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

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Sleeping and Running

Having a three month old and a running schedule isn't always easy.  We had gotten to a good place: Alfie slept through the night, occasionally waking for one feeding around 3:00.  I fed her at 6:00 and then set off for a run or into the living room for some strength training.  I slept 7.5-8 hours a night. Plenty.

And then this week happened.  It started Monday or Tuesday with baby's first cold.  It was very mild: sniffles, icky nose, a few sneezes, and a girl who wanted to snuggle.  She woke up several times in the night because of her nose (I think).  Then Thursday was my first full day back at work.  Baby girl has had bottles before, but we have not used them regularly.  So Thursday, she decides she does not like bottles.  At all.  Jenn let me know around 2:30 that Alfie still hadn't eaten since I left at 8:30, so I headed on home and fed her.  Same thing that night when I went to Parent-Teacher night.  This meant that she thought she should wake up a whole lot at night to make up for the food she had refused to consume during normal waking hours.  Friday, she managed to take a bottle around 12:45, but she wasn't happy about it.  Friday night?  Yup, same thing.  Yesterday (Saturday), I was with her all day, feeding whenever she wanted, to let her know that (a) she is going to have plenty of milk and (b) we'd all appreciate a longer night's rest. She made it 4 hours before starting the feeding game again.  At 2:00, I tried to walk her back to sleep: no dice.  At 4:00, I was initially successful but then she went ape and I fed her around 5:00.  Have I mentioned that I am a morning exerciser and not good at sleeping in, even when I need it or have a rest day?

All of this sleeping drama should have affected me more than it did.  I should have been a zombie Friday on my first day with students (Yes, we start super early). I don't drink caffeine. I have gotten perhaps six hours of sleep, very interrupted, over the past several days.  But Friday I was fine- perky, even.  Saturday I woke up and ran five miles, beating last week's attempt at the same route by more than two minutes.  And this morning I woke up and ran even though it wasn't on the schedule.

After the past few days, I have become a strong believer in the power of running (or any exercise) to give energy to those of us who simply shouldn't have it.  Overtraining is another story, as is those athletes training really hard with high mileage weeks who need more sleep.  But for me, an average runner logging 15-25 miles per week, I can function on less sleep if I wake up and hit the pavement (or the trail).  Running is a good little alarm clock for my brain.

 I know there are parents of little ones out there who have it a lot worse.  There are three monthers who still wake every two hours every night, and I am so grateful that Alfie doesn't do that. Of course, I still hope that it ends really soon.  Yes, it's possible to get by on six hours of sleep and still be a good mom, teach high school, make dinner, do chores, and run, but eight hours makes it a little easier.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Fall Race Schedule

I've made up my mind about (at least some of) the races I will run this fall.  For me, there's always this tension between loving races and hating paying for them: I am thrifty (that is, cheap).  Regardless, this season I need races to motivate and keep me on track to a spring marathon.

9/15- Miles for Matthew 10k
My goal should be just to finish, since I had a baby three months ago and have never run a 10k.  Instead, I really want to finish in less than an hour.  I think I can do it.  I ran five miles, averaging just above 10:00/mile, on Saturday.  With another month of training and a cooler morning, I should be good.
10/13- Cannonball Half Marathon
Dad and I are running this one together.  He ran it in 2:35 last year and (I think) his goal this year is 2:15, on the road to his first marathon next spring!  I've run this race so many times, and I enjoy racing on the Greenway where I train.
11/22- Greensboro Gobbler 5k
With no chance of getting close to my 5k PR (22:04), I would like to finish under 27 minutes, or better than 9 minutes per mile.  I would be thrilled to adjust this goal down based on the next few months, but that pace would be a big challenge today.  I love the course (Country Park) for training but really really hate it for a race: all those hills!
12/1- Mistletoe Half Marathon
All but the Mistletoe are in Greensboro; Mistletoe is in nearby Winston-Salem, and it's one of the first halfs I ran a gazillion years ago.  I want to run a sub-2:00 race.

I might add in another 5k or two depending on location, free time, and kids' events.  The Bambino wants to race, too, so I'll try to accommodate.  What races are you doing this year?  Any that I should know about?