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Saturday, July 31, 2010

Longest run yet!

This morning, my training plan called for an easy 7 mile run. It still makes me smile to see "easy" and "7 mile" in such near proximity to each other when we're talking about running. And yet.

Last night when I was mapping out the route on dailymile.com (such a nice tool, but it's definitely spurring my competitive side when I see the miles that friends are logging), there was no easily recognizable landmark for my 3.5 mile turnaround on the out-and-back route I wanted to take. My brother and SIL's street, however, was 4.58 miles from my house. Hmmm. I noted a spot that was ~4 miles from the start for a turnaround, but I kept thinking that if I ran to T & K's street, it would be almost an even 9 miles. Hmmm.

To be honest, part of the appeal of that 9 mile distance was that a real-life and DM friend of mine who is training for the same HM as I am just ran 8 miles. It's funny. I don't feel competitive at all when I'm reading the running blogs of some of the speed demons, rockstars, and all-around athletes online...but show me what someone I know, who's around my level, is doing, and it's on. On the inside, that is. On the outside, I'm all supportive and "oh, you're way ahead of me".

So...first few blocks sucked, as usual, and then it started feeling ok. At about 2.5 miles I had to run up the first big hill and made it up with a good steady pace. I got to the ~4 mi. turnaround and decided, what the heck. I kept going until the 4.5 mile spot--whoo hoo!--and headed back. Right before I hit 7 miles, I was thinking how easy it felt. I could run the whole half-marathon today. It wouldn't feel great, but I could do it. This is awesome!

And then I hit a wall. I wasn't just tired, I was tired of running. My knee kind of hurt. My toes on my right foot hurt. I didn't want to run anymore. This is stupid. I ran 7 miles. I don't have to run anymore. I'm sore. I'm going to hurt tomorrow. I'm going to hurt later. Screw this. I'm stopping. But there was that other voice: C'mon...it's just 2 more miles. You can do it. You've come this far. At least get in 8 miles. It's ok. Just run to this street...to that street...to the lake...to that street...it's OK...you can walk when you get to your block...you did it!

Thank goodness, it was cooler this morning, and there was a nice breeze. The trail is so pretty (no pictures...I was too busy not dying). I was out and running. And as I ran, I thought back to March, when 5 minutes of running seemed insurmountable. Today, I ran for an hour and a half, and I didn't stop. What a difference 4 months and Couch to 5K makes!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Thursday Things

Ahhh, rest day!
We took two trips to the park today! First was to the dog park, which happens to be attached to a people park. We had planned to let our dog go wild and then J. could play on the playground afterwards. Instead, we showed up to a taped-off playground. I guess they're redoing the surface. Anyway, we let the dog run around, played hide-and-seek with the dog (not much success), and then some hide-and-seek tag just J. and me. Also didn't go well, since I was wearing flip-flops and not much on the running after him part.

Back home, quick snack, puttering around, and then we went to another local park. It has a great big playground but is an older park and has those metal slides. Today's temperatures were 98+ at that time, so no slides for us. We climbed around for a while.


I was playing around with this new photo app for my iPhone (Hipstamatic).

N. and his friend joined us there for a while. They were wanting to hang out but we have a rule that there are no friends in the house without an adult home, so they won the booby prize got to go to the playground with us. We played some hide & go seek tag.


Running for base

On base

Wonder of wonders, I lost. The older kids left for an orthodontist appointment, and J. and I headed off to the pool. Today was made for swimming! Usually I'm good for about 1 hour of one-on-one pool time with J., but today we were there for over an hour and a half. The water felt great!

I actually had tentatively planned (that's as "planned" as anything gets during the summers here!) to ride my bike tonight, but I didn't get around to eating well today and wasn't feeling great even after supper. Instead, this evening (like most of the day) was all about the kid.

We drew with sidewalk chalk... photo.JPG

photo.JPGCreated masterpieces photo.JPG

These are our "new" Pokemon. His attacked mine, so mine attacked his. Of course, we were drawing the attacks with chalk. Somehow my Pokemon ended up enveloped in a cloud of...well, it wouldn't smell too good! I drew a new attack, and he scratched it out and wrote "Coboom" above it. Too cute! Later, he wrote, "Coooooooooboom" and then "Ow" by my drawing.

So I responded by giving his a speech bubble saying, "I'm dead." He sounded it out, then inserted "not". This little episode marks the sum total of our writing / spelling practice this summer.

We finished our evening with a family game of cards. Even the big brothers joined in a rousing game of Bakugan cards (soooo not my first choice).

Deep concentration


No family game would be complete without someone pouting!

Two hands of Bakugan was about all I could take, so I bribed the boy with ice cream and stories.
Hopefully tomorrow I get on the bike...and maybe get to swim a couple (all I'm up for at this point) laps at the pool. I can't do that unless one of the older boys comes to the pool with us. D. went with us last night, but I tried three separate times to swim a lap and every time was repeatedly blocked by kids and adults playing in the (nearly empty) pool. Obviously it wasn't going to be the night for it!

Wednesday tempo run

My motivation was sadly lacking yesterday morning when my alarm went off. I stayed in bed, doing some serious plea bargaining with myself. Screw it...I'll run later. I'll run tonight. I'm tired. I'm staying in bed. So, capitulation decided and snooze button depressed, of course I had to get up and go to the bathroom. Still committed to getting back in bed, I hear my alarm go off again and then these words: "Heat warning today in effect until 9:00 tonight. It's already 81 degrees."

Til 9:00? Crud. I didn't want to be running 5 miles in the dark. Morning run it was. 81 degrees and 150% humidity is plenty bad enough for me. I love St. Louis weather.

Motivation: 0
Heat warning: 1

Literally as I was picking up my phone and water to head out the door, my brother sent me a text: "Running today?" So he ended up running with me. Cappy and I have a short and tumultuous history of running together, consisting of about 4 runs. The first was about 13 years ago when we decided to go out for a little run together. He was in shape to run 7 minute miles. I was a fat, depressed two-time mommy who hadn't run since high school basketball ended. I made it maybe a block and wanted to walk; he began channelling a drill instructor. I think maybe I had some choice words for him and then walked home.

Fast forward 13 years. We did a 3 mile run together earlier in the summer, and he ran in the USO mud run with me (if by "with me" you mean "beat me by 5 minutes"). And yesterday's 5 miles. What a difference 13 years and C25K make! He was going at my pace and uber-thankful when I stopped so he didn't have to ask to. :) (Now, lest I sound too cocky here, let me just admit that in two weeks of working out, he could easily kick my butt...and even yesterday, if it was an actual race, would've pulled out something and easily beaten me. But still.)

We both used the GPS functions of our phones to track the run. Mine showed 5.27 miles with a couple of holes in coverage (damn you, trailguru app); his showed 5.58. So we're going with his.

5.58 miles, 51:37. 9:15 pace. If I can bring my pace to about 9 minute miles, that would have me finishing the HM in under 2 hours.

The tempo run was a 1-mile warmup at 10:55, 3 miles at 9:18, and a 1-mile cooldown at 10:55. The splits I got, which are highly suspect since I'm missing a quarter mile of the run, go like this.

Yeah...oops on those last two miles. Not pretty. We were on the upslope portion of the run and dragging. But then again, maybe those last two miles were where my coverage was bad and we actually ran more than a mile there. Yeah...yeah...that sounds better! :)

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Birthday cake

My momma's bday cake
Isn't it pretty?

My family loves Jello cake, so I made a grown-up variation for my mom's birthday. It's yellow cake layered with strawberries and frosting made from pudding, cream cheese, and whipped cream. So good, if I do say so myself!

If I had it to do over again, I'd have split the layers in half and put berries and filling between them, too. And I'd have centered the top layer better, because even though you can't tell it from the picture, we had a Leaning Tower of Cake-a going on. Somehow it still was eaten, though! :)

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Rest day

Today is all about resting. What is it about committing to a rest day that makes me want to get out and do something? :) I know that I could go to the gym--and maybe should--but today is also my mom's birthday, and I also committed to making lasagna and cake for her birthday dinner tonight. Since I need to make a trip to the grocery store and then food for 14-20 people, the best I can hope for is time for the pool with Junior later.

Bob and Theresa
Happy birthday, Mom!

I'm feeling a little crabby hangover from yesterday with a shot of annoyed this morning to top it off. It was mostly a good day. I got up and ran my scheduled 2 miles for HM training. Actually, I officially ran .3 miles with an additional 2.64 miles. I started off running, but my iPhone kept freaking out the way it has since Saturday's accidental dousing with water. Oops.

Everything on the phone works fine except for the iPod function. If something has to be screwed up, I guess that's the part I'd choose, but it still stinks. A song would start playing, and then voice control would come up and pause the song. If I had anything on my contacts list or playlist called (sound of heavy breathing), I'd have heard it for the whole run. Then voice control would go away and the song would continue. And fast forward. And skip to another song. And skip to another song. And fast forward. You get the picture. It was like watching TV with the most sadistic channel surfer ever.

So at .3 miles I stopped and tried to find something to shut off voice control (which I never use anyway). Couldn't figure it out, so I gave up and started running again. Every once in a while, I'd get an intact song, and during the last mile or so it finally started behaving and playing nicely. I kept a nice easy pace and finished in 26 minutes for a 10:11 pace.

I had lunch planned with some friends from work (it's nice that my aides like me enough that they want to spend time with me in the summer when they aren't paid to. :D And vice versa), so I left Little J with N and headed off to lunch. I hadn't gotten for when N called and said my MIL had called to see if Little J wanted to come play with his cousins for the afternoon. Free afternoon! Score!!

After lunch I was pondering what to do next...I need to clean, but I had the afternoon free for a nice, long bike ride. What to do, what to do? I decided on neither. I stopped by our local bike shop. I've been looking and looking on craigslist (my own person boulevard of broken dreams) for a good road bike, and the ones that are reasonably priced are snapped up within seconds. I thought it was time to start looking at bike shops and getting information. It was just depressing. I could maybe come up with $500 right now, after saving since April (remind me again why I had kids?), and I easily need twice that. I don't want to spend $500 to buy a bike that isn't going to make me happy. Ugh...I hate waiting.

After that little visit, I was too bummed to go ride, so I came home, ate some cookie dough, and paid bills. The bill paying actually cheered me up. I paid everything (and by "paid" I mean "paid on" rather than "paid off"...but still...) and had a lot of money left over. I felt like the people must have at the miracle of the loaves and fishes (why is it "fishes" and not "fish"?). Now, before you get excited and say (like I did), "Kate, now you can go buy that fabulous road bike of your dreams!!" keep in mind that I still have to register 3 kids for school, buy groceries, and get us on the road to Wisconsin before we're paid again. But still. This is uncharted territory and a very welcome return for the Summer of Not Doing Much of Anything.

When Big J got home from work, he was a little cranky, so I decided this was an opportune time to take a ride. Of course, by that time I had less than an hour, but I still managed to fit in 9 miles (14 mph pace overall, but that included the in-town portions. My trail pace was around 17 mph), get in a good hard ride, and be home in time to shower and leave for a family birthday party.

Pere Marquette beach (I think)
Happy birthday, Josh!

Weekly stats:

Bike: 45 miles
Run: 2.9 miles

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Peach Pedal bike ride

Today did not have an auspicious start. All week, I'd been planning to ride the Peach Pedal, a recreational ride sponsored by Trailnet ("Promoting Active Living"). I haven't been riding during the week for a variety of reasons--too lazy to get up, training for the HM, not wanting to leave Jr for the couple of hours it would take to get in a good ride, not wanting to abandon J. as soon as he gets home from work, etc.--and need to be logging some serious seat time before the century in September. Normally, if I have a ride or race planned, I jump right out of bed. Today, when the alarm clock went off at 6:30, all I wanted to do was hit the snooze button for the next hour. I had roped my brother into going as well, though, so I had to get up.

I had a couple of pieces of banana bread and a chocolate milk for breakfast, and we were off. The ride was about 20 minutes from us, but between him running late, filling water bottles, stopping for caffeine, getting cash, etc., we didn't actually get riding until 8:21. I had initially planned to ride the 52-mile route, but Cappy wanted to ride 38 and is waaay faster than I am, so I settled for 38, and he planned to bring a book for his wait (which, of course, he forgot). I had also hoped to keep up a pretty good pace. My Tour de Donut average over 31 miles was about 15 mph, so I was hoping for a repeat.

As we turned onto the route, however, an ugly, steady headwind hit our faces. Ugh! And to make matters worse, my legs weren't having any of this bike stuff. On the very first mile, I was hurting and out of breath. I'm not sure what was going on...lack of sleep was likely a factor (but I never get enough sleep). Maybe breakfast as well? And maybe yesterday's 5K catching up with me. Or it may have just been a day where I was just sucky in general. Whatever the reason, I was dragging early. And that headwind? The route was more or less an out and back, and the wind was coming from the direction we spent most of our time going. Nice.

Peach Pedal
See the bikes waaay ahead of me? Yeah, that's pretty much how the day went.

After the past week's oppressive heat (high 90's and high humidity), we had nasty storms roll through last night and cool things off. Today's high only hit around 91, and during the ride it was in the 80's.

Peach Pedal
Pretty good self portrait taken while riding.

It was very pretty and sunny, but there were some unfriendly dark clouds lingering. I did my part to stave them off by bringing a ziploc bag for my phone and camera, just in case. My preparation did the trick, and they held onto whatever rain they were carrying.

Peach Pedal
I think I could basically use the pictures from any ride I take on these posts and they'd look pretty accurate from what I see. I like in Illinois, folks. Corn and soybeans. Maybe a few cows. That's what you get.

At one point, I came up behind a group of riders. A dog from a nearby farmhouse was hassling them. It never bit anyone, but it was barking and running right near the cyclists. That whole group rode off together, and then there was just me and the dog. I felt a little like the sickly caribou separated from the herd by wolves, but fido just barked at me and ran home.

Peach Pedal
(Pretty rural scene inserted to break up the monotony of my report. Bikes far in the distance...check!)

We'd have a long stretch riding into the wind, then a turn and short stretch with it at our side before we were back in the headwind again. I was very happy to see the sign for New Douglas, site of the first rest stop.

Peach Pedal

As I rode into town, two riders on road bikes passed me (yes, I have road bike envy). I exchanged "hi"s with the guy and "how are you"s with the woman. I said something to her about not liking the wind and looking forward to it being at my back, to which she said, "This is Illinois, it's windy," in a tone that basically said suck it up, you whiny b****. So I flipped her off after she passed me.

I was not happy to see only water jugs at the rest stop. I was starting to get a little hungry and expecting to see bananas or something. I brought nothing with me except for my water bottles. No Gatorade, no Clif bars, nothing. Big mistake. I am a big fan of food. I get hungry easily. Last year I was much more responsible about that. Never count on someone else providing food (unless you're on the fabulous MoDNR Katy Trail bike ride).

It was 16.8 miles from the start to that rest stop. It took me an hour and 18 minutes. 12.9 mph. Not great.

The turnoff for the short route (31.5 miles) was just after the rest stop. I had been pondering skipping that extra 7 miles of the middle route, but I talked myself into soldiering on, figuring that, at worst, only 3 of those miles would be into the wind and then I'd have the wind at my back. Due to last night's rain, one of the roads we had to cross was under some water, so we detoured to avoid that, cutting about 2 miles from the ride.

Peach Pedal
Corn canyon

This section of the ride was much easier riding, made even better with some company. Kathleen and her training team pulled up near me. She complimented my jersey and asked where I got it, and then we got into a conversation about trails around the area, training, kids, etc. Definitely helps pass the time. (Incidentally, she wasn't the only person who mentioned the jersey. Later in the ride another woman asked me about it.)

Bike jersey
Primalwear.com, if Kathleen or the orange jersey lady order from your website, I expect a commission. You have my billing address. It'll be nice for the money to flow the other direction for once.

I was dragging once again, this time because I was near-bonk status. I dropped back so Kathleen and her friends could pass. Another woman in the group mentioned that she was impressed how I kept my feel on the pedals (I have plain ol' platform pedals). She was wearing the shoes that lock into the pedals. If I ever get my road bike, I'll upgrade to that at some point. And then I'll probably kill myself the first time I stop. Coordination is not my forte. Still, it was nice to be referred to as a strong rider when I felt like anything but. The ladies continued on where the middle and long routes split. Hopefully they had a good ride, because they made mine nicer.

Peach Pedal
The day was heating up, so it was nice to have some shade. Plus, there are trees in the picture instead of just corn.

By this time I was just hoping I could hang on until I got to rest stop 2, which was thankfully held at a gas station/convenience store/laundromat (gotta love small towns). I was soooo glad that I had brought some cash with me. I don't always remember to...which would've been big mistake #2. I bought two Fiber One granola bars and a Gatorade. Nothing like eating all the calories I just burned, but whatever. I needed food. The cashier was having all kinds of problems with the register tape, so I ate/drank about half of my purchase before they rang me up. Ahhhhh.

From stop 1 to 2, it was approximately 14 miles. Not entirely sure due to the detour and my refusal to use a bike computer these days. It took me an hour and 5 minutes to get there. 12.9 mph again. Nothing like consistency.

As I finished eating, I started talking to a couple of guys at the stop. Both of them had kids around my age, and they were good for my ego. They couldn't believe I had a 17 year old. "You look like you're in your 20's!" Clearly the heat or exertion was getting to them, because no one would mistake me for someone in my 20's. But go on.... They told me how I need a road bike. Yeah, no kidding. Some day. We ended up finishing the ride together.

We had a pretty good pace going, and I was feeling much better. I was able to keep up with them without getting out of breath, and I never felt like I needed to drop back. We covered the last 5.8 miles in about 20 minutes. 17.4 mph. More like it! Thanks for the company, Wayne and Tony!

After getting home, J, Jr, and I went to lunch at a Chinese buffet. Towards the end of lunch, I was so tired. I almost could have fallen asleep at the table and did fall asleep in the car. I was just exhausted. I think it all goes back to the food thing. I came home and napped for 2 hours.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Learning to ride

After today's run and a little yard saling, Junior and I had another try at this bike riding thing. Yesterday he managed a couple of 7-second intervals on his own, so we're trying to build on that. He's not super motivated, but I told him that he could watch his movie when we were finished.

Getting on is still a bit of a challenge.

Learning to ride a bike

But he's doing better with riding with help (not doing "look ma, no hands!" or braking just because is a big help there).

Learning to ride a bike

Our goal today was a 10-second interval. He did it!

Learning to ride a bike

He was a little wobbly at time, but he's learning to correct it on his own.

Learning to ride a bike

And of course I'm following him to catch him if he falls.

Learning to ride a bike

But he managed 4 10+ second intervals, including two that were nearly 30 seconds!

Learning to ride a bike

He's sooooo close to really getting it! And if he does, he'll be the first of my 3 boys that I've taught to ride a bike! :) I have visions of rides to the pool and on the bike trail dancing in my head.

Mud Mountain 5K / 1-mile fun "run"

Woke up to a beautiful morning, and it's a beautiful day, too...but hot. Just right for an already challenging XC 5K! My cousin was running the race, also, so he picked me up and we got there about 7:15 to get our timing chips. I'd have traded another hour of sleep to start at 7 rather than 8!!

J. and Junior came right before the race started to cheer me on, take pictures, and wait until Jr's fun run after the 5K. He was already feeling the heat.

Mud Mountain

There were around 700 runners registered by race time.

Mud Mountain

The race is a fundraiser for the local XC/track and field booster clubs for the middle schools and high school, so it's a big group effort. It's very well-run. It also has good participation from past and present members of the high school teams. The superintendent of schools fired the starting gun.

Mud Mountain

This is my second cross country race run, and I figured I'd have no problem setting a XC PR since the previous experience involved crawling through mud pits and slogging across creeks. By the first mile, though, I was wondering. Between the heat and hills (and I don't think the hills were even that bad at this point), I was dying.

Mud Mountain
And it shows. I always want pictures from the runs, and then I see them and think how much happier I was before I realized how bad I look running.

I had started out ahead of my cousin but had to stop about .5 mile into the run to tie my shoe (recurring problem. Perhaps one day I'll learn from experience) and he passed me there. I passed him a bit later, but then I did some walking at the first water stop. He didn't, so he pulled ahead and, while I saw him from time to time, I never caught up with him again. I walked another time or two on a couple of the bigger hills.

Mud Mountain
Where is mommy? What's taking her so long?

The middle section of the run was through a wooded portion. I passed the singletrack trails where I dislocated my thumb in April. Thought about flashing them the middle finger but decided to be the bigger person and forgive. I was very happy to see the last stretch of the race, but that whole section was in the sun. Hot, hot, hot. There was one woman around me who looked to be my age, so I worked on slowly gaining on her. I passed her and pushed at the end.

Mud Mountain

J. took about 10 pictures of me running, and not one is flattering. In addition to being at death's doorstep, I was also stressing out bc my iPhone was freaking out. At water stop 2 (yep...2 water stops for a 5K, and thank goodness for it!), I drank half of my water and dumped the rest on my back. Some of it ran down my arm, so I was worried that my phone had gotten wet. That is, wetter than it already was from all my sweat.

I was a little disappointed as I crossed the finish line to see my time: 30:25.

Mud Mountain
Yep, there it is. Sigh.

I had hoped to finish under 30 minutes. It's still a PR for me by about 5 minutes, but I wasn't crawling this time! (Almost, but not quite). Still, my little boy was proud of me.

Mud Mountain
Or, you know, just glad it was over.

Of course, that wasn't the end of it. Once the 5K was over, it was time for the fun run. We had to walk over to the 1 mile marker and run the first section of the race backwards. I was kind of glad to get in the extra mile because I was scheduled for 6 miles today for HM training. Back across the grass we went.

Mud Mountain

**Sidenote: I made this trek many a time when my older boys and niece (who lived with me at the time) ran cross country in middle school. I wasn't a huge fan of cross country OR track & field: it was hard to get to the meets on time, the XC meets were over so fast that you barely saw anything, I seemed to always miss the kids' events in track because I was chasing Jr (a toddler at the time), and their times didn't mean anything to me. I'd always ask how they did and then follow it up with "Is that good?" I'm sure the fact that I've started running and now Junior is showing an interest is something of a bad dream to J.

Mud Mountain
Ready to run!

We had talked before the run about pacing. Jr. is fast, but he has no stamina nor desire to work to improve it. That's fine. He's 6. None of my kids have had that killer instinct at a young age. I encouraged him to run at a pace that he could keep up until he saw the finish line, and then he could pour it on.

Mud Mountain
I love this picture. He looks so focused. Also, cool thing: the guy to the far right in the white shirt is one of Jr.'s after school program workers. As he ran past, he called out "Junior G____!"

He listened to my advice carefully and promptly ignored it as soon as he heard "Go!" He sprinted off. I wasn't catching up with him. I'd told him, I'll catch up with you. I'll watch you. You go at your pace. Well, he got a ways, maybe 100 feet (I'm not so good with judging distance), and had to walk. We spent most of the mile walking.

Jacob worn out during the fun run

I'd say, "Just let me know when you're ready to run," and he'd say, "No, I think I'm just going to walk until the end." He wasn't at all concerned by other kids passing him. He has such a sense of himself. Sometimes I'd like to see him push himself more, but I'm also glad that he's comfortable saying, "Nope, I'm good."

Mud Mountain

He did run out the last stretch, though. I love the little grin on his face as he waves to his dad.

Mud Mountain

And, most important, he got his medal.

But he got a medal, so he was happy

So, all in all, a good morning. The rest of the day is about relaxing together. Church tonight, then a long bike ride tomorrow. I really need to get in some miles before the century in September.

Weekly stats:
Bike: 12.44 miles
Run: 11.6 miles
Walk: 1 mile
Gym: 80 min. elliptical; strength: 2x arms, 1x legs
Swim: 250 yards (100, 150)

Friday, July 23, 2010


I was in a little bit of a funk yesterday. I know what the problem is. I'm not accomplishing enough. I'm doing great on my training for the HM, though I'm not spending as much time on my bike as I'd like, and I'm getting to the gym and pool more regularly (though it's play time with Junior and not much actual swimming). That's pretty much all I'm doing, though.

I am not cut out to be a stay at home mom. I love to be at home, but I'm not good at it. I need a job to structure my life around. I lack discipline. So our house is messy, and while I'm with Jr. all day long (ALL DAY LONG), it's not quality time. So I feel guilty. And because I'm not keeping him busy enough, he's making me crazy. Between the guilt and energetic kid, I've been super crabby.

I know what to do about it all. Get him moving. Do some cleaning. Go to bed on time so that I can get up in the mornings. I feel much happier in a clean(er) house. Play with my son. You can never play with this boy to his heart's content, but if I know I've actually spent good time with him, his guilt trip (and Jewish mothers have NOTHING on my boy) won't bother me.

We did go to the pool yesterday, where he continues his fish-like ways. Every time we go, he wants to take the deep water test. They have to swim two widths of the pool. Yesterday, he basically swam one width of the pool before asking to take the test. He was tired when he finished! I was really proud of him. Just watching him swim, though, shows me how much he needs to get back to lessons. He has no form, and I know his swimming would be so much more efficient with lessons. I'm going to try hard to fit that in once school starts. We won't be working around football practice this year, and club practices won't start until late September, so we should at least be able to fit in ONE session of lessons.

We also had round two of learning to ride a two-wheeler. Jr. isn't super motivated. The only way I got him out there yesterday was because he'd started watching a video before supper, and I told him he couldn't watch the rest until he'd practiced riding his bike. Not much success once again. I think he may have managed 3-4 seconds of unassisted riding. After a bit, my husband came out to watch and was encouraging him. Junior told him, "Mommy will never give up on me...you know, because of the swimming thing."

After the above incident, I told him that, after that, I knew he could do anything if he tried. And he took that to heart. So maybe I've done something right this summer. Even if it was only one comment.


EDIT: So, after doing my whining this morning, I went and did something about it. Junior and I practiced soccer and did session 3 of "how to ride a bike". Soccer was fine, and he managed 2 7-second intervals on the bike without help. Progress.

Forgot to get a bike pic. Oops. Maybe next time.
We made banana bread and chocolate chip cookies (both darn good, if I do say so myself!) and then hit the pool after lunch. I swam 3 laps today...amazing how out of breath it makes you!! The last 25 yards were on my back. Whew. After the pool, we ran by the local bike shop to pick up our race t-shirts and numbers for Mud Mountain tomorrow. I'm excited! It's been since the 3rd since I had a race, and even though I don't have much chance of placing even in my age group, there's something about a race...
Feeling a little better now.

Weekly stats:
Bike: 12.44 miles
Running: 8.5
Gym: 80 min. elliptical; strength: 2x arms, 1x legs
Swimming: 250yards (100, 150)

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Junior has been wanting to ride on the bike trail with me, so today we decided to give it a whirl. By "ride", however, he means he will scoot on his scooter, and I will ride my bike. Images of myself toppling over as I try to make like a hummingbird and pedal in place surfaced, but I was willing to give it a go because he was excited (well, willing) about the idea. In my brilliance then, I thought to myself, Maybe he'll want to ride his bike on the bike trail, too. Maybe I should load his bike in the van, just in case.

Myself should keep her brilliant ideas to herself.

Here's how our little outing went.

1. Wrestle the seat of our minivan down (stow'n'go seating, my ass)
2010 Chrysler Town & Country 1
(In the interests of full disclosure, I have to admit that the problem wasn't actually with the seat or the stowing process but with my failure to slide the seat into the proper position before attempting to stow it. Thank goodness my 16 year old son came out before my head exploded and took the 7.2 seconds it took him to figure out the problem and fold down the seat.)

2. Wrestle my bike into the van. (sorry, no pictures. I didn't realize it was going to be a blog-worthy -- in my mind, anyway --story at the time)

3. Wrestle Junior's bike into the van.

4. Decide to go by the gas station and air up Junior's tires.

5. Drive right past the gas station.

6. Curse (quietly, so he can't hear me over the Sponge Bob video rotting his brain)

7. Circle back.

8. Wrestle his bike, which has become determinedly entangled in mine, out of the van.

9. Air up tires.

10. #8, in reverse.

11. Arrive at bike trail. He only wants to ride his scooter (which at least went easily into the car).

12. He rides his scooter about 10 feet and decides he'd rather run. I start to take the scooter back to the car.

13. No, he'd rather scoot.

14. Run.

15. Scoot.

16. "Why aren't you running, Mommy? Run along with me!"

a) because I ran 5 miles before you got out of bed

b) because you aren't scooting fast enough that I have to run yet

17. Scoot about 100 feet.

J with his scooter

18. He decides he'd rather run. "Can you carry my scooter?"

...but this is how most of the ride went.
Can you say "SUCKER"? And I looked much cuter in my mind than in this picture.

19. We run/walk the rest of the way back, me carrying the scooter AND his helmet.

20. As we walk, he holds my hand and keeps squeezing it. OK, I've been laughingly annoyed about this experience all day long, but my heart is melting right now remembering this. It was a very sweet moment worth all of the frustration.

P.S. Entirely unrelated. I was at St. Louis Bread Co. (Panera if you don't live in the St. Louis area) this evening. I was just there to drink a soda and use their wi-fi until Jocko was finished with the youth service at church, but I was struck by how good it smelled. I had just eaten dinner (and a candy bar. This, after barely succeeding in cramming my ass into a pair of size 10 pants at Target. Not pretty. I blamed myself, then realized/decided that they were designed for a Jr. sized girl.) and wasn't hungry at all, but I still wanted to eat something there (I didn't). Which got me thinking. You know how people say you could gain weight just from the smell of food?

Smellories = calories inhaled through the nose.

First speedwork workout and mile PR!

I, uh, volunteered my older boys to "volunteer" this morning working at a local charity. Once I overcame some resistance from Hamlet with a combination of reason, guilt, and "I said so", I realized that by sending them off I was also sending off the babysitters I needed to watch Junior while I ran this morning. Oops.

So I set the alarm for 6:40 (ugh...it's summer...that shouldn't be happening) and wonder of wonders even after a late night woke up at 6:20. And by "woke up" I mean was awake: alert and ready to go. So what did I do? Yeah, I laid there for about 20 minutes...but still, I was up when the alarm went off and actually went running as planned.

I'm still following the Runner's World/Smart Coach plan I have (I love having a plan! I love being able to check off each workout. I love having someone tell me what to do...bc I have no clue on my own.), and today's workout was my first speedwork session. My mission (should I choose to accept it) was 5 miles: 1 slow mile warmup; 2x1600 in 8:47 w/800 jogs; 1 slow mile cooldown.

It was a beautiful morning and not overly hot...still in the high 70's, but humid. I had the track all to myself at the beginning, and later on one woman walked as I ran. I also got to watch quite a few people walk and bike past on the bike trail that's just past the track. I love our bike trails...there's always someone out there! Anyway...the workout.

Warmup mile: 10:20
Speed mile: 7:38***
(1/2 mile recovery jog): 5:57
Speed mile: 8:02**
1/2 mile recovery jog: 5:44
Cooldown mile: 10:53

Let's take a moment to look back at those asterisk-ed miles. 7:38 and 8:02!! After running for a mile. I'm delighted. For some people, I know that's not at all impressive, but for me it's like breaking the sound barrier! One of my goals in June was to run a sub-9:00 mile. And I was three measly seconds away from running TWO sub-8:00 miles in one workout!!

I scrolled through the entire training plan for the HM last night. The goal pace is 9:22 for a 2:02:49 time. Now, my primary goal is just to finish the run, but that's sooooo close to a sub-2 hour time. So my "out there" goal is just that. I want to finish this thing in under 2 hours.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Pool etiquette?

I took my two younger boys to the pool tonight. Jocko has been all about going since I bought him some goggles. I actually bought Junior goggles, too, but Jocko made the mistake of mentioning that there had also been Bakugan and Batman goggles, so of course the basic (though more expensive) ones I bought are no good.
Anyway, spent a lot of time watching the kids go off the diving board while i treaded water and graded jumps and playing with them in the shallow end. I had intended to swim a couple laps, but both lap lanes were in use the whole time. While we were in the shallow end, a couple who'd been swimming in one of the lanes parked at the end and stood there talking.
I waited for about 10-15 minutes, and then I decided to ask if I could swim a couple laps in the lane...you know, since they weren't using it anyway. I didn't think it was any big deal, but they kind of looked at me like I had two heads. "I'd just like to swim a couple laps," I repeated, and they grudgingly allowed me.
Two it was, and that 100 yards had me beat. I have a loooonnnng way to go with my swimming...but that's ok, because I'll start looking for a sprint triathlon next year. Plenty of time, which, clearly, I'll need.
So my question is...did I violate some kind of pool etiquette by asking to use the lane that they were standing but not swimming in? What would be the right way to handle that?


My MIL was kind enough to watch Junior so that I could go in to work for a while. Once July 4 hits, I start mourning the end of summer vacation...even though it's only half over. As you can imagine, I get little sympathy from my husband who has 2 weeks of vacation a year! I've found that, if I actually start doing things to prepare for the new school year, I start to feel excited rather than upset about it.

So yesterday, I accomplished an important first step in the process of getting ready for school: I stood in my classroom and stared at the walls. Hold your applause, because that's not all! I also deleted all the junk email I received over the summer and looked through a couple of files. Glad I got that over with. Next time I go in, hopefully I can accomplish something.


It wasn't all pointless staring, though. Some ideas for rearranging my classroom are percolating. If I hadn't gotten there as the custodians were leaving, lots of furniture would have been moved. Next time...

My goals for the rest of the summer are to get things set up (of course), clear off my classroom website and get it ready for the new year, go through all of my files and materials and weed out extra papers and hopefully find things I can use before it's time to use them instead of after (as usual). At the end of the school year I rearranged how I store my books and put them into groups by unit and season...normally once December hits and things get crazy busy, the same books sit in my independent choice shelves and most of them languish in their cabinets. This way hopefully I'll have a better rotation going.

Also ran 3.56 (yes, I want credit for every hundredth) miles yesterday. I was scheduled for 2 easy miles, but I needed to tack on some extra. I'm scheduled for 6 on Saturday, but I'm signed up for a cross-country 5K, so I decided to make up the extra miles on my other workouts this week. I guess it's not the same bc I'm not running for such an extended period of time, but at least I'm getting the miles in.

Weekly stats:

Bike: 12.44 mi
Run: 3.56 mi
Swim: 0
Gym: 0

Sunday, July 18, 2010

(Partial) Family Ride

After taking Junior to a swimming party today, I was very torn. Bike ride? Or hit the gym? The weather was great for a bike ride, but the gym was calling me because I just bought a new book and wanted to do some reading while on the elliptical. I mentioned to my husband that I wished I had someone to ride with, and he offered to go with me.

Surprise!!! 4/365
My husband is a lovely man, and a very athletic guy at one point, but he's no kind of bike rider anymore. No interest whatsoever. "It hurts my butt. It hurts my neck. My bike's too short." Etc. So of course I took him up on it.
Next hurdle: Junior didn't want to stay with his brothers. He can't yet ride his bike without training wheels and can't keep up with training wheels for 10 miles (the ride I was planning), so we offered to let him ride in the bike trailer. It's way too small for him, so we figured he'd turn us down. Nope.

Poor guy...he was regretting the decision about 4 miles into the ride. He was really cramped. (He wasn't crying; the sun was just in his eyes.)

I bike more, plus my bike is lighter than Jeff's and a hybrid rather than a mountain bike, so I towed Junior. It was no picnic pulling my 60 pound kid! I definitely got a leg workout tonight. :)

It's a pretty trail. Two legs of it are nicely paved...it's like riding on the road, only no vehicular traffic. One leg is less smooth, but it had this stretch of prairie restoration along part of it. Since Junior and I have read a couple of books lately that were set on the prairie, I was excited to get to point it out to him (and you).


We rode a little over 12 miles in an hour and 20 minutes, and after the first couple miles there was little whimpering from my husband, so hopefully I can get him out with me again this summer. It'll be difficult to get him signed onto a cross-country bike trip if I can't get him to ride cross-town.


When we got back to our street, I tried to race my husband back home, but he pretty handily kicked my butt. Maybe it was just the trailer, but Hamlet has also beaten me easily when I wasn't towing...so maybe it's just me.

Weekly stats:
Bike: 12.44 (1:20)
Run: 0
Swim: 0
Strength: 0