True Confession Thursday: Mom Schtuff

3 miles
Slow Sweaty Strides

Some days, parenting can be so much fun.  I get to have conversations with littles that go something like this….

I take the boys out for a nice little dinner and Strawberry references the nice couple near us…Ummm…okay.

That nice couple....

That nice couple….is wallpapered next to us.

I also get fabulous little art projects sent home.  Nice elephant puppet, don’t mind if I do….

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Why yes that is a zombie elephant!

And then there’s days where I have to be responsible….ahem…school fundraisers….This week my kid’s school had an auction, and I have to say that I was so grateful by the support of the local running community who made some fabulous donations to make a Get Fit Basket for my kid’s PTA fundraiser (hey we gotta give ’em art and library books somehow).

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First of all, Renegade Racing (who ran the Laguna Hills Half Marathon) donated 2 entries to the iTryathlon (for a mom and child) and 1 entry to the Renegade Trail Series Summer Run.  They also threw in some water bottles, hats, and some sunglasses making the basket mega-awesome.

Showing off our bling at the iTryathlon last year.

Showing off our bling at the iTryathlon last year.  Both Strawberry and myself participated with our moms.

Nuun also donated a 4-pack tube and a water bottle to ensure proper hydration for these super fun summer events.  Or, for the more lighthearted use, they can always test out some of Oual’s Nuun cocktails.

nuun

Stay un-thirsty my friends….

A super shout out to the local Snail’s Pace which also donated some water bottles, socks, and a watch.

All in all…it was a basket I was insanely jealous of and wish I could have bid on…but alas, life calls and I apparently have parental responsibilities, a vacation and a wedding interfering with the donated events, but there’s going to be one fun family having an active summer out there! We can always count of the running community to pull through when we need.

When did you last see some running generosity?
At Boston right before the race (and the other stuff) the man in front of me gave me 2 of his 4 wipes because they were out of toilet paper and mine was on the bus.  It was such a touching (no pun intended) moment, because I would have probably paid handsomely for his loot to clean my booty.

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First is Worst…

10 Miles
Second Place Strides

First is worst, 
Second is best,
Third is the one…throwing a temper tantrum?

On Monday, the crew and I ran variations of the Laguna Hills Half Marathon, 10k & 5k.

The family that races together....ummm...gets up early together?

The family that races together….ummm…gets up early together?

First Is Worst
Leading up to the event was much dread, anticipation and hype regarding Strawberry running his 5k solo.  After much deliberating, coaxing and coaching…I decided to let him do it.  Mostly because it’s a small local race where he knows the course like the back of his hand and I know a lot of the volunteers.  But also because he was right, he could nail it.

While he didn’t run a PR, to pull off a paced 27 minute 5k solo was amazing.  He was so proud.  He even bumped into Monica on the course who kept him company for a while.  Mostly because gingers have to stick together.

Completely ganked pic from Monica.  Don't worry, I was the photog...

Completely ganked pic from Monica. Don’t worry, I was the photog…

His running solo was the worst….for me!  I was agonizing over it during my race.  Until I felt my phone on my arm (yes it was strapped to my arm) buzz around mile 4 indicating I had a text which I assumed meant one of the targeted friends/family grabbed him at the finish line (instead of a stranger), I was pretty mentally occupied with how he was doing, that and guilt for my behavior at the starting line (see third bold section).

Second is Best
Much to my shock, I pulled a 2nd place overall finish and a PR out of my behind yesterday morning.

Say what?  Who did that?

Say what? Who did that?

Clearly the field wasn’t super deep, so I was able to take advantage of this.  While I didn’t reach my goal of hitting the 42:xx mark – let’s face it, I was lucky to get the 43 and change given I have been basically running with zero speed work for…umm…about 2 months.

Things were peachy keen until about mile 4 when I started to bonk.  Realizing I was solidly in 2nd place didn’t help because I started to slow down a bit more there too easing back from the 6:40-6:50 pace I had been holding (hello 8 minute mile that snuck in there).

At mile 5.5 I asked the volunteer if there was a vomit cleanup ahead.  He laughed thinking I was joking but I was dead serious.  I had spent the whole time regretting the milk in my coffee that morning and whatever else was sloshing around my stomach.

At mile 6 I hated everyone and wondered why 10k’s were invented and why I hadn’t run the 5k and by mile 6.2 I was happy to see the smiling faces of the family at the end watching me gasp for breath like a 3 pack a day smoker climbing up 10 flights of stairs.

Vanilla also nailed a PR on his second race coming with a 32 minute 5k.  He was so thrilled.  We just stood around and kissed our medals to celebrate.  I also won a $15 gift card to Road Runner Sports, so it basically covered almost half my race entry.

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Third is the One Throwing a Temper Tantrum
While I have run races with my kids, I have never raced a race while they were running.  This, I learned, falls into the category of bad ideas.  Getting everyone up, to the starting line, while I’m in my jittery mood, was not quite what I expected and I was about as friendly as a grizzly bear coming out of hibernation.  So I may or may not have had a little outburst at the starting line.

My morning' s inspiration: old race coffee mug and a little Stevie Wonder

My morning’ s inspiration: old race coffee mug and a little Stevie Wonder

Long story short, I got everyone ready and jogged 1.5 miles to the start line and couldn’t find anyone as the race was starting.  So I kind of lost it and got snippy about answering cell phones, checking bags on time, etc…you know the important things in life.  Gah! Hindsight really is 20/20.  Whoops.  Luckily the family ignored it and brushed it off as exactly what it was- racetime jitters.

I eventually snagged Strawberry and got him in the 8 minute pace corral (and gave him a 5 minute lecture reminding him of all of the things he knows already) and hopped into my 7 minute part of the corral to set off to race and we all *mostly* survived.

What did you do this Memorial Day Weekend?

Would you ever race and play offensive coordinator for others on race day?

The Zinger

7 miles
Sane Strides

Sometimes you just need a good run with a friend to clear your mind, right?  That was my last run…

Anyway, sometimes life teaches you lessons in short, little, knowledge packed nuggets.  Case in point:  Strawberry has been NAGGING me about running a 5k solo (he’s run about 7 races, so he knows the drill).  I can’t make up my mind about him being ready for it.  So tonight we’re having the 15,238th discussion about said topic.  I am going through all my hesitations (again) and hit one of the biggest ones (yet again).

“What if you blow out of the gate too fast and then burn out and can hardly finish?”

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Unhesitatingly he quips out this zinger in a forceful, but emphatic tone:  “Mom, I know what you’ve taught me.  I don’t do that.

Dead silence filled the car as I sit there stunned and speechless (two things that don’t happen very often).

He reinforces the lesson by further explaining, “Mile 1, go comfortable.  Mile 2, get faster.  Mile 3, go even faster and at the end you go as fast as you can.  I can do this mom -you showed me.”

Crap.  Kid’s gotta point.

It’s these kick you in the pants, my kid’s growing up moments that are happening at a quicker pace than I realize and/or want.  For the last 8 years I’ve been next to him guiding, explaining, showing, modeling, and whatever else it takes to prove my point.  But tonight, in this moment, he was reminding me of one thing – he listened – or at least does sometimes, because every time I ask him to clean his room it doesn’t happen.

He’s shuffled next to me running enough times to know exactly what to do and honestly when his little feet hit the pavement, I don’t doubt for a second that he won’t be able to pace himself to get a new PR.

But this goes so far beyond racing, and seeps into every part of life – these precious little bambinos shuffle along beside you and learn (good and bad) how to navigate through this crazy thing called life and at some point, I have to cut the darn cord and let him go out and learn.  I only hope that he doesn’t clink his teeth on his fork like I do, or feel the compulsive need to rant or rave at every driver going under the speed limit…

Some days, he might go out of the gate to fast, other days, he’ll underestimate himself and fall short of his abilities…but the key word here is HE.  He has to do these things and learn.   Me?  I just really have to accept the fact that my role is changing- slowly shifting from doing to coaching.  Exciting?  Yes.  Scary? Worse than a Kardashian thinking of going in front of the camera without makeup.  It’s a slow transition, and I still have a lot of “doing” ahead of me, but these glimpses of the cord cutting, coaching moments only remind me that the days are going too fast.

When was the last time someone zinged you with one sentence?

Are you a too fast out of the gate 5Ker or a chronic underestimator?

The Best and Worst of Times

The other morning I was heading out to school donning a pair of running shorts, t-shirt and flip flops.  Strawberry being the little sassy pants he gave me this sage advice:

If you’re going to wear running clothes to take us to school, could you at least wear running shoes instead of flip flops so everyone things you’re going to run.”

Busted.

I get criticized for my clothing and he gets to dress like Barney.

I get criticized for my clothing and he gets to dress like Barney.

So true confession – sometimes, even on my rest days I just put my running clothes on because THEY ARE COMFORTABLE (okay let’s be honest, I sleep in a lot of race shirts).  But sporting the spandex leads to some interesting conversations.  Lately the conversation looks something like this:

I can’t believe there’s just a few weeks of school left.  Summer’s going to be great.  No routines, no school, no homework…..[insert parental sigh]….Oh my gosh, summer’s coming in a few weeks.  There’s going to be no routines, no school, no homework!”  [insert parental panic]

I’ve been talking to a lot of parental units about how to keep the babes busy this summer…beyond sacking out in front of a screen of some sort.

Yes I have boys, who by nature, are very active, but sometimes they need a little coaxing or nudging.  How do I “nudge”?

  • Kick ‘Em Out.  I literally tell them to get out of the house for 45 minutes or so.  Usually after 45 they are having so much fun that they don’t want to come back in the house.  Funny things like bikes and bugs usurp boredom very quickly.

    Yes we even play outside in the rain...though that happens about twice a year in California.

    An oldie but goodie pic:  Yes we even play outside in the rain…though that happens about twice a year in California.

  • Give ‘Em A Challenge:  My bambinos LOVE races.  We’ve done 5k’s, 1k’s, 1 milers, 1/2 mile races and mud runs.  If they pin a number on their shirt before, get doted on by a plethora of fans during, and get to get free food after…they’re usually good to go!   Get out and train together – lightly jog or and or speed walk together a few nights a week to prepare.
  • After a mud run...

    After a mud run…

  • Sports Sign On:  Most schools or community centers have local sports teams where kids of all skill levels can join.  We’re big AYSO soccer fans in our house.  With practice at least once a week and games, it’s a sure fire way to get the kids moving.  I watched one little fella on our soccer team this year struggle through his first practices, and slim down and got his little fitness groove on and his endurance had done a 180 by the end of the season.

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  • Summer Stroll:  It’s the simplest of all the solutions – go for a family stroll after dinner.  Sometimes we just walk up to the nearest Starbucks for a quick cup of iced tea, sometimes we just cruise the ‘hood.  Whatever it is, get the legs moving.  Bike, scooter, walk, jog, do whatever you can to shake your tail feathers together.
  • Dude, Where’s My Car?  I scour the mail, interwebz, etc. for coupons to places that are walking/biking distance from my house.  Last summer we made a habit of biking a few miles each way to a local smoothie shop next door to a bagel place that I had a ton of coupons for and we’d have a late breakfast.  Sometimes I slap on a backpack and the little bambinos and I schlep over on our bikes to get ingredients to make homemade pizzas with ingredients we buy from Trader Joe’s.  I always say, where there’s a will there’s a way.

I could write a list a mile long – but mostly, it’s about moving – especially together.  Start a neighborhood soccer game, go play catch, go for a jog and have your kids ride their bike next to you….just do something.

What are you doing to keep your bambinos active?
We’re doing a 5k together this weekend.  More accurately, they are running a 5k and I will meet them at the finish line after the 10k.  

Loose & Limber

4ish miles
Snippy Strides

Loose.

Limber.

Laid Back.

Yep, none of these describe me.

In fact, I’m not exactly sure how to describe my general demeanor, except that my family and friends pretty much tell me that you can spend 30 minutes with me each Wednesday night watching Modern Family.

Claire DunphyYep, Claire and I have the same awkward, passionate, one track mind, and uptight approach to life that makes us super fun to hang out with.  So, it’s not surprising that I constantly battle tightness in my ligaments and tendons.  Like…a LOT a lot..

Since Boston, I’ve been trying to stay on the offensive, rolling, twisting, stretching every which way to prevent tightness, but it just keeps migrating.  My work at home office, has gone from ergonomically correct desk work to looking something like this.

How do you teleconference at home?

How do you teleconference at home?

And like two teenagers incapable of keeping their hands off of one another, my lacrosse ball and I are having a pretty torrid affair these days….always connected at the hip (and foot, and calf, and hamstring…)

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Jealous??

My approach to staying loose and limber:

-Stretch.  Yep that’s right…a little yoga, a little light stretching whenever I can fit it in.

Foam Roller.  I’ve written about it before, but I try to make sure I spend some quality time with the foam roller.  For Mother’s Day, my foam roller got taken to a whole ‘nother level by upgrading to the Grid with trigger point technology.

GRID 1.0-Why Yogi?  I’m not super diligent about it, but when I am I do notice a big difference when I’m doing yoga.  Even if I’m not carving out a ton of time for it, I’m sure to do a few basic stretches (IT band flow, lunges, etc.) throughout the day.

I know there’s a million other ways to keep things loose and limber (ahem, a margarita might work from time to time right?!), anyone care to share?

Monday Musings

13ish miles over the weekend
Sentimental Strides

This weekend was one of nostalgia…on Saturday, my “big kids” graduated.  I’ve got my neapolitan crew (little kids), but I also teach at a local University (my big kids), so May is pretty special because I get to see them move onto bigger or better things…or with this economy back into Mom and Dad’s house.

In a world of Sheldons and Leonards I'm always a Wolowitz....

In a world of Sheldons and Leonards I’m always a Wolowitz….

Between that, the picture perfect weather,and still working through the burnout that was the Boston training cycle, I have just been running how far I want, how fast I want…Kind of fartleking my workouts.

No looking at a watch, GPS or anything…just run and check out the details later (wait…you thought I wasn’t tracking it?!?  Hogwash…I’m a runner, of course I’m tracking it, I just don’t have to look at it until later).

Have their been hills?  Yep….lots of ’em.
Have their been steady jogs?  Indeed!
Have their been breathless, pushing it runs?  When I feel like it.

But mostly, I’m just running however feels good at the time.

With a nice base run of about 5 miles 3-4 and 1 longer (8-10 mile) run a week, I’ve been clipping out around 7:15-7:40 paces on most of my runs….perhaps it’s the fabulous scenery….

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Dana Point Sunday Morning Run….me and 10,000+ of my closest friends

But mostly it’s because I’m relaxed and just running less mileage (more like 25 miles a week instead of 40…but even my 8.5 mile “long run” on Sunday averaged out around a comfortable 7:30 pace and I didn’t feel like i was pushing it that hard….so let’s go with it.

I know myself and know that if I run the Laguna Hills half marathon on Monday, I’ll probably die a slow painful death, have fun and push it really hard, melt into a puddle of sweat from the heat, push it and get hurt again.

I’m not in half marathon PR shape, and I know it.  I am, however, probably in a really good place to try and stretch myself to run a sub 42 minute 10k.  It will be a stretch, but I really think it’s possible.  So bye bye 1 half a month (though on a technicality, I ran a full in April, so that should count for 2 months, right?) and hello, smart, healthy, fun, unplugged running….

Do you ever run “unplugged”?

What’s next on your race docket?

Frankenshorts: The Bottom Problem

4.25 Miles
Speedy, Sweatastic Strides

If you’ve been around this blog for a while, you know I have a bottom problem:  I can’t find a short that I love, love, love.

Since I spent a significant amount of time in the 90’s sporting oversized men’s khaki cutoffs and American Eagle knee-length cargos, it seems that I am being punished for my shorts sins by spending my 30’s trying to find a pair of running shorts that work for me.

Check out these beauties...

These beauties + oversized t-shirts = angsty adolescent garb

This weekend I tried out a pair of new shorts (the North Face Better Than Naked shorts I snagged for $13 at the Boston Marathon Expo – SCORE!) and while they had some perks, I’ve decided I need to go all Frankenshorts and piece together what my absolutely perfect short would look like.

The Base:  LuluLemon Speed Short

LW7608S_6669_3Yes I know this is short, too short for some…but I apparently take the minimalist approach beyond my shoes to keep the tan lines as close to my swimsuit as possible.  I love the length of these shorts, but I don’t love a few things.  First of all, the pockets are hard to squeeze gels into and hard to grab during a long run/race.  Secondly, while I love picking flowers, chocolates from a box, and even my favorite dessert (who am I kidding…all of them!), I don’t like picking my built-in runderwear from my arse….so these get a big fatty epic fail in that department.

The Bottom:  Oiselle Rogas

graphite-rogaWhile Shakespeare may have wondered about being or not to being, runners often discuss to wear or not to wear…underwear.  I’m a big fan of less layers, so needless to say, I was grinning like the Cheshire cat at mile 17 or so when I saw this sign on the side of the road:

SMILE_IfYoureNotWearingAnyUnderwear_560I’m a big fan of letting my shorts do all of the work for me, and one of my favorite features of the Oiselle Roga is that I’ve met sports bras that move more than the runderwear inside these bad boys.   Those suckers are staying exactly put- holding firm around the tush and not going anywhere no matter how sweaty, long, slow or fast my run is.  I also dig the super comfy waistband to hold that little gift 2 of my 3 kids left me around my midsection – that is skin that I can pull up to my chin or drop down to my knees on command.  Yay motherhood!

My only complaint is the colored fabric (not the black) shows water VERY visibly, so if I’m going to do a super sweaty run and show up to school for pickup- I best be prepared to have some finger pointing, eye rolling and toddlers asking why I peed my pants…which may or may not be true.

The Storage:  New Balance Better Than Naked

10206524_alt1_lgAs a mom, I have to carry a lot of crap around (can you hold my Pokemon cards? How about this 3 week old kleenex? Oh, how about this snail I just found!?!).  And when I run, I don’t want to carry more than I have to.  These shorts have perfectly placed pockets that fall right above the bum and they are vented, so the sweat goes through.  You can easily carry 4-5 gels comfortably in these (better yet, you can access them easily as well with an elastic top to hold fuel in them).  During my dramatic run the other day, I was thrilled to be able to stash my key, a solid wad of TP and a gel, and still had a pocket to spare.  Nothing flipped, nothing flopped – I found my perfect pockets.  Honestly it’s like a built in fuel belt…love, love, love….

That said the fabric on the actual shorts is supposed to be super fast wicking, but it was so thin that when I started sweating it literally felt like I peed my pants.  I do that enough, I don’t need my running shorts to deceive me into a false alarm.

So there it is…my favorite features on my favorite shorts.  If I was talented enough I’d bust out the sewing machine and piece these bad boys together…but then I’d probably end up with no shorts at all, so until then I’ll just stick to sewing simple Halloween costumes, and hemming pants, and generally taking up closet space.

What feature do your shorts absolutely must have?