Wednesday, May 30, 2007

A little bit of this and that

So, I continue to be an inconsistent blogger.  I have yet to blog about California, and now I have another weekend trip to talk about.  And there was so much excitement in the last couple of weeks with my job and hubby's job. . . where to begin.
Maybe with the job stuff:  About a month ago, I got a letter from a local municipality notifying me of a job opening.  I really think they just sent it to most other municipal employees in the state, but I still felt honored.  It is one of my favorite places in the state - and although its 4 hours away, and in the middle of nowhere, it would be the perfect job.  Not only was the position for the director (and I so want to be the boss), its a wonderful resort town in the middle of the desert, and they are very progressive.  Naturally I applied.
I got called back for an interview, but they were all taking place the week we were in California.  So, I did a phone interview.  Only I forgot they were calling that day, and I interviewed while helping DH navigate to Disneyland.  I was very distracted.  I honestly didn't think I interviewed well - I knew I didn't completely bomb, but I could have done better.  Naturally, I was shocked when they called me back the next week, saying I had made the top 3.  They wanted me to come down and interview in person.  Since I was already planning a trip to said city for Memorial Day weekend, I asked if I could meet with them while I was down there.
In the mean time . . . DH has been wanting to get on with a company his friend works for.  Its a small, real estate investment company and hold lots of potential.  His friend called the week of our California vacation to offer him a position.  We deliberated - his position has more potential for income.  It would mean I could (hopefully) stay home with the girls in 2 years time - and we wouldn't have to move.  My position would mean that DH quits his current job, and risks not finding something to replace his income.  I may be able to make enough for him to SAH, but its a gamble.  Besides, logically we should be focusing on Dh's career and not mine - right?  But oh, how I wanted that job.
It was quite a crazy week for us.  But in the end, we decided that he would accept the offer he got.  I called my interviewers back and canceled the interview.  I didn't want to waste their time.  Nor did I want them to offer me the job, when I couldn't take it.
{{SIGH}}  I hope we made the right decision.
I did end up going down there for the weekend though.  I met my brother and his friend for some hiking.  We did manage a couple of fun hikes, which I will post later, and give a full trip report.  But I did want to mention about how sick I got while I was down there.
It was the first night too.  I had fallen asleep in the hotel waiting for them to arrive.  When there got there, we were all starving.  So we headed out for a bite to eat.  I ate a sinfully good italian dish that was full of cheese.  Then, we got ice cream too.  I'm not used to eating that way, so when I had a stomach ache that night I just assumed it was from my dinner.  But I continued to get sicker and sicker.  Until 3 days later I ended up at the ER.  They ran a bunch of tests, including a CT scan, and determined that I had an ovarian cyst.  I'm still not convinced that is the cause of my malaise, and I'm still not feeling better today.  6 days later.  Maybe I should call my doctor and get a second opinion.
I have felt too sick to run, and I'm worried if I don't feel better soon that it may affect my training.  I only have 17 weeks till marathon time, which may sound like an eternity, but it feels too soon.
Hmmm - this isn't quite the post I was hoping for.  I guess I rambled on and on, and never made my intended point.  And now I have to run to a meeting.  I'll still post this, and promise to be better next time.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Pacing myself

I had a great run last night. Typically, I run in the morning. But yesterday when my alarm went off at 4:30, I turned it off and rolled over. I was just too tired. But, I needed to get in 3 miles, so I was forced to run after the girls got into bed.

I've been charting all my runs on Its such a cool program - there is the best graphing feature where you can graph miles, time, pace, etc. I just love charts and graphs, and have gotten a bit obsessed with the whole thing. I've been trying to increase my pace and mileage at the same time, which frankly doesn't work.

So, last night I decided to "change things up at bit". I started out running at a super slow pace. I turned my treadmill display to the one that shows a quarter-mile track. With every lap I completed on the virtual track, I increased the pace just one tenth. I felt really good. It took me almost 40 minutes to complete a 3 mile run. But I could have run longer. And I suppose, to assure that I'm not overtraining, I should always feel like I could go longer at the end of a run.

I'm still feeling intimidated by the marathon, but at least I have a plan. I also signed up for a some races during my training to check my pace. I have a local 5k in June that I plan to run. In July, I signed up for a 10k, and a half-marathon in August. I'm especially excited for the 10k and half, because both routes will be similar to the marathon. Although obviously shorter, they both start high up in the mountains and end up in the valley - which is exactly how the marathon runs. Hopefully I'll be prepared.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

How to cool down after a race

Ok - I'll admit. I totally ripped this off from a message board that I frequent. The man who posted it, wrote this article for a newsletter for his running club. Its too funny not to share - especially for slow-paced runners like myself:

"Dear Spareribs:

A running buddy of mine criticized me for not "cooling down" after a fiveK with an easy jog. I'm fairly new at racing and don't know anything about this. What advice can you give about the "cooldown"? Rick from Flower Mound

Dear Rick:

Your friend is correct that a good cooldown is helpful after a race, as a slightly elevated heart rate helps flush accumulated lactic acid, keeps you from stiffening up, and speeds recovery. But enough of that sports physiology mumbo jumbo. There is another reason why cooling down is important, and it has to do with your persona as a runner.

Face facts. In every race there are two groups of runners: those who finished ahead of you, and those who finished behind you. Who are the runners who finished ahead of you? They're lucky people who happened to have a good race that day. They're not necessarily faster or better than you, and with a bit more training you can beat them next week.

But more important, who are the people who finished behind you?

Pond scum!

These runners have no business being in the same race with you, and you must make sure they know it. If not, you run the risk of having them come up to you later and try to talk, tell you about their race, or in a wild act of temerity attempt to befriend you. You must put a stop to this quickly so they know their place. And the perfect way to do this is in what I call the "Pro Cooldown."

Here is what you should do immediately after a hard fiveK. Grab a water bottle and jog the entire course again, so you get another 3 miles in. But here is the key: make absolutely sure you run the course from the finish line back to the start, not the other way around. This way you run opposite the lowlifes still out on the course, as an "in your face" reminder to them that you are top dog today.

To do this well, you must adopt an air of studied indifference to the people you pass. If you pass someone you know, for heaven's sake, don't yell, "Way to go!" or the nonsensical "Woo Hoo!" Instead, a low wave, flip of the hand as you go by is sufficient, if you bother at all. Act as if fast people seldom notice anyone slower.

There is one key exception. Let's say that purely by luck, someone is in the crowd of losers who has in the past beaten you in a race or two, a key rival you hate. Now the rule changes. For this competitor you must offer banal, yet chilling words of encouragement: "Go for it Mike!" "Hang in there Henry!" "Lookin' fine Mindi!" This appears to bolster their self-esteem, in the knowledge that you permit them to share the oxygen we all require. It is all the acknowledgement they need or in fact deserve, but more importantly it will drive them insane!

Here are three more techniques that have worked well for me. First, drink often from the water bottle so it appears you are running effortlessly. "Hey, I can drink, talk and run at the same time. How you doin'?"

Second, throw in some fast strides during the cooldown, but wait until you are about even with the middle of the loser pack, so you can show to the greatest number of people that you have plenty left. This says, "Sure, I ran hard today and beat you, but if I wanted to I could still run another hard mile. This is easy."

Third, find someone of about your own speed and finish place to cool down with, and spend the whole time chatting amiably about this and that, totally ignoring the others. Laugh a lot. They'll get the idea.

If you can incorporate the "Pro Cooldown" after every race, you will not only maintain fitness, but also show others "who's your daddy". Naturally I recount these rules and advice with this degree of accuracy in full recollection of the many times they have been used on me, your fellow back-of-the-packer. Good luck. Spareribs"

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Another daycare issue

Poor Bryn got hurt at daycare yesterday, and it was first thing in the morning too. I had barely dropped her off - and she was having a bad morning. She laid her head on the floor and cried as I left (something she rarely does), so I was already feeling terrible. When I drop the girls off at daycare at 6:50, there is usually only one lady there, and she's typically over ratio with my kids. I've never worried about it before, because I assumed someone else showed up at 7am. I found out yesterday that no one comes in until 7:30.
So when Bryn crawled through a hole in a broken gate, she had no idea - until my poor girl fell down the stairs, and hit the gate at the bottom. The worst part is that no one called me for 5 hours - until a new provider came in for the afternoon and thought I should have been called. These pictures are about 36 hours after the accident, and she already looks much better. She looked horrible the day of, and I probably would have taken her to be checked for a head injury had I been called immediately after.
Daycare has already fixed the broken gate, but I'm not sure they've fixed the issue with staffing. Maybe I need to do a spot check just a few minutes after I leave to make sure they have taken care of things.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

I won the lottery!

I think I posted a few days ago about how my brother talked me into signing up to run the St George Marathon in October. It really didn't take much prodding, because it was a lottery and only about 50 percent of applicants actually get in. I figured there is no way I'd make it - and if I did, I decided that it must be my divine providence or something. But I really didn't think I'd make it (did I say that already?)

So, the results were posted this morning. My brother and I both got in. Whooo hoo. I went from being totally excited, because I never win anything, to being totally freaked out - I'm going to RUN A MARATHON! UGH.

I've got a lot of training to do.

Last week, I'd sat down and done a daily training schedule from now to Marathon. I'd loosely followed Hal Higdon's schedule, but ever since worried that it may just be a bit too ambitious. Its a lot more miles than I run now, and it picks up quickly. I'm worried about becoming injured. Also, the longest run on his schedule is for 20 miles. A marathon is 26.2 miles people. I really want to try and run the full mileage at least once in training.

Then, I followed a link posted in my new favorite place: the forum on The link took me to a 3-day marathon training schedule on the Jeff Galloway website. I think his plan is much more doable. It has 2 easy days, and then Saturday is the kick-butt long run day. Not only do I feel less likely to become injured following this plan, it fits my busy schedule better. I think it would be difficult to find 5 days to run a week. I like sleeping too much. Of course the Galloway plan is merely intended to train a person to simply finish a marathon.

Sleeping Beauty and Stinkerbell

My girls love the Disney princesses.  I'm not sure where it came from either.  (Maybe their daddy?)  Because it surely wasn't their mommy.  I've never been the princessy type.  I've been "grunge" and "mod" and "alternative" and "crunchy" but surely never the a princess.  I tried too hard to be a non-conformist and low-maintenance to like all that stupid Disney stuff.  But my girls somehow L-O-V-E them some princesses.  Cinderella, Ariel, Belle, etc - and it really was Daddy who bought the movies.
On Sunday, after our church service, we headed home for a much-needed nap.  I got the girls down, and then crashed myself.  After only an hour (too short for a Sunday nap) I was awakened by a cheerful G sitting next to me in my bed.
G:  Mommy, I'm just like Sleeping Beauty
Me:  (very groggy)  How's that?
G:  I sleeped for a really long time and then I waked up but no one had to kiss me I just waked up all by myself without being kissed.  Let's go kiss daddy to wake him up too.
So that's where the story of the Sleeping Beauty label came from.  Now for the "stinkerbell" story, but first a bit of background.
Daddy bought G a new package of Tinkerbell undies on Saturday.  He took her to the store while I was at a baby shower.  Daddies should not be allowed to take their princesses to the store alone, because they simply cannot resist buying them what they ask for.  At least our strange child covets things like new panties over candy and junky toys.  
G loves those panties, and I've had to wash them at night, so she can wear the clean pair in the morning.  Then somehow it became really funny to them to say "don't tinkle in your Tinkerbells".  And because Bryn does tinkle in her pants, she became Tinkerbell.  (all from the strange mind of a 3 year old)
But why the stinky part you ask?  Well, its because Bryn's behind stinks.  She could be called the "mystery farter" because she's great at passing those silent-but-deadlies that can clear out a room.  But I guess it really isn't a mystery, because we all know where it really comes from.  Its actually become quite comical.  Poor girl has a long life ahead of her I fear.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

3 years old

I've been meaning to update about Gracelin's 3rd birthday all week - I wanted to attach pictures, which I can only do at home.  But, I just don't have time at home to sit and blog.  So, I'll attempt an update now, and hopefully attach pics later.
Gracelin at 3:
We decided to have her party on Saturday, although her birthday wasn't until Monday.  The day started with a benefit run that the whole family planned on doing.  The plan was for mommy and daddy to run the 5k (while daddy pushed the girls) and then for the girls to run in the kiddie races.  G had been talking about the race for 2 weeks - she'd watched mommy cross the finish line in a couple of other races, and couldn't wait for her turn to run.  We'd even gone to the park a couple of times an practiced.  On the day of the race, G was so excited.  She had me pin on her bib, and wanted to immediately run.  But she had to wait.  By the time the 5k was over, G no longer wanted to run.  She kept crying and saying that she wanted to go home.  It really wasn't like her, but we assumed she had slept poorly (which she had) and was maybe a bit overexcited for the pending activities of the day.  So, her sister ran and then we went home.
After a nap and some Motrin, she was a new girl.  Daddy and I had bought her a new bike with training wheels - which somehow she had found in the garage earlier in the week.  I was very disappointed, because I wanted to suprise her.  She was so excited about it, so I just let her ride it before her party.  Peddling was a bit difficult for her, and she kept getting nervous and hitting the brakes.  But, it was a successful gift.
4:00 PM hit, and the first wave of party guests started arriving.  From 4-5, we planned a small party with some of the kids from the neighborhood.  There are several little kids around her age, so we invited them over to decorate cup cakes and do a pinata.  The cup cakes were a huge success, and other than an extremely messy kitchen afterwards, the activity went off without a hitch.  As the kids finished their cupcakes, they went outside to eat them and play in a "tent city" Ben erected in the backyard.  The kids had a blast playing in the tents. 
Once the cupcake aftermath had cleared, we hung up the pinata.  G had helped me stuff it the day before, and couldn't wait to "hit the kitty with a big stick".  We let G go first, and all the other kids lined up behind her.  Several other girls went after, and they all hit the pinata like girls.  But then one of the little boys got up.  He planted his feet, squared his shoulders, and knocked the crap out of the pinata.  Even at 3 years old, the difference between boys and girls was obvious.
About 5pm, the neighborhood kids went home, and round 2 of the party started.  We had our family over for a bbq.  G has several cousins within just a couple months age difference, so she had fun playing with the kids.  It was a very nice party.  After dinner and presents, we cut the cake.  About half way through, G suddenly had a melt-down.  I picked her up, and realized that she had a fever.  I took her temp, and it was 104.  Poor girl was sick on her birthday.
Anyway, I suppose I should talk about what G is like right now.  She is such an intelligent and vivacious little girl.  Right now her favorite things are dolls and books.  She's such a cute little mommy to her dolls, and I love to listen to her playing "pretend" with them.  Her ability to speak and communicate continues to amaze me - she's still way ahead verbally.  She loves to sing, and can actually carry a recognizable tune.  She's also a "fashionista" and loves clothes - especially anything that makes her feel like a princess (ie.  pink dresses).  Her memory is amazing too - she can remember things from months ago.  She's also very physical, and loves going to the park, running, and being in the mountains.  She's recently gone hiking and rock climbing, and attacked both activities fearlessly.  Among all her favorite things, is her sister Bryn.  She loves Bryn so much, and is very helpful with her.  I've watched my girls, and they are so loving to each other.  Its rare that they fight, and I don't think I've ever seen them physically hurt each other.  I love my sweet girl, and feel so blessed to have her as my daughter.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

I'm such a slacker

I was doing well with my blogging for awhile.  But for the past few weeks, I've really fallen off of the wagon.  I'm going to attempt a quick update about my diet/exercise program, and then save the update on the girls and G's 3rd birthday for another post (I want to attach pictures, so I'll have to do it at home).
Chase the Cookie 5k - April 14, 2007:
I ran my first 5k ever.  My brother and his friend came into town from Cincinnati, and convinced me to run it with them.  I didn't feel ready at all.  I've only been running since February, and at the time they talked me into the race, had only run a 3 mile distance once.  And my time was over 40 minutes.  My goal for the race was just to finish without walking, and to come in under 40 minutes.  I figured too, that since the course was relatively flat and the run was for the Girl Scouts, that it was the perfect environment for a novice.
I got to the park where the race began about 2 hours early.  It was freezing cold that morning, and on advice I found on some blog somewhere, I dressed lightly.  I ended up sitting in my car, waiting for my mom, brother, and HL to show up.  Once they got there, I sat in my mom's car with them.  Finally, people were starting to line up, so we jogged over to the start. 
Although the wind was cold, I warmed up very quickly and didn't notice the temp at all.  The race was an out-and-back, and I ran the first ? fairly well.  But the very end had a hill - since I mostly train on the treadmill, I don't run hills very well.  I ended up having to walk a bit.  But, I realized as I was heading back, that I was passing a lot of people.  Of course there were lots of walkers, but I felt really good about my placing in the race.
With about 0.5 miles to go, I started running out of energy, and again I walked a bit.  As I rounded the corner and could see the finish line, my pace picked up again.   With about 100 yards to go, a little boy standing on the sidelines shouted at me to run as hard as I could.  So I did.  As I crossed the finish line, I noticed my time was just over 36 minutes.  I came in over 4 minutes faster than projected pace.  Of course, I promptly threw up into the grass at the finish line.  But I felt really good. 
Official time:  36:10
Second 5k - Salt Lake City Marathon - April 21, 2007:
I had so much fun "chasing the cookie" (even though I tossed my cookies) that it didn't take much convincing from HL to sign up for the SLC Marathon 5k, even though it was a week later.  My mom decided to walk it, so we signed up together. 
I was amazed at how many more people there were at this race - literally 1000s.  I was glad it was chip-timed, because it took me over 2 minutes after the gun to even cross the starting line.  For the 1st ? mile or so, I was pretty much dodging walkers and jogging strollers.  But the pack eventually thinned out, and I found my rhythm.
Unfortunately, I learned a lesson; I learned not to experiment with my asthma medications the day of a race.  From about mile 1 - mile 2, I pretty much walked the whole time because I had an asthma attack.  I finally got things under control, and finished the last mile fairly strong.
It was so much fun to run in to the finish.  I was running in as the first 2 ? marathoners came in.  I was feeling strong, but they blew by me.  The crowd was amazing, and the excitement really spurred me along.  The clock read around 39 minutes, but I knew my chip time would be less.  And I didn't puke this time.
Official chip time:  37:57 (not too bad considering I almost died)
3rd 5k - April 28, 2007:
I guess the running bug has bit, because I signed up for a 3rd race the following week.  This race was a benefit run, for a family who lost their mother earlier this year.  I convinced my hubby to run, which meant we would have to push the girls in a jogging stroller.  (Luckily Dh offered)
The day was warm and sunny - gorgeous day.  And the turnout was around 1000 people - which was about 700 more than anticipated.  It was very crowded at the starting line.  We lined up towards the back because we had the girls in a stroller and didn't want to be in the way of people.  As we stood there, the race organizers spent 20 minutes thanking everyone who'd participated.  Bryn got antsy, which turned into mad, which turned into the mother-of-all-tantrums.  Poor girl was crying so hard that she puked all over herself.  We wheeled her over to the side to clean her up. 
Finally the race started, but we couldn't get Bryn back in the stroller.  She kept arching her back and screaming.  It probably took us over 2 minutes to cross the start line, and since this race was not chip-timed, I knew that I was running for fun, and not a PR.
It was a grueling 5k.  The first ? was very steep uphill, and it was about 75 degrees.  The sun was warm, and I was feeling it affect me.  At about 1 mile, we had to run up a very long, steep hill.  I ended up walking pretty much the entire hill.  But then the route leveled off, and eventually went back downhill (but, thankfully not as steeply as the uphill section).  I felt really strong for the second ? of the race.  I crossed the finish line at just over 35 minutes.  There was a line of people at the finish line, and of course I started late.  But I think it is safe to say this race was a PR - I just don't know what the time is.
I am planning to take a few weeks off of racing, and just focus on my training.  Right now, I'm running 3 days a week, and cross training 3 days a week.  My cross training consists of swimming on Tues/Thurs, and then usually hiking the other day.  I'm going to start mountain biking too, because I'm thinking I may want to try a triathalon sprint next year.
My brother and HL also convinced me to put in to run the St George Marathon in October.  Its a lottery, and I won't know if I'm in until next week, but I sat down last night and worked up a daily training schedule for the next 6 months.  I'm also considering a local ? in August.
One would think that all this physical activity would be making me super skinny and hot.  Truth is, I've maybe lost 8 pounds total.  But, I feel better and sexier than I have in a long time.  I think too, that much of the weight loss has come from giving up my diet coke addiction (day 26 and still going strong thankyouverymuch).  But its ok - I am loving things right now.