Best Laid Plans

A few 5 milers
Some Spins on the Bike
Frozen Solid Strides

I’m still hanging in Chi-town.  And let’s just say nothing is exactly going as planned.

A fun-filled healthy week.

Flu – party of two.  Pneumonia – party of one.

IMG_3800Goodbye high mileage runs.  Hello handful of 5 mile runs in the wicked cold (a slight nod to  Boston there…).

In addition, my sister and I tried to go out for her belated 30th birthday dinner.  My niece selected my jewelry…don’t you love it?

IMG_2741World’s best She She necklace.  Sadly, the world’s worst Mexican food.  Luckily the meal ended with a candid conversations with the owner and we left hungry, bill free, and wielding free tequila.  Still not sure how it happened, but it sure was fun.


Dirty 30 be darned…we shall not feast, but we shall celebrate!

There were a lot of disrupted plans.  In fact, this week I’ve spent a significant amount of time trying to decide if I should continue forging ahead with full marathon plans in 5 weeks.  I’m nowhere near ready…mentally, physically, or enduranceally (my new word!).  Those mental conversations with myself have left me frustrated, flustered and flummoxed.

So instead, I’ve looked at the last week’s events and trying to remember that sometimes, it’s not the end of the world when things don’t go according to plan.  My race schedule will work itself out, I won’t totally bomb Boston if I don’t get a marathon in before then, and sometimes life gives you limes and you get free tequila.

What best laid plans have been disrupted for you lately?
What’s your favorite naughty beverage?


That Chaps Both Sets of Cheeks

5 Miles
Frigid Strides

As I mentioned earlier, I’m currently in Chicago (or at least the suburbs).  I’m proud of my Chi town heritage.  In fact, I regularly sport my favorite Oiselle t-shirt….

I was trying to make up for my lack of miles and set out this evening for a 7-8 mile run.  But apparently Mother Nature had other plans.

Though I dressed like a layered freak…

Check out my cutie patootie niece and nephew

Check out my cutie patootie niece and nephew

The run should have been so scenic and serene:  a dusting of snow, barren trees, frozen ponds. It was the stuff they sing about in Christmas carols, how could it not be anything but lovely, right?



It wasn’t enough with the 20-30 mph sustained winds at a balmy 20 degrees outside so mother nature reminded me why I love So Cal by introducing snow 1 mile into the run.  And I’m not talking light fluffy flakes.  I’m talking about pellets of snow/ice that beat into my face.

So 7-8 turned to 5 and I returned home unable to feel either set of cheeks on my body or my hands.  I vowed to set up my sister’s treadmill in order to get through the next week.

And yes, I do recognize I’m a spoiled So Cal brat.  Yes I’m complaining about the bitter cold.  Yes, my kids opened swim trunks and t-shirts while their cousins opened fleece pants for Christmas…but to each his/her own.

When do you call it quits running weather wise?

A Not So Sweaty Christmas

In my brilliant planning I didn’t realize that peak week training would hit right at Christmas.


Despite the busyness , I still had grand plans to squeeze in my 22 miler last weekend.

Then this happened.

KleenexAnd then this happened.

Thank you $2 corkage fee and heavy French meal for destroying my 22 miler

Thank you $2 corkage fee and heavy French meal for destroying my 22 miler

And eventually I eeked out 7.5 very slow miles…which probably did nothing for conditioning and simply served to clear my sinuses temporarily.  Then I didn’t run for 5 days.

Instead, I spent my time flying across the country to see my family in the frozen tundra Chicago.


Some of you ate nice breakfasts at home for Christmas morning. We managed tacos on the plane for brunch. How LA chic.

And while there was a little of this


And definitely some of this

IMG_2713There was very little use for any of this in my stocking…

IMG_2702So as the fevers and coughs seem to be dissipating and my body is acclimating to the frigid air…perhaps I’ll dust off the old running shoes and get back on marathon track.

How was your holiday?
Did you get coal in your stocking?

True Confession Thursday: Random Conversations

Ran 4.25 miles Tuesday
45 minutes Trampolining Cross Training Wednesday
Bouncing Strides

It’s been a super random week here in Casa de Striding Mom.  It’s the kind of week that makes me glad for my family, my faith, and red wine.

Some snippets….

#1 – I significantly injured my hand this week – we’re talking major sprain or fracture.  Sadly the only thing I kept thinking was, “Hey, at least I can run, right?!”  (hello…#IAmWarped)

#2 – I had my sons’ birthday party this week (hence the trampolining).   As I carted a car full of kindergarten boys home I asked them if they liked to exercise and was met with a chorus of yeses.  When I asked what they like to do, I got the following responses.



If those answers don’t confirm the fact I live in Orange County, I just don’t know what will.

#3 – Strawberry was not happy with my music choices on the way home from the Holly Jolly Half the other day and was mad…like super mega mad.  It was ridiculous, because my mad 90’s party including fabulous hits like Third Eye Blind and Oasis was practically an Oscar worthy scoring of the weekend.  Vanilla was clearly impressed.


So Strawberry got creative and drafted up this precious little sign and posted it in the window.  I giggled the entire time while he kept grumbling, “Wait until the police arrest you!”.


In accordance with all good parenting handbooks, I informed him the failure of anyone to call 9-1-1 was a result, not of his fabulous creativity, but because he needs to work on his handwriting.  (His teacher’s been working on this at school…kid can spell congruent, but it’s hardly legible).

What are you grateful for this week?

What’s your favorite random cross training?
Other than the obvious trampolining, I actually dig a good roller blade once in a while…but only while I listen to Ace of Bass in my 

Holly Jolly Half Marathon Race Review

As I wrote about yesterday, on Sunday, the race director of the Holly Jolly Half Marathon gave me the opportunity to run the event.

The event was a smaller race.  There was a 5k, 10k and half marathon which totaled a little over 300 participants.  The half marathon had about 65 total participants.

The Course:
The course was a 2-loop course through mostly residential areas and bike paths.  The loop course also had several loops in it…I guess you could call it a loopty loop course.

Map courtesy of mapmyrun

Map courtesy of MapMyRun

Packet Pick Up:
They provided packet pick up on Saturday, but I was busy and showed up at 7 promptly (the recommended time) to grab my bib and bag.  There were several booths set up and I waited about 2 minutes to grab my goodies and go.

The Start:
It was cold, rainy and I had a warm place to hang about 5 minutes away.  I realized that only one lane of the roads nearby was shut down, not entire roads, so it was a pretty safe bet to head to the warmth until close to race time.

I literally showed up 10 minutes before the race started, got dropped off at the start/finish, did a quick half mile warm up and hopped to the front of the corral just as the race started, but not before I convinced two unsuspecting women to pose for my blog since I’m tired of Striding Mom pics.

Start & Finish Line

Start & Finish Line

There was a great starting and finish line set up.  The race literally started exactly on time (I actually think a minute early) and we were off.  I took off at the front and stayed up there so I didn’t notice any congestion for the first 6 miles.

The Race:
Since the race was run in the slow lane of the roads meaning there was traffic that could be a problem, there were plenty of Camarillo’s finest officers providing smiles and safe crossings through intersections – and most importantly ensuring you never had to stop to wait and always felt safe.

Aid stations and mile markers were everywhere you needed them throughout the course.  The one thing I wished was a little clearer was where to go.  To be fair, the race director did say it was your responsibility to know the course, but when you’re tired, you don’t care and I got a little confused at points (this is not surprising).

If you’re looking for a good race for your friends and family to see you a BUNCH of times, this is it.  My cheering squad followed me around the course passing me in the lane next to where I was running, then parking ahead and waiting for me to run by about 7 times.

The Finish & Loot:
The finish was fun…given it was cold and rainy, most people probably took off and it was pretty quiet.  I had a hard time finding the food and water (though Naked Juice was right there with a Pineapple Coconut juice to drink right as I finished).  It was off to the side and I was pretty cold and delirious when I finished.

I was also trying to explain to my children why I wasn’t actually being MEAN to them when I asked them to go to the finish line and wait, but that mommy was just being focused and tired.  Oh and apologizing for yelling “crap” out loud while they were within ear shot around mile 8, so perhaps I wasn’t super focused on finding the food and it might have been a little easier to spot than I experienced 🙂

I got my medal and a massage from the most amazing therapist ever (I can’t find her card, but will update it here soon!) and dug deep into a giant stocking to claim my prize (a holly jolly gym bag).


T-shirt and medal

T-shirt and medal

The Next Day:
One of the coolest perks of this race was the fact that you get a free digital and print photo from the race photographer.  Here’s mine below…I should get the unwatermarked one soon.  And yes, I’m leaping in the air both feet off the ground.


Yes I look a little more Halloween than Holly Jolly…I have no red and green in my running wardrobe.

This was an inaugural race, and for a first time event, things went pretty darn well.  There were a few kinks (some congestion with the 5k walkers at the end, being directed to run further than the course dictated, etc.), but I foresee a growing future for the Holly Jolly Half.

A Holly Jolly Win & PR

While winter hit SoCal in full force (read: rain & 40’s), I headed out to kick two items off of my bucket list courtesy of the Holly Jolly Half Marathon in Camarillo, CA.  Which two items you ask?

-An overall female win

-A sub-100 minute half.

I’m going to post a full race review of this event tomorrow, but here’s my personal experience…

I was lucky enough to have friends who lived 5 minutes from the start line, so I had an entourage to drop me off 15 minutes before the race started.


Obviously they were super happy since rainy, cold mornings are definitely ones you want to cart a crazy runner around town.  And I’m certainly not a neurotic mess before a race and have always been a morning person (waiting for my mom to comment here about how very untrue these statements are).

I realized this was my last chance to break my PR for a few months so when I went out as the very first woman I decided to go big or go home.  With the exception of one 10k runner, no woman passed me the entire race.

Remember when runners actually looked at the course instead of their watches

Remember when runners actually looked at the course instead of their watches?  It’s like a Garmin ad here…

When I hit the 5k mark in 21-odd minutes I realized I was in good shape – if I could do that again…3 more times.  So that was the mental game – break it into quarters and dig deep.

The only major hiccup came when I got to the loop turnaround and myself and one other runner were told to “run to the end” of which we assumed was the end of the street.  Notsomuch.  It was just to the turnaround sign, so the people who were about 20-30 seconds behind us all passed us as we added some bonus mileage and precious seconds to our times.

I spent the entire race being told I was the lead female by all of the spectators and the friendly Camarillo police officers who lined the course for traffic control and so I leapt across the finish line to celebrate (before I wanted to dry heave and wrap myself in heated blankets).  Several of the top male finishers told me congrats on my finish, etc.

Official Finish time:  1:39:16


1:39:16 finishing time…sadly it was probably sub 1:38 given my extra jaunt, but I’ll take the 1:39 and change. A PR is a PR right?

Sadly my little “win” bubble was temporarily deflated when I saw someone had run a 1:22 on the results list – which was entirely confusing for me.  Thanks to the top 3 men, they sought me out and verified that there was no woman running with them and it must have been a 10k-er with a faulty chip so the big “W” was rightfully restored to my little personal victory pocket.

Chances of another win happening again are slim to none, so I wanted to really enjoy this one 🙂

The coolest part about this race was that due to some amazing family and friends, the boys got to see me 9 times throughout the race.  It would have been 10 but at mile 10.5 they pulled up next to me and I kindly barked, “Go to the finish line I don’t want to see anyone anymore” since I wanted to just focus.


There was nothing like finishing and seeing their proud little faces to celebrate my little victory.  I would have taken a picture but my hand were too numb to use my phone’s camera.

As I was leaving I also met Janelle a reader, whom I did not get a picture of…so Janelle, if you read this and you have a picture of yourself from the race can you send it to me??

My question for you….

What’s the last thing you checked off your bucket list?

Elf On a Shelf – Try On Your Neck

Rest DaysSilent Strides

In all honesty, I wrote this post before everything happened in Newtown.  It was scheduled to post this morning and I caught it right before it went out and added this. 

Right now, running a race seems so it should.  My biggest priority is praying for the Newton community, hugging my kids, and comforting them.

For those of you who have kids…I urge you to read this article about how kids process events like this.  It’s written by researchers who study this exact sort of thing.  It provides great guidance and understanding as to how to handle this.  I got thrust into this headlong when my youngest woke up surprisingly early and happened to catch the TV screen that had the news on.  So we chatted about it all.


Tomorrow morning I am going to get up in the rain and wind to run the Holly Jolly Half Marathon up in Camarillo.  I keep reading about these awesome Elf on a Shelf techniques, but me, I’ll just wear mine around my neck.  Check out the medal.  Super cute eh?

Holly Jolly Medal

Thanks to an idiotic jaunt to my car in the rain running to my car the other night, I slightly twisted my ankle (I’m a sucker for that) and it’s a little swollen so I’ve stayed off of it running the last few days.  It should be all good to go for tomorrow though.

As far as the race, I’m really grateful to the race director Bill Escobar for giving me the opportunity to run this race.  I had high hopes to possibly make this a PR race, but c’est la vie, there’s always another race.

Any races this weekend?