Four Corners

3.1 Hilly Miles
Putzy Strides

They say the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over but expecting different results.  Apparently hills make me insane.   I keep running them hoping I’ll eventually like them, but I don’t.  And lately, my workouts are mostly hills.

Small sample of today’s run

We runners really are a crazy bunch.  If you’re a runner you get this, and if you’re not – YOU REALLY KNOW THIS.   My insanity with hills only proves this to myself.  But for the general running population, the craziness was verified on my way to summer camp drop off a few weeks ago.

I stumbled across a major intersection with what can only be recorded as possibly the world’s longest light, giving time for ample people watching.  Seriously this light makes me want to shout four letter words about 10 times a week.

Corner 1:  Back It Up  In corner #1 I saw a man jog across the street and upon arriving to the opposite side of the street he proceeded to turn around, and run.  Backwards.  Down the street.

I have no idea how he did it.  There is not a graceful bone in my body.  I fall on a regular basis running and walking forward, so I won’t chance it going backwards.

Corner 2:  Stretchy Sue  In Corner 2, Stretchy Sue put on quite the show doing yoga.  And I’m not talking sissy stretchy poses like a lunge.  I’m talking arm balance poses like dolphin & firefly.

Maybe I’m missing something (like yes, Sheila, you do need to stretch more) but I just can’t imagine taking 3 minutes to bust into fancy schmancy yoga poses amidst morning rush hour.  I save that embarrassment for my kids (and apparently my mother).

Corner 3:  Fast Foot McGee  Dude was doing high knees, butt kicks and jogging circles around the corner.

I know the running world is split on this one.  I get it, 80% of the time I stand there looking pissed like this photo declares.  But….(there’s always a but) if I’ve run more than 14 miles and I have to actually physically stop, I. won’t. start. again.

So if you see me doing this, rest assured I’m near the end of a long run and that’s my only excuse.

Corner 4:  Push Up Dude  This jogger decided he didn’t want to be lumped with Fast Foot McGee doing the jogger shuffle on the street, but apparently couldn’t handle the 3 minute break so he just dropped to the sidewalk and gave all passerby spectators 20.

20 pushups that is.

When I hang out on street corners I’m most likely to be staring wistfully at people in their cars crabbily at my watch, clutching at my iPhone to stop my iMapMyRun app, or stretching my calves (not doing fancy schmancy yoga moves).  But mostly, when possible, I just avoid streetlights when running.

How do you handle the street corners?

Let me hear your tricks!  (Bah dum pah…pun totally and completely intended!)

Get Ready For The Bumps

True rest day….nothing…nada…zilch

I pause from this mostly running blog to delve into the mostly parenting world (with a little running) today.  This is a story I don’t always like to share, but I think it’s important for adoptive parents to share their stories -good, bad, and sometimes, even worse.  Not because everyone adopts, but likely each of you know someone who has been touched by the process.  And they often sit quietly wresting through issues most non-adoptive parents ever have to face.  And sometimes, it just helps to know what “trench” your friends are in….

I finished typing the race recap from the iTryathlon in the surprising stillness of a quiet morning in the house.  I was caught in the reflection and excitement of not only a fun race, but a great day which was much needed after an incredibly long week.

I quietly smiled, anxiously awaiting the fun Sunday I had planned.  A little church, a few errands and a lot of Olympics with the boys.  As soon as the “publish” button was hit and the laptop closed, I heard quiet whimpers coming from the boys’ room.

Get ready for the bumps.  The lyrics from a song from one of the boys’ favorite kids song echoed in the back of my mind.

A random pic from my VERY brief high school track career. Kids, please note you cannot make good decisions at 15. Period.

While I might have used questionable means to get through Physics in high school (so what if we all did ONE problem and met before first period to copy each other’s work on the remaining questions to save some time…sorry if this ever gets back to you Ms. Mytyc…but if you read this you’ll see I went from cross-country dropout to avid runner…forgiveness?), but I do understand one thing – what goes up, must come down.

And boy reality slapped me in the face.  Chocolate had a dream about his birth parents (whom he doesn’t remember, nor do we know much) which led us right to a street that any adoptive parent knows:  grief.

I spent an exhausting morning asking and answering questions.  We talked, we asked questions of one another, we cried, we grieved, we prayed, we lamented, and we even laughed at tiny parts throughout.

But boy, oh boy, it was exhausting.  We don’t get to this place often, but I know the importance of just staying there with him when we are there and engaging in the process together.

So typical of Chocolate: sweet, sassy and exudes personality.

Get ready for the bumps.

I think one of the things I like about training is to a certain degree I can control it:  plans, schedules, goals, focus, keep me pointed like a laser to something I can actually manage.  But once in awhile, my body has it’s own plans.

I’ve spent the last few months battling an adductor insertion issue.  In April, I didn’t even know what an adductor was or if it needed to insert somewhere other than a light socket.

So I lost control.

And the high of reaching some goals brought me back down to reality.

Hands down one of my fave pics of Chocolate ever. Could it be any more real?  Even at 3 he could stage a humorous photo without even thinking…We titled this “Too much Easter”

There’s plenty of road ahead, I just gotta be ready for the bumps.

Do you have a plan when you hit the “bumps”?
Who gets in the trenches with you?
Any bumps in your life lately?

I Came, I Tried, I Won – Huh?

Saturday 3 generations hit the OC Roads to dabble with our first triathlon!  The iTryathlon in Irvine was actually a pretty fun, small local race.  There were about 500 people who participated and the mix was women and youth.  It made for an interesting dynamic, but the race was super organized (as most Renegade Races are), incredibly family friendly and a wee bit hot at the end!   Even with all my nerves and “where to go when?” jitters, it was seamless thanks to the Renegade staff.

Myself, Strawberry and Mumsie Poo all post-race

And a special shoutout to them because they made accommodations to help me meet my mumsie to finish her out.  The transition area manager saw me come through for my swim and was waiting by my bike when I returned and got me set on my way to find her.  Monster bonus points for that unique accommodation!

Showing off the goods!

And I’d say it was mostly a success!  I posted Saturday morning about my concerns (wedgies, falls, etc.) it turned out that none of my fears came true.  And for the record I forewent the garbage bag & duct tape swimwear.

5k:  21:16
Transition 1:  55 seconds
Bike (9 miles): 34:23
Transition 2 & Swim – Not recorded :( Boo!
Total Time:  1:03:35
1st place in Division, 8th woman overall

5K was okay – got a positive split so I went out too fast :(  It’s also very humbling in a women & youth race when you’re getting your behind kicked by 13 year-old prepubescent boys and watching 15  & 17 year old girls hang out front.  Man, I felt old.
Mile 1- 6:30
Mile 2- 7:46 (all uphill)
Mile 3- 7

Bike:  I have no idea on my bike splits, but I was a hurting puppy on the mile 2 & 5.5 respectively uphill stint.

Swim:  I have no idea what happened…I pulled a Michael Phelps and ended up with one lens of my goggles full of water and the other half full.  I’d take a peak out of my right eye every 30 seconds or so to see where I was.  Rumor has it I passed one person.  I have no clue though!


1:  Dashing out of the pool, running back to my bike and meeting up with my mom for the last 2 miles of the bike and then swimming her to the finish.

Mumsie poo & I!

2:  Watching Strawberry kill it in his race (3rd place Division finish).  The half mile race was half uphill.  I may or may not have stood there yelling, “Hills make men!” to him repeatedly.

Hills make men. I may have said that to a running group of all men recently too.  I’m shocked they invited me back to run with them again.

3:  Literally biking next of groups of women singing, “I want to ride my bicycle…let’s hear it ladies…I want to ride my – ____” and made them fill in bike.  If they wouldn’t I’d tell them that yelling or singing bike would make them go faster.  That said, I just might have done a wee bit better if I didn’t spend 2 miles uphill trying to get people to sing.  Whoops.

4:  Super fun awards ceremony afterward.  They had one pro participate who was there signing medals for the kids (and some adults!) and they gave out tons of awards for small age groups which is rare in a small race.  Since it was targeted at newbies in the tri-world this was a GREAT way to get people motivated.  Showed Renegade’s commitment to encouraging people in the sport.  Monster kudos to you!

Kiddos spent the rest of the day at the pool and I literally sat in my swimsuit from the race with compression socks on (it’s a super awesome look, OC approved) until it was time to take Grandma Honey back to the airport.

I found this driving home:

Apparently being a cheerleader is VERY exhausting!

Just In Time

4 lolly gagging shakeout miles
4.5 biking miles

Foolish Day Before Race Strides

As this posts, I’m likely in the middle of the iTryathlon.  This means I’ve finally succumbed to the difficult decision:

  • Wear one piece training suit that poorly fits my freakishly long, awkward, gangly torso for the entire race.  I mean do I really want a 10.1 mile wedgie?
  • Wear training two piece that no one wants to cross the finish line in.  Two words: baby skin.
  • Or I opted to wear a plastic garbage bag tied down with duct tape to keep it in place as a viable swimming option.  As I type this, that seems like the most viable option.

Straight from my mother’s FB wall – “How did I raise such a dork?” She got lots of replies.  It seems it’s entirely possible I’m her progeny.

Let it also be noted that not one, not two, but THREE generations are doing their first triathlon (even if it is a sprint) in the same morning together.

My concerns

  • My legs are tired and ridiculously fatigued the last few days.  I don’t know why.  Let’s hope a good night’s sleep gets them back on track.
  • Gravity and I aren’t friends.  I’m known to fall on a flat surface while running on a regularly basis, so I can only imagine what biking with lots of  people on two thin wheels will result in.
  • The lifeguard will mistake my spectacular freestyle for someone drowning and will stop the race to “rescue” me and I’ll get DQ’ed.

    Shock and Horror

    Stay tuned.  It’s almost a certainty something monstrously embarrassing will happen.  Full report soon!

Back to Reality

A few weeks ago  I highlighted my “Dream Team” list of races to reach my 2012-2013 goal of a half a month.  And while it was fun to hang out in La La Land for a bit, I also need to snap back to reality and remember that I have to buy groceries for my kids and put money into savings.  Psht.  Real life.

So the “This is what’s likely going to happen” list.

September - SheRuns San Diego.  It’s a hilly, mostly trail half marathon and I’ll just be getting my mileage up so my goal is to do this nice local-ish race slow and steady.

Long Beach 2011 – I’m dying and the punk behind me is casually checking if it’s 9:30 yet.

October – Long Beach It’s my fave in So Cal.  It’s a big race, but I love, love, love the course and I *heart* Long Beach.

November – Toss Up.  Malibu, Silver Strand or Anaheim Halves.  Likely it will be Anaheim.  It’s teeny tiny, it’s inaugural and involves the least amount of travel.

December – Las Vegas Rock n Roll or Santa to Sea in Ventura.  These are two entirely different races, but I’ll have to see which fits into the calendar since I have not one, but 2 kids’ birthdays to celebrate in early December.  I suppose I should plan around them.  Priorities.

January – Tinkerbell Half.  Registered and set.  I’m not a huge fan of such an expensive race, but as a person who visits Disney about 15-20 times a year, and who saw the race last year, I figure I gotta do it once.  Plus I’m lucky enough to not have to worry about travel or ridiculous gas costs for this one.

2012 Surf City Start- This was before my flu kicked in at mile 10

February – Surf City or San Diego Women’s.  I did Surf City and really thought the course blew.  There are a few perks to the race A: My family was there and B: I shaved 4 minutes off my PR, C:  I didn’t feel as guilty eating all the Super Bowl crap later that day and D: People watched my kids so I could watch football because I looked “tired”.  (Thanks Mom!)  That said, the course was so boring I don’t know if I want to do it again.  *yawns*

March – ????  I can’t find a decent local-ish race to do.  Any ideas??

April – Hollywood Half or Boston.  I mean, come on, those are so clearly alike.  If by some freakish reason my 1 minute 18 second sub-qualifying time allows me in, I’ll be be in Bah-stin running a wicked fun race.  If not, hello Hollywood Half.  It had mixed reviews last year, but I have family right near the starting line and it makes it uber convenient to run.  Plus you never know what celebrities you’ll bump into when you arrive at 5 am for the race start and they’re heading home from the bars.

Laguna Hills 2011. The guy behind me and I chased each other the entire time.

May – Laguna Hills Peeps, this one is on my radar since it’s literally in my neighborhood.  I will place at this.  I don’t care what happens.  2012 goal transfers due to my DNS due to injury.

June & July – I need to see what races come out of the wood work to decide.

So the list isn’t nearly complete, but whatever it’s a start.  I am sure there will be slight changes but I’m excited to check out all sorts of races in the area the next year!

For my race plan gaps- anyone have any suggestions??

True Confession Thursday: 2 Generations of Yoga

4.1 Miles
7:26 average
Breezy Strides

Before I get into my True Confession, I want to point out that my “Aha Moment” is on the Fit Approach website so check it out :)

Apparently I decided to torture my poor mother yesterday.  She’s in town visiting and I whipped up a nice dinner for her and dropped it off at the pool where she was watching the kids….for hours….

Mango salad w/ homemade cilantro lime dressing in a jar. Shake, toss & eat

After a great run, I would love to tell you I had a fabulous yoga sesh with mi madre.  I could say we were focused, intense and making every second count.

This is what we thought we should have looked like.

Instead we pretty much worried about who was going to be the first one to fart.

We had a good moment (ignore the mess behind us…lots of people in small quarters this week

And then it went all downhill from there….

Fading fast…

And then she completely lost it.

She collapsed and I’m trying to take a picture

And it continued to plummet to Nogoodland

Then I lost it…

And finally, we just quit.

So if you think ever think my all of my workouts are extremely productive…you’re wrong.  Some are, some aren’t…and this one certainly wasn’t.  But we did get a nice dynamic core workout from the laughing.  Winning!

I Ate Hills For Breakfast

4.36 Miles
36:00 Minutes
Jillian Michaels Workout
Hill Shredding Strides

I’m not sure what you had for breakfast yesterday, but I had a bowl of shredded hills with a side of Nuun and some cashews.  The final (luckily mostly downhill) mile was a 6:40 which left this mama very, very happy during the wee hours of the morning run.

Who’s the tired crabby one? Should be me, but no, it’s this little babe who was too tired to even swim on Sunday

As I mentioned on Monday, we had a family wedding this weekend which left me VERY unrested.  After hitting the sack around 2am I woke up at 3:30 to find Vanilla sleepwalking around my aunt’s house, then at 5 am he announced he couldn’t sleep, and at 6am Strawberry woke up and brought me into the hot mess of his restlessness.

So needless to say I took Sunday off, since the day was sponsored by a short nap and copious amounts of caffeine.

And then yesterday the hours slipped by me and aside from a late afternoon 45 minute paddleboard jaunt with my mom (it was on her bucketlist and it was her birthday) I never even got so much as a drop of sweat on…which didn’t leave me very happy.

Which is precisely why this morning I needed to get up early and take advantage of the other adults in the house with the kids so I could get my sweat on.

And sweat I did!

And boy did I sweat.  It was all sorts of ridiculous wonderfulness and made me feel human again and helped to wash some of the stress in my life away.

I’m still banned from speed work (boo Dr. Scott!), so I decided to just do my normal short kid-loop and did each of the hills 3-5 times.   If you need to just add a little extra oomph to your workouts I highly suggest this method of mixing it up without breaking out of the normal routine.

And yes, I realize cranking out the last mile fast was likely speed work but I’ll justify it as one mile and consider it as a gift to myself to remind my legs that they can, indeed, go that fast still.

Are you a sweataholic?  For me, a workout just doesn’t feel like a workout unless I see sweat dripping off my body….

What’s your favorite cross training?  I need new ones since mine are starting to bore me.

Unplugging and Rocking Out

Weekend Miles:  14
Explorin’ Strides

This weekend was a mixed bag of unplugging running style and rocking the house with the family.

Rockin’ it out at a family wedding. Yes, it was about 90 degrees and my son is wearing a sweater vest.

I got in 14 miles this weekend which gave me a 19 mile total for running (lots of other activities, fitness too).  Given that I’m now in the rehabilitating phase of the injury I’ll take that.  I finally got a read on my fitness from the injury fiasco and learned that while my short-distance speed may not have been affected, my mid-long range speed certainly has.

So Saturday morning I ditched my mom and the kids at the beach (they were obviously devastated by this) and explored some of South South Orange County’s (like Dana Point to San Clemente) finest ocean front trails.   This naturally meant watching everyone else have fun while I was sweating my little toosh off.  It was perfect.

This picture has nothing to do with my run other than the fact I am feigning excitement about something. The dichotomy between a fun run and seeing slow splits. The answer: an ice cold beer.

No pace time yelling at me, but I did record it to see what my “comfortable, but not pushing it” pace was and it was a progressive run with paces ranging from 8:00-9:00.  While I swore I didn’t care about the times while I was running, I was none to pleased when I saw the results.  I had to remember it was a fun run – and sometimes speed doesn’t always equal fun.

Nothing says multi-tasking mom like giving a wedding speech with a child on your hip. That said, they only interrupted me about 3 times.

But unplugging it and taking easy was not the name of the game this weekend.  We had a family wedding so this meant my boys literally partying until the wee hours of the morning.  Somehow they found themselves dancing and photoboothing until about 1am.

Oye!  The teenage years are going to be rough if they can pull this out now.

That said, the babes finally starting shutting down towards the end of the evening, but not after about 4 solid hours of non-stop dancing.  I secretly think people were feeding them rock candy from the “Candy Bar” to keep them going.

And finally, I tried looking up how many calories you burn an hour or what a good heart rate is for dancing with a 45 pound weight strapped to your neck, but didn’t find any results.  Any ideas? ;)

Just a few minutes before midnight and while it looks like I might be be holding him up, he’s actually trying to thwart the process from which I will turn into a raggedy princess and my car a pumpkin just a few short minutes later.

Any fun weekend plans for any of you?  Any good workouts?  How do you fight unplugging vs. slow runs?

Celebrity BFF’s

Jillian Michaels DVD
Brief Bursty Strides

Dear Avid Search Engine Users Who Find My Site,

Nope, that didn’t say busty strides, but bursty.   My regrets that every day you are STILL searching “naughty mom” and “being naughty with sister” and ending up at this sorry page.  My sincerest apologies.

Workout plans were scratched yesterday after I went back to bed with the 4:30 alarm clock because I had only had about 4.5 hours of sleep.  I’m learning that sleep is one of my fuels and that tank was way low.  So Jillian and I spent some serious workout time together last night.

Let me hold on for dear life trainer – I almost fell.  Felicity, you want some Nuun to help hydrate?  (Photo courtesy of What the Flicka and my atrocious editing skills)

Speaking of celebrities, while I am not a huge celebri-stalker like a certain waify runner we all read, have you seen What the Flicka?  It’s snarky, it’s real, it’s about moms (or not actually), and the best part is, it’s the brain-child of Felicity Huffman, who occassionally posts and who if we ever met, I am certain we would want to be my BFF or my RBFF (Running BFF).

True confession that will either make you love me or hate me:  I never watched Desperate Housewives.  But one of the few episodes I caught glimpses of was her chasing an unruly roost of boys around which pretty much made my heart skip a beat.  I was also a huge fan of Felicity on Sports Night back in the day.  (Sidenote:  My dream job is to work with Colin Cowherd on Sports Nation but he just keeps getting blonder prettier co-hosts, someday he’ll wake up and realize I should be the snarky sort of blonde co-hosting with him).

She runs a few miles before a race. See – BFF or BRFF (best running friend forever)

And from what I’ve read or seen (because clearly the media is SUPER correct all of the time especially with a celebrity who tries to stay out of the spotlight) Felicity and I would be instant BFF’s.  It was obvious when she linked pictures of bear poo to a post on What the Flicka?.  Now that’s my style.

To celebrate our new BFF-ship and passion for fitness we’d meet for a little SoCal coastal run.  We’d chat about being working moms, staying fit, and how to thwart off the paparazzi.  I mean, I can’t shake those 42″-48″ people who follow me around with the camera taking pictures constantly and then sending them to unsuspecting souls like “Grandma” and “Aunties”.

Then she’d talk me off the ledge about my fear of open water swimming and we’d make plans to meet up after the Malibu Triathlon which she famously participates in.  We’d laugh about work life balance and our love of writing.

Remember this aftermath from my first run with Road Runners Group? I sported all the colors of the rainbow on my legs for about 10 days after this. I guess that’s what it takes to integrate “color” into my wardrobe.

Naturally there would be a a 75% chance of me falling over some poor unsuspecting branch, twig, an imaginary crack in the road or most likely, my own two feet.  So, I’d spend the rest of the day with black and blue legs and  bruised ego for the remainder of our run, but don’t worry, she’d be happy to have some good writing material about her awkward, gangly friend.

We’d grab some post workout fro-yo (because in my mind, everyone loves post workout fro-yo to wash down their Nuun) and make plans to meet up after the next triathlon we’re doing together and we discuss squeezing in a training sesh together before then- because naturally I’d listen to Felicity Huffman.  Then we’d be off  to grab our bambinos and get on with the work day.

So this begs the question, who’d your celebrity BFF be?

True Confession Thursdays Debut

1 mile swimming
Aquatic Strides

Inspired by a recent post over at Shut Up and Run (btw my kids’ favorite blog to reference so they can say ‘shut up’), I started thinking about the messages I communicate here. Sure, I talk about failures, frustrations and how I want to use the f-bomb sometimes, but I don’t always get really…well..real.

Yep, these are the women representing my hood. *Le sigh*

And let’s face it, I live in the OC so there’s not a whole lotta real going on in my life outside the doors of my house.

And with that, I’m implementing True Confession Thursdays.  A glimpse at the realistic life of this working mom of boys who tries to keep it all together one stride at a time.

And so……….The inaugural True Confession Thursday begins with my ridiculously pathetic Sunday night.

-I went to Trader Joe’s straight from the gym while I was starving.  #askingfortrouble

-I spent WAYYYYYYYYY too much money because everything sounded far too good. Who needed a grocery budget for the week anyway?

-But since I was sweaty and in workout clothes, I felt it necessary to buy healthy food (yay for external motivation).  If I had been in sweatpants, I clearly would have had license to buy whatever the chocolate covered everything I was ogling over down the frozen food aisle.  (Why must you taunt me dark chocolate covered pretzels peering suspiciously over the frozen asparagus.  You’re just mean!)

So what you’re saying is there’s life beyond spandex? What is this cotton you speak of?!?

-Then the only “fun” item I bought called shot gun on the way home.

No seriously, it called…no shouted…SHOT GUN!

-In a sad display of an utter lack of self-control I likely at 2 of the 3 servings on the way home.

-It’s only 1 mile from TJ’s to my house. Oopsies.

-Since I was doing so well, I then decided dinner would be a whole wheat sprouted bagel & sugar snap peas.

-Oh, and a glass of red wine.  But we’ll just call that dessert.

Anyone else have a true confession they are dying to get off your chest? 

The vault’s just opened for Striding Mom, stay tuned to see what else we unearth.