Monday, December 31, 2012

2012 in Photos

So much has happened this year! I didn't achieve any big running goals, but that wasn't really the point. Our family grew from three to four, we settled into our new home, and we spent lots of quality time with family and friends. I still want to reflect and set goals for 2013, but for now here are some pictures.

 Pre-Alfie photo shoot in our woods
 Cherry Blossom Festival
 Brother and Sister
 Running on the beach
 Fall- Growing Girl!
 Trying for a Christmas Card
 Still Trying
 Eating the Christmas Tree Skirt

 Running in the Christmas Parade. My Little Bandit
 Merry Christmas!
 Enjoying the Lights at Tanglewood

Peekaboo at Roosevelt Island

Sunday, December 30, 2012


As of today, I have run 39 days in a row. Some runs were, well, minimal: a mile or two, often on the treadmill, often at night, just to get them in. Many featured tired legs, a picky knee, and/or a tight hamstring. A few were perfect. Hopefully the lessons I've learned this past month, and there have been several, will stay with me.

I've learned that my legs don't really mind running every day. It's just not that big of a deal, at least with the distances I've been covering. I can see if you're doing hard workouts and very long runs why you'd need a rest day, but not for maintenance (for me). After Tuesday I won't continue the streak, but I will run 5-6 days a week.

I found it easier to run when I had to do it. In the past I've used kids, family, church, work, etc. as an excuse, but they really aren't barriers if you have motivation (and perhaps a treadmill).  Once I had the goal, I simply made the time. Really, make isn't the right verb here. The time is already there- I choose how to allocate it. Ten minutes, or even an hour, isn't that much when it replaces time in front of the television or sleeping in the morning. Sleep is great, but I feel so much more awake after an early-morning run than I do with those extra minutes of sleep.

I got faster running every day, and my mileage increased. Neither of these things occurred on purpose; rather, they came naturally out of more running. Again, that is different if you're already running a lot or hard. In those cases, you run the risk of overtraining, which can make you slower, tired, and contrary. As 2013 begins, getting faster and going farther will probably require more rest. 

Streaking teaches my son that exercise is a permanent, important reality. I love that he now asks me, "have you run today, Mama?" or "are you gonna run now?" I model for him how to be active, not out of shame, mania, or requirement, but just because it's what healthy people do.

I have two more days left to fulfill my goal of streaking from Thanksgiving to New Year's Day. Tomorrow I'll run easy, hopefully outside. Tuesday, the first day of 2013, I'll run the Resolution Run 5k. It's so good to start the year running with other people.  As often as I run solo these days, for me running is fundamentally a social sport. I run faster and happier with others.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Streakin' in a Winter Wonderland

The running kind of streaking, not the naked time. I've run every day since Thanksgiving and hope to keep it up until New Year's. What began with the Turkey Trot will end with the Resolution Run, and I'm running one other 5k (Running of the Balls) in the middle.

I've never streaked before. In fact, this is the first time I've run 15 days in a row.

Why streak? Not to lose weight. I know, hate me if you will, but I'm happy with my weight and don't want to lose any more because I'm still nursing Alfie. Not to get record mileage either, because I think that would be begging for problems. Upping miles while running consecutively for 35 days? Bad idea.

So why? The honest answer is I'm not exactly sure. I've been thinking a lot about dedication lately. Mindfulness. Perseverance. Accountability. Discipline.  Dedication to what? The gods of running? No, I don't think so. Dedication to myself, my body, my emotional sanity. And that Discipline word.  Not punishment, or severity, but discipline:


 noun \ˈdi-sə-plən\

Definition of DISCIPLINE

obsolete : instruction
: a field of study
: training that corrects, molds, or perfects the mentalfaculties or moral character
a : control gained by enforcing obedience or order
b : orderly or prescribed conduct or pattern of behavior
c : self-control
: a rule or system of rules governing conduct or activity
— dis·ci·plin·al  adjective

Those first few definitions are, well, harsh, but 5B and C cover it nicely: orderly or prescribed conduct or pattern of behavior. That's what I want. If running is prescribed, it will become better integrated into my life. If running is a pattern, it weaves its way inextricably into my days.
Definition #4 also has a nice ring: training that corrects, mold, or perfects. At first I thought the second part didn't fit because running is physical, but isn't it both? And if I seek discipline in running, isn't there a moral aspect as well?

So how or where do running and moral character intersect? Runners can be immoral, even about their running (Paul Ryan's liar-liar-pants-on-fire marathon comes to mind), and plenty of non-runners are moral (I cannot picture Mother Theresa, for instance, in a pair of Mizunos).  It takes character to set goals, commit to them, and strive for them despite setbacks; to wake up earlier than the rest of your house just so you can have a run and be showered before the kids get out of bed; to persist at mile 19 of a marathon when your whole body aches and a taxi drives by; to run through shinsplints, bum knees, black toenails, digestive issues, and a cold. It takes character.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Turkey Trot 5k

This Thanksgiving, Dad and I ran the Turkey Trot 5k in Washington, DC. It benefits SOME (So Others Might Eat) and runners get a nice view of the Capitol (with an O) and the Mall (without stores).

The Good

  • Bambino got to participate in the 1-mile fun run. At least, it was supposed to be one mile.  We got there a tad late, started on our own, and we let him turn around on the out-and-back course as soon as he felt like it. Sure, he didn't run a mile. I couldn't care less. He ran joyfully and energetically the whole time, high-fiving a turkey at the finish.
  • I ran the 5k in 25:57, four minutes faster than my goal and one minute faster than my super-secret goal.  I've got another 5k in December (Running of the Balls), so maybe I'll shoot for sub-25:00 with that.
  • Dad got a PR!
  • I've never run a 5k in a big crowd before, and I really enjoyed it. I didn't talk to anyone during the race (Dad and I ran separately), but I enjoyed listening in on conversations. Annoying things even enticed me to speed up: I had to pass three chatty girls running in a straight line as well as a woman with about $1.50 in change in her back pocket. Whatever motivates you, right?
  • After the race, we went to the Natural Science Museum. Bambino loved it! He loved the dinosaurs, the fish, the mammals- everything. He's a science kid.
The Bad
  • The one thing I didn't like about the crowds was that there was no room for snot rockets. That's right, I said snot rockets. I love them. I'm good at them. And with that many people, there was no chance to show off my skills.
  • I missed the chance to see friends who were running. If I'd posted the race on FB, maybe we could have coordinated. Maybe next year...
The Funny
  • I did see one old friend. To be precise, I saw him pushing a stroller on the other side of the road as I looped back around the course.  I did what anyone would do, I'm sure: I shouted his (full) name at the top of my lungs several times while running out of my lane to circle around, get right next to him, wave my hand in his face like an idiot, and say "hey!". Then I turned around and ran back to my proper spot. Yup, I have amazing social skills. At least I didn't trip. 
I looked through the race pictures, but no shots of Dad, Bambino, or I. I assure you, we had a great time. Next up- streaking. More to follow this week!

Friday, November 23, 2012

Spring 2013 Races

It looks like Cannonball will be my only half-marathon of 2012. Months ago I planned on running the Mistletoe half in Winston-Salem on December 1, but at this point I am sorely unprepared when it comes to long runs. I don't regret it at all; I've worked hard to rebuild my base, I am very healthy, and I've really enjoyed running this year. No reason to ruin running bliss by racing 13.1 miles unprepared.

That being said, I have begun planning my races for 2013. 2012 was an appropriately light racing year, but come January 1, I am back!

  • Resolution Run 5k. I won this race (not age group- overall female!!) back in 2011. That may never happen again, but I still love to start the year right.
  • Lakeside Trail Race. I've never run this one before and still don't know if I'll do the 15- or 8-mile option. Either way it will be a fun time on the trails.
  • North Carolina Half. While disappointed that there's no full marathon option this year, I'm thrilled the half is back and will definitely run it.
  • either New River Marathon or Potomac River Marathon. Although the names are similar and they happen the same weekend, these two races are quite different in terms of elevation. The New River Marathon is near Boone and very hilly. The Potomac River Marathon, on the other hand, bottoms out at 12 feet above sea level and gets up to 44 feet above sea level. Both are on gravel trails, so that will be new. The chosen race will be my dad's first marathon! (unless he decides to run the RNR Washington, DC race in March.)
I don't have definite plans after the marathon, but I think I want to focus on speed for the summer.  Pre-Alfie, I had gotten pretty speedy. I'd like to break 22:00 in a 5k and 50:00 in a 10k. For me, summer's the perfect time for that sort of training because it's not as dependent on a specific schedule. As a teacher I have lots of free time, but we travel, hike, bike, and do all sorts of fun stuff that's better suited to getting faster than going farther. In August I'll start thinking about longer distances again. I'd love to do Baltimore again, and with all of our family in Memphis the St. Jude marathon could be fun.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Cannonball Half Marathon Race Report (only a few weeks late...)

The Good

  • Goal! My dad beat his goal of 2:30 by more than a minute! He has trained so much this year, adding in outside, hilly running. If he'd add in lunges and squats, he'd get even faster.
  • The course- I love this course. Sure it's hilly and out-and-back, but these are the trails I train on (or at least where I used to train before getting pregnant, moving, and having a baby) and the greenway is just lovely as it goes along the lake.
  • Watermelon GU Chomps- I don't remember when I had them, but I ate two bags (four servings) during the race. Some people can get through 13.1 miles with nothing, but I need some calories to run beyond 8.  I had a Hammer Gell Espresso fifteen minutes before the race, and I had water and Gatorade at each water stop.
  • Conversation- I could talk to my dad forever, so getting the chance to chat while running for more than two hours is divine. We talked about, among other things, Nationals baseball, church, school, training plans, food, vacations, art...
The Bad
  • Droopy pants- I have these wonderful purple Brooks shorts that I adore. They have back pockets for Chomps, which I also adore. The thing is, when you put two packets of Chomps in the back pockets of the shorts, they do not actually stay up without a lot of assistance.  I had worn them on long runs before, but not weighted down with food. Oops.
  • Chaffing- Stupid real sports bras. Normally I can choose my, ahem, apparel based on softness, color, whatever. However, these days my choices are limited to the several Moving Comfort designs that double as nursing bras. They're great, but after about 10 miles, I start to get blisters along my ribcage. After about 12 miles, they start to bleed.
The Funny
  • In the past, my father has tried to get through a whole race without any cursing. He always, inevitably, fails. This time he had no such goal, made several colorful statements, and ran faster than ever. Coincidence? I doubt it...
And now for some photographs...

 After seeing us at the half-way point, the non-running family members went to a Fall Festival.

It is really difficult to get a picture in which both Bambino and Alfie are smiling and looking at the camera.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Why am I here?

The question is not quite as existential as it first appears. I do not regularly question my life, my family, or any of that. I like my life- it keeps surprising me because it's so full of love and bounty. This quandary comes from something much more mundane: about a month ago, I started to wonder why on earth I had a blog.

Not that many people read this blog. I am definitely not an expert on running.  When I started, I had a very clear goal (run a marathon- then, get a marathon PR!). There was momentum. When I got pregnant, I had a whole new reason to write; even though I am far from an expert, I was another voice on the internet saying that it's okay to run while pregnant.  It's possible (although unlikely) that I convinced some runner-turned-new-mom-to-be that there was no reason to quit running unless there was a medical problem or it just wasn't fun. A pregnant runner evangelist, that's me.

Then Alfie arrived. Life got hectic. I started running again, but without a goal- this was on purpose, because I didn't want to get back into full-on training too soon.  Now she's six months old, I'm running and teaching and chasing a three-year-old and poof! I ran a half-marathon two weeks ago and still haven't posted a report.

So why am I here? 

While running the other day, because that's when all good ideas happen, I decided I am here, writing this blog, for myself. It's simple and selfish- I want to remember.  Sometimes there's more to document- marathon training, PRs, pregnancy, a new baby- and sometimes life is relatively simple.  I forget to note those simple times, but they compose the bulk of this life I love.

I am here because raising kids while working and being a spouse and a good friend is so important and yet so hard to commemorate without intention.  Add running and racing into the mix, and some days- okay weeks, months- feel like a mad frenzy towards the future.

I am here to document how these years feel. When I started this blog, I named it The Marathon Year because 2010 was the year of my first marathon. I changed the name the next year because, well, Year implies one. Singular. Now the title means something completely different: These are the marathon years, the messy and wonderful years of adulthood and family and, for me, running. They are not a sprint, they require planning and care. Most importantly, the struggles are as much emotional as anything else.  The physical day-to-day is shaped by your mindset, in the same way that a race is shaped by your intentions, worries, and mental preparation.

This is why I'm here.

(I will post a better-late-than-never race report later this week.)

Monday, October 1, 2012

Sneaking Candy

I don't smoke. I have at most one glass of wine a week. I eat whole wheat bread, natural peanut butter, quinoa, and fresh veggies. I drink at least 120 ounces of water a day. I don't even have caffeine.

Some would say I do a great job with what I put in my body.  And compared to many, I do.  However, I have recently started eating a lot more of something not-so-great: candy.

Sour Patch Kids, I love you. Your sour flavor wakes up my taste buds while your empty calories amp me up for a good 20 minutes.  Your artificially dyed colors are bright and shiny, like a summer day.  I could eat you every day. I have been eating you several times a week, along with your friends Peanut M&Ms.

I could come up with numerous problems with this candy obsession, but here are a few:
  1. I am thrifty, proudly so. I make good food for my family on a budget. And yet, I spend money every week on CANDY.  That's just wasteful, because what purpose does it serve besides temporarily filling my belly with something devoid of nutritional value? At least ice cream has dairy and fat, that soupçon of health.
  2. When you eat empty, sugary crap, your blood sugar spikes and then plummets, making you grumpy, tired, and hungry again! Cruel, isn't it? I should be eating an apple, a cheese stick, mixed nuts, berries, baby carrots... the list goes on.
  3. Whatever I eat, Alfie eats.  I can't be proud of my caffeine-free, natural peanut butter eating self if I'm gorging myself on candy.  She's eating that crap, too. She's eating preservatives, artificial colors and flavors, and sheer sugar.
  4. I have sensitive teeth, so eating chewy candy exacerbates the issue. Why make myself hurt?
  5. Bambino is impressionable, and sometime's I'm not sneaky enough. We don't live junk-free by any means, but we tend to live by Cookie Monster's "Cookies are a sometimes food" rule, expanding it to candy, ice cream, and other treats as well.  If he sees me eating candy, he wants some.  Do I say no and feel like a hypocrite or say yes and make him think it's okay to eat junk all the time?
Having said all of that, I am conducting a week-long experiment wherein I do not eat candy. I was going to make it no refined sugar at all, but a student offered me a cookie today, so...

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Two Weeks Until Cannonball!

From the five-month photo shoot. One of her new favorite things
is to pick up legs and arms and "fly".  How did she get
so cute?

Goodness, what a week! Alfie turned 5 months on Tuesday, Bambino got a train table which reinvigorated his locomotive obsession, and he made it all the way through a movie last night:  Ratatouille! Thank you, DVR, for bringing us so many good choices for movie night and for letting us fast-forward through the commercials. Bambino is at that tender age where he proudly parrots back slogans- funny but a tad bit scary.

On the running front, I've done well. Monday was a rest day, then I ran Tuesday afternoon with Bambino and ran Wednesday morning solo. Thursday night I tried the treadmill for the first time in a long time (more about that in a minute), and then this morning I had a two-part long run of 11 miles! Why two parts? Because I do not like to do a long run in the pouring rain and the dark.  At 5:00, I woke up to feed Alfie and myself (peanut butter and jelly sandwich on wheat toast with a side of Gatorade). Of course, my morning glory (aka Bambino) woke up, too, so I fixed him first breakfast- he has two or three on a typical day, like a Hobbit- and sent him back to bed. I hopped on the treadmill for four miles while catching up on last week's Big Bang and The Office.  Then I hopped off to stretch and guess who was awake? Bambino! I bribed him with my iPad and hopped back on for four more miles, this time watching Glee.

Whatever it takes. He knew exactly where I was
if he needed anything. 

At the end of that set, everyone was up, so I got to hang out with Bambino in the train room and let Alfie have her second breakfast.  Then Jenn and Bambino went yardsaling. I planned for Alfie and I to stroller run the last two-three miles since the rain had stopped, but it kept returning. I will run in the rain, but not with a baby. We just chilled, meaning she played and made noises while I stretched and had my coffee.  Around 8:30 the yardsalers returned and I headed out for Long Run Part 2 (or 3, if you break the treadmill into two parts). I ran the neighborhood for three miles in just over 27 minutes.

So, the treadmill. I haven't used it recently, because when I do it no longer gives an accurate measurement of pace or distance. I turn it on, press start, and enter a speed, but the speed feels much much faster than expected, and then the speed indicator starts switching numbers really quickly, finally settling on 0.0.  If I set it at 5.0-5.5, I can manage to not fall off the back.  Aggravating? Oh, yes. Aggravating but workable. My solution has become to set the speed somewhere that feels reasonable and just call it 10-minute miles, because I don't really care about pace right now anyway.

There's got to be a good caption for this, but I don't know what it is...

So, a great week for life and for running. I hit 20 miles today and I plan to run tomorrow, making this my highest mileage in a long time.  I've run 83 miles so far in September, the most in 18 months. On top of that, I feel really good about running's place in my life right now- I run early in the morning or late in the evening to preserve family time. I run with Bambino in the afternoons when he asks, because how could I say no when he wants to do that with me? I'll run with both of the kiddos in about another month, because it's such a great way to spend time with them.  I am very conscious of not letting my running take too much time away from family, and I think right now I've struck a good balance.

My first post-Alfie half-marathon is coming up in two weeks: Cannonball! I'm running it with my dad again. Last year, we ran it together when Alfie was still in my belly. In the year since, my dad has trained a lot, so it will be so much fun to see how he does- I bet he'll take at least 10 minutes off of his PR.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Miles for Matthew 10k Recap

My first 10k went very well.  No pictures of me racing (kids are a lot more fun to photograph), but plenty of details.

We got to the race at 7:50 so that Bambino could participate in the kids' run at 8:00. He got a number and everything, and then the kids took off for one lap around the track.  As one of the younger runners, Bambino was near the back, but boy did he run.  He didn't stop once, and he looked like a runner. He beamed as he finished. Made my heart warm and proud. 

After the kids' race, Bambino went to child care (awesome feature!) and Jenn and Alfie walked me part-way to the start.  Tgere weren't that many runners- 296 combined for the 5k and 10k, so it was easy to ind a spot. At one point some woman behind me said, I wish I had a course map so I could figure out where to cut through.  My ears perked up. Who would admit to cheating?  Who would be so brazen as to say, before even starting, that she planned to cut it short for a better time?  I turned around ready to scold and saw a woman, clearly a spectartor, talking to her daughter about taking her picture during the race. Oops. I told her what I'd thought she meant and that she made my day. Laughter's always a good way to start a race.

At 8:30 on the nose, we started.  I tried not to stare at my watch, but I'm a little addicted to the numbers.    Mile one was fast: 9:13.  My goal for this 10k was to break 1:00, so I needed to run around 9:45 for that. I totally meant to slow down, but mile 2 was 9:09.  

At this point, I started to panic and talk to myself, thankfully in my head.  Okay, I said, you're going too fast.  You are going to crash and then walk and you'll be disappointed in yourself.  Slow down this instant.  You have a Garmin- use it!  No more speed!

Well, while I was talking to myself, mile 3 passed by in 8:48.  Crap, said I. That did not work.  Please slow down a little, okay?  You know you feel good now, but what about later? You haven't run this fast on a run longer than three miles in a year. A YEAR.

At mile 4, which I ran in 8:54, a different voice popped up. So you're running faster than expected.  Big deal! You can and have run a lot faster than this. You're doing fine.  If you crash, the worst that can happen is that you walk. But what if you don't crash? What if this is the right pace for you right now? Doesn't it feel good to go faster than expected?

I like this voice a lot more!

I ran mile 5 in 8:33 and blasted through mile 6 in 8:08. As you can see, I picked up the pace for the final mile and really tried to floor it when I could see the finish.  The course was a little short, so my final time was 53:23 for 6.09 miles, or 8:46 pace, a minute faster per mile than my goal.  Happy doesn't begin to cover how I feel about this race.  Despite being about ten pounds above "racing weight", despite having a baby less than five months ago, despite sometimes having trouble making runs work around family and work, I surpassed my goal with room to spare.  I consistently ran four times per week and 15-20 miles per week.  I raised money for a great cause and dyed my hair a funky color accordingly.  And now I am more than ready to tackle the rest of the season: two half-marathons this year, and a marathon in the spring.  I'd love to find another 10k to do, too.  This distance seems to fit me really well.

Monday, September 3, 2012

17 Miles (!) and a "New" Camera

Nope, I did not run 17 miles Saturday. 17 is my total miles for last week, the highest in a year. I did run 7 on Saturday with some running buddies, and that was the first time in a year, too.  Despite the humidity and the fact that they are too fast, it was so much fun to run with a pack. We ran Salem Lake, a 7-mile gravel loop around a usually lovely but currently very low body of water.

Over the past month or so, I've steadily increased the mileage with no real problems.  My knee is still off from all of that driving and sitting on our trip to Memphis and the beach, but it's improving slowly.  In late July/early August, I was running 5 times per week, but lately that has dropped down to 3-4 times as the run length of the individual runs has increased.  Back then, I was running 2-3 miles at a time, but now I run at least 3.  This week the goal is to run 5 times, including an 8-mile long run this weekend.  Morning runs still work well as long as I get out of bed.  I might need to invest in an alarm clock because Alfie isn't waking up at 5:45 anymore to remind me.

In other news, I'm using a new (to me) camera.  Craiglist, you might ask? Ebay? Goodwill? Try a snowpile on the Washington Mall.  Last year (or was it two years ago?) while visiting family in DC, we came across a digital camera.  We brought it home, looked at the pictures, and put the word out on Facebook about a lost camera belonging to someone who had graduated from some special program that I no longer remember- there were pictures from graduation on the camera.  We waited, but no word.  Put the camera away, forgot about it, moved...  About a month ago, I started thinking about a camera of my own.  Way back when, I had a Pentax K100 (still do actually, but who uses film on a regular basis anymore?).  As much as I would love another SLR, they are pricey and not portable.  So this brings me back the the orphaned camera: it's little, so unlike the DSLR, you can actually take it on a walk, run, hike, or bike ride without trouble. It's free, which is awesome. And, it seems to take pretty good pictures, although I am not used to the delay yet- lots of blurry toddler shots.

You can expect to see a lot more pictures from now on, starting with these:

The Bambino posing with the meerkats at the Science Center.  Because of a recent obsession with The Lion King, the meerkats are quite popular.  Did I mention he refers to himself as Mister Pig?  Now if only they had a warthog, some hyenas, and a lion...We go to the Science Center a lot these days- Bambino loves it, Alfie doesn't care, and it's got so many different things to do: he even got to pet a bearded dragon this time!

Me posing with the tyrannosaurus who roars at you.  The first try, I looked too happy; then, Jenn said that I should have protected the baby.  At this point, Bambino saw something else to do so we gave up trying to get an appropriate dino-pic.  (The hat Alfie's wearing is more than just a hat- it's also a nursing cover and, oddly enough, her favorite lovey.  She holds it, sucks on it, occasionally sleeps with it... pretty adorable.)

Finally, a picture from our walk yesterday.  Alfie won't be old enough to run in the jogger for another few months (you're supposed to wait until six months unless the babe is in an infant seat, which this stroller doesn't allow), so we've been walking the neighborhood.  Bambino adores it because he gets to be the big brother.  Alfie tolerates it, some days better than others.  Yesterday, for instance, she did great for about fifteen minutes before becoming a screaming puddle of anger, waking the neighborhood from its siesta with the lungs of an opera star.  Bambino very sweetly and calmly tried to calm her down: he tickled, he sang, he grabbed toes, until he finally just tried to ignore it.  Hopefully she'll enjoy running more than strolling, because we are going to do a lot of it this fall and winter!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

The Best Laid Plans (or, finding the perfect in the not-so-perfect)

5:45- I hear Alfie stirring, so I go to feed her.  She generally eats around this time, I go back to bed to pretend to sleep for a few minutes, and then I get dressed and run.

5:50- A door slowly opens, just a crack, then swings open.  Little footsteps pound (not patter- pound) down the hall. The bambino is awake, speaking loudly. Alfie goes from eating in her sleep to wide awake.
5:57- I convince the bambino that it's still the middle of the night.  He reluctantly goes back to sleep. Alfie, however, is wide awake.  I give her a few toys, turn the light on for her, and retreat back to bed for ten minutes before my run.  She'll fall back asleep like always.

6:00- Baby girl is AWAKE. Like, laughing. I capitulate and go to her room.  Another door slowly opens, then swings wide, another set of footsteps down the hall. I accept that this morning will not be a run morning.  We spend the next hour hanging out as a happy trio- Alfie plays on the couch, gleefully grabbing her toes or a blanket.  The bambino sings to her, plays with his Legos, talks to me about his day.  It's good.

I am an optimist who complains a lot, so I think sometimes I sound like a pessimist.  Why do I complain?  No clue- to me, I'm just making conversation, but when I think about what's coming out of my mouth (which is rare, I admit), I see that I mention the negatives more than the positives.  Perhaps this is because the positives seem so obvious to me: of course I love my life!  It's awesome and full of love and happiness and steady jobs and family and running and doing what I love.  It's the aberrations that I notice, so these are the things I talk about.  I'll work on that.

Anyway, this morning was one of those mornings where I had a choice to make: not whether to run or not, because I was not about to leave two awake kids with a still-sleeping spouse.  That's just mean.  No, I had to decide whether to be really bummed about not running or to just go with it.  Thankfully, I chose to accept what I couldn't change and the morning turned out well.  I had extra kiddo time, they got extra Mama time, and I knew the run could wait.

The run waited until this evening, after dinner and after the kids went to sleep.  I ran at 7:15, outside, in the humidity and traffic.  No complaints, though; it was great.  I ran a new favorite loop in a nearby neighborhood, and it was the fastest I've run three miles since last August, and just one day after a mini-speed workout. (Yesterday I added in five 45-second pick-ups to my run).  If I had run this morning, I might not have had that experience, and I needed it.  It restored my confidence, and I didn't even know I needed that.  The average pace? 8:48 for 3.4 miles.  Nice to see you again, Mojo.

Saturday, August 18, 2012


My first race of the fall is the Miles for Matthew 10k here in Greensboro.  I pledged to raise at least $100, and as of Thursday I'd only raised $35.  So around 9:00, I posted this:

One month away! I have raised $35 towards my goal of $100. ( thanks ***!) How about giving even a dollar to an awesome cause? If I exceed my goal, I will (temporarily) dye my hair just about any color imaginable. That has to motivate some of you out there...

Well, within thirty minutes I had nearly doubled my goal.  I am so thankful for friends who support a worthy cause.  Now, however, I have to figure out what color to dye my hair.  It will be for the race, but depending on the color it might stick around longer.

In college, I dyed my hair a lot.  It was bright pink, strawberry blond, electric blue, and various shades of red and brown.  After graduation I just stopped.  It's been nearly ten years since my hair has had any kind of color, so I think it'll be fun.  The only problem is that I'm prone to laziness, especially in hair care, so I need a color that won't take a lot to maintain.  The current votes are for pink, orange, fuchsia, or gold- I don't know how my principal would feel about those, but it's for a good cause.  I have about a month to figure it out, so I'll keep you updated.

Another current goal is to run 50 miles this month.  This is huge for me; I've never been a high mileage runner, and even during marathon training I struggled to run more than 100 miles in a month.  So I am thrilled to say that I'm on track to not just meet but kill my August goal.

    Aug '11
  2. 35
    Sep '11
  3.  33
    Oct '11
  4. 12
    Nov '11
  5. 30
    Dec '11
  6.  47
    Jan '12
  7. 36
    Feb '12
  8. 19
    Mar '12
  9. 16
    Apr '12
  10. 3
    May '12
  11. 19
    Jun '12
  12. 38
    Jul '12
  13. 41
    Aug '12

I've been running about 15 miles per week, and that's going to go up as my weekend runs get longer.  This morning I ran SIX MILES, my longest post-baby run yet.  I managed to average less than 10:00/mile, a pleasant surprise.  For me, running gets easier the more I run.   I know some (okay, most if not all) of you are saying no kidding, but in the past I've tried to get by with three runs a week.  There are lots of plans out there (Runner's World and elsewhere) that call for two midweek runs and a weekend long run. With my schedule, I figured that was the best I could do. Now I run five days a week, working up to six, and you know what? I feel great.  It was easy to find the time without sacrificing family or work.

And, of course, some pictures of the kiddos simply because they're adorable.

 My little runner. He's probably 
listening to Todd Snider.

 Psychedelic Camouflage

A whole lotta orange around here