MIA & The Return

Yes I have gone AWOL.

In the case of Sheila vs. the Jeep Patriot, the Jeep won…and I spent a bunch of the month sidelined.

About the only running I was doing, was a fondant version of me atop my birthday cake.



Now I’m in PT, working on rehabbing the ankle and can run about 3 miles at a time.

On Memorial Day, one of my favorite events is the Renegade Race Series Laguna Hills 5k, 10k and Half Marathon.  Strawberry and I set out for what was supposed to be an enjoyable morning and ended up with me looking like a terror of a mother.  #funtimes

It all started out so well.  Happy faces and port-a-pottie lines.

IMG_6759Strawberry talked of a PR and told me to do what I had to do to get him there.  And then he became me…crabby, out of my mind, irritable, barking orders from the starting corral me.


I asked him to calm down and to just focus on having fun.  He retied his shoes 27 times, adjusted his sock 14 times and declared his hatred for every seam in every piece of his clothing.  I told him to just get ready to have a good time and he muttered something under his breath and got even crabbier.  I asked one more time what he wanted to do about the race and he said, “PR…I can do this.”

So we shot out of the gate and I told him to just follow closely behind me and I’d get him through the twists and turns that are the beginning of the course.  He got mad.  He yelled at me.  I tried to be nice, he got angrier.

I finally pulled him off the course about a mile in and we had a little heart to heart about being nice and calm and just having fun.  When it looked like we were finally on the right foot (pun intended), he went down about 1.5 miles on a corner tripping over a street grate finding himself face first in asphalt.  We pulled it together, but he was officially mentally unglued.

It was a tough finish.  I had to gently encourage him, “Hey kiddo, just 7 more minutes and we’re done….do you want to finish?“,  “Should we walk for a few minutes?” or “Hey, do you just want to walk?” were met with growls, grumbles and “Be quiet Mom”‘s.

But we finished – he PRed (despite two stops) and all was well with the world….or at least it was once I had a cup of coffee.

Sadly I understand his agitation and anger during the race.  Some races I’m just crabby during the event and then after I’m asking when to sign up for the next one.  Runners, we’re a crazy breed.

What was your last race?

Are you a Crab McGab before or during races?


Remember When?

Remember when I used to blog?  

Remember when I used to log miles?

Remember when winter was actually winter?

Well the truth is I can hardly remember any of those things.  Other truths….

Blog:  It’s been busy, the boys have been busy and we’ve been a hustle and bustle of activity, so when I’ve found downtime, I’m pretty much crashing hard.  There hasn’t been too much to say, so I haven’t been saying much.

Log:  My SI joint and hips are still a bit wonky.  It’s not great and it’s not terrible either – it’s still a work in progress.  But I’m still scaling back to just get everything fixed.  This means fewer and slower miles than in recent history and lots of cross training and weight lifting, and trips to the PT.  I’ll write more on the specifics of what I’m doing later this week.

I am the messiest Body Pumper.  140 tricep reps - I died.

I am the messiest Body Pumper. 140 tricep reps – I died.

My mileage has gone down to 10-20 miles a week.  My pace has dropped down 60-90 seconds per mile and I’ve been trying (key word TRYING) to keep it flatter on my runs.  This proves to be difficult in the hilly area where I live.

My last run elevation....pretty much par for the course.

My last run elevation….pretty much par for the course.

That said, I have been able to complete two marathons in 2014.  Too bad they were just How I Met Your Mother marathons on Netflix.

Dear Netflix, I love you and your past season repository....

Dear Netflix, I love you and your past season repository….

I did hit up a local race, but just to voluntear (EAR + Mikey…get it?), not to run at the Run Disney kid’s races last weekend.

So much fun high fiving kids, cheering and handing out these bad boys to little bambinos.

So much fun high fiving kids, cheering and handing out these bad boys to little bambinos.

I’m not going to lie, being around the races made me sad since last year I was in great shape and have avowed my vengeance to Tinkerbell…this year I just feel old, creaky and slow comparatively.

Winter:  Uhhh so compared to the rest of the country, we’ve been unseasonably warm and dry this winter.  This means running at sunset to try and stave off the heat (seriously 80’s mid-day most days lately).  It also means low, slow miles with the boys tagging along on bikes or on their feet.

With no major goals in sight, I’m enjoying being able to spend that workout time with them and not worrying about speed or distance.  It allows time for fabulous conversations like school, life, and wondering about the mysteries of the world such as how much do people fart a day.  Parenting boys is the best.

Screen Shot 2014-01-21 at 10.15.20 AM.png

What’s your running log been like lately?  

True Confession Thursday: Tricks or Treats

While I’ve been on the road to recovery with my SI joint, some days I have felt super….

This is Chocolate's very own creation and design - from crayons to fabric, we made it happen - Super Black Man.

This is Chocolate’s very own creation and design – from crayons to fabric, we made it happen – Super Black Man.

And others, things are a little evil.

Evil minion, party of 2 (other child not pictured)

Evil minion, party of 2 (other child not pictured)

This week, things have been a little more evil than amazing, so I have kept the mileage low and slow and I scratched my weekend race plans.  This could be because of my back, or the fact that the 3 boys have been practicing their spooky tricks out on me – hiding in closets, turning the entire contents of the bathroom upside down, and perhaps the scariest of all – having the day after Halloween off from school! (Seriously, actually so excited about this!)

Initially I was going to do the Renegade Race Series Dino Dash 10k on Sunday, but since I knew I was going to binge on candy all weekend things were still a little off, a 10k race didn’t seem like a bright idea.  10k’s are always just brutal on my body and I know I won’t be able to just jog the thing.  So I opted to control the controllables on this one – myself.

Medal_OnlyInstead, the boys and I are taking it to the streets to do the 5k.  We’ve talked to some other families in the area to see if they will join us – so who knows what will happen. All I know is it will be an upROARious morning as it’s a 5k targeted towards elementary age school kids.  Plus this year they have finisher’s medals which is all I’ve heard about since the boys found out.

I think it’s brilliant timing – let the kids get all hopped up on candy & Halloween parties all weekend and then let them crash and burn with a 5k by Sunday before sending them back to school Monday morning.

Anyone else racing this weekend?

What was your favorite Halloween costume?


Screen Shot 2013-10-07 at 7.31.58 AM.pngSet….set….set.  There’s a lot of setting going on in this neck of the woods.

Set Back.  Yes I ran a whopping 9 miles last week.  Which is approximately 9 more than the week before.  Not exactly the kind of mileage you want leading up to one of my favorite races (ahem Long Beach, yes I’m talking about you).

Set the Back.  Working to get the SI joint back to where it’s supposed to be – like as in straight.  How have I been doing this?   Lots of hip strengthening exercises (pelvic lifts, side planks, etc.), foam rolling every part of my lower extremities, and laying on a Little Tykes ball.  Yes, you read that right.

Say hello to my best friends....

Say hello to my best friends….

Taking that little 6 inch, semi-firm ball and placing it right on my sacrum and laying on it for about 3 minute intervals a few times a day has been working wonders to straighten things out.

Set the Pace.  Long Beach has been a race that’s always been kind to me.  Two years ago I shaved 5 minutes off my PR there, and last year nearly PR’ed despite not really less than ideal circumstances.  Something about Long Beach makes me float over the flat street and beach paths to a quick race pace.  But this year I can’t afford to do this without ruining all that I’ve put into my injury recovery. In order to keep things from getting to quick, I talked to my neighbor who is running her first half marathon and I am going to run/pace her and a friend through their first race.

Set the Table.  We really try to make an effort for family dinners during the week- catching up with one another, recapping our days, connecting.  Despite these best efforts, weekdays can be brutal and dinner can sometimes not be as fulfilling and connecting as this mama would like,  so I love using the weekend to set the proverbial family table and connect, have fun and relax a bit.  With school back in session, we need this more than ever.

2013-10-05What sets do you have going on right now?

The Streak Ends

So…while I haven’t been busy tracking in a bunch of miles.  I did have the opportunity to break a super special personal record – my ridiculous dreadmill streak.  Yes folks, after 11 months strong this bad boy finally came to an end.


Are you more impressed by this contraption or my scrawny arms? Both are impressive, right?

Yes, somewhere under there is a treadmill.  Let’s be honest, I was REALLY hesitant to jump on it.  If we want to be honest about things, I should admit the following:  if I put half of energy I put into hating treadmills into my actual running, I could probably run a sub-3 marathon or something crazy like that.  But I digress…

I know some of you love the ‘mill – but I feel like 3 miles last 12 and I will do just about anything to avoid running on one (this includes willingly running in 95+ degree temps).  So why did I do it and the thoughts I had doing it?

-It Wasn’t REALLY Real.  Yes it was a treadmill, but it was an Alter-G treadmill so it wasn’t like running on a really real mill. There were enough bells, whistles, and lack of gravity to distract me.  (If you want to know how it really works look here).

-It’s Good Enough For Ryan.  A while back I got an email from Rausch PT talking about how Ryan Hall stopped by for a rehab session on their Alter-G treadmill.  So marching on the ground where Ryan Hall has sweat pretty much made it a compelling reason to at least TRY it.

-Hot Pants.  Why wouldn’t I want to don these dapper duds?  I mean, nothing says classy like a sports tutu of spandex and zippers, right?


-Drop and Give Me 20.  Ever wonder what it would be like to run 15-20 pounds lighter?  Yeah, that’s what this bad boy does.  Using air and some Harry Potter witch craft, you can adjust the settings to run at various body weights.   Let me simply recap how it felt:  OMG it was so easy to go so fast.  For real running is going to be hard after that little enLIGHTening experience.

-Line Up.  The root of all of these issues has been my wonky hips.  We all know I’ve been running all janky-style.

Janks be gone...

Because this looks totally normal and not out of whack at all….

Yesterday my PT made me work really hard to get this twisted sister’s hips back in alignment and see how I run with, you know, straight hips and all (seriously, my body just asks SOOO much of me, doesn’t it?).

One perk of the Alter-G is that there are 3 different cameras taping your feet and you can watch your stride (this is only slightly more exciting than watching RHOC while running on a treadmill).  With my hips aligned, I just want you all to know I almost cried watch the foot paparazzi video of my run.  The 10 years of heel striking – gone.  The twisty arm, leg thingy – disappeared.  It was so shiny and pretty.  And now, I WANT TO RUN LIKE THAT ALWAYS AND FOREVER.   It felt amazing.

And the fact that all of this happened on the treadmill almost makes me want to change my Facebook status from, “Not in a Relationship” to “It’s Complicated” with the treadmill.

Do you love or hate the treadmill?

Have you ever Alter-Ged?

5 Shades of Gray

5 miles
Hilly Silly Strides

Wait, were you hoping for a dirty post?   Read further…you’ll see :)

I don’t know how you see the world, but I spent a better part of my life living in black and white- avoiding every and all shades of gray.  Being afraid of uncertainty drove me to see everything from one radical perspective or another.   Luckily, I have a much healthier perspective on things but it leaves me with lots of questions.  So here are 5 shades of gray I’m wrestling with right now

Saturday’s RaceTo run or not to run – I’m signed up to run the SheRuns half marathon on a “very challenging” (their words) course.  I decided to test out my preparedness by running 5 miles of hills in the 89 degree weather today.  Ankle seems okay, but I was dragging at an 8:30ish pace. This could likely be my first 2 hour + half marathon since 2003 when I ran a 2:01 in Chicago.  Can someone say “personal worst”?

Pic from the trail race on Saturday. I’m all Dory from Finding Nemo – “soooo pretty”…. Source

I’m feeling about as prepared to run this as I am to sing the national anthem at a Monday Night football game, so going into a race a physical and mental mess is asking for trouble.  Normally I’d be all “small race, let’s take the age group!” about this, but here I am hoping to avoid a DNF and not take longer than 2.5 hours to run the darn thing.

Running ShirtlessTo wear or not to wear – At what age and temperature is it not appropriate to run in just your sports bra anymore?  Somehow I think I’m starting to fall into that category and need some sort of formula for this.

For the love of the land Heather said it best – we’re in a So Cal heatpocalypse right now…and I’m constantly torn between trying to cool off and having to put Body Glide under my chin to prevent chaffing from my post-baby stomach skin rubbing on my chin with each stride.

BostonTo run or not to run – I’m a mom on a budget and somehow dropping $1,000 for a weekend of racing is hard to justify.  I’m starting to feel like it’s going to be, “Hey kids, sorry you’re eating canned beans 3 meals a day for the next 4 months, but Mommy really wants to check this off her bucket list.”  Somehow doesn’t seem right.

Can you put a price on this? Honestly, I need to know… Source

White Sports BrasTo buy or not to buy - Are they even worth purchasing?  It seems like one run through the wash and mine are 3 shades of gray already.  I looked like a dirty athletic hippy trying to get dressed this morning.  I told you this post was going to be dirty ;)

Silly ChiliTo cook or not to cook – NFL season started and I was sent home from my aunt’s with some leftover tri-tip and a BUNCH of fresh tomatoes.  If that doesn’t cry – “Make chili”, I don’t know what does.  My children are still confused as to why we were eating piping hot chili when it was 92 degrees out but whatever, let’s just pretend it’s fall.

I hope this post lived up to it’s title – I did talk about being shirtless and got down and dirty after all.

Do you have any advice for me on these categories?
Is Boston worth the dinero?
Will I ever pass go and collect $200?

Communicating With Herring

4 Miles
Reflective Strides

You don’t have a ninja reading the Sunday paper at your house? You’re missing out!

This evening I was running errands and heard Strawberry pipe up from the back seat.

Strawberry:  [reading National Geographic kids...'cause let's face it, only he would] Mom, did you know herring communicate by passing gas.

A little time passes…and apparently much gas because eventually I hear yelling from the other room.

Strawberry:  Hey Mom!  Check it out, I’m the great herring communicator.

This, my friends, is my life.

Which got me thinking…about thinking…

With my post-ankle sprain recovery here I’m having to go slow…suuuper slow which means I have lots of time to think while I’m running – not just obsessing about my watch and speed.

This morning I found myself rewriting the “Night Before Christmas” to the “Night Before the Race”, praying, dreaming about bagels and wondering when Pumpkin Spice was showing up at Starbucks (good news -the answer was today!).

So maybe going slow isn’t all that bad.  I had a breakfast planned, a plan of attack for a work project, some monster processing and reflection about the “big things” in my life right now…and the sun was barely peaking over the mountains by the time I was done.

Perfect view to end a slow & steady run…there’s mountains back there somewhere….

What consumes your thoughts when you’re running?
Are you a herring communicator?  [you don't really have to answer that]

The Labored Day

Secret Strides

Wanna know my stride count?  Gotta read ’til the end. ;)

I’m not sure about you but my 3-day weekend was a big ol’ roller coaster- filled with hellos, goodbyes, and some good natured laughs and cries.  That said…it’s nice to feel human once in a while, eh?

I started things out up in LA sending off my cousin to college.  I feel like the not so little butthead can hardly be going off to college since he was pretty much born a few years ago.

#classypants  Here I am photobombing a pic with my cousin & his girlfriend.  The only other pic I have of us of late involves a failed synchronized swimming attempt.  He’s off to play baseball on the East Coast – you’ll do amazing Mikey!

Apparently Saturday morning I decided that come blue moon or high water I was going to show my ankle who was boss and headed to one of my fave running spots – Santa Monica.  I went out REEEAAAALLLL slow.

Might I add I am so not good at this.  Like. at. all.  Every time someone passed me I got crabby and silently wished them grains of sand in their shoe.  Not really – well, at least most of the time.

I just remembered that pushing it now could mean more non-running time and dealt with the slow 3.5 mile walk and then 1.5 mile splashy cool down in nature’s biggest ice bath -the Pacific.

Total mileage – 5 glorious start up miles.  Pain after – minimal.  Runner’s Happiness Quotient (RHQ)- 6/10

And Monday…glorious Monday.  After a day of rest I used my Labor Day to wrangle down a [once again] very slow 7.5 miles with a 1.5 mile walk to cool down, ice and recover with a banana and latte.

Ice on my foot and in my cup – sweaty, salty and blissfully satisfied.

Oh the humanity I felt real again.  It’s amazing how a disruption of even a few weeks can totally throw me from my game.

Total mileage – 9 slow but steady pain-free miles.  Pain after – negativo.  RHQ – 8/10

To celebrate a few friends visiting in town and I took the top off my cousin’s (another cousin, I know it’s hard to keep track) jeep and headed down to Laguna Beach to one of my favorite restaurants The Beach House.  Food – B, View & Ambience – A.

I *heart* Cali

To continue with the laboring on my day I had to finish up some work projects so I spent most of my afternoon/evening working.  I have a planned day off on Wednesday to celebrate the last day of summer with the boys so it was totally worth the adjustment!

Injury recovery blows.  It’s so hard easing back in…but I keep remembering how happy I am to actually be running again and not having my ankle swell up like a balloon every time I step on it.  Here’s to no more twisted/sprained ankles and *hopefully* recovering enough to pull out the half marathon in 2 weeks.

Did you Labor on your day?
Any exciting news from the weekend?

The Unsoccer Mom

35 minutes on Stair Master
Stupid Steppin’ Strides

I felt good so I hit the stair master…which was really stupid.  I have more thoughts on that in the future though.

Remember when I was complaining about the chronic lack of wrist sweat a few days ago?

I’m never doing that again.

On Wednesday I realized my ankle wasn’t swollen – winning!  I dug out an old ankle brace, took a sniff and decided it didn’t smell too bad.  I compressed the crap out of my foot and hit the bike for 30 minutes at the gym.  Minimal pain, no swelling when done so we’ll take it as progress.

Not too shabby.

Then the text came.  THE text.

Soccer Coach:  Hey Sheila, I have to be at my daughter’s school, can you run practice?

Uhh…sure I guess.  It was a cool, crisp 90 degrees so I can’t imagine anything else I’d want to be doing right now.  (sitting in the air conditioned Starbcucks sipping an iced latte)  

Plus, I know a lot about soccer.  You use your feet and kick the ball inside the lines.

Kidding.  I love it when my kids score touchdowns playing soccer!

My experience with soccer can be summed up in a few rules.  So here’s my runner’s guide to soccer.

#1 – Make awkward faces and strut around like a chicken.  The other team will be confused they will avoid you at all costs.

#2 – Choose to play against a team that is half your size.  And smile.  People always wonder what you’re up to when you’re smiling. 

#3 – When in doubt use air quotes.  It totally psychs out the other team.

#4 – And wear a cup. You never know when some unsuspecting 4 year old is going to cleat your special place.

I wish I were kidding, but that sums up my soccer knowledge.  I’m pretty sure the kids learned a lot from me.  Plus courtesy of the unrelenting heat – I got my sweat on, and then some.

Let’s just say that these studs were bending it like Beckham and likely disappointed by my appropriately short, undoubtedly failure ridden soccer coaching career.

The good news – after the kid chasing, biking and general silliness my ankle was okay, not great, but okay.  Methinks a short run is just a couple of days out.  And I think the soccer team only needs about 4 sessions with the real coach to undo the damage done.

Advice:  How do you say no?

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?