Watching the Ball Drop

The other day I walked into my local running store and was confronted by the question no chaotically busy running mom wants to hear.

“So what are you training for?

Umm….errr….binge cooking?
Marathon present wrapping?
10k days of not running?

I spent some serious time cooking roast beast for the 20+ Who's in my Whoville

I spent some serious time cooking roast beast for the 20+ Who’s in my Whoville.

But in all serious, my personal guide to surviving the holidays…

Run to keep sane, but not at the cost of my sanity.

I did decide to mix it up a bit and change things a little bit more by doing the following:

Run Away.  When the kids ask where I’m going when I head out for a run I usually yell, “I’m running away….[long pause]…but don’t worry I’ll run back.”  But one day I decided not to actually loop back and ended up putting a call in about 2 miles in “I’m running west until the big ball in the sky drops.”   About 7.5 miles later I got picked up at Starbucks and was sure to stink up Chipotle on the way home post-run with the fam.  They were only moderately embarrassed by my sweaty state of affairs and forgave it after one taste of guacamole.  I wish I were sorry but I wasn’t.

A Christmas miracle!  TP in the port-a-potty on the run!!!

A Christmas miracle! TP in the port-a-potty on the run!!!

Change the Surface.  While everyone was seeking out a very white Christmas, I was checking out my very white [cap] Christmas by bounding around with some fantastic views and SOFT surfaces to run on hitting up a long stretch of the coast for a very, merry run.  As an added bonus, my creaky bones were happy for the padded surface.

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Go Up, Then Come Down.  I had some new tires that looked a little TOO clean (I felt like a New Year runner fraud with my brand, spankin’ new shoes) so I decided to get them a little dirty….

New Balance I love you, but serious ANOTHER set of white shoes designed for long distance runners?  *le sigh*

New Balance I love you, but serious ANOTHER set of white shoes designed for long distance runners? *le sigh*

Eventually I got them nice and dirty by going up, up, and away on some trails….

So pretty....even the fog in the valleys....

So pretty….even the fog in the valleys….

So for now, I’m just running to run….I have a few things out on the horizon, but as for now, I’m ditching the regular routes that have gotten beyond run of the mill (all puns intended) for me and mixing it up with some new approaches.

What’s been boring you lately?

How do you mix up your runs?

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True Confession Thursday: The Void

The last time I ran was like 4 days ago or something like that.  So I could write something trite about it all, instead I’ll go all Virgina Woolf stream of consciousness on you and let you into the brief world that is Striding Mom today….

As I type this I’m trying to let my coffee kick in and the sun rise enough for me to safely sneak in a few miles.

I had great plans for this week to get my butt back on track with running.

But instead, I’m going to….

Thank Pinterest for increasing mom-guilt everywhere and make 95% of feel like crap on the last day of school before the holidays when we bring in “our things”.

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Be a “bad runner” because I let the chaos of the last few weeks not let me run.

I love my kids.

Secretly shame myself for letting social media tell me I should be running at least 30 miles a week.

Why do kids whine/fight so much?

Ground myself and remember that I have an awfully big plate compared to many and it’s awfully full at the moment with 3 immediate family birthdays in this house, Christmas and end of the year chaos.

Why run when there are Cowboys cakes to be made, and eaten?

Why run when there are Cowboys cakes to be made, and eaten?  Yes I bought it, but then I decorated it…this mom has half the time to do all of the work.

Drink another cup of coffee.

Add “take time to reflect and move forward as a family” to the to-do list this weekend (yes I realize the irony of this).

Oh yeah, I should go run now….

What do you need to get off your chest now about fitting it all in?

Renegade Santa Run 10k: Race Review

6.2 Miles
44:36
Santa Strides

Some days, you just wake up with a bad ‘tude dudes, no?

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With a wakeup like this, you shouldn’t be shocked when I ran up to some dude dressed at mile 5 at the Renegade Race Series Santa Run and I asked, “Would it be bad for me to tell you to go elf yourself?” 

Maybe it was the fact I was wearing a costume for the first time, or more likely the bow I tied to my head (who am I?) was cutting off circulation to my brain only leaving the crabby parts exposed, but it was not my day for good running.

Logistics:  Since UPS isn’t the one one concerned about handling logistics, I have to give Renegade a super shout out for nailing all of the finer points – solid registration process, on-time race start, great parking (right down the street even 30 minutes before the race started), good amount of port-a-potties, etc.

The one thing they couldn’t control was the weather.  As we were walking to the starting area we kept asking, “Is there a heater somewhere?” then realized it was actually crazy hot Santa Ana winds kicking up.

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In retrospect, the long sleeve shirt was TOTAL and complete overkill…why yes, that is my swimsuit with a fuzzy boa hand sewn on and a “For that Special Someone” tag to go with Buddy the Elf

Race:  The race itself takes place on the local running trails.  It got pretty crowded in pockets (particularly the beginning), but for the most part it was fairly smooths sailing.  *A word for those really trying to PR, get to the front of the starting corral because the first half mile can be really crowded.*  I had to ditch strawberry about .2 mile in because it was too hard to play Frogger through the crowds together…it was best for each of us to go solo.

For the 10k there are a lot of out and backs and turn arounds which make the race pretty interesting.  You can see everyone hustling along (including the guy who won the 10k, easily beating out many of the 5ker’s in the process…who runs that fast?!?!)  In addition, there was a lot of water, which was a fabulous thing given that it was hot and windy.

As far as my personal racing went – ehhh….so-so.  I went out too fast (surprising absolutely no one) to get out of the crowds, and then settled in a slightly uncomfortable “I’m out of shape” pace.  Then around mile 5, I just flat out tanked.  It was uphill, into the wind and I kind of just wanted to be in bed reading a book right about then, which is not my typical 5-mile in run attitude.  Eventually I realized I missed the 5-mile marker and was all disoriented as to how far I had left to go (I didn’t wear a watch or Garmin).  2 women passed me and I told them to have fun….then looked up to 5 seconds later to see the 6 mile marker.

Stupid…stupid…stupid…Sheila….

I felt like a total jerk wad, but I ended up sprinting right there at that moment to catch up and pass them at the end (I might not be PRing, but do like to compete) on my way to the kids and some cool shade.

Vanilla’s age wasn’t recorded correctly in the registration (oops, my bad!) or he would have placed 2nd in his age group – so kuddos to him on a fun, fabulous finish! Chocolate ran the Kid’s Run and took home a 3rd place finish making his little elf feet very happy.

Strawberry was bummed he didn’t PR (he still ran a 24), but he did have fun no less – I mean how could you not in that custom made Buddy the Elf costume?  We had other costumes in the group including the Grinch and Max the Dog and a DJing elf.  Apparently I can be very crafty and sew, paint and design costumes like a champ, who knew?

The Grinch and Max the Dog

The Grinch and Max the Dog

I totally stole this pic from Heather since mine all kept turning out blurry.

I totally stole this pic from Heather since mine all kept turning out blurry.

Post-Race Fun:  As soon as everyone finished the race (and I mean everyone) you got a super cute Santa medal.  After the race was a great costume contest and lots of things to do/see (snacks, a photo booth, pictures with Santa, etc.).  We cruised around for a bit waiting for the kids race (which was a long time to wait).  We didn’t win any of the costume contests, but Strawberry was thrilled to have a large captive audience to watch him do the worm while they were voting for him.

Overall, the family gives this race a 5 out of 5 candy canes on the Christmas race scale.  The crowds were big enough to make it exciting – very family friendly and well-run.  I think it will be on the list again for next year!

The Good, the Bad, and the Fugly Christmas Sweater

The Good:  Make ‘Dem Miles Count
Sunday morning I had it in my head to do 10 miles…then life happened.  Recipes needed to be cooked, kids were crabby, my headphones were gone, my morning was slipping away and I just took off out of the house without water, thoughts or a plan.

I didn’t have time for 10 lolly-gagging miles, so I decided to just make the 6 I did have time for count.  Speedy, interval-laden, forget the world around you miles came and went.  I was crabby, I fartleked and then I felt better.  The end.

Sometimes I’ve just got to remember that quality really can trump quantity.  On the right day, 6 high quality miles can be just as fulfilling as 10 easy peasy ones.

The Bad:  Don’t Go Dying on Me Now
Um…any miles under 7:30 had me sending very mean, awful thoughts towards my legs and lungs.  There was burning, expletives rolling through my head and glaring looks  tossed at innocent bystanders.  I’m not exactly in the shape I was a few months ago.  *pfffft*

The Fugly Christmas Sweater:  Costumes ‘R Us
I am not….let me repeat…NOT a costume runner.  I show up to Disney events as Princess Crabby Street Runner who dons whatever sweat wicking spandex I can grab out of my drawer before the 4am start instead of the tinky-wings and sequined doo-dads.  I love and respect the running costume, but am typically just too uncreative lazy to actually do something about it.

I was supposed to dress up for an audition once and…SHOCKER…I was a runnerd

Keepin' it classy

Keepin’ it classy

So SURPRISE!  Everyone should be totally shocked and amazed by the fact that not only the boys, but I, will be dressing up for the Renegade Troutman Sanders Santa Run this Saturday.  I’m busy sewing costumes (yes you read that right) that should be sure to shock, amaze and wow everyone….at least those under the age of 9.  I do my best to keep the standards low.

I actually wanted to dress as Uncle Eddy from Christmas Vacation but decided no one would get it and just think I forgot to shed my Good Will warmup duds.  Then I had the genius idea to wear neutral colored running clothes with a nighty on top and a “For that Special Someone” tag…but decided against it as this is a family-friendly race.  I’m working on final touches for my current getup now…

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If you want to see my terrible sewing or want to come check out the race, it’s not too late to register here.  The entire fam bam will be running the race as well.

If you use the discount code:  SHEILADISCOUNT you can get an additional 10% off.

Quantity vs. quality?  What’s your best measure of miles?

What’s the best costume you’ve ever run in?

True Confession Thursday: Decisions, Decisions

A while back, I saw a note that the Boston Marathon was opening up some limited entries to those who had some sort of impact from the bombing last April.  I skinnied down my experience and submitted an application.

To my surprise I got this in my inbox on Wednesday morning:

Screen Shot 2013-12-04 at 5.31.16 PM.pngOh my word yes, yes, yes a million times yes I want to go.  But then I came back down to reality and remembered life and responsibilities, yada yada yada.  So after some reflection and a pretend glass of red wine I got to thinking….

Thinking about the time it takes to train, the fact that the boys were pretty traumatized by my last trip and concern about how they will handle/worry about my being in Boston again especially with what is bound to be high media coverage.  Let’s face it, we talked about bombs for months after the event, nightmares were had, pictures were drawn and tears shed about the event and the worry they experienced.

Photo Courtesy of the OC Register when Strawberry first saw me after the race....

Photo Courtesy of the OC Register when Strawberry first saw me after the race..

I desperately want to be there to do my thing, but I’ve got to think of the impact of my attendance on the boys.  A little mommy resolution is not worth a weekend of anxious, worried kiddos.

Our happy reunion!

Our happy reunion!

So instead, I pinky swore Strawberry that I would run the Boston Marathon with him when he was old enough and qualified enough to do so.  That little nugget puts his mind to things and they happen.  And with that, I can likely say see ya in Beantown 2024!

And so my confession is the struggle of any mom, no less working mom.  There’s the struggle between what you yourself want to do:  train hard, be fast(er), and run all the things.  And what you need to do:  pack lunches, work the job, drive to practices, dig erasers out of noses, schedule doctor’s appointments, etc.

I have my resolve, but in this phase of my life…the hearts and minds of those little boys get to trump that.  So Boston, I will see you soon.  I don’t know when…but know that I’m coming for you in the future!