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mother. marathoner. blogger. reader.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Anger Management

Our household is in a transitional period. With an almost 5 year old and a 2 1/2 year old there are no more babies in my home. Instead I have not one, but two, children who are testing limits, pushing boundaries, and basically driving me to drink.

Being a parent has brought all of my ugliest qualities to the surface. Impatience. Anger. Control issues. Vulnerability. Sensitivity. I actually teared up the other day when he refused to give me a hug. There are days when I morph into my evil counterpart: Maniac Mommy. This woman screams, shrieks, threatens, bans iPad use, and takes away stories at bedtime. Then this woman shoulders a 100 lbs of guilt and feels like she's failing.

I know that's it's normal to be frustrated when you have said the same thing 6 thousand times and yet no one seems to hear you. I know that's its acceptable to raise your voice to make your point but some days it feels like all I've done all day is yell. I hate it. I hate the way it sounds. I hate the way it makes me feel. I hate what its teaching my children about handling conflict, controlling your emotions, and dealing with anger.

Bath time has become my own personal battlefield. I can set timers, warn that its coming for 20 minutes beforehand, bribe, cajole but night after night I'm chasing kids down and screaming for them to get into the bathroom and  to please TAKE YOUR SOCKS OFF! By the time bath is over, my nerves are shot, my temper is raging, and I have zero tolerance for anything. Instead of being able to cuddle with my kids and enjoy some quiet moments before bed; I'm tense, angry, and frustrated.

Last week, after a particularly frustrating evening where I lost my temper and screamed like a banshee, I realized that something has to change. I have to change. I need to stop taking their disobedience and defiance personally. I need to take deep breaths and walk away. I need to practice what Daniel Tiger from PBS's "Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood" preaches: "when you feel so mad that you're gonna roar, take a deep breath, and count to 4."

This is what it has come to. I'm taking advice from an animated tiger. Whatever works people. Whatever works.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Race Recap: Thrill in the Hills 21k Trail Race

When my alarm went off this morning I wanted to ignore it. I did not want to get up to get ready to run my first trail half marathon in the rain.

After I hit snooze once, I was then forced out of my warm, comfy, cozy bed by Rick James singing "Super Freak". Not in person. Thank goodness. Being serenaded by a ghost would have definitely driven me back to bed.

I didn't start to get really nervous until my husband asked me if I was worried about getting mud on my glasses. Um. I wasn't. I am now. Thanks for that by the way.

My feet were wet before the gun went off. 5 minutes in my legs were mud splattered.

shoes are much worse then they appear
Within 15 minutes, I was sweating and my glasses were fogging up. Off came my long sleeve shirt. Glad I put that tank top on. Never underestimate the skill it takes to take off a shirt, while wearing a hydration pack, while running. I didn't even trip.

By mile 6, I had come to terms with the fact that my feet were starting to freeze. The rest of the miles are a blur of attempting to dodge puddles (and usually failing), trying not to slip, and trying not to sing too loudly so that other runners wouldn't hate me.

It was great fun.

Sure, I'm tired, and I can say with certainty that everything below my knees is going to hurt tomorrow, but I wouldn't have it any other way.

racing to the finish

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Product Review: UltrAspire Surge Hydration pack

In order not to commit the same grave sin twice, ie: trying a product for the first time during a race, my UltrAspire Surge hydration pack made its debut during my midweek long run.

I'm generally a 4 bottle pink FuelBelt kind of girl. However, storage is an issue. Even with the larger zippered pocket, there is no room for my phone, GU chomps, and my newly acquired "save me from vicious dogs" pepper spray. I was leafing through Runner's World one day when I saw the Surge pack toted as one of the best accessories of 2012. I put it on my Amazon wish list hoping that someone who loves me would buy it for me (there's that crazy love language thing again). My Dad came through - although he thought he was buying it for my husband. So when I saw him opening it up, I immediately stole it. (It's ok, he has forgiven me.)

The first thing I noticed was the lack of directions or instructions. I need guidance. I'm not touching anything until I read something about it first. Thank goodness for the world wide web. I watched videos, read reviews and then felt informed enough to explore.      

What I discovered while sitting on my living room floor...

Lots of pockets and storage space. Including an awesome pocket that has a magnet closure that snaps back into place.

Aluminum chest closures that are simple to hook and unhook.

The pack itself is light and fits nicely on my frame. It's constructed out of a breathable mesh and has two sets of straps to tighten the fit.

It took me an embarrassingly long time to figure out how to fill the water bladder but once I did it was easy.

What I discovered while running...

Minimal to no bouncing. The water in the water bladder sloshed around for the first few steps and either it became ambient noise and I blocked it out or it stopped.

It felt a little big in the shoulders, but I only really noticed that on the walk home. My husband and I agree it is unrealistic to think something would fit me perfectly.

It was super duper easy to access the water and once I got over the "oh my I should have cleaned out the water bladder first because I think I'm experiencing death by plastic/rubber" feeling it went smoothly.

Seriously, people, rinse out your water bladder before using it, including the tube. Do not be like me and have to stop at a public restroom desperately trying to rinse out your water bladder because you've lost your sense of taste due to plastic/rubber poisoning. Do not be that person.

Overall, I'm quite pleased with my new hydration pack. It will be making it's first race appearance this Saturday for the Thrills in the Hills Trail 21k in Winder, GA. Wish it luck!

UPDATE 8/13/2014
I have been exclusively using this pack since March and I'm still a fan. It's been through short and long runs and has done its job nicely.

One of the greatest things I've noticed about it is that it doesn't stink after a long run. A big plus in my book.

If I had a complaint it would be that I wish there was an optional chest strap (above the girls) but I'm slowly getting over it. It still fits well though so it's not a deal breaker.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

the one where I get mushy about Twitter

Here's what I adore about my fellow twitterers or tweeps or whatever you call people who use Twitter. 

When I posted this tweet 

no one called me crazy. Not one person questioned why I would get up at 4 o'clock in the morning to run 8 miles. 

My mother sighed (in a loving but resigned sort of way) when I told her what I was planning but not you Twitter. No. You support me in my quest for running greatness. You introduce me to new products. You force me to consider the benefits of a plant based diet. You give me great smoothie ideas. 

I think I might love you.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

the one where my son races me up a hill

Last week, when I told my son I was going to run in a race, his response was "you run, I'll watch a movie." Of course, I immediately posted this adorable comment on Facebook, because as a parent of young children, that's just what you do.

A few days later as I was replaying this conversation in my head, it occurred to me that while my children know I run, they rarely get to participate. I log my miles in the wee hours of the morning and am back before they even get out of bed. My husband and I haven't run together since the LBI 18 miler back in July. "Wouldn't it be great", I thought to myself, "if we could go running together as family and give the kids an opportunity to run?"

Cue brilliant idea.

We decided that after I get back from my long run on Saturdays (!) we would, together as a family with the kids in the stroller, run 2 miles. We would then let the kids run the length of our street. Today was our first Family Fun Run.

he wanted to wear a "number race" and I look crazed. Like I  had just run 17 miles or something.
It went very well. I survived a quick 2 mile run with my speedy husband, and the kids loved watching the cars from the comfort of their BOB dualie. 

My son ended up running from the start of our street, up the hill, and then down our driveway. I was very impressed. He told me he was tired, but he kept going. We then went to Subway and had some chocolate milk because every tired runner deserves some chocolate goodness after a "long" run.

Friday, February 8, 2013

the one where a RunnerBox shows up at my house

I'm not a gold digger. I just love presents.

I have evidence. I took the love language test and scored a 9 out of 12 for receiving gifts. Love language confirmed. Sorry husband.

I love to receive gifts and I love to give them. I thrive on finding the perfect present for someone and nothing makes me feel more loved then when someone does the same for me. Store bought, homemade, handcrafted - it doesn't matter. Size and price don't mean a thing. I still have a decoupaged heart my little sister made me for Valentine's Day when I was in high school.

Earlier in the week, I was rambling around on Twitter (who am I kidding? I do that everyday) when I came across a tweet and then a blog post about RunnerBox. Basically, awesome runner people put together a mini shoe box filled with various running goodies and then mail it to your house! Who knew such a thing existed? So, of course, I posted on Facebook letting the people who love me that this would be a awesome present. I live to serve.

Fast forward to today when a RunnerBox showed up in my mailbox!

they shoved a lot of fabulous things in this little box
My friend Katie loves me! THANK YOU KATIE!

Now I have all these fabulous things to try. Energy gum! Protein powder! Accel Gel! I already tried the CocoaVia unsweetened dark chocolate in my spinach smoothie this afternoon. I know, I know chocolate and spinach. Sounds nasty but it actually worked. I am so excited to test run the other products during these last few weeks of my marathon training.   

If you have a loved one who runs a RunnerBox is a great gift; even if their love language isn't receiving gifts.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Product Review: Montrail Rogue Fly Trail shoes

In December I purchased my very first pair of trail shoes: a pair of Montrails.

I didn't do any research. I basically walked into a running store and said to the obviously very fit, super runner running store employee, "I need a pair of trail shoes."

He gave me a few pairs to try on. One pinched my heel. Another squeezed my toe. Then I tried on the Montrails. As my son would say "comfy, cozy." No pinching, freedom to wigggle my toes, and cool little grippy things on the sole of the shoe. Plus, they were bright red. How could I go wrong? Sold.

These snappy little shoes haven't seen much action since we returned from our Christmas journeys. There has been a ton of rain and many early morning runs that I don't dare to do solo in the woods. My first opportunity to wear them was for an 8 mile trail race. "A race?!" you gasp. I know, I know. I broke one of the cardinal rules of running: NEVER try anything new on race day. NEVER. EVER. This was my first time, I promise.

It could have been ugly but it wasn't. When my pinky toes finally thawed out (it was quite chilly the morning of the race), the shoes felt like I had already broken them in. They are comfortable and lightweight. They gave me great traction on hills and protected my feet from rocks. They even managed to protect the tops of my toes after I slammed into root after root after root. Not too shabby.

All in all, I am quite pleased with my Montrails. I tend to brand loyal so I might be a lifer.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Race Rundown: Dirty Spokes Heritage Park 8m Trail Run

I worry too much.

There's your standard end of the world, nuclear holocaust fears. Then there's the someone breaking into your house in the middle of the night fear. Running in general doesn't scare me, although, I did just buy pepper spray due to a surprising and nerve wracking encounter with a dog.

Trails make me nervous. 

I think it's the unknown - all the things that could go wrong. Tripping. Falling. Getting lost. Lack of preparation. Yet I continue to sign up for races. A fact pointed out by one of my facebook running friends when I posted this dramatic, pity party post on our running group board:


Beth's comment made me stop. It made me think. WHY do I keep signing up for trail races when all I do is complain about how I signed up for another trail race? No one forces me to do these races. In fact, most of the people in my life, including my husband, think that running marathons is quite enough. Maybe that's it. Maybe running just marathons isn't enough for me anymore. Maybe I need to be nervous and push myself out of my comfort zone. All I do know is that I'm going to stop whining and complaining because...  

This morning I ran in the Dirty Spokes Heritage Park 8m trail run and it was fabulous. I tripped, jumped, and ran to a 1:20:02 finish. 

Yes, it was hard. Yes, after about the 20th time I tripped over roots I was ready to scream. Yes, it was exhilarating and yes, I thought I was super cool when I ballerina jumped over the creek and didn't get my feet wet. 

Trail running makes me feel super cool so I'm going to stop complaining about it. Although I'm probably going to complain about my sore ankles. Sorry, you can't win em' all.