Laying the Smack Down

11.5 Miles 
Smack Layin’ Strides

In my house, we like to talk a lot of smack to one another.

Evidence #1:  A text conversation between Vanilla and I.

Let me just say I think the Wilcox was an autocorrect, the rest – I’m certain was fully intentional.  So thus far this weekend I’ve been sure to lay sufficient smack everywhere I went.

Evidence #2:  Friday Night

If this doesn’t show Friday night who’s boss, I don’t know what would.  Clearly, the older I get, the more my standards for Friday nights shift.

Evidence #3:  SR Brunch

After an unexpectedly fabulous and fun 11.5 mile run I hopped over to Skinny Runner’s casa for a blogging runner brunch.  Given her self-proclaimed penchant for hostessing I fully anticipated to find a platter of Gu gels with a side of Nuun mimosas.  But the girl pulled out quite the spread.  Unfortunately my photo didn’t turn out so I had to snag this one from Monica…who I didn’t even get to see because I left for soccer games while she was killing her long run.

I also heard Sarah showed up later, but this time she kept her underwear where they belonged underneath her clothes.

Evidence 4:  I Gone Country

Somewhere under that hot mess of lights is some dude named Luke Bryan.  I’m sure some of you know of  him. I  went to a show with this fella and another dude Jason Aldean.  Apparently these were pretty hot tickets and given the fact I was the only one in the audience who didn’t know any of the words – I’ll take that as a ye-haw.

I did, however, find a way to entertain myself by playing a game I invented called “Real Country”.  You look at a person and determine if they’re real country.

Bonafied mullet – #realcountry
Complaining about blisters from your new boots – #notrealcountry
Peeing through (yes you read that right) the fence dude – #realdrunkcountry
Wifebeater, cowboy buckle &  flat baseball cap with full tat sleeve – #Jerseyshorecountry

You get the idea.  I’m basically a ton of fun to be with.

Any exciting plans this weekend?
Are you country?
Did you get a good run in?

Have Your [cup] Cake and Eat it Too

4 miles [Thursday]

40 minutes Stairmaster
1 hour class (with SR)
Early Morning Strides

As I told you about, Wednesday was the super fabulous Road Runner Sports Girls Night Out at their Laguna Hills location.

See, they promised and delivered.

I met up with Heather, Tiffany and Sarah.

Heather, Tiffany and Sarah…but most importantly, the bubbly.

The evening was everything they promised it would be and more.  They promised cupcakes and champagne, which were plentiful.  Good thing Tiffany is currently clean eating because that meant more champagne and cupcakes for me.  Yes that was cupcakes plural as in more than a couple.  Whoops!

I mean, I’d hate to see them go to waste.

Turns out there was a good crowd, we even had supermodels in our presence.

Keepin’ it classy

You see, we Midwest girls have got to stick together and show Cali just how to put on your #classypants from time to time.  Nice work Sarah!  I think I’m going to run Long Beach with my underwear on top of my shorts next weekend.

And of course, my promise that anyone who comes to come with me to any such event where prizes are handed out is guaranteed a win held true.  Tiffany scored some major loot:  free massage, and a full Road Runner outfit.

We decided it’s because of my lucky “fur” – which is what my sons like to call the hair on my arms.  They give me lots of super self-esteem boosting commentary like this and “You’re dupa [Polish for butt] shake-ah’s” on a regular basis.

Me, I got lots of calories and snagged a free Adidas headband.

Yep, there she is…all the laser lemon love.

Unfortunately I had to bail on the event a little early because of a family emergency, which was a real bummer.  Every time I go to one of these events I feel like I see everyone I know, but the convos were cut short to be there for the fam.

This whole posts begs me to ask the question…

Have you ever met friends online?

I know, kind of creepy…but seriously, I’ve met some fabulous running ladies through blogging.  Way back in the day I started a book club from a parenting website as well.

So…do tell me your online friend stories.  I’d love to hear them!

True Confession Thursday: I’m a Monster

3 miles
Short but Speedy Strides (7:37, 7:15, & 7:01)

I had to squeeze in an evening run with the babes at the park.

Let’s have a little talk about my youngest son.  He’s an artist through and through.  He documents his little world in various journals that he draws and writes in and then litters all over my house.

So I was a little disturbed when I found this picture in one of his journals the other day.

I mean, what kind of woman does he think I am?  Though I’d like to thank him for *ahem* being very generous in a not so well endowed area.  And a little too generous in my mid-drift section!  But come on, my stomach only looks like that when I’m doing planks (thank you baby skin)!

Turns out I shouldn’t have been so flattered because when I asked him about it, he informed my narcissistic self that it is actually the Incredible Hulk, not moi.  (He was drawing this based on the picture from his underwear) This is good because last time I checked I had 10 toes, not 9.

I still think he’s covering his tracks since the other night I may or may not have been sporting a similar look when NO ONE WOULD LISTEN TO ME AND CLEAN THEIR ROOM.

But all is forgiven since I earlier this week I was recuperating from having my ankle/calf Graston-ed (literally super sore that evening) and I just wanted 30 minutes to watch football and relax and well….

Apparently this is code word for snuggle and climb all over mom:

Go replacement refs!

I figured the emotional and physical exertion from watching the reffing game counted as the run I wasn’t getting on Monday due to my ankle still yelling at me about the dreadmill on Sunday.

If you were a monster what type would you be?
Can you ever lay on your couch alone? 
Tell me about your best run this week since mine have been craptastic.

New Beginnings

Back working in Colorado for a summer in college

4.8 miles
Finally Breezy Strides

Fall seems to have finally arrived in SoCal – which basically means we stayed in the 80′s.  I hear that it will last for 24 hours before we go back to the 90′s again.  I better enjoy every not so hot second!

A few weeks ago I got a (very) belated birthday gift from my best friend from college.  She’s a graphic designer who wanted to make me a logo for my birthday.  Don’t worry, her birthday was in August, which means I should probably have her birthday sent by February – that’s just how we roll.

You know those friends you might not talk to for months and can pick right back up without seeming to have missed a beat – that’s my friend Jessica.  I mean, for two girls who figured out how to clean a hotel bathroom in 5 minutes, the bond clearly lasts a lifetime.

There some jobs in life that are crappier than others.

She sent me the following fabulous logo.

Isn’t it super adorable?  But as we dialogued about it, it got me thinking…where has time gone?

When did he get so big?

As you know, I took a little daycation on Saturday with the boys.  One of the their favorite parts of this trip was attacking the Carlsbad waves.  I watched Strawberry  (who has spent his entire short-lived life by the ocean) slowly ease in from jumping at the edge to diving under waves 3 feet over his head.

I practically had a coronary watching this happen.  But he knew what he was doing.  He ran out of the water when the larger wave sets rolled in, he dove under the big ones, and body surfed the appropriate ones in.

I had to trust that my babe knew what was going on.  It was a “cut the cord” moment.

I hate those.

As I spent my Sunday afternoon working on a school project with Vanilla, I realized that my babies are growing up way too fast.  They’re in the fantastic ‘in between’ place.

Their walls are plastered with snowboarding, Shaun White posters, but their beds laden with stuffed animals – so much so that I can hardly find them in middle of the night.

The little logo with the baby on the end made me realize my babies aren’t babies anymore.  Sure, they’re still little and I could eat them up like a tub of frosting at this age, but little boys have emerged from those adorable preschool bodies.

And no, thinking about that did not make my ovaries quiver for even a second.  No babies.  That’s what I have my sister for.

And if I ever want to question if the boys are growing up, I just have to hang out around their soccer uniforms for about 3 seconds.

PS – If you’re looking for a graphic designer PM me and I’ll send you her contact information.

PPS – She would be mortified if she knew I did this because she made this for me as a gift, but I think she does fabulous, fabulous work.

PPS – I’m waiting for the hate/embarrassment texting from my sister to commence….NOW!

What transition are you in?
How do you get the funk out of soccer cleats?
Do you have friend you can just pick up and go with?

Daycation Round II

Things have been wild in my world lately.  And I was incredibly blessed with the opportunity to get a free hotel room in Carlsbad this Saturday to get away on another little daycation with the boys.

Daycation:   Disrupting your regularly scheduled programming to reconnect and recollect (your thoughts, lives and schedule) for a day.

If you haven’t noticed yet, I’m a big fan.  I can’t always swing a big, fancy vacation, but when things get out of whack, there is hardly anything I want more than a chance to whisk my babes away and tuck in for 24 hours of connection and fun.

The day started out as planned.  We finished a morning of soccer and hit Carlsbad to go to the beach.

I literally spent 3.5 hours watching them play in the waves playing pseudo-lifeguard and trying to trust them as they ventured further and further into the water.  The boys say their favorite part was when my beach chair collapsed and I fell flat on my duff into the sand leaving me covered head to toe in sand.

Plan #1:  Success. 

I had a foolproof genius plan to get dinner with a Groupon so it would be cheap and easy. Color me foolish, it failed.  Between that and a missing household item we were driving around trying to find A: A Target, Walmart, or anything that might carry a certain child’s item I needed and B:  Dinner.

Yep, another Costco

Turns out the closest thing was Costco.  We grabbed a few non-perishable items we needed and bounced out only for me to hear, “I can’t wait for dinner I’m soooooo hungry“.  This is so obviously different from any other day of the week.

Lest you think we are boring, this Costco had a reverse layout of the one at home, so I don’t want to hear that we don’t know how to live it up!

Due to the loudly protested immediate hunger need, we grabbed a few slices of pizza and salads before heading back to the hotel.  That dinner set me back a whopping $13.

Oh and I happened to grab this:

Our nice dinner out ended up being salad & pizza on the floor of the hotel room (don’t even remind me of the germs I was feigning denial during this meal) and I had the wine, but no bottle opener.

Plan #2:  Fail.

Then we all fell asleep and slept for 12 hours.  Uh, I can’t remember the last time I slept for 10 hours, no less 12.  I was literally asleep by 8:15 and we didn’t get up until the same time the next morning.  I think we all needed to catch up on some rest.  Daycation success.

The next morning I shrugged off the guilt from not running for about 4 days and got super creative.

Yep, my children watched “Minute to Win It” on the floor of the hotel gym while I cranked out about 4 miles.  I negotiated pool time and waffles for this deal.

My plan had been to do 10-12 miles on Friday or Saturday, but that clearly didn’t happen. 4 super slow miles on the dreadmill was going to have to do.

Plan #3: Fail.

We got thrown another loop with a school project due on Monday so we headed home early to cover ourselves in glitter and paint.  I didn’t want to watch football anyway.

Plan #4:  Fail.

Have you ever daycationed?
What’s the most creative thing you’ve done to sneak a run in?
Are you a germaphone?  If so, I’m sorry because you’re probably Lysoling the screen right now.

What Does A Body Good?

As you know, I’ve been struggling with a sprained ankle for a better part of a month.  From what I’ve learned, sprains are more temperamental than a low blood sugared 2 year-old.

When I dashed out for a quick 4 miles last Thursday I got home pain-free but when I went to put on my dress shoes for a meeting, I realized all was not well.  Getting the shoes on looked a little something like this:

Channeling Cinderella’s step sisters, my feet wouldn’t squish into any shoes but one pair of gladiator sandals which I had to wear unzipped and keep my ankle compressed to keep them on.  My ankle was totally swollen, as was my uber ego after pulling off a 40+ training cycle the week before pain free and finally picking up speed only to have this happen after 4 pithy miles.

In the last two weeks I have also learned that my iron counts are low, like really low.  I did a little reading about endurance athletes and anemia.  I found this gem of a blog where this woman promises to make pathology fun.  That’s like telling kids that shots won’t hurt.  It’s a lie.  But the article was informative.

I’m not a big meat eater and being well over halfway through a marathon training cycle and literally feeling the symptoms of the anemia…my body’s telling me something.  Chillax (wo)man!

So chillax I will.

What does this mean?

Bye bye CIM it was fun half training for you.

I’ve realized it’s time to readjust my goals and it’s looking like CIM just has to go….which is a decision I am not super happy about.

My New Goals

1:  Ankle Rehab.  It’s time to teach Amanda Bynes a lesson  and check into rehab.  Again.  Get this ankle rehabbed slowly and surely. The ankle rehab stuff is easy – go low and slow and ease back in hoping not to tweak it again.  I also need to expect that it will be tweaky for a few months.  Sprains are like that.  Just because I get a good week or two in, doesn’t mean that it’s miraculously healed and I can just crank it up.

2:  Pump Some Iron:  I need to learn more about iron, iron reserves, etc.  My iron counts were like one point away from full blown anemia and I was symptomatic so it’s time to get this schtuff under control.

Unlike my carnivorous sons, I’m not a huge meat eater.  I do eat some meat, but not very much.  It turns out this might be much of the problem.  According to the American Red Cross, your body absorbs 20-30% of the iron found in meat products and 2-10% of the iron found in foods.

Caveat:  You can live a vegetarian long-distance runner lifestyle and have plenty of iron…I’m just saying something’s off for me right now and my diet might just be playing a factor in it.

I eat a pretty balanced diet with lots of iron sources (spinach, broccoli, sweet potatoes, peas, green beans and more beans than my digestive system likes), and I also eat a lot of high Vitamin C foods (which I learned aids in iron absorption!).  But it seems, that I’m not getting enough of what my body needs.

Perhaps it’s the running, or it could just be me (I’ve always been on the low to very low side of my iron counts) – either way, it’s time to take some supplements and start really focusing on how much iron I am really taking in.

So game on.  Time to get moving [or not] but you get what I mean.

Any of you struggle with anemia?
Give me your best iron-laden (veg or meat I don’t care right now) recipe.  

It’s the Little Things

4 miles on the Dreadmill
Super Creative Strides

If you haven’t noticed already, things are a bit crazy in the Land o’ Striding Mom lately.  I’ll fill you in later, but it’s mostly back to school, work, kids and lots of other fun changes.  I’m having to re-prioritize, readjust and get a new perspective on some things.

But until my little world stops spinning enough for me to capture and articulate my thoughts, let me just say there are two little things that are getting me excited.

Seriously….

8 months ago I was swearing off ever running a full marathon.  EVER.  It was crazy talk.  Then after smashing my half PR with the flu in February, I decided I was 2/3rds of the way through full marathon training and thought I’d give it a go.

9 weeks later I found a BQ in my pocket and the other hand giving a peace sign.  I think that’s how Alanis would sing it.

Actually, I looked more like this:

I can’t believe I’m posting this…but total and complete raw emotion. Completely undone…I think we’ve all been there at some point!

If you think the picture is super awkward, maybe someday I’ll muster up the cajones to show you the video.  It’s kinda ridiculous.  It’s like some super-emotional pre-teen meeting Justin Bieber for the first time took over my body.

I never thought I’d run a marathon.  I repeatedly told myself (and others) I’d never in my wildest dreams be able to run Boston and now I’m going.  So that’s kinda fun.

Secondly, I saw this notice on Facebook reminding me that this Wednesday is going to be super fun.

I wrote all about this event here.  But if you want to meet up with myself and these two fabulous bloggers (Tiffany and Sarah)…come join us for fun, cocktails and cupcakes.   And yes I stole these pretty pics from their blogs.

As an added bonus, since this is a non-running event, there’s an 80% chance I’ll shower and a 60% chance I’ll wear something other than dry-wick or spandex.  

How was your weekend? 
Tell me stories. 
How do you handle massive change other than a nice wallet?

True Confession Thursday: The 2 Minute Post

4 miles
30ish minutes – Unplugged so I don’t know
Silent, Beautiful Strides

This week’s been insane and I literally have 2 minutes to type my True Confession Thursday.  I have some vlog bits from the past week, but no time to put ‘em together so here’s the 2 minute confession of the morning.

Love my Strawberry!

This morning Strawberry was trying to figure out my middle name so we were playing a guessing game of where he could find it.  [Answer:  My driver's license]

Me:  It’s something I use every day.

Strawberry:  Your running clothes

Me:  It’s something I am always looking for around the house.

Strawberry:  Your foam roller.

Me:  It’s something if I forget, you scream, “Illegal!  Illegal!”

Strawberry:  [super confused} Running?

Methinks my identity is unidimensional in his little world.

An Affair to Remember

4 Miles
7:47 average pace
Finally Breakthrough Strides

I set out today to try and get in 3 easy miles to counter yesterday’s accidental tempo run and since I was uber short on this thing called time.  But I was a little frustrated and angry, so I accidentally ran way faster and got a bonus mile in the same amount of time.  #rangerruns Not for the faint of heart.

More important than finally getting back to my old pace, I got myself some new shoes.

This. is. a. huge. deal.

You see, when I like something, I love it hard.  Case in point – if I find something I like, I have to buy it in multiple colors.

From left to right:  $45 Gap sweater on sale for $12.99 that fits perfectly – should get it in 2 colors – I have a gift card after all.  $12.99 Costco running tanks long enough to cover my tush- who cares if I don’t usually wear neon pink – I’ll take 3 since that’s all they’ve got.  Old Navy t’s that are the perfect fit – you only see 3, but there are 2 more white ones in the dryer.

So I have been kinda ridiculously hooked on the New Balance Minimus line since the inception.

This is sadly not the full collection from the last 18 months, but merely a representation.  Also why do the shadows make my carpet look like it’s never been cleaned – ever.  Eww….

Above is only about 2/3rd’s of the NB Minimuses (huh?) I’ve plowed through in the almost 2 years since the line debuted.

But this weekend…I cheated on my NB’s and…while I don’t have a ton of miles on these bad boys yet….

I’m in love.

Yes someone [aka not me] spilled mulch on my floor right before I snapped this and I decided feet in the air was easier than vacuuming at that exact moment.

Let me first say, I bought these on my own with no nudging from Brooks, this is my totally unbiased, personal review.  

My new amor – the Brooks Pure Connect.  They satisfy my minimalist needs with a mere 4mm heel to toe drop (my biggest issue with my old Mizuno Waverunners I wore for a decade before jumping into my NB’s), but have enough junk in the trunk support on the bottom to provide stability when I’m trekking through some seriously unstable terrain.  They’re also light and clearly bright enough to tan my face while I wear them.

My kids call them my Lazer Lemon Shoes and while I feel all spry and light on my feet with their lightweight, meshy top that BREATHES.  As an added bonus I am also easy to spot via GPS satellites from space.

Riiight, just what you wanted to see – another picture of my shoes.

When it comes to breathability, you can compare this to the NB trail runners on both sides of this shoe – I had to run sockless earlier this week [you don't want to know but I'll tell you later anyway] and there was a literal breeze in the shoe.

In all seriousness, while the color is bright, but fun, if you’re looking to sport more of a wall flower look, they have plenty of other options as well.  I, for one, am glad I made the jump.  While the interior felt bulky and I was super skeptical at first, I’m way digging these bad boys.

Anyone else have overcommitment issues with shoes?
Are you loyal to one brand/make/model?
Are your shoes bright enough to be seen from space?

SheRuns Half Marathon Race Review

 A few months ago I was making my list of races and stumbled upon the SheRuns event series of half marathons & 5k’s.  I was on the fence about doing it, but then found a Groupon that cost me $30 for the race so I figured I was game.

Race packet pickup was from 6-6:30 and I planned to arrive at 6 so I could stretch, get 2-3 miles in and not be rushed.  Instead I took a wrong turn and ended up rushing to get 2.5 miles in before the race start.

I cruised in from my warmup (9-ish minute miles) with about 30 seconds to spare and snap this picture as the race horn blew.

Update:  I’m a terrible estimator and apparently really bad at counting.  There were 94 runners and I came in 7th, not 9th.

It was a small race with probably about 40 women.  This is a VERY GOOD thing because it was not only a trail race with some very narrow passes, but it was also an out and back race, so congestion would have been awful if there had been a lot of participants.

The race information claimed it was a “very challenging” course that spent a lot of time on the trails.  And that was no lie.  I have never done a run over 5 miles on trails before and I have to say I really enjoyed it.  I spent most of my time looking at my feet trying not to trip over rocks, hopping over creeks and dodging mountain bicyclists, but it made the time go pretty fast.

I swore to myself that I would run this in 9-ish minute miles.  But it was a major struggle both physically and mentally to keep this pace.   I came out of the gate way too fast with an 8:30.  I pulled back the rest of the race to 8:45-9:10 minute miles.  The initial pull back around mile 1 meant getting passed by about 6 women which was so super fun and I loved a lot.  You know, like I love being tortured or yelling at my kids.  This was mentally tougher on me than ANYTHING.  I am much better at mentally competing and pushing myself than holding back. #learnsomethingneweveryday

The view during my pre-race run on the same trail

My biggest concern was the heat…and given your advice from earlier this week I knew that  an 80+ degree half marathon on the trails meant I could drop my shirt off at a water station if I wanted and there would be no judgment.  I also lubed up my chin and knees with Body Glide to ensure that any flapping skin hitting said areas would not cause chaffing.

I preventatively put my number on my shorts in case I ditched the top (which happened at mile 1).  I also grabbed a visor at Road Runner Sports the night before since I only have a black hat = heat trap. (side note:  totally shocked they were only 8.95 with VIP memberships and since I’m a total cheap-o this was GREAT news for me)

Here’s my number. #callmemaybe

Overall I finished in 1:59 (for 13.52 miles- see below).  I think I came in 4th in my age group and 9th overall or something.  I just glanced once at the results and walked away and was too hot to care.  I wasn’t too concerned about the finishing deets as I was doing this for training.

The Good:

-Race Logistics:  The race was directed really well.  Even being small, everyone had chip timing which is always a perk, the scores were scrolled on a computer on-site within minutes of your finish, everything was SUPER organized from beginning to end.

-Aid Stations:  Aid stations were frequent enough and well-stocked- gels, water, and electrolyte mix.  My only beef came with the Chia Seed Gel Pack (see below).  Even so, I carried a water bottle with me mostly for comfort since I was worried about the heat.

-Post Race Grub:  There was a great assortment – bagels, bars, chocolate (each finisher got a little bag as we crossed the finish line bless them), bananas, oranges, etc. but it was too hot to even want to eat a thing.  I had a tiny piece of bagel and an orange slice then thought I was going to hurl, so I settled for 3 bottles of water followed by 1 bottle of Honest Tea – this mama was THIRSTY.

Post-race grub tents

-The People:  I met some great ladies running.  I was mostly alone throughout the race, but around mile 8 I caught up with a woman named Deanna and we ran about 2.5 miles together and talked races, training, etc. which was a nice break.  I also stumbled across a poor woman who got lost and added 2 miles to the race so she hung out 100 yards ahead of me to ensure she wasn’t lost the last 2 miles.

The Not So Good:

-The Surprise Gel Pack:  At the turnaround they had gel packs.  I grabbed mine and was desperate because I was about 9 miles into my running at this point.  I ripped open the pack, squeezed away and almost choked to death when I realized that the pack was laced with Chia seeds.  I was so not expecting that.  It was like sucking seedy raspberry jelly from a piece of foil – not pleasant.

-The Medals:  They were so-so.  I only paid 30 bucks so I don’t really care, but I do think medals are super fun and judge them discriminatingly.  The concept was cute, but if someone had just taken the time to even sew the top of the ribbon instead of just tying it, it would have looked a lot nicer.

-First Aid:  They needed more first aid options.  A few women fell [for the first time ever in my life it wasn't me] and there was not near enough first aid stuff for them.  I ended up grabbing my first aid kid out of the car to help some of the women clean up cuts, scrapes and bruises after the race.  It’s a trail run so these things will happen, I think they should have been more prepared.

I also wanted ice for my foot (especially since it was a small race) and I had to bum some off of Honest Tea who was there at the finish line (thank you marketing peeps you rocked sharing your ice) to do so.

-Course Markings:  There were a few spots where it was easy to miss.  I didn’t like a longer stretch that I think was on the street (next to a trail – the markings were unclear so I’m not sure) so I got on the more padded trail and it wove back and forth and ended up adding about half a mile to the race.  Since I wasn’t really “racing”, I didn’t care too much, but for those who cared, it would have mattered.

Overall – for $30 and my need to get in a long run, matched with my desire to mix it up – it was worth it.  That said, if I had not had a Groupon and had paid full price I would not have been very happy.  Most women out there that I talked to were in my shoes – cheap race and using it for training – so we got what we needed out of it.

Post-race self portrait. Not looking like I wanted to die which means I beat the heatpocalypse.

Are you near any of the SheRuns events?
What are your thoughts on trail distance races?