Tuesday, April 12, 2016

A New Beginning!

A new year, a new you!
I'm now 41. I'm trying to get back to where I was. I have identified some weaknesses and issues in my lower legs/feet that I believe have been holding me back! With the help of Derek Clark of Mountain Ridge Physical Therapy and Jen Sober from Fit with Jen, I am well on my way back!rough
Sometimes you just need a reset button!
Although I did have a pretty good year at 40, my times were still well off of where I was just a few years ago. I've been struggling ever since having Tyler (child number 3). I did win Memphis Marathon in December with a time of 3:00:20 (wanted to break 3), but when your PR is 2:45, you wonder if it's possible to be so far removed from it even though you feel you are working hard!
True, I have not been running 90 mile weeks like I was when I was 28, because I'm not 28! I now have a job and 3 kids, and I have been running for just about 30 years!
I don't know exactly why my calves started to bother me so. I blame it on Crossfit, but who knows. I've been running while injured for 3 years now hoping that it would just go away on it's own. There would be weeks and even months when I would not have pain, but one workout or race in a pair of racing flats would send my calves into heart attack mode. The past 6 months or so the calves have been pretty good, but now my feet (or foot really) has begun to take the brunt of my negligence.
After being evaluated by Derek we found that my right calf is much smaller than the left. I have more issues with that calf than the left. I'm guessing that when the calf is in pain and I refuse to take time off I just run without using it. So I have lost muscle mass/tone.
Dry needling and some cushy Skechers GoRun Ultras have been getting me through the past 3 years! Now that I have identified the weaknesses I am working on getting my feet and calves stronger. Slowly but surely the pain is getting better.
With the help of some great coaching from Jen I'm hoping my upcoming spring/summer racing season will be good and the fall marathon will be a sub-3!

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Yough 10 Mile Run Race Report...and other ramblings

Today is April fool's day. I've been hanging around the house all day, so the only practical joke that's been played on me is by Mother Nature. April 1st and it's been snowing all day. Really? When will it end? Hopefully tomorrow will be the last cold day of the season!

Last week it snowed pretty much the ENTIRE week! It started last Sunday with winter storm Virgil. Virgil was looming as we put on the Cooper's Rock 10k run and 5k walk. This was my first time being race director of this event, and I was afraid with the storm coming in our numbers would be down, but people came out in full force and we had 151 people sign up. Everything went off without a hitch (except for my awards snafu, but everyone left with an award non-the-less).

Although we had a rough week of weather, I was able to get a decent amount of running in. I'm still not quite where I want to be with my mileage, but I'm slowly progressing and I hope the warmer weather will help me out. That, and I have a new Kelty double jogger on the way!!

On Saturday I went with my training partners up to Connellsville, PA, to run the Yough River 10 mile. I was a little afraid that I was in over my head because my longest run was only 14 miles, but we started out at a 7 min pace and we felt fairly comfortable. There was also a 10k run along with the 10 mile, and there was a woman ahead of us for the first few miles. We decided to wait and see if she would turn around at the 3 mile mark, and of course, she didn't. She had about a minute lead on us, so I had my work cut out for me if I was going to catch her by the end. I started picking up the pace and left my training partners behind (they were just fine running 7 min pace). I caught her by 6 miles and noticed that she had headphones in. She had no idea I was there, but she was running with a male runner that looked back at me a few times. I was able to rest there for a few minutes, but then she turned and saw that I was there. I was in no mood to start playing cat and mouse and have her dictate the pace, so I moved around her immediately and took off. I was feeling pretty strong, but I hit 7 miles and my lower right leg started giving me fits. I was mad! I tried adjusting my stride to see if it would loosen up, but it didn't seem to be working. I tried very hard to keep a fast pace, but my leg was killing me. This is an out and back race, so I figured I had to get back anyway, may as well struggle through it. Eventually my leg loosened up enough for me to run with a regular stride and I finished the race in first place at about a 6:50 pace. Not a bad workout!

Today my leg is still bothering me. I know I still have a lot of training ahead of me before I start feeling anywhere close to my pre-baby self, but it just seems like it takes forever for me to recover now. I am going to attempt a track workout tonight. I hope it goes well!

End of March mileage: 194. I'd like to add at least 50 miles to that for April. Hopefully this is the last cold day and I will feel motivated to do more!

Workout for the week: I've been having my track kids do some body work crossfit workouts once or twice a week, especially when it is too cold and snowy to go outside. The one we did this past week is called Melt it off! It calls for 2 minutes of running in between each exercise, but I gave the kids 1 minute since they are only middle school kids. I also do the workouts with them.
Cardio and Strength Circuit to help you melt it off!

Eileen's Peep Cake
Recipes for the week:  This past week was Eileen's 2nd birthday. I used it as an excuse to try another carrot cake recipe.  I pinned  a recipe from Lifescript.com. Healthy Carrot Cake. It came out very good. Better than the crock pot cake, but it calls for crushed pineapple, and I didn't really like having pineapple in my carrot cake. I think next time I will use the juice, but leave the pineapple out, or maybe puree it.
Friday night pizza

I've been making home made pizza every Friday. It's surprising how easy pizza dough is. I got the quick rise yeast and it is a piece of cake! We make ours with pineapple because that's what the kids like. Sometimes I throw on some bacon, or I split it in two and put mushrooms and peppers on once side.

Our week in photos:
Tyler, my Irish baby boy
Eileen in her birthday dress

Pip and Squeek, our new chics
Travis playing with old school blocks and Indians

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Beers and Birthdays

This past Monday was my 38th birthday. Sometimes I really can't believe that I am that old (or young, whatever). I also can't believe I have 3 kids and I live on a farm in West Virginia. If you asked me where I would be in 20 years 20 years ago, this would definitely not be my answer. But, here I am, happy as can be.

When I turned 32 I started a little tradition. Some people run their age in miles on their birthday, but I am not an ultra runner (yet), so I opted to run 200 meters as fast as my age. That was probably the last time I ran a 32 for a 200, by the way. I realized that I couldn't make it to the track on my birthday, so I decided this year that I would go out and run 38:38, since I wasn't feeling great anyway. I know that I can run 38 for 200 because I did it in a workout a few weeks ago. I haven't been able to run a fast 200 in a couple of years, and here is why...

On my run I realized that the last two years I have not been able to run fast or drink a beer on my birthday. March 18, 2011 I was patiently awaiting the arrival of Eileen. She was born on March 28th. (ok, I had a couple of beers on that birthday because my sister said it would induce labor, it didn't!) March 18, 2012 I was almost 6 months pregnant with Tyler, he was born August 26th. So I made sure I enjoyed a couple of good beers and a good run this year. I also finally got myself a Shamrock Shake! If you know me you know that a couple of beers is a pretty big deal because I don't drink much or very often (my college roommate would tell you different, but that all stopped when I turned 21, go figure). I've also been on a Shamrock Shake mission since last year's birthday when I went to McD's and was told that the shake machine was being cleaned, during lunch hour! After I was disappointed there I went to Natty Cakes for a nice store bought cupcake and I was told that they wouldn't have cupcakes until April. I thought "well then, you are just Natty, since you have no cakes, Jeez". It's not nice to tease a pregnant lady!!

For my birthday I also like to make Corned Beef and Cabbage in the crock pot and some carrot cake. I used to go out to dinner on my birthday, but since I share the weekend with St.Patrick's day it can be a bit of a pain going out, and besides, I like my Corned Beef better than anything I've had in a restaurant.

This year I decided to try a crock pot carrot cake that I had pinned. The recipe said put your cake pan in the crock pot. I put it in, but it didn't fit inside the actual pot. The rim of the cake pan rested on top of the pot. I thought maybe this was how it was supposed to go, so I put some water in the bottom and let it go for the few hours that we were at a friends house. When I came home it still wasn't done. Turns out you need a cake pan insert for cooking cakes and breads in the crock pot, who knew. I plopped the somewhat cooked cake in the oven for 20 minutes and called it a night. The cake was good but a little bit more of a brownie consistency. Don loved it. I kind of liked it, but I made it from scratch and truth be told I just really like the store bought mix better. Oh well.

I also made Soda Bread again this year, which I make with cranberries instead of raisins. Corned beef, cabbage, and soda bread are pretty easy, I don't know why I don't make them more often. I'm pretty sure I said the same thing last year and I will say it again next year. Travis liked the Corned beef and potatoes, but he wouldn't even try the cabbage because he said it looked slimy. Eileen ate everything, because she's a little bottomless pit like I used to be.

My Corned Beef and Cabbage recipe is super easy. Throw it all into a crock pot with some apple cider and a bit of apple cider vinegar and let it cook away for 6 hours. YUMMY! Don't knock it till you try it. It is acceptable to put mustard on your corned beef, but not ketchup. I draw the line at ketchup!

I knocked this out really quickly while everyone is asleep. I will write more later!

Shamrock Shake

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Homeschooling Snow Days

This week we had yet another snow day. Luckily the storm that was supposed to be the storm of the century turned out to be a dud, but none the less, Travis didn't have school. I decided when we got up that it would be fun to have a home school day.

We started with Dinosaur Train because I had to get on the computer and print out some handwriting sheets. When we were all done with Dinosaur train we did our handwriting exercises. Eileen decided she needed to practice her handwriting also.

Next we had "science center" where I used one of my pins from pintrest to show Travis how a bunch of different liquids could actually have different densities. I had all the liquids, but I didn't have any food coloring which they say helps distinguish between the liquids, but Travis got the point.

After that we had "art center" where the kids colored on some paper and then I wrapped in around one of my shoe boxes for our "Legend of the Leprechaun" box. The legend of the leprechaun is yet another thing that I had pinned for the kids. You decorate the box and then leave it out by the light of the moon on the 16th, and the Leprechauns come and fill it with treats and treasures and then hide it somewhere in the house. It sounds suspiciously like the Easter Bunny, but we are going to do it anyway because I love St.Patrick's day and there isn't anything going on around here like there was in my home town when I was little.

After art center Don sat down with them to do Math center. Travis wasn't very interested in math center for very long, but he got through some simple addition problems. I let them have free play time before lunch since they had already read a couple of books when they woke up, so that took care of book center.

This took up all of our morning and kept the kids from going at each other and kept me sane. Travis wanted to do "water play" which is something they have at school, but I told him he could do that in the bathtub after dinner, which is what he did.
Writing center
Science center
Math Center


This week I had to do my long run on the treadmill. I had to really psych myself up for this because I haven't ever run longer than about 8 miles on the mill. So last Sunday I downloaded a movie and got on the treadmill totally ready to run 90 minutes no matter what. I could do it. But then at about 25 minutes Don brought the kids down to the play room which is right next to my treadmill and said he was going out to ski. I thought maybe they could last an hour without giving me too much trouble, but then at about 45 minutes Tyler started crying and I had to stop. He wanted no part of being put down, so I had to settle for a 45 minute run and try again the next day.

Monday I got back on the treadmill fully recharged and ready to get my run in. I usually start out easy and slowly progress either each 10 minutes or each mile, just so I have time to warm up to the treadmill and so I don't feel like I might not finish the run after only 10 minutes. I made it past 90 minutes and ran  10 miles finishing strong. I got the run in and I got over a mental hurdle. Needless to say I was so happy today when I could run 14 miles outside in the warm sunshine!!

Tuesday was workout day and I was able to finish 10x600 at 2:06 with little trouble. It seems my calf issues are gone, but I am running with my calf sleeves on just in case. It really is no fun have calf or Achilles trouble, so I don't want to aggravate it again if I can avoid it.

This week I made some Shepherd's pie. Another recipe I have pinned on pintrest. I made mine with deer meat though. It was pretty awesome, although I think if I make it again I will leave out the cheese.
Shepherd's Pie Recipe
I also made Taco bake which I have pinned, also with deer meat, because in this house that is pretty much all the red meat we eat. That was very good as well and easy since it is made with Bisquick.
Taco Bake Recipe

My sideways Shepherd's Pie

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Life's little hurdles

Well, this past Friday all things changed. Life cannot always revolve around running, after all. As my husband likes to say, the only constant is change.

Friday Hubby lost his job, so, although we were somewhat waiting for it, it is still a huge bummer! When you live out here in the sticks, your whole life changes. Before I would think twice about taking an extra trip into town, but I would maybe do it anyway. Now, that trip into town is once a week. Gas money is just too much.

What does this mean for us? Well, I have to do all things in one day. I have to run all errands and plan all meetings and appointments and runs for one day. Fun times. In the summer I do this anyway because I am working more and it's a pain to drive to Morgantown after a long day of work, so it's not too hard to adapt to that.

The other major decision I made is that I won't be going to Jersey to run the half marathon in May, at least, not right now. Luckily I put off signing up for the race, but I was looking forward to it. Maybe our luck will change and I will be able to go after all. We shall see what the future brings!

On to brighter things......
Life must go on, and the great thing about running is it doesn't cost anything. I can step out my door and run down the road. A new pair of shoes would be nice, but they can wait. Friday night I was in a funk and really tired. I seriously contemplated not doing a run. It could've seriously been the day to break my streak. But Don looked at me and said "come on, you can't break the streak now". So I headed out into the snowy evening and ran. (Florence and the Machine on a cold winter's night is intense.) I was glad I did it! Although, I did slip on our hill and I banged my knee, but it was only a little sore yesterday.

February recap......
I got in 180 miles for February. My pushup challenge didn't go so well, so, I'm going to try it again for March. Pushups every day. I think I got in pushups every three days in February, at best.

Sweet potato topped Chicken. YUM! I loved this one. Will definitely be making it again.
Picture of the week....
Life in the snow globe. It's been snowing since Tuesday.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Getting in your runs, or walks, or bikes!

When I am out and about with my three little bundles of joy, someone always has to comment that "I must be busy!" I just laugh and say "Yup." But really, it seems kind of silly to me. I was plenty busy when I had two kids. I was even pretty busy when I just had one kid. When I first had Travis I had some older people tell me "You aren't really a parent until you have two." I'm pretty sure I shot this 9 pounder out, so I'm pretty sure I was a parent. But, whatever!

Probably the biggest thing I hear from other mothers is that they just don't have the time to get out and run or exercise, or it's just too hard because they don't have anyone to watch the kids, or really any other number of excuses you can think of. As I've said before, I'm on a running streak, so that means I try to run at least 30 minutes every day. I am pretty lucky in that I have a supportive husband who will watch the kids whenever he is not working, and I also have friends who love my kids and will watch them also. I try very hard not to over use this luxury, after all, 3 kids is 3 kids.

So here is how I try to get in my runs....
Whenever possible I push the kids in the baby jogger. I have a double jogger, so I try to do this while Travis is at school. If it doesn't work out and it's a nice day, I will throw Travis on the front of the jogger and run on a flat surface. This has only happened a couple times because it is very hard pushing 3 kids.

When the weather is frightful I will opt to go on my treadmill down in the basement. I hate it, but it is the best case scenario some days. I have mine set up right outside of the kids play area so I can keep a good eye on them. I can catch up on some tv shows that way too. By the way, watching Cougar Town while running isn't a good thing, especially when you have a prolapsed bladder. I was laughing too much!

Recently I've been enjoying some Mom-swapping. This is something that is out there that I think few mom's take advantage of. We all have other mom friends, so why not enlist them to help. My friend Shelby lives just up the road (country road that is, about 6 miles) and she has a little girl just a few months older than Eileen. It's a little unfair since I have 2 (we swap while Travis is at school) and she has one, but all three kids are good kids, so it works out well. When she comes over I go out for a run while she watches the kids, and then she goes out while I watch the kids. It's a bonus that the girls get to have a play date.  We did this today and it was 20 degrees with wind whipping and snow flying, but we both went outside anyway!

To get in my track workouts I bring the kids and give them food and something to do while I trot around the track. Sometimes I have to yell and break up fights in the middle of an interval, but hey, if Britney Spears can sing while running than I can yell at my kids while running, right?

The only time that being a runner mom is hard is race time. The shuffling around and trying to find a sitter or making sure the husband is available can be as daunting as the actual race. Usually it all works out. We will see what the spring brings when I want to run more races.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Pregnancy Brain..It's other people's problem

Recently I've been speaking to some friends who are pregnant for the first time. These aren't just the normal pregnant ladies, these are formerly super fit, Olympic hopeful pregnant ladies. Imagine, if you will, being in the absolute best shape of your life, then...BAM, you're pregnant!

Great news, right? Right! That is until you start showing and gaining weight and being seen out in public. This is what I've told my friends...People lose their minds when they see a pregnant lady. They can't just stand there and say "Hi, how ya doing", oh no, they have to say something that will set you off. They will all of a sudden have diarrhea of the mouth. They can't help it. It's my theory that this phenomenon should be labeled "Pregnancy Brain".

Here are some of the comments I've heard or my friends have heard:
1. "You must be due any day." This one was said to me in April, when I was due in August.
2. "when are you due?" This one I loved. It's not bad at first, but when people start to ask you about 6 times a day, it gets a bit ridiculous. I would look at them straight faced and say "what do you mean?" and stand for a minute before I smiled. It was awesome.
3. My neighbor told me a woman asked her if she was "sittin twins". She was not.
4. My friend said a woman said she looked like her pregnant cow. She did not.
5. Being a runner while pregnant I've heard that I shouldn't run during pregnancy, even though I ran through three and I had three very large, perfectly healthy babies. In fact, when I was pregnant with my first I was in line to vote with my elderly neighbor. She introduced me to an elderly man who was a retired doctor. She told him that I was still running he said "oh, you shouldn't do that?" I said "you mean run while pregnant?" He said "no, you shouldn't run at all, ever." Jeez!
6. The men that I work with would always call me fatty. I didn't take this to heart though because they are all fat, and I just figured they were getting it in while they could because they knew I would go back to being skinny.

So, the point of my short post today is, if you are newly pregnant and you are just hearing these comments for the first time, you will have to get used to it. People are stupid, people are rude, people are insensitive. They don't even realize it most of the time. The really sad part is most of the comments come from women who have already had children of their own. You would think they would know better, but since they don't you will just have to grow a thick skin and realize that it's their problem, not yours.