Monarchs from the butterfly trailer at the neighborhood carnival

Sufferfest is probably a gentle term for today’s run. I had 16 on the schedule, which after a 20 miler last week should feel easy. Jasper was asleep when I got up (yes!), so I was ready for it to be an nice morning with friends. I knew it wouldn’t be as cool as last weekend, but I checked the weather and thought “78 degrees at 5am in late Sept? Ick.” It felt pretty brutal out. I’ll go ahead and reveal what I did not find out until the end of my run: 91% humidity. Ouch. It was one of hot runs where two miles in it feels hard. Two miles in my shirt was completely soaked. Two miles in I was already downing water like crazy. The theme in my head was “I made it all the way down here at 5:30 am, I am getting my full run in, humidity be damned!!!” And damning it was. It was hard, but my legs felt fine the whole way and it was a total character building run. When I saw how humid it was it was a bit of a relief. “So that’s why it felt so hard!”

After the depleting run the day was a whirlwind. Swimming lessons, groceries, a neighborhood carnival complete with a bounce house, going to see Cloudy with a Chance of meatballs II ( loved it !), then watching two little boys play until the point of complete exhaustion. No wonder I am tired!

One plus from the Sufferfest run: I loved the public art installation at Town Lake. The trail was covered in what seemed like miles of prayer flags with a tree on them symbolizing the drought and all the trees Texas has lost. Then seeing the giant tree hovering over the water was inspiring in the midst of adding another pound off sweat to my shirt. Worth checking out. I’m thankful I live in a place where something like this can happen.

Up next: indoor pool, here we come! Season finale of Breaking Bad, and drinking of New Belgium pumpkin ale in hopes of invoking fall.


Endurance Book Club of One Book Review 1

Ok, so my book reviews will be highly informal. I probably won’t format them right, as writing was always my weakness in school. They are meant to just encourage the two or so people who read this to check out a new book that is running/ endurance/ outdoor related. I do read other categories of books, but I tend to gravitate towards outdoorsy stuff when I want light reading.

My first book is The Secret Race by Tyler Hamilton. It’s all about doping in cycling. I wouldn’t say I’m a cycling fan. I’ve watched the tour of France here and there but mainly just for the scenery. When Lance Armstrong won the first time, Mike and I went to the celebratory parade here in Austin. I’ve seen Lance up close a couple times while I’ve been out running. I wasn’t a fan, but thought it was neat he was from Austin. Reading the book and learning all about how the tour times were jumping by such huge amounts in the early 2000s, is a little like watching a Wham video now. Back in junior high, every girl thought George Michael was the cutest, and straight as an arrow. But now when you watch Wake Me up before you Go-Go, it’s painfully obvious. The man has on hot pants, lip gloss, and the gayest dancing ever. I mean this in the best way, but how could no one know think he was gay? This book is kinda like that about the Tour de France. How could the general public not think they were cheating? It seems so obvious when you read the book.

My wonderful husband is a huge baseball fan, but believes the players are all using some kind of performance enhancing drug. He doesn’t care though, since he thinks they are all doing it, it’s a level playing field. This book really makes clear if there was any doubt, the pro cyclists were all doing something back then.

It’s very interesting to read about how they did it all during competition, and how easy it was for them to beat the tests. No one really comes out as the hero in this book, and it made me feel bad for serious cycling fans. The book is a pretty enjoyable read. It’s a quick read too. I wouldn’t call it inspiring, but as I said it’s quite interesting. It does make me wonder about every other sport out there. It seems like the doctors who helped the cyclists cheat knew how to beat the tests for years until they caught up. You have to wonder what’s going on right now .

So if you were interested at all in the Tour de France check out this book. Don’t expect to be inspired to go out and ride a bike; it’s more like watching a documentary…..you will learn about something you didn’t really know much about.

Book 2 is getting started this week, so hopefully another book report come in a week or two.


The power of positive thinking…

My partner for 3.5 miles….

I’d been looking forward to my 20 miler all week. I had plans to run at town lake with Steve and Mark and had a kitchen pass once I got home to miss swimming lessons. My 20 miler was off to a bad start already last night. I ate a crappy dinner and was hungry as I got into bed, aka not well fueled. Then, Jasp woke up with a nightmare at 11:00, and took awhile to get back down. He ended up in my bed, which seemed ok, since Mike was sleeping in the guest room due to a bad cough. I was still irritated that I never seem to get good sleep before a big effort run. Then, I heard Mike get up about 3:45 for the bathroom, ugh awake again with an alarm due to go off in 30 minutes. I had just dozed off when I heard little blond head next to me singing Jack and Jill went up the hill, and “all done sleep”. My alarm was yet to go off. It was 4am. WTF!!!!!! I tried patting and soothing, but this little child was up. Ok, no problem, I would get ready to run, set Jaspy up in bed with some breakfast and the iPad and tell Mike on my way out not to sleep for more than another hour or so since Jasp was up. When he heard “mommy is going to go run with friends”, the deepest, most wailing sobs ever came forth and gasps of ” come with us to run with friends” ( come with us is how Jasper says I want to come with you).

I really don’t think Jasper would endure a 20 mile run at town lake and by this point there was no way I was going to make the start time. I was out. No friend run. Stroller run at home it is.

I spent about 2 minutes pouting, and snapped out it. One of the biggest factors to a successful marathon or longer run is positive thinking. If you can convince yourself that just being out there is reason to be happy, a relaxed and usually good race will follow. Slipping into the miseries just breeds more miseries. I’ve got a nice running stroller, a willing occupant, a 70 degree morning with a breeze,(perfect by Texas standards), a border collie just cleared by the vet for running short distances, and a kitchen pass. Yes, I miss catching up with my friends, but I’ve got a pretty good set up for the morning. 20 miles it is.

The stroller miles flew by. We managed 7.5 before Jasp started asking to go home. Dropped Jasp off with full permission to wake up daddy, and headed out for another 9 miles. Admittedly loops around the neighborhood you run in all week is a challenging way to do 20 miles, BUT, doing a semi boring long run alone will make a long race with other people around seem like a cakewalk. Onward…..

With about 3.5 to go I ran by the house and got Cake. I LOVE that my first angel is back running. The weather felt amazing as it didn’t get hotter and hotter while I ran. Got home to find Mike and Jasp were out getting breakfast tacos. Heck yeah, 20 done, and food on the way!!!

I’ve floated through a pretty busy day feeling victorious. 20 is done and I rocked it mentally. Sure the stroller made for a slower time than I would have liked (or at least that’s what I’m telling myself). But I stayed happy and positive and while I was tired today, I didn’t feel nearly as crappy as I have after some recent runs in 85 degrees at 7am weather.

I’ve got a little child that just fell asleep after 2 hours at the bounce house, and oh yeah, that 4am wake up. Fingers crossed for a good night of sleep. We both need it.


Run slower? Sign me up!

One podcast I totally dig is Endurance Planet. It’s changed formats over the years, and there are some misses, but overall it’s where I learn about the actual exercise physiology side of running. See, I always say I am a lazy runner. I like to just run and seldom push out of my comfort zone. I do like hilly runs, but otherwise, I’m super lazy. Endurance Planet is full of information for those who push out of their comfort zone, and lots carb bashing. Poor carbs, but that’s another post.

Anyhow, really good stuff on today. It was all about running slow to build endurance and how so many people train too hard and fail to account for how much daily life wears them down. I know I can be guilty of this. While I run on the low side of mileage for a marathon runner, I still manage to be pretty tired most weekends. It’s a tough balance. Run too little and you aren’t prepared, too much and you spend most nights crashing into bed and feeling tired all day (sound familiar anyone?). Like I said last week, it’s not the long run that’s hard, it’s the rest of the day after it. This podcast went to so far to suggest if you can’t train for something without having to wake up at 4am to get it in, you shouldn’t be doing it. Not sure if I’d go that far, because that’s reality for a lot of working folks, kids or no kids. But, I definitely feel motivated to work on eliminating some stress and really working on more rest. Sometimes stress is just part of life and you just have to roll with it….the never ending balancing act, right?

Ok, time for me to relax. I’ve almost finished my first book in my endurance book club for one. Book report coming soon…..


Becoming reacquainted with books, 18 miles and trail heaven…

A little slice of trail heaven…

When you have a small child with very low sleep needs, it leaves very little down time. I am ashamed to admit since Jasper was born I’ve probably read about 5 books total. Evening time is limited and Mike and I like to watch a few series on tv after Jasp goes to bed. After a show I usually pass out and never crack a book. I am determined to put an end to my “stupidity” and clear some books off my reading list. I am ashamed to admit I let my library card lapse years ago and never bothered to get another one. We didn’t live near a library and there was long time where Jasper was too little to enjoy a borrowed book. We recently put an end to my era of shame. I love the concept of things that are there for a community to enjoy at no cost. We hit the library recently for story time, and all I could think is “why didn’t I do this sooner?” I am so loving placing electronic orders at the library and helping Jasp pick out books. I LOVE the whole Ebook thing. I haven’t had my iPad all that long, so I never really cared much, but it is so cool to borrow a book electronically!!! I’m working my way through my endurance sport reading list. Anyone care to join a virtual book club? Anyhow we kicked off the weekend by hitting the library to pick up some holds. Guess who picked out an Angry birds books about space?

Saturday was an 18 miler. It went well. I never felt tired. I did however, really yearn for fall. I’ve done good not complaining too much this summer, and I do tend to like things warm, but I really, really want a 65 degree morning and the need to wear a long sleeve shirt. The aftermath of the run was not pretty. I spent the whole day running around and having some rough Jaspy tantrums and had a very long and hot playground session. By 8pm I was sore and tired and fell asleep at 900. I always say, it’s not the long run that’s hard, it’s the rest of the day.

Today was a stroller run and then a hike! You know you live in Texas when you see the weather forecast is 93 degrees and think ” we need to do something to take advantage of this cool weather!” As much fun as we’ve had swimming all summer, I was ready to change it up, and I’ve been dying to get Jasper on a trail.

With kids you can hike with them when they are small enough to travel in a carrier, and then there is a long period once they can walk when it’s really just slow going and not so fun. Jasper is finally old enough where a little walk down a trail is fun to him and was can talk together about all the things he’s exploring and finding. I also really wanted to take Pancake for a walk somewhere nice. She’d earned that after her week from hell last week spending 3 days at the vet. I found a little trail close to use and was so excited about how wonderful it was. It was like a mini green belt trail just a couple miles away.

I love finding little hidden gems like this. Jasp seemed to love it, there was a playscape near by, and Cake was in heaven. it was still pretty hot though. 90 and humid isn’t really great hiking weather. But once it cools off I have a new spot.

Ok, I’ve got a mountain of laundry. Then a small child to put to bed, a Breaking Bad episode, and a book to read…..and very sore legs. Wouldn’t want to spend Sunday night any other way….. ūüôā


More treadmill joy, a rant and a fruit craving…

This is another running week heavy on the treadmill, as it’s just me, Jasp, and the¬†now pill popping border collie. ¬† Once again, I think “why didn’t I get one of these years ago?!”¬†¬† Jasp is getting pretty good about letting me get the whole run in without too many requests for something.¬† Our deal is:¬† he ¬†lets me do my run, and immediately post run I build a super impressive train track for his faux-Thomas train set.¬† It works for us.¬† Everyone is happy.¬†

I am really getting this treadmill routine down, too.¬† I thought I’d do a lot of hill workouts, but really haven’t.¬† I discovered early on that the hill settings make me do something to alter my stride and I end up abnormally sore the next day.¬† I figure this is a bad thing, so I don’t go over a 1% grade.¬† I also know that for me, running the treadmill is harder, since there is no varying your pace unless you constantly jack with the settings (which I don’t).¬† So if I have to do treadmill running all week, I use it as a good excuse to try a couple faster runs.¬† Easy days on the treadmill are really nice though, because they are so easy, as long as my fingers are never tempted to turn up the speed.¬† I still haven’t done a really long run on it, nothing over an hour and a half, and most the time I do between 6-8 miles.¬† I also have realized I really did get the treadmill right for me.¬† I opted to sacrifice bells and whiltles to get a slightly higher end, but very plain model.¬† Now that I’ve done significant running on it, I don’t think I would have used any of the bells and whistles anyways.¬† As long as I have my ipad with my shows on it, I am set!

Ok, and here is a rant, pre-apologies if I offend anyone.¬† I follow a lot of running websites, and I don’t get these articles about how some running parent is an example of balancing it all when they don’t work and send thier kid to childcare so they can train.¬† If that’s¬†your¬†job, to be a professional runner, fair enough, but please don’t call that a balancing act.¬† I’m sure these people are still busy, but it’s not like they have to get up at 4am to run because it’s the only free time of the day.¬† Ok, rant over.¬†

Also, my lunch break is about over.¬† I forgot half my lunch on the kitchen counter today and am having fresh fruit withdrawals.¬† I work in a hospital, and ironically that means there is nothing healthy I can purchase to eat here.¬† Hopefully I will make it through the day without a crappy coffee cart stale muffin, or raiding Jasper’s snacks I packed for our commute home.¬† The squeezee apple sauce is looking tempting…


Simple pleasures…

DSC_0019_4We all love the simple pleasures in life.  Some of my favorites are Sunday night TV, going for coffee/ chocolate milk with Jasper, having the time to lounge around post run and not have to rush into the shower, running with Pancake.

Pancake and I were Greenbelt regulars for a long time. ¬† She would run off leash there and always wait for me at every intersection. ¬†Nothing beats the happiness of a dog exploring the woods. ¬† When Jasper was born, I quit running the greenbelt because it was just such an inefficient run. ¬† Driving half across town to run for an hour or so wasn’t a good use of my time. ¬†Pancake and I still ran together on closer by, urban trails. ¬† ¬†I’ve always made a point to get in at least one Pancake run a week. ¬†Mike started running with her too a couple years ago, and she probably averaged about 15 miles a week. ¬†Not bad for a 13 year old.

This week Pancake spent 3 days at the doggie hospital.  She had developed seizures and hepatitis.  At one point, we wondered if this was the day that the hard decision we know will come some day had to be made.   Thankfully this illness is manageable with long term medicines, but running will be a little too much and we will have to settle for walks from now on.  Pancake came home today looking a little dazed, but like the same best friend we rushed to the emergency vet 3 days ago.  We were spared any difficult decisions this time, but the reality looms that having a 13 year old dog means that hard decisions are closer rather than further.

The simple pleasures in life really aren’t simple at all. ¬†They are the wonderful, rich experiences that trigger the deepest happiness in our lives. ¬† ¬†The little things really are the big things.

In lighter news, I had missed a few miles this week. We had a couple late nights and I got a couple late starts to my runs. ¬† I had 18 to run today and made about 16 and a half due to a time crunch. ¬†I’ll take it given crazy humidity. ¬†Who are all you people who speak of fall in your region? ¬†There is no hint of fall in Texas, other than the fact pumpkin spice lattes are starting to show up in the coffee shops. ¬† But we’ll make the best of it.

I’ve got a new Runner’s World, a couch, and a sleeping border collie next to me. ¬† Life is good.




Cheesy carb cravings, viruses, shopping and pool time…..

Fiesta Casserole from Peas and Crayons

What a week! It was a super tough week on the Jaspy front. He somehow undid all the progress we’ve made in a year of speech therapy in a week. Maybe not quite, but I had many moments of “I thought we were over this!” I was super, super ready for a 3 day weekend.

Running: it was actually a cut back week. The long run called for 15. Friday night I felt a little run down with a sore throat and spent the whole weekend battling a minor virus. I was good to run, but never 100%. So a cut back week was for the best. I did my first outdoor/ non treadmill run in a week, and mixed it up with about half with the stroller. It’s funny I just posted on how much I love it because this weekend I started thinking its getting pretty heavy. I’m pushing upwards of 50 pounds at this point. Double and triple stroller users are completely allowed to call me a wimp. I’d like to get a few more months out of it though. Anyhow, Sunday I met Steve and had a nice 7 miler through Hyde Park, and this morning was another hybrid solo/ family run.

Yoga: I’ve been doing home practice for almost a month now! Most of the time I’ve been doing 15-30 minutes worth of DVDs and my Yoga Core that I do regularly. I did the full Bob Harper DVD, and I guess it had been awhile because OMG was I sore when I woke up this morning!!! I was happy because this means I can pull off a pretty effective home practice!!! All the other stuff I did this a weekend meant I missed today’s Free Day of Yoga. Meh. Austin has another or in the spring I’ll have to hit up. Such a cool event.

Shopping: we kinda deemed this 3 day weekend as a chance to get some stuff done and do a lot of swimming since the outdoor pools close all together soon. I did a 2 massive grocery trips, one to Costco and one to the regular store. I need you organized types out there to tell me how I can mange just one grocery trip a week. Seriously, it takes up so much time. I also hit the outlet mall for my bi annual “I need work clothes” trip/ low esteem inducer. I HATE to shop, but I guess not quite as much as I hate wearing things to work that are downright embarrassing at this point due to poor fit or wear and tear. I went to the Nike store and right away got two pairs of my current running shoe for $38. Score!!! Then I proceeded along until hypoglycemic trying on work pants at every store there and feeling worse and worse about myself as not a single pair fit. I resorted to checking the kids stuff, but it would be even more depressing to wear khaki work pants with a rhinestone glitter heart on the pocket than it is to not have any pants that fit. Finally found two pairs of pants at the last store I hit to not make the trip a complete waste. Still left feeling pissed that somehow most retailers still only make clothes for super models. side rant: what’s up with everyone at the mall sticking their kid in a stroller? We used a small stroller when Jasper couldn’t walk, but 99% of the time he was in a carrier strapped to me. Once he could walk, he walked. The stroller was only used for coming with me on a run. There were so many giant strollers in stores blocking aisles with a child at least 4-5 years old in it. I don’t get why you wouldn’t just let a kid walk and get some exercise. Ok, Rant done.

Eats: After a week of salads every night and stretching Chinese into 3 work lunches, I was ready for real food!!! Finally made it to Black Star to savor a Live Oak hef, and some veggies and grits. Grilled halibut one night, and tonight I made the awesome Peas and Crayons Fiesta casserole. I love that site!! We try very hard to watch carbs, and only do cheese on pizza once in a while. This recipe was chock full of carb-y, cheese-y goodness, and I just had to have it and toss diet rules out for a night. I may have also had a Salted Carmel Oreo ice cream on a trip to Baskins Robbins used to bribe a certain little child out of the pool after two hours of swimming. ūüôā

Swimming: 3 days in a row. I will actually miss summer. We’ve had so much fun and Jasper is the best little swimmer ( when he wants to be, sometimes he pretends he can’t). My hair will be happier when we don’t swim so much though. It got pretty gnarly this summer with thrice weekly doses of chlorine.

Ok, time to chill out and gear up for getting back to reality. I seem to have fought the little virus off, so hopefully I’ll get a good week of running. I’ll need it if I keep eating cheesy-y, noodle-y casseroles. Mmmmmm……