Friday, September 30, 2011

A day of revelations

Yesterday was long and busy, but a very great day.  I did my last long run before the half and took the kids to the zoo (and no flat tires this time!).  It was also a day of epiphanies about running, my relationship with running, and where I want to go with running in the future.  I had all kinds of deep thoughts yesterday.

My revelations began on Facebook of all places.  Someone posted a picture that totally got me thinking about success.
Okay, so it wasn't this picture, but I did see this one too.  I don't care what your political flavors are, this is just funny.  Success= figuring out before you go to print that this headline is bad!
Here is the actual picture:
I love this graphic.  This is me with running.  I went into this half marathon thinking I was going to kick butt and run so much faster than last time.  The truth is I am not up at the top of the arrow.  I am in the tangled mess.  I have been struggling with running lately and I am afraid that I might be slower than last time.  I was really upset and devastated.  As cheesy as it sounds, looking at this made me realize that progression isn't always a straight line.  There are twists and turns and set backs.  That's life and you have two choices: you can cry about not being on top or you can make peace with where you are.  I made peace with my pace and ran my last long run.  I was kinda slow but I enjoyed the run and I was happy at the end....and that felt really good.

My next revelation was at the zoo.  Since I was a science teacher, going to the zoo isn't just fun it is educational.  And yes my kids will probably be total dorks because of it.  While viewing the cheetahs, my 4 year started asking questions about how fast cheetahs can go and how far they can run.  I explained that cheetahs are really fast but they can't maintain that speed for a long distance.  A horse or a dog are much better at running for long distances.  He asked why (he's 4 so of course he asked why) and I tried my best to explain that some animals were made for speed and some animals were made for distance.  It seems to be an either/or type of thing.  A cheetah can't mate with a horse and get some new animal that can run super fast for a super long time.  Although if it could I am sure it would look something like this:
As I am explaining this I am realizing that I have been committing the cardinal sin of running-trying to work on speed and distance at the same time.  This has not made me a better runner, it has left me burnt out and slower.  I should just stick to distance now and work on speed after my half marathon (too bad this revelations comes a week and a half before the event).  Again, I made peace with my pace.

My last revelation came when a friend asked me what race I was going to do next.  I have really been pushing the idea of a marathon on myself.  Why?  Because I read blogs and it seems like everyone has run/is running a marathon.  I guess it was just the next step and to be a "real runner" I needed to do one.  But when I really start to think about what it is I really want to do, the answer is not a marathon.  I am not saying that I won't ever do one, but I am saying that this spring I won't do one (and I reserve the right to change my mind).  I have a great opportunity to have a tri coach and I would love to focus on triathlons (sprint and Olympic) next year.  I totally made peace with postponing a marathon. 

Yesterday was a great day and today I can say I am more at peace with running than I have been in a long time.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

4 embarrassing things I desperately need to do

1. I need to get a hair cut!!  The evidence is below.  I don't actually remember the last time I got a hair cut.  I don't even remember how many children I had when I got my last hair cut.  It is possible that it took place during the Bush administration, but again this is just a guess.  If you look at the picture you might think that it either wasn't that long ago or I had shaved my head before growing it out.  Do not let the length of my hair fool you.  My hair tends to grow in the horizontal rather than vertical direction...which, by the way, is not a good thing. 

2.  Wax my eyebrows or people might start calling me Bert.

3.  Wax my stache or people might start calling me Burt.

4.  Clean out my car!  My car would never get this messy before kids, but right now it looks like a homeless man is living out of there.  Wait, that is not exactly correct.  It is like homeless children are living out of my car.  It could totally pass as the lost boys hang out.  If A&E does a spin off Hoarders-Automobile Edition, I might totally end up on it.  I have clothes, toys, trash, swim suits (!).  I am not going to lie it is kinda gross.  I mean this is in my car!  Really!

There is one redeeming thing about this though.  It is almost October so we could basically get blizzards at any time from now until June (so wish I was exaggerating or kidding).  I am pretty sure that the kids and I could live for weeks if we got trapped in there.  Hungry?  No problem (if smooshed and stale aren't issues).  See, that ice cream cone might be the difference between life and starvation.  Cold?  Please, we have enough clothes in there for ten people.  Potty?  Diapers and Pull-ups galore (unused, I am not that gross yet).  Heck, I even have flotation devices in there.

So, I can spin this one as having a disaster prepared car.  It is not messy, it is survival!

This has me thinking about how much I put off as a mom, particularly a mom that is training for an endurance event.  I feel like I have to pick and choose what I do with my kid free time, and more often than not the thing I choose is exercise.  So sometimes other things get left on the list.  That is just the way it is.  But maybe today I will take a little time to clean out the car....and wax.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Better late than never??

I have a confession to make: I only started texting a couple months ago.  It is true and inconceivable to most that I did not partake in this standard form of communicating.  When I told people I did not text they were shocked.  It was like I was using the pony express... in a corset... while listening to my walkman.  I even had it blocked on my phone.  This was mostly because my phone number happens to spell out the name of a famous fast food chain.  No, not on purpose.  A group of, I'm guessing, very bored teenagers figured this out and would call and text me all the time.  Each text prank was costing me and it was pretty annoying.  So I blocked texting all together.  When I said to the guy at the Verizon store that I was one of those people who didn't text, he corrected me and said I was the person who didn't text.  I was completely not with the times.  So I finally started texting and frankly I don't know how on earth I lived without it.

I was starting to feel the same way about Twitter.  I was thinking I might be the only one not on there.  I know, I know, if everyone jumped off a cliff would I?  Yeah, probably.  So this morning I jumped off the cliff and signed up for a twitter account...and I don't have any idea what I am doing.  I figured out that  @ comes before someones name.  I think # means something.  What?  I don't know, but it definitely means something.  I guess I was figuring it would be like Facebook, but it isn't.  I am going to spend some time this morning trying to figure out how it works.  This is mostly because I still have a sick kid and a working husband #stuckathome (is that how you do it???).

I knew I would eventually do it.  It seems like Twitter isn't going away and everything is going the way of the tweet.  Isn't half of E! News just Giuliana Rancic reading celebrity tweets?  I think I will observe for awhile, and once I figure out what buttons to push, I will jump right in.  It is good to try new things...even if they aren't new.

And for those of you who have already tweeted (?) me.  I will reply just as soon as I figure out how!!

Friday, September 23, 2011

Stuck between a run and a snotty face

I don't feel like this lady... everyday.  I chose to have kids and be a stay at home mom.  Overall, I am  really happy with that.  Do I feel a pang of jealously when my childless friends jet off to exotic locations or embark on a solo Costco trip?   Yes.  Do I envy their ability to go to the bathroom alone, sleep in on the weekends, and not take out a second mortgage to pay the babysitter?  Yeah, sometimes.  Occasionally I do long for the days when I didn't know what Yo Gabba Gabba was, but on the whole, being a mom is a pretty cool job.

Well, even the best jobs have their pit falls.  I love my kids but some days I do feel trapped with no means of escape because I am trapped with no means of escape!  Your child can be cutest, most well behaved, delightful creature on earth, but if their nose is running, forget it!  Nobody is going to come with in 20 feet of that thing.  You are stuck with that kid.  Preschool?  No ma'am!  Gym daycare?  Don't bother trying.  You have on your hands the most dreaded creature in the professional childcare world: a contagious kid.  A snotty nose child is literally a face only a mother can love.

This is particularly a bummer to a mom who is try to fit in training.  Unfortunately with sick kids working out is the first thing to go for me.  And we are just at the beginning of cold and flu season!  This first round of illness has made me realize I have a big flaw in my workout routine.  I have no back up at home.  If I can't leave the house, it doesn't happen.

Not only does this throw off my training, but I'm not that nice when I don't work out.  I am more stressed and snappy.  I've been known to throw a tantrum or two.  No one wants to be around that.
This is my other cure for stress.  Just slightly more unhealthy.
I totally hate excuses, and guess what, the kids being sick is an excuse.  A legitimate one, but an excuse none the less.  So I am on the look out for any great, at home workouts.  I would love any and all suggestions because cold and flu season is loooooong with a 2 and 4 year old.

Am I the only one who has a hard time working out when the kids are sick?  Any suggestions on how to balance it all? 

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Bad car karma

***Warning, really bad joke***

"Why did the girl get two flat tires in three weeks?"
"She had bad car-ma!"
Cue rim shot and groans.

Yeah, that was a really bad joke, but I have gotten two flat tires in three weeks.  What are the odds?  They have to be pretty astronomical and let's just say I'm not going out in a thunder storm anytime soon.  And no, by the way, I did not learn to change a flat since the last one.  Road side assistance saved my butt this time (Thank you Lori for reminding me I had that!).
Same story, different tire.

 The only explanation I have for this misfortune is bad karma...bad car karma.  I feel the car gods are punishing me.  They are laying down razor blades and nails in my path for all the tailgating and speeding I do.  (And I admit it, I tailgate.  I view it as a form of communication.)  It is the only reasonable explanation I can come up with.

Here are a few things I learned from the latest round of car misfortune:
  • I should really learn how to change a flat.  Even as I type this I know that isn't going to happen.  Look, I understand the basic mechanics of changing a flat.  I also understand the basic mechanics of a vasectomy, it doesn't mean I am going to perform either one.  I think somethings are better left to the professionals.
  • It is far worse to get a flat tire with two small children than by yourself.  It is especially worse when those children learn that they will be going to the tire store instead of the zoo.  This is not a comparable switch for a 2 and 4 year old.  There is going to be a lot of crying.
  • Buying them candy at the gas station will stop this crying.  It will be worth every penny and future cavity.
  • Even 2 year olds think gas station bathrooms are disgusting.  They might refuse to go and you better bring a back up pull-up.
  • Guys who come to change flats can be totally cool dudes...but they might try to pick you up.  The guy who changed mine was such a nice guy and he was really funny.  I would have totally gone and had a beer with him afterwards if I didn't have the kids with me or I wasn't married or I liked beer.  Single ladies, this might be a good way to pick up guys.
  • This one is actually a practical thing.  When your car tells you that you have a flat, stop.  Stop right where you are.  Don't keep driving to find a good place.  I didn't drive that far, but it was far enough to ruin the tire.  That was a $250 mistake.
  • Driving on a donut sucks.  You can't go over 45 mph and this is especially bad when you are 30+ miles from home and you usually speed.  It will take you about a fortnight to get home and the kids will be completely insane.
  • You are going to be the cause of a lot of road rage.  Everyone is going to pass you.  Minivans, school buses, mopeds, maybe a bike or two.  Everyone of those people is going to glare at you when they pass.  In hindsight, I should have put some sort of sign on my car explaining the reason I was going so slow.  
So there you have it.  It looks like maybe I should work on improving my car karma a little bit.  Will I actually do it?  Will I stop speeding?  Hmm, I think I will get to that right after I learn how to change a flat.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

A fine line between pushing and puking

I'm a puker.  No way around it.  Drink too much- puke.  Eat something bad- puke.  Smell something bad- puke.  Get pregnant- puke and puke and puke and puke..... and still gain 60 pounds.  Yup, I am a puker!

I have learned since I started running again that sometimes when I run too hard, I puke.  Yesterday was one of those days.  I had set myself up for perfect up chuck conditions:
  • I hadn't run in 4 days!  4 days!  Hurt?  Nope.  Sick?  Nope.  Busy?  Yes.  I really hate excuses and "I'm busy" is the worst one.  Look everyone is busy and that really isn't a great reason for not exercising for 4 days.  BUT, I was really busy.  My mornings were booked solid and the afternoons weren't much better and I stayed up past my bedtime several nights in a row.  I had the first MOPS, the Dinosaur Train debacle, rehearsal dinner, birthday party, wedding, and exhaustion from that order.  I should have made time but I didn't.  I was feeling a little stale when I started the run.
The lovely Susan Soto Hoople.  My two best friends from college got married this year.  It's about frickin time ladies!  Just kidding!  They both married totally awesome guys and I am beyond happy for both of them.  Now start having babies already.

  • Breakfast today was 4 cups of coffee and a handful of Trix (FYI my husband buys the Trix not the kids).  Nobody should have a pot of coffee for breakfast...especially before running.  A cup?  Yes.  A pot?  No.  I have a problem.  I am trying to work on it.
  • I had to run after dropping the kids off and it was getting hot.  I don't run well in the heat.  Okay, so I do have a confession, it was like 75 degrees.  I know that's not hot but I wilt fast.  A self proclaimed weenie.
  • I ran hills.  They are big hills and I was pushing it going up those hills.  I sadly passed a lady on a bike....twice.  She was having a really tough time up those beasts and I know that riding a bike up those is tough because I ride there a lot.  I think she was rather embarrassed that a runner passed her but you know what I think is awesome?  She did not give up!  I can not tell you how many times I see someone walking their bike up those hills (which is fine too).  She used her gears, worked hard, took her time, and prevailed.  I thought it was great!  She was all smiles at the top when I passed her the second time.  I took out the earbuds and said, "this hill is a pain* isn't it."  She smiled and seemed relieved that I also thought it was tough.  *I might have used more colorful language, but on the off chance mom is reading, I though I would keep it G rated. 
  • I started too fast.  I wanted to be fast today since it was a shorter run (5 miles), but I should have gone out slower.  I work better when I start slow and then get faster.  Maybe everyone does?  By the time I was done with the hills I was DONE.
  • I kept going once I was done.
  •  At mile 3.2 I got the pleasure of seeing the entire contents of my stomach on a patch of grass.  Ummm, tasty huh?
    Sometimes knowing when to push and when I've had enough is hard for me to determine....but my stomach always knows.  Pushing yourself is important.  That is when you get faster, stronger, better.  If it isn't tough, then you probably aren't doing a whole lot.  I think nice easy runs are important to throw in, but you need to have killer runs too because that is when you improve.

    Look, it wasn't the first time I puked and it probably won't be the last.  It was a good reminder to pace myself better.....and not drink a pot of coffee in one sitting.  And to the lady on the bike- you rock!  Keep up the good work and I promise that hill does get easier!!

    My workout today was much better.  No puking, which is good because I was in the pool.  I swam my first ever continuous mile (whoop whoop, that is a big deal for me!) and then did sprint intervals.  I am feeling confident that tomorrow (which will be nice and cool) I will have a puke free long run.

    Any one else a puker?

    Sunday, September 18, 2011

    Epic Fail Parenting Moment

    My kids love Dinosaur Train and Buddy was coming to the Museum of Nature and Science for the new dinosaur exhibit.  We got the flier last month and my kids have been so excited.  Kevin and I  might have exploited that a few times to get good behavior out of them.  Like, "you need to go to bed or you won't get to meet Buddy."  Or, "kids that don't eat a good dinner don't get to see Buddy."  He was almost as good as Santa Claus.  Please note I write about running, not good parenting.

    I must admit, I had been pretty excited too.  Not exactly to see a cartoon character, but to see my kiddos get excited.  I also thought they would love the exhibit that has robotic, very realistic looking dinosaurs.  It was going to be a great day.  I had my camera ready.  I could almost hear my children.  "Oh mommy, this was the best day ever!!  Our life is the best and you are the best mommy!!!"  It was going to be epic. 

    Well, we can put this trip in the "epic fail" category.  I would like to reference the picture above as my first piece of evidence.  Notice one child is hiding behind me and the other child is clinging to me, refusing to look at Buddy.  To Mason and Emerson, this was 5 feet of orange terror!  Instead of "mommy you're the best" I was hearing "mommy why are you doing this to us!" 

    "Open your window little boy!!"
    I am not quite sure why I thought they would like this.  Although they love Dinosaur Train, they do not love people in costumes.  The Chick Fil A cow?  Causes tears and shrieking.  Once he came up to our window in the dive through and my son yelled, "DRIVE, he's gonna eat us!!!!"  Chuck E Cheese?  I have literally never seen my son so terrified.  He requested to never return to Chuck E Cheese.  It has been a real sacrifice, but these are the things we do for our kids, right?   I was hoping this time would be different.  It wasn't.

     There was still the dinosaur exhibit.  We could still salvage the day!  When we walked in we saw something that looked like this:
    I am pretty sure that in my son's mind it looked like this:
    Do I even need to say that we left immediately?

    I am not going to lie.  I was disappointed that it was a potential therapy inducing experience.  As a parent, is there anything better than seeing excitement and joy on your child's face?  Is there anything worse than scarring your child for life?  When you go expecting joy and get terror, it is an epic fail. 

    They each got a dinosaur toy and that seemed to save the day.  Nothing eases mommy guilt like buying the kids toys, right?  Mason proudly showed his preschool class the picture of Buddy posing with his legs.  And no one had nightmares.  So disappointing, but hopefully no long term damage. 

    Toys make everything better in the preschool world.

    Friday, September 16, 2011

    If you post it, they will come

    It is no secret that I only started this blog because I wanted to avoid housework and my husband was starting to glaze over every time I was talking to him about running.  I always joke that the only person reading my blog is my mom, but this actually isn't true because she doesn't even really read it!  So my stats, hits, whatever you want to call them are actually not that important to me.  I do from time to time check to see what they are.  You can also see what people googled to get to your blog and in doing this I have discovered the secret to bringing people to your blog.  This is (obviously) not a guarantee that they will become followers or that they will ever come back....but if you want to get them there at least once you need these three pictures:

    This is secret number one.  People come to my blog dozens of times a day for this picture.  They basically just take it and leave, but I just took it from somewhere so really what am I going to say.  Who knew so many people wanted a diagram of muscles in their legs?  This picture has been visited over 330 times since July!  I know that is not a lot for some bloggers, but like I said it is basically mom out there for me! 

    People in India love this picture for some reason.  So if you are looking to expand your Indian audience you can lure them to your blog with this picture.  It isn't as popular as Mr. Bowlegs above but still has almost 200 views.  Again, that is a lot for my rinky dink little blog.
    The third most popular thing that brings people to the blog is this sun picture.
    So there is my unsolicited free advice for increasing blog hits!!  Your welcome!

    Thursday, September 15, 2011

    Pace is not a goal

    I want to start this off by saying that I love my children.  All the moms out there probably know what is coming next.  In case you are not a mom, I will explain.  When a mom starts off with "I love my children," the next thing to come out of her mouth will be a complaint about motherhood.  Kind of like when someone says, "No offensive," the next thing to come out of their mouth will be horribly offensive.  (If you are from the south you can substitute "no offense" with "bless your heart.")  It is like the former statement offsets anything negative said in the latter statement.  Like, "No offensive, but your face makes me want to throw up."  And, "I love my kids, but if they don't shut up I'm going to sell them on Craigslist."  "No offensive" and "I love my kids" made those totally acceptable statements, right?
    Apparently, this is actually where you take your kids if you need to sell them.
    Okay, back to loving my kids.  I love them BUT having kids makes training for endurance activities a little tricky.  My children are 2 and 4.  They can't be left alone at home and they can not come with me on a long run.  I do plenty of shorter runs at the gym (with daycare), but 10 miles on a treadmill?  Shoot me now.  So every week I need to find a day when my husband is around at what I deem as an acceptable running time (morning).  Until recently, the only day that worked was Sunday, but thankfully preschool has started and I have two more days to choose from.  Hooray!

    My last long run was a disaster.  I was slow, I bonked, and worst of all....I wasn't enjoying running.  I read something in an article that helped me out.  It said that pace was not a goal it was an outcome.  I have been putting so much pressure on myself to hit the 9min/mile pace during my long runs.  I realized I needed to let that go.  I need to run at my current level and just be happy with the outcome.  I want to run a sub 2 hour half marathon, but like I tell my kids (who I love by the way), sometimes you don't get what you want.

    With a new mindset I went on my long run.  I knew it would be a little more challenging than usual because it was a route with hills.  This was good for three reasons: 1) running hills makes you a better runner 2) it was a tougher run so I wasn't so concerned with my time and 3) hills work your butt and frankly I don't want to hear, "no offensive, but your have a big butt....bless your heart."

    Yup, ran up to the top and back.
      I vowed not to look at my Garmin and I pretty much stuck to it.  I ended up running 9.7 miles at a 9:16 min/mile pace.  That is actually the best pace I've averaged for a long run.  Was it the great weather, the new mindset, the training?  Who knows, but I do know that I enjoyed that run.  I have so much to stress about, why oh why was I stressing over the thing that was suppose to be de-stressing me?  I took the pressure off, had a great time, and ran better than I have in a long time.

    Do I still want to run the half in under 2 hours?  Yes!  But I actually want to enjoy running even more.  So I will work hard, try my best, but my pace will be the outcome, not the goal.

    Wednesday, September 14, 2011

    My Children's Generation

     The kids and I love to get out of the house.  Since Tuesday is not a preschool day we headed out to the zoo after going to the gym.  By the way, this is the perfect place to go right after the gym.  It is mostly outdoors and nobody is going to know it's you that stinks when you're in the monkey house. 

    I have a potty training two year old so we saw almost as many bathrooms as animals.  It was animal, animal, potty.  Animal, animal, potty.  The kids are very used to public restrooms.  One of the numerous bathrooms we visited was older.  It was probably from the (gasp!) 80's.  My son went to the sink, stuck his hands in front of the faucet and waited.....and waited....and then looked at me perplexed.  "It's broken."  "No Mason, it isn't broken.  You have to turn it on yourself."  He looked at me for a long time and finally said, "what???"

    Yes, that's right.  I might be from the MTV generation, but my kids are totally the motion sensor generation.  Walk up to a door and it opens.  Finish going potty and the toilet flushes.  Wet hands?  Just hold em up and a machine will dry them.  And it doesn't stop there.  You want to watch Dora?  No problem, we've got it on DVR.  A new cartoon?  Sure thing!  We have multiple 24 hour cartoon networks!  You want to know the fastest dinosaur?  Forget books, mom will just google it!

    Modern conveniences are great but I am starting to realize that my children are in danger of lacking the patience and work ethic of the older generations (yes, even the MTV generation!).  Are they going to be able to do anything on their own?  What's the end game there?

    My best friend Susan and I were looking around in a Mac store oohing and ahhing over all the technology.  She, in all seriousness, said, "wow, machines are really going to take over one day."  I decided the only course of action was to start sucking up to them.  We immediately complimented an iPad on how thin it was looking these days.  Apparently my survival skills involve a lot of brown nosing.

    While I don't actually think that machines will take over, I do think my kids are getting pretty lazy because of them.  Okay, maybe I am getting pretty lazy because of them too.  Technology is a double edge sword.  While it makes life easier it also makes life easier.  Isn't so much of the obesity crisis about convenience and technological progress?  I mean you could survive quite easily never taking more than a few steps a day.   And I am sure some people do.  While it is surviving, is it really living?

    I guess my whole point is that while technology makes life easier, we need to work harder as parents to teach our kids the value of hard work.  We have to teach them to struggle for things so they know the satisfaction of perseverance.  I'm not going to make them start digging ditches or anything, but I am going to be mindful of developing that work ethic.  Because who knows, they might just be the ones to lead the resistance when the machine take over!

    Now I am off to do a little hard work.  I have 10 very hilly miles on the schedule today....and even though I was just complaining about technology I am still totally bringing the ipod and garmin!

    Sunday, September 11, 2011

    Why I mow the lawn

    Sundays usually mean two things around my house: church and "lawn" mowing.  I say "lawn" because although it is green and covers the ground, it is mainly a mixture of thistles, other weeds, and crab grass.  Just in the backyard.  We might have been strongly persuaded by our HOA to re-sod the front yard.

    I would like to say my yard doesn't look like this, but my yard kinda looks like this.

     Now I know that lawn mowing is traditionally seen as a husband duty, but I started doing it this year.  Kevin used to mow the lawn but he has really bad tendonitis  in both elbows.  Lawn mowing apparently aggravates know come to think of it this is starting to sound like a scam and I probably should have asked for a doctor's note.
    It was either start mowing it myself or get one of these.

     Surprisingly, I actually don't mind mowing the lawn.  For one, although I love my husband, and he has many fine qualities, timely lawn mowing is not one of them.  He determined when to mow the lawn based on whether or not you could still see the rat dogs.  If Gidget and Bug started getting lost, then it was time.  I think a couple of times even Indy (the proper sized dog) got lost.  I can reference neighbors or numerous HOA notices if you think I am exaggerating.

    Number two, mowing the lawn is a little fun and I have no idea why Kevin always puts it off.  You get outside, get a tan, and get some exercise.  It is pretty mindless manual labor and I find it kind of relaxing.  Push, turn, push, turn, dump bag, repeat.  I don't get what is so bad about that?  Laundry is way worse!

    But the most important reason I mow the lawn is because it needs to get done.  Period.  Fortunately, I like to do it but even if I hated it, I would still do it.  The kids and dogs need the lawn mowed.  And the home owners association apparently needs it to be mowed too.  It's the same reason I do dishes and laundry.  I don't like doing that but I like wearing clean underwear and I like my husband to wear clean underwear too.

    This is actually the same reason I exercise.  Don't get me wrong, I really love running, cycling, and swimming.  I am very fortunate that I have found exercises that I love doing, that I look forward to doing.  But the fact of the matter is, I work out because it needs to get done.  If I want to live the best life I can, if I want to be the best mom I can, the best wife I can, I need to be healthy.  Humans have discovered a lot of things but we have yet to discover a way to be healthy without being active.

    If you don't love exercise, keep looking until you find something you like (or at least something that you don't hate).  And then you just have to do it because it needs to get done. 

    Friday, September 9, 2011

    Star Struck- The Marshall Ulrich Experience

    I lived in Malibu for four year.  I saw a lot of stars.  At the grocery store, Starbucks, walking around in bathrobes (seriously), running the stairs at school, ordering me around when I worked at Malibu Yo.  After awhile it's like, big whoop you're famous, so is everyone else around here.  You would think after all that I wouldn't get star struck anymore....but I kind of did last night.  I will admit it, I thought it was pretty cool to meet Marshall Ulrich.  I know this is not helping my "I'm not obsessed with Marshall Ulrich" case!

    The Runner's Roost in Lakewood was hosting a run, talk, and book signing.  Here's the breakdown of a totally awesome birthday night!

    The Run:  Lost.  That is the word I would use to sum up the run experience.  When I got to Runner's Roost I was told that the run would actually start across the street in the Belmar shopping center.  I was given directions and, I mean, it was just across the street.  Who gets lost going across the street??  Me.  I drove around and around and around.  I could not for the life of me find the street or the parking lot where the run was suppose to start.  Oh my gosh, I was going to miss out on running with Marshall Ulrich because I can't follow directions!!  I was beginning to lose hope when I saw the runners!  I flew into the parking lot, screeched into the parking spot, hopped out of the car, and started running!

    After a few minutes the front of the pack (with Marshall) started getting farther away and the back of the pack was getting farther away in the other direction.  Pretty soon I was running all alone.  Apparently nobody runs at my pace.  Not fast, not slow, but lonely!!!  The path started taking lots of turns and the speedy group was no longer in sight.  Whenever I got to a fork in the road I would just ask people, "did a lot of runner just go by?"  I hung on for awhile, but eventually it was obvious to me that I was not in the right place.  I decided that I could (maybe?) find my way back to the car.  I found the car (I think divine intervention was involved) and drove back to the Runner's Roost a bit bummed, but glad that I would not miss the rest of the evening because I was roaming the streets of Lakewood (Which by the way is where I used to live!  Seriously, what is wrong with me?). 

    The Talk: I know I am not alone in this confession, but before I read this book, this was my impression of running across America.
    Yup, served him at Malibu Yogurt.
    Forrest and Marshall both started running because of painful emotional experiences. . . and that is where the similarities end.  Marshall's book and lecture give you a lot of insight into what it actually takes to go across the country by foot.  You need an incredible support crew, 9,000 calories a day, a lot of shoes, and sometimes a private patch of a cornfield! 

    Marshall told a lot of stories that were in the book, but it was really neat to hear it from him.  Plus, he told stories that were not in the book.  I also got to ask him why he started from San Francisco instead of LA.  I took particular offense to that part of the book because I am a Southern Californian.  Just kidding, but I was curious because I have driven the California to Colorado route both ways and I always preferred the southern route.  Of course, I was in a car....with air conditioning.  It surprised me when he said that he loved running hills and wanted to run over the Sierras.  Okay, I will live with you giving Southern Cali the shaft.

    Some of my favorite things he said:
    *Most of the things he did were because of bets.  Like, "I bet you can't do that" and he would go prove them wrong.
    *You are capable of so much more than you think.
    *You are never too old.  Especially appropriate for my birthday!
    *Diversify and don't be afraid to try new things.

    Book Signing:  I already had a copy of Running on Empty....on my Kindle.  Love the Kindle but you can't exactly get it signed.  So I kinda went back and forth over whether I would buy one for him to sign.  The practical, need to make sure the kids have food and electricity side of me was saying to go home and forget the book signing.  The not practical, I want a picture with Marshall Ulrich! side of me was saying to bust out the plastic!  There was never really a question.  I bought the book and stood in line.  I got my book signed and a got him to pose for a picture (he was a great sport about both!).  Is there a greater present for a runner to get on her bday? 

    Overall:  It was great and I highly recommend going to a book signing if Marshall Ulrich is in your neck of the woods.  I was officially inspired to run a marathon.  If, at 57, Marshall can run across the entire United States, I think know I can go 26.2 miles!  Check out the book and get inspired!

    Wednesday, September 7, 2011

    A birthday date with Marshall Ulrich

    "Oh gravity, thou art a heartless bitch." -Sheldon Cooper (The Big Bang Theory)

    Yes, that quote is in honor of my birthday.  Tomorrow is the big 3-2!  Not exactly a milestone birthday.  In fact, I am really at the age when these things are not a cause for celebration.  Just another reminder that the heartless bitch is winning (just kidding)!  I was having a bit of the birthday blues (am I the only one who gets those?) when I happened upon something that pulled me right out of them!  Marshall Ulrich is going to host a 3 mile run and talk about his book tomorrow night!  Happy Birthday to me!

    I have been talking a lot about Mr. Ulrich lately, and I swear I am not obsessed with him.  It is just that I have been reading his book, Running on Empty, and I have really been enjoying it.  So far I think it is inspirational, informative, and so interesting.  The man is a running legend.  Running with him is like doing cartwheels with Nadia Comaneci, riding bikes with Lance Armstrong, and bending it with Beckham.  If you got a chance to shoot baskets with Kareem Abdul Jabbar, you take it (Yes, that's right, I didn't say Michael Jordan.  I told you before, I am a Lakers fan).  So tomorrow, to celebrate my birthday, I am going to run with Marshall Ulrich and then listen to him talk about his run across America.  I am super excited and yes I am super dorky!!

    I swear, not obsessed.  I've just written "I love Marshall" a few times on my Trapper Keeper.
    I will bring my camera and definitely expect a blog post about this epic night.  

    Monday, September 5, 2011


    I fantasize about a lot of things (don't worry, this is not getting dirty).  I fantasize about having a maid, and a cook, and a nanny.  I fantasize about taking an tropical family vacation.....and bringing that nanny with us.  I fantasize about having a smaller bottom.  I fantasize about running a 3:30 marathon.  But football?  Yeah, I never fantasize about that, so it is pretty funny that I now have not one, not two, but three fantasy football teams.

    Apparently my husband is using my love of competition to lure me into watching football with him.  Misguided or genius?  Only time will tell.

    Look, it isn't that I don't like football.  I never really watched it until I started dating Kevin.  LA is a basketball town and Lakers are the preferred sports team where I'm from (yes I am an obnoxious Lakers fan).  So, it was pretty easy for me to cheer for the Broncos since I had no previous football loyalties.  I was a good girlfriend and learned the rules of the game and even started to know names.  I really began to like watching the Broncos play and I enjoyed our lazy Sunday afternoons watching football. 

    And if Kevin just watched the Broncos I would still probably enjoy football.  But he doesn't just watch the Broncos.  He watches EVERY football game.  And I mean every.  We have the blasted NFL Sunday Ticket.  And he also watches college football (though he says he cut back when we got married).  I'm sure he would watch pee-wee league if it was televised.  He likes to remind me that I knew exactly what I was getting into.  It's true.  He knew I couldn't cook and was absent minded.  I knew he was obsessed with football.  We both said, eh, I can live with it.

    So I half volunteered and was half convinced to join the craziness. "I" drafted the first team.  Really it was just Kevin telling me what to do.  The next two he just did for me.  Why do I need three?  I don't know.  Why does he need 10?  It seems like a big hassle.  There are people emailing me to trade them players.  I have to worry about bye weeks and injuries.  It hasn't even started and I'm exhausted.

    Why am I doing this to myself??  Well, each year we are married I like football a little less and he seems to like it a little more.  So fantasy football just might be the thing to start bridging the gap.  I am taking one for the team by drafting a team (or three).  It's all a part of being an awesome wife I guess ;)

    Friday, September 2, 2011


    I love strawberries so very much!  They are my favorite food.  I grew up in the heart of strawberry country and was blessed with almost 22 years of the finest, juiciest, reddest, ripest, berries around. Moving to Colorado was a shocking experience for several reasons (snow from September to June????), but the produce aisle probably shocked me the most.  I had taken for granted all the years of fresh from the farm food.  It is probably not shocking that my decision to move back California coincided with the beginning of strawberry season.  I went to the store, bought some "strawberries," and then decided that this was not the place for me (then I met my husband and decided I could live with "strawberries").

    As much as I love strawberries, occasionally you get a bad one.  On the whole I love them, on the whole they are good, but every once in awhile you just get one that's a stinker.  And I feel the same about running.  On the whole I love to run, on the whole my runs are good, but every once in awhile you have one that's just a stinker.

    Yesterday was one of those stinker runs.  I ran my normal loop and from the get go it was a struggle.  I was tired, my muscles were sore, I am still feeling a little under the weather, and my head wasn't in the game.  And guess what, my Garmin picked up on that.  I looked down and saw how slow I was going.  So I picked up the pace, looked down, and saw I was going even slower.  What the??  So I tried to speed up.  Nope, still slow.  Slow, slow, slow!  When it was all said and done I was two minutes slower than normal but just as tired.  A stinker.

    It happens.  I think runners love to talk about their great runs and their PR's, but the thing is that sometimes you are off.  I also think it is important to remember that these bad runs happen to everyone, and they don't mean much in the larger scheme of things.  Just because I was slow yesterday doesn't mean I am regressing, it just means I had a bad run.  My whole body was tired and I knew that I just needed a break from running.

    So today I hit the pool.  I gave my legs a little break from pounding the pavement and I am hoping the next time I run it will be lots better.  Now I think I will go eat some strawberries.