Get in Shape Girl

10 Miles
Switching it Up Strides

Yesterday I finally hit a double digit day.  This hasn’t happened since, um…May.  And yes, in the back of my mind I was thinking about this:

Screen Shot 2013-07-10 at 6.51.38 AM.png

Please tell me I wasn’t the only one who insisted on having a plastic chin up bar installed in the bathroom doorway of my childhood home….anyone, Bueller?

Anyway, getting back to the topic at hand – I’ve let myself “running go”.

Could I run a half marathon right now?  Um….no, not without
A-wanting to die
B-get injured
C-hate myself.

So in Sheila-land I’m kind of out of running shape since I like to be able to at least go and do a half marathon at any point in time, it’s kind of the baseline for me.

I could make a list a mile long as to how I got here, but let’s sum it up – young, busy kids, work, the ice cream truck, and a few major life changes including a move and a trip back home to see the fam..

Summer lovin'

Summer lovin’

Where Am I Going?
To be honest, I don’t know…Right now I’m locked into one like a clingy teenage girl and the other I’m flirting with like it’s Friday night and I want a free drink.

-One certainty is visiting my friend Kevin at RauschPT to get a Run Right Assessment.  I know my form’s gotten out of whack and I’m tired of it and the aches and pains it brings.  It’s time to get rid of the janky right leg once and for all.

Janks be gone...

Janks be gone…

-The more noble but exhausting option I have is to really do something I’ve talked about for years – work on getting my half marathon time down… by 4 minutes.

To be honest I have REALLY mixed feelings on this.  I love running, I love competition and I love challenging myself (that’s a whole lotta love), but I’m also sorta in this place where I’m wanting to be sure I don’t take the fun and joy out of the sport I love by setting a really hard goal for myself.  Oh yeah, plus the thought of actually working on a goal right now sounds exhausting.  So I’ll just go all Bachelorette on this one and stew on whether or not to give this idea my final rose, and that will probably take a few more weeks, but it’s out there.

Did you remember Get in Shape Girl?

What goals are you working on these days?

Holly Jolly Half Marathon

If you’ve been lurking around Striding Mom then you know I’m in the middle of my 12 half/full marathons in 12 months.  

Between the holidays and the 12 days leading up to Christmas involving the birthdays of 4 people I’m close to, December is a tough month to find a race.  I ended up with literally one morning available to make it happen and lo and behold it turns out there’s a race that works.

The Holly Jolly Half Marathon in Camarillo, CA on Sunday, December 16th.

Check out the super cute medals!

I emailed Bill the fabulous race director who connected me with a bib and I’m thrilled to participate in the race.  It’s a smaller local race run on a looped course (2 loops) which I’ve never done before, so I’m excited to check it out.  Plus as an added bonus, the start line is about 2 miles from a dear friend’s house, so I can drive up the night before

In addition, the race supports Toys for Tots which means you can’t go wrong.  Races and happy kids.  I’m excited for my bambinos to bring toys to the finish line!

It sounds like there’s a costume contest involved in the race as well.  I’ve never raced in costume, but let’s see if I will pony up and order some red compression socks to be festive or something like that.

Want to join me?  Check out Holly Jolly Half.

What races do you have coming up?
Have you ever dressed up for a race?

Pretty Not Required

4.25 Miles
Speedy, Hilly Strides

On Sunday I’m running my favorite local half marathon course:  Long Beach.

The course runs along the beach and through Long Beach harbor and is just stunning.  Plus when your day starts out looking like this and you get cush parking, you know it’s just going to be a great race day.

Walking to the start line on race day last year.

Last year I finally broke the 1:50 barrier I had been stuck at for what felt like forever and pulled a 1:45 out of my behind.

Honestly, it was a life goal to run a 1:45…ever.

Naturally I thought I looked like a total badass killing my PR, but it turns out…notsomuch.

Did I just pee myself?  Whew!  Good thing I’m wearing black pants.  Hopefully no one will see.

Notice the 9-year old casually checking his watch behind me as he crosses the finish line without breaking a sweat while I, by the looks of it, appear to be 9 cm dilated and ready to start pushing.

Plus, I think the Long Beach Marathon has the best hardware.  It’s my second favorite medal of all time.

This year, I’m going in with absolutely ZERO expectations.  My foot’s been a little angry with me since the Disney incident and I haven’t done any legit speedwork in about 6 months which means that I’m pretty much expecting to cruise in at my old pace.

I will literally run what feels right which is so very hard for me since I like to pass people.  A LOT.  But with Boston 6 months out, I’m just happy to be running and it’s not worth pushing it unless my body says yes.

Anyone else running Long Beach?
What’s your favorite race course you’ve ever run?

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??

When Things Are Going Good

This week I had a 24 hour period that made even the wildest roller coaster look like the calmest carousel at a theme park.  My children behaved like bipolar maniacs flying from the highest highs to the lowest lows.

The landscape of my evening and night were painted by a series of fights, bickers, arguments, slaps, kicks, eye rolls, “whatever Mom’s”, and door slams.  I contemplated how 13 year-old girls had possibly possessed my beloved babes.

After a few drinks anyone will dance on a table. This should be titled, “Day camp let me have 3 slurpees then sent me home to you for the aftermath!”

I deliriously poured myself a glass of wine, skipped the yoga and decided to exercise my mind by hiding behind the pages of a good book before I fell asleep.  I’m certain my teeth were still gritted as I headed to la la land, but I likely dreamed of screaming at people and throwing timeouts like candy out the door on Halloween.  I went to bed defeated, my parenting abilities deflated.

The next morning (after a solid 11.5 hours of sleep for the babes – might I add!) my saccharine sweeties snuggled and smiled as they meandered through their morning reminding me of a poem I wrote for a book about that first “morning moment” when they were babies.

Door open, greeted by
smell, sticky, sweaty, sweet

Sleepy eyes, meet my face
dreamy, drowsy, dapper, delighted

Untamed hair stands high
tousled, tangled, tender and telling

Morning greets anthems sweet
natural, nimble, novel new

I floated through my morning mentally patting my own back at my stellar parenting abilities.  “I have this mothering thing down,” I self-mused.

Those feelings came to a screeching halt when I remembered the night before.  You see,

I need to get off my own highs and lows and remember I’m just as good (or not so good) of a mom even when my kids aren’t behaving.

This was the one time I had a bicep (and it’s still tiny) from carrying my babies around. Too bad it was only on one arm. And pirate hates…uh yeah, so the rage in 2007.

And that’s the irony about fitness as well.  When things are going great, I’m sticking to my training, clipping off goals left and right, I feel like Super Woman who can do anything.  But once the crazy train gets derailed, it’s really easy to let it all go.

Some people wonder how to get past the slump?  I’m still working on making that list…but I do have some tips for preventative slumping.

Goals.  Goals.  Goals.  I swear, having goals or something to look forward to keeps me motivated.  If I get sidetracked, it’s easy to look at the goals I’ve documented and focus on those, instead of thinking about how much slacking I’ve been doing.

Tell Someone. If you build it, they will come.  If you tell people, they will come ask.  Say it out loud, tell your friends, tell your family.  One of the scariest parts of my marathon training was not the 20-miler training runs, but when I realized I was on my way to BQ and actually telling a few people.  Their pretty little faces ran through my mind as I raced and kept me motivated through that dreaded last 10k.

Remember Your Why.  I use this with my clients in the business world, but it’s so true in running.  WHY do we do what we do?  What’s your motivation.  You probably know my mantra here – myself, my health and my kids.  But what’s your motivation?  Identify it, write it down.  Know it, think it, believe it.

Make a Plan:  Some people say to plan your workouts.  And while that is helpful for some, for me it serves as a source of frustration because naturally my work schedule, kid schedule or weather jacks it up, and I just get aggravated.  But I do loosely have a plan to achieve my goals – I know each week what I want to do, I just can’t tell you what day it’s going to get done.  And yes, that does mean exercising (bah dum pah…pun intended) great creativity.

Be Realistic:  The fact is that life is messy and sometimes it messes with your goals and plans.  And sometimes that means revisiting them and readjusting to keep your health and your sanity in check.  This isn’t a failure – it’s being smart.

How do you stay on track?  Any other tips to add?

Do you ever fake going to the bathroom to get a few minutes of quiet from crazy kids?

The Dream Team

9 miles biking
2.5 miles running
Realistic Strides

I realized I have about 3 weeks until this triathlon and I have NO idea how to actually pace myself riding on the road so I took a quick break and did 9 miles in about 35 minutes to see how fast I should go.  I think I’m seeing my natural abilities/limits a little more clearly.

Speaking of being realistic, I had far too much fun brainstorming my 1 half marathon a month goal for the next running fiscal year “Dream Team” list.  I read, researched, reminisced and then decided I had to make two separate lists.  The cathartic – the “never in a million years unless I won the lotto” list and the “what will really happen” list.

So today’s my Pipe Dream list.  Don’t worry…I’ll snap back to reality later this week to give you the realistic list.

Pipedream List:

Yes we know where all the cameras are on EVERY ride and yes we still do ridiculous poses every. single. time.

September – Disneyland Half.  It’s close to my house and I’ve been to Disney about 273 times with my annual passes plus I ALWAYS forget to register and then find out too late.

October – Zooma Great Lakes.  The race is taking place at a resort that my family used to visit with friends and my mom has a TON of great memories there (and several not so great).  In fact, I’m pretty sure the local bartender down by the lake knows her by name.  And my mother may or may not have bounded around the place playing an accordion one night. The thought of flying in and experiencing the weekend with her just sounds too cool for school.  Sentimental and sweet.

November – Big Sur.  Need I say more?  So pretty.  So much good wine in the area.

December – Las Vegas Rock & Roll – Yes I heard terrible things about how crowded it was last year.  I’ve also heard that they’re fixing it up so the same overcrowding doesn’t happen again.  Plus if it’s a slow terrible race I can always remember, “What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas” [unless it's a PR].

January – Maui Oceanfront Marathon. A coastal 13.1 race in Hawaii.  I have sadly never been, and living on the Left Coast it’s not that far away, so I had to put it on my list.

February – Austin Half.  I’ve never been to Austin.  *gasp*  But I have always heard amazing things about the city and so why not go run a race and spend a few days soaking in the Austin love?

March – D.C. Race.  I should have my American citizenship revoked as at the age of 31 I have yet to visit the capitol.  I know, slap my hand and shame on me.  I haven’t spent much time on the East Coast.  Rumor has it the Nike Women’s Half will be around that time or the Rock N Roll DC.  Either one is okay by me.

An oldie pic, but still true. You probably don’t want to come between me and a good glass of Central Coast pinot.

April – San Luis Obispo Half.  Now this is contingent on as to whether I actually get a spot in Boston.  The 1:18 minute buffer I got in my qualifying marathon isn’t too promising.  If it falls through, a trip to SLO would be great.  It’s pretty, it’s small and I’ve heard great things about it.  Plus I’m always game to drive up to the central coast where Pinot Noir flows out of the faucets.

May – Brooklyn Half.  NYC, beautiful views, and to participate in a NYRR race sounds fantabulous.

June – Ojai 2 Ocean.  Once again, trip to the Central Coast, amazing views, and one heck of a speedy course.  Not to mention a trip to the Hitching Post on my way home to get my inner “Sideways” going would be in order.

July – Napa to Sonoma.  A smaller race, supposedly fabulous views, and I’m a bad Californian because I’ve never been up there.  And once aain, we’re on the wine theme here.  Hmm…I guess California has gotten the best of me.

August – San Diego.  Who doesn’t like a San Diego half marathon?  Wait…people who don’t like hills.

I may say I want to go to Chi-town to run, but it’s more likely I want to go there and eat good pizza.

September – Chicago.  My favorite city, family  and would be a return to my very first half marathon.  Hopefully about 30 minutes faster than the original.

So there she is.  The list that would take me from coast to coast and sea to shining sea.  In reality, I’ll probably get to do about 3 of these – which is 25% good.  But a girl can dream, right?

What would your dream list of marathons or half marathons for a year be? 

Any I missed I should be dying to run?

We’re Flexible!

That’s one way to see if your butt looks big.  How on earth does one do this?

4.1 Miles
30:25 minutes (short but progressive)
Secondary Speedy Strides

Back when I was a little butthead, my mother was nice crazy insane enough to to volunteer as a girl scout leader for my troop.  I can’t imagine wrangling the hormones of 12ish prepubescent, drama inducing 9 year-old girls.

One day out of frustration she and the other leader stood up, told everyone to be quiet and bend their backs forward and back and said, “We’re not going to complain because we’re (taking it up 3 octaves) FLEXIBLE!”

Given my nagging li’l injury and the recovery instructions I was given, I’ve been delaying the inevitable – unleashing my inner Goal Gumby to readjust my goals so I’m not driving myself to get hurt.  I’ve feel like I’ve been wandering aimlessly with my fitness just piecing things together and it sure ain’t working for this Striding Mom.

I’ve opted to take a fiscal year goal approach.  So from July 2012 – June 2012 the following are my goals:

  • Half a Month:  Starting in September I’m going to run a half marathon a month.  I’m just now able to start building on my 10 MPW mileage and by September should be able to give one a slow, steady go.  My goal is to mix it up – try some small local races, big ones, road, trail, etc.  I mapped it out yesterday morning and made my dream list of races, my quasi-dream list, and the budget appropriate ones.  I’ll share them soon!

    2011 Laguna Hills Half

  • Tri It Out:  Capitalize on the swimming & biking I’ve been doing to rehab my groin by doing a Tri.  Up on deck:  iTryathlon in Irvine on 7/2.

  • 2 Minutes of Torture: (2 minute plank)  I suck at  making ab work a priority, but I know it’s critical to my athletic performance so my goal is to shape up from my current 45 second plank (and that’s struggling…how sad) to 2 minutes.

  • 1:37 Half:  This will take some time to work up to.  With my injury and the 4 month hiatus from speed work when all is said and done, I’m guessing this will be a late spring 2013 feat.

    The babes sporting my PR – 1:41 at Surf City

  • Sub-20 5k:  I’m so close on this one and I know I can do it once I get to start doing speed work again.  It was my pipe dream goal last year and I missed it by 32 seconds.  Watch out 19, I’m onto you.

    After my 5k PR at Chapman 5k in 2011

    So there you have it.  My FY 2012-2013 goals.  Not uber ambitious, but just ambitious enough.  Between work, volunteering, the boys’ schedules, etc. I know that there are things I’d love to force my body to do, but I’ve got to be realistic.I also know that there’s a chance Boston will be in there (depending on how low they go with qualifying times) so I want to make sure I allow time to ENJOY that experience.

On Feeble Attempts

Bike – 6 miles
Run 3.5 miles
Adventure Run Strides

I made a vlog yesterday.

It wasn’t pretty.  In fact, minus my adorable kids it was kinda boring for the first 2 minutes so I killed it.  We’ll try again next week.

One of the parts is when I discuss one of my goals for 2012:  Build a local running network.

I’m not going to lie, this one petrifies me.  I think this goal was harder for me to achieve than training for and running my first full marathon.


Snapshot of me ranting and raving about not wanting to go to the adventure run. Fun times.

Why building my running network?  Because the running community rocks.  It’s an amazing group of people and quite honestly I need people to challenge my running goals and provide insight sometimes instead of questioning my sanity like my non-running, non-athletic friends.

So I went to my 2nd Laguna Hills Road Runner Adventure Run.  Honestly, such good times.  But still, going in knowing NO ONE is scary. 

When out making new friends, be sure to wear clothes that explain your gross condition.

For the second month in a row, I found a group of people to run with and even saw some from the month before.  It was a fabulous time.  Great runs, good camaraderie, lots of laughs, free stuff, and yes, the ever important free beer at the end.

This time I stuck around for the “after party” at Woody’s and grabbed some dinner.  And met some local runners.

I’m still not at the “have some friends to call for a long run” or “let’s train for a race together” but I’m working on it.  And hey, that’s progress.

The end of the day left me with one very important question for everyone:

If you bike, run, drink 2 beers then bike again does it still count as a brick workout?

Check ‘Er Out

Remember way back when I said my mom was training for her first 5k since I was in high school?

Well she did it this morning folks, and I’m so stinking proud.

A few reasons….

A- She reached beat her goal time by 10 seconds

Run, Honey, Run!

B- She came in 10th of 24 in her age group

Is that the look of victory or what?!

C- She did this in her minimalist shoes :)

She said it best, “These shoes were made for running!”

Honey (my kids call her that!), we’re so stinkin’ proud of you.  And I’m even a *little* *lot* jealous you got to spend your Saturday morning running.

Today is a big race day for  people I know and bloggers I read (that’s you Sarah).  And whether it’s a a marathon, 5k or even jogging to the end of the street/park (yes, I’m talking to you) – each step counts, each goal reached matters.  I love hearing the stories, I love seeing the sweat, tears and ice put into each goal.  Keep ‘em coming folks.

And on that note, rock on Honey, rock on!  Stay tuned…this woman’s got more goals and I’ll tell you about ‘em in the next few days.

Adopting a New Attitude

Have you seen my mojo?

Yesterday’s run was so hard.  I wasn’t surprised.  After a big race I always seem to lose my mojo.

I didn’t want to go.  It was about 83 degrees.  There was a big headwind.  I was tired.

I made it 1.5 miles of a moderate run and did about 1.5 mile of 400 meter sprints with 400 meter jogs.  I meant to go up to 5 miles with the sprints, but suddenly my body started screaming at me and I was mentally halted by the word “RECOVERY” running through my mind.

Precious card from Chocolate!

I’m pretty Type A…and learning to let go and slow down is hard difficult near impossible for me.  As I finished my run I was thinking of the other times  when I’ve had to learn to let go.  My mind wandered to a card Chocolate gave me for my birthday.

Inside it read:
Before I knew anything else, I knew how it felt to be loved.  Thanks, Mom

It reminded me of arguably one of the other hard times when I lost my mojo.  You see, I had brought two new babies home from the hospital before him.  I remembered the sleepless nights, the cracked (not chaffed!) nipples, the c-section recovery, stitches, pain, etc.  New parenthood is not for the weak of heart.

But let me tell you…bringing home an adopted child is like nothing else.  That innate need to be needed that my previous two children had wasn’t there.  I stared into the beautiful, broken eyes of a 2-year old boy who didn’t know how to need yet.  He didn’t know how to trust yet.

Whereas the card he gave me said the first thing he knew was to be loved, he doesn’t remember that the first things he knew were pain, brokenness, hunger, abandonment and a host of other really awful things.  And it was my job to introduce him to this big scary world and show it him that I was safe.

He would do this thing where he would zone out.  He’d get lost.  I’m sure it was his brain being overwhelmed.  At first, it happened every 20-30 minutes, then slowly morphed to once an hour, then once a day, then every few days.  Hugs went from zombi-esque to soft and natural.  I could tickle my little boy.  Forced giggles turned to lit up eyes.

One of our first pictures together

Getting from point A to point B took everything out of me.  I always had high standards for my first two boys, but this was different.  Patience, grace, and unrelenting abundant love had to flow out of me even when I was rejected, hurt and my tank was totally empty.

Sure, I might have been sleeping more per night than with my other two, but the constant need for me to change my standards, clear my expectations grated at me most minutes of most days.  Sometimes I had to learn to dig down deep to persevere and other days, realize my mojo was on vacation.

What does this have to do with running you ask?


Sticking since February.

You see in February I wrote these two goals down.  Finish the Illinois Marathon (I amended it to BQ, but it wasn’t a hard set goal, just a pipe dream) and then to place in the Laguna Hills Half.

This was ambitious.  I was going to likely have to shave about 3 minutes off my half PR (doable I figured from my marathon training) and was pushing the recovery boundaries with the races just 4 weeks apart.

So here I am…trying to figure out how I find my recovery, assessing when to dig down deep and when to just adjust my expectations.   The former of which I typically do and the latter, notsowell.  All the while, my mojo seems to be a month ahead of schedule on the vacation I have planned for June.

What do you do when you lose your mojo?