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mother. marathoner. blogger. reader.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

the one where I need to get a dog

Well, we survived. 38 days on the road. 5 different places. 110 miles of running. 1 attempted break in. Yes, you read that right - some fool tried to break into my house while we were away. 

my door is stronger then your crowbar

As if I don't have enough to deal with, let's add home invasion anxiety into the mix. Thankfully, the door was not breached and our material goods remained safe. After a call to our chief of police and a reassuring text from my neighbor, I was able to enjoy the rest of our trip. If anything, this little foray into the seedy underbelly of NE Georgia has made me realize that everything, except for my family, is replaceable. Now, I just need to get a big, huge dog and I'll be good. 

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

the one where I chafe and bust through a brick wall

Well, we did it. Seth and I ran the entire length of Long Beach Island in about 3 1/2 hours, with zero complaining about pace and no arguing. We ran companionably together, occasionally pointing out a new Island establishment and high-fiving when we reached the half way point.

18 miles is a long way to run, especially when your butt cheek start chafing at about mile 6. There's nothing more attractive then a very sweaty woman yanking at her shorts while running. In the beginning, I tried to time each yank when there was no one (a walker or cyclist) behind me but after about the 15th adjustment, I gave up caring. After so many miles, self preservation triumphs shame EVERY time.     

At about mile 13, I hit the proverbial wall and I hit it hard. My feet were hurting; I was tired (a 4am start time is no fun); I was out of Gatorade; and I just wanted to curl up on the ground in the fetal position. In front of a garden sprinkler, if possible. 

I've hit the wall before. Mile 18 of the Cincinnati Flying Pig Marathon, mile 22 of the Charlotte Thunder Road Marathon, and mile 23 of the NYC Marathon. You literally feel like you can not possibly take another step, and that if you do there's a good chance you'll fall over and die. All the training in the world can not prepare you for this moment. You are now a spectator as your brain and your will to succeed duke it out. Your body will automatically take the steps and keep you moving forward, but each step will be agony.

At first, I tried to sing along to music playing on my iPod. I replayed one song, (everyone sing along now) "Hey, I just met you and this is crazy but here's my number so call me maybe..." but after a few times that stopped helping. I then moved on to praying for people, but unfortunately ran through that list pretty quickly. I then attempted to literally picture a brick wall and imagined myself kicking, screaming, pounding, and slamming through it. SUCCESS! Not to say that the last few miles weren't hard - because they were - but I knew the end was in sight and was confident I would make it.  

I don't know if I will attempt this craziness again. Running 18 miles while on vacation makes me tired and my legs sore. I missed an afternoon at the beach because I needed a nap. That is so lame. However, despite the chafing, wanting to throw myself on the ground, and the sweat dripping into my eyes, it was a good run. I'm so glad it's over.    

Monday, July 23, 2012

the one where Seth and I run a lot of miles and then I eat bacon

If you've been  paying attention to the "Upcoming Races" section of my blog, you already know that I'm supposed to run 18 miles tomorrow. It's not a race, just an opportunity for Seth and I to do something ridiculous while on our beach vacation.
One of the first summers that I came to the beach with Seth and his family, his father ran from the beach house, down the island to the lighthouse. I was amazed and impressed that someone would get up that early to run multiple miles while on vacation! In an attempt to be cool like my Father in law, I have now made the 13+ mile trek three times. Sometime last year, in a moment of insanity, Seth and I decided that we would (together!) run the ENTIRE length of the island, for a total of 18 miles or so. 10 months ago, it seemed like a really great idea. Now, the day before, I'm thinking this was a silly idea.
Long distance running should be synonymous with silly ideas. People running back to back marathons or 100 mile races through deserts or up mountains. Or two people, both training for marathons, getting up at 4 o'clock in the morning (while on vacation!) to run from Holgate to Barnegat Light. It's silly, I tell you, just silly.
Nevertheless, we will do it. Thankfully, the run will be followed by breakfast with Seth's Dad and Uncle. Bring on the egg and cheese on a roll with a side of bacon!
Pictures to follow.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

the one where we buy a zoo (well, not really)

 Today, we visited the Staten Island Zoo. It is great to be able to take my children to the same places that I went when I was their age. It is also kind of surreal. Who knew I was old enough to have kids that would enjoy a morning at the Zoo?

E the Penguin Girl
W the Penguin Boy

The Zoo is small enough that you can do it before the melt downs begin and has enough cute little animals to hold any hyperactive child's attention. To name a few, we saw pigs, fish, otters, chickens, & lemurs. W and his cousins petted a snake and E attempted to pet a donkey.
E and Cousin Emma checking out the Leopard
I attempted to get a few group shots and pretty much failed. They were semi cooperative for this shot though...

Note: NOT a real snake!
 It occurred to me today that when we do things like this, as a family, we're creating memories that my children will look back on. It is my responsibility to make those memories as fun and enjoyable as they can be - regardless of the heat or anything else. Changes the perspective a little bit doesn't it?  

Sunday, July 15, 2012

the one where I eat too much

Week 1 of marathon training is complete. Total number of miles: 19. Number of those miles run on hills: 16. Number of times my calves have screamed and begged me to stop: countless. I won't give you the count of the number of cupcakes, cookies, or bowls of ice cream I have eaten in the last few days because it's just obscene.
we tend to eat a lot of ice cream (yes, that's my in the background shoving a cookie into my mouth)
Yesterday morning, I ran my long run of 8 miles and then proceeded to walk all over the isle of Manhattan with my Mother. To say that my legs are tired would be an understatement. My Mom and I make this trip into the city every year. We wander up along the Hudson, take The High Line, walk through a street fair, have dinner, and just talk. It is beyond wonderful. 

NYC is the 4th stop on our Summer Grand Voyage. The kids are being completely spoiled by their Grandmother, who everyday brings them a new gift. I am being spoiled by my Gram's incredible cooking and am enjoying being able to run my old routes. I forgot how hilly this place is. This morning, I ran negative splits but that was only because it was all downhill. I'm looking forward to another week of running through my favorite parks and then we're off to the beach! Hopefully, all that ice cream and those cookies will not reflect too badly on my beach physique.  
Bunch of July birthday babies

Monday, July 9, 2012

the one where I start training for another marathon

At about mile 23 of the 2011 NYC Marathon, I half muttered, half wept to myself, "I am NEVER doing this again. This is STUPID! I'm tired, my feet hurt, and if one more person tells me the finish line is right up ahead I'm going to punch them in the face. And I REALLY, REALLY, REALLY want some Swedish fish." I was, therefore, most surprised, when approximately a week or so later, I found myself registering for the 2012 Anthem Richmond Marathon. Running marathons is kind of like giving birth - you forget how truly painful and terrifying it was and only remember the new cute little munchkin. Or in this case, how awesome it felt to finally get that medal.  

So here I am, 8 months later, embarking on another 16 week marathon training program. This will be my fourth marathon and I still feel like I have no idea what I'm doing. That's where the internet comes in. This time around, I'm utilizing the brilliance of Hal Higdon and his online Novice II schedule  (with a few minor modifications) to get me through the 26.2 miles and across that finish line. 

I learned the hard way that running 5 days a week is a big no no for me. I get burnt out, start to loathe running, and want to poke my eyes out. 4 days a week is perfect, especially with pace runs thrown in there. That's the key to a great training program; knowing what you're capable of doing and doing that really well. I'm going to rock the snot out of this training program.... 4:45 marathon perhaps?   

Because I know you all care so very much, I'll try to keep you updated on my progress and mileage. Thanks for joining me on this very crazy adventure... keeps your arms within the vehicle at all times and please, for the love of all things holy, bring me some Swedish fish!  

Sunday, July 8, 2012

the one where I possibly jinx myself by switching shoe brands

I made a life changing decision the other day. After 10 years of wearing the same type of running sneaker, I switched to a new brand. *gasp*. I'm not really sure how that happened. I walked into Second Sole with the intention of walking out with a new pair of the Asics GT series. Somehow, I left with a pair of New Balance 860's.

There was a lot of jogging around the store, which if you've never done it, is very odd. I'm not a pretty runner when I'm wearing street clothes. It is also weird to jog in a store when other people are watching you. I never know what I'm supposed to say or even what I'm supposed to feel. "Oh yeah, I can totally feel that extra stability in the heel", or "Oooo, such a roomy toe box". It's like when you're at the eye doctor and they ask you which image is more blurry. I always lie and just say the left, with an occasional right, thrown in there for good measure.  

Picking out my new sneakers wasn't as much as a crap shoot as my eyes exams are, but it was still a little nerve wracking. I don't like change but every once in awhile you need to mix it up. This, people, is me living dangerously.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

the one where we live out of a suitcase for a month

Living far away from family and friends has a few benefits. One, I don't have to worry too much about the state of my house because no one is going to drive 11 hours to make a surprise visit. Two, no one really knows how fresh my daughter is. They see cute pictures of her on Facebook and are fooled by the wispy blond hair and big blue eyes. The girl is straight up out of control. If this is any insight into her teenage years, I am in so much trouble. 

Overall though, it's pretty terrible to be separated by so much distance. It's hard on the kids, hard on us, and hard on everyone who loves us. We try to make it home (either to Ohio or NY) as much as possible. Currently, we are on Day 13 of our month long summer trip. By the end, we will have visited 4 different households and 5 different places. You haven't lived until you've dragged your kids all over the Eastern seaboard.  

First up was Bellbrook, OH; home to our dear friends from college. It's wonderful being able to spend time with people who knew you before you had kids. It's almost as if they help you to excavate that fun, carefree, relaxed part of yourself that disappeared among diapers and constant screams of "NO!". Our friends have a daughter of their own and another on the way. It will be a long time before either of us will be child free but its comforting to know that we're in it together.    

the future members of the commune
Right now, we're in Canfield, OH, visiting with my in-laws. My kids love their Nana & Papa and all the attention they receive. Papa takes them for walks and Nana chases down wayward golf balls. There is a pantry full of treats and a dog to chase around the house. For Seth & I, being here means help with the kids. Other people to pull screaming toddlers out of booster seats that they strapped themselves into and other people to screw golf heads back on after W chips one too many balls out of the "rough". Right now, I'm sitting on the porch swing listening to music while E naps and Seth, his mom, brother, and W are out playing mini golf. I almost don't know what to do with myself. It is wonderful.  

E & Seth modeling Nana's creations
Papa making Chocolate Zucchini cake
Seth and I are still running. He starts training for his first full marathon this week and I start training for mine the week after. We're running in a local 4 mile race on July 4th (my 31st! birthday), and W is going to run the 1/2 mile kids run with his Papa. I have BIG plans to shave a few minutes off my time from last year. Let's hear it for a PR! Woot, woot!