Friday, January 13, 2017

Marathon Training, Ready or Not

Happy 2017! I hope the new year is off to a good start for you and your family. 

The last time I ran a marathon was October of 2013, the Chicago Marathon. I had to check my records to confirm that. The last big race I trained for was the McKenzie River Trail 50K in September of 2014.

Talk about sweet race views!

Between pregnancy and having/raising Henry (who's now 19 months old), that's a long period of time I've been out of the long distance training game. I don't feel I have something to prove, but I've also felt like I'm not quite done with the marathon.

So, I've joined Run Hub's training program for this spring's Eugene Marathon. It's a flat course, it will be easy logistically to run (because it's in my home town) and takes place in early May, so will hopefully be decent running weather. And, the manfriend and I are signed up to run the Peterson Ridge Rumble 20 miler together in April, so I'll be doubly inspired to fit in the mileage.

We've had some wacky weather around here, so just getting out for a run has been more challenging than usual...



Have Stabilicers. Will run. 

I'll admit that the biggest reason I've signed up to train for the race is that the coach is four-time Olympic Trials Marathon qualifier Brett Ely. I figure it's a cool opportunity to have a personalized training plan (a first for me!) and the extra motivation a coach and team offer. While I don't currently have goals to PR, I'm simply hoping to train hard and enjoy the process of getting stronger.

Weekly stroller run from the store with a few friends. Not easy. 

Fitting in runs is one thing, but fitting in hard workouts and long runs is another ball game when you have a little one. Last night was the Thursday speed workout, which happens to take place at the track right near our house. In order to make the workout, I had dinner ready and on the counter waiting for the manfriend. Then I bundled up H and put him in the jogging stroller for the warm up mile. As soon as Pete came home, he met me at the track and I handed over the stroller to hop in just as the workout started.

Last night's workout: 3-4, 4x400m (5K-mile pace), 1 min between 400's and 3 min between each set.

I joined a group that was a bit faster than me, so I lagged behind a few seconds, but they definitely pushed me to give it my all. I don't think there was a 400m where I actually ran my 5K pace. Most were quite a bit faster.

It was all I could do to hang on for 3 sets and then decided to cool down for 1.5 miles. Typically, I'll hang in for the longer version of the workout, but last night was cold (25F or so) and I haven't been doing much speed work, so I'm trying to be smart about it.

Speaking of being smart, this morning I went out for a 20 minute eeeeasy recovery run (~60-90 sec/mile slower than goal race pace). I don't know, but I have a hunch I'm going to need to start paying attention more to my pace on the easy days when the training plan gets underway on January 31!

And in New Years chatter, is anyone else still trying to recover from the holidays food bonanza? I still have a happy little belly thanks to those Christmas cookies and chocolate I was given or baked on my own free will. :)


Random things that boggle my mind:

  • How do people keep track of, save, back up, organize all of their photos? Same thing for music.
  • Why does the bone on the top of my left foot always hurt after a long run or hard workout? It doesn't hurt the majority of the time, but it does hurt regularly. 
  • How do people with full time jobs have time to go shopping, cook meals, take care of their kids and clean their house? 
What boggles your mind these days? Happy Friday, friends!

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Appreciating the Season

The way I feel this holiday season likely isn't drastically different than I've felt in the past, but the older I get, the more I notice myself appreciating the season. You know, that special feeling you have just walking around doing errands, feeling the brisk air on your face, planning meals or dishes for family and friend gatherings.


When I'm out and about or going for a run in the cold, I feel especially thankful to be able to jump in a car or come home to a warm house, something I know not everyone is as lucky enough to do. I wish that every month, week, day of the year I could feel as lucky. So lately, I've been thinking about how I might be able to extend this feeling of thankfulness throughout the year.

Ice trees from my run on Sunday - a balmy 27F!

Right now, I've been thinking of it as a gift just to be able to get together with friends and family. In fact, if it were up to me, I'd like to seriously rethink the gift giving situation. I find that gift giving feels very stressful because I never know what people really want or need and therefore get overwhelmed trying to find gifts that people will truly use and appreciate.

One of my biggest pet peeves is letting something go to waste and I surely wouldn't want to give something that is just going to sit on someone's shelf or get tossed in a donation pile. Anyway, that's all to say that I like in theory the idea of gifting, but not how it actually plays out.

But I hopped on here today to talk about the Christmas spirit I've been feeling and hope you are feeling a bit of that too. Even as an adult, the magic of Christmas still holds true.


A few of my favorite things this time of year: Sitting by a twinkling tree, cuddling up with a hot mug of tea or cider and watching a holiday movie (Christmas Vacation, Grumpy Old Men, Love Actually), reading the Polar Express, baking cookies, the anticipation of Christmas Eve & opening stockings.

I really enjoyed this post from Cup of Jo about holiday rituals. I spent a good 10-15 minutes reading through the comments of what others do on Christmas/Christmas Eve. So many fun traditions.

What are you doing for Christmas Eve or Christmas Day? Is there a specific meal or food you eat for either day? Some of our friends here in Eugene go snowshoeing and I love that idea!

Happy Holidays and I hope you're staying warm and healthy! 

Friday, December 9, 2016

Race Recap: Turkey Stuffer 2016, a Surprise PR

A race recap and a blog post? Two things you haven't seen around here in a while. I don't race much these days, but I do like posting these recaps if only for my own reminder of how I've done over the years at various races and to see how my running ebbs and flows.

I don't know about you, but I don't have all of my PR's memorized. I know my half and full marathon PR, but not my 10 or 5K. So, when I started writing this post, I had to do a little digging. From what I can tell, this year's Turkey Stuffer 5K was a PR by 2 seconds. Who knew?! When I crossed the finish line, I certainly didn't think I had just PR'ed.

In 2011, when I was doing a LOT of running, I clocked a 22:18 at a local Oregon Track Club 5K. My official finish time for the Turkey Stuffer 5K was 22:16, a PR. Whoop!

Here's a run down of past Turkey Stuffer times that I could round up: 2007 - 24:06, 2008 - 24:05,  2009 - 23:07, 2014 - 26:36 (3 months pregnant) and 2016 - 22:16!


I don't have any action photos, but here's how the race went. It started at 8:30 a.m. and is a good 20 minute drive from our house, so I left around 7:45. I got parked and ready by 8:05 a.m., grabbed my bib, crumpled it for best fit (moves much better this way) and went for a short 10-15 minute easy jog. 

In my experience, the slower, longer warm ups for 5Ks do me well. In fact, I would have liked another 5-10 minutes to warm up and do strides and stretches, but I left a bit late for that. 

I lined up with ~5 minute until start time, took off my long sleeve and we were off! This race weaves through neighborhoods and loops you back so you get to see other runners and walkers once you've hit the halfway point, which is always nice for a tired mind and body. 

Per the usual, this was a painful race (as 5Ks should be). I didn't press the start button correctly on my watch, so didn't start clocking it until .4 miles in and then just used the Garmin for current pace. I was running around 7:00-7:20 pace most of the race, which I knew I could sustain just long enough. 

Mile 1 hits and I think "Okay, just get to mile 2." Then, I think "Oh, lord. One more mile. Not sure if I can do this. It hurts so bad."  And before you know it, you're rounding that last neighborhood corner and heading down the last straightaway before ducking into the parking lot finish line. On the home stretch, I push it just enough that I wonder if I might hurl at the finish line. Thankfully, I don't. 

I definitely felt fast, which was fun. I had been doing weekly speed work for the last 5 weeks or so prior to the race, so it felt good to see the fruits of my labor. 

These days I'm wearing and loving my Mizuno Wave Inspires, which were recently updated and made much softer and just seem to fit my foot well. If you'd told me I'd be wearing and loving Mizunos previously, I wouldn't have believed you. But working at a running store has sure changed my view on running shoes. I no longer stick with the same brand and model of shoe because there are several that feel good and work well for me. 

After the race, Pete and little H joined me for some pool time. The race is a fundraiser for the local parks and rec department, so they let participants and their families swim free at the pool where the race starts and ends. Henry had a great time and of course didn't want to stick to the warm baby pool, but required we take him into the deeper, big kid pools. 

Did anyone else do a turkey trot? Tell me what fun things are on your Christmas/holiday 'to do' list. 

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

The Calm Before the Storm

Just popping in for a brief chat. It's 10:00 pm, the house is quiet and all feels peaceful. Despite last week.

If we were having a late night coffee chat, I'd tell you... 

Pandora's Relaxation Radio is playing in my ears, but I've been tempted to switch over to Christmas music. And I'm not usually one of those let's celebrate early! types of people. Maybe it's the election or maybe it's seeing that other people have started decorating early on social media?

I don't know about you, but I've always done my best, most creative work late at night, and often on a deadline. Anyway, tonight, I know I must be tired, but I don't feel it. It's like my brain forgot to tell my body I'm running on 5.5 hours of broken sleep.

I'm toying with the idea of signing up for the Eugene Marathon this spring and training hard for it. But then again, that sounds like SO much work.



But I have already decided I'm running two long(ish) trail races in 2017 — Hagg Lake 25K and Peterson Ridge Rumble 20 miler (the manfriend will be running it too!). For whatever reason, the trail races don't get me all psyched out like a marathon does. I guess that's because the trail vibe always feels like "Hey, enjoy this beautiful scenery!" rather than "Don't stop for any reason whatsoever. Just keep going no matter how much it hurts."

Henry found my retainer I've been missing for a few years now, so I cleaned it and started wearing it again. Here's to hoping my teeth will go back to where they were.

While I know H is not yet able to do much crafting, I still want to do all the holiday crafts, even if that means I'm doing 99.9% of the work. Lindsey and I made turkeys with the boys last week. The only work they had to do was let us trace their hands and try to rip off the turkey's eyes.



Sitting here on the couch in quiet, flipping through the Stance holiday catalog feels so peaceful. And yet, in a week Thanksgiving will be here and thus the snowball to Christmas. No matter the quantity or size of gifts on my list, the holiday prep always catches me off guard. Breathe in. Breathe out. 

We have had a few (mostly) gorgeous weeks around here, which have been really nice. BUT I am secretly excited that it's getting colder and am already looking forward to bundling up for tomorrow morning's run (low 40s F).

H at the end of our little hike last week


Okay, so that quick chat turned into a bit more, but isn't that always how it works? Happy calm before the storm, friends. 

What's on your mind right now?

Thursday, November 3, 2016

The Days are Long But the Years are Short

I think we've all heard this phrase somewhere, but most often in the context of the early days, weeks and months of motherhood.

It's natural when you have a small child to notice how quickly the time passes with each growing inch, pound, tooth and milestone. It's pretty mind-blowing how one day things are status quo with your little one and then all of a sudden everything clicks and they're not just sitting, but crawling and then not just walking, but running!


As Henry neared a year, I started to see that glimmer of a day when I'd get myself back. He seemed to be weaning a bit, I could occasionally leave in the evening for a girls night or yoga class before he was in bed, and we were starting to get some pretty solid sleep. Oh and I felt like I could maybe, just maybe start pushing myself in my running to train for something a bit more seriously.

But then 4-6 weeks ago, something happened — teething or sickness, I don't remember. And we've had subpar sleep ever since. Several nights a week, I'm up for an hour at a time in the middle of the night in addition to 1-2 other wake-ups while I (or Pete) try and get him back to sleep. While I can live on 5-6 hours of sleep, my body much prefers 7-8.


So, it's not to dwell on the lack of sleep, but maybe just to remind myself that however tiring, it all goes by so fast. And despite feeling like I could use a nap almost daily, we're having a lot of fun.

And, I have to remind myself that even on the days I pine over the idea of heading off to yoga class or drinking an Americano at my favorite coffee shop, right now, sitting on the floor with my kiddo brings me more happiness than an hour alone often would.

On another note, November is here! For whatever reason, November always feels like fall has officially arrived for me and I start noticing the everyday things I'm thankful for in life.


This month, my goal is to write in my journal daily for a minimum of 5 minutes (keeping the expectations low over here) and jot down both the things I'm thankful for and general life happenings. There's something about saying you only have to do 5 minutes of anything that feels very doable.

On the running front, I've signed up for our local Turkey Stuffer 5K! As a result, I've been inspired to start doing some workouts and push the pace on some of my runs to break out of my usual 3-4 mile slog around the neighborhood.

While I don't usually race with the goal of clocking a PR, having a race on the books inspires me to step up my game, get out of my comfort zone and have something to be working toward. I want to feel strong yet challenged on race day, even if it's not my fastest time at that distance.

Happy fall! What are you looking forward to this month? 

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Dear Henry: Fifteen Months

Now that I'm a mom, I know how much these months actually matter. Before I'd think "why do these ladies need to say their kid's age in months after a year?" So now I'm that mom considering whether I should tell the grocery clerk my kid is 15 months or almost a year and a half.

Dear Henry,

At 15 months, it seems like so much is skyrocketing in your world. Your mobility, dexterity, vocabulary, and growth - heck, you grew TWO INCHES in three months. Your walk is often a run, which is both adorable and scary. One night you slammed straight into the door jam after bath; ouch!


You're getting so strong and are pretty fearless, so you now pull yourself on to the kitchen chairs and sometimes attempt to get on the table. We've taught you that's not okay, but there's no doubt you'll push the limits down the road.


One of my favorite things is the way you take your fork with two hands and really focus to try and get a small piece of food. If you can't do it with your fork, you'll often want mine to get a better spear. I also love how you like to say all the animal noises you can . You've learned now that shaking your head left to right is no, but you don't seem too fond of nodding yes, even though I'm trying to teach you to use that too.

You're still doing great with sign language and it's often a life saver when you're upset. Your go-to signs are: milk, please, all done, more, help, eat, drink, alligator &owl (we have an animal sign book)

I'll be honest that I'm sort of done with nursing. I have been slowly weaning you, but also don't want to totally upset you, so it's a balance. It has been great, very sweet and I feel so lucky that it was a fairly easy thing for us, but 15 months in, I am just feeling a bit tired of it at times.


As you're figuring out what you like in this world, you're also letting us know what you don't like. And you definitely don't like being told no at times. Tantrums are rough. And for a while, you were slapping me in the face, which was less than pleasant, but we started ignoring it and then talked to you later about how mom likes to be touched gently and that seemed to stop that.


LIKES
  • Animal books
  • Dancing
  • Climbing on chairs
  • Nursing w/ your baby dolls
  • Peek-a-boo
  • Carbs
  • Eating apples by yourself
  • Practicing walking on your tippy toes
  • Favorite book: From Head to Toe by Eric Carle

DISLIKES
  • Getting face wiped
  • Having diaper changed (has become a real struggle again)
  • Not getting what you want

FIRSTS
  • Being watched by someone other than my mom or good friend Lindsey. Pete and I took our first bike date in quite a while and hit the road for almost 20 miles on Sunday on what turned out to be a gorgeous, 80 degree day. You handled it well for the most part. Only one little breakdown. 
  • I'll be adding a few more shifts a week at the running store, so you'll start hanging out with the sitter, which will be good, but hard for both of us at first.

WORDS
  • mama/dada
  • dog
  • ball
  • grandma/grandpa
  • clock
  • jeans
  • please
  • mmm

GROWTH 
  • 26lb 6oz (91st percentile)
  • 33.5" tall (99th percentile)
  • Teeth: you have 12 total, including the first four molars, which were really rough. Plenty of crankiness and crying on those days and weeks they were coming through.



SLEEP
  • You usually wake up once a night and nurse. We are working on getting you weaned off night nursing, but something always comes up that makes it really hard (sickness or teething). Dad can get you back to sleep, but you typically wake up again 15 minutes later crying if you don't nurse.
  • Naps now are usually just once a day for ~2 hrs. I dropped your second nap a few weeks ago because you were just playing in your crib most days even when you seemed tired. 

What I think has surprised me most about this age is that as independent and mobile as you are, you are still very clingy somedays. When you wake up early (6:00/6:30 am), I typically have to carry you around for the first 45 minutes while I make my coffee, get some food, water, etc. because you simply do NOT like to be put down. You will cry hard if I put you down to say pour my coffee water or spread PB on toast. Same goes for days that your teeth or who knows what, are bothering you. Ugh. 

We love you little guy. Each age is so fun, but this stage has been a blast. You are always watching and absorbing things around you.

Love you lots, 

mom

Thursday, September 22, 2016

A Midwest Vacation

We returned home a few weeks ago from a highly anticipated trip to the midwest. It was a big deal - Henry got to meet his cousins and a few aunts for the first time, and we got to travel across the country with a toddler (cue noisemakers!).


We flew into Chicago, spent the night at a hotel near the airport, then Pete's brother picked us up to drive over to Michigan where their parents live.

Hotel dinner

Waiting for our ride and watching planes

Just slightly excited...

It was a lot of fun and as vacations go, it flew by. Pete's parents live on a lake, which makes for easy entertainment. Our little fish jumped into the water the second we let him loose.


We also took the boat out on to the sand bar in the middle of the lake a few times, which was great because the bottom was sandy, shallow and clear. It made it easy for the kids to walk and swim around without us having to worry too much.


There was plenty of cousin time,


diaper parties, and group hugs.


Pete's mom pulled out this old shirt of Pete's that fit Henry just perfectly.

Three generations of Moe boys


In the evenings, we did early dinners for the kiddos and then had a more relaxed adult meal around 8:30 p.m. once they were fast asleep. It was made for some fun downtime to have a drink on the deck and talk as dinner was finishing up and then go inside for food and more chatting. And the sunsets weren't bad either.


Our whole trip the humidity was at least 90%, so even early mornings when I expected it to be just a bit cool out, felt warm and damp. 

On the final morning at the lake, I headed out for a little walk/run and at least a mile from the house it started dumping on me, so my walk quickly turned into a run, carrying my phone under my shirt and taking off my glasses as they were pretty much pointless. 

#waterlogged

We were able to get a photo of most of the group, minus Pete's sister and partner before we hit the road. 


After five days at the lake, we drove back to Chicago for one last night at Pete's brothers and had fun letting the cousins play for a few more hours. 


Our flight home left us with a layover in Phoenix, AZ, which was not my favorite. Next time, I'd spend the extra few hundred $ to get us home pronto. 

I was especially annoyed that a) I forgot to pack a PB&J for the little man for the trip home and b) that airport food not only stinks for adults, but it REALLY stinks for little ones. 

Right before our trip, I realized that Henry has a bit of a sensitivity/allergy to dairy, so trying to find foods that were filling, not junk food and did not have dairy or some kind of sketchy meat in them was nearly impossible. The winner was this cup of Sabra hummus with some Life is Good chips. 

Love you, hummus face

We had a serious win when he decided to nap for nearly two hours on one of the flights home. And the only major bummer was his 15 minutes of screaming at the end of our last flight to Portland because of the pressure in his ears.


While I had been nervous about the flights before we left, Henry handled them pretty well. I did pull out some of the toys I had bought special for the trip, but the only one that really seemed to be a hit was a coloring book and crayons. Otherwise, he spent time looking at people around us, looking at the airplane magazine with me, eating, and napping. 

The trip was definitely worth the trouble of traveling with a toddler. Our next big trip will be to Hawaii at the end of November, so I'm crossing my fingers that Henry is equally as cooperative. 

Happy Fall! 

Things I'm ready for: pumpkins, leaves changing on the trails and the hills around us, sweaters, sweatshirts, puffy vests & jackets, long(er) runs, training for something, fall foods, yoga, college football. What about you?

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

What Surprised Me Most About Life with a One Year Old

Three posts a week. Well, I'm not quite doing that, but just saying that goal out loud has reminded me to get back here more often. So, let's get down to business.

What's surprised me most about life with a one year old:

He can walk and mostly understands what I'm talking about, but that doesn't mean his baby stage is gone. There are still plenty of days where he wants to be held for a good portion and cries from teething, being tired or just feeling clingy in general. And when I work in the store on Sundays, he is definitely ready for me to be home after 6-7 hours.

My arms are probably the strongest they've ever been. No, I'm not using dumbbells on the regular, nor do I have a ripped upper body, but strong it is! Hello, holding a 25+ lb toddler while doing many other things (making coffee, prepping dinner, doing laundry) leads to strength naturally.

As a parent, fourteen months is quite different than twelve months of age, so when strangers in the grocery store ask how old he is, despite my better judgement, I give Henry's age in months rather than saying "Oh, he's a little over one."


He understands and is capable of so much more than I ever expect. He will follow commands or go get something I'm talking about frequently. I love it when I tell him we're going to go on a walk and he goes to get his shoes from the front door.

He likes to help out. He really gets a kick out of putting clothes into the laundry basket. Unfortunately, these are usually the folded, clean clothes from my drawers. Henry also is really into what I'm cooking or baking and would like to help stir and such, but he's not quite old enough. I can see us getting one of those safety stools for him in the next year or so.

He is funny on a regular basis. Things he does that surprise and crack me up: says "Cheers" (in his own way of course) and likes to cheers our carrots, shakes his head vigorously to mimic the penguin in his book, insists on holding something (book, baby doll, beach ball, etc) 90% of the time while he's nursing, pretends to cough when Pete or I cough or sneeze (and thinks it's the funniest thing ever).

It's impossible to keep your kid protected from the sun during summer unless they're wearing long sleeves and pants around the clock. He even likes it when I put sunblock on him, but still has plenty of sun exposure from our outdoor activities. It's frustrating, but it is what it is.

Baby on a mission

I never thought it would be easier to make friends as a result of being a mom than it would be doing almost anything else. Athletics has definitely connected to me to a lot of people, but in terms of strong friendships that I try to keep up with regularly, the connection of parenthood seems to make the friendship side of things easier. There are so many things you can commiserate over whether or not your kids or interests are similar. Plus, there's the whole kiddo schedule. Basically, we don't leave the house after 6:00 p.m. 95% of the time.

I didn't expect it would take him over a year to really start saying "mama." Sure, he used to babble "mamamamama," but it wasn't until a week ago or so that he really started saying it on purpose. He's been saying "dada" on purpose now for many months.

And finally, I didn't expect each stage to be more exciting than the one before. Yes, mobility and independence comes with their own challenges, but having a spirited, interactive little toddler has been so much fun.

So, that's it for now. I didn't really have any idea what having a one year old would be like (let's be honest, when you think about having a baby, you primarily focus on that infant stage), but so far it's awesome.

Happy Tuesday!