Whole ‘Nother Level

Weekly Recap
Monday – 4 Miles Running
Wednesday – 6 Miles Running
Friday – 2,000m Swimming (with super creeper dude), 4.5 miles walking
Saturday – 10 miles running, 1,200m swimming
Sunday – 10 miles biking (fast)

I really am TRYing to mix it up to prepare for the iTryathlon

The other day the following conversation took place in the back of the car:

Strawberry:  Mom!  Guess, what?!
Me:  What babe?
Strawberry:  [in abundant excitement] I HAVE HAIR ON MY TOES!!
Me:  Ummmm…okay
Strawberry:  That means I’m becoming a man.  Oh my gosh!  This is so exciting….

Clearly we both have grown up maturity levels

Clearly we both have grown up maturity levels

The rest of the boys then proceeded to find hair on any part of their body and declare their newfound steps toward manhood.

Just like Strawberry’s taking it to a whole ‘nother level in his manhood, I’m realizing I need to probably do the same in my running life.  While I have been running less miles per week, I have been running much speedier strides.

After most of my runs I’ve been looking at my watch and thinking I’m kind of a bad ass.  Now let’s clarify my bad ass scale:


1 is your crazy grandma and 10 is Lauren Fleshman.  Let’s just say I’ve been putting myself at about a 5 on this scale.

Before I get too far on my high horse, I realized it’s time to get some work done.  And I’m not talking like a starlet in her 50’s worrying about HDTV showing every nook and cranny…I’m talking about getting past the next plateau.

I can stay here, but I can also use plateau as a platform to take it to a whole ‘nother level.  It’s time for me to figure out how to step it up.  I’m not a coach, I’m not a crazy good runner with a ton of experience, but I know it’s time for me to start changing my expectations and reframing what my workouts look like if I want to step it up.  I should probably sit down and set some goals, figure out just how to set them and research what you’re supposed to do instead of my MO – winging it. #somuchwork

What are your best “next level” resources?

How do you plan/map your next performance goals?


On Why Swimming Hates Me

This week I’ve gotten in a more “typical” mileage pounding the pavement….but I’ve also been TRYing to get ready for the iTRYathlon here next month and so I finally mustered up the cajones to not just go tread water, but actually swim.

So this was happening this weekend.

So this was happening this weekend.

As I’ve mentioned before, I have a little bit of a love/hate relationship with the pool that involves a lot more hate than love.

What I Love:
I love that swimming provides a great full-body workout and when everything seems “off” I can workout and my starting to get creakier joints all fall back into place.  Oh yeah, and it’s good for me.

And that’s pretty much where the love ends.

But it’s So Hard:
So you know that moment when you’re at the pool and you’re watching a kid “swim” and are pretty convinced they’re drowning?  You send a worried look over to an adoring parent who watches beaming and you wonder wtf is going on?  The parent reassures you, “Oh no, they are just learning…they’re really okay,” and 10 minutes later the kid triumphantly emerges from their 7 meters of swimming?

Yeah that’s me.

Or at least that’s what it feels like.

Found this gem from my mom's FB wall - clearly swimming doesn't suit me well.

Found this gem from my mom’s FB wall – clearly swimming doesn’t suit me well.

The other day, I was genuinely enjoying swimming at the pool.  Okay I was struggling to focus on counting the laps on what I hoped was a 3000m swim (it’s so hard!).  About 12 laps in I noticed a man in the lane next to me waiting until I hit the wall then going under water and watching me swim.  A few laps later I started feeling someone touch my toes.

I thought I was surely imaging it so I waited for about 90 seconds on the wall to see if he’d go ahead of me.

No dice.

The second I pushed off from the wall I turned to find him watching me under water.

I came back and waited 5 minutes this time just to confirm my suspicions.  Sure enough he waited until the second I went under water and I turned back to see him standing (uh it’s a pool super creepy dude, you should be swimming, not standing there) under water watching me swim by then following behind me watching my butt the entire time.

Um…..uber creepy and totally violating.

I confronted the man who denied it, left the gym with a towel around my waist, sans the shower or proper cool down, and let the manager know how inappropriate it was.

So even when I really, really try to like swimming, it slaps me in the face and tries to make me hate it.  *le sigh*  That said, I need to keep it up and at least hit the pool a few more times before the iTry at the end of August.

What’s your best/worst swimming experience?

Are you a swimming lover or hater?


Since Heather’s pretty much awesome and can do anything (run a marathon, raise amazing kidlets, train for an ultra, etc.) she’s been talking up the Renegade iTryathlon.  Last year was a blast (read about it here), and I was uber bummed to realize we were going to be camping that weekend and I couldn’t do it…until.

We canceled our camping trip.

There’s a lot of reasons why, but the perk is….the boys and I get to participate in the race again.

Showing off our bling at the iTryathlon last year.

Showing off our bling at the iTryathlon last year.

Last year Strawberry was the only one young enough to participate in the youth iTry, but this year the littles are all ramped up to do so!  That’s the beauty of this race – it’s women and kids so it’s super chill and super fun.

That said, I am now on the 1 month sprint triathlon training plan.

So far I have:
-Run a bunch
-Floated in the kiddie pool playing 3 Flags up last week
-Looked at my bike and remembered it needs to go to the shop

Clearly I’m super prepared for this.

But my lack of “readiness” is exactly what is so great about this race – it’s really about TRYING.  During the race last year, I yelled at people (in a nice way!), I sang, I cheered, I was silly.  I kept telling 13 year-old boys that they better beat me or I’d tell their friends.

I may have taken the run seriously....

I may have taken the run seriously….

I also learned I look like a huge dork on my bike. #runnerproblems

But I learned I look like a huge dork on my bike. #runnerproblems


Plain and simple.  While the crazy training schedule could improve your performance and will most definitely abate your fears, the TRY part in the iTRYathlon is what really matters.  I pretty much think “transition time” is how long it takes me to get out of the shower and into my car, that “drafting” is what happens with your beer at happy hour, and  that “bricks” belong on your house and not in a workout.  So I’m obviously a total rookie in this triathlon thing, but I can’t wait to give it another go.

Have you ever tried a Tri?

Of note….Renegade is giving the boys and I the opportunity to run this race, but these are my honest thoughts on the whole schtick.  I paid fully for this last year and would have happily done it again for the boys and I to have this experience as it’s a total blast. 

Going The Distance

10 miles running
2 miles walking
~8 min miles

Still Got It Strides

The other day I’m pretty sure I uttered the words, “I couldn’t run a half marathon if my life depended on it.”

I think I told the boys I’d strap them to the top of the car for the ride home f they didn’t listen at Target, so let’s not go too crazy reading into it.  I mean, if there were cupcakes involved or my children were in danger, I’m pretty sure I could have busted out 13.1, but in my mind there was no way I was in shape to handle it.

Let’s face it – 5 mile runs have been exhausting and have felt like 20.  The miles are paralyzing and thanks to some humidity and craptastic fueling, I actually called the saggin’ wagon only 4.5 miles into a run this week.

Screen Shot 2013-07-20 at 1.00.03 PM.pngI woke up feeling rested – pounded some caffeine and carbed up ready to see what the morning held.  Let’s remember, I haven’t run double digits in one session in months.  

Since I was feeling a little masochistic, I went out to a nice, hilly route and waited to see what happened.

Miles ticked by 3, 4, 5…still feeling alive.

6, 7, 8…still feeling great.

Just before 10, called it quits so I could do it again.

Honestly, I know that endorphins and runner’s stupidity could drive me to go further than I should, so instead I decided to power walk for a few miles the rest of the way home.  No need to get hurt.

Crazy Runner's High

Crazy Runner’s High

This only reinforces my “morning’s are best for me” running mentality.  Afternoon running will work when it’s necessary, but let’s stick with the morning as a preferred time to get the miles in.

When do you run best?

Have you had to call the saggin’ wagon this summer?

Confessions of Mother Runner

5 Miles
Sanity Stretching Strides

I often talk about running with the boys and get a lot of head scratches thrown my way, so today I thought I’d share my experience with you.

The Goal:  6 miles around an 8-8:15 pace.

The Start
The boys have been waking up early so I was excited to get a cool, early start while the marine layer was still blessing us with some sweet relief from the sun.  Yet the clock ticked by 6:30, 7, 7:30…until about 8:30 when the last kid woke up.  Seriously dudes, every other day this week you woke up the moment the sun cracked it’s sleepy eyeball awake, but today you choose to sleep in?

Buh-bye marine layer, hello blazin' sun.

Buh-bye marine layer, hello blazin’ sun.

The Wheels
While I was contemplating difficult decisions like which sports bra and shoes to wear, the boys were getting suited up for bike rides.  One kid had a busted bike tire, so I spent a good 5-10 minutes convincing him that scooters are just as awesome as bikes.  I gave it my best Infomercial work and eventually he bought it like a Shamwow!.

The “Run” (let’s use that term loosely)
Mile 1- Somewhere a half mile in (which how we made it this long without a major issue was pretty much a miracle), the two on bikes got their communication chains crossed and one kid ran square into a mail box and went flying off his bike.  Surprisingly the only damage seemed to be a bruised ego.  We recovered & found the bike trail – 1st lecture on bike path etiquette begins.

Mile 2-   Despite my lecture approximately 90 seconds ago (sigh), one child keeps hugging the middle line cheesing off the mega-bikers coming at us.  The “How much longers?” and “Are we going as far as last time’s?” begin.  I start loosing my patience and declare such in a thinly veiled, “Please just listen, I’m losing my patience right now” (I have a knack for subtlety).  After the second “how much further” I resort to bribery #1 – we will stop at the creek and explore for 5 minutes if everyone stops complaining until we get there.

Mile 3- Dead silence until the creek.  Who knew, bribery works?!


Since we didn’t find the Loch Ness monster we opted to head for home and within 30 seconds, Vanilla’s helmet starts losing the plastic layer covering the foam and I wait for his emotional dam to break (he’s not my most patient of the crew).  As I see the cracks form and the whining from all 3 intensify, I bust out bribe #2 – anyone who doesn’t complain the rest of the time can have an ice pop when we get home.

Mile 4:  We’re almost home, but I tell them I want to “show them a new trail” and let them ride their bikes down the wash to buy myself some extra mileage.  I turn around to find Chocolate’s Razor handle twisted the wrong way and have to realign the entire thing while everyone sits on the side of the wash  By the end of the mile, Vanilla is onto my game, “Did you just make us go further by going this way?”.  #busted I pretend to ignore the comment and mutter something about popsicles and being nice to each other.

Mile 5:  In a veiled complaint, one child mentions they would rather be doing something else and I explain sometimes family members should to make sacrifices in their time to help one another.  Visions of ice pops must float through his mind and the conversation ends quickly.

Once gain, the Razor gets misaligned, so we make a pitstop to fix that while I secretly wish my running shorts could fit a wrench because it seems bikes & scooters break down regularly when we’re trying to run together.  I can see we’re losing steam with about .7 mile left to our driveway, so enter Bribe #3.  I promise a nice cold pitcher of iced Nuun when we get home after popsicles – kids choice on the flavor.  I immediately realize I must dash into the door first and pull the caffeinated cherry lime from the box o’ flavas or face the wrath of 3 tasmanian devils tearing through my house for hours on end after imbibing the hydrating goodness.

The Finale:  As promised – popsicles before 10am -desperation to offset the perspiration.

IMG_4146The Finished Product – 40 fingers, 40 toes, 4 heads and zero major injuries.  5.29 miles – and guess what, I accidentally canceled the Map My Run save in my hurry to get the ice pops, so I didn’t even see my splits.  But, from what I had seen we had about 7:45-8:15 splits.  While there were moments of frustration, there were also a lot of giggles, jokes, ridiculous puns and awe-inspired moments as we explored the creek, found birds, and relished in the somewhat complaint laden time with one another.

I know these days where the boys actually are little boys and not grumpy adolescents are slipping through my fingers way too fast.  A little short of my goal for the day, but for a Sunday Runday with kids, we’ll call it a win! 

Race Review: Renegade Summer Trail Series 5 Mile

5 Miles
Summer Trail Strides

Since I am out of race shape and haven’t been running, I did the smartest thing you could do – go sign up for a 5 mile trail run (Renegade Race Summer Trail Series).  Actually, it was a last minute decision fueled by some canceled plan changes and the desire to try something new (plus Heather can be awfully convincing).

Getting Started


Registration & Checkin- This was prior to my pre-race snooze

I was told to get there early and actually listened, but it was unnecessary, the registration and check-in was so smooth and I was done in about 5 minutes.  With the extra time, I curled up with my bag and took a little rest/nap.  This is exactly how to prepare for a race #badadvice.

At check-in, you got the choice between a t-shirt and BBQ ticket. They had me at the B in BBQ.

The Loot
I initially ditched the goodie bag, but after the race I saw someone pull out a box of Starbucks Via Iced Coffee and I accosted one of the poor teen volunteers and held her against her will until she found me a bag. Nothing says I love you more than caffeinated beverages (all the extra loot was good too).

Oh So You Have to Run
Once I accepted the fact this wasn’t a $30 nap, I meandered over to the starting line sans warmup.  Fail.  The race started a few minutes early which was a surprise, but this chip-timed trail race got off without a hitch.

The Start that says Finish...

The Start that says Finish…

Let me reassure you, this was no walk in the park.  This course is 5 miles with almost 1,000 feet of incline on loose trail.  After about a mile of nice flat trail, you go up on a very hilly ridge for a few miles and then down and loop back nice and flat to the end.

As with trail races, course support is lean, but Kelli was out there handing out Icee’s (for great pics of the course check out Heather’s review – it’s mega awesome and comprehensive).

It was a tough course and I’m certain my splits were as consistent as Amanda Bynes’ behavior, but I finished with a 37:53 (7:35 splits) and a 7th place female finish.  I actually had a really nice finish which I justified as looking for an excuse to pee my pants (wish I were kidding).


BBQ & Bottle talk

BBQ & Bottle talk

The one downside is the lack of water…in a summer race, it was a bummer to have to search out water.  My one criticism/request would be to have water there right when you finish.  I suppose if it was THAT problematic I could have carried my handheld water bottle, but I was a complete and total lazybones.

After the race Heather, Julie and I parked it for some burgers, laughs and general complaining about how no one in our houses clean water bottles but us.  But if you have kids (and actually bring them to the event), it’s a great event with kids races, medals, and plenty of room for them to run around.

Overall – I loved the experience and had a blast torturing myself in the heat.  This race was part of a 3 part trail series.  I missed the first one in June, but am hoping to catch the August 1 race.  If you’re in town and looking to push yourself for 5 miles – you should check it out.

Do you ever run trail races?

Get in Shape Girl

10 Miles
Switching it Up Strides

Yesterday I finally hit a double digit day.  This hasn’t happened since, um…May.  And yes, in the back of my mind I was thinking about this:

Screen Shot 2013-07-10 at 6.51.38 AM.png

Please tell me I wasn’t the only one who insisted on having a plastic chin up bar installed in the bathroom doorway of my childhood home….anyone, Bueller?

Anyway, getting back to the topic at hand – I’ve let myself “running go”.

Could I run a half marathon right now?  Um….no, not without
A-wanting to die
B-get injured
C-hate myself.

So in Sheila-land I’m kind of out of running shape since I like to be able to at least go and do a half marathon at any point in time, it’s kind of the baseline for me.

I could make a list a mile long as to how I got here, but let’s sum it up – young, busy kids, work, the ice cream truck, and a few major life changes including a move and a trip back home to see the fam..

Summer lovin'

Summer lovin’

Where Am I Going?
To be honest, I don’t know…Right now I’m locked into one like a clingy teenage girl and the other I’m flirting with like it’s Friday night and I want a free drink.

-One certainty is visiting my friend Kevin at RauschPT to get a Run Right Assessment.  I know my form’s gotten out of whack and I’m tired of it and the aches and pains it brings.  It’s time to get rid of the janky right leg once and for all.

Janks be gone...

Janks be gone…

-The more noble but exhausting option I have is to really do something I’ve talked about for years – work on getting my half marathon time down…..like by 4 minutes.

To be honest I have REALLY mixed feelings on this.  I love running, I love competition and I love challenging myself (that’s a whole lotta love), but I’m also sorta in this place where I’m wanting to be sure I don’t take the fun and joy out of the sport I love by setting a really hard goal for myself.  Oh yeah, plus the thought of actually working on a goal right now sounds exhausting.  So I’ll just go all Bachelorette on this one and stew on whether or not to give this idea my final rose, and that will probably take a few more weeks, but it’s out there.

Did you remember Get in Shape Girl?

What goals are you working on these days?