Marathon Preparation – 5 Tips To Survive The Taper

It’s officially two weeks until the Twin Cities Marathon. Do you think it should be said with a “The?” Or just as two weeks until Twin Cities Marathon? Does the “The” make me sound too Californian and how they talk about their roads? I giggled every time I said “The 405″ for those few years I lived in LA. Said like it was a living entity. Which I guess – TRUTH – in LA that freeway has a life of its own. But let’s talk less about freeways and more about marathon preparation and surviving the taper.

 

I was feeling a little unsure about hitting my goal race pace two weeks ago when I last wrote about my marathon training. But then I had a great 13 mile run and an AMAZING 22 mile run – and then BOOM I felt ready to set a PR and that my last 15 weeks of training, as well as last year and half of increased running finally paid off. All of the stars had aligned – I was injury free, I had trained well, and finally the summer heat broke and gave me a morning of running in sub-40 temps.

marathon taper tips

But then the heat came back and the humidity hit nearly 100% yesterday and my 13 miles did not go well. I decided to take it easy and just try to hit under a 9 min mile pace and be happy to be hitting my taper feeling fine and ready. However, to say I wasn’t disappointed would be a lie. And then those damn doubts started hitting again.

 

But deep down I think I know I’ve got this. And hopefully the weather will stay cool for me. Who wishes away summer? Distance runners do, that’s who!

marathon training

So now I have two weeks until the race and if you’ve trained for marathons before, you know these two weeks of the taper can be more difficult than even your two weeks of your traning start or the two weeks of your peak mileage.

 

As they say “The hay is in the barn.” Your big training is done and you are prepared – so why do you feel so crazy-anxious.

 

Here are five tips that have helped me and I hope will make your two week taper manageable and successful:

1. Keep running. A taper doesn’t mean you stop or even barely run. You are still running A LOT – only about 30% less each week. So don’t make this a running vacation – just a running taper. And you want to run. Keep running. Just less miles. But not zero miles. Running will keep you sane.

 

2. Now is not the time to set a new PR. Take your runs at a training pace or even some shorter tempo runs. But don’t decide to set a new 5K PR and possibly get injured.

 

3. If you are thinking of buying new shoes or gear or clothes, this is your deadline. I bought new shoes last week so I could take my last “long-ish” run in them. I wouldn’t plan to run the marathon in new shoes without getting 2-3 weeks of mileage on them. Same goes for gear or clothing. Make sure you try those new shoes or shirt or socks or bra out. You don’t want to find out it’s crazy uncomfortable on mile 6 on race day.

 

4. Carbing-up doesn’t start now. It’s probable that we will all put on a few pounds over the two week taper as we are running less – but this isn’t the time to have a free-for-all in the eating department. Continue to focus on eating healthy, and it’s not the time to try new foods a few days before the race.

 

5. Relax and find some distractions. I’m guilty of thinking WAY to much about my next race and stressing out way too much. I also try to stay away from all running articles and chat boards as I will start to question my training decisions. So find some fun distractions – getting together with friends, heading to see some movies, binge watching a new show on Netflix, trying to figure out your daughter’s Algebra homework, get a pet!…you get the idea. I’m actually heading to Costa Rica for six days during my taper. It will be a fun distraction to run in a new spot for a few days. Enjoy life and don’t think just about the marathon.

 

What tips do you have to survive the two week taper before a marathon?

 

Share

Family Running Fun And Color Vibe Run Giveaway by Tum-E Yummies!

(Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Tum-E Yummies(Tum-E Yummies are a fruit flavored drink, a great treat for kids!) Our favorite flavor is Greentastic Apple by the way…) – but all words and opinions are mine)

color-your-world

I’ve been running as exercise for about 23 years(I was 2 when I started obviously) – and during that time I’ve had years of running just for exercise, years of running and training for races, years of running while pregnant(10 miles the day I gave birth to my oldest), and a little time off here and there for recovery and injury.

 

But I am a runner. I own that.

 

And if you were to ask my kids what their mom does – or something about their mom – they would most likely say “My mom is a runner.”

 

Which is probably why – after stops and starts and tries with all three kids in different sports – baseball, soccer, and the like…they all have taken an interest in running. And I’m glad that my first baby gear purchase was  jogging stroller.

running-together-as-a-family

I love that running is an easy family activity -here are some tips on how and why you can get your family involved in running together!

 

1. Start immediately – buy that jogging stroller! You can buy new -but there are MANY to be found used online or at consignment shops. I bought a Kelty when our oldest was born and loved it. I started her in the stroller when she was about six months old and we ran happily until she started preschool. My next jogger was a B.O.B – which I adored and used with my youngest for about four years until I just sold it to my neighbor. Best investment ever!

 

2. Kids make the best spectators. Get their interest in running peaked by watching races together(even the races that you are not running) – watching the elite runners go by is nothing but mind-blowing and inspiring – and also cheering on those near the back of the pack – watching their will to finish is tear-jerking awesome. Who doesn’t want to run after watching a race. It’s pure emotion, adrenaline, and love for the human spirit.

 

3. Get those running shoes ready! Invest in good shoes for those little kid feet just like you do for yours! Take them shopping with you for running shoes and get them fitted too. Sure, shoes are not cheap – but compared to other sports – when pretty much shoes are your only ‘gear’ purchase – um – it’s a huge cost savings! My kids love to go running shoes shopping with me!

 

4. Make time to run with your kids. I mean sure – you need to get those eight miles of hills in, or that tempo run, or that 20 miler on a Saturday – and yes, you just want that time to be ALONE sometimes. So still do that! And then head back out on another run with your kids. I started doing this a few years ago with my oldest daughter – I’d wake her up after my run and we’d head out again together.

 

5. Explain the benefits are being healthy and moving your body and being strong. Running isn’t about weight – it’s about a healthy and strong lifestyle. Running as a family gives your kids the foundation of exercise and health they need to promote a lifelong healthy lifestyle. Make running and all exercise part of a just normal daily lifestyle!

 

6. Make the runs fun – or make a game out of it! “Hey, race you to the tree!” Or give them little fun goals or prizes – or even set-up a scavenger hunt during your run. Maybe treat them to a night run with glow sticks and flashlights one evening! Run trails in the woods instead of taking a hike. Change up your routes. Explore a new city! Running is fun!

IMG_7359

7. Enter the kids in fun run or local kid events. Many marathons have family fun runs the day before the marathon. Go as a family and cheer them on!

 

8. Enter a race together! Some of the best races these days are races that involve COLOR! These races not only are fun to run – BUT are fun to prepare for. Have you heard of the Color Vibe Race? The Color VibeTM race brings you the ultimate experience in colorful family fun! The Color VibeTM is a color blast 5K that is all about having fun and getting covered from top to bottom with splashes of color as you race your way to the finish line.  The kids not only love to run an easy and colorful 5K – but they love to get prepared! We’ve purchased neon tutus, boas, headbands and fun laces to match so we are colorful even before we get splashed! I love the creative outfits at the run!

color-vibe-outfit

Do you have any other tips to get the whole family running together?

 

Leave your comment below for a chance to WIN TWO(2) tickets to our area Color Vibe run on September 13th! It’s happening in St. Cloud, MN! So comment to win your tickets(and remember kids 12 and under are free with an adult ticket – so your 2 free will get a family of 4 on the course!)

  • Tum-E Yummies will have a booth set up at the Color Vibe race where participants can try the different Tum-E Yummies flavors and get a free car seat protector to prevent any of the color from the race from transferring to the car. – this is awesome!
  • The winner of the giveaway will receive Tum-E Yummies in addition to the two tickets to the Color Vibe race!!!!

Tum-E Yummies

Come join us in a few weeks!

 

(Prize will be in the form of a coupon code for registration. Contest closes on 9/6.)

Share

You Can Run A Marathon

“You’re running a marathon with me for your 70th birthday!!!” I said in a volume too loud for the early morning phone call with my mom.

 

A what?

 

“A marathon!” I almost yelled again. “I had a dream last night. A very vivid dream that three years from now you and me and Eloise run a marathon together. I could see us at the finish line – hugging with medals around our necks. You were crying…from happiness..and Eloise kept hugging you, jumping up and down and yelling for people to come congratulate you!”

 

Ha! That’s a funny dream.

 

“No it’s not. It’s going to happen. In three years we will run a marathon together – all three of us for your 70th, my 50th, and Eloise’s 15th birthday.” My voice quieted a bit as I was surprised at her lack of excitement.

 

Trace, I’ve never ran a mile. I’m not running a marathon.

 

“Yes you are. You have three years to train. My dream was real – I felt it. I know it. You can do this.” I pleaded.

 

She laughed.

 

You’re crazy.

 

“Just think about it.” And then added in my best teenager voice – bringing back an era now so long ago. “For me, Mom…pleeaaase.”

grammy-runs-marathon

Since that phone call, I’ve planted seeds during conversations with family and friends that she’s running a marathon, and sent her articles about this amazing woman who at 91 just set a new best time record for her age group, and she did not even run her first marathon until she was 76.

 

But my mom remains somewhat resistant to the idea. However, I have hope she will change her mind. All it takes is a first step to start training. And we have three years.

 

We can all do hard things if we just try.

 

I keep bringing this challenge I gave my mother to the front of my mind this week because my doubts of finishing my own marathon have started again. After weeks and weeks of marathon training, great long runs, hill training, and feeling even stronger than I did last Fall – I should be confident and ready to run Grandma’s Marathon this weekend. But I’m still scared.

 

And I keep whispering to myself – trust your training…trust your training…trust your training….

marathon-training

The two week taper is such a mind-game. I am obsessed with checking the weather, figuring out what to wear, analyzing the course map and planning for the hills and my strategy, and counting out gel shots to determine my calorie intake. When I should just be hanging out on the couch and watching the new season of Orange Is The New Black on Netflix while I trusting my own training.

 

Because we can all do hard things.

 

We all need to do hard things. We need to do things that are outside of our comfort zone. We need to try new things. We are never too old to start.

 

So this weekend – I’m going to run another marathon. And I’ll be just fine.

 

And in three years – for my mom’s 70th, my 50th, and Eloise’s 15th – well we will cross the finish line together.

 

Seed firmly planted.

 

Share

Staying Hidden

My husband acted like it was Christmas when he opened the box. He interrupted dinner and everything when the UPS man came with this box. “I have a present for you!” He said. He was smiling and ripping off the tape quickly to give me this gift. They girls stopped eating to help him adding lots of “What is it!” “What did you buy!?”

 

Jed pulled out a belt-like-strap-thing and said “It’s a reflector for you to wear when you run. It’s super lightweight and easy to wear, and now you can be seen when you run so early in the morning as I worry about you running in the dark.”

 

But I don’t want to be seen.

 

I want to be a black shadow in the night.

 

I want to be hidden.

 

I want to go unnoticed.

 

I want to go untouched.

 

Not from cars – the reason my husband bought the reflector – but from men.

 

Um, yeah, thank you Jed….but I don’t think I’d wear that as I don’t want to be seen when I run.

 

You don’t want to be seen? I don’t get that. Aren’t you worried about getting hit?

 

No, I’m not afraid of cars.

 

I run in all black because I don’t want to be seen. I take full responsibility for watching out for vehicles and assume they cannot see me – so I give them the right of way – always – all five or so of them that I see. I feel safe from cars.

 

“I don’t understand. I’d feel better if you wore a reflector.”

 

It’s because you’re 6’4″ and 220 pounds and a man. You think about getting hit by a car. I think about being attacked by a drunk man coming home from the bars. I think about being raped. I think about it every time I step out of the door to run alone…whether at 3:30am or 3:30pm. So I run in all black and hope that I won’t be seen.

 

Oh.

 

Because I have been seen. The time two teenage boys on a scooter saw me. Thought I was maybe a deer – a shadow – but they circled back to see. By that time I knew they were headed back my way so I left the pavement and started through yards. They followed me through yards – trying to hit me with their scooter. Yelling things they were going do to me when they caught me. They were maybe 17 or 18. Maybe had been drinking. Maybe not. Two white boys in polo shirts and nice looking shorts and expensive tennis shoes – that’s how close they came to me. But when they realized we were now less than a block from the police station and that’s where I was heading – they took off.

 

Or that time that the two young men in a car did spot me and came around again for another look. Yelling “Hey baby – I’m gonna take a piece of that!” I yelled back “I’m old enough to be your mother!” as I dug out my pepper spray and my phone to call 911. They followed along for one more minute and yelled to me “Yeah, ain’t gonna fuck no mom!” It was too dark to get a picture of their plate before they drove off.

 

Some people may call me stupid because I run before dawn. That I take too many chances. That I run alone. That I deserve it because I’m purposely putting myself in a potentially bad situation.

 

I call bullshit.

 

And I hate that I have to worry – because no woman should have to. I like to run when it’s dark and cool. I like to run before my family gets up so my running doesn’t cut into our busy days.

 

I should be able to run whenever I want to run and wear a reflector because all I have to worry about are a bunch of cars.

 

I shouldn’t have to carry the pepper spray that my husband also bought for me.

 

I shouldn’t have to worry  about a stranger or someone I know attacking me or raping me.

 

But does it matter what time I go running really? Because a 15 year old was attacked just a few blocks from our house yesterday in the middle of the afternoon.

 

I hate that I have to tell my daughters over and over and over to stick together. Always have a buddy. Never walk or bike alone. I HATE that I want them to not be seen.

IMG_4536

I hate that they have to stay hidden to be safe. Not just from strangers, but boys in their schools and neighborhoods. And no not all boys and men are a threat. But yes all women have to worry.

 

And I have to explain to them why men can run at 3:30am with reflective gear and water, but women run hidden in black with pepper spray, knives, and 911 on speed dial.

 

That we have to live with fear every moment.

 

And what do we need to do to change that reality.

Share

The 20 Mile Marathon Training Run

I’m currently training for another marathon since getting my marathon mojo back last year. I’m running Grandma’s Marathon in just about a month from now and I’ve been posting my long run pictures on Instagram and Facebook and have received some great comments like “You’re crazy!” “Better you than me!” “Did you really start your run at 3:30am?” and “That’s 20 miles more than I will ever run. As in..I don’t run.”

 

I have to say that the most interesting and most difficult part of marathon training is getting to that 20 mile training run. For many – it’s the height of their mileage and there’s a lovely and enjoyable taper for the next few weeks before the marathon. And for some, the 20 miler is just the first of a few 20 milers that they’ve included in their training plans. There are about four gazillion marathon training plans out there – for the novice, the beginner, the intermediate, the experienced, the professional, the “I want to qualify for Boston” runner, and the “I just want to finish before the sag wagon makes me get in” runner.  Everyone finds a plan and then tweaks it for their personal time, goals, injuries, and condition.

 

But the 20 mile training run is the ultimate, the goal, the big run, the big kahuna of marathon training(and I’m doing three of them for this training program), and for non-marathon runners – it’s seemingly crazy and impossible.

 

So what I want to do for you here today is dissect my 20 mile marathon training run for you mile by mile, so you can better understand how this run is so easily accomplished.

20-mile-marathon-run

I hope this is both informative and helpful to you if you’re embarking on your first marathon training program.

(Please note that this particular 20 mile run may not be the same for everyone. I am an early, early morning runner so my run does not interfere with any family plans that day, and because many times my husband leaves for work by 7:30am, so I want to be home with the kids before he leaves.)

 

3:15am – The alarm goes off.  Hit snooze and cover head with blankets. Ignore reality. Cat even looks at you like “What the fuck, dude, it’s like the middle of the night?”

3:25m – The alarm goes off again. Slowly rise and wonder why the hell you are doing this. Question sanity. Question humanity. Question the point of marathons. Question why the cat wants to be fed now because it’s really early for that crap.

3:28 – Eat 1/2 a banana. Try to not puke up the banana because no one should eat a banana at 3:30 in the morning. Look at the bagel you set-out and decide there is no way you can eat a bagel right now, so decide to just eat a few tablespoons of peanut butter right from the jar. Close eyes and try to think of something positive because eating at this hour is just not normal, okay, or enjoyable.

3:35 – Pee and grab extra toilet paper to pack in your fuel belt just in case you need to pee, or god forbid poop on your 20 mile run. Consider how ridiculous this whole running a marathon thing is because you are now packing toilet paper in case you have to poop in someone’s yard. Also bring a bag to pack-away poop and paper. OMG WTF are you doing?

3:37 – Get dressed and finish packing fuel belt – water, gel shot things, toilet paper, pepper spray, house keys, iPhone, and ear buds. Turn on playlist and arrange ear bud cord.

3:40 – Walk out of house and into the complete black of night. Question sanity again. Cry a little. It’s so dark, you’re so tired, you can’t believe you’re doing this. Start RunKeeper app.

3:41 – Start running. Reluctantly.

Mile 1 – Legs try to remember what to do. Legs thinking about the bed. And blankies. Head thinks – “Only 3 hours left!”

Mile 2-3 – Car is coming up behind you slowly so you convince yourself that these are bad guys and this is how your life will end. Grip pepper spray and run like a motherfucker. Have best pace/mile yet because you’re running for your life. Eventually car stops and someone gets out and throws a paper on someone’s porch. Turns out it was not an ax murderer driving slowly behind you, it was a paper boy. Decide that’s a really sucky job because it’s super early right now. Also think about how awesome your marathon time would be if bad-guys chased you the whole time. Consider planning a fake bad-guy marathon. Wonder if it’s a brilliant idea.

Miles 4-5 – Find a nice pace now that someone’s not trying to kill you. Start doing training run finish math in your head. “Okay I’m now 1/5 done with my run – or four more of those exact mile groups and I’m done! That’s not so bad, right?” Wrong – the first five miles are much easier than the last five miles. Consider how to do real marathon math as your legs get tired. Start hating math and anyone who does math.

Miles 6-7 – Your child has been fucking with your playlist and “Do you want to build a snowman” comes up on shuffle. “No, no you don’t want to build a snowman!” You yell. You make up your own lyrics. “Do you want to run a marathon, are you crazy and senile? Don’t you know it hurts like hell, you may shit yourself, you try to smile…” Decide you will break the Frozen DVD when you return home.

Mile 8 – Will the sun ever rise? Will it be dark forever? Will you step in a pothole? If people see you running this early in the morning do they A. Think you’re crazy, or B. Think you’ve just robbed a bank? or C. Think you’re the bad-guy.

Mile 9 – Step in a pothole – tumble forward and scrape hands, knees, and elbow on street. Consider tweeting to the City of St. Paul about the atrocious pothole situation and ask them what you’re really getting for the $6,000 property tax bill. Consider how crazy you’ll sound when you say “I fell into a pothole at 4am whilst out running in the dark without a headlamp!”

Mile 10-11 – A police car drives by, turns around and then drives slowly by again with his window down… You then wonder if maybe you DID rob a bank – because you have guilt because you were Catholic once. You also consider that sitting in the back of his squad car and getting a ride home would be kind of awesome because you’re starting to get tired. He just waves and smiles. You wave back and point to fuel belt and running shoes to like show him that you did NOT rob a bank but are just some crazy-lady taking a very early morning run.

Mile 12-15 – Wildlife miles! First a flock? A bunch? A gaggle? A school? Oh, A HERD! of deer is standing in the road in front of you. Just staring at you. Like not moving at all. You slow to a walk and have to move to the side to get around them because they DO NOT MOVE! You tell them that a deer standing in the road is like totally bad news. They continue to stare at you and do not move out of the road even after you warn them. You decide that you no longer like Bambi and cannot be responsible for accidental deer deaths if they can’t even listen to you. Then a crazy raccoon runs right in front of you and evidently you startle him because he gets up on his hind legs and starts making some crazy-ass sounds. So you cross to the other side. It’s like “Dude, I don’t want to be here right now either, but we need to be here together in peace!” But the wildlife story of the morning belongs to the Flock? Group? Gaggle? of turkeys at mile 15. They were all pissed off that you were on their road and spread their feathers out and started running at you while making some crazy, awful noises. Have second best pace running from turkeys as you did running from the paperboy at mile 3. Think about an actual Thanksgiving Turkey Trot race where actual turkeys run after and attack the competitors. Would people sign up for that?

Mile 16 – Encounter another runner for the first time this morning. They look really fresh and blow past you as you yell “I’m on mile 16 of a 20 mile run – so THAT’S why I look and smell the way that I do!!!”

Mile 17 – Tired. Oh so tired. Think about calling someone to rescue you because you’re not sure you have another three miles in you. Eat another goddamned gel block. Think about how much you hate these things now. Think how real food would taste super good. Like a donut. OMG A DONUT. Where are the donuts? And coffee. Why isn’t there coffee delivery.

Mile 18 – Still running. More slowly. But still running. Do you really have to run two more miles? You need a sag wagon? Where’s my sag wagon? You doubt everything in life because your body cannot take you two more miles. Your playlist runs out and now all you have is the sound of silence for company – and the voices in your head telling you to stop for donuts.

Mile 19 – You can do this. Only one mile left. You can run one mile in your sleep. You can run one mile with your arms behind your back. You can run one mile with your legs tied behind my back. You still want a donut – but you can run one mile. Remember this is what it’s like at mile 20 during the actual marathon and you don’t think you can make it those last six miles..but you’ve trained for this. You’ve got this.

Mile 20 – You DID THIS! Three hours and some odd minutes later YOU ARE DONE! It’s light out, your legs have carried you forward, YOU CAN DO THIS, YOU DID THIS, and now you will hobble into your house and drink coffee and eat a donut. BEST RUN EVER! You cannot wait to do this again next weekend. YOU ARE WOMAN HEAR YOU ROAR! Unless you’re a man. Or a deer. Or a turkey. You forget all about the bad guys, the paperboys, the potholes, the turkeys, and the awful gel shots. It’s like childbirth but you get to wear clothing. And shoes.

2pm Take nap. Let kids watch as much TV as they want.

End scene.

 

Do you love the long runs during marathon training? What do you do to pass the time?

 

Share

Cold Weather Day Fun

Schools are closed today. Not for snow, but for cold. We had -45 wind chills this morning with actual temps of -22. I went for a four mile run and actually felt a bit overdressed. One layer too many – but it was good to be warm and safe and I take preparation for any cold weather run very seriously.

winter-running

I also welcome concerned, adult, encouraging, kind and even humorous conversations about crazy cold weather running on social media. But some people like to throw around the word ‘stupid’ instead. Because that’s now how I guess people constructively talk to other people in 2014. Attacking strangers on social media is the new fashion of the season. YAY us!

not-awesome-tweets

Which makes me sad for all of humanity.  Also now I feel obligated to contact the internets to make sure I’m dressing my kids appropriately when I let them go outside in this cold. Because we did go outside. I have so much guilt.

 

So to get over my awesome berating on the twitter this morning, we decided to do a cold winter weather science experiment. We boiled water and threw it into the air to see if it really does just freeze immediately into little ice crystals and vaporize. And it does! So cool! (Please note for all of you worried internet people – I did this experiment before my daughter did it just to make sure it really worked so I did not feel like I was putting her at risk that boiling water would rain down on her panda hat cuteness…so please don’t call me icky internet words).

Then we went to see Disney’s Frozen again and now are even more obsessed with Olaf The Snowman.

 

Then we had donuts.

 

Now we are eating popcorn and drinking hot cocoa.

 

All the good things you are suppose to do when school is called off.

 

However, now school is also called off for tomorrow. One day off is fun, two days off calls for an emergency plan to keep the kids entertained without donuts and cocoa. Maybe I’ll just go for a long run in the frigid temps and think about some fun things we can do as a family.

 

So do you love when school is called off? What is your favorite activity for kids on a day off from school?

*******

I’m also honored and crazy excited that my post On Being Vulnerable is syndicated on BlogHer today!

Share

Just The Beginning – Costa Rica

I tried my best not to think it, feel it, say it this morning as I took my sunrise run in Costa Rica. My last sunrise run in Costa Rica.

 

“This will be my last run before we have to leave Costa Rica.

 

It was a sad thought.

playa-guiones-sunset

Instead I should remember the past 14 sunrise runs in Costa Rica. How the sun rises slowly over the lush mountains – how it turns the gray sky to a light white, then brilliant pink before changing the night sky from gray to blue. How the moon still rises over the Pacific this early in the morning and how I watch it fall into the sea as I run to the north. How the monkeys wake at five in the morning as I start my run along our muddy road. How they seem to call to me as I travel towards the beach, and I now expect to hear them. How the driftwood on the beach piled up from the high-tide the night before and new shells have arrived. How I looked for baby turtle trails from perhaps a midnight hatch. How a few others joined me at the beach each morning. Some with coffee and their dogs. Some with surfboards to catch the first waves of the day. How we all greeted each other and became friends and how we all became as expected as the sunrise.

 

So I tried to run with more care this morning. I noticed even more shells and smiled longer at each person I passed. I stopped to throw a stick into the waves for the one brown dog that always ran right across my path each morning. I talked with his owner and wished her a good day. The sun came out without a cloud surrounding it and as the humidity built, a fog formed over the waves and the shore was masked from my view as I ran now south into the sunlight. My face was warmed from the new day starting and instead of sadness I felt content with the now. With my run. With the beauty of our trip to Costa Rica.

nosara-costa-rica

And I wasn’t sad because this will not be my last run ever on Playa Guiones. No, these were just my first 14.

Share

Breaking News

“Dude, the lady who just blew by us is like older than my f*ck*ng mom!!!”

 

That’s what I heard at about mile 11 when I did blow by two young and adorable men who were hurting by that time as they went out too fast.

 

And I should’ve turned around and yelled “DAMN STRAIGHT – EAT MY DUST BOYS!” But I just giggled and kept on sprinting.

 

I ran a half-marathon on Saturday but have no idea what my real time was as there was a chip failure which has caused about 7000 people to be pretty bummed out. But based on my finish time and how long it took me to cross the start – I think I did about a 1:54 – which is acceptable but not a PR for me. Well, a PR since I hit 40 years old – but back in my early 30s I could do a 1:42. I had also forgotten how easy a half feels after a full. I started out slow and comfortable and wisely lined up with the 9:30 people and had a very fun race. But by mile 8 I was bored and had a lot left in me so I sped up. And by mile 10 I passed the 2 hour pacer pack and did yell at the pacer holding the sign that he better not catch me. And I kept increasing my speed and passed the 1:55 pacer by mile 12. And also several young men in their 20s. Also I passed six Supermen, four pigs, 15 Waldos, and a few zombies.

 

Did I mention I was also running in costume? Watching nearly 7000 adults wearing Halloween costumes while running 13 miles is bound to bring a smile to the crowds along the way.

cat-running-costume

But I was still bummed out that these young men saw me as older than their mom. I assume this means I will never get carded again.  But 12 hours later and some good lighting(DARK) and lots of make-up and a few glasses of wine can make you look pretty much okay. And everyone is smiling at a wedding. And I don’t mind looking like a mom in a nice dress. I mean, at least I don’t have a gray beard.

weddingpictures

(A night out to celebrate Vikki and Luisa’s wedding!)

But after a night of looking pretty and not feeling so mom-like but actually young and fun-like(even though getting home by 11pm sounds awesome no matter what), when you have to wake at 5am the next morning to be on the news and you have to be in make-up and a dress that looks pressed – well things go downhill pretty quickly.

 

Here’s a segment I did for a local news station here VERY EARLY ON SUNDAY MORNING. Watch with a friend and make it a drinking game. Drink when I say the word “SUPER!” and I promise you’ll be drunk before my 4 minute segment is over.

 

SUPER!

Share

Mind Games

I’m a wreck right now.

 

And I hate it. I hate writing it, verbalizing it, and most of all feeling it right now.

 

I’m a wreck because I’m doubting myself.

 

I haven’t done anything that was 100% all about me in 11 years – since motherhood defined me – and now what if I fail? What if I cannot really do it? What if my family watches me fail? What if I never try again?

 

And I’m not that glass-half-empty kind of person. But frankly I’m scared.

 

And it doesn’t matter that I’ve trained hard for four months, that I’ve done this before (but when I was younger, fitter, faster, and single), that I’m injury free(knock wood), or that the weather forecast looks picture perfect.

 

That is still not a prediction of how Sunday will go.

 

It’s like preparing for your first child. I still remember and sometimes giggle about my birth plan. Or even that I had a birth plan(and believe me – I did not bother making one of those with child two or three). My plan included seeing a midwife – who would be present at my full-term home-birth – which of course included no drugs or doctors. Ideally my yoga instructor would also be there, the baby would be perfectly healthy, nurse immediately, have the most perfect nursery ever, and I would recover so quickly that I would hit the trails for a 10 mile run by that Saturday.

 

Instead I ended up with an emergency c-section at 35 weeks, no nursery, 6000 miles from my yoga instructor, a baby who could not latch, and 10 long weeks before I could run a mile comfortably.

 

So what I am saying is – no matter how much you plan and train – you cannot predict what your body will do that day. Or any day.

 

I’d liked to think that my training and the weather will aid in gliding me to a PR this Sunday – and also provide me with a finish without injury or poop in my pants.

 

But.

 

I cannot control everything. And my nerves are getting the best of me. I can’t eat or sleep or focus on work, and I have a horrible stomach right now. I’m a mess – a mental mess and I just need to calm the fuck down. I need to not go out fast on Sunday. I need to do this just for me. Run my own race – and ignore the lady in front of me who I all of a sudden need to pass. My kids don’t care if I finish in under four or over five. They just want to hug me at the end and take me out to The Nook on Sunday for dinner.

 

And I need to remember that I CAN DO THIS. I CAN DO THIS. And that after this week, I will know that I can and I will be more than ready for my next marathon in the Spring. Because as freaked out as I am right now – I am totally doing this again. I will have faith in my body to pull me through and check my mental games the starting line(or maybe in the porta-potty at mile 3).

 

I get frustrated when my kids tell me they can’t do something when they never even try. Even though, it’s true – honestly everyone cannot do everything – but how do we really know unless we try.

 

And maybe this Sunday I won’t set a PR – or even finish in under five hours – but I will never know until I put forth my best effort and I worked really damn hard.

 

And deep down I know I can do this. And will do this. And will do this again.

 

My body, my mind, my spirit, my family and my friends will pull me through.

 

And that latte, the hugs, and the shower after the race are going to be the best things ever. And that moment afterwards will give me the chance to give my mind-games the ‘official middle finger’ as I say I DID THIS!

 

And on Sunday I WILL call myself a marathoner again.

 

Dammit.

Share

Marathon Packing

I’ve turned into a Sherpa. I’m blaming it on motherhood and the fear of never having an extra diaper or antibacterial hand wipes on hand. How do we become these strange yet prepared people.

 

When I used to run marathons(before kids) I would take a simple bottle of water on my long training runs. Water. That’s it. A little hydration and I was good to go for 20 miles. Kind of like when I used to run off to Paris for the weekend I could fit my whole wardrobe in a small carry-on case. Now I need a minivan with a rooftop carrier to fit a weekend worth of clothing and supplies for a family of five. And as we drive away I still think “I know I’m forgetting something..” Also, we don’t go to Paris anymore.

 

So I guess motherhood has also made me a marathoner with serious hoarding issues. Like I almost feel  I should have a trailer attached to my hips for all of the gear I now need for 20 miles.

marathontraining

My marathon training gear list – water bottles for hydration, gel type energy chews for well – energy(I have no idea if these really do anything except make me chew on something for a few minutes which takes my mind of running for a few minutes), toilet paper – because sometimes shit really does happen and I don’t like leaves, pepper spray – for any ‘bad guys’ or dogs that I might encounter on my run. I run in the dark typically so I like to be prepared and I don’t want bad guys to get me. I also have a screaming plan for any attack and my scream will go something like this – “I”m a 45 year old mom of three kids and have a horrible yeast infection and saggy boobs!” I think that would make the bad guys go away if I cannot figure out how to use the pepper spray. So the spray is mainly for the dogs since they probably don’t care about my boobs. True story – I’ve been bitten by dogs many times during my years of running because I think they know I’m a cat person. Assholes. Music – I’ve never been a music listener while running, but my god a three and a half hour training run now begs for music. I have a quite a strange mix on there but my favorites right now are from Adam Levine and Pink – who really would complete my ultimate threesome. That thought may also pull me through those last difficult miles. I also only listen with one earbud in because of the potential dogs and bad guys. And of course I have all of this packed into my Nathan gear belt thing. I’m sure there’s an official term for marathon training purse thingy…. but I’m not an official term kind of girl.

 

So I’m really looking forward to the actual marathon so I can leave most of this stuff at home and basically lose about five pounds of crap off of my body.

 

We’re heading on vacation soon and now I’m worried that they won’t let us on the plane because I’ll need about 24 suitcases to last us the two weeks on the beach…when just 11 years ago I would throw a bikini, my birth control pills and two sundresses in my handbag and call it good. Sometimes I miss that girl – who left the baggage at home and just enjoyed the journey. This mom in me who carries the burdens, the extra tissues, and the band-aids ‘just in case’ can be quite annoying.

 

Moms are truly amazing creatures – how we plan, how we nurture, how we care – but sometimes we need to just let so many things go.

 

Like maybe I really don’t need the toilet paper on my runs.

Share

Baby It’s Hot Outside

We are in the middle of a heatwave in Minnesota. It’s been in the 90s and nearing 100 all week with high energy-sucking humidity.  My friends in Malaysia are laughing at me for whining and think I’m crazy for wishing for snow right about now.

 

To beat the heat we’ve been spending time in the water, the movies and the mall..and doing a lot of quiet activities inside the house.

 

I took the kids to the pool on Sunday and we spent over six hours there. You know it was hot out if I actually spent quite a bit of time in the water. But I did find time to doze off for a bit while Astrid took a nap in the shade next to me. Esther decided to capture a picture of me so she could make fun of me later.  My big girls are quite the fish now and did not take a break the whole time we were there.

mom-bikini

I’m wearing two swim separates from Target. Yay for still wearing a bikini at nearly 45 years old and after 3 kids. Hopefully I can still say that when I’m 65.

 

It’s been more difficult to stay cool while running. I’m running about 45 miles per week as I train for Twin Cities Marathon – so dressing in light tanks and shorts is key. And carrying as much water as I can as well as some gels for nutrition. I am thankful to find water fountains to refill my water along my route. Hydrate!!!

marathon-training-outfit

My running skort is from Athleta and my tank is from Team Sparkle. I love my running belt to hold my waters, snacks and keys.(Also, dirty mirror in our construction zone – sorry).

 

And hell has really frozen over -I seriously believe someone has taken my soul – I talk about homeschooling, moving to the suburbs, and how I all of sudden really love my Republican-gun-toting husband – but the biggest news is that I WORE SHORTS for the first time in about 8 years. I know, right. But they are so ‘in’ this year, that I decided to try a pair and I love them! I still love my skirt and dresses best, but may consider buying more shorts.

IMG_4672

Shorts from Anthropologie and my tank top is from The Gap. Shoes are Born.

 

How are you keeping cool this Summer?

 

Linking up with The Pleated Poppy for What I Wore Wednesday.

Share

A Tale Of Three Shoes

I ran 15 miles on Saturday and it was glorious. Which was actually quite shocking to me as my previous three long runs pretty much sucked. In fact my runs sucked so much that I was beginning to doubt my ability to actually make it to the Twin Cities Marathon in October. This was depressing as it’s taken me over 10 years to get back to distance running and I’m now invested both mentally and physically. Failure is not an option.

 

But I was hurting. A lot. In fact last Saturday, by mile 8 of my 14 mile run I was actually crying as the pain in my feet was so bad. And the crying from the pain turned to self-doubt that I was a failure. Maybe I could not really run a marathon anymore. Maybe I wasn’t in the shape that I was in my 20s and 30s and pre-kids and maybe distance running was a stupid idea. Maybe an almost 45 year old woman should forget this dream. Maybe my body can’t carry me that far anymore.

 

But I decided all of that was bullshit.

 

My feet should not hurt that much…no matter how many miles I was running.

 

And I finally placed the blame where it belonged, not on my ability – but on my shoes. My damn shoes.

 

One of the things I love about running is that the gear is pretty simple – you don’t need the fanciest running clothes or even a gps or expensive equipment. But you do need good shoes. And the right shoes for you. Do you need stability or cushioning? Narrow or wide? Is there a brand that always works for you? And getting fitted professionally at a good running store is key.

 

I’ve been a Nike running shoe girl for 23 years. It’s all I’ve ever known and my Air Structure Triax have been amazing – great stability, cushioning, narrow but with a comfortable toe box. I love them. But then Nike stopped making my shoe. How dare they?

 

So I bought a pair of Brooks Adrenaline in May – one month before my marathon training started. It was hard to buy a brand that I was not familiar with, My feet were scared….and by the beginning of July I noticed how fatigued my feet would get so early in my runs and pretty soon it was painful. And then I could almost feel the pavement and noticed the tread was completely gone. Only worn two months and barely 200 miles by someone lighter than 120 pounds – these shoes wore out and hurt my feet. And the final straw happened last weekend when I sobbed on my long run.

 

I was frustrated, disappointed and sad – and headed back to my favorite running store last week with my shoe woes. They agreed that Nike had failed me and needed to bring my shoe back, and they apologized that the Brooks shoe did not hold up as it should. They assured me that many people loved that shoe. So we switched gears again, and they had me try the Asics Gel Kayano. It has stability and cushioning and comes very narrow.

 

And yesterday I ran 15 miles in my new Asics and I felt like I could’ve run 10 more. I had no pain and felt great even after my run.No fatigue at all.

 

This gave me the mental win I needed – to realize that now I have the right gear – I mean shoes – to take me through the rest of my training and complete the Twin Cities Marathon in October. Because I know I can. And now my feet agree with me.

 

What running shoes do you love?

Share

Why I Will Call Myself A Marathoner Again This Year

I used to call myself a marathoner. Not that I was truly a marathoner – because someone who takes four hours to finish marathon isn’t exactly competing against other people.

 

But I used to run marathons. Before kids.

 

I’ve been running for 22 years. I run 5-6 days a week for 3-5 miles. This is my church, my quiet time, my keeping myself healthy time, my trying to keep off the muffin top time, and truly my only ‘me’ time.

 

I love to run. I love it so much that I wake-up at 4:30am every morning – whether it’s raining, snowing, 80 above or 30 below…and get up and run. I run for 30 minutes or an hour or whatever I have time for that day.

 

And on the days that I don’t run, I feel like a big blob all day..not just in body, but I did not get that extra time with just me and my mind. That pure time of quiet and peace of putting one foot in front of the other without any other distractions.

 

I don’t like running with other people because for me, running is quiet. I don’t enjoy the conversation or trying to keep pace as I run for me. Selfishly.

 

I don’t listen to music when I run. I want to hear the dogs barking, the birds waking up, to say hello and hear a response when someone passes me. I also want to hear cars approaching or even have a ear open for the boogie man if he jumps out at me some morning.

 

My favorite pair of running tights are nearly 19 years old. I bought them for my first marathon in 1994. They still fit the best and are the most comfortable. But thankfully I wear them when it’s dark outside as they are most definitely no longer in fashion. But I don’t care. I don’t have the latest gear or fastest times or even a way to carry my iPhone yet besides holding it in my hand each morning. But I do have good shoes and socks.

 

I ran my last marathon in 2000. The year before I became pregnant with Eloise. Motherhood consumes me. In a good way. I pour nearly everything into it, yet the one thing I’ve given up that I’ve regretted the most is running races, as I still won’t give up my time with my kids just to go run a few extra miles.

 

But my kids are getting older and sadly so am I.

 

So last week I officially sign-up for the Twin Cities Marathon. On October 6,2013 I’m running another marathon- 13 years after my last marathon. It’s been officially way too long.

 

What finally kicked me in the butt to do this? Well, besides getting something back that is purely about me and letting my kids know how important it is to stay active and live a healthy life? I am actually going to give back for every mile that I run.

I want you to go to the App store right now and get Charity Miles. I’ll wait while you go do that. You don’t have to run marathons or even run to use Charity Miles…so go download this FREE app right now.

 

I’ll wait.

 

Got it?

 

Charity Miles is the simplest app in the world – and does so much good. Just pick your cause, and then bike, walk or run and you earn money for that charity as a sponsored athlete. You earn 25 cents for every mile you run or walk and 10 cents for every mile you bike.

 

With the 450 miles I have planned for my marathon training…plus the 26.2 miles during the race…that is $119 that will go to my chosen charity – Shot@Life. That $119 will give six children in developing countries the vaccinations they need to give them a shot at a healthy life. Or that $119 will give 119 children each a vaccination against measles. And all I had to do was put one foot in front of the other.

 

And you don’t have to run marathons. Take your kids on a walk each night or each week. Take a bike ride with your family on the weekend. Spend quality time together exercising and at the same time save a child’s life.

 

Get your kids involved and organize a walk for kids this Spring! If 100 kids at school sign up to just walk 2 miles each as a fun after school activity – they’ve just given more children a shot at taking their first steps.

 

This is an easy one that we all can do. Join me and download Charity Miles today..and then go take a walk.

 

And if you are really feeling energetic today – join me for a marathon this year. I think we could all really rock our green t-shirts together.

 

 

Share

My pvBody

You all know that I am a runner. I’ve been running now for over 20 years and the good news is that it’s never been from the cops or any bad guys! I run almost daily and besides my investment in running shoes, I go through a lot of running clothing.

 

And I need lot of running clothing because we have four distinct seasons here in Minnesota – so I need shorts and tanks as well as lots of layers, hats, mittens and neoprene socks to run when the temps go well below zero.

My new running tights and top from pvBody

I can only hope I’ll still be running 50 years from now…I mean maybe a little slower so that the cops can catch me.

 

One of the reasons I love to run is because it’s an easy entry sport – you don’t need expensive equipment, a gym membership or a partner…you just get some good shoes, clothes and step outside. It’s a great way to keep fit and have lots of flexibility to run anywhere and at anytime.

 

However, replacing good running clothes can get very expensive and I tend to hang onto items for way too long because of the expense..and nobody likes skanky running pants…trust me…but who has an extra $120 every time you need new pants.

[Read more...]

Share

Gravel Hands Instead Of Jazz Hands

The trajectory of a runner who trips over a temporary road sign is about 2 feet forward into the air and then flat on the road face-first – hands out embedded with gravel, chest impacting on the tar, knees bruised immediately upon smashing into the road as the runner screams knowing that this impact cannot be stopped. But if a runner screams at 4:45 am on a dark, deserted street does anyone hear?

 

Have you ever done this? This is my fourth time meeting the pavement all out spread-eagle while running forward. The first time I hit my head and was knocked out cold. I woke-up inside a convenience store where someone had carried me. Who the hell was out walking at 5am at that time I have no idea. The next three times I’ve been lucky. Like today. I limped away and eventually started running again but am bruised and sore and still have gravel in my hands.

 

But tomorrow I will run again. Just like I always tell my kids to get back up.

 

My day did not get much better. I forgot it was a holiday – so I was confused when I pulled up in front of the empty post office. But that didn’t stop me from then driving to the bank to find it also closed. Still not convinced, I was mad when the mail never came as I was expecting a package.

 

But then my mom called and she wasn’t at work(she works for the State) and I asked why she wasn’t at work. Oh duh. I’m sorry.

So after the strange morning I decided it was a good day to just bake. So Astrid and I baked cookies, banana bread, pumpkin muffins and homemade bread-sticks. If you give a three year old a big blob of bread-dough it will keep them busy for hours and it smells so much better than play-doh. But then I started kneading the dough and OUCH my gravel hands.

 

So we just decided to play with the dough instead of baking it.

 

Thank goodness for running accidents.

******

Just write.

Share

A Hot (Sweaty) Mama…I am a runner.

My iPhone beeps out to me at 4:45 am every morning. Even Sundays. Whether it’s 85 degrees, humid and miserable or like today when it’s suppose to be just 5 above(without the windchill) I hit the snooze button twice until finally by 5am I rise and get my running clothes on and hit the streets.  Sometimes, if I may admit, I sleep in my running clothes to save time.

 

I’m a runner.  I’ve been running for 20 years. I was a runner before I was a mom. I ran the days my children were born. No, I was not feverish.

 

And while I don’t run the marathons I once did before I became a mom, I know those marathons are still somewhere inside of me waiting to be ran again. Someday. Soon. When I’m ready to give the runner in me more time again.

 

Because here’s the thing. Running is important to me. My kids are even more important to me. But I’m not the greatest mom if I still don’t do something for me. Something of my own. And running is truly my one thing.

 

If I don’t run, I don’t feel good. I don’t feel like myself. BUT I also don’t want to cut into my time with my kids to do it. So…5am seems like a the perfect time. And best of all is that it works for me.

 

And yes if the littlest sometimes still wakes that early – well girlfriend is going for a ride in the jogging stroller at 5am because Mama wants to run.

 

Also I think it’s important to show our kids how important a healthy body is  – through love, exercise, eating right and making healthy choices – it’s the only body we get and they need to know why it’s important to just be healthy. And fit.

 

So mom’s running shoes are always sitting right next to the backdoor ready for their next run – if they are not on my feet of course.  That is a picture my kids will take with them for their whole lives. Stinky and sometimes muddy and usually very well worn running shoes will remind my kids of their mom just as well as her passion for black boots and scarves.

**********

I was recently sent a copy of Hot(Sweaty) Mamas by Kara Thom and Laurie Kocanda. It’s about being a fit mom and a fit family yet maintaining balance.  It truly gave me more perspective on how I manage my time and my guilt and how I view my priorities about me, running and being available as a mom.  It was realistic and I love that just being a mom was woven throughout this whole book.

Maybe that marathon training will come sooner than later.

A link to more info and an author Q&A can be found here. It’s worth a read.

*****

Do you take time for fitness for yourself or as a family? How do you balance it?

Disclosure: I was sent a copy of the book to read but was not asked to review it. All words, stinky running shoes, and strange morning wake-up times are my own.

Share