Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Improving with Age

So my mind may be slowing, but my body is speeding up! I ran the Portsmouth Red Hook/Runner's Alley 5k last Sunday, and I kicked butt! About four and a half years ago, Adam and I ran a 10k together. I thought I did awesome then! Well, now that I'm practically 38, I broke my personal record:

535 (out of 1529)
42 out of 262 in my gender/age division
total time: 25:57
pace: 8:22 minutes a mile.

In just two short years, I'm in a new age division (and a "master's" runner. Yuck!), which means I might actually start to really kick some ass. Right now, my age division is 30 to 39, so I'm competing against those youngsters. When I'm running in the 40 to 49 year olds, I'll be the young 'un!

My half marathon is this weekend. I have a terrible time pacing myself on longer races--I tend to go out too hard and then sputter out at the end. I haven't quite figured out what my pace should be, although for 13.1 miles, I'm hoping to average a 9:45 to 10 minute a mile pace. Wish me luck!


We're now entering that phase that's so wonderful when Doodles's communication is getting to the point where he can really express himself and tell stories and let us know what's going on in his world. It was really exciting for me the day I walked into his day care and he said, "Come see the chrysalis!" and he brought me over to a net cage. He said, "We had caterpillars. They're now chrysalis." His teacher prompted him, "What will they be?" Doodles said, "Butterflies!" His teacher asked, "What kind?" Doodles said excitedly, "Painted lady!"

Sometimes he tugs at my heart strings. We're still having issues with Sweetie's sleep (will it ever end?) and the other day, I put her down. I was home alone with Doodles, so I was intermittently patting/walking/nursing Sweetie and then running back to take care of Doodles who also needed to get ready for bed. At one point, he stopped eating and he looked at me. "Sweetie is crying," he said to me. "I know, honey," I told him. "Can you make her feel better?" he asked me. Ugh! Don't I wish!

But there are also the really fun moments. Like last night. We were looking at his book, Things That Go, and I was pointing to different parts of a car, not sure which words he knew. Especially because of day care, I find that his vocabulary always surprises me, and he knows words I never would have expected him to know. So I pointed to different things and asked questions:

Me: What is this?
Doodles: A car!
Me: What color car?
Doodles: Blue!
Me: [pointing to the headlights] What are these?
Doodles: Headlights!
Me: That's very good! I didn't know you knew what those are. [now pointing to the side-view mirrors] And do you know what these are?
Doodles: [no hesitation] Ear lights!

Yeah! Does it get more fun than this?

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Feelin' Good!

Wednesday I gave up coffee.
I have been dragging and I decided coffee may be the culprit.
I never used to drink the stuff. There are a lot of things I used to do and not do.
Anyway. No more coffee. At least not everyday.

Since giving up coffee, I am not dragging as much. In fact, I feel so good I decided that beginning tonight I am going to get 8 hours of sleep every night. I am even going to chart my progress.

I'm an all or nothing kind of gal - or at least, I used to be. Since getting pregnant 3 years ago, my health routine has been bordering on nothing. I was really sick when I was pregnant and the only thing that made me feel better was eating. Root Beer. Potatos. Cupcakes. I have given up the soda but not so much on the cupcakes and fries. Kick starting my regimine isn't working, so I am taking it one day at a time. Eventually, I will be back on track, rock hard and full of energy. That's my goal. Here is where you come in. What are your best kept secrets to feeling good? An apple a day? Vitamin D? Thai yoga massage? Pina Colada chapstick? Taco Tuesdays? Tanqueray? Let me know what works! I need to get moving. I bet I am not the only one!

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Que es mas macho?

That would so be me. I am muy macho. Up here in eastern Massachusettes, we are having some MASSIVE rain. Sunday was not just pouring, it was ark-building weather. And yet, I had a race planned, a Mother's Day 5k and I was not to be deterred. Oh, I was a little disappointed because if the weather had been better, my whole family would have come to cheer me on and Doodles would have run his first race--there's a kids' fun run first--but I couldn't think of a better way to spend Mother's Day than a race.

But the clouds had their way and as I drove up, I was directed to the parking lot... where I was told the race was cancelled. The city asked the running club to cancel the race because flooding on the streets was so bad that cars needed to be redirected onto the race route. A few of us diehards were thanked for coming and we were encouraged to take a race shirt and partake of the baked goodies.

It was disappointing, but I felt a minor sense of accomplishment anyway, having shown up, which as we all know, is half the battle. It was going to be my first race since Sweetie was born (she's 8 1/2 months) and I was anxious to see my time. My running has improved so much of late, but I guess I'll have to wait until my next race (or rather my first race) on Memorial Day weekend. Which is fine. Just gives me that much more time to improve my speed!

Friday, May 12, 2006

Old School

As you may remember, I am a big fan of cross training. But, today I was being a super good runner. I walked to the gym and did my speedwork on the treadmill. I was all set to walk home when I got pulled into an Aerobics class. "It will be so fun!" I was told. I agreed and told the instructor I would likely stay for only 15 minutes. I stayed for the whole class! I felt like I was 13 again. Well, a slightly out of shape 13 year old, that is. It was a blast, though, and I have more spring in my run! It was weird to be in a workout studio with my shoes on and no yoga mat, but I have every intention if going back next week...and adding it to my marathon training!

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Road Trip Season

I am on a teleconference at the moment. No clue what they are talking about. I do have a few ideas for my next vacation though. If you click on the link, there are a bunch of good ideas to use for road trips. And since I have to kind of listen to the call, and can't do anything too productive, here is my two cents:

Travel Games & Ideas for Toddlers:
Surprise packages Prepare ahead with paper bags of items to be given out every 25, 50 or 75 miles -- marked on a map with the location, it takes a little bit of preparation to do this but it REALLY helps young children. In each bag put a wrapped item -- usually a small toy. Then in some of the surprise packages you can add juice or a snack, stickers and a piece of paper, or something pertaining to the trip that you can talk about.

Hmmm...sounds like it will end up all over the mini-van. We take 3 hour trips regulary and I usually pack one bag with mostly large items such as books, etch-a-sketches, animals...NO STICKERS!

Travel Tickets
Use some colored construction paper to cut out some "tickets" for your trip. Give your child a pre-counted baggie full of tickets. Every half hour (or every 30 miles) they can turn in one ticket to you. When their tickets are gone, the trip has ended! This really helps young children get an idea of how much time is left on the journey.

Maybe for older kids...

Aluminum Foil modeling
Give everyone a sheet of aluminum foil. Have them mold it into anything they want: animal shapes, Frisbees, balls, jewelry, crowns, headband, necklaces. Be creative. Here's a link to article I wrote about more ways to have fun with aluminum art!

This one sounds like a great idea. And here is another addition: marathon blankets! You know those space age things you get after a big race? I stash them in my car in case I get stuck in one of those blizzards that pop up between DC and Philly unexpectedly. On a 1.5 hour drive on Easter, my 2 year old and my friend's 8 year old were entertained for an hour. 8 year old's little sister was left out if you have multiple kids, you are going to have to run multiple marathons so you have more than 1 blanket (or use wrapping paper or aluminum foil).

Teleconference abruptly ended and when I tried to spell check I lost my entire post.
So, in brief, review the link. They have some good ideas.

Also, please ignore any spelling errors. I am not editing again!

In closing, thanks to everyone who recommended a car seat to use on a plane. We ended up with a lightweight Eddie Bauer for about $50. Harry loved it, was good as gold on the flight and in cabs, and it his now his "thinking chair" to draw "Clue's" in. I also used an old $9 folding luggage cart that they used to sell at airports before people had roller bags. Worked like a charm!

Sunday, May 07, 2006

end of an era

A cliche for a title -- but I am so unexpectedly sad. Last night was my first night away from little Iz (who is just over two years old). He stayed with his grandparents, my in-laws. That was hard enough. (I knew they would take great care of him -- but it was odd and melancholy being away from him so long.) On the plus side, Abraham and I actually got to go running together without a jogging stroller or dog -- all by ourselves at 7 a.m. (because we were wide awake at 6 a.m. even sans toddler).

And, since Iz has now not nursed for two days, I have decided to wean him (seems like the only way -- though he may never nap for me again). And I am crying. No kidding. Tears streaming down my face, a few pathetic sobs. I have just left him in bed with his dad, who will do the getting him to sleep routine (he usually nurses to sleep with me -- yes, at two years old).

I don't really want a three-year-old who nurses (I may just be buying in to Western norms, but it seems a little odd to me -- and the kid needs to learn how to put himself to sleep sometime), but I have loved breastfeeding him. It has been easier than I expected; I never had much pain -- some soreness and odd breast changes early on. But easier than many stories I have heard and read. Since I had no idea how to wean him, this seemed like the only way. But I am so sad.

And tomorrow is my 35th birthday (I am not sad about that at all -- a fine age to be) -- and this is simply not a great present to give myself. But what else can I do?

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Can’t we all just get along?

Sorry to use such a cliché in the title of the post, but this morning I had a truly mystifying experience on the trail. I was out running with one of my intrepid running partners on this glorious spring morning. The trail was, naturally, quite busy despite the early hour. Walkers, runners, cyclists, all sharing one of the recreational jewels of the Northern Virginia suburbs. As we approached a choke point (a narrow bridge), we were passed on the left by a faster runner going at a pretty good clip as two other runners were coming the other way, who were about to be passed on their left by a cyclist. The cyclist had to weave around the runner who had just passed us and squeeze between the two sets of runners. Annoying, I understand, but not atypical of a day on the trail. But as he passed us, he muttered under his breath, "f***ing joggers!"

Was that really called for?

I know historically there has been animosity between cyclists and runners, as they all share tight quarters in an attempt to avoid the exhaust fumes and road crossings of street running. And I know there are lapses on both sides, as I have been nearly plowed down by cyclists who think they're training for the Tour de France and my then-two-year-old daughter nearly caused a three-bicycle pileup when she got away from me at a pitstop on the side of the trail and ran into oncoming traffic. But, please. A little civility could go a long way.