The little swimmer, popcorn, and dreaming of fall…

Jasper is perfecting his Dennis the Menace look

It was another swimapalloza weekend.  We spent all weekend swimming.  Jasper is swimming further and further and  won’t stop until he’s forced to.  Continuous jumping in the pool, swimming, and pulling himself out for 2 + hours means he had slept very well.   So there’s my parenting tip…wear your child out to the point of complete exhaustion as often as you can. 

As for me, my run Saturday was for 18 miles.  I made it 17.5 before my time crunch hit and I figured that was good enough.    I ran with the stroller Sunday, and figured as long as Jasp seems to really like it, I’ll see it as a bonus that it gives me a hard effort.  And with all the pool time we are doing, I’ve been plenty tired come the evenings.

I also have been loving spending the evening watching Olympics.  I get Jasp to bed and the get in bed with my official Olympic snack.  For some reason I decided I just have to munch on something while watching, so I’ve declared popcorn with real butter and parmesean cheese my Olympic snack.   Why haven’t I been eating more popcorn this way?  It’s incredible.  With 2 more weeks or so to go, that’s a lot of popcorn.

Last night I had a girls’ evening with running and blog friends Meredith and Olga.   It was fun to talk goals and all things geeky running. This always motivates me.   One thing came out of it….we need to find some of the less expensive races in Texas.  This hobby is starting to get expensive.  I am excited for fall and having some friends to race with.  It will be here soon 🙂

Speaking of fall, try my bloggy friend Laura’s virtual race.  Her prizes look awesome.  I am going to sign up for the 10 mile…if anyone else wants to do it, maybe we can plan a group thing.  It’s free…can’t beat that.  Here’s the link:  Virtual Labor Day Race.   I really like her race logo….maybe she can make shirts with it…hint…hint.

Ok, work calls…gotta punch that clock.

More jump…

Up to no good…

We’ve been swimming our behinds off this summer.  Between the splash pad and pools we are in the water 2-3 days a week.  Jasper seems to have found his sport…at least for now.  I am truly impressed by his swim lessons.  At age 2 he’s swimming, and I cannot take any credit for it.  This summer I enrolled him in an actual swim school, and it was worth the little bit of extra money.  We went to the pool yesterday and for TWO HOURS he jumped from the edge and swam out to me, then I lifted him back to the edge, and repeat process.  My arms hurt today.  At any hint of leaving I got a firm “More Jump!”   with “more” in baby sign language quite forcefully.  Certainly this could get marked down in a training log if I kept one, right?  I wish I could somehow take off the whole summer so we could swim everyday; he loves it so much.   I am so thankful we have a lot of pools in our area.  We have a free one we go to and a really nice one that costs a couple bucks, and the splash pad is free.  I also am thankful for Athleta athletic swimsuits that are super comfortable and  don’t subject other pool patrons to the fact I eat too many cupcakes.  

Ok…so I guess there’s one good thing about this summer.  Jasper has become a swimming machine!

Wetlands…

I swear it seemed like this is what I was running in…

I got a couple stroller free runs in the past couple days.  One went well, as I attempted to break out of my comfort zone a bit.  Today’s run was a gnat infested horror.  There’s a wetlands of sort in my ‘hood.  It probably started as a pond, but is now somewhat of a drainage area, but still remains covered in dense vegetation, lots of water and lots of  water birds.  I am guessing it cannot be developed and so a nice little paved trail cuts through it.  It takes me a few miles to get there, run it, and run home, so the whole deal makes a nice little run.  I see lots of water birds, and deer, so it’s really pretty.  I’m really big on searching these kind of areas out for my runs, and I like that my neighborhood has 3 such little paths I can use.  We got a lot of rain last week, and the gnats are completely out of control.  It was like running in a sandstorm, and I had to cover my nose and mouth the whole time.  I cannot stand gnats going up my nose as I run.  Gross!  It was so bad I am doubtful I’ll run there anytime soon.  I wiped my face off really good on my way home, but got home and discovered a ton of gnats in my hair and on my arms.  Ick.

My little trips into urban forestry make me really excited for it to cool off a bit.  Jasp is a much different kid than a year ago, and I think we’ll get a lot more out of hiking trips.   It’s not super fun to spend a day in nature in 99 degrees, so it may wait a couple months, but I am pretty confident he’ll really get a lot out of it.  Almost there…..just August and September and then fall is here!

And, yay for the Olympics next week!  Can’t wait to watch the marathons!!!

Does this stroller make me look fast, or fat?

Currently obsessed with all things Choo-choo.

Somehow in the last couple of weeks I’ve morphed into doing half my runs with the stroller.  WTF?  How did this happen? And, more importantly, why does Jasper feel the need to wake up as early as 4 am?   I’m thankful for my faithful, somewhat ergonomically designed buggy.  Without it, I’d be missing a lot of runs.  But I really hope this ends by the time it cools off because I am not sure would be ethical to drag a child out to run in 30 degrees while I generate a sweat and he just sits there shivering.

And, speaking of weather, running with the stroller in the humidity is about the hardest thing in the world.  Mark (who is back!) was gracious enough to meet us yesterday, and I could barely keep up with his easy pace.  After another stroller run today, my arms are wrecked.  I just hope there is some benefit from the fact I work 10 times harder to push it, but seem to be even slower than my normally slow pace.  How people do races with strollers, let alone double strollers, is beyond me.  I am a wimp.

I also found out I am friends with a fitness celebrity!  My bloggy friend, Laura, was in the Wall Street Journal with this.  She links to the article in her post, which was quite interesting.  I don’t feel it applies to me in anyway, because:  1.  I am sooo not a gym person, but really just a big dork who made running my hobby back in high school instead of something that actually would have made me friends and 2.  While I admit to owning some Lululemon clothing, if you see me in person, I am complete disaster.  I certainly don’t coordinate it, and I’ve got my nice orthopedic shoes to go with it, and 3.  The moms in the article are completely with it.  I usually collapse into bed each night wondering how I had one goal for the day of vacuuming up the dog hair and managed not to do it.  Anyhow, check it out, and hopefully you won’t be one of the people leaving a mean comment at the WSJ. 

Ok, my lunch break is over.  I’ve got a fun filled afternoon of trying not to down too many lattes in order to get my work done, while catching up on my podcasts.

Death by stroller…

My lack of new photos speaks volumes for the current state of my life.  I really have nothing interesting to share.    No travels, no new projects, no big races.   The summer goes on and I’m so over it.  I’m glad we’re over halfway done and ready for the fall.

And, speaking of fall, I’m all signed up for what will hopefully not be another marathon I don’t do.  Route 66 marathon in Oklahoma on my birthday!  I’ve got the Frankenthon in October and Route 66 3 weeks later.  I’m still about 14 weeks out since I miss counted last week.  🙂    I’m following Train Like a Mother’s plan for my long run and the speed sessions.  Today was a speed session.  Speed is a relative term, as my speed session is most folks’ jogging pace, but at least I can say I’m pushing it.

Jasp had one of his epic night terrors last night, so I was prying my eyelids open when the alarm when off.   I hit snooze and fell back asleep for 15 minutes, and when alarm #2 went off I heard the familiar little squeak from Jasper’s room that let me know I was getting a running partner this morning.  He should not be up at 5am!!

Anyhow, I attempted to still do the speed session.  It was humid as all get up at 530 in the morning.  I had three 3 minute 30 second speed intervals to do in the mix of my run, with 10 minutes in between each.  That sounds pretty easy, but I was dying doing it with the stroller.  I can’t tell you the pace because it’s just too humiliating.  But I felt every minute of those 3 minutes.  It hurt.  I collapsed into a puddle when I got home.  Jasp remained entertained for the whole ordeal by playing Robot Lab on the iPhone.   You do what you gotta do.  Thank God for running strollers, and I suppose I should be glad the weather is warm enough that I can toss a barefoot kid in shortie PJs in the stroller and not worry he’ll freeze or anything.  Run accomplished, legs and arms are sore, life is good.

 

Orthopedic…

Ok, maybe not quite this bad

I always enjoy a new pair of running shoes.  What runner doesn’t?  I like to go buy my new pair when my old ones are about a month or so from total death.  I store them away in the closet and proceed to destroy my current pair of shoes, knowing I have a fresh pair waiting.   See, I am very hard on shoes.  No matter what brand or how much they cost, I shred through a pair in about 2-3 months.  I usually wear the heels right down.  I also have a long history of being fitted into the saddest, most orthopedic shoes if I go to a running store.  I look longingly at my friend’s hot pink racers, and stare down at my dirty white diabetic looking shoes and wonder what I have to do to fit into shoes that actually have color.

I am currently in a pair of very spartan Nikes.  I got the first pair of them free as part of the marathon pace team goodie bag.  They fit my orthotics so well and the price is so good, that I’ve kept with them.  Last time I went to a running store, they fitted me in some super cool looking racing shoes that I loved (for a change!), but the price tag was $145.  The Nikes are $69 at a local discount sporting good store.

Yesterday I went to the discount chain to get some new shoes.  I always recommend a running store if you don’t know what you want.  But if you do, the discount store works fine.  Plus for me there’s not the whole rigmarole of trying to convince the running store employee I really run, and that yes, the shoes I have on really are only a couple of months old and they are already worn out, and that yes, I may just actually run enough to shred a pair of shoes that quickly, despite my total lack of leg muscles.

I was all gung ho to get something “fast” looking.  To jump on the racing flat bandwagon and have a really colorful, pro runner looking pair of shoes.  I tried on a bunch of stuff with my orthotics.  I thought I had a winner with the Saucony Kinvara, all the rage amongst the cool runners.  It fit well, and the neon green and yellow just screamed that I meant business.  The last shoe I tried on was the new version of my spartan, plain Jane Nikes.  I added my orthotics to them and they felt….well, perfect.  The dull gray with just a hit of color in the Nike swoosh  said “these will get you from point A to point B and you won’t need to stand out in the crowd”.  Dang it…I had to admit they were the best fit by a landslide.  Suddenly the neon green and yellow shoe that fit well seemed tight and like it was pushing on the top of my foot.  So spartan Nikes it is yet again.

I guess on the bright side I’m easy to spot amongst the sea of fast, day glow shoes at a race. My feet look like a mall walker’s.  Oh well, at least they feel good.

More Run.

I completed my hot, muggy 6.5 miler yesterday morning and heard Jasper stirring upstairs.  I was greeted with “One!”, “One!” , and wasn’t quite sure what he wanted, but he was VERY insistent.   You probably see where this is going….he was requesting, or demanding a run.  Mike runs 2-3 miles a few times a week and said he’d take him.   Jasper responded with “NO! Mama!”  So I was ordered to do another couple of miles by a 2 year old.

Same thing this morning.  I had ridden my bike (well, peddled slowly while watching a Netflix movie, while sweating like a pig) and once again Jasper demanded a run. 

Now, we are in the midst of working on tantruming and not giving into every little thing, but it’s pretty hard for me to say no to a run request.  Especially given that Jasp’s history with the running stroller wasn’t really all that great.  Suddenly with an iphone, a blankie, and a banana, we could take off for 10 miles.  

For now I’ll go with the flow on my demanded runs and just hope they don’t get requested too often on 20 miler days.

Rainforest…

Pretty Olympic National Park

Here’s an old picture of a Pacific Northwest rainforest from a vacation from about 3 years ago.  It finally started raining here after a really dry summer (although no where near like last year), and it so muggy that it really is rainforest like outside.  Minus the mosses, tall trees, and waterfalls everywhere.  One dares not complain about rain after the worst drought in state history, so I suppose I will embrace the 100% humidity.  It does keep your skin young looking at least.

So today I continued to regroup for the fall racing season.  I kicked off my training with a speed session.   Since I refuse to do track work, my speed sessions and usually my regular runs with a section at race pace, tempo pace,  miles done at interval pace, and/ or a couple hill repeats thrown in.  Today I did a mile to warm up, 4 at race pace, then finished with a couple hill repeats and an easy mile.  I know it’s not very impressive, but since I hadn’t really attempted my version of fast in a long time, it felt relatively uncomfortable in 100% humidity.  But it did feel good to know I did a hard run outside the ‘ol comfort zone.

I’m using the marathon plan from Train Like a Mother at least for my long runs.  It’s one of those marathon plans where you do 20 milers throughout, instead of piled at the end.  It looks like there’s one about every 3 weeks.  The reason I decided to do this is I’m pretty trained up already, and I thought this type of plan would help me take advantage of what I’ve already done.  We’ll see though, I also have a history of never sticking to a training plan and reverting back to the way I’ve always done things.  Which, does work for me, I just never really get faster, but I am able to finish in relative comfort.

Last week I took a hiatus from yoga and my strength training to rest up for my fictitious marathon.  Since it remained fictitious, this week I need to get back on the wagon.  I’m not the hugest fan of lunges and the like, but I want to give it a few weeks and see if it really does anything other than make me horribly sore.  So while Jaspy’s naps, that’s what I’m off to do.  Please try not to laugh too hard as you imagine me doing my step ups using Jasper’s arts and crafts table.

Refocus…

Well, I have no marathon to report on.  I just wasn’t able to go out of town, and had a couple days of stay-cation…if you could call it that.  It’s really been a couple days of running some errands.  Since Jasper’s birth,  I have a fabulous history of signing up for races I don’t end up doing.   Travel races seem to be the big offenders since I sign up for them in advance.  So they are probably going off my radar, at least for awhile.  This also means no 50 states attempt.  It’s just not a time in my life I can easily travel, ’nuff said.

So where does this leave my current running plans?  Well, I was super trained up with a couple 20 milers, 18 milers, and a big 22 + miler.  I thought about just running a marathon on my own to utilize all my good training.  But then, I realized running in the 90% humidity just to grind out the miles by myself may not be that much fun.  It might be smarter to refocus my energy on the fall.  Race season starts then in Texas, and I think I have a much better shot at completing a local race.  I’m already signed up for my fave, the Frankenthon, and I have to think,  how can I not manage to make a race that is a 10 minute drive from my house?…but then again stranger things have happened.  But, I’ve got about 14 weeks of good training time.  This summer hasn’t been the greatest for me, so I’m giving myself permission to really train those 14 weeks.  To really immerse myself in it and enjoy it.  I need it.  After that we’ll see what’s next.   I’ll have lots of local stuff to choose from and the logistics on those races are just easier.

I don’t have any funny punchline or a story about eating too many cupcakes or something like that to end this on.   Part of my stay-cation involved retail therapy at REI, so there’s my happy thought of the day.  Is REI anyone else’s favorite store?

Ok…time to get out the Excel spreadsheet and start a new training plan!  Onward!

 

Christmas head, downward dog, and the 50 mile shuffle…

Jasper somehow ended up emailing me this while playing on the iPad. It’s from a game where you style the Christmas tree’s hair. Perhaps barber school is a future career path?

Where did the weekend go?  It always goes too fast.  I am in complete disbelief that I have a marathon this weekend….and a travel one at that.  While I dread getting on a plane and saying goodbye to my family for a couple of days, and I feel really guilty taking the time for me, I am looking forward to a good long run!  Which is really all this marathon is for me.  I trained a lot in the miles department, but not so much on speed.  It’s hit the point where all runs are at least 80 degrees, so I know trying to improve, at least for me, is pointless.  I just don’t speed up when it’s hot.  I can maintain a steady shuffle, but that’s about it.

One thing I keep meaning to mention is my new yoga routine.  I haven’t been to Ashtanga in weeks, and I doubt I’ll make it there anytime soon.  The time slot it was in worked great when Jasper went down for a nap at 1100, but now he’s more like 1230-100, and it was cutting into family time.  Plus, there is a yoga studio about a mile from our house.  It’s got a different vibe than where I was going, a little more laid back.   The classes are good, but a little less on the intensity scale.  But I really can’t argue virtually no travel time to get to a class.  I’ve been going to a 730pm class, and while I am not wild about getting home from yoga at 900pm after a really long day, it really isn’t taking any family time, minus putting Jasper to bed, which we are trying to let Mike do one night a week anyways.  If all goes well, I’ve been getting to squeeze in a weekend class too.  My point to all this is that balance word, once again.  I’m compromising the class style to make it much more convenient, and that makes me happy.  Although I learned the hard way don’t eat a huge dinner then head off to class only to hear “we’re doing all inversions this class”.

In the “something I’m thinking about department”, I admit I was hugely inspired by Western States last weekend.   It got me thinking about my own training, and really I do a pretty good job of getting out and getting the miles in.  If I really wanted to make a return to a 50 miler, there isn’t much more I’d need to do.   I have some ideas about training that I don’t think would add much to my schedule minus a couple long runs, which if planned in advance should be doable.   My fall is pretty much planned with the Frankenthon marathon October and then a birthday marathon in November, so this is something I’d be thinking about in the spring.  I’m going to see how this weekend’s run goes and if all goes well this is something I might pursue.   I blame Mark for this since he isn’t here to start out a run saying “aren’t you glad we aren’t running a 30 mile training run?”  By the way, if any of the two folks who read this have ever run the Grasslands run in the DFW area, let me know what you think, as that is one I would consider.  If I do proceed with this (a big IF), I need a race that is non-technical.  Hills are ok, rocky, rooty courses are not.

Why the change of heart?  Well, like I said, the occupational/ physical therapy session we went to last week was a real epiphany.   It was like I finally got permission to admit things can be hard.  I know you probably read this and it sounds like I get to do just about everything I want to do, and that’s true, but largely because I schedule everything when Jasper is asleep.  Very early morning, or weekend nap.  Taking another hour on a weekend to add a few more miles to a run isn’t a huge deal.  Not feeling like a bad mom for any little thing I do for me is something I’m trying to work on.

Well that’s about it.  It will be a busy week of getting ready to go out of town.  Why does going out of town for 2 days create a whole week’s worth of extra crap to do?