Hidden Talents

5 Miles
Pansy Quitting, Kick My Butt Strides

Today I got to thinking about hidden talents.  My children showed their hidden talent in consuming food by polishing off 1 3/4 POUNDS (yes pounds) of celery with their dinner.

I can’t complain.  The week most children are pounding candy like the sorority girls pound jello shots, mine are consuming copious amounts of vegetables.

I’m pretty sure their days tomorrow will go super smooth if you know what I mean.

As far as me…today I perfected my hidden talent of being a total pansy with super quick, medium-ish length speed work runs.  It all started out so well with a fabulous 3.5 miles of 6:45-7:15 minute miles and then I just….


The half mile from 3 to 3.5 miles felt like 3.5 hours instead of 3.5 minutes and then I just stopped trying.There was no mental toughness, no willingness to fight.  I up and quit and ran the last 1.5 miles at a comfy 7:40 pace.  So frustrating.

I can handle moderate long tempo/progression runs, but something about actual SPEED work (bursts in short distances) makes my head do a Poltergeist spin.  I know it’s something I need to do if I really want to get faster, but even the promise of speedier times and reaching some crazy goals can’t seem to get me over the mental hump.

I also mastered another hidden talent this week which is finding massive bruises that I can’t remember getting.

Apparently you can beat me with a baseball bat and I won’t remember.

What are your secret talents?

How do you break through your mental barrier in “hard for you” workouts?

I Need Your Help!

Party people, I need your help….

A little back story:

The boys and I have a few shows that we watch pretty regularly.  Included in this rotation is the show Wipeout.

I mean, nothing is more fun than watching people humiliate themselves while flirting with physical violence and flagrant embarrassment, right?

Thanks kiddo! Due to your persistence, Mommy could potentially be publicly humiliated and spanked by large foam objects on national television.

Over a year ago I relented to Strawberry’s incessant pestering about applying for the show, and filled out an application to keep him quiet.  I totally forgot about it until I got a call last Friday.

You know, asking me to come audition for the show next Friday.

Which is where I need your help.  I need a gimmick.  Regular readers know a bit about me…but due to some of the casting issues, things I need to focus on the fact that I’m kind of a nerd.  I’m a research junkie, love to read, the fact that my family considers me the human encyclopedia of useful and useless knowledge, am a part-time Professor, and of course the obvious – a mom and a runner.

This is where I need your help….

Can you help me think of a gimmick, a name, ideas of what to wear (they said a lot of people wear costumes)?

Comment with your ideas, thoughts or insights.  I’m a desperate mama here!

Circus Polka Dot Afro Training

15 Miles
Sporadic Strides

4 miles running
2 miles jog/walking
Strolling Strides

I’m a checklist kind of girl.  Every day I make all sorts of checklists to track what I need to do.  And I get a thrill checking things off the ol’ list.  In fact, my obsession is so ridiculous sometimes I’ll write something down that I’ve already done just so I can check it off.

Type A all the way baby.

When it comes to training, I have typically loved myself a plan.   I’d carefully select my race, research training plans and then customize it in an Excel spreadsheet, print that bad boy out and check off each day until the race came.

But lately, my training plan is a little more like Vanilla’s Halloween costume – a total circus.

Kids, let me tell you a little story.

On Saturday morning I got up, fueled up, dressed up, pottied up (is that a word??) and sat down on my couch.  I didn’t want to run.  Like at all.  I feared that Sarah had infected me and I had become an unintentional member of the Long Run Haterz club.  It wasn’t pretty.

But I went.  I made it 4 super slow, cold, crabby miles and then wanted to cry when I realized I was meeting my super speedy friend Missy after I finished those miles to put in a few more.  She had an hour to run and I knew she was going to try and fit at least 8 miles into that time.

Sure enough, we hit the trails and pushed through 8 miles in our hour.  I decided to scratch the last 3 I was hoping to get in after we finished and drove 10 minutes to meet some people.  Turns out I had an extra 20 minutes when I got there so I decided to stop being a pansy and get out there and finish the run.

4 – 8:45ish minute miles
8 -7:40ish minute miles
3 – 8:30ish minute miles

Lately, this is how my training has been.  I get long(er) runs in when I can, do what my body is feeling/telling me and it seems to be working for the time being.  No checklists, no Excel files taped to the wall, just clipping away day after day.

As always, I kept it super classy by running a few errands post 15 mile run in my disgusting clothes, then ended up at soccer games, etc. and did not find my way home until 6 hours later where the world breathed a huge sigh of relief when I finally showered.

No, a bowl of Trix cereal did not throw up all over me. I ran voluntarily and publicly wore this everywhere on Saturday. #classypants

How was your weekend?

Are you a Long Run Lover or Hater?

I’m usually a big long run lover, but my behind struggled with motivation this weekend.

On Costco Chicken and Clowns

Unintentional Rest Day
Big Fat Negativo Strides

Yesterday was a totally unintentional rest day:  the kind of day when my schedule creeps up on me and eats away every minute of every hour without me knowing it was even happening (pretty much the exact opposite of Monday night).

I could call these crazy days, insane days, or outright chaotic days, but instead we call them Costco Chicken Days in my house.

Because for $5 I can grab a rotisserie chicken, steam or grill up some of the always abundant veggies in the fridge and wham, bam thank you ma’am- dinner is done in under 15 minutes in casa de Striding Mom.

In other news…the ol’ Boston ticket was booked today. It was a surprise early birthday present so I’m super stoked excited


Not clowning around…okay so maybe I am…preview to Vanilla’s Halloween Costume.  And yes, I cooked dinner in this thing the other night to get a laugh out of the kids.

I’m not clowning around, since my superstar runner gene pretty much got lost in the DNA pool when I was conceived (unlike everyone else I know going who rocks it regularly) I’m pretty sure they’re going to put me on the sag wagon at some point while I am pulling my weight for a last place finish.

I kind of feel like that nerdy kid who got an accidental invite to the cool party on a Friday night and shouldn’t be going but am going to the party anyway.

Not that I was nerdy, ever.  I mean look –> here, I am obviously a card carrying member of the Cool Kids Club.


My poor children don’t stand a chance to jr. high.

What’s your favorite quick fix dinner?
How do you handle feeling totally inadequate for a race?

What A Girl Wants

11.5 miles
Tempo Strides

All day long I was trying to figure out how to squeeze in a quick 3-4 miler.  And I got a pleasant surprise yesterday evening yielding me a bonus 1.5 hour window of time I hadn’t slotted into my day.

I pretty much have a better chance of spotting the Lochness Monster and Big Foot having noon tea than I do unlocking an hour and a half of time in my week, no less all at one time in one day.  I could have used the time to go get a mani-pedi…but I’m not exactly sure what that is- people seem to say that it’s nice and relaxing.  Plus I think you’re supposed to have a full set of toenails for that stuff.  I could have folded my laundry.  Or I could have tackled that book I’m *almost* done reading, but instead….I did what every sane person does…

I headed out for a tempo run.

My beloved Pro Compression socks

I started out slow with an 8:30 mile and then slowly clipped off 5-20 seconds per mile until I finished the last half mile at a 6:33 downhill pace.

I’m talking head clearing, thought provoking, meditation inducing, foot pounding, decompressing miles satisfying my emotional, physical and spiritual needs in every way possible.  After 11.5 miles I had to call it quits because apparently you have to pick your kids up from sports practice.

Thing 1 & Thing 2

Thing 1 & Thing 2 attempting their first round of roller hockey at a free local clinic last night. Though I missed the game, my beloved Chicago Bears won the Monday night football game and I’ll just watch the Presidential debate tomorrow sometime which gives my Monday night a #winning.

Do you ever do tempo runs?
If you came up with an extra hour and a half in your day what would you do?

Sporty Spice

14 miles running
1 mile cool down
Makeshift Strides

The name of the game this weekend was Athletics R Us.  The boys had a bye week, but we had a chance to hit up the UCLA Women’s Soccer game for free.  And who can turn down free?  We watched, chatted, and discussed how communicating on the field and looking at your teammates is generally a good idea.

As per ush- we worked some speed work into our spectating.  I mean, why waste half time just sitting around?

Plus the boys got to meet the UCLA men’s soccer team which was certainly one of the highlights of their night.

I woke up the next morning and I begged my aunts generously offered to watch the boys while I got a run in.  In my excitement I took off woefully unprepared for my SoCal cold run at Balboa Park.

I didn’t really eat breakfast and was out of Gu in my car stash.  I didn’t have my iPhone holder for my arm to run with my phone.  I usually run with it for safety reasons and the  iMapMyRun app is my tried and true Garmin substitute….or at least usually is.  Plus I was scrounging to find my Nuun tabs and a water bottle in my car since almost every container I found was empty.

I found some random fruit snacks to munch on since I was STARVING before I started and my jacket made a for a rockin’ hip pack to stash my phone and crusty fruit snacks.

Given it’s “living conditions” my phone staged a revolt and refused to track my run.

I lost track of time and without my GPS I had no clue how far I had run until I got home.

Turns out it was 14 miles and I walked one to cool down.  Since my knees were all cranky and creaky during the run I grabbed some ice to make amends with them.  My aunts basically gave me the “you’re old” lecture and said it was the rain making my joints stage their insurgency.

I just blamed my lack of foam rolling…no way I’m on the slippery slope down to…*shudder* OLD.  Fun times.

Signs you’re getting old – jaunts around the lake, fanny packs and copious amounts of ice.

We spent Sunday doing homework (boys), working (me), cooking (all of us) and watching football rounding out the Sporty Spice weekend.

How was your weekend?

What’s your best makeshift running/sports story?
I actually have one far better than this that I’ll fess up to one day….

True Confession Thursday: Getting Down ‘n’ Dirty

I’m not exactly a clean & pristine kind of girl.  Ask anyone who knows me.  Sure I like my house picked up and organized, but I’m not going to lose sleep over the 84 paper airplanes literally sitting on the stair landing at this very moment.  And hygiene, whoops.

Case in point:  I often sneak in a few miles early in the morning and come back to my desk and work while I ice my foot.  I will often not realize I haven’t eaten nor showered until 5 or 6 hours later.

Which leads me to running (wait, this is a running blog?).  For a long time I was a total street runner – keep it clean, simple and if I’m going to race please provide me lots of course support.  kthanksbye.

I got bored.

So I eventually started hitting the trails for longer training runs and really enjoyed it.  The change of pace, the quietness…the dirt.

I did my first trail half last month to kick off the 12 Halfs in 12 Months and really enjoyed it.  It was laid back, the time flew, I loved hopping rocks, jumping creeks and looking out for competitors wild animals.  I was researching races and came across this highly reviewed, “How did I miss this?” race.  And when I received opportunity to participate in this awesome race, I couldn’t turn it down.

Net incline:  5,000ish feet
Net decline:  5,000ish feet

Race course includes caves, hills, dirt, post race food and the Hollywood sign.


Even cooler – I learned about the Race Director Kiera Henninger who’s an amazing ultrarunner and cloaked in general all around awesomeness.  Turns out she’s a single mom, ultra runner who built this race from the ground up.

And she’s giving me a chance to check out this race!

So, if you’re around the LA area and are looking for a half, you should join me on Saturday, November 17th bright and early.  Did I mention caves, dirt and running up by the Hollywood sign?

Plus as an added bonus they have a 10K the next day that you can complete to get a 3rd overall medal and call yourself a Hollywood Trail Rock Star.

I’m on the fence about the 10k the next day as I  have to see how the old ankle is holding up, but I’m definitely game to get my dirt and hills on with the half marathon.  So while I might be saying goodbye to my 7 minute ranged miles, I’m welcoming a boatload of fun…and dirt…but mostly fun.

Do you like trail or street races?
Have you ever run a trail race?
Will I die doing that much incline and decline in 13 miles?

Mother Nature’s Got PMS

Saturday -10.3 Miles
Sunday – 5.3 Miles
Cathartic Strides

Mother Nature has either got a major case of bipolar disorder, or she and I are on the same…errr…cycle if you know what I mean.  After the fall blast late this week, today we’re back in the 90′s with triple digits expected by mid-week.

Speaking of instability, I may or may not have been a mild basket case about lots of personal schtuff this weekend.  You’re welcome everyone in my life.  That was super fun, let’s do it again…um…never.

The events would probably explain the 21 miles I got in this weekend.  Hello stress release.

On Saturday morning I met up with 3 speedy ladies.  My friend Missy invited me to explore some new to me trails in the area and these ladies kicked it.  I got in 10.5 miles at a 7:40 overall pace and felt good.

Check out the speedsterettes.  Penny on the left was doing her last long run for NY Marathon.

A few hours (and multiple soccer games later) I arrived home still unshowered and my cousin surprised me by dropping by.  Lucky for me he has no shame and was willing to go hit up Panera with funky me.  I was waiting for people to drop money in my water glass on the table outside because I had the “You must not have access to a shower smell”.

Between soccer, playdates and general weekend shuffling around (church, Starbucks, etc.) we kept it nice and busy.  One of the non-running highlights- bowling with this little butthead and his best friend.

Victory Dance

Don’t worry, this is a snapshot of his victory dance.  I can assure you there will be a dancing vlog in the very near future :)

How was your weekend?  
Any races?  Good runs?
Do you ramp up the miles when life gets tough?