Thursday, May 24, 2012

My Vacation

Did I mention that I don't have "Pebbles" this week?  This is the first week that I've not had her while the kids are still in school.  So that means M-W-F this week I have 2 1/2 hours all to myself.  On Monday I went for a 7 mile bike ride, showered and got ready all by myself.  Yesterday I went for a run (my fastest 3 mile run in just over 28 minutes!), showered and dyed my hair.  Friday I already have plans for a run as well.  It really is feeling like a vacation.  Not to mention the fact that Will and I can run errands in the afternoon instead of trying to cram everything into 2 hours in the morning.

Will and I also had lunch with Katie at school on Tuesday.  We are having lunch with her again today, but bringing Subway this time.

It's a glimpse into what next year will be like for me.  Katie will be in 3rd grade (all day), Will will be in kindergarten (half days), and "Pebbles" will be in preschool (MWF).  So I will have about 2 hours 3 times a week to myself again!  A nice treat for myself every other day - the first regularly scheduled "break time" in over 8 years. 

My "professional" photo from race day. 
The photographer was sitting on a bridge as you came around a corner. 

One more thing.   Happy Birthday today to my aunt Carol.  She passed away in 2009, and would have been 91 today.  I imagine having conversations with her about my racing this past weekend.  If I close my eyes and am very quiet I can hear her clear as day.

"Oh, my.  Why would you want to do something like that?"
"It just doesn't sound like it would be a good thing to do."
"Don't you think you'll get hurt?"
"Wouldn't it be nicer to just walk?"
And no matter how many reasons I give her, she'll still just sit quietly, shaker her head and disapprove. :) 

It makes me smile.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

While it's still fresh

This was the big racing weekend that I'd been looking forward to for a while.  Now it's over and in the books.  There were tons of races this weekend!  It's that time of year I guess - lots of races scheduled while it's still a comfortable temperature at 8 am.  I have the chance to do 1-2 more 5k's before mid-June and then nothing again until August (possibly July, if I'm feeling crazy).

Saturday's 10k was warm.  Why is it whenever I have to run anything over 4 miles, Minnesota decides to have a heat wave.  So it was about 75 and kinda humid at the start of the race.  75% of the race was in the shade of woods and trees, so I really can't complain about that.  But remember a couple posts ago I said something about having "no excuses"....I pondered this over during the run and then I realized - heck, I'm a "runner", I've got excuses for EVERYTHING!

The first mile was pretty much all downhill.  Sounds easy right?  Well it could have been harder, that's for sure, but I don't really like running downhill for that long.  It's hard to keep a normal pace and it's hard on the knees.  But then the next 2 miles were almost all uphill.  Some of it on blacktop trails, some of it on gravel trails.  I'm glad I've had experience running on gravel roads in IA!  At one point near the end of mile 2 I can around a corner and saw a hill that was around a 75 degree incline.  No joke.  There should have been notches in it like a climbing wall.  Most of my "pack" was walking up it, but I jogged up as fast as I could, thinking the faster I go, the faster I'll be at the top.  So I get to the top, round another corner and realize I have another 1/2 mile at least uphill.  Oh crap.  There was nothing to do but laugh about it.

Finally I get to the top near the high school and middle school.  There's a giant windmill up there too.  Want to know why?  Because it's windy as SHIT up there!  At least down in the trench I didn't have to deal with the wind!  So mile 3 to 4 was at the top of the hill and then started heading down again.  Mile 4 was probably the easiest of the whole race because it was in the woods, along a creek, fairly flat.  Mile 5.5 to 6.2 again was almost all uphill.  This time along a busy road, but you could make out the finish line, so you just had to keep going.  My final time was around 1:05:something.  A couple minutes over my ideal time, a few minutes under my "never again" time.  I'm really happy with the finish, and would have never thought it was something I could do 1-2 years ago.

After my race, Will ran in a 0.2 mile kids race - he had a good time and really put a lot of effort into running.  He got a ribbon and may possibly get a t-shirt later.  (We registered late.)  Then Katie ran in a 1.2 mile kids race and got a t-shirt.  Again, she did awesome!  Running isn't something that comes easily to anyone - and Katie gets discouraged by pains in her side when she runs (which I remember all too well), but she kept going.  John even ran with her the last 1/2 mile or so.

On Sunday, I had a 5k for Get Your Rear In Gear - a benefit for colon cancer.  Last year my good friend, Gina, lost her husband to colon cancer so a bunch of friends and family joined a team to honor his memory.  His mom even had shirts made for our team, The Drag'n Fliers. :)  It was a really fun 5k run, followed by a kids race (my kids didn't do this one) and a 5k walk.  So I did another 10k on Sunday, just broken up a bit more!  Again, I was happy with my time - 30 minutes and change.  Makes me really want to push to get under 30 soon.  There were tons of "fliers" on our team though - we had THREE first place finishers in their respective age groups, including Gina herself.  Seriously - she's a force to be reckoned with!

I wasn't too sore yesterday - believe it or not.  I went for a short bike ride after I dropped Will off because I don't have "Pebbles" this week.  It must have helped because today I'm not sore at all. :)

Thursday, May 17, 2012

It's late and I'm going to bed

...but before I do, I feel like I have to make myself officially set a goal for my 10k this weekend.  And whether you care or not, well you can decide that much.

I have a 10k (6.2 miles) on Saturday.  That will be the longest distance I've ever done and my first race in 8 months.  Here's how I'm breaking down how I expect to finish....

Dream Finish: 60 minutes or less.  Basically, this is an arbitrary number.  It's an hour - a nice round time.

Ideal Finish: 62-63 minutes.  62 would keep me at a 10min/mile pace which is what I seem to do with anything over 3 miles.  I'd be happy with that.

Never running again: 68 minutes or over.  Ok, maybe not "never again", but it will totally ruin my whole day and I'll feel like a loser.

Then on Sunday I have a great 5k run with friends that I'm not doing for a personal fast time, just for fun. (Oh, but I'll totally be watching the clock.)

Now, if you've read this far - and as still interested, I will give you a treat.  I wouldn't normally post this, but I can't help it.  I know that in the grand scheme of things, it doesn't really make a big difference, but it makes me really proud and just darn smiley.  Katie took a cognitive abilities test in February to test to see if she qualified for placement in their Program for Academic Challenge class.  We got the results back a couple of weeks ago and I'm happy to say she kicked butt on that test and has been awarded a place in their class!  So this means that starting next year she will get to participate in extra activities a few times a week.  She's started this semester with the PAC class by reading A Cricket in Times Square and making a cricket habitat complete with live crickets. :)  Again, I know that test scores don't amount to a whole lot, BUT it doesn't mean I can't do a little bragging of my own.......

Monday, May 14, 2012

Happy Mother's Day

A late Happy Mother's Day to everyone out there.  Shouldn't every day be Mother's Day, anyway?  I hope my mom got her e-mail from me.  What a crappy way to say Happy Mother's Day, right?  An e-mail.  Oh well.  Here it is in a blog post too - Happy Mother's Day!  I love you!

This was a busy weekend because we had dance rehearsal Friday night, soccer game Saturday morning following by soccer team pictures.  We went home for a quick lunch, and then had to get ready for the big dance recital of the year.  After Katie's dance recital, we went out to eat.  Mainly because I hadn't had a chance to go to the store in the last 4-5 days and had nothing ready to go at home.  We also kind of figured it would be a Mother's Day supper too. 

Well, I call a re-do on that one because about 10 minutes after I was finished eating, I started to not feel so good.  As we were leaving, we were going to swing by Culver's for some ice cream for the kids, but I had John take me home first because I felt like my supper was going to make a re-appearance.  Sure enough, the minute I got home it all came back up.  I had Parmesan Shrimp and pasta for supper.  I hate throwing up pasta.  This is the second time in 4 months that I've thrown up pasta. 

Don't know what was wrong....but I did feel better after that, just extremely tired for a bit.  So I want another meal out sometime....
On Sunday morning I was able to get a longer run in before it got too hot, and then we went for a bike ride all together.  I also made myself a fruit pizza - because I had a craving for that, and it was super yummy.  The kids were great at cutting up the fruit and arranging it on the crust.  I'm doing all I can to save some to have again after supper tonight. 

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Keeping up

I have been doing a good job (if I do say so myself) about running lately.  I've been running 3+ miles on the treadmill twice a week, and a long run 5+ miles on the weekend.  It's been a little over 2 weeks of that and I think I'm going to fare well in my 10k coming up in...let's see....11 days.  I've got one more week of regular running, a long run this weekend, and then I'm going to take it easy next week and just do a couple miles on the treadmill.  I know I could hoof through 6.2 miles without doing this prep stuff, but my goal is not to rack up a fast time - my goal is to not injure myself and I know that if I train steadily I should be ok. 

*** That said...I've been having a pain in the back of my left foot about 3-4 miles in during the last few runs.  I just keep going, hoping it's nothing. :)

So what has helped get me back in "running mode"?  I don't really know - except an impending deadline.  However, a re-vamping of my playlist has helped greatly and I kinda laugh at myself every time I listen to it because it's a pretty odd collection of songs.  I thought I would share with you....

Shuffled up during the run...
  • Got Some (Pearl Jam)   I'm almost done with this song, but it has a good steady running beat.
  • If It's Love (Train)    Another one I'm about to delete....but haven't yet
  • Manhattan (Kings of Leon)
  • Dog Days Are Over (Florence and the Machine)    Quite possibly the perfect running song.
  • Animal (Neon Trees)   I have to skip this song when it comes on now because I'm quite sick of it.  It's gotta go, but was fun for a while
  • Big Wave (Pearl Jam)
  • Head Full of Doubt/Road Full of Promise (The Avett Brothers)  Just a nice song
  • All I Want (Toad The Wet Sprocket)  Toad is just good stuff anytime
  • Good Intentions (Toad The Wet Sprocket )  Again, good stuff
  • Rumor Has It (Adele)  Good tempo, love Adele
  • Set Fire to the Rain (Adele)  I get out of breath because I have to sing along, but it's worth it
  • We're Going to Be Friends (The White Stripes) 
  • Sweetest Thing (U2)
  • My City of Ruins (Eddie Vedder)  Relaxing, calming
And the best ones yet.....
  • Born This Way (Lady Gaga)  The 3 times I've heard this while running, I almost cried.  Chalk it up to adrenaline, surges of excercise chemicals, whatever.  Again, a perfect running song when you're running just for yourself.
  • Lonely Boy (The Black Keys)  Just comes on and you know you have to run a little faster
  • Rehab (Amy Winehouse)  I realize it's a bit of an ironic choice, but it totally takes my mind off the task at hand.
  • Moves Like Jagger (Maroon 5)  My guilty pleasure....
And some that I tried....and so didn't work out.
  •  Last Train To Clarksville
  • Mary, Mary
  • Heart and Soul
The last 3 are all songs by The Monkees (whom I love) - wonderful to listen to when I'm not doing something physically taxing.  Otherwise, totally annoying to me for some reason.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Lots to say

I suddenly have a lot to post about...although none of it very important. If it WAS very important some of you'd know about it already. So I guess it just makes for good blog posts. We had a week of rain. The news said that it has rained every day in May so far.

We had soccer practice canceled last Thursday as well as the game on Saturday. This week should be nice though. I'm not really looking forward to dealing with the parents again. Some are a bit snippy. We have a youth coach (since no parent volunteered) and he's doing a great job. He's 14 and has a bunch of games for the kids to play, and they have fun (which is the most important thing). Anyway, the youth coach couldn't make it to the last game so I was dealing with rotating the kids in. By the second half, we had 2 in tears and wouldn't play, so I was rotating the remaining 4 in and out. But this one mom kept sending her daughter in whenever she felt like it, and it was making me so stinking peeved! Then a few parents made the comment that the kids weren't playing "positions" or whatever - they were just running after the ball. Well, yeah....they're 4. At this stage we're only concerned with teaching them the boundaries of the field and that they should stop kicking the ball when it goes out of bounds. (If ANY of these parents had come to a training session, they would know this...) It baffles me how many parents want their kids to play sports and be on a team, but are unwilling to officially volunteer to help out. I mean heck, if John and I can do it - then anyone can. I need to get some pictures of Will in his soccer uniform because it's pretty impressive!

Katie has a dance recital this Saturday. It's at the big, new high school in their auditorium. So she's excited about being on a real stage. We had dance pictures yesterday in all of her costumes (she has 3) and she was totally adorable - as were all the girls. I think this will be our one and only year of's been fun, but I don't think it's anything that Katie gets real excited about.

Did you know last Saturday was "Free Comic Book Day"??? I didn't realize it was across the whole country...I thought it was just our local comic book store. (How much I have to learn, huh?) Anyway, Will had been looking forward to it for quite a while so he got dressed up in his batman t-shirt and cape (we couldn't talk him into the whole costume....there's a first time for everything) and headed out. Katie and Will both got a bag of free comics and John got an adult pack as well. I may have pictures coming because the guys at the store took some pictures of Will and another little guy dressed up.

I gotta run to get Will to school. We have one more dance class tonight, then girl scouts. Tomorrow night we have a party at Will's former preschool building. Looks like bath will have to wait til Wednesday. :)

Friday, May 4, 2012

Friday Funny

Thursday, May 3, 2012

New butterflies

I splurged this spring and bought some caterpillars. There was a company that specialized in science stuff for kids and I was able to have 5 tiny caterpillars delivered to my door in a plastic cup complete with food for them. Here's what they looked like almost 3 weeks ago.

And here they are a week later....

Once they are all in their cocoons, the directions said to take them out of the cup and hang them in the mesh cage they sent along. It said that there was a paper disk attached to the bottom side of the lid. Simply peel that away, stick a pin in the paper and attach it to the mesh side of the cage. Hmmm, easier said than done. I got a tip from Will's teacher who had also ordered butterflies for their class. She said that they use a bent paperclip and it works well. I was able to transfer all 5 cocoons without any falling off - but it was a little tense. The caterpillars in Will's class are about 5-6 days behind ours. It's funny because Will's teachers say that he has been a wealth of knowledge when it comes to the caterpillars. They said he's pretty much an expert and shares A LOT. :) Yesterday when we came back from Will's field trip we found a butterfly out of it's cocoon. And this morning....we found another one.

There is a paper plate in the bottom of the cage which I put balled up tissues soaked in sugar water. (Per the instructions.)  The red dots scattered here and there are droppings from the butterflies' body.  The instructions said this wasn't blood - but leftover coloring from their wings.  You can see 2 Painted Lady butterflies in this picture - one exercising it's wings and one to the right of him just hanging out.  So far, they do a lot of hanging out.  We will probably keep them until they all appear, and then release them a few days later.  Molly has also done a very nice job of leaving them alone.