Sunday, October 24, 2010

Running Stroller to High School Cross County

Hi there running Mommies! This is a time of new beginnings. My 3 year old started preschool so I have 3 mornings a week all to myself. First time in 16 years. I almost always get a good run in. The biggest news is my oldest started high school and to keep in shape for soccer I signed her up for summer cross country training with her high school team. She moaned and groaned and was so annoyed with me. She goes to a huge 5A school and all the sports are highly competitive here in Texas so I wanted her to have speed and endurance. As it turns out-- she has running genes!!! She loves it. She's thinking of not even trying out for soccer now and turning all her attention to running. We bought spikes-- who knew they had such a thing for cross country, but I had a field day in Fleet Street ooing and ahhing over all the cool running gear. This is a girl who flat out told me she hated running after doing track last year. She has her own mind, her own everything and I get to watch!!! She is no longer waiting at the finish line for me-- I'm there waiting for her with the camera..... Oh delight!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Running - 35 Weeks Pregnant

This past Saturday marked the 35 week mark in this pregnancy. 35 days till my official due date. The date is subjective and I don't take much stock in it, but nevertheless it gives me a concrete date to count from.

My due date is like knowing that Marine Corps Marathon is on 10/31/10 only it could randomly change at a moments notice and come sooner or later.

At this point in the pregnancy sleep has become invaluable. At about the time that my daughter started attending full day school, my son decided to stop napping. This means NO breaks during the day.

Heartburn and feeling uncomfortable stops me from getting a full nights sleep most nights. I don't set the alarm on the weekends. If I wake up in time to run, then great. If I don't, well then I don't.

I'm a self proclaimed morning runner - if I don't wake up and get it done, chances are I won't get it done at all. Sunday morning Miles woke up screaming for me. I decided - I'm up - I'm running.

I debated back and forth about whether or not I should go meet up with my running club to run or just go alone.

Would I be the slowest person there? Would I have anyone to run with? What if I was running alone - will I wish I had just started from my own house rather than driving to Starbucks? What if I can't keep up with the others I am running with and have to embarrassingly admit that they should just leave me? Why is that embarrassing - I'm 35 weeks pregnant?!

All these thoughts played out in my head - till I yelled STOP - silently. I would go - I would face my fears - because admittedly I know they are silly, though very real.

I was happy to see another pregnant runner, who has over the course of the past couple of months become someone I would consider a friend. Miles spent running give you plenty of time to get to know someone. Coincidentally she has a son named Miles as well. BEST.NAME.EVER.

Before we took off, another friend who I have gotten to know through running over the course of this summer, arrived. Hooray - I had people I could run with, or at least attempt to keep up with for a mile or two.

I started chirping. I talked the whole first mile and paid for it in the second. Half way through the second mile I decided to give myself an out. Guys I'm going to have to walk when we hit mile 3. I was giving them an OUT too - in case I was dragging them down.

Much to my surprise my body started to feel better. I got over the first three miles. Those miles are always the hardest for me, pregnant or not. I did not need to walk. I ran and ran and ran and got happier with every step. I can do this. I am strong. I am a woman. Hear me roar.

5 miles later I was elated. I knew inside though that I could not give myself the credit for this run. I would have stopped at a mile had I been alone. It was running friends who helped me achieve something I did not know was possible for my body. 5 miles running, not wunning at 35 weeks - I'll take it!

Mile 1 - 10:12
Mile 2 - 10:43
Mile 3 - 10:53
Mile 4 - 10:51
Mile 5 - 10:13

How do your mommy friends help you achieve things you did not know were possible?

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Monday, October 18, 2010

Halloween Costume Run - Burke Lake

Burke Lake Park and South Run Recreation Center team up again to host the…
4th Annual Halloween 1-Mile Fun Run
(*Must be in costume to participate*)

When: Saturday October 30, 2010
Check-in begins at 8:15 am
Race begins at 9:15 am SHARP!
Where: Burke Lake Park - Shelter A (near the large playground)
Cost: $10 per child 12 and under
Parents are encouraged to accompany young children for no additional

Refreshments, face painting, and arts and crafts will
be available following the race. Everybody wins a
goody bag!

Other outdoor family fun:
Enjoy the Ghost Train Ride* (10am-5:15pm) provided by Northern Virginia Community College in Annandale, spooky music, the parade of costumes, a playground, arts and crafts and face painting. *Ghost Train Ride: $4.50/person; pay this fee at Burke Lake upon riding the train

Reservations required. For more information and registration contact South Run Recreation Center 703.866.0566. (Laurie Strickland- Event Director)

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Double Time: Road to San Antonio

My father was a military man..well, boy.  He lied about being 18 so he could run away from his drunk father and join the Coast Guard.   He craved order, fair discipline, and rituals like unloading the dishwasher the moment it finished its cycle.

My mother was...well, the opposite.  She was an untamed, fly-by-the-seat-of-her-pants, wild-child who would rebel just for the sake of rebelling.

Clearly, it didn't end well.  But before their impromptu marriage fell apart, they managed to raise a daughter who sees no point in making the bed every morning, but who tries to do it because that's what you're supposed to do.

Which is exactly why, when I could not find a running group that fit my schedule, I made my own.  You see, I need the discipline of a group.  I find comfort in knowing that every Friday at 9am I must be ready to help my group tackle the next incremental step on our training schedule - a schedule that I devised.   I need the ritual of dropping my 5 year old off at Kindergarten, and zooming down to our meeting spot 20 minutes before the others arrive in order to sap the last bit of baby's on the stairs.  I love working on group communication e-mails that offer weekly tips and remind me to practice what I preach.   I crave the high that comes from looking down at my watch and reading that we've already done twice the miles than I realized because they melted away in conversation.

Otherwise, there's an awfully strong chance I would say To Hell With It and get stuck at 6 miles.   Without others counting on me, I don't push myself as hard as I should; my log book doesn't have as many miles in it (if I'm writing in it at all).  Of course, I WANT to run farther and faster, but I can't help but getting distracted by the rest of my life, including that ridiculous voice that says Go on, check Facebook one more time, maybe something fantastic popped up.  Or Oh, run tomorrow, today let's drag the kids around a new part of town on a whim despite their protests.

So, for 8 weeks now, 10-15 of us have been on the Road to San Antonio.  We're training for the November 14th Rock & Roll Half Marathon that tours the art district, several missions and of course, the Alamo.  We started at 5 miles and have worked our way up to 10 so far.  Each week, our gang varies slightly according to their schedules, but we have a strong 6 person core group on which the others depend.   They all expect me and the baby to be there, ready to talk their ears off (or as I like to think of it, distract them through the miles).  And they all apologize profusely if they've missed a run, promising to make it up the next day.

I guess we get along so well because we have a common bond.  We all make our beds...unless, of course, no one is looking.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Athem Great Pumpkin Kids Dash 2010

Saturday morning the alarm crowed. Literally crowed. The rooster on my phone seems more fitting these days to wake up to than a loud alarm bleeping.

The alarm meant it was finally time for Chloe and Miles to run the "kids race" they had been looking forward to.

I get giddy on race day. Whether I'm running or not - just being at a race brings it on. My husband calls it chirping. My mood is happy. I don't stop talking. Talking about everything and nothing all it once.

I felt giddy despite being a bit more stressed. After all, it is much harder getting two kids out the door early on a Saturday morning for a race than it is getting just myself ready.

That morning I felt I was giving my children a gift. My first race was in 2000 at the age of 18. Chloe's first race was 10 years later at the age of 4. I'm giving my children the gift of a head start on being healthy and athletic. They may never be runners. They might not even like sports. I am giving them a no-pressure option of learning early so they can decide for themselves.

Chloe is convinced that her and her best friend Ava won the race. In a sense they did. They won their own race. They ran their little hearts out for 100 meters and finished proud and confident. That is what winning is all about. Not being the best, but being their best.

In reality they really were among the first girls to cross the line. My competitive nature made sure that my friend Meredith and I were at the very front of the starting line with Ava, Chloe, Miles and Sophie. We didn't want any strollers, parents or kids who were out for a jog getting in our way. They wanted to race and we wanted them to.

Miles and Sophie are also convinced they won the kids 2's division. Miles the boys and Sophie the girls. There can be so many winners on race day. Male, Female, Age Groups, First Time Racers, PR's -- The list goes on.

Next time you race, think of these four children. They won. We didn't lie to them. They won. For winning is not always about crossing the line first but about your attitude about your performance.

When I need a race attitude adjustment or just a reminder of what winning is really about - I think back to Marine Corps 2008 when I qualified for Boston for the first time with a 24 minute marathon PR. On the way home I turned and said to my husband "I feel like a champion" -- I did and do to this day feel like a champion, even if I am just a champion in my own mind.

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Thursday, October 14, 2010

34 Weeks Pregnant - Still Wunning

Wun: A wun is defined as any attempt at a run that despite all your best intentions turns into a run/walk. wun's commonly occur during pregnancy.

Monday morning I headed out in the dark for a solo run. I love running early in the morning before the sun rises. I find peace in the quietness and darkness surrounding me. My goal was to run 2 miles with out stopping for a break. Goal completed.

Mile 1, 10:52, seemed relatively easy compared to my wun's on the treadmill.

Mile 2, 11:34, was a struggle. I had no music, no one to distract me, so I was forced to be alone with my own thoughts.

Mile 3, 18:52, was a walk - no running - no wunning - a walk.

Here were my thoughts:
1. I am proud that at 34 weeks I can still run a mile. When my body gives me more I will be grateful.

2. The last time I ran 10 miles when I was pregnant with Miles was when I was about 7 weeks along at the Army Ten Miler 2007. The last time I ran 10 miles(running not wunning) this time around was when I was 26 weeks pregnant. I am no longer running to try to have a quick recovery back to my training and racing. I am running to be fit for myself and for this baby.

3. I know my fitness will come back. 6 months and 2 days after having Miles I ran a 24 minute marathon PR and qualified for Boston. Some of the worlds fastest women, put forth their best performances in the years immediately after having children.

4. So what if I have gained 30+ lbs?! I'm proud that I am a runner who once-upon-a-time in-the-not-so- distant past did consider herself small and that I DID NOT and DO NOT have an eating disorder. It truly makes me sad when I see women happy about only gaining a couple of pounds while pregnant. Weight gain during pregnancy helps your baby grow. Miles was 8.18 lbs when he was born! I'm excited to see how big this baby is going to be. My guess is bigger than his older brother.

5. I miss my friends. I miss training with them. I'm only 28 so I'm hoping that leaves a good 70 or so more years for me to run with them. I need to have patience.

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Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Oops I Did It Again*

I broke another Dreamer Design Double jogging stroller. While it is still unfortunate that they went out of business (can't redeem the lifetime warranty on the frame) it is not so unexpected. Apparently not the highest quality product? In their defense, I've run this stroller into the ground. At the time of death, there was about 80 pounds of child running 30 miles/week on mixed roads and trails. It was on its second set of tires, but the stroller was only used for a year and a half. More importantly - NO ONE ever sat on the foot rest this time around and the welding still came apart at the same spot next to the front wheel. This is a big vote for strollers with a solid frame or, like our Kelty, bolted together at the joints.

I was really hoping to squeak the rest of October out of this stroller since I still have several weeks until my fall marathon, but alas. My husband and I brainstormed the possible options for holding the stroller together (duct tape, drill and bolt a metal tube, etc.). While I hate the waste from an environmental point of view, fixing the welding isn't practical. We would have to remove the already torn fabric (i.e. flammable parts) which is riveted to the frame and then re-attach it afterwards. Plus, do you happen to have the ability to weld in your garage? Not unheard of, but also not common. We do not.

So, like tearing off a band-aid. It is done. My double-stroller days are over. Sniff. Sniff. No, really. Most people are like, "Oh! Are you so happy..." I actually start to cry a little when I think about it. If you've been in a position with multiple small children, you'll know what I mean: that stroller was like my life-line for 5 years. That red stroller gave me freedom to get out of the house and to work out and get/stay in shape and even just to walk to the store or the park.

Now it is just me and Francesca cruising in the ol' purple single jogger while the older kids are at school. We've even gone to the gym (agast!) when it was pouring know, like a normal person...

* Thanks Brittany Spears

Friday, October 08, 2010

Running - 34 Weeks Pregnant Minus A Day

Tomorrow will mark 34 weeks. I'd be lying if I said I didn't already feel like it's the end. It's not. I have 6 full weeks left till I am 40 weeks pregnant.

So soon, yet so very far away.

I want to meet my new little man. I want him to stop kicking me so hard at night so I can sleep. I want to be able to have a run where I don't feel like the earth is shaking with my every step.

Chicago is this weekend, and though I certainly do NOT miss that race, I am missing all the marathon hype that goes on during October. It's marathon season - the time of the year when I am usually at my fittest - this time I'm 30+ lbs over that fittest point.

In the end I know my reward is greater than any marathon medal hanging around my neck. Though I still find myself wishing that in 3 weeks some nice marine was saying congrats ma'am.

I ran/walked for 30 minutes today on my treadmill. It really looks like he's getting a bit dusty. I think he misses me too. He's thinking why is this girl not running for 3 hours at a time anymore? Why is her running speed the speed she used to walk?

When they say you will do anything for your kids, it's true. There are only 3 people in this world that I would gain this much weight for, be this uncomfortable for, sacrifice my running for, and deal with my semi-out-of-control-emotions for. Two I have met, and one I'm just patiently, or not so patiently waiting to meet.

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