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No backing out now…

Maybe I should take up swimming like Jasper...Who turns 3 this week!
Maybe I should take up swimming like Jasper…Who turns 3 this week!

I just pulled the trigger and signed up for the Prickly Pear 50K in March.  I’ve been wavering.  The only reason is I don’t have a buddy for this one, and I don’t really think Mike and Jasp want to go.  But I’ve wanted to do it.  I’ve done it two other times, and there’s not an easier course out there.  Which is good, I am not wanting to spend hours on the greenbelt with the biggest hills I can find.  I get to cheat and do my long training run on marathon day, and I don’t have to do one really long run on my own.  I didn’t have any other spring time challenges on my calendar, and Mike was fully blessing me to go do it.  So, all signs pointed to yes, and I figured I needed to take the plunge so I would go through with it.  Part of me is a little nervous.  I haven’t gone over a marathon in 4 years.

Otherwise the week is dominated by getting new windows and Jasper’s birthday.  Windows are in, and it’s amazing how vastly improved they are.  Apparently, mid 80s window technology wasn’t too great in the areas of noise reduction, temperature regulation and aesthetics.   So modern ones were well over do.  I like that I can hold my hand up to one and I don’t feel cold air blowing in anymore.  I don’t like the fact my entire home and everything in it is covered in thick dust.  Hello, day off project….

As far as the birthday, minus the beverage pick up, all is done.  Indoor pool party booked….check.  Cars themed decor…check.  Pink cake ordered…check (Jasp’s request).   Super cool add on for Jasper’s marble track purchased for present…check (the boy loves him some obstacle course toys).  Pre-birthday 20 mile run and massage planned to help enjoy pink cake eating even more…check.

Anyone out there looking to do a 50K this spring?  Want to join me?

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Rogue 30K recap…

First, I must mention I got a groupon for Parkour classes. I was under the impression Parkour was a made up sport for youtube. I stand corrected. It has a federation and certified coaches who will coach you if you purchase the groupon classes. Parkour hasn not made my to do list, but I suspect it would have some appeal for a certain small boy:

photoToday was the Rogue 30K, aka official marathon pacer practice run.  A few thoughts:  The high school volunteers were delightful, but the course was kinda meh.  Is there no where better to run other than a massive out and back in an empty mall parking lot?  Mike and Jasp made it around mile 10, after I realized driving there the course was very close to my house.  So I quick texted them directions, and they made it.  Jasp loved it and high fived a lot of folks.  It’s always fun to see them on the course.  When I dashed into the porta potty Jasp felt the need to announce “Oh, mommy in potty.” I had left my pacer sign on the group and he also announced “Mommy’s sign”.  Great, he’ll be expecting me to have a sign on a stick for all runs now.  As is the norm in pacing, I get a nice little group of people and usually everyone falls off by the end and I finish alone.  But the folks I met were all very nice people and sounded like they were in for the marathon.  Finally it’s amazing how much better I feel after a run when I drop the pace a bit.  I am feeling fine, not tired at all.   Or maybe that’s due to my post race latte….Nice to have the first race of 13 in 2013 done.  12 more to go!

Anyhow, off to do some yoga while the small one naps, dreaming of Parkour…

 

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Ella, RIP

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We found Ella about 8 years ago wandering the street.  She was a sweet little puppy, but we have a single family dog in Pancake.  I tried to take her to the pound but couldn’t go through with it, and Mike’s cousin, Robert said he’d always wanted a rottweiler and took her.  Over the years we watched Ella quite a bit and she and Robert were inseparable.  She was another family member….but grew to be a big one at about 100lbs!  But she was a gentle giant, and really saw herself as a lap dog.

Last night Ella lost her battle with diabetes.  It’s always sad to see someone lose their best friend.  Rest in peace, Ella.

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20 is in the books…

I was finally able to escape the ‘hood and the stroller and meet friends to run.   I had company for 12 miles of my 20 miles, then thought I would be solo but ran into a friend and had a buddy almost the whole way.  It made it fly by and I was happy to finally see “20” on my garmin.  It’s a mental thing.  I’d timed out two other 20 milers for the upcoming marathon, one at 19, one at 17.5.  So I really needed to get the 20 done today!   I got to test out my new marathon pacer shirt.  We got our pacer gear this week, and as any runner knows new shoes or gear are the exception to the “money can’t buy happiness” rule.  Well, except pacer gear is free, so it really equals happiness.

I did suprisingly really well on runs this week with Mike gone and very cold weather.   BUT, I have a few things going for me.  I have one kid.  Getting one bundled up in the stroller is doable, but I can’t imagine getting two into the stroller on a cold morning.  I had to make promises of “yes the ipad can come and we will put Nest in the stroller” (Nest is the name of Jasper’s sleeping bag).  I also owe it to Jasper for being very agreeable to stroller runs.  I also had my 2 hour freedom period while he was in speech therapy, and I had time to run, dry off a bit and have a snack before he was done.   Honestly though if I was faced with this solo time more (and that’s a possibility), I think I would seriously consider a treadmill.   Oh, and a shout out to military spouses out there.  Having your husband or wife overseas is a little stressful because there is the constant concern of if something happened they can’t just fly home that night.  So I can’t imagine doing that for months at a time, while worried that something bad could happen to them while they are away.   So yeah, once again I am reminded I’ve got it pretty darn good.

Now I’m off to the zoo with compression socks on…

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Race cost breakdown…

A while back I wrote a post complaining about how expensive seemingly simple races are.  My friend, Ryan, sent me a really great breakdown of what it costs him to put on a 50K race.  I would like to clarify though, that my rant by no means was meant for the smaller race put on by runners for runners.  I find these type races to be overwhelming fairly priced, and more importantly committed to giving back to other runners and the community in some way.   My beef is really with the big corporate racing companies that have proliferated.  I’m sure it does cost a fortune to close a chunk of a city for a marathon, so I don’t really have an issue with the  big city marathons costing a lot either.  It’s these fancy 5Ks, 10Ks, etc that just seem like too much to me.  So yes, I’ll do the obvious and not do them.  They are very attractive though to newer runners, and I do wonder if they take away from great events like Ryan’s.  BTW, I have never done his run, because I am much too much of a wimp to start something that long at midnight.  I fall asleep by 1000 most nights.  So for those tougher and hardier than me…give it a whirl.  Maybe this summer I’ll suck it up, drink some coffee and get my El Scorcho on…..after visiting the website I am very tempted!   Ok, here’s the breakdown:

El Scorcho prices start at $60 and go up to $100. We do tiered pricing, where the first 150 people to register pay the least amount, and the price automatically goes up after a certain number of folks register.

 

The question is–where does all that money go?

 

We do not have a single monetary sponsor, so we look solely to registration fees to cover the cost of the event. Because our race takes place in a city park, after hours, and along a river, we are required to get permits from the City of Fort Worth, the Trinity River Authority, the Parks Department, and the Health Department. We also have to pay the Fort Worth Independent School District to use their parking lot for the race. We have to pay off-duty police officers to patrol the course and keep the park safe from 10 p.m. until 7 a.m. We also have to maintain two separate insurance policies. We rent porta-potties, golf carts, and radios for the event. We have to purchase aid stations supplies, including food, electrolytes, water, and ice (lots of ice). All of our runners receive nice, technical running shirts and custom medals. 50km runners also receive a special finisher’s pin.

 

After we cover all of our costs, we donate whatever is left to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. Last year’s donation was $10,000. So… I agree with you on the cost of some runs, especially those that are out to make a profit. But at least with our little race, the money goes to a good cause. (And even if you pay the highest registration price–$100–you’re still only paying $3.22 per mile, which is less than half the $6.50 per mile that 10 mile race was charging!) And on that, I bid you farewell and wish you many enjoyable miles.

Thank you to Ryan for his very informative response to me.  I hope others find it enlighening like I did!

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Jaspathon…

I'm jealous of Jasper, this actually looks pretty fun to be pushed around in a bubble.
I’m jealous of Jasper, this actually looks pretty fun to be pushed around in a bubble.

Yesterday I had an easy way to get in my run.  Jasper had two hours of therapy, so that gave me plenty of time to run.  A quick google map search revealed a network of trails about a mile from the speech therapy place.  Who knew?  So I headed out.  In 31 degrees.  WTF with all this winter!  Anyhow, the trails were awesome!  They were all marked at intersections and nice twisty single track trails.  I think they must have belonged to a nearby sudivision.  I returned to speech sweaty and happy about my resourcefulness.

That morning I was up at 430 assessing the possibility of a stroller run and decided it was too cold.  Since I was up, I rode my bike until Jasper got up.   This will probably never happen again that I bike and run in the same day.  How do you triathletes do it?  It makes me sooo hungry all day.

The swim part came as our afternoon activity.  I took Jasp swimming at the Y.    He does more work than I do, but I was totally pooped by the time we were done.  I endured multiple orders of “Mommy swim!”

And that’s how I do a triathlon.  The picture is from this morning’s run.  Heck yes, warm enough for a stroller run!  Now if I can just figure out how to have enough time for something other than cereal tonight…

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Cheater, cheater, pumpkin eater…

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In happier times of 60 degree winter days…

I’ll make this quick, as I’m about to pick up Jasp.  I totally cheated today on the single parent thing.  I had a dr appt, a car in the shop I needed to pick up (a challenging proposition when you have a toddler and no car seat in the car that needs to be picked up, and don’t even begin to think about how you get there), and a couple other things that I’d had on my “need to do but cannot do if Jasper is with me list”.   So I took a day off work and Jasp went to daycare.  The main reason to take off was for the car and it turns out it’s not even ready, so I have a very elaborate plan for tomorrow to get it that gave me a full blown panic attack this morning trying to figure out how to pull it off with said toddler and no car seat (long story).     So yeah, a real single parent probably doesn’t get to take days off work to get things done.  But I got to eek out a run this morning.  In 30 degrees and it’s not much warmer now.  Real winter is not really all that pleasant.   But Pancake and I got all kinds of wet and cold and got in some miles.

And true to form Jasper was sick this weekend.  It was pretty mild, but enough for me to say “WTF?”  and panic that I would have to take the whole week off work.  He seems better now.  I did ask him to repeat “Jasper is not sick” throughout the day.  It came out as “Fapper sick”.  But apparently it still worked as things didn’t seem to progress.

So we’ll see how and if running goes the rest of this week.   The Bob stroller weather shield is good but I don’t know if it’s 30 degrees good.  Creativity may ensue….

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Bring it…

Every plan I will make in the next few days is dependent on the little boy in the crown...scary.
Every plan I will make in the next few days is dependent on the little boy in the crown…scary.

I am not exactly a fan of when Mike has to go overseas for work.   It’s very isolating…life becomes all work and childcare and days go by where I don’t really talk to anyone socially.  I eat cereal a lot for dinner.  I get strange irrational fears like “if I fell and hit my head and was unconscious there is no one who would even know…for days.”  And then I worry “would Jasper just sit here and cry?  Would he and Pancake find my phone and together call 911?”  Yes…very rational stuff.  Seriously though, it’s hard and makes me feel guilty I even come up with this stuff when millions of single parents do this day in and day out and I’m being a big baby about the whole thing.

We don’t the best track record though.  Jasp has gotten sick every trip except for one.   RSV and a stomach bug were the two that completely broke me.  You know,  being up for 48 hours straight, sans shower with a completely miserable child?   Running 100 miles was easier than that.  One of the trips Jasp got a stomach bug the day before Mike left then I got it once he was gone.   That was fun.

Running is a big question mark, but on that front we’ve actually done pretty good in the past.  When Jasp was little and contained in a crib I did my infamous runs up and down the street in front of my house with the baby monitor.  That option went away when the crib did, so I started getting him up a little early and dragging him with me in the stroller.  That has actually worked pretty good.   The weather for the upcoming week looks pretty cold though, so I know there are days stroller runs will not happen.  I’ve got my bike on the trainer all set in the garage and baby monitor ready to roll.  We’ve got free childcare at the Y in the evenings, which didn’t go so well last time we tried it, but I am reserving it as my nuclear option in case I can’t run for several days, and then treadmill and childcare it is.  Yes, this all sounds like a lot of crazy talk, when you probably ask “why not just take the week off running?”  Well, I’ve got a marathon coming up and if running was your stress release and you were trying to get yourself and child who usually refuses to get dressed or wear shoes out of the house at 730 every morning, you would want your stress release too.  I guess I am saying…I’m ready for the upcoming challenges.  I’ve got a plan.  I know the little boy who doesn’t sleep very much could ruin just about any plan, but I am ready.  Bring it!

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That’s $6.50 a mile…

I don't have a lot of photos of me racing.  This one is ancient.   I no longer own a single piece of the clothing I am wearing....all at Goodwill long ago.
I don’t have a lot of photos of me racing. This one is ancient. I no longer own a single piece of the clothing I am wearing….all at Goodwill long ago.

Gosh dang it I am bloggy lately.  Remember my 2013 goal of being a real blogger?  As a result here is a pondering post to torture you with.

The other day I got a Groupon for $20 off a new local race.  I figured with that kind of savings I would sign up and if I couldn’t make it I’d be out $20, $30 at the most.  Wrong.  Try $65.  Yes, $65 after $20 off.  For a 10 mile race.  So no purchase.

Mark, my main running buddy, and I like to ramble running talk when we run.  We have similar opinions on things and bounce rants of each other and there are lots of “what do you think of this” type conversations.   We talk a lot about how much we have changed since we met as two ultrarunners a few years ago.  We both raced all the time, thought nothing of doing a 5 hour training run, and did stupid things like a 50K on Saturday and then a half marathon on Sunday (or in Mark’s case a 50 miler Saturday followed by a half marathon).   We both agree we were lucky we came out of this phase uninjured.  We ran a lot.  Now, not so much.  Mark says he’s at a point he’s happy not racing.   I’m not sure if I am there yet.  I love having something to motivate me to go harder and longer on a training run.  I love having an outlet to challenge myself.  I love meeting and talking to other runners at races.    But I am completely disgruntled with races like the race I just mentioned.  To be fair, I have never directed a race, so maybe the costs to put one on really are that high, but it really does seem astronomical.

So where I am going with all this other than just complaining?  Well I plan to seek out the events that are smaller in scale thus smaller in price…and usually more fun.  I don’t really have a definitive plan for the year in racing, so I am still looking to see what is out there.    I also plan to find some other challenges for myself:  the virtual 13 in 2013 races, planned routes with friends (like our old “The Sweaty 20 in the Pines Run”…20 miles in the Texas summer through a beautiful state park, with microbrew finishers’ gifts at the end…top that corporate race!)

If anyone wants to join me in creating some fun challenges let me know.  I am always up for something other than my usual “Let me see if I can get up before Jasper and get out the door before he wakes up and then try to function normally all day after 20 miles and 5 hours of sleep.”   Now that’s a challenge…

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Yoga home practice 101 for runners…

Everyone is blogging yoga it seems.  Being completely unoriginal, I thought I’d jump in and give my thoughts.  Disclaimer:  I am NOT a yoga teacher and have never had formal training.  I’ve been practicing consistently for 4 and a half years and have learned a lot in that time.   I tried yoga first via a book and that was a huge fail.   I did not “get” it.  It seemed too easy, I wasn’t sweating, etc.  When I first took a class I “got” it right away.  If your schedule allows take a couple classes before venturing out at home.  But if you can’t here’s some ideas:

Save some money and skip the DVDs.  There is a ton online.  Start small.  Don’t go for a 90 minute practice at first.  Start with 10-15 minutes after your run.   You can find all the postures on youtube or YogaJournal.com.  I also have learned over the years, to constantly focus on tucking in my tailbone, keeping my shoulders back, and keeping my belly in.  Sounds easy, but it’s hard to put it all together, all the time with every pose.  I like to start with cat/ cow.   Just about 5 rounds or so.    Then go for sun salutations.  Watch sun salutation A and B on youtube.  Doing 5 of each is great.  Or just do 5 of “A” .  Another tip I’ve learned is as a runner always keep your knees a little bent.  It takes a ton of pressure off your hamstrings.  Next, do a couple seated postures.  Watch Pigeon if you are not familiar.  It’s my fave for runners.  Yoga Journal online is great source to pick a couple.  You could finish off with bridge pose or a headstand if you can do it, and if not, your legs up the wall.  That’s probably about 10-15 minutes right there.  If even this much sounds too complicated, I would just learned sun salutation A and do a couple after each run.

My favorite DVD I have is ViniYoga Therapy for Low Back and Sacrum.  It’s very gentle, so cardio junkies will freak, but I promise you your back muscles will be sore the next day after you do it.   It is a great end of the day practice with a 20 minute or 30 minute session.

This brings me to another point that has taken me awhile to get.  It’s ok if your yoga is not super high speed flowing.  You may not burn a million calories, but you will get so much out of it.  Sometimes if I get to go to a yoga class, it’s the only time all day I’m not multitasking and rushing.  A lot of us live like that, so it’s so good to have a time you are not trying to go-go-go.  I’m totally hooked on yoga at this point and know it will be a lifelong interest.  I really try to spread the gospel to other runners, because it’s such a perfect complement to running.   I hope a couple yoga curious friends find this helpful.   Yay for yoga!