Saturday, January 17, 2015

This and That

Training has officially started.  I was slightly grumpy with an easy November/December, but as soon as the holidays were over, my schedule looked completely different and now I am doing work.  It is interesting for me to see how different my training looks now when compared to 3/5/7 years ago.  My time allocation for training (less) and my stress levels (higher) are different than they were years ago, and my training has been adjusted to reflect that.  The result is that I am starting to improve in fitness again, even though I do much less.  It has taken me a while to adjust, but I am buying into the process now. 
At the awards banquet with my soccer-turned-runner girls
Last weekend I went to the RRS banquet.  I managed to eek out a 3rd place AG award at the 2014 RRS.  I am a little cursed with this seriesOn 3 different years, I have been 1st in my AG for 75%-90% of the series and then lose it on the last race or two.  Having the staying power for a 5 month series is part of the game!  Fortunately, I always lose to friends, so it gives me a fun story for my "back in the day" collection of memories.    
Play time with Isla.  I spy sun!  
 Isla is still chugging along.  I am trying to think of some good stories to share.  She has discovered the Barbie has boobies.  She also met me at the daycare door the other day with a booger in her hand and asked me to "clean booger."  She is a little shy at school and doesn't communicate with her teachers the way she does with me, and I wondered how long she had carried that booger around while waiting for my help.      

 Winter Run of Fun #1 with the Terrapins
I am making an effort to train with friends whenever I have the opportunity so I don't stay in total isolation.  This is the perfect time of year for training with friends because I don't have a lot of specific workouts to do.  
I also set a 1 mile PR yesterday at Master's swim class.  This was great motivation for me, and sometimes, I need life to throw me a little bone like this to keep me going.  I was probably faster than this back in 2011-2012, but I never did a 1 mile TT, so I will never know.  But, it was the fastest timed mile I have ever swam by over 2 minutes, and the bonus is my back didn't hurt and I did it on only about 7-8,000 yards of swimming a week.  A few years ago, I was easily swimming 10-14,000yds a week.  I would love to get back to that yardage, but I have to be home at a certain time for Dave to get to work, so my swims are cut pretty short in the mornings. 
Man, I just love this kid.  I found her just sitting in the stroller the other day with Minnie, asking someone to take her walking.  So sad Dave won't be able to pick her up and hold her for a long while.
Dave is having AC reconstruction to his shoulder next week.  This is going to be tough on everyone, especially him.  The surgery is a really big deal, and I don't think he realizes how little he will be able to do for months.  It stinks for him, and I hope he heals quickly and with positive results.  For me, it means I won't be able to go to Master's swim for a while and training will have to be adjusted, probably, as Dave won't be able to lift Isla out of bed or help change her.  Basically, if Isla is home, I need to be home.  The surgery is poor timing in a way, as I am on such a roll with training and motivation.  But, one thing I am learning as a parent is that it is certainly not all about me, and that I have to just do the best with what I have.

Have a great week of training!


Monday, January 12, 2015

Herb Parson Trail Half Marathon

Herb Parson Trail Half Marathon

This was my first race of 2015, and my first race as an Enell Ambassador.  I just cannot say enough about this generous and loving company.  Their product (sports bras for endowed women...for me, that is sports bras for nursing mommas) is simply THE BEST.  I am serious about running and I log a lot of miles and races.  I have tried it all.  This is the only bra I will wear because it is the only bra that works.  There is no bounce, which leaves me more comfortable and able to focus on running.

On to the day-

The trail half marathon is not really a race, per se.  True to the trail running vibe, it is a low key event with no awards and a nice finisher medal.  I highly encourage all runners or wanna-be runners to try a trail event.  You will spend half of your day saying "good morning" and "great job" to other runners as you meet them on the trail.  It is really about enjoying the outdoors and terrain. 

I have taken a true off season this year in Nov and Dec, which is a little odd since I never really had an on season.  (It is all part of the bigger picture to be fit and fresh for April racing.)  I was able to run the November half marathons on my summer fitness, but I knew I wouldn't have that to draw from in this run.  But, my goal was to run the course faster than I did last year when I was 5 months postpartum.  I figured that was very doable!  I think if you always wait to be in shape to race, you will hardly ever race.  There is a lot of joy in something like a simply trail run that can be had just by showing up.  

I drove to the race, I had such this amazing thought about how LUCKY and PRIVILEGED I am to be able to run a half marathon without a second thought...without a training plan...without blinking an eye.  It was not always like this for me, though, and I remember when I struggled to run 2 miles.  But, here I am, just running a half marathon like it is a daily occurrence.  How fortunate I am! And it really is a testimony to the fact that where we are today is not where we will be in 5... 10...15 years if we keep working at it. 
At the sunny but cold start with some soccer buddies.  

The race started out well and I felt good.  I found myself oddly in 1st place by 1.5 miles, and then I had to start all of the internal monologue on whether I was racing or not.  Was this a fun run, a training run, or a race?

The day started off sunny and cold, but progressively got cloudy and colder.  The trails were muddy from 24 hours of rain the day before.  It is always a good day on the trails, but I have to admit, I was not enjoying the mud.  At one point, I slipped and was pretty sure I strained my MCL or compromised my meniscus.  My old, torn-up knees were not happy, and I started to get grumpy.  (and a week later, I can definitely say that I tweaked my knee- meniscus or otherwise.  It still doesn't feel good.)

I had to pee early on and was passed by another girl.  By about mile 8 I was back with her and she was slowing.  I remember thinking, "wow, this is easy.  I'll just relax here for a mile and two then go.  After all, I want to enjoy the trail today, and I can run at this pace all day." 

And then, minutes later, I just felt tired.  I wasn't winded.  I was just tired.  It was odd, and it was a feeling I just don't experience in races.  I was not enjoying the mud.  I was super hungry from lack of breakfast (I can thank Isla for stealing mine).   I didn't have any fuel to get me through those last miles.  I had not truly prepared appropriately for the morning's run.  Plus, honestly, I just wasn't fit and couldn't fake it.  First place girl just kept her pace, and I stopped concentrating and wished for some food and my warm house.  I was starting to feel grumpy, which is unusual and was more than likely the result of underfueling.  I finished as 2nd female.

And, it was totally okay.  I realized I had not been committed to racing that day.  I was just happy to get in some trail time and see some friends. (And for those of you who raced on the day, the race director did add a loop so your times will not compare to last year). 
At the finish with my friend of 32 years, Jamie.  You would think a long time friend like that would have given me a blanket or something, right?  Geez!  :)

Congrats to my friends Gaither and Kristen.  This was Gaither's first trail race. 

A HUGE thank you to Enell, for not only making it possible for me to run comfortably, but for also being such a great company and support for this girl.  


Friday, January 2, 2015


2014 is in the books.

The Good:
- A return to some structured training
- A walking and talking toddler.  Love. 
- Increased skill at navigating family + work + training
-Watching my husband stay healthy enough to play soccer, enjoy a new hobby in Crossfit, get a new position at work that he likes, and thrive overall
- Becoming an Enell Ambassador, another year on the Wattie Ink Team, and keeping it local with Los Locos Racing
- Getting some miles under my belt with a few small races and a return to swimming
- Becoming more flexible with what training looks like with my limited time
- Backing up my words that I want to be a present mom for Diggies by limiting my training and work to be her mom
- Increasing my time in the kitchen as a vegetarian chef

The Frustrating:
- Getting a full night of sleep only 5 times in the entire year
- A broken rib that took forever to heal- followed by...
- Back pain that has been difficult to treat
- Job and career struggles
- Income struggles from above
- Followed by....what in the hell am I doing?  Who am I?  How does my career define me, or does it?  What do I want out of work and career?  How does that fit with how I want to be as a mother?
- Starting off my race season with hope and watching it fizzle out with the worst racing of my "career"
- Logging lots of zeros and not being able to work with coaches in the way I know I can do deep down
- Never setting goals this year and just hovering in the participation category with my racing.  No wonder I didn't see progress.   

New for 2015
- More selfies and more smiles.
- Return to racing with gusto.
- Goal to run a strong fall/winter marathon-  No more putting it off!
- Cut house debt by 50%.  (We are debt free except for the house, and we are almost there.  I am determined to breathe free air in the house one day!)
- Lose the guilt I feel when I don't work "enough" and stop feeling the need to explain to people why I don't put my daughter in full time daycare so I can work or train more. 
- More triathlon and running goals.  On paper.  With purpose and conviction.  
- Listen more.  Know-it-all less.  Learn.
- Follow up.  This year really exposed this as a weakness.  
- Continue to give to my sponsors, teams, and triathlon with increased energy and love

There is so much more to say about the upcoming year, and it would never fit on the blog if I could even find a way to put it into words.  I can say that 2015 has been kind so far in 2 short days.  I have seen some watts on my CT that I haven't seen in 3 years.  I swam my fastest intervals today since spring of 2012.  Work has been a positive place for me this week.  Isla had a great night and morning to start of 2015 ...AND.... said "mama beautiful" yesterday when we were looking in the mirror.  How is that for starting off 2015?  :)

And, some Isla holiday pics to wrap it up.  :)
Isla was daddy's corn hole helper at Christmas in New Orleans. 
And she looked like she should live in the mountains at our Memphis Christmas.  (hat compliments of dad from Peru) girly girl with some clip-on earrings.  Love it.  :)