Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Stuck in the middle with you!

There was a recent article in Runner's World Magazine about what distance race best suited you (http://www.runnersworld.com/article/0,7120,s6-238-244--13007-0,00.html).

The quiz results confirmed that I am best suited for the middle distance. I also realized, however, that training with the stroller best supports that distance (8-13 mile races). While I have strapped a child into the stroller to do 20-mile training runs, I was also just a little lucky that her temperament was suited to that sort of thing and I don't know if I have it in me to push the double jogger for 20 miles. On the other side of things, it is nearly impossible to keep the same posture and biomechanics one would need for sprinting when you are pushing a stroller. So watch out 10-milers! Here I (we) come!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Twitter Junkie or Never Twittered?

Have you twittered? Do you twitter all over the place? Love it? Hate it? Tolerate it?

You can now follow seeMOMMYrun on (http://twitter.com/seemommyrun )! If you have no clue what I'm talking about - go see for yourself.

chirp, chirp!

Monday, December 08, 2008

Washing Dishes~ A missed tradition

For the last couple weeks dishwashing has been, well....almost endearing. I know this sounds crazy but.....
Do you remember the days when everyone DIDN"T have a dishwasher or you, as the kid in the family, WERE the dishwasher?
Do you remember standing at the sink with your mom or grandma washing all the dishes after dinner? The smell of those vintage detergents....the conversations...the re-dues after you missed a spot?
I forgot alot of this in my busy grown up life where I put everything except the pots and pans in the machine that cleans them for me.
I keep liquid dishsoap for those pots and pans. Recently I bought a new bottle of Palmolive...because it was the cheapest one that week on the shelves. I didn't think much about it until the first time I used it.....flooding back came memories of my late grandmother. She was my favorite family member the whole time I was growing up and she only used Palmolive....I think it had to do with the whole "hand softening" thing... http://www.truveo.com/Palmolive-Softens-Hands-While-You-Do-the-Dishes/id/2138972249 Anyways the smell the texture it all transported me back to my childhood and I suddenly "missed" doing dishes.

A few weeks after that my oldest son came home from college for Thanksgiving. After dinner I asked him to help me wash the pots and pans from dinner.....of course we used Polmolive. This chore became a great time of the holiday. He washed, I dried, we talked, I made him "re-due" some and we ended up washing ALL the dishes rather than just the pots and pans. It was a great mom/son one on one moment. Now, I don't think he would outwardly tell anyone he enjoyed washing dishes with his mom but I can tell he did. Give it a try, you might be suprised!

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Sick Days

On the Monday prior to Thanksgiving I went grocery shopping and as I entered the store I thought, "I can't do this. It's not fair. It's not right. And there is absolutely nothing I can do about it." And there was nothing I could do about it. My brain felt like sludge and my nose was filled with cement, my mouth tasted like boogers. A mere day later, as all of this nastiness settled into my chest, I began to cough and hack. Ah, but I didn't yet know this aspect of my fate.

When I got home, my son, who had had a minor cough, now had a heavy cough and a runny nose. So off to our respective doctor's we went. Luckily, all he needed was cough syrup. Mommy, on the other hand, needed a full ten days of antibiotics.

And this three days before hosting Thanksgiving. Three days before guests and cooking and, and, and...

I got through it. Don't we always? I mean, really, don't we always just put on a show and save the day.

But my muscles ache. Not from illness, but from lack of exercise and I feel guilty and am not looking forward to the sore muscles once I have resumed my crazy, whacked out, completely obsessed fitness routine. Well, maybe the sadist/masochist in me is looking forward to it just a wee little bit.

Mommies, if you are sick, REST. We make our kids and husbands do it. Pull some of that Mommy Power on yourself. I did. And come Monday, that road is all mine.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Running with my boy- a Mom's happy Day.

What a great feeling!! Yesterday at 8AM on Thanksgiving Day I ran fun 5K run with my 10 year old son, Max. He was so brave, so cute, so determined... just ate my heart up. Max is my high spirited one. He's the one I'm afraid I'm not connecting with as he matures. He's the one I really try not to get out of bed without praying for him. These past two months we've seen a big positve change in him. When I decided to find a turkey trot for me to get out of the house and enjoy my husband I signed the three of us up. The reasons were twofold. I think Max needs some extra loving from us and alone time with the two of us and I was concerned with leaving my 12 year old in charge of him and his younger siblings. I woke him up early, he did not complain at all. We got out there. Usual race environment and fun stuff going on. He looked a little nervous, but did not say anything. The gun went off and he ran a little too fast for my liking and almost a mile in he was upset and not having fun. I talked him into happy and pacing himself. Gave him some tips on form (you could hear his feet hitting the pavement). I made jokes and told him funny things that happened to me during races. I made a joke about the fine line between inspiring and annoying and asked him if he wished he brought an ipod. That sweet boy genuinely looked at me and said, "oh Mom, you're better than any ipod." I just about gushed. I just love that boy. It spilled over to the entire day and we're still basking in the closeness.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Plan B

I now understand the importance of having a Plan B.

Yesterday, I ran the Philadelphia Marathon, my third marathon, but my first in six years (first since getting married and having kids, though I have done plenty of halves and other distances). I was very well trained and my Plan A was a 3:50 finish. I even had my PaceTat (I love these). At the start, I found the 3:50 pace group. I focused on staying with them and missed the first few mile markers. At about 5 miles, I realized that they were running 8:20s-8:30s, far faster than the intended 8:45s. (Do I misunderstand what pace groups are supposed to do?)

I decided to drop off and do my own thing since the group was doing more harm than good. But some damage was probably already done. I knew I was in a little trouble before the halfway point. But I grit my teeth. I knew I was going to see my 4-year-old and my husband at the half. (My 17-month-old was with my husband’s aunt, inside, warm, and fussed over.)

Plan B was a sub-4:00 finish.

At about mile 16, I decided that I would take walk breaks at every water stop. It was so cold (maybe 30 degrees by then – it had been around 25 degrees at the start) that walking at the water stations was a good idea anyway; the road was covered in ice from the inevitable spilled water. A friend who was also running found me walking at the station near 18 miles. She was cheerful and looking great, with a blue fleece scarf waving behind her. I picked myself up and ran with her for three miles. I owe her a drink, dinner, something for perking me up.

Then I decided that I would walk for a minute every mile (in addition to very water station) and stretch my quads, which had turned to rock. My friend went on ahead.
At mile 23, the 4:00 pace group passed me. I drew on every last bit of strength and pure stubborness and joined them, determined to run the last 3.2 miles with them, without walking. And I did. As I passed Boathouse Row, I knew less than a half mile remained. I pulled away from the pace group and climbed the last little hill wrapping around to the front of the Philadelphia Museum of Art. As spectators closed in (reminding me of the Tour de France crowds on the mountain stages – that I’ve seen only on TV) and yelled “Adams!” (my last name, ironed on to my shirt), I raised my arms and roared, “Yeah!” (Yes, I was losing it a bit by then.)
I finished in sub-4:00, just: 3:59:12.
I can’t believe I did it.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

The Need for Speed

One often hears about endorphin-highs and people who are addicted to exercise. I definitely feel better - physically and mentally - after I've had my workout for the day, but I think it is my kids that are addicted. Let me explain. Our weekday routine generally consists of walking my eldest daughter to school, going on a jog of variable length with the stroller, and then heading home. The baby always falls asleep during this evolution, though the 3-year-old is just along for the ride. I've observed that on days when we skip this because I've run by myself on a Sat. or some similar interruption of our routine, everyone is just a little crankier than usual. The baby doesn't nap well and the 3-year-old is out of sorts.

So, now that we are revisiting cold weather, I'm finding that this dependence on the stroller has adjusted my tolerances. In an earlier blog about cold weather running, I think that I defined my minimum temperature for taking a baby in the stroller to be about 40 deg F. This year, with this baby, we are redrawing that line at 30 deg F. Poor baby #3...*

*Don't worry, this baby is well-protected by the cold with a snowsuit and blankets and wind/rain shield. She sleeps like, well, a baby :)

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Rut Mommy Rut--

I have been avoiding this site as I've been in a rut since August. I think I've run a total of 6 times and maybe did Bodypump 10 times in that time. I'm afraid of the scale, but mostly I think I've lost my identity. Running is really my identity. An old boyfriend looked me up on email-- he was a sweetie and in the 20 years since we've spoken I've surely done a lot, but I mentioned running two marathons as important. How very odd. I did send back pics of the husband and kids so I'm not completely shallow.

I think there is a Mommy Running group near me. I'm going back to the web site and sign up now. My almost 2 year old would like it and weather is no excuse here. Funny thing is I'm not 200lbs. Surely I thought I'd be 200lbs plus if I were not frantically running around. I'm happier running though and do not have my fallback of living among an athletic community to inspire me. It has to come from inside me. Ok, here goes, time for me to sign up!!! I'm going to find a turkey trot too.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Season of Thanks

About 1 month ago I sprained my back, my husband left for Iraq, my oldest son was giving me alot of grief. ....... I managed to justify a full fledged pity party that was worsened by the fact I couldn't even exercise to relieve stress........... I also ended my 2 year maternity hiatus from being a nurse. That was the thing that smacked me back into reality. I have been reminded over and over again over the last couple weeks while teaching in the Emergency Room just what a great life I have as do most of us.

Yes, my back has been hurting, but I am fortunate enough to be able to feel it. Unlike a young paraplegic I recently was fortunate enough to care for.

Yes, I am sad my hubby is in a war zone ~~ but I am lucky enough to be able to be married and to a great guy who dedicates a large portion of his life for the protection of others. Many never find "the right one"

Yes, my oldest is going a bit crazy~~ But I am so grateful that he has the physical capability to do stupid college things. He could be in a wheelchair or worse.

Yes, my other 3 boys can be overwhelming some days~~ But how lucky I am to have them and watch them grow, although too quickly. So many want but can't have children.

Yes, I run slow, no matter how much I run, I just won't ever be fast~~ But at least I have legs that CAN run at all. I got back out there today for my first post sprain walk/run and now I am loving my sore muscles because I have the ability to make them sore and the ability to feel it.

I hope you all have a great Thanksgiving Holiday, we all have so much to be thankful for.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Confessions of a Baker Runner

When my child was born, I discovered that I didn't have to fight in the corporate world any longer and I could do what I enjoyed: Baking (hence the pen-name).  I've mostly been a black-market baker, baking and selling out of my home kitchen, but I've also worked in a cafe.   I have a less-than-healthy relationship with Sugar, Flour and, most of all, Butter.  As I always say: I love baking, so I've learned how to love running.

Now that I've settled into a new town, I don't have the connections I once did.  Besides, baking in my rental home with an inconsistent oven is much more difficult.  So, I've found a proper job in a proper kitchen.  

Here's where reality has turned itself on its head.  Now, it's no longer "I love baking, so I've learned to love running."  Now it's, "I love running and is baking going to get in the way of this?"

Now that I'll be working out of the home for 4 days, in the wee-running-hours-of-the-morning, will I be able to keep up with my training, have enough energy for my 3 1/2 year old,...oh, and remember what my husband looks like?  Do you see how crazy my priorities are?!?  I'm actually trying to figure out if I'll have enough time to commute to work on foot.

I'm a cookie monster!!!!  

Monday, November 10, 2008

Let's Race

When I'm not in peak shape, I often think of races as a waste of money. Why pay someone to go on a run I could just as well do by myself if I don't have a chance of winning anyway? Generally I can't bring the stroller, so I have to find a sitter or my husband and I have to take turns.

Well, a lot can be gained from running races even if you are not particularly close to the top.

5. Many races are beautiful courses that are not accessible under normal conditions.
4. Particularly for longer distances, the support is nice so you don't have to carry water, etc.
3. It is a goal to aim for that can really help motivate you to get out the door to train.
2. Improves your speed.
1. The whole family gains enthusiasm for running.

My husband and I run in a lot of races so we signed the kids up for a local Halloween Costume Fun Run. When they've done it themselves, they can start to better understand the need for Mommy to practice before her big race. Plus, we hope that they stay interested in running as they get older. It is good for their health and it is an activity that the whole family can do together, even as the kids outgrow the stroller. Now we'll see how that works out...

Addendum: The very next day, the kids were sprinting back and forth in the driveway (in the rain) while chanting, "The marathon, the marathon!"

Sunday, November 09, 2008

let me tell you something

Man - What a run!  Yesterday, oh around 3pm, I decided to sign up for the Keller Williams Run For the Water 10 Miler happening 7am today (Sunday).  You see, I'm running San Antonio's Rock & Roll Half Marathon next weekend and I needed to get one last 8-10 mile run in...only I knew I was going to be HIGHLY unmotivated to run on this morning if I went out on my own.  I haven't convinced anyone to join my See Mommy Run long run group yet, so normally I'm covering milage all by myself.  I'm tired of my thoughts.  I don't find myself witty.  

Plus, extinguishing what little ambition left flickering was the Dead Milkmen.  My FAVORITE Band for all those pivotal teen years, was putting together a reunion show on Saturday night in AUSTIN of all places.  How could I not go see them?!?!?!*  SO- a late night and a boring run didn't seem to add up to 8-10 miles in the morning.  

A race would be the only thing getting me through it.  And MAN what a run it was:  a long view of the lake, rolling hills, a few challenging climbs, and Jr. High kids dishing out sarcasm with the cups of water.
Of course, I drove the people around me crazy with my incessant need to talk (sorry!  I'm backlogged!)  I took it really easy, knowing next week I want to turn on my jets.  This was, after all still supposed to be just a training run.  Turns out, all those hill and speed workouts I've been doing are really making a difference:  I was taking my sweet time (and walk breaks) yet still came in 10 minutes faster than I expected.  Here's to hoping it's a good sign for next week!

*They lived up to my imagination and I'm not afraid to say jumping jesus on a pogo stick...i like you.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

You Are So Inspiring!

Yes,  YOU.

You, a mother who finds time to fit in runs between diaper changes, or feedings, or driving your kids to soccer practice.  You, who was so busy looking for your family when you crossed the finish line that you forgot to stop your watch .   You, who stayed up until midnight to make tomorrow's school lunches so you'd have time in the morning for a tempo run.  You, who carries all your running partners keys and water bottles in your stroller because you've got room.

You are pretty cool...and inspiring.  And I'm sure you've got some running tips you've discovered along the way that other moms would find interesting.

Marathon Mama wants to hear from you.  She's writing the book we've all been waiting to read.

The purpose of the book is to illustrate the ways that running and motherhood transform each other. The book looks at the connections that mother-runners draw between these two aspects of their lives, in terms of their day-to-day experience, identities, and sense of community.

So, go on - check out her blog for more details and offer your story.  

Friday, October 31, 2008

So I did the marathon.

8 months prior to the 33rd Marine Corps Marathon, I had baby #2 via C-section. 2 months later, I decided it would be a good idea to sign up for my 5th marathon.
Now, how to train (and shed those extra pounds). Well, there are the seemommyrun groups...there is a FREE charity training group (and you don't have to fund a charity)...there's Hal Higdon online...So I tried to do all of that. And then the ear infections hit. And the fevers. Sick kids put a damper on the best laid plans.
I ended up getting about 3 days a week in. I took days off of work for those long runs, but still only made it up to 16 miles before getting a nasty case of strep myself...which lasted for 3 weeks, right up to the week before the marathon. Great!
2 days before race day, I mapped out a course to cheat. I really did! I went out for a run, made it about 10 minutes with my beaten up lungs, and mapped out a course to cut out a few miles.
Then race day came. I hoped for a good running day. I woke up at 4:45 and arrived at the Pentagon IN THE DARK. It was dark! And cold!!!! So we waited. I used the Brooks VIP restroom (which really wasn't all that, but it WAS warm). I moved with my sister in law to the 4:15 pace group, thinking at least I wouldn't be at the back of the pack. I'd have a head start! My sister in law WHO IS 29 and childless finished in 4:16. I won't state my time.

Now the good stuff:

  1. I didn't cheat! You can't cheat on race day! You lose all bragging rights and it can't truly count as a completion. I couldn't live with myself.
  2. The weather was the best weather ever.
  3. I kept a fairly decent pace throughout the first 16 miles, which is as far as I had trained.
  4. I finished. The bus didn't meet me at the bridge!
  5. It's not even a week later and I am fully recovered.

This race is reminiscent of my first marathon, especially time-wise. I am calling it a re-building year. I needed the goal of a marathon to get my body back in shape post-baby, and now I am preparing for the next one: Philly in 2009.

I enjoyed myself, and I proved to my son that I could get out there and do it. Honestly, I think that is what got me through. This was Harry's 4th marathon he's been to in 4 years. He gets to experience that there is such a thing, and all different types of people can complete it. I bought him a book about Miles, the MCM mascot which explains the marathon, and he couldn't have been prouder about his experiences when he took it to school the next day to share it with the class.

A father and daughter team were running near me for a few miles. their shirts read "Father" and "Daughter." I thought that was so great. My own father has spina biffida. He walks with a limp, but he won't be running any marathons, so it's not something we can do together, but Harry and I are BOTH looking forward to our first marathon together. I can't wait!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Dust Dust Dust

Now that my half marathon is done and my fun trip to Austin, Texas to participate in the LIVESTRONG Challenge has past, I thought it was time to get back to thinking of my house before my miles. Oh. My. Gosh. Seriously. I had no clue just how bad it had gotten! I spent the entire day cleaning today! I had dust bunnies the size of cows up in here! I need to sign up for another race because I had totally forgotten just how much I hate cleaning!

The Yoga Face

Way back when, when I was an early 20 something, tall, thin (think really thin. no. think thinner than that. I'm telling you, go thinner than that. okay. now you're close. 5'7" 119 lbs. disgusting.) and so wonderfully young, I was pretty sure that I'd never get old--old being over 30. However, in the event that I did, I would never ever ever try to hide my age or be ashamed of it.

Well, let me tell you. Being over 30 happens. Gray hair happens. Pregnancy does a funny thing to your hips and breasts and it takes quite a bit of effort to make the whole thing look voluptuous and, well, effortless. The one thing I wasn't ready for was the face slide, the droopy lids, the stern mouth. (or, as my daughter says, Don't look at me like that! Trust me, honey, if I could wipe this look off my face, I would...)

Yesterday at the library The Yoga Face literally jumped off the shelf at me. I tried it last night and already today I looked at myself in the mirror and winked! It's amazing.

Make sure you do it where nobody can watch you though. I'd hate for your Yoga Face workout to become an Internet viral sensation!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

6-wheel Circus

What has 10 arms, 10 legs and 6 wheels? My whole family out on a run!
(That is 2 adults, 3 kids and 2 strollers.)

When we had just one stroller, whoever was faster at the moment, depending on who was training for what or whether I was pregnant or not, would push it to slow him/me down. This is the conundrum that my husband and I have encountered when trying to run together.

There are four possible scenarios:
1. If the woman is pushing the stroller and the husband is struggling to keep up, he's a wimp.
2. If the woman is pushing the stroller and the husband is clearly faster, he's a jerk.
3. If the man is pushing the stroller and he is clearly slower, he's a control freak.
4. If the man is pushing the stroller and he is clearly faster, he's a show-off.

What's a guy to do? ;)

So now that we both have to push a stroller if we want to run together, I'm glad that I can keep up (i.e. save face) for the shorter distances, at least, despite the 2-month-old baby!

childbirth and marathons

I am an anxious person. I had relatively easy pregnancies. But, both times, I was so anxious about giving birth that the experiences became harder. I dreaded the actual day. How was I going to get through it, be strong enough, remember all the advice and training? I feel as if all the latter went out the window once actual labor began.

Both times, my blood pressure went way up (it is usually low), either when labor began or in the day or two before my due date. The midwives did not think “preeclampsia,” though they monitored for that. They, and I, knew it was anxiety. My mind over body powers are enhanced by anxiety. I swear that the anxiety prevented regular, productive contractions during my second labor, which was induced. The monitors did not help. When I was un-hooked from them, my contractions improved (if “improved” can possibly be the right word here). In the end, the painful pitocin was necessary (but quick!).

Unfortunately, I am feeling the same way about the Philadelphia Marathon on November 23. I have not run a marathon in six and a half years. I have started three and finished two marathons in my lifetime. The first was the best experience and time: New York City in 1999. The second, New York in 2000, I did not finish (calves turned to stone at mile 19). I ran the third, the National Marathon in DC in 2002, with a pace group; the pace leader was focused on catching us up to the clock (isn’t that what the chip is for?), that we ran each mile 20-30 seconds faster than advertised, and I had to slow way down and even walk some after mile 20.

I want to get it right this time. But my anxiety may psych me out. I know I am a strong, determined runner. And I’m even kind of fast. I followed my training schedule and am well-trained. (Though I do feel a little beaten down by the training, but that is why we taper for three or more weeks, right?) People do this all the time and even have fun – which is what I want. (And I’ve not heard anyone call childbirth “fun.”) So I need to calm the heck down, right?

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

My First Yasso 800's

Since I'm new in town (read: desperate to meet people) and am tired of being in the back of the pack, I made time in my schedule to meet up with a running group this evening that puts on free track workouts. (Yes - FREE COACHES! Austin is a runner's dream!)

After a mile or so warm-up run to the "track*," and a few shuffles here and there to prepare the rest of the muscles, Coach announced we'd be running Yasso 800's: Select your marathon goal time and run approximately a half mile using that number.  Say you want to run a 5 hour marathon: run your 800 in 5 minutes.  4 1/2 hour marathon goal?  4:30 minute 800.

This was my first time and I really enjoyed it...in a sadomasochistic kind of way.  We did four and I managed to pull out an average of 4:14.  Guess that means a 4 hour 14 minute marathon**, and if it can be applied to half-marathons, a 2 hour 7 minute goal time.  Since I'm aiming for a 2:11 next month at San Antonio's Rock and Roll Half, I think I'll make time for next Tuesday track practice too!

Has anyone else tried the Yasso 800?  What were your results?

*Doh!  The Junior High we planned on running at had a school football game, so we ran the roller-coaster street behind it.

**Considering my one and only marathon was WELL beyond the 6 hour mark, I should be skeptical.  Of course, I have come a long way since then...literally!

Monday, October 20, 2008

Let the Race Begin

My run today was to the local polling place to cast my early vote! Let the race officially begin!!!!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

That's Amore!

My son has not taken to speech at the same lightening speed as his older sister did, but he tries. This morning from the jogger he was fascinated by the beautiful full moon! (Yesterday was my birthday...my mother tells of the tremendous full moon that sat fat and heavy in the sky on the night of my birth...wait for it...many moons ago) Anyway, he kept pointing towards it and saying, "Bah!" (Allow his mommy to translate: "Look, Mommy! Did you ever notice that the full moon looks like a ball?!") So naturally I mentally sang to myself: "When the moon hits your eye/like a big pizza pie/that's amore." Over and over and over again while he pointed and said, "Baa!"

It was a good run.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Now What?

On Saturday, I ran in the half marathon held at the Baltimore Running Festival. It was an incredible day - perfect weather, lots of happy people and a very successful time. I'd been training for this race for the past 4 1/2 months and essentially, it's all I've been thinking about. And now, well, now I think I've got a case of post-race blues. I've not felt this before because after my first half, back in May, I right away started thinking about Baltimore. This is totally different. I'm wandering around in a fog and don't quite know what to do with myself. My legs were pretty sore after Saturday's race because there were some killer hills but now I'm feeling pretty good so I suppose I could run. Or maybe take up something new like yoga. Or spinning. Hmmm.... Help! What can I do to lift my fog?

Sunday, October 12, 2008

The 90-minute Mile

My daughter is in kindergarten at the neighborhood school this year so we've been walking back and forth. The younger two kids generally ride in the stroller on the way over in the morning so we can go on our run after we drop her at school, but in the afternoon, the baby rides in the infant carrier and both the 2 1/2 - year old and the 5-year-old walk. Some days are slower than others. The kids like to play with sticks as we go. Sometimes one is eating a snack as we meander home, but the other day I timed it and projecting the pace into "runner's terms," we were doing a 90-minute mile! Wow! That is slow. Painfully slow. It is hard, as a grown-up, to walk that slow.

So, "Why torture yourself?" one might ask. I think that they are learning a good lesson. Walking is good exercise. It is better for the environment than driving. It is a nice opportunity to talk about our day. We can watch as the leaves start to change colors. It is a routine that they can expect everyday. I think that it is even good for their self esteem to see that they can accomplish this - because sometimes they find it difficult...or so they say.

It is also good exercise for me since sometimes I do have pity and give piggy-back rides. My 2 1/2-year old coined it a "Mama sandwich" with the baby on the front and the toddler on the back! I continue to have the highest respect for Sherpas (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sherpa).

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Grand Dad ran me in!

I ran a 10 K today out of Camp Lejeune. Around the 5 1/2 mile mark I was getting a bit fatigued and bored. Just then, another runner caught up with me and struck up a conversation....nothing big, just a bit of chit-chat. He was a bit older than me but I had no idea his age. He got me throught the final stretch. As we crossed the finish line at the exact same time the staff was shouting happy birthday to him. I turned and asked, "Wow! Is it really your birthday? How young are you?" His answer...................................SEVENTY FIVE!! What an inspiration! I was so impressed. They handed him a water which he insisted that I have first. A true gentleman. I was so happy for him.......but I really need to speed up!!

Friday, October 10, 2008

Ahem, I am a Mommy Runner

Wheww, ok move stuff done, Hurricane Ike leaving us without power for 12 days done, 3 weeks of poison ivy all over my body- prohibiting runs and any exercise done. I'm ready to get going. I'm watching the other Mommies in the morning and have asked one to run with me next week. I feel like I'm in the 10th grade looking for a new friend. Wish me luck. I need a running Mommy real close by. No Army comfortable shoe to put on and find other runners. I'm in the real world now and must step up literally and figuratively....

It's Here!

This weekend is the The Phedippidations World Wide Festival of Races!!!

Way back in June I posted the challenge.

Think Nike Human Race, only grassroots style (and free).

I'm definitely doing the 10K. ANyone else?

Thursday, October 09, 2008

I'll Only Run to There

Am I the only person who runs 'Only to THERE' (that lightpole, that stop sign, that bush, to the top of the hill) while assuring myself that once I get 'THERE', I will stop, when I know good and well that there is another THERE waiting after this one and I'm not fooling anybody...if I space my THEREs then the run will be longer than if I didn't. After all, once you get THERE then THERE really isn't that far.

It's a runner thing, right?

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

A Run With a View

When running gear companies film commercials, they often show clear blue skies and crisp air cool enough for gloves & a hat yet perfect for shorts.  The runners are focused but have just enough curl in their lips to show inner contentment.  Film crews should have been at the Army Ten Miler on Sunday morning.

Approximately 20,000 lined the perimeter of the Pentagon and wound their way past monuments and parks for brisk 10 mile tour on foot.  There were brass bands and adoring families on the sidelines; stories of infantry reunions and demonstrations of remarkable comebacks.

There was also another moment worth recounting, though it could hardly be classified under "inspirational" or "commercial worthy."

It involved a struggling runner, who, deceived by the cool air, went out way too fast and was hurting near mile 8 (that would be me).  It also includes an old friend who eternally considers herself coach & running mentor to everyone pounding the pavement.

Well, when Coach noticed that my head was pretty close to giving up on my goal time, she directed my attention to the most perfectly round, tight-enough-to-bounce-a-coin-off-of-it, beautiful rear end on a man about 15 feet ahead of us.  She said 'chase that bottom and don't let it out of your sight.'  For a good half mile, we cracked up about stalking a random body part and I forgot I wanted to slow down....but then HE started to slow down significantly.

Coach jumped into action.  She pounced on our 'hare' and told him that this race wasn't just about him anymore.  He's got people counting on him.  "I have a friend in this race that is watching that perfect butt of yours and if you slow down, SHE slows down, and if SHE slows down, I slow down.  Now, get your head in the game and lead this team to the finish line!!!"

I'd like to think that he picked up his pace based on the flattery (rather than fear), but never-the-less in an instant: two struggling strangers became partners under Coach, indivisible, with empathy and blisters for all.  One, a handsome black man humbly striving to lead and the other, a painfully embarrassed plodder, trying not to appear as pathetic as she felt.   In that final mile, we ran side-by-side glancing at each other to make sure we'd both finish (and to silently concur that Coach's effortless trot was annoying). As we came around the closing turn, we both screamed "OH THANK GOD! and clutched hands in an enthusiastic shake.  

In a sea of remarkable finishes- runners who found strength from the memory of lost friends or who battled war wounds- depending on a Perfect Butt (or knowing someone is literally watching your backside) can seem pretty shallow, but, hey, we can't all have epic stories!

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Running with Three

A reader recently inquired about how I was running with three kids. I should clarify.

First point, they do make triple joggers. I have a couple friends, God bless them, who actually run with three kids across. Wow. These strollers are expensive, however, but very useful when all three kids are too young for school. You will not fit through doorways with this stroller!

Second point, when I chose the witty name "runningfor3" I did not actually know I was pregnant with my third child yet so I was counting myself. Sort of like the time my husband and I purchased a brand new lightweight tent for all those long backpacking trips we were going to do. Then I figured out I was pregnant about ten days later. Sure, that tent has gotten a lot of use...

Third point: If I have all three kids with me, I can't actually run, but I can walk with the infant in a carrier while the other two ride in the stroller. Transporting 90+ pounds of children plus equipment is not really enjoyable though you will feel the burn AND possibly earn your honorary Sherpa status.

Solution: Divide and conquer. I run while Turkey #1 is in school. Sometimes on weekends, I take the baby or the baby and another so Daddy doesn't have to deal with all three at the same time. I have friends that have taken their kids to do track work. Park them right in the middle and then you can seem them all the time as you run in circles.

PS. There is also the stroller playdate. If you can find a friend that has an older child in school and he/she can push one of your kids while you push the other two. That could be fun for all.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008


This last month, I've really struggled to get my running act in gear.  Like everyone, I've had a few challenges.  Want to hear them?  Oh, yes, of course you do.

First, I moved the family to a new state.  And I mean that literally.  Since my husband was working crazy hours, I pulled off a one-woman show packing nearly the entire house, single-handedly loading the ABF truck.....and then upon arriving, unloading and unpacking.  

Second, all previous running experience had been in flat terrain.  I think I moved to the Alps, by mistake.  Every workout seems like a hill workout.

Third, I went from knowing 75% of people out my hometown trail, to not knowing anyone.  Luckily, I know this great website to hook me up with some running partners, but my call to arms legs has yielded zero running buddies.  I have faith.  Hey - if you're in Austin, looking for a Sunday morning running partner, join my new group.

But, I've been here 6 weeks now and things are turning around.  Thanks to a Meetup.com mom's group, I found one daytime running partner who has shown me trails that gently roll up and down rather than the others where I need crampons & harnesses.  She, however, presents a new challenge: I swear she has roller skates on.  I love it though - I'm moving faster than I ever thought I could.

Finally, this week, the locals felt like they could finally let me in on a little secret about this amazing town.  Turns out, not only is it the "Live Music Capital," it's ranks the "Worst City for Allergies," too!   Didn't know I had allergies until recently.  Locals just looked at my puffy eyes and hacking green phlegm and simply chuckled "You must be new around here."

But - come Hell or Highly Swollen Glands, I am a runnin'.  I'm a running and a running and a running.  And if I survive then next 4 days, then I'll survive the Army 10 Miler.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Trust the Process

Has anybody seen Pink's new video?

This is really a confession: I haven't been giving everything my all. I've been lazy. But I'm giving it a push-ungh-you know, the kind of push you give when you are determined to pass the runner in front of you, the kind of push you give when you are determined to cross the finish line at full speed. The book I'm writing, the padding around my waist and belly, I'm sick of not getting it done.

I'm rocking some jeans I couldn't get into two months ago (because of the vegan thing, because I'm adding time and mileage to my runs) and the book is becoming something more beautiful than I could have imagined (because I'm allowing it to evolve rather than forcing it to become what I think it should be).

My new mantra: Trust the process.

Tell me about your everyday 'ungh's.

Fall Frenzy

It has been forever since I've blogged. I'm hoping I'm not the only mom here who is feeling the frazzled effects of September and all it brings. The start of a new school year is always a hectic time but this year it seems I've been running around like a crazy person more than 'normal'. I've now got two kids in elementary school - my youngest now in kindergarten and my oldest in 3rd grade - which is great but brings along a routine totally new to me. Feed the kindergartner lunch at 10:30? That alone is a strange thing for both of us to get used to. Also this year, both boys are involved in sports. I have a very crazy (and I must say time consuming) baseball schedule for my older son and a soccer schedule for my youngest taped to the fridge. Oh, then there is the homework that seems to have doubled in size from second to third grade and I think they are 'easing' us into it. Then there is the running. I have a half marathon to run in two and a half weeks. Must fit those miles in! Nothing like an extra bit of stress to get you through the day. Fortunately, the running helps keep my head (somewhat) clear. Getting out there on the trail helps me organize all my thoughts and mental 'to-do list'. Until I'm done...then it all comes rushing back at me and that old feeling of panic sets in. Hope you all are enjoying your September!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

The Illusion of Choice

Back to my blog's original mission: how to get your kids to sit in the jogging stroller! Dealing with children and adults alike, the most persuasive of people understand that you have to give the illusion of choice. Make them come to believe it was their idea all along. The key factor is only giving choices with outcomes that you are happy with.
Imagine! I sometimes meet some resistance from my 2-year-old when we are loading up the stroller for a run. I offer, "Spencer, do you want the big streets or little streets?" He answers, "Big streets!" Do you want to bring Goldfish or Cheerios? OK, we're off.
Now, the most likely pitfall is that your child will change his or her mind. Don't show a minute's hesitation. Be firm. No changing.
What other choices do your kids like to make for themselves?

Good Morning

It's 6:15 am.  I'm waiting for the coffee that I prepped last night to brew.  My house doesn't usually wake up for another hour and a half or so, but today is Sunday: my long, slow run day.

It's my ultimate "Me time".  This morning it's 12 miles listening to my feet plod down the street.   I hate the first 2 minutes of waking up, but then my mind is ready to shuffle out the door.  All my stuff is laid out, all I have to do is finish my coffee and put it on.

By mile 6 my head will come up with brilliant things to write on here.  Too bad I'll forget them by mile 10.

One last sip.  Bye.

Monday, September 15, 2008

In Case You Need Some Inspiration:

Check out the blog of 29 year old Triathlete, Rebecca. She just completed the Duke 1/2 Ironman, coming in 2nd in her age with the AMAZING time of 5 hours 21 minutes, a personal best even.
Cool, huh?
Did I mention she gave birth to her daughter in January 2008?

A race like that is pretty time consuming. But she has some great posts describing how she squeezes sessions in.

"...if I need to do a run longer than 30min, I do the first part outside and once I get home I put her down for a nap and then hop on the treadmill with the baby monitor."
"I start my ride during her first nap of the day. Once she wakes up, she starts her own session in the Jumperoo which sits next to me in the garage while I bike. Her Jumperoo tolerance has decreased from 40min to 20min so most of my rides are only about an hour long. I did go longer today though and got 1hr 27min. My trick was to haul the Pack 'n Play out to the garage so she played in that for about 20 mins. It helps that I have playlists on YouTube of all her favorite kid music such as Laurie Berkner and the theme to WonderPets."

Anyhow, I dig this Ironmanmom.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Texas mamas

Texas mamas - how are you holding up?  I'm worried about you and the uninvited guest you've had recently.

Mind Over Hills

The October 2008 Runner's World Magazine ranks "The greatest, most daunting hills in U.S. races". I can't find it on their web page so I will list them for you:

1. Heartbreak Hill, Boston Marathon (Boston, MA)
2. Hayes Street Hill, Bay to Breakers 12K (San Francisco, CA)
3. Queensboro Bridge, NYC Marathon (New York, NY)
4. Doomsday Hill, Lilac Bloomsday 12K (Spokane, WA)
5. Mt. Washington Auto Road, Mt. Washington Road Race (Gorham, NH)
6. Cardiac Hill, Peachtree 10K (Atlanta, GA)
7. Hospital Hill, Hospital Hill Half-Marathon (Kansas City, MO)
8. Gallows Lane, Litchfield Hills Road Race (Litchfield, CT)
9. Diamond Head Avenue, Honolulu Marathon (Honolulu, HI)
10. Hurricane Point, Big Sur Internat'l Marathon (Big Sur, CA)

Whoa! Have you been to Mt. Washington? That is not even on the same scale as these other hills! I understand that there is a big mental component to "daunting" beyond simple elevation gain or percent grade, but only #5? Really? Admittedly, I've never had to run up Heartbreak Hill at mile 20, but my CAR could barely DRIVE up the Mt. Washington Auto Road. (Side note: NH's Presidential Range is where I got engaged.) So that is almost 8 miles, rising 4,650 feet. Mt. Washington averages 12% grade vs only 4.5% for Heartbreak Hill (less than 90 foot elevation gain over 0.37 miles).

I've run over Diamond Head Ave (#9) many times both with and without my jogging stroller too and that it ranks a measly 4 places after Mt. Washington also baffles me. It just isn't that hard. In the marathon, it is dark the first time you go over, so that barely counts. Perhaps that I have run over it so many times with Maddie in the stroller, makes the races over it that much easier. At least I was by myself!

So run big hills with your jogging stroller! It will be much easier when you are racing later and not pushing those extra pounds on wheels! But who will hold your water?

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

What's the name of that book?

Runningfor3's recent post has gotten the little hamster in my mind racing in crazy hamster wheel circles. I cannot find that book I read. Let's see, if I was sixteen, then the year was 1986...I found a book similar in title, but it was first published 10 years after I allegedly read it. I say allegedly because I am seriously beginning to question my own sanity.

Monday, September 08, 2008

Book Recommendations

This could also be called "How to Get Motivated to Do Crazy Hard Athletic Stuff".

You probably don't have tons of time for pleasure reading, but if you can squeeze a page in while on the elliptical machine at the gym or one chapter at a time after the kids go to bed, I highly recommend these books I've read recently:

The Perfect Mile by Neal Bascomb
Ultimate Fitness by Gina Kolata
Swimming to Antarctica by Lynne Cox
Why We Run: A Natural History by Bernd Heinrich
Ultramarathon Man: Confessions of an All-night Runner by Dean Karnazes

None of the are how-to books. There are no training plans or diets. Just stories about athletes. I'm sure there are many others that I just can't think of at the moment.

What books you would recommend to inspire one's inner athlete?

New! Improved!

The crazy zoning in this town required that my girl change schools. She was really apprehensive about. It seems that some kids had painted a picture of bullying and rampant drug use for her. None of it true. It is an amazing school and she loves it. The best part is that she gets to ride her bike everyday to and from. Daddy took her shopping and she hooked herself up with this really great red retro Huffy with white fenders and white wall tires. It is so rockin, the only bike like it at the bike rack. She has to cross two major streets and, since the cross guards aren't yet on duty, ol' Mom here laces up and runs with her. Not much of a run as far as distance, but the speed...let me tell you, when she feels like she's behind schedule then, hooboy, Mama's got to get some game on.

Also, we have become vegetarians and are on our way to being vegans. Our original reasons were for health, but we now find ourselves settling quite nicely into this wonderful and inspiring lifestyle. Last night I made the most delicious portobello burgers ever. The daughter was not excited in the beginning. She definitely played the part of victim with relish (no pun intended--get it, I'll have a victim with relish--okay, not funny. I've been pushing my brain to put together a plot all day and this fatigue of thought is the result) I'd really like to blog about the whole vegetarian thing and I will as soon as I get this darn book that I've been working on finished. In November I'll have been working on it for four years. It's funny the route a book takes to get written. I am such a slow writer.

I'm babbling.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Home Sweet Home

If I had to list features of what I considered important in creating my ideal town, it would look something like this:
  • Hot (or at least warm - 80+ F) most of the year
  • Enough cool coffee shops/bakeries around that the staff don't say: "Wow - I've never seen anyone fill up their frequent user card in 3 days before!"
  • Townies who will say hello when you look them in the eyes
  • Bike lanes ...and riders of all shapes & sizes who actually use them
  • Drivers who allow pedestrians to cross at crosswalks and elsewhere
  • Band fliers stapled to light posts (honestly, that's a real standard for me)
  • Festivals, Festivals, Festivals
  • Creeks or rivers without a single alligator
  • Police aren't summoned when there is a guy on the main drag in drag.
  • Restaurants and other businesses in old houses (I'm a sucker for it).
  • Really creative graffiti. 
  • And of course, lots of runners.
You can see why I have settled down nicely in Austin, Texas and why my husband will need back up from the National Guard to pry me away from this incredible town when his two year grad program at UT is over.

Of course, I have been humbled.  My pace on these mountains* has gone from "slow" to "She's mighty sweaty for a walker."   I met up with a group last night for their "Slow run," for which their website description is as follows: 
You know you're a slow runner if:
* Your shih tzu is waiting for you at the next water station.
* The dust from your grandma's walker has already settled.
* Your 8GB iPod starts repeating the same songs.
* You started at 5 o'clock and the bats have already flown.

Unfortunately, their prose is more entertaining than accurate, for I ended up huffing and puffing a mile behind them, trying to signal "I'm okay! I'll catch up!" in between hills.   But that's fine.  It's good for me to try harder and check out the scenery.  Besides, without the distraction of a group, I was able to people watch and read from the flier whose playing at Stubb's tonight.

*Okay, I know locals call them "hills", but this former Miami runner begs to differ.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Cross Training to Recover

4 weeks post-partum: my brain is ready to run again, my stroller is ready to roll, but my body is not.

My first inclination was to throw caution to the wind and jog anyway. I've done this recovery thing 2 times before and I ran up until just couple weeks before delivery so I was feeling a little cocky until I got the rebuke. My wonderfully level-headed midwife had a very compelling argument about internal organs and connective tissues. So, since there is no strength training I know about for internal organs of the abdominal region, that seemed like advice I should heed.

Plan B: Low-impact cardio and strength training to prevent injury when I can eventually resume running. While it is obvious that my abdominal muscles are weaker post-pregnancy, my hips have been also stretched and my quads have been rested, so everything needs to get a little stronger. This is especially important since when I do start running, as I will be just a little heavier than at my athletic peak ;)

It is still probably unwise for one to begin a brand new sport at this point, but I resumed Step aerobics to target leg strength and low impact cardio. I also resumed moderate weights for upper body and core conditioning. All core exercises are approached with caution at this point since the goal is basically just to get the two side of my abs back together and to support my back.

Finally, I've been walking, of course. I'm happy to report that I'm faster than I was three weeks ago when the man with the cane passed right by me. This is also good practice for the baby to work up to running in the jogging stroller.

So, perhaps this is old-hat to me, but there is some consolation in remembering that it is new for little Francesca, so for her sake, we'll take it slow.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Run Safe

Most of us are nervous, if not fearful, to run alone. Thoughts of accidents or abductions might come to mind. So we run or bike in groups to be safe. But sometimes, the group mentality can distract you from your focus or hoodwink you into thinking that your company will keep you safe.

Wait. I don't really know how to get my point across for this post. I'm incapacitated because my running community lost another and I'm no longer living close enough to my friends to cry with them. Carlos was hit by a car...while with a group of 20+, who were actually just one subgroup of over 600 runners in the marathon training program. He was crossing the street in the wee early morning, the last in his group, when a car plowed through. My friend heard the driver say that there were all these people in the road and he didn't know where to go so he had to hit someone. It was the shock talking - perhaps the car rolling three times - but my god, he realized he had to hit someone?

That group OWNS the street on Saturday mornings. Each weekend at 6 am, they are out there, 600 hundred of them, running and talking and socializing. Like a sea of salmon swimming against the flow of traffic, thinking about races and gu and politics and family or about nothing but the steps they are taking. The power of numbers deludes you into believing you are invincible.

But the problem is drivers think they are invincible, too. They are able to text or talk on their phones, they can yell at the talk radio, they can turn right from the left lane, they can roll through stop signs or like witnesses to the crash believe about the driver, they can drive themselves home from the bar.

So be safe out there. Keep your head up and one earbud out. Don't assume they see you or think they can stop in time. Change your mantra to: Run Safe.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Forehead Slap

My boys are major scooter addicts. Usually, I grab a book or magazine and sit on the front porch while they zoom up and down the street at lightening pace. Well, today, they wanted to venture out a bit further so I threw on my running shoes and off we went. We flew up to the local tot lot then right on past to the middle school where they are doing some work on the fields that once were there. There is an old concrete track and in the middle, there are huge mountains of dirt. The boys went around the track twice on the scooters while I ran then they played happily on the dirt mountains while I continued to run around the track. When they announced they were done, they scooted home while I ran. In all, I think I got in about 3.5 miles...not bad for a day when squeezing a run in seemed impossible! All I kept thinking was, "Summer is just about over and I'm just coming up with this plan now?!" Just goes to show, a little creativity can go a long way!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

the bright spot: Sun Herald City 2 Surf

You'd think that a trip to Sydney, Australia, would be lovely. Usually it is. My mother was Australian. I am half Australian (a dual citizen, even). I love, love, love Sydney. Almost as much as my hometown, New York City.

I have probably mentioned before that my mother died on July 11, 2007, from ovarian cancer. She had moved back to Sydney when I was 19 and in college. I went out often. She came back often. She was fabulous (not to idealize -- she also could annoy me more than anyone else).

This trip was the first I could make to sort and clear out her apartment in Redfern, a suburb in the city. "Suburb" means a neighborhood -- it is a proper part of Sydney, not outside of it.) I am her only child, so I was pretty much on my own, though I cannot slight the help of my uncle and my step brother (whose father died 10 months before my mother did -- this is turning in to a bummer of a post, anyway...).

I was there for a mere two weeks, with my younger son, Az, who is now 14 months old. I left husband and 4-year old Iz at home. (Iz needs action, structure, not sorting and packing.) No way I was going to get everything done. I was non-stop (well, except for stopping every 30-60 minutes to feed, entertain, comfort Az or get him to sleep -- as non-stop as a mom can be). I sorted boxes in the two-car garage underneath the building. I sorted the office of a writer (my mother was an excellent one -- look her up, Glenda Adams) -- including the notes, the novel in progress, the copies of books, the reference books. It was incredible. And I could not throw out her writing. No way.

What does all of this have to do with running? Well. Since I started running, my mother encouraged me to run the Sun Herald City to Surf in Sydney. And I did twice while she was alive. And she would be at the Lamrock Cafe when I finished, waiting for me with a flat white coffee.

The race covers 14 kilometers, or 8.7 miles, from the center of the city to famous Bondi Beach. I have now run it three times, in 2000, 2003 and 2008 (just a week and a half ago). My best time, go figure, was the most recent. Five years older, two kids later, sleep deprived because Az was waking up at least three times a night. I finished 6,000 and something out of 70,000 registered runners. (Yes, 70,000 -- it is a crazy-huge race. This may explain the few moments of rude behavior I experienced -- deliberate elbowing, running into, etc.)

The race is gorgeous. Especially once it gets to the water. The course is very, very hilly along the southern shore of Sydney Harbour. Heartbreak hill is a kilometer long, curving, winding up a headland. That may not sound long, but that is only the longest hill, not the lone hill. Volunteers handed out heart-shaped sponges soaked in cold water. Ahhhh.

Did I mention it is winter there? And winter is mild. Maybe 60 degrees at the height of the day. So the hill could have been worse, especially in August in the Washington, DC, region.

The race finishes at Bondi. We hit the northern end of the beach at the 13 kilometer mark -- still a kilometer to go. Sounds like nothing -- but six-tenths of a mile is not insignificant when you feel ready to sprint to the finish. Still, I felt great. But that beach is darn long.

My step brother's girlfriend was at the Lamrock Cafe waiting for me. (My uncle had Az, but we met up with them nearby.)

The race was the one bright spot in a very hard trip. Though breakfasts at Cafe Zoe were also excellent. Oh, and the oatmeal cookies at the Bourke Street Bakery. And runs in Centennial Park. (I rented a jogging stroller.) My mother would have been pleased at the little moments I grabbed.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Olympic Proportions

I, too, have been watching the Olympics (though intermittently due to the new Wii Fit that's monopolizing my time!), but it's gotten me thinking: 2 1/2 hours or so to finish a marathon? Seriously? My time ranges from 4:30 to, I'm thinking, 6:30 this coming October. Doesn't that mean us Penguins are better athletes? We have greater endurance! Right? RIGHT?!

Athlete. Mom.

I've found this summer's Olympics to be very encouraging. Though the gymnasts are mere babes, there are many other highly competitive athletes at these games that are still older than me AND they have a child!

Photos of Olympic Moms

Now add to that list yesterday's winner - by a lot! - of the women's marathon, Constantina Tomescu. In addition to having a kid, at 38, she was the oldest competitor to ever win this event.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Stroller Maintenance

So, we are careful to maintain our cars as per manufacturers recommendations to change the oil, rotate tires, etc. And my husband is particularly neurotic about taking care of his many bicycles. Yet, the jogging stroller receives very little attention until things really start to fall apart.In anticipation of putting an infant in our loyal double jogger, I replaced all 3 tires (yes, you can see the wires underneath the worn-away rubber) and the brake caliper (rusted open), brake pads (large chunks were worn away) and brake cable.*

I suppose that occasionally washing off the mud, lubricating moving parts and rotating the tires wouldn't hurt...

* Customer service at Dreamer Design has been VERY helpful with ordering replacement parts.

Howdy- I'm now a Houston Running Mommy

Hello Running Mommies! I've missed reading your blogs and seeing how everyone is doing with the heat, running, and the uplifts.
We made it to Texas and 80 houses later we bought a foreclosure and will close hopefully next week. At first running trails were very important. Later pools, bedrooms for visiting elderly family, and walking distance schools won out. In the end we were picking up a friend for a play-date who was visiting from KY and saw a foreclosure next door. I peeked in the window and quite honestly the hardwood floors had me at hello. It needs work, but it has the pool, strange floor plan, etc.. but I'll have to run on the street to get to sidewalks, hmmmm. Will this work? I did find a very cool park with running trails in the shade that will entail getting the running stroller in the car.

I've injured my left knee too-- never had this much time off from running in 20 years. I almost thought about becoming a walker and saving the knees (Runner's World insists running does not cause knee problems and I believe them).

Well, I'm off to find some running Moms in Houston who do not think I'm too geriatric to run with. We're civilians now- Army over civilian life lets go!


Saturday, August 09, 2008

Let's do a SMR top 10!!

Anyone want to contribute to "Top ten reasons NOT to run in the heat of the day"?

I'll start with a recap of my AM today....
I awoke bright and early to get in a run while also running an errand to the local ACE hardware to pick up picture hangers ( I Love to multi-task....it makes me feel so smug! HA, HA day, I got two things done!!!). However, instead of donning my running shoes right away, I got on the computer and had some coffee......over 2 hours later, I headed out....in Eastern NC, in Aug, after 9:45....
More than half way through the 6 mile round trip, I found myself really hot and obviously it was affecting my normally "good" judgement......I found myself running on the roadside, trying to get closer to the traffic for the incredibly great feeling breeze the vehicles created as they drove past............I really need to go out earlier!!!

Thursday, August 07, 2008


Thanks for the tips on getting back into the running groove after a week long break. Today was finally the day. I started to notice I was getting more and more inpatient with my boys and getting on them about stuff that normally wouldn't bother me...well, not enough to yell anyway! Also, the coffee pot brewing a new pot at 4:00 in the afternoon (every day!) because I was feeling so sluggish was a bit of a sign as well that I needed to get those shoes back on and give it a go. I parked the kids in front of a table full of star wars figures and hopped on the treadmill. It was the best thing for us all. I now have 5 miles under my belt, a smile on my face and no need for coffee! How did I get through the stresses of every day mommy-hood before running?

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Getting Back Into Shape

Recovering from pregnancy can be tough. For some of us, especially those who may be a bit, uh, top heavy, running may not be enough. Running might tone your legs, but what about your arms, chest, etc. I am a BIG fan of Pilates and have been since before people knew how to pronounce it, but I've also got a need for speed. I found just the thing: Postnatal Power Tae Bo Workout! Don't laugh. It works! It's not so high speed that I'm too tired to turn it on after the kids are asleep, and it's not too slow that I fall asleep. And, best of all, it has also accomplished what I thought could only happen through surgery: it's gotten rid of the "side-boob." I'm sure some of you know what I mean. It can make running difficult. After just a few Tae Bo workouts, I've gotten rid of that and have whittled my waist so much that I no longer need to run with banded yoga pants and a tight running tank on top of my sports bra. Three cheers for Shellie Blanks!

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Run, Solve, Run

So, I'm very excited about an upcoming run that I'm running organizing. (You see, sometimes, I want all the social aspect of races without all the exercise, so I plan Hash Runs.) This month, I have a guest of honor; a great friend who asked me months ago to help her celebrate her birthday with a fun run. I've decided to step it up from a simple hare & hound chase, to a treasure hunt. A guerrilla race that will send runners through a Miami village in the dark picking up envelopes and solving riddles. Think Amazing Race. Think Herald Hunt. Think "Run Think Run." Now add beer & wine and lower your expectations.

I guess I'm pretending like I'm still being paid to lead corporate team building events. I've been writing cryptic crosswords, scrambling sentences, compiling photo puzzles and holding onto a big fat grin. So far, around 40 people from our running community have RSVP'd. If you're in the Miami area this Thursday night and want to come out, send me a note. It outta be a fun night!

Monday, August 04, 2008

Post Vacation Blues

We just returned from a fantastic vacation at the shore and now I'm totally unmotivated to run. It's horrible. I ran 3 times while we were gone. All three were at the beginning of the trip...back when I was still super motivated girl in training. But it didn't take long for the lazy beach days, loads of snacks and zero schedule to turn me into a total slug. I told myself I was getting exercise by slepping the kids and 9 million toys to the beach each day. And we all know how much effort it takes to get 2 kids covered in sun screen...that has to burn at least 300 calories each time! So now that I'm back and it's 95 degrees and humid, how the heck do I get back into it? Short runs? I just know the first time I give it a go, I'm going to start panting one block in and get down on myself. I'll try and look on the bright side....at least I'm tan!

Even though they will leave me in the dust...

I am so excited to get back out and run with a seemommyrun group this Saturday at 6:30! It's been a long time since I've run with a group, and I need the speed and motivation a group provides, and the comraderie. Now, if only I can get that alarm clock to go off....

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Choosing a Jogging Stroller

If I had a nickel for every time someone has asked me about what type of jogging stroller I think is best...I would have at least a dollar. But that is a lot of times to write the same email. If only I had saved them...

Anyway, here are my thoughts on jogging strollers:
1. Terrain: Do you primarily jog on smooth roads or bumpy trails? Knobby tires will only require more energy to push so you don't need them if you aren't on bumpy roads that require greater traction and resistance to flats. Furthermore, though suspension sounds great, unless you are actually running on very bumpy terrain, it will just make more work for you to push through the suspension in order to make turns. Your kids can take it.
2. Storage: No problem here if you just roll it into the garage, but if you have to fold and/or carry the stroller at all, consider weight, ease of collapse and folded dimensions. Stick with 16" wheels rather than 20" which will take up much more space.
3. Cost: You could easily spend over $500 on a double stroller, but consider if you really need that. If you anticipate that your stroller will get relatively light use, there is no need to buy the most expensive on the market.
4. Wheels: The swivel front wheel makes turning easier if you primarily walk, but it is inferior to the fixed front wheel for running. Though you can usually lock the swivel wheel into place, the chances of it tracking crooked are greater than a fixed wheel and these strollers are often heavier.
5. Uses: Is this stroller exclusively for exercise or does it also go on errands and such? Lots of storage space and pockets plus a slimmer width for doorways are both helpful if this stroller is going to the grocery store.
6. Separate sun shades: If you have 2 kids, you'll want to be able to adjust seat backs and sun shades separately.
7. Accommodating an infant seat: Personally, I consider this totally unnecessary. How fast do you really think you are going?
8. Where to buy: www.joggingstroller.com has a huge selection and fantastic customer service.

Some brands to consider:
Baby Jogger Performance strollers are ideal for high mileage road runners.
The cost of a BOB stroller is not necessary unless you actually run on trails - which I do without a BOB anyway.
Dreamer Design and Kelty are good compromise options.
In Step is a good low cost alternative, but may not hold up well to heavy use.
Would YOU want to be the kid in the bottom seat of a Phil and Ted stroller?

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Non-running blog...sorry....need advise of on-line buddies

Ok.... I decided to re-enter the work force. Only 8-12 hours a week as a clinical nursing instructor at the local community college. I accepted the job and then, and only then noticed the other clinical instructors name on the schedule..........
Have you ever had a co-worker that just rubbed you wrong in EVERY POSSIBLE WAY??? I mean really...... I don't like to use the word "hate", but I really get that feeling when I am around her. Well, I should say, I haven't seen or worked with her in over 5 years..............
What should I do?? I almost turned the job down, but is is a good stepping stone to better instructor positions in the future...
Please help and tell me how you'd all handle such a mess!!

Ice Marathon

Are you tough? No, really, are you tough? Could you do this?

Well, could you?

Having run in sub-zero temperatures, I suspect that the suits needed to keep warm initially would at some point become excruciatingly uncomfortable and the focus of the run would become a concentration on temperature, with everything else forgotten.
Which might actually make the run bearable.

I'm all about allowing my mind to escape. Otherwise I might find myself weighted down by that daily marathon we all run.

How tough are you?

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

That's your baby, Mama

The first time we flew together, she was one year old and two days. That flight was from Frankfurt, Germany to Dallas, Texas followed by a puddle-jump to Midland. The first flight, from Frankfurt, was over 9 hours long and the little angel didn't fall asleep until 45 minutes before the plane landed. She didn't fuss and scream, she was just awake and very alert and in the final stages of learning to walk. The armrests were perfect, and so we toddled...up and down and up and down...the aisles of that plane for HOURS.
I was a much younger woman then, just beginning to appreciate the beautiful gift of exteme patience being taught to me moment by infuriating moment.
Airline rules were different then, too. I won't write now of my first international flight post 9/11. Just know that I cried once we got past security and into the sequestered area of Frankfurt's airport reserved for airlines of American origin.
A significant change in flying, one that I'm sure would have sent my cup of patience overflowing is the need for child restraints.

I wish you great peace of mind if you are going to be traveling with a young one.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

too late, Philly Marathon

Really, I am a blog mommy blog blogger. Really. I just have not written for a long, long time. I never got around to race reports from the National Half-Marathon, the Cherry Blossom 10-Miler, the George Washington Parkway Classic, the Capitol Hill Classic... I'm sorry. And now it is too late. Ah, well. I'll get on it next time. Next race is the Sun Herald City to Surf in Sydney.

But now I have done something that scares me a bit: I signed up for the Philadelphia Marathon on November 23. Hm. I have not run a marathon in six years -- not since getting married and having kids. I run a lot, and I have a good strong base. I am as fast as I was when I ran my first marathon in 1999. But marathons are scary. From personal experience, I know anything can happen after about 18 miles. No matter how well-trained one is.

I ran one fabulous marathon, my first, in NYC. I did not finish my second in NYC. Then I finished, but had a truly miserable time after about 19 miles, the Washington DC Marathon (the one in March of 2002 that had only one official running; the race organizer went bankrupt the next year). Half marathons are fun -- and tough -- but not out of control. I love half marathons.

So I am scared. But I am going to do it. I think. I hope. What training plans do people swear by? I have a strong base now -- I can cover 12 miles "easily", and I even completed 15 a week ago. Week one of an 18-week plan starts on August 4 -- when I will be away in Sydney, Australia, (alone with my 13-month-old) sorting and clearing my mother's apartment. So I can't get crazy-serious until I return, on August 13.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Crumbs: Sprint Triathlon Race Report

Last week, upon realizing I had a Sprint Triathlon in 5 days, with nary a training plan in site, I flipped out and completed a Brick Workout to end all Brick Workouts. (Okay, exaggerated a bit, but in my mind, I was in the Olympic Trials.)

In keeping with the idea of a "
tri," I hopped on my bike and sprinted the 3 miles to my gym, swam for 30 minutes straight, headed to the treadmill for 3 miles, then sprinted home on my bike.

I was exhausted...and couldn't walk the next day. So...back to tapering. And by tapering, I mean not
exercising at all. No amount of training could help me just a few days before an event...if anything, it would just fatigue my muscles, so I changed my attitude about this race.

You see, I'm moving out-of-state in 3 weeks. My good friend and running buddy talked me into this race as a "last hoorah." This would probably be my last chance to see the people I've confessed more to than my husband and all those folks who I feel like I know because we see each other on the trail or at races. I began to accept that I wouldn't break any of my records, so I might as well just enjoy the ocean view while I have it. It was a "Farewell to Miami Party" and I was going to try to have fun.

And amazing things happened.
  • I slept great the night before. (Traditionally, before races, my mind competes against my body: nightmares about oversleeping, getting lost on the race route or not being able to find the starting line.)
  • I didn't want to vomit at the starting line. When the gun went off, I jumped in and actually swam freestyle (normally, my heart pounds SO hard in fear that I can't breathe, so I do the backstroke).
  • I started passing other women on their mountain bikes and even some road bikes.
  • On the run, I didn't feel like taking walk breaks. Instead I chit chatted with runners around me.
  • I didn't long for the end of the race to come.
I had actually competed with the attitude that "This is recreation!" (Something I have often preached but more often forgotten on race day.) And, as I checked the scores, I was even astonished that I placed 3rd in my division.

I think I have found my perfect training plan!

(sorry -i'm having font/size issues!)

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Beach Running......with the double!!!

Yes!! I am alive! We safely moved to NC and now live on a lovely island. I miss my SMR friends in VA sooooo much. I was afraid my motivation to run would wither up and die.....alas.....It didn't!! I've been hitting the road and beach several times a week and having a great time. Of course, since I am new to the area and have no pre-school to scurry one of the little tikes off to, I am pushing the double stroller. Last week I found a 3 mile route that includes one mile on the beach. Admittably, it is a little struggle to get the stroller over the dry sandy area to the wet compacted sand, but once it is there it is heaven. The little guys like to get out and "run" the beach area which at first I fought, but now we just delight in that part of our "run" until they wear out and climb back in. We re-emerge at the community club house that has an outdoor shower area to rinse off in. At that point I feel like a 16 year old boy with his first car.....I rinse my stroller thoroughly, then once home I dry her off with a soft cloth as to avoid the corrosion of the salt air....
Anyways, if anyone has any pointers on beach running, I'd love to hear them. In my new community most of the other runners are in their 50s and 60s which makes me the youngster.....gotta LOVE that....maybe that is why my motivation hasn't withered away!!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Blog Mommies Blog

To all the wonderful Readers of See Mommy Blog -

It may not be clear if you're stopping by the blog for the first time, but there are over a dozen contributors to the See Mommy Run blog. You might say that it should be called See Mommies Blog. If you look down at the very bottom of each post, you'll see the author's name. Also, a list of us all can be found just to the left.

Just a small explanation for those who wondered if schizophrenia was at play here.

Crumbs: I'm Home! Oh, God, I'm Home!

I've been on tremendous 10 day vacation to Portland, Oregon.
Oh, Pacific Northwest, how I love you so!
You bike, you run, you walk, you kayak, you hike, you have public transportation!

Anyhow, I only slipped one delicious run in, but my training took a different twist. I had to carry my 43" inch tall, 45 lb 3 year old (yes...he measures as a 5 year old) around A LOT. I mean for many, many, many hours....day after day after day after day, etc. My arms & shoulders are still sore, but definitely stronger. Not the workout I'd recommend, but hey, just making lemonade.

Unfortunately, it was after several weeks of...well...casually exercise (to be generous), that I have recalled that I am registered for a sprint Triathlon this weekend. In 5 days, to be more precise.
Oh, God, I'm home...and have to compete complete!

So my training will effectively be backward: taper, taper, taper, panic & brick workouts 5 days in a row.

If I don't write by next Monday, send help.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

How To Run Downhill

Pushing your jogging stroller uphill probably gets more thought than running downhill, but there are a couple important things to consider to run as quickly - and safely - as possible downhill.

How steep is the hill vs how heavy is your stroller? The first hill we go down at the start of our regular route is so steep that I actually walk backwards down it with the jogging stroller.

Generally, however, downhill is a great opportunity to cut a little time and to practice faster turnover (i.e. how quickly you put one foot in front of the other). This is just one of the reasons why jogging strollers have a hand brake and a runaway strap.

Even if it makes your arm get sweaty - ALWAYS USE YOUR RUNAWAY STRAP!

To use your hand brake effectively, you need to lean INTO it. As you squeeze the lever with your left hand, consider using only the palm of your right hand to push rather than gripping the handle which could inadvertently apply a downward force. This keeps the front wheel in contact with the ground (the only way the brake will work) plus it will put less pressure on your knees and keep your form better. You will maintain much more control than either trying to pull the stroller back or simply trying to run as fast as the stroller rolls.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

My First Half-Marathon

What follows is the description (as listed on the website) of my first half-marathon, to be run in April of 2009:


The Escape Route: Escaping from Prison Hill is a daunting task….much like a real prison break. But before you are sent to “prison” you must do the crime! The first part of this course is a “crime”. For the first 3/4 mile you will find yourself on a fairly flat, dirt/gravel road that circles the interior of the Silver Saddle Ranch. As you complete this section of the race you get a little sloppy in your work and the authorities begin chase. Life gets a bit tougher here as you begin your initial ascent onto Prison Hill. You begin this section with a climb via single-track onto Prison Hill in an effort to thwart the authorities. For approximately the next 4-1/2 miles you are faced with a series of “small ups and downs” that will begin to test whether or not you even considered training for this event. Finally, you complete this section of the course (by thwarting the local authorities) and begin to enjoy the fruits of your labor…or so you think. You will now begin a descent along the western face of Prison Hill, approximately 1 mile. Once here, you continue to “live it up” along the mostly flat terrain for the next 2 miles, thinking that you will never get caught.

Ha!! You fell right into the arms of the authorities. Someone is going to prison. If you are doing this event solo, it is you. If you are part of a relay team then your partner is going to prison. The next 1/2 mile is a series of short, fast, rolling hills that bring you to “Prison”…a 1 mile ascent on the south slope of Prison Hill with 800 feet of altitude gain. Once at the top you realize that you just can’t stand it anymore and you begin your “ESCAPE”. You begin with a spectacular descent down the south-eastern slope towards the Carson River, thinking that by dousing yourself in the river you will lose the dogs that are following your scent. For approximately 1-1/2 miles you try to evade your followers but it doesn’t work. They’re hot on your trail. You make a dash across the Mexican Dam and run a flat course back towards the Start/Finish thinking that you’d be lost in a crowd. It begins to work…for 1-mile that is. Just when you think you’ve eluded the authorities you’re faced with one last challenge. You begin a 1/4 mile ascent on a single-track that actually takes you away from the finish. You can’t believe it. You ask yourself if it can get any worse. Actually, no! With just over a mile to go it’s mostly flat with a final 1/4 mile into the chute. You’re finally done! You’ve ESCAPED!

I chose this race because my father lives in Carson City and I thought this would make for a nice trip.

If anyone has any training tips, feel free to throw them at me! Right now I'm working on running to the tune of Free Bird--easy pace and then speed it up all the way through the guitar solo.

Sunday, July 06, 2008


People often equate pregnancy and/or labor with running a marathon (including Natalie Morales of The Today Show in the Aug 08 Runner's World). How much one buys into that probably depends on whether you've ever run a marathon, but one thing that is for certain is that both require MOTIVATION to stay positive!

During my second pregnancy, my two-year-old daughter came over to me in bed one morning, looks at me and says, "Are you mean mom or nice mom today?" That was a wake-up call! I guess I was pretty grumpy. So now I'm on my third and I am in an entirely different state of mind.

How does one stay motivated while running or otherwise? Can you see “the light at the end of the tunnel”? Sometimes seeing that n-1 mile marker or even the finish line is what you need. Of course, in pregnancy, the metaphorical light at the end of the tunnel is actually the headlights of an on-coming train!

So working out helps me stay positive about the tail end of pregnancy. I stay motivated to work out because I know how much easier it will be to recover post-baby. I stay motivated to push that HEAVY jogging stroller because it is making me so much stronger and faster whenever I have the chance to run stroller-free. And I stay motivated to race because I am just so darn competitive. The faster you run, the faster you’re done!

Tuesday, July 01, 2008


Now that I've found it, I'm not sure how I ever lived without it! Just what in the heck is she talking about, you're wondering. The Snotspot! I cannot wait to try this product out!

Sunday, June 29, 2008

In Honor of Babette

I just have to take a moment here to mourn a lost athlete. Although I barely knew her, she inspired me greatly.

When I tell the story of my first-ever triathlon last Summer - of how I started in the "leftover" wave filled with first-timers, Athenas, mountain bikes and age 40+ women - it often turns into a comic display. I explain that since each athlete's age is marked on her calf, I knew that the woman next to me in the corral was 64. Babette introduced herself when she could see how nervous I was and told me that I would be just fine. She gave me some tips on how I should be warming up and then took her place at the waterline.

From there, the story painstakingly details how Babette clobbers me at each stage and how she is in fresh clothes by the time I cross the finish line. Babette is the reason I signed up for the next Key Biscayne triathlon a month later. She is the reason I vowed to go to spin class twice a week and why I bought fins to train better in the pool. And after she trampled me effortlessly again, she was the reason I signed up for the third and final race of the Trilogy.

But although it was disappointing to be bested by someone over twice my age, Babette's poise merited utter respect. She contested atrophy with each climb into a new age category. She was at once motivating and formidable; youthful and seasoned. She loved the sport for the sake of the challenge and for the community that builds itself around it. Babette makes you remember that "Men do not quit playing because they grow old; they grow old because they quit playing." - Oliver Wendell Holmes

Babette Kulka
died last Wednesday, training in the choppy ocean waters of Hollywood, Florida.