I love run….aka experimental running…

Some run to stay in shape, we run for Super Why.

This weekend was a bit of an experiment.  Ever since I went M-F at work, I run both Saturday and Sunday.  I like having the time to drive to a favorite trail and maybe meet a friend, something I can’t do during the week.  But I usually pretty tired Sunday night/ Monday.  I do a couple pretty hard runs, plus yoga most weekends.  This weekend I decided to take Sunday as an off day and see if I could deal and not implode from a missed run….yes I am just that irrational.

There was a 5K on Sunday (today).  It was super hero themed, and Jasp saw a commercial for it and was pretty hyped up about Super Why (a PBS kids show for the uninitiated).  I opted to do it this morning because 1.  5Ks are cheap.  If we didn’t end up going it was a $25 registration that all went to charity, so it’s not like a massive money loss would occur.  2.  I went in still calling it an off running day, figuring walking would be easy enough.  I had no expectations to run, so there would be no frustration of missing a run if he wasn’t into it,  and 3.  If Jasp wasn’t into it, or wanted to be carried for 3 miles, we would just bail guilt free, once again just seeing it as a charitable donation.

We met Stephanie and her kids, who are much more seasoned 5K veterans, and are used to staying in the stroller.  Jasp was really into seeing all the runners, and all the costumes for the superhero theme.  We got there an hour early since we needed to pick up a number still, and he jumped and played a lot. There were a lot of kid activities and he liked that.  He wanted to walk at first, but then was agreeable to getting into the stroller. We made it the whole walk with just cutting a little at the end.  He seemed to really like it.  When we got to our car, he declared “I love run!”  A full sentence for Jasp is a rare occurrence, so I was happy we did the event.

Would I do it again?  Well, I did kinda miss running on Sunday.  I did my long run on Friday before work, so the weekend felt a little off, without a big run.  I think going into it with zero expectations of running was key.  Kids this young are just unpredictable, and I would have been very frustrated if I had planned to run the thing as a workout, only to have Jasp refuse.  I also think picking an event that was family oriented more than runner oriented was the way to go.  There were a handful of people there to run fast, but most people could care less about the running and were there for the fun part.

So the verdict is I would do it again.  Maybe not every weekend.  If it’s another kid type run, we’ll do it.  I think in another year he’ll be doing the kids Ks anyway, and that will really be fun.

Ok..off to do a few chores while the little boy naps and dreams of running with Super Why.

It’s all relative…

A couple of you who actually read this have called me out on saying a 9 min pace is slow.  Ok..you are right, it’s not and I don’t think so either.  But, it is slower than I need to run to make my goal time, and slower than I ran a year ago, hence my choice of words.

I hate when people say things discrediting what is really a big accomplishment.  In Austin we have so many ultra runners and triathletes, you actually hear people say “It’s only a marathon, that’s not a big deal.”  I’ve probably actually said that at one point or another, but I really don’t want to come off as a jerk.   Whenever I have someone ask me about getting into running as a newbie, I remind them that most people won’t even walk to get their mail, so doing a couple miles a day is huge.   We all have our own inner ego we judge ourselves by, and maybe mine comes out too often.  That is actually one reason I love yoga….I am such a novice, and just about everything is a new challenge.  I have no expectations of myself other than try to get through the class and modify as needed for poses I just cannot do.  It’s so different from running where I have expectations of myself.

At any rate I am just always happy I get out to run and get to do things like marathons.  I just love the process, the buildup of a long effort, and the feeling of finishing.  Regardless of how fast I can do it.   I just have a little selfish goal that one day I want to cross the Boston finish line again and have my family there to expereince all the traditions and festivities with me!

Pumpkin patch in a parking lot..

A fall tradition: visiting a Whole Foods pumpkin patch in 90 degrees and then getting a pumpkin spice latte at Starbucks. I hope my sarcasm is easily detected.  There’s a really great pumpkin patch outside of town that we’ll go to later, and skip the organic Whole Foods fair trade pumpkin.

The little boy has entered a new phase in his sleep.   Going to bed has been easier lately.  Staying in bed is impossible.   So he heads into our bed around midnight.  Nightmares are common, so he’s been waking up around 300.  But that means he usually sleeps past 430-500…the time he had been getting up the past couple weeks.   So I’ve been running sans stroller the last couple days.  Why in the heck am I so slow still?   I’m in the final stages of prepping for my only goal marathon of the year and it just isn’t coming together as I had hoped.  I’ve halfway written off trying to get a Boston qualifier for 2014.   It’s a long shot for sure.  Plus, I keep getting tempted to enter this year since I am qualified for this one.  After the full registration period there are still slots open.   Please quit tempting me Boston marathon.  Leave me alone, you are too expensive to sign up for on a whim.

I think I am just super itchy to put on a racing number.  I’ve been looking forward to fall racing season, and the chance to just maybe get to do some local races.  I’m going try and avoid the “big box” races and find a smaller event or two that cost less, usually done by runners for runners, and actually are trying to support a charity.  Don’t even get me started on the 800 mud runs, obstacle runs, foam runs, all women’s mud adventure runs, etc that are on the local calendar.  I totally don’t get it.

Well..not a lot else to report on.   I do keep meaning to mention that Jasper is still watching the Olympic marathon everyday.  It’s usually his first request when he wakes up and when he gets home.  I am hoping New York is shown on tv so he has a new race to watch.

 

A weekend haiku…and explanation…

I happen to think Jaspy is the cutest little boy in the world…especially when he eats frozen custard.

20 miles are now done.

The boy jumped, swam, and saw some cats.

Okra makes me smile.

So I’ve got a 20 miler in the books.   Here’s what I’ve finally figured out about balancing 20 milers with kid activities that go on all weekend:  I get 3 hours to run, max.  And that’s if I start at 5am.  800 is done time.  So what I get done just depends on how fast or how slow I run.  I call it done at 800 regardless of where I am.   The goal this weekend was 20-22, but I did 20.  With being a couple of minutes late, an emergency bathroom stop, and running into a friend I hadn’t seen in a while, and oh, yeah, I’m not very fast, 20 miles took the whole 3 hours.   The good news is I had company for 8, and did the rest on my own.  I ran a super hilly, challenging route.  My body felt good.  The bad news is it wasn’t near the pace I wanted.  Poo.  More on that later.

I had a whirlwind Saturday.  I rushed home after my run, shoveled in a bowl of cereal and took Jasp to swimming.  We then made our routine Starbucks stop, and I savored an iced pumpkin spice latte.  We then went to a neighborhood fall festival and had a blast.  There was a ton of great things, especially for kids, but we focused on the bounce house, the bake sale with cupcakes, and the cat rescue group.  Jasp would bounce until an older kid knocked him down, then start sobbing, and the only thing he would find solace in was going over the the rescue cats up for adoption in their little cages and saying “Hi Cat.” in between sobs.  Repeat process multiple times, until nap was 30 minutes overdue and I drug him away screaming.  Then while he napped I had my weekend Costco trip.  I was excited fresh pre-cut butternut squash is back, and once again I did not give into temptation to buy the giant thing of peanut butter cups.   Then Jasp was up and I took him to the bouncy gym.  By this point I was wearing my compression socks……I know, what a dork, but this is a lot of activity post 20  miler.   I took them off for dinner though, as we had a family spurge dinner at Contigo.  I pigged out on the okra there.  I LOVE okra.  I fell asleep before 900.

Today was a stroller run and a failed yoga class.  I did “Yoga for Runners” DVD at home…it’s a good one, BTW.   We just had too much going on for me to make it to a class, and I won’t bore you with another whirlwind day recap.

Now back to my slow run.  I thought about it.  I ran 20 miles…in a pace that is about mid pack in any given marathon, and that’s fine.  Call it excuses, but I’m busy, my weekends are really packed,  and I’m tired a lot.  I am working with my stupid head and ego to accept runs like these are ok, and my “excuses” are real.  I’m not 100% there, but I am definitely better.  I am thinking of changing some things up with my run schedule but that will be a whole post later this week…I hope.

And to my mom friends who read this (2 or 3 of you maybe?):  How do you deal with the swamped feeling?  I get my big things taken care of:  family, job, run.  But lately I feel the little thing are getting away from me:  housework, cooking, shopping (for those things you need, but cannot get online).  How do you fit it in without doing crazy things like cleaning your bathrooms at 900 on Friday night?  Am I the only one who does this?

All done sleep…

Hardcore at the playground, rain will not keep us away.

I’m about to go get my booty handed to me in yoga, so this will be quick.   Yesterday I only had a 15 mile run (you get to say obnoxious things like that when you are marathon training).  I wanted to make it a really honest effort, aka sorta hard.  Mark ran Balcones with me, which has got to be one of my all time favorite routes, and I am hurting from those hills today.  I really felt I had to make it count though, especially when Mike was sacrificing his sleep so I could go run without the small blond one, who woke up at 430 and declared “All done sleep.”  After yoga today, plus those hills from yesterday, tomorrow may be painful.  The run was better than they have been but still on the slow side.   Darn.

Today I ran from home in case he who cannot sit still woke up early again, but he didn’t, so the run was just me.  We went to the playground early to beat the forecast rain, and ended up with some drizzle.

Jasper isn’t the only one who went down the slide in the rain. And she did this with no prompting. I was impressed.

I love that our ‘hood has three great playgrounds we can walk to.   We are hitting playgrounds again after only doing water stuff all summer.  It’s finally cool enough.  I do have to say I will miss outdoor swimming a little even though I’ve gone three times a week since about May.  Although I won’t miss coating us both in tons of greasy sunscreen….a huge plus to indoor pools.

 

I also got to go our with my friend Kitty for a girls’ dinner, which was a huge treat.  We had lots of tapas style goodies at Contigo.   I love the fact so many restaurants in Austin do the whole little plate thing so you get to try a lot.  This is important when I only go to restaurants like this a few times a year.   As usual I was starving and probably ate 10 different little plates of things, so hopefully I did not embarrass Kitty.

Ok…gotta muster up some energy and head out to yoga while the little boys naps.

Getting slower…

It happens; every runner slows down at some point.  My first big slow down and consistent lack of improvement was when I started ultrarunning.  I did lots of long, slow runs, and I got good at long, slow runs.  I couldn’t keep up with my marathoning friends, and it was a wake up call…do some speed work!  I started pushing harder, and was able to barely eek out another Boston qualifier, but I did it.  Speed work, worked!

Now, to back up just a bit, I’ve never been a fast runner.  I’ve always been middle of the pack, but at a time I was more at the top of the mid pack, fighting my way to age group awards, but hardly someone who was at the top.  I now find myself at the end of the mid pack.  So what changed?

Is it just a product of getting a little older?   It’s been a muggy summer, I’ve allowed some slow down due to that.  Since having Jasper, I don’t get as much rest as I used to, and I allow some slow runs for that.  Excuses?  Legitimate reasons for slowing down?

Another thing to ponder:  Does it matter?  As I said, I’ve never been a top runner, I never will be.  All my running is mainly for fun.  My running goal is always longevity and staying injury free, so posting faster times  shouldn’t really matter.

But, goal setting is very rewarding.  Once we are out of childhood, and young adulthood, there are few opportunities for challenging ourselves.   Academics are over, no more team sports, and unless you have a very competitive job or you’re a scientist, chances are there’s not a ton of challenge in the workplace.  So yes, it’s nice to set a running goal, and then watch it happen (hopefully).

So where am I in all this?  Well, as we got a little cool down in the weather, I thought I would see some quicker runs.  I have not.  I have serious doubt about my fall marathon goal.  I think it may be too ambitious.   Maybe I’ve just hit a point where I need to accept I  am not the runner I used to be.  Not that I do a lot about it either.   My “speed” work is pretty simple, and I keep it minimal mainly for that whole stay injury free factor.  I gave it some thought this week, and I don’t see me changing what I’ve been doing.  If I don’t see some improvements as we get more and more cool days, so be it.  My Boston marathoning may end.   I work hard while keeping it fun and not going over what I think will keep my joints and bones healthy.

Lastly…I always try and remember just be happy to get out and run.   Every runner knows the feeling of that run that feels effortless, peaceful, and completely fulfilling.  For me that run is usually a 6-7 miler on a 60 degree morning done by myself followed by a good cup of coffee and a little stretching.  If I can keep doing that most mornings until I am well into my senior years, then that’s all I can really ask for, and I’ll hardly worry about the fact I’m a bit of a turtle.

Thoughts?  Anyone else feel like they are slowing down?

 

The post that never happened.

Jasper does not eat a lot of foods, but frosting is one of them.   Seems logical to me.

I have started this post about 4 times in the last 3 days.  It seems to go no where.  I have some posts planned, so hopefully tomorrow at speech therapy something will materialize.  In the meantime….marathon training goes well, especially with our new cooler weather, but I am painfully slow.  Frustrating.   I am waiting for Jasp to start showing little scales and little gills….as I cannot get him out of the water.  We swim a lot.  A lot.  Which is maybe why I couldn’t come up with a good post this weekend.  Run, swim, eat is how my weekends go.

More later….

Oh yeah, one more thing:  Would you enter the Boston marathon if you were in this year, doubtful you’d ever be able to get in again, but would not have a travel buddy?  I may just be pondering the same thing…and yes I am aware my life must be pretty good if this is the type of thing I worry about.  🙂

Weekend wrap up…long runs, missed runs, pancakes, and “jump in water”…

It’s still 100 degrees here, guess what we did all weekend?

The long run went fantastic this weekend. 16 miles, which may not seem that long to some, but it was brutally hot and humid. September doesn’t mean fall in Texas. I picked a very hilly route, and while not super fast, I felt good. I used it for my MommyRunFast virtual run, but failed to check my time at the 10 miles mark, for a 10 mile virtual race, so my race is a guesstimate. I had a Honey Stinger Waffle for the first time, and I’m undecided if I liked it or not. It’s just so different from the average running food. I have another to try, so maybe next run I can declare love it or hate it. I do love the idea of it. A small, calorie dense waffle? Yes, please.

My 10K race in Bastrop did not happen on Sunday. Boo for no strollers allowed. Even a plea to the race director and a promise to start in the back did nothing. Bottom line, I learned to check the rules every time I register for something. Not that I wanted to run with the stroller, but Mike had some conflicting plans, and it was stroller or nothing. So Jasp and I did our own run, came home and made Greek yogurt pancakes.  I also got in yoga and today am so sore!

I have been making these for the last month or so. It’s a variation on a recipe I found online. They seem too simple to be possible, but I swear this is the best pancake recipe I have ever made. I like to top them with stuff that isn’t syrup…like peanut butter, and more yogurt. I keep meaning to post the recipe, so here it is:

Greek yogurt Granola Pancakes
1 c. Fage nonfat greek yogurt
1/2 c. flour
1 egg
Handful of oats
Handful of granola
1 tsp. baking soda
1 Tbsp. sugar (optional)
Water as needed to thin batter out
Mix everything. Batter will be very thick, so just add in enough water to make it spreadable. Cook on a griddle if you are lucky enough to have one. They take a little while to cook through.

I promise they taste better than my picture looks.

Today was an 8 miler with Mark.  It was originally going to be my 10 mile virtual race, but I was super sore from my hilly 16, and yoga.  So yeah, I can’t even manage a virtual race!  It was also free day of yoga in Austin, so I went to a quick, short class.  Is this a national thing on Labor Day or just in Austin?

It is definitely summer still.  This weekend was 100 degrees everyday.  So of course we went swimming all 3 days.  We also did something we should have done months ago…we joined the YMCA.   There is one by my house, and I initially poo-pooed it, because the Y is really expensive.  But Mark told me how great it is with a huge indoor and outdoor pool and we can use a ton of different locations.  They have yoga, and all my studio passes had expired.  The Y was just a little more money than a new yoga pass, but there is a lot more stuff, especially the swimming pools for Jasp.   So we pulled the trigger.  Jasp and I went to the pool today, and it was fantastic.  It’s a 5 minute drive tops, has huge water slides, and in the winter, we can head indoors and swim.  Plus, if I ever find a hole in my schedule in addition to yoga there is pilates and spin…well, and a huge weight room I probably won’t use unless I find myself with a whole new schedule.  Anyhow, I wish we had done it sooner…it seems like we will use a lot there and hopefully justify the monthly cost.

Lots of leisure activities I want to get to this week.  I am re-watching Ken Burns’ National Parks PBS series and I have two new running magazines.  It’s the little things in life I tell ya.  One quick story and then I’ll sign off this mega post.  I was flipping through the new Runner’s World next to Jasp on the couch the other day while he was watching Cars for the 8 billionth time.  He snatched it from me, and pointed to the extremely fit looking girl on the cover and said “Mommy!”.  Now about the only thing I have in common with the model on the cover is we both wear our hair in a ponytail.  But I do appreciate Jasper’s vote of confidence.