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mother. marathoner. blogger. reader.

Friday, December 30, 2011

liar, liar pants on fire

This blog has turned me into a liar. I haven't ran with the kids in weeks and I haven't been running slowly. In fact, since the NYC marathon, I've been blowing my watch up; running under 10 min miles (that's fast for this girl) and feeling like a rockstar. I'm in love with running again.

Seth and I started training for the Seneca 1/2 marathon this week. We're not actually going to run it together though. I think he wants to finish in under 2 hours. That's just crazy talk. If I finish in under 2:10 I will leap for joy. The race is on St. Patrick's Day and I've already decided that I'm rocking a jiggly shamrock headband in honor of my best friend and favorite Irishwoman, Becca.

Halfs are fun. I think everyone should do one. They're not as stressful as a full and you can still get a cool magnet for your car. It takes less time to train and the glory factor is still high. When I decided to get serious about long distance running, it was the half marathon distance that gave me the confidence to tackle a full.

With the New Year only a day or two away, its natural to start thinking about resolutions and changes you want to make in your life. I know I need to eat better. I also want to stop taking running for granted. I want to enjoy each run for the gift that it is. Running can be tiring, frustrating, sometimes gross, exhilarating, and challenging and I wouldn't trade it for anything. I am a runner. woohoo!   

If you have ever wanted to start running: NOW is the time. Lace up your sneakers and get out there. Start off slow. Walk to the corner one day and the next day jog to the corner and walk back. Everyone has to start off somewhere. If you start now you could be in shape to run the Hartwell Dam 10k with me in May! Just throwing it out there.

Happy New Year and God Bless! See you in 2012.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Christmas 2011 rundown

After a few more cold weather runs in Ohio, we made our way to NY. We've been here for a few days and its been a blur of food, family, and presents. My son thinks his grandmother is Santa Claus and considering she's been bringing him presents everyday since we got here, he's not that far off. E has charmed  her way into everyone's arms and is being carried around like the Queen of Sheba. Seth and I are just trying to make sure diapers are being changed and cookies don't become a sole source of nutrition. It's been wonderful.

On Friday, I was able to go on a 3 mile run with my fabulous cousin Emma. She talked the whole time. seriously. and it wasn't like we were going that slow. I think she has an extra lung. She's going to be an amazing long distance runner. I made the mistake of promising her that for her 18th birthday I would take her anywhere in the US to run a marathon. She picked Hawaii. Of course she did. It's a good thing I have seven years to save my pennies.

Christmas Eve included a party with the extended part of my family. We're Norwegian so there's lots of coffee, waffles, and love. Now that we live in GA we only get to see most of them once a year so its a great time to get together and catch up. I was thrilled that I got to see my cousin Becky who supports me in my role as dictator of my family. Or as Seth put it, him and I are consuls. I'm not sure who's Octavian and who's Marc Antony though. However, considering Antony falls out of favor and commits suicide, I'd rather be Ocavian.

I was amused when my great uncle asked me if I was serious about this "running thing" and if I am obsessed. He eventually concluded that running, even obsessively, is atleast a healthy habit. It's good to know that even my family thinks I'm crazy.       

Christmas Eve ended with sushi and me almost wetting my pants. My beautiful cousin Laura (recently accepted to Boston College!) and her mother are hysterical. My aunt lovingly tortures my cousin and their interactions are priceless. I am so going to be like that with my kids.

This morning, W came down, and with wide eyes and many ooohh's and aaahhh's opened up present after present. He's at that age now where opening presents is fun and exciting. Every new toy is amazing and wonderful. It was humbling to see Christmas and the generosity of others through his eyes.

Christmas is over and we're more then halfway through our trip. It's a little sad. After this we won't see our family again until the summer. I'm going to try to not dwell on it though. I'm going to savor my runs through Clove Lakes and Silver Lake, enjoy my time with my family, and try to keep track of the thousand cars W has acquired over the course of our trip. I also plan to consume enormous amounts of cookies. As you can see, I have my priorities in order.   

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Top 10 reasons why you should run in cold weather

I ran 8 miles in 16 degree weather on Sunday. It was pretty clear that I wasn't in Georgia anymore. A few days before we left I ran in a tank top. On Sunday I wore two pairs of pants, a long sleeve shirt underneath a sweatshirt, a fleece hat, and a glove. Seth ran the next day in 12 degree weather and this is what happened....


I'm pretty grateful that I don't have facial hair.

Cold weather running rocks! Here are the Top 10 Reasons why you should run (or even walk) in the winter...

1. If you're embarrassed about being out there, don't be. No one else is out there, it's too cold (even in GA), and even if they are they're too busy trying to stay warm to pay attention to you. 
2. It's the perfect time to hide that body under layers of clothing. Every runner looks fat in the winter. If you start now you'll be skinny and svelte to wear spandex in the summer. 
3. When else is it socially acceptable to blow your nose in to your shirt and wear your snots proudly?
4. You can be like me and brag to anyone that will listen that you ran in ____ degree weather. I promise they'll be impressed.
5. Cold weather running gear is fun! Fun hats, gloves, jackets... the options are endless. I personally like to rock a multicolored neon headband that my mother-in-law crocheted for me. (Seth is wearing it in the first picture)
6. It's a good way to beat those winter blues. No one likes a cranky pants. Even if you only go out for 20 minutes it will clear your head, make you feel better about life, and save someone from having to give you an attitude adjustment.  
7. You don't sweat as much. Or at least its harder to tell that you're sweating - it could be frost.
8. The skin that's exposed to the air turns this awesome red color. It makes you look healthy.
9. Running in the winter will make you faster. The faster you move, the faster you'll be done and back in your nice, warm house.   
10. Hot chocolate! It stands to reason that if you burned enough calories running in the freezing cold you should be able to reward yourself with some hot chocolate goodness. 

C'mon people join the revolution! Running the winter is fun, unless you get hypothermia.That would be bad. So use some common sense, dress appropriately, and have a good time. Note: if you're squeamish about boogers, bring tissues.

Happy Winter Running!      

Thursday, December 8, 2011

when the cat's away....

In my mind, Seth spent his four days away living it up in Orlando, while I was here functioning solely as my children's hired help. Of course, that couldn't be further from the truth. The poor boy spent hours upon hours listening to people talk about accreditation and curriculum benchmarks. ugh. Sometimes, being a college professor isn't as glamorous as you would imagine. He got back late Tuesday night and I put him to work as soon as he got back from his run yesterday. Feed E, change diapers, drive W to school, put E down for a nap. I actually got an entire load of laundry folded without any one coming and pulling the piles off the couch. E pulls, W throws the clothes on the floor when they're in the way of his roadway.

I just don't know how single mothers do it. The frustration didn't start to really set in until Sunday when both the kids decided to have a meltdown as we were leaving church. W was suffering from some mine-itis and wanted to take a train home that wasn't his and E, well, I'm not really sure what her problem was. Hunger? Tiredness? It's like spinning the wheel of chance with that child sometimes. W refused to walk to the car so I had one screaming kid under each arm and a backpack. I buckled E into her seat and left W on the sidewalk. By now, people were starting to stare. A kind woman stopped and tried to comfort W - failure. As I was trying to buckle W in (he was doing that slouchy, dead weight body thing where you can't scoot them up to buckle the crotch buckle), another kind woman commiserated with me and tried to make me feel like my kids weren't the only ones screaming bloody murder. The truth is that her two children were calmly climbing into their car and waiting patiently for their mother to stop cheering me on. Finally, everyone was buckled in but still screaming. My solution was to turn the music up. Thankfully, on the way home, E fell asleep and W stopped crying when I offered up a cheeseburger bribe. Yes, I bribe. Mostly with food, although the other day at the dentist, I bribed W with a "treat" if he would let them look at his teeth. The office had a treasure chest so I got out of that one.

Thankfully, my running didn't suffer. I was able to enlist the help of one of my most favorite people, Melinda, to stay with the kids while I went running. I haven't run more then 3 miles with the double stroller and I'm a little scared to try. I have these unrealistic images of the wheels going flat and us being stranded miles away from home, with W screaming and pointing, "Lauren! Lauren! That way! That way!". Maybe running higher mileage with the kids will be one of my resolutions this New Year but only if I can remember to bring my phone and lots of water in case we get stranded.  

Friday, December 2, 2011

boys just want to have fun

Recently, W has been very attached to his Dad. He loves spending time with him, reading, and shooting hoops. Duties that used to be my responsibility, bath time and reading, are now strictly W and Daddy activities.

I'm not j. Ok, well maybe a little bit. When a child wants you, chooses you, demands you and your attention, it can be a wonderful feeling. It can also be exhausting. So, I'm not going to lie, I have come to enjoy those times when W wants his Dad. I can facebook stalk people, read, or actually use the bathroom in peace.

Seth left for his conference today and I can already tell it is going to be a long three days. "Where's Daddy?" is going to be constant refrain. After he got out of the tub, put on his footie pajamas, and brushed his teeth (we're trying to teach him not to swallow the toothpaste but to spit it out - its not going well. I'm hoping E will be a dutiful second child and just pick this stuff up on her own. I really can't imagine having to have this conversation... "Spit! NO! Don't swallow it! Spit! Spit!" again.) we called Daddy to read the last book and to pray together before bed.

It is those moments that make it all worth it. The craziness, the tantrums, the wanting the bubbles from the potty box without actually using the potty. He must have asked me for the freaking bubbles a thousand times in an hour. At one point, when he was looking and sounding uber pathetic, I almost caved but then I remembered that I would like him to be potty trained before E so I remained strong. I just repeated the mantra, "If you go peepee or poopy on the potty, you can pick from the box and have the bubbles" over and over again. Seeing his face light up when he realized his Dad was on the phone made the whole bubble fiasco less aggravating.

Parenting is like running. It can be enjoyable at first but then it gets hard. You question why you're out there, putting all this effort into something that seemingly gives back very little, but then something happens; an effortless run, a conquered distance, or a met time goal. Suddenly, it becomes clear: running is good. Running is your friend and has a place in your life. You actually like it. Tonight, after kissing my son goodnight through his bedrail (it's just something we do... I don't know) I was reminded that despite everything I really do like him. In fact, I love him like I love no one else. Even when he walks right past the potty and pees on my carpet.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

"A plague a' both your houses!"

It is 11:27am and I'm still in my pajamas. The kids are dressed though so I'm putting a mark in the win column for today.

Illness has taken over the Parry household. My son has a double ear infection and both Seth and I are both battling head colds. Being sick stinks. Being sick and being a Mom at the same time stinks. Being sick and being a Mom far away from family stinks. When you're a Mom (especially a stay at home Mom) there are no sick days. Life goes on and doesn't really care if you can't breathe through your nose or swallow. So you do what you can. Make sure diapers get changed, kids gets fed, and everyone is wearing comfy clothes. There are tissues in every room, medicines on every counter and OJ in the fridge.

Little Miss E is the currently the healthiest one in the house. It is safe to say that my daughter believes this is her world and the rest of us just live in it. While we were driving to the Dr's office yesterday she screamed the ENTIRE way, not because anything was wrong, just because she could. One of her new words is "stuck". Everything is stuck. Her socks are stuck. The truck is stuck. She's stuck in her high chair, stuck in her car seat. Each time I caught her eye in the mirror, she would throw her arms up in the "pick me up NOW" position and say "stuck". Finally, after hearing me repeat it so many times W said, "E, you are not stuck." I think if she knew how she would have stuck her tongue out at him.

There will be no running today. I don't think I even have the strength to push the stroller up the driveway, let alone for 4 miles. Tomorrow is another day and hopefully it will include the ability to swallow.

(P.S. Seth leaves for a conference tomorrow afternoon. It will be just the kids and I for 3 full days. Stay tuned. It will be like Real World: Toddler edition)

Monday, November 28, 2011

Thanksgiving Run down

Stats for Thanksgiving 2011: 3 states in 8 days (NJ, NY, PA), 29.5 hours spent in the car, 21 miles logged (6 of them with Seth! I think he was impressed by my 3 mile race time. Little does he know that I was trying to keep up with a chick less than half my age [see below] ).

1 Turkey Trot run with my 11 year old cousin, Emma. She finished the 3 mile race with a clock time of roughly 28:15. That's with 2 stops to retie her laces - she's amazing. I want to be like her when I grow up.

 1 turkey dinner with the family. My family's thanksgiving cooking skills could beat your family's thanksgiving cooking skills up. Its like the food network elves come and make this incredible meal only its really my Gram, my Aunt, and my Mom. I really want to be like them when I grow up. Plus, we had chocolate cake for dessert... who has chocolate cake for dessert on Thanksgiving? um, we do and its because we rock.

2 days of 3rd generation Parry boys hanging out playing Angry Birds. These boys are no joke. If there was an Angry Birds competition they would dominate. Although they do have a tendency to cheat - if they don't like the board or their score they'll quit and start a new game, but hey they're cute so its ok.

2 head colds for Seth and I. You've never had fun until you've been in a car for 14 hours with two kids and sinus pressure & congestion. seriously you should try it sometime - its a blast.

1 tin of Gram's cookies. The deal is if you bring back the tin she'll refill it. I think I've already eaten 4 today. Chances are slim that they will last the week.

8 wonderful days of spending time with family. I must say that's what I'm most thankful for.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

"Don't need any help. I work solo mio."

If I'm not running with my kids, I'm running by myself. I'm too slow for my husband (he lost over 100 pounds by running and now he's faster then me) and I get up too early for most other people. A part of me thinks that I would enjoy running with others; the companionship, the shared enjoyment of sweating, and pushing one another to be better. Deep down, though, I'm a loner. I enjoy running by myself; being able to think, pray, blow my nose into my shirt, and sing out loud without horrifying those around me.        

I tend to take the same route with motherhood. Living far away from family and friends limits my opportunities to complain to other people about my children. Complaining via phone or facebook just isn't the same. (Although my mother always does a good job listening and laughing when it's appropriate.) There's just something about sitting across from a friend, laughing so hard you could cry, wanting to cry when you hear about something they're going through, and just feeling comfortable in each other's presence. There are a few people I feel that way about and luckily I was able to spend some time with one of them today.

I've know Elena for a long time. We were inseparable at one point, getting into trouble and eating cup o' noodles soups while sitting on my kitchen counter. As with most teenage girls drama happens and we drifted apart. Fast forward to about two years ago when we reconnected and found out we were both pregnant. There's something about pregnancy and motherhood that draws women together. Its common ground that helps us to understand that we're not alone. That there are other women out there struggling with the same things we are; insecurities about parenting, uncertainties about the choices we make for our children, and most of all hysterical antidotes.             
Tonight I was reminded how important it is to walk with other women on this path of motherhood. Perhaps I can be persuaded to start sharing my runs. Any takers?  

Monday, November 21, 2011

My Love Affair with Running

True to the title of my fabulous blog I run slowly, even when I'm not pushing an extra 60 pounds. Ironically, I was once dubbed the fastest soccer player on Staten Island (of course my high school track coach said that but hey you take what you can get). I was a sprinter; able to cross small distances pretty quickly. I hated cross country and used every excuse conceivable to get out of running. Ouch my foot hurts. See the trainer. Ouch my knee hurts. See the trainer. By the time indoor track season rolled around the trainer and I were on a first name basis. The lure of soccer stardom led me away from high school track and I spent the next couple of years flirting with running but never making a commitment.

Fast forward to 2003 when I made the insane pronouncement that I was going to run a marathon before my husband graduated from graduate school. This marks my descent into marathon madness, though it took another three years before I got serious. I ran 2 halfs in 2006, Philadelphia and Staten Island, and made my first attempt to get in to the New York City Marathon. For those who don't know NY is no joke. Everyone wants to run NY. Seriously everyone. Including famous people. I doubt that Katie Holmes, Lance Armstrong, Apollo Ohno, and Mario Lopez had to go through the lottery like the rest of us poor slow fools. It took me 5 tries to get in. Yes, you read that right. For 5 years I faithfully applied to the NYC marathon and every year was turned down until 2010. I was, however, pregnant with my daughter and deferred until 2011.

Meanwhile, while I was dealing with self esteem issues ("why don't they want me? Its because I'm slow. They think I'm too slow. They saw my anticipated finish time and laughed me right out of the lottery.") I ran 2 other marathons, Cincinnati and Charlotte. Cincinnati was a hot mess. I made EVERY single rookie mistake you could think of. I carried a bottle of Gatorade with me for the entire race, 26.2 miles, and didn't drink a single drop. It's a miracle I crossed the finish line. I literally dragged myself from mile 18 by sheer will power.

Charlotte was a whole other story. By that time, my son was over a year old and we were living in Northeastern Georgia. Suddenly being a slow runner took on a whole new meaning. Being slow and training for a marathon means a lot of hours running. A lot of hours spent away from my family. A 20 mile training run can take me up to 4 hours to complete. Even if I get up before the sun I'm still not back until right before lunch. It is a sacrifice not only for me but for my husband who for several hours a week becomes a single father.

So why do it? Why spend hours running, dealing with painful big toe joints, black toenails, and sweat pimples? For the fame? HA! I'll never set any records and I certainly won't win any races (not even a small 5k. Not even in my age category in a small 5k). For the glory? They tell you pain is temporary but glory is forever but its kind of hard to revel in the glory when you have 4 loads of laundry to do and a 3 1/2 who refuses to use the potty unless he can play Angry Birds (he beats my high score regularly).

No, I do it because I need to and because I can. God has blessed me with two beautiful children but He has also blessed me with two working legs so that I can get away from them. I'm not a supermom; I don't decorate homemade birthday cakes or sew Halloween costumes. I'm not crafty and we don't have a glue stick in the house. They fight and I get mad, they cry and I get frustrated. We're not the Cosbys'. (extra points if you can tell me what movie that line comes from). Running makes it better. Training makes it bearable and crossing a marathon finish line makes it all worth it. My kids know I run and although right now they're too young to know why, someday they will know its because they drive me to it.

I figure its better then an alcohol addiction.             

Friday, November 18, 2011

"running in the stroller?"

My mom asked me the other day why I run marathons. There really isn't one answer to that question. Primarily, its because I'm crazy. I mean, seriously, what sane person would spend hours upon hours (109.5 in 2011) running around Royston, GA? The other reason I do it is because I need a goal and I enjoy the challenge. When I'm training I rarely miss a run. I'm wide awake when that alarm goes off and I'm up and out the door within 15 minutes. When I'm not training its a whole other story. I set the alarm to get up to run but I hit the snooze button one too many times. I tell myself I can go running with the kids. I'm not sure why I think this is a good idea. Together my kids weigh approximately 45 pounds. My stroller, a BOB dualie (the greatest freaking stroller on the planet. Seriously it is incredible.), probably weighs about 20 pounds. That's 60 pounds I need to push just so that I can get a few minutes extra sleep. See what I mean about being crazy?

Today, I put off my run all morning. My daughter's sick and fussy and I'm trying to get this family ready to go home for Turkey day. As I was explaining turtle feeding duties to our new turtle babysitter I made the mistake of asking her if she wanted to go for a run with me. My 3 1/2 year old son heard me and immediately asked "running in the stroller?" How could I say no to that? So here we are off for a 2 mile run.

It was a little windy, we lost the blanket for a minute or two, and a trucker honked at us - all in all a successful run with my kid.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

One Mile at a Time

As I'm trying to write my first perfect blog post both of my children are sitting on top of me, whining in my ear, and fighting over toy cars. This is my life. Welcome.