Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Be Impressed

It's been a pretty crazy week already, so this post will be bullet point style.

- Thanks for all the TV show recommendations! I have a good list now that should hopefully get me through the winter treadmill miles. (I started with Orange is the New Black and am already just about done with Season One. It's entertaining!) With the way things are going this week it looks like all 86 miles are going to be on the treadmill. Uuuuuugggghhhhh. I miss clear roads and running outside already. But I am grateful to have a really nice treadmill right in my house so I can keep up my training. I have 16 miles tomorrow morning so it will be an early (even earlier than usual) start.

- Speaking of snow and ice, we got snow last night and all day today... at least a foot on top of what was already there. Here in the mountains when it snows, life goes on. School is on, people go to work, everything is open. My oldest daughter was driving home from college today (a nine hour drive total!) and I was really nervous but she made it safe to her grandparents' house (three hours away) and will come the rest of the way tomorrow when hopefully the roads are better. We can't wait to see her!!

- I despise grocery shopping. Getting all the food for this family into the carts, then out of the carts to check out, then back in the carts, then into the van, then into the house, then all put away is just a WHOLE  lot of work. Today there was so much snow in the parking lot that that I could barely push/pull the stupid carts. I usually bring a kid or two to "help", but I had to get it done early this morning so was on my own.

Be impressed... I somehow managed to get it all up to checkout in one cart. Barely. It was pretty sketchy the last few aisles.

This is just the food for tomorrow and Thanksgiving day (and the turkey was already home defrosting)... not even the usual day to day food/necessities. We need a food sponsor.

- Since I don't have enough to do, I am putting on a Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving morning. I did it for a few years and then last year we didn't because the high school band did one as a fundraiser and I didn't want to take away from that. It is a low key event... it's free, all are welcome, lots of fun... just a way I try to get people out and to get a little exercise before the eating starts. :) I get up and do my run beforehand and keep time at the finish line and cheer everyone in. We make a huge thing of hot chocolate for the end and I got some little prizes for the first male, first female, and first whole family to finish. Should be fun!

Besides that we will just be enjoying the holiday here at home. I watch the Macy's Parade with the kids every year and we are looking forward to that. It will be hard to have a holiday without Nathan and I always miss my parents and brother extra on the holidays, but we will still have a lot fun as always. 

Hope everyone has a very Happy Thanksgiving!

Thursday, November 20, 2014

A tip, a review and a question

Non-running related parenting tip....  When your kids are little and you are up to your sleepless eyeballs in diapers, bottles, laundry, toys, etc. and people tell you that it will go by "so fast" and you just laugh internally because you can't imagine for even a second it will go by fast...believe it.  As crazy as it sounds, it really does go by faster than you can imagine. So treasure every second. And don't blink. Because before you know it those little kids are bigger than you are and are going off into the world on their own to do big awesome things.

Yesterday I said good-bye to my first born who left to serve a two-year church mission in Hawaii. The four-hour drive home by myself was brutal.
I am smiling here but there were lots of tears.
 And moving on....

Running is going super well. I am finally starting to feel like myself again and getting back into a good training groove. 70 miles last week, 82 miles this week. I had my first real workout yesterday morning. It wasn't anything too crazy... Three mile warm up, three mile tempo, one mile easy, 3 mile tempo, 2 mile cool down. Coach gave me the target paces of 7:04, 6:59, 6:54 for the first set and then 6:59, 6:54, 6:49 for the second set. Those paces shouldn't feel too hard for me, but the combination of it being my first attempt at faster running since Hartford (back on Oct. 11) and having to do it on the treadmill (which always always makes paces feel tougher to me) made it feel pretty dang tough. I did it, but it felt really hard.

Quick review - The Nanospikes that I ordered are fantastic! (I was not sent these for a blog review or anything... I just bought them and am sharing my opinion).  I had tried Yak-trax before and didn't like how they felt on the tops of my feet or how the snow seemed to ball up under neath my feet. These Nanospikes were just great to run in. I did not even feel them on the tops or sides of my feet and there was no problems at all with snow sticking/clumping underneath them. And the traction was amazing. They are super lightweight.  I was nervous at first and really careful but by the end I was just cruising along.  My road is literally a sheet of ice right now. It's so bad that it is really hard to get my big van up the hill to the stop sign. And I ran down the hill on that sheet of ice with the Nanospikes and didn't feel even the tiniest bit of slipping or sliding.  I would not want to try and run fast in these, but for easy days they are great and they will definitely help me get more miles done outside this winter.  I ordered them here.

I did get sent a trial package from EnduroPacks and will be trying them out starting tomorrow. EnduroPacks are a daily system of vitamins and minerals made for athletes that are supposed to help us stay healthy and recover more quickly from training. I will be trying them out for the next month and then will post a review.

QUESTION - I need recommendations for a TV series to watch now that I will be on the treadmill lots. I don't watch a whole lot of TV normally but big mileage weeks on the treadmill go by a lot easier with some entertainment. In the past I have watched Walking Dead, Game of Thrones, Mad Men, Pushing Daisie (all time favorite), Alias, 24, and a few reality/cooking shows.  I just finished Season One of The Americans and I really liked that but Season Two isn't free and I am not paying extra to watch it. I really want to watch True Detective but that isn't free anywhere either. SO... any recommendations??? Preferably something I can watch somewhere free (I have Netflix and Amazon Prime) and that has multiple seasons to keep me busy for awhile. :)

Hope everyone is having a good week and staying warm!


Thursday, November 13, 2014

Training in the COLD

It is Winter in Wyoming! The last two mornings the temps have been 0 degrees and -1. I did 12 miles yesterday and 10 miles today. Brrrrrrrrr. In all honesty it really wasn't that bad. It was dry, there wasn't any wind, the roads were clear, and I bundled up. The good news is that the weather is "warming up" a little. The bad news is the snow is starting today. Once the snow starts in the Rocky Mountains, it doesn't stop... until March... or April. I am holding off on running on the treadmill for as long as possible.

Every winter since I started running I have picked races in the winter and/or early spring to train for to help keep me motivated through the winter. Yes, long runs on the treadmill aren't very fun and training through the winter has it's challenges, but I like having the motivation and I like being in shape when the snow melts.

Running has been going well this week. If things continue as they are I will have 70 miles this week which is a good start. Tomorrow I get to add in a tiny bit of intensity with 6x1 minute pickups in my run. We are being careful with the Achilles. It has no pain, no swelling, no tightness, etc. and it feels great on all of the runs (not feeling it all now) but there is still a little bit of crepitus (creakiness) in it after runs. Coach and my PT have given the green light to keep running since it is improving even with the increased mileage, so that is what we are doing.

I have 12 weeks until the Tallahassee Marathon, so it is time to get to work. It's not a very long training cycle but I have PRed before on 12 weeks and I really like this course and race. Here are a couple of pics from the last time I ran it. See how warm it looks??? :)  It definitely doesn't look like that here in February!

With Jennifer and Lauri afterwards. First time I won $$! :)
Here are some of my tips for training in the COLD.

- Get outside whenever you can. Even in this stupid cold it has been great to be outside in the mornings and start my day with a run and the sunrise.

- Have a treadmill you can use (at home, a gym, a friend's house, etc.) for when the roads aren't safe to run on. I tend to do my faster runs and workouts on the treadmill in the winter and my easy days outside. Trying to go fast on ice makes me nervous. :) If you have an indoor track to use that can be a great option too. We have one here but it is tiny (10 laps for a mile) and terrible so I avoid it.

- Get some Yak-Trax or Nanospikes to make running on ice and snow easier and safer. (I ordered a pair of Nanospikes to try out so I can hopefully get more runs done outside once the roads are icy. I will let you know how they work once I try them out.)

- Get good gear!! A good hat, gloves, coat, and tights/pants (made for runners) makes all the difference in running comfortably in the cold. I use my regular socks and shoes and then just add layers as needed.  Nothing is worse than cold hands.

- Be safe. I run most of my miles in the dark year round, just because of the time I have to run. But for many runners this time of year means they start running in the dark, at night or in the morning. Dress in reflective clothing and bright colors. Wear a headlamp or some other type of light. Be alert and aware, and NEVER assume that the cars see you. Just this morning I had a way-too-close call with a driver who was either drifting off the road or trying to give me a scare.

- Sign up for a race! When your bed is warm and it is cold outside, knowing you have a race to train for is good motivation to help get yourself up and out the door and to keep you on track.

- Remember that even though it isn't hot and you may not feel as thirsty that you still need to hydrate.

- Warm up as quick as you can once you get inside. I really don't feel bad when I am out running in the cold but then I tend to shiver for hours afterwards. Some things that help are changing out of my running clothes asap into something warm and dry, taking a hot shower, and drinking something warm.

Who else is training for a winter/early spring race? What are you training for? What are your tips for training through the winter?

Friday, November 7, 2014

Relentless Hope

I have always described myself as an optimist.  I believe in good things. I expect good outcomes. I look on the bright side. I have hope. That's me.

Today I was reading an article about Meb Keflezighi (you can read it here) and this quote really jumped out at me.

"His secret is relentless hope. He thinks, “If it can’t be today, maybe tomorrow. If it can’t be tomorrow, maybe next week. If not next week, then maybe next month.” There simply is no give in the man. He’s always looking ahead. He always has hope."
 

How great is that? Meb has suffered through injuries and setbacks. He has had disappointing races. He has had many people say he is too old and that his competitive days were over. But he has held on to his "relentless hope" and continues to do BIG and amazing things. 

I love this idea of relentless hope. Many people seem so quick to get discouraged, to get frustrated, to give up, and to lose hope. I think that is one of the things I love about running and about runners... as a group, we are a pretty hopeful bunch. For the most part we believe in ourselves and we believe in each other and we know that there is always the possibility and hope for something incredible to happen when you line up at a start line. 

It is not hard to be hopeful when life feels "good". When you have plenty of money, a happy marriage, healthy well-behaved kids, a fulfilling job, good friends, a nice house, etc. etc. etc. it is easy to feel hopeful. But when life hits us with challenges and things are not easy, that is when you need hope the most. 

It is the same with running. When you are healthy and fit and PR's come easily and your hard work pays off on race day, it is really easy to be hopeful. But when you are struggling with injuries, fighting through tough and disappointing races, or dealing with some other kind of set back, it can be a lot harder to be hopeful. 

I choose to be hopeful. Yes, I have had my fair share of disappointing races. Yes, I have fought through a couple of injuries (including wearing a cast for almost two months the beginning of this year and now this Achilles that is taking forever to completely resolve). Yes, some people have said some really discouraging things to me. 

But the people that matter support, encourage and believe in me. And I believe in me. I think that you HAVE to believe in yourself. If you don't, it doesn't really matter what anyone else thinks. And if you do, it doesn't really matter what anyone else thinks. :)

I set the goal to qualify for the Olympic Marathon Trials. To run in that race, and line up with our country's best female marathoners is my dream. It has been a bumpy road and things certainly have not gone how I had hoped or planned. But I finally have the perfect coach for me and my training has gone better than ever the past six months. And the struggles of the past few years have just left me that much more determined, ready to work hard, and hungry to reach my goals. 

Things may not have gone the way I had hoped the past few years, but I still have time. In 2020 I will be 42/43 years old. There are consistently women in their 40's that qualify for the Olympic Marathon Trials. And, since I started this running thing a lot later in life than most, I know I still have lots of progress to make.

 Did you hear about Christine Kennedy who ran a 2:59 marathon in Twin Cities last month at the age of 59? (And she ran a 2:51 at the age of 55!). How about the amazing Deena Kastor, who just run a 2:33 in NYC at the age of 41?  There are lots of women out there posting incredible marathon times in their 40's and beyond. 

So, I choose to be relentessly hopeful in all things. In running, I am going to keep training hard and believing in myself and believing that all this hard work will pay off. Right now the focus is on running a PR in Tallahassee in February and then to go sub 3 hours in Ogden in May. One step at a time...enjoying the journey and grateful to be on it.

To go back to Meb's quote, “If it can’t be today, maybe tomorrow. If it can’t be tomorrow, maybe next week. If not next week, then maybe next month.”

"Let your hopes, not your hurts, shape your future." - Robert H. Schuller

"Be prepared, work hard, and hope for a little luck. Recognize that the harder you work and the better prepared you are, the more luck you might have." -  Ed Bradley

"Hope lies in dreams, in imagination, and in the courage of those who dare to make dreams into reality." - Jonas Salk

"Courage is like love; it must have hope for nourishment." - Napoleon Bonaparte


"Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement. Nothing can be done without hope and confidence." - Helen Keller

Thursday, November 6, 2014

The Big Apple

Josh and I got home super early yesterday morning from a whirlwind trip to New York so Josh could run the NYC Marathon!

I did not want to miss Halloween with the kids, so Josh worked on Friday and I spent the day with the kids. I got everyone off to school and then when they came home we ate, got into costumes, picked up some neighbor kids and I took them all into town for trick or treating. Josh's mom came up that afternoon as she stayed with the kids while we were gone.

After two hours of trick-or-treating I brought the kids home and they went back out with Ryan (my 16 year old) and Gramma and Josh and I hit the road for the airport just after 7pm. Side note - the amount of candy my family hauls in on Halloween is obnoxious. :)

Yeah... I made this for Halloween dinner. It was 5lbs of ground beef (and the usual meat loaf ingredients), an entire package of bacon and some onion for the eyes and teeth. It took up almost this entire huge roasting pan. And it was a huge hit with the kids!! :)


I didn't get good pics of the other kids but here is Noah as a Ninja Turtle on his way to school. :)  He left the hood part on for about .08 seconds.


We got to the airport around 10:30pm and our flight left on time just before midnight. Our flight was FULL of runners! We landed in JFK around 6am and after some adventures in trains, taxi's and walking in the pouring rain, we got to our hotel in Times Square, where my parents were waiting for us.

After a little rest and showers we had a nice day of lunch, expo, nap, and then dinner and dessert in Little Italy.  The weather was cold, rainy, and windy but we still had a great time.

Josh and I were both supposed to run the NYC Marathon in 2012, but then did not get to because it was cancelled in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. Josh had raised money for a charity and did not want to miss his shot to run, so he took the deferment for this year. (I had run it in 2011 and just took the refund since there are other races I want to do).

We were back in the hotel nice and early and Josh got over 8 hours of sleep before he headed out to get on the ferry super early Sunday morning.

I got up and went for a 6 mile run around Times Square, Central Park, etc. and it was loads of fun. The energy in the city was awesome and even though it was still windy and cold, the rain was gone and the sun was shining.

After my run I got back into my hotel room and showered and packed up while watching the start of the marathon on TV. It did make me a little sad not to be running, but with my Achilles still not quite 100% I knew there was no way I could, and I was looking forward to a chance to spectate.

I met up with my parents and my brother and we found a great spot about half a mile from the finish line. We watched and cheered for the elite women and then the elite men. SO much fun. SO inspiring. I loved it. Could I love Meb any more?? And it was so much fun to cheer for Desi and Kara. The wind was brutal and clearly was a big challenge to most runners, but that just made their races that much more inspiring.

We walked down to where the runners come off of the 59th street bridge and waited for Josh. We had timed it just about right and did not have to wait too long. We saw him, he saw us, we cheered and blew kisses and he went on his merry way. :) He looked good!

We ate a nice lunch and then went back to our spot near the finish line and waited for Josh again. We saw him go by, cheered like crazy, and then dealt with the worst part of the NYC Marathon... waiting forever in crazy crowds trying to find your runner. It took over an hour, but Josh got back to us and then we went back to the hotel so he could change, and then we loaded up into my parents' car and headed back out to their house on Long Island.

Josh finished in 4:33 and really enjoyed the experience. He felt good during and after and loved being back in NYC.  We were all proud of him!!

One of the runners I coach was also running but she missed her start because of her bus being stuck in traffic and ended up starting in a later wave and it never worked for us to see her on course. She handled many challenged though like a champ and had a race to be proud of.

Monday was Josh's 40th birthday so we had a really nice day together, visiting sentimental spots like our first house, the place we got engaged and married, etc. We had dinner with my brother and then met my parents and some friends at a sports bar to watch the Giants game.

Tuesday was my step-grandma's birthday. Her and my Grandpa got married after my Grandma died (when I was 10) and they recently had their 25th anniversary. They are 92 and almost 95 years old and they are just amazing. They still drive and live on their own, and they are completely full of life, fun to be with and as sharp as anyone. We took them out to lunch and it was wonderful to get to see them and spend some time with them.
My grandparents, Josh, me and my Dad.
 My parents drove us back out to JFK and after a five hour flight we landed in Salt Lake  around 11:00pm. Got the bags, got the car and after a three hour drive, Josh got us home just before 3am. I slept for three hours and then got up to see the kids. :)

The trip was really nice. Time alone with Josh is precious and rare. Time with my parents is also way too rare. Spectating at the NYC Marathon was a blast. We ate way too much and got to spend time with family and friends. It was definitely worth giving up two nights of sleep. And the kids had a lot of fun here with Gramma (and we are very grateful to her!!!)

I did run every day in NY and am feeling better and better each day. I have been running 6-10 miles a day and hope to be able to add in some intensity really soon.

Congrats to everyone who ran NYC!!!!

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Energy

In the past 24 hours I have had two different people ask me similar questions. One person asked the all familiar "how on earth do you find time to train the way you do with 12 kids" question, and the other person asked me how I was able to not let the negative people (comments on the blog and people in life) not discourage me more or upset me more.

And all of this got me to thinking about energy. The definition of energy is "the strength and vitality required for sustained physical or mental activity."

I think that running and motherhood both qualify as sustained physical and mental activities. :)

The truth is that we all have a limited amount of physical and mental energy that we can spend in a day. And my answer to both of the above questions was similar. How do I find the energy to train the way I do with 12 kids? I train the way I do because it is important to me. It is something I value highly. It is a part of who I am and what fulfills me. It matters to me and I love it. It makes me better and I believe is something God created me to do and a gift He gave me. So I make the time and put my energy into it.

How am I able to not let negative people and nay-sayers discourage me more or upset me more? I refuse to waste my precious emotional energy on people like that. My kids need me. Josh needs me. My family and friends need me. Parenting 12 kids takes up an incredible amount of emotional energy. I don't have any to waste. People who are draining and discouraging don't deserve my emotional energy, and I refuse to take energy away from those who are important (and need and deserve my emotional energy) to give it to those who don't. 

Every day we have a choice on how we will spend our physical energy and our emotional energy. Sure there are things we have to do (work, laundry, chores, etc.) and of course there are people we have to deal with that maybe we would rather not, but there is much left over that is ours to use for the good of ourselves and others or not.

I have found that when I put my energy into things that are important to me (like my running) and into the people that really matter, that I end up with more energy for myself and more to give and share and do good with. When I waste my time and energy on things that aren't as deserving, I feel like I have less for myself and less to give to others. 

So ask yourself... is this worth my energy? If YES, then find a way to make it work, and you won't be sorry. If NO, then don't bother, and you and those around you will be better off. I know that this is sometimes easier said than done and I am far from perfect, but this is something I have really focused on the past few years. Life is too short and the days go by too fast to waste. Worry, negativity, fear, bad feelings, jealousy, and people who try to pull you down should get as little of your energy as possible. Put your energy into things that make you feel alive, into the people you love, into serving others, into creating good, into things that fulfill you, and into things you are passionate about. And then share that energy with others. Be like the sun. Make the energy you give off be warm and shiny and bright. :)

"Miracles start to happen when you give as much energy to your dreams as you do to your fears." - Richard Williams

"Everything around us is made up of energy. To attract positive things in your life, start by giving off positive energy." - Unknown

"People inspire you or they drain you - Pick them wisely." - Hans F Hansen

"Passion is energy. Feel the power that comes from focusing on what excites you." - Oprah Winfrey

"The energy of the mind is the essence of life." - Aristotle

"Ride the energy of your own unique spirit." - Gabrielle Roth

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Achilles, Christmas Surprise, and Firetrucks

It has been two weeks and a few days since the Hartford Marathon and this dang Achilles is still not 100%. The good news is that it is improving and the last few days things seem to have taken a turn for the better. Last week I thought it was pretty good to go and I ran 3 easy paced miles only to have it to hurt too much to jog a quarter mile the next day.

This morning was the third day in a row I have been able to do a short, easy run and it is still improving each day. I am glad it is improving but would sure like it to just go away completely. Fingers crossed it will be resolved soon because I am really itching to get back to more miles and intensity. I am doing all my core and strength work and the rehab exercises for the Achilles but I want to RUN (more). I know, I know...  patience is a virtue.

I also know that this two weeks of mostly rest will do me good in the big picture and I was pretty good about it at first, but now that it is past the two week mark, I am really ready to get going.

In a bit of whining yesterday to Coach I questioned if I had done the right thing by finishing Hartford. I didn't get the time I was shooting for and running on an Achilles that started hurting at mile 15 has left me struggling still more than two weeks later.  He said that he knew I did the right thing though and that if I dropped out it would have haunted me. And he is right.  So, I will try to be patient a bit longer.

To answer the "what's next" question for me, once I am back to training I will be all in to get ready for the Tallahassee Marathon on February 8! Tallahassee is where I set my current marathon PR, it's a great course, AND it's where my BFF lives! It was pretty much a no-brainer to want to do this race again, although I wasn't sure if I would be able to afford it. Well, I got an email last week with the subject line "Merry Christmas". I almost deleted it, thinking it was spam, but then saw it was from Jennifer. She had bought my plane ticket to come for the race!!!! I am so excited and so very grateful. She says it was her way of "forcing me to come" and that it is a gift for her too because we will get to spend a long weekend together, but there is no arguing that it was an extremely generous surprise. I love that girl and can't wait to get to see her in February (and to set a new PR in Tally)!

Speaking of PR's, my son Shane set a HUGE one this weekend. He just turned 15 last week and after placing third at the Regional Cross Country meet, got to go to the State Cross Country meet (only the top seven kids on each team got to race). Did I mention that he is just a freshman?

At State he took FOURTH with a cross country 5k time of 16:22!! And not only did he take fourth in the state as a freshman, but his awesome team won the state title!! (This was the team's third back to back to back state title. Incredible!)  The team got escorted back into our valley by three fire trucks and the boys got to ride through town on top of the trucks. They are a super bunch of kids and have worked really hard this season and it was so much fun for them to win. I am proud of all of them!

Here are a few pics.

coming in to the finish!
recovering

Shane is the second from the right. He had the second best finish for the team at Regionals and at State.
Ryan, Ben, and some of the other team members got to join in for the fire truck ride too. :)