Most things are easier with oxygen…

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Pre race carb loading this morning

Greetings and salutations from Colorado. A few observations from 9500 feet:
-my hair looks so much better and feels so soft. Humidity really makes hair look like crap. I don’t need defrizzer here.
-my skin on the other hand craves lotion 24/7. If I lived here I would look like I’m 90.
-why do mountain towns have the worst food? We seriously live off pizza every time we come here.
– high altitude makes me soooo sleepy.
– high altitude has no effect on Jasper at all, including making him sleep at night. Up 4 times last night. 😦
-already have close encounters with elk and a moose

I had a near crisis when I was home and packing as garmin broke where the strap connects making it impossible to get a new strap and leaving me a garmin pocket watch. In the spirit of first world problems, I high tailed it to REI and bought the cheapest one since I’ve yet to keep a garmin alive more than a year. REI was awesome, and so far, I like my new pink garmin 10 ….I just don’t know how to work it yet.

Anyhow, travel with a toddler is never relaxing, but Jasp is doing ok. He seems somewhat distressed to be out of his routines and has made several requests to go home. We took him to a local resort area last night and he did the bounce house there for about an hour and ran like crazy until I hit a point I was so tired I just couldn’t stand anymore. (Getting up at 345 likely contributed). So I guess he’s having fun despite every other request being to go home.

Today I raced the local half marathon here. It was my second true mountain race and much harder than the other done I did. It wasn’t so much the elevation but the fact that there was a 6 mile long big hill. But I think I held my own. I did a lot of hill running in Austin in 96% humidity and I think it translated well to 9500 feet and a 6 mile hill. Don’t get me wrong, it hurt, but it was the prettiest course I think I’ve ever done, and I just felt so happy to get a chance to run in the mountains. But mountain races are no joke! For perspective I ran awhile with a woman who was an ironman from Boulder and she thought it was a hard course. Yikes!

Ok rest calls. I wish I could manage to stay up past sunset here, I image it’s a very pretty sight.

Making new friends at 5am, and more summer fun…

This is pretty much what I saw this morning, minus the lush forest in the background.
This is pretty much what I saw this morning, minus the lush forest in the background.

We did a stroller run this morning which made me very happy.   Not that I wanted Jaspy to wake up at 4:30, but I was glad he wanted to go on a stroller run, because last week, he declined them all week.  He discovered that waking up early is really fun when your mother builds you a fort out of couch cushions and you get snacks and an ipad while she runs on the treadmill.  Why would you ever go back to sitting in a stroller again, when you have that set up?  So I was relieved when he wanted to go with me this morning.  I’d like to do a combo of stroller runs and the treadmill until he’s at least 4, and then at some point, all my Jasper runs will be on the treadmill with my little audience of one.

This morning, on just a regular route, an armadillo suddenly scurried out in front of the stroller and I had to yank back on it so we didn’t hit him.  He stayed right in front of us, stood up on his hind legs and tried to touch the stroller.  Jasper laughed and said “it’s funny, ” and before I could think about what to do next the armadillo turned and very slowly went back into the bushes he came out of.  I just  love 5am adventures. 

My other bit of good news, if you can really call an armadillo almost touching your child good news, is that we are doing moives this summer!   Jaspy is old enough to enjoy going to the movies now.  We saw Monsters University yesterday, and I loved it.  Although, if I can eat movie treats and spend the afternoon sitting instead of climbing on a playscape with sore legs, I am super happy.  We all went to the Alamo Drafthouse, and Jaspy thought it was way cool to get a scoop of chocolate ice cream at the movies, and I thought it was way cool I got an arugala and kale pizza with a wheat beer.   It’s definitely not a cheap outing getting 3 people movie treats, plus tickets, but it really couldn’t be more fun.  I can’t wait to go see Turbo later this summer!

Ok, my lunch break almost over and work calls.  Sigh…..

 

 

Frozen treat summer…

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There’s a lot of this going on this summer.

We continue our marathon swim sessions. If I ask Jasper what he wants to do, it’s always “swimming!” I will admit that summer in Texas is totally doable when you have a pool membership. I don’t know what took us so long to get one! My eyes burn every night, my hair is always brittle from chlorine, and I’ve taken to buying sunscreen at Costco since we use so much, but dang it, we are playing hard outside every day in the Texas summer and there’s something to be said about that. I also have a child asleep at 730 since he swam for 3 hours today. Can I get an amen to that!

Anyhow, the only downside to swimming is the treat bribing to get said child to leave the pool, even though he plays so hard he reaches a point he can no longer lift himself in and out of the pool he’s so tired. So today’s ice cream flavor was Snickers for mommy and cotton candy for Jasper Owl. Yum.

Today’s run was 15-16. I made it 15.5 and called it. Marathon training is going really well. I’m doing marathon paced runs on the treadmill and nailing them. Still a little slow on long runs, but hopefully when I hit the 0% humidity in Colorado next weekend, I’ll see if the hard work is translating into speedier times.

So yes, vacation is next weekend…….yay, yay, yay. Until then lots of swimming and ice cream eating.

Permastink and Green Monsters…

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Waiting to be made…

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Waiting to go in my belly

This weekend was highlighted by brutal humidity . I like heat, and I like running in 70-80 degrees. That’s my perfect temp. Add super high humidity, and it’s a whole new ball game. I even like a little humidity, but this 98% stuff makes for some tough going. 9 miles of hills followed by 5 miles with the stroller. I was toast at the end, but feeling like a little ‘ ol mountain run at 9000 feet has got nothing on pushing a stroller up a hill in air the density of soup. I guess we shall see in a couple weeks.

I cleaned out a bunch of running clothes today mainly due to such weather. Here in the Texas we have a phenomena I refer to as permastink. Running clothes got so drenched with layer upon layer of sweat on long runs that they hit a point no amount of laundering will get out the stink. I suppose all running clothes do this eventually, but here in Texas I figure a pair of shorts has two to three summers of running before they have permastink and belong in the trash. I yanked all running clothes I wore prior to Jasper’s birth…. Please note he’s three. I had shorts going on 4 summers of sweaty stench, and they needed to go. Clean closets are always nice, but it’s sad to toss things like my marathon pacer shorts. Permastink prevails though.

As for meal planning, this week is about breakfast, lunch and snacks. Enter the Green Monster! I am only a smoothie person in the summer. It’s really true that you do not taste the greens in green monster smoothies at all. I LOVE them. I don’t like protein powder, so I use Greek yogurt, a banana, spinach, berries, and a bit of apple juice. This will be breakfast until mid October, when it cools off again.

I also stocked up on lunch stuff and work snacks. I have no where to get food nearby my work and our cafeteria is pretty bad. It’s true institutional food and there are limited fresh veggies healthy choices. I always bring lunch and prefer leftovers and if we don’t have any than a peanut butter sandwich. Problem is I sometimes don’t really have enough and by 2pm I am staving and struggling to focus and come home ravenous and eat like crap ( sound familiar to anyone?). So this weekend I really tried to stock up on items to keep around as snacks at work. I’ve got 600 Nature Valley granola bars from Costco (side note: am I the only one who can’t get into Lara bars? I have tried but the texture is just gross to me), and I got a bunch of Chobanis to keep at work. I had to go with fancy grocery store flavors instead of Costco. Love me some apple cinnamon and lemon. I’m armed with carrots and hummus. I also got a few frozen Amy’s meals for days I would otherwise take peanut butter. I’m no fan of frozen meals, but I figure it will fill me up more than peanut butter. So there’s my meal planning. Hopefully it will make my afternoons a little more productive. I think my low point last week was a day Jasper got up at 3am and stayed awake and I was autodigesting myself by about 1:30, and went digging in the break room for packages of saltines. A lovely combo of extreme hunger and sleep deprivation.

On that note, Sunday night tv calls. I just might have to break into my snacks tonight…….

Spirit of the Marathon II, swimming exhaustion, and the missing Baby Owl…

This is Baby Owl.  He goes everywhere Jasper goes.  Unknowingly, he went to the movies last night while Jasper was did not.  Whoops.
This is Baby Owl. He goes everywhere Jasper goes. Unknowingly, he went to the movies last night while Jasper was did not. Whoops.

Did anyone else see Spirit of the Marathon II last night?  Wow!!!  Wasn’t it good!?!  Hopefully it will get released again, because it really is a must see.  If you did see it than you too are dreaming of that pizza restaurant today and trying to figure out ways to do an international marathon.  I loved all the runners they focused on and it’s hard to pick a favorite.  I really liked the Italian runners though.  And the Rome marathon looks like a must do….the bucket list grows.

Yesterday, being moive day, I appropriately did a marathon training run in the morning.  The treadmill is the way to go on these suckers.  Set the pace, and there is no cheating.  I’m two for two on my first two weeks of getting the workouts in for my fall marathon.   I had done yoga Tuesday night (always makes me sore), my hard 8 mile treadmill run, and then in the afternoon took Jasper for a  monster 2 hour swimming session.  When Jasper swims I am constantly on the move, and by the time I made it to the movie theater, I was wrecked.  I was super tired and sore, and pitiful, feeling that a 3 year old’s swim session did me in.  To be fair, there’s no splashing in the baby pool when we swim.  Jasp is all about jumping into the deep end or water sliding, and repeating the process about 120 times over the next  couple hours.  He goes until he cannot pull himself out the pool anymore and then I bribe him to leave with a cupcake or ice cream trip.  Then I eat cupcakes I shouldn’t. 

So today was an easy stroller run to deal with some of the soreness.  Sitting at a computer at work doesn’t exactly help, but hopefully I’ll be back to normal by the weekend to gear up for two more days of swimming, my long run, and a father’s day meal at Black Star, our fave restaurant.

Ok, let’s see if I have I time to check out the Rome marathon website before my lunch break is over…..

Weekend running and meal planning…

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Mmmmm, ratatouille tastes better than it photographs

It was a good weekend for running. I kicked off marathon training in an unintentionally big way. I had 13 on the schedule, and ended up with 14, but threw in Stratford Dr, one of Austin’s hardest hills. I became obsessed with one day running the Pike’s Peak marathon this week, so I had it in my head to run some serious hills. Pike’s Peak seems doable for the Austinite with a treadmill, and since that’s me, maybe someday. Although I asked Mike if he and Jasper would want to go with me to Colorado Springs one day so I could run the PP marathon and his answer was, ” hmm, not really.” yeah, not everyone thinks running vacations are fun.

Today I ran Brushy Creek with Pancake and a small skunk held us hostage on a bridge. We couldn’t run past him without risking getting sprayed and he was declining to move, so we had to wait for him to scurry off. We also saw deer, rabbits and a blue heron. Pancake was happy. A happy dog is a wonderful thing. You just cannot be in a bad mode when you are around a happy dog.

Mixed in the fun was the bounce house and two days of swimming. I’ve got to start bribing Jasper with something besides ice cream to get out of the pool. ” Hey Jasper, if you are ready to quit swimming I’ll take you to get a salad.” Yeah, right. Ever go into an ice cream shop and not succumb to something?

So here’s some meal planning!
Leftover grilled salmon
Ratatouille with goat cheese polenta
Leftover polenta
Tofu stir fry
Take out chinese night for Spirit of the Marathon II movie outing. Yay!!!!

Ok, I’ve some polenta to make and some sore wanna be a mountain runner legs to deal with.

Addendum:  Here is a link for the Ratatouille and Polenta recipe.  I brought leftovers for lunch today and it is SUPER good.  Makes a ton of food too.  I cut the cheese in half and omitted all the butter and it is still very, very good.

The plan…

So I am kicking off fall marathon training this weekend. Heck yes!!! It’s been too long without a big event to train for. Confession: I love marathon training, and wish I could be a marathon a month person, but we just don’t have that many races here.

I usually pick some sort of online plan for at least my long runs. Knowing ahead of time 20 is on the books is much better than waking up and thinking “Hmmm, I really should get in a 20 miler.” I’m also a lazy runner. I like to run long and slow, so I am good at running long and slow. I sorta gravitate away from any kind of speed work. I have owed Advanced Marathoning for a few years now, and I really wanted to use it for this race, but the reality of 15 mile runs before work isn’t going to happen. I’ve done it before but it means getting up at 3:45, which I refuse to do on a regular basis. Plus, I don’t want to overdo any plan and risk an injury. I looked at the Hanson’s running plan, which is no super long runs but tons of middle length runs. Once again, multiple days of running over 10 miles before work isn’t going to happen. So I’m going with the Train Like a Mother plan again. It has a long run and midweek runs go up to 9 miles. I can manage that. I also like that you do 20 milers throughout the training, not all piled at the end.

I don’t ever follow any plan 100%. I don’t do any run that calls for going to the track, and I don’t do some of the really short runs. I also will still be pushing the stroller for a lot of my runs, and doing the speedier days on the treadmill to ensure they get done. I also am determined to keep up yoga core (thank you , Mark!), as I’ve been consistent about doing it 3 times a week.

I’d like to work my way back to a 3:45. But in the grand scheme of life, I’m just happy to do another marathon, and other than long runs, I’m not too serious about any run on the plan.

I do miss kid free days when my KC marathon partner, Stephanie, and I emailed each other on a Friday and spontaneously decided to run a marathon on our own the next day, then mapping out a route, and not worrying we’d be trashed the rest of the day. But I am super happy to be training for something, and doing so many runs with the stroller is giving me arm muscles. And I do love my little partner.

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The one hobby phenomena…

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Jasper’s hobby is “art playdoh” as he calls it. He may have had some assistance with this one…

I was reading a running blog the other day that said something to the effect of when you are busy with young kids ( or one measly kid in my case), you get one hobby. I never thought of it that way, but it’s so true! Rather than spinning your wheels trying to do things that never materialize and getting quite frustrated in the process, accept you have time to enjoy one thing. Obviously for me that is running, duh. This is a refreshing concept. I occasionally dip into some of my former hobbies, but doing one thing and really getting into it as opposed to trying to do a gazillion things feels so much better. So running it is.

And it was a great run today! I had to take Jasper to an appt ( where I am right now) , so I had a little extra time to run since I didn’t have to race off to work right away. Jasp actually was asleep when I got up, and as I do one these rare occasions, I make it “hard run” day. Lately that means hills with trying to push the pace, so I hit up the NW hills neighborhood and pretended I was on Colorado hills. We shall see how well Austin hills translate to real mountain hills at the end of the month.

And I do suppose I got to dabble in some baking this weekend. That is a hobby I don’t do as much as I used to but I am finding as Jasper gets older it is a little easier to do here and there. I made vegan peanut butter blondies, and they were freakin’ awesome. They were so chewy it was almost like a cookie pie. Heaven. Good thing my main hobby is running…..I am a big fan of cookie pies. 🙂

And so it begins…

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Modeling a new summer outfit

Yesterday was our first official ” hours spent at the pool day”. Last summer swimming ruled. I spent the summer finding every public pool nearby and making frequent use of them. Even though it was only a few dollars each time, Jasper’s water obsession tallied up to be quite a bit with pool visits 3 times a week. At the very end of the summer we joined the Y to have pool access mainly.

Yesterday we met Jasper’s best little friend at a neighborhood pool and the boys went wild. There were about 600 trips down the water slide. Jasper’s time in the pool yesterday totaled 3 hours. That makes for a tired boy and tired mom. I had run a sweaty 15 miles that morning, went to an outdoor birthday party, then did the mammoth swim session. Come evening I was downing Nuun by the gallon to replenish all the sweat, and realizing that a beer was a huge mistake as the heat induced headache started up.

But it’s all in the name of fun. Last summer I loved having a summer activity that never got old. I own more swimsuits than I used to and we go thorough a lot of sunscreen, but it’s well worth it. Swimming so much makes the Texas summer a blessing. A little boy’s happiness is worth the price of chlorine fried hair.

Bring on marathon training starting this week. Sweaty 20 milers followed by days at the pool. I can’t wait!