice run and while it was about just getting it done, it was so pretty and nice, it almost felt “epic”.

I had 20 on my schedule.  Mark said he was up for 10, and willing to start at 500.  I figured it wouldn’t be too bad to get another 10 on my own after that.  We met at Brushy Creek, because that just seems to create the nicest long run these days.  Watching a pink sunrise, seeing herds of deer and occasional bunnies….who can argue with that?  I kept a VERY mellow pace and tortured Mark with my slowness, but I knew 20 in what is officially a Texas summer means go slow.  His run was actually 9, so now I had 11 miles on my own.  Right after I left Mark and went down and little offshoot trail and saw a ton of deer.  Tons of wildflowers were still out, and I thought “this won’t be bad.”  Then right in front of me completely unfazed by my presence, was the prettiest little grey fox.  This was the good part of the run.

It got a little harder from there, but doable.  No matter how you put it, 20 miles in the heat and humidity is just hard.  I managed, but when I hit my car at mile 19.3, I had the choice of saying “good enough”, or shuffling down the trail for a few more 10ths of a mile and then back just to check a box that said 20.  Both options seem logical and illogical all at once.  I took the first option.  19.3 was good enough on this day.  It was a good effort though, and I felt good about it.  I just can’t rave enough about how much I am enjoying my new trail.

19.3 miles was enough for me to justify the fact that I have discovered a cupcake bakery right by my house, and am enjoying sampling all the different flavors.  So far my fave is the margarita.  Yes, this is a very dangerous thing to have so close by!

The rest of the weekend was a nice blur of entertaining friends and entertaining Jasp.    Expect to see a lot of pictures of him in the splash pad.  This is the greatest invention because I get to sit at a picnic table while he burns endless energy.

Well, off to sort out the rest of my long run schedule prior to the July ‘thon.  I think I will need to plan my long miles around rotating cupcake flavors.  🙂