Thursday, May 31, 2012

Letting It All Hang Out

Ok, here goes.  My before, front and side.
I work out.  Infrequently.

Hmm.  That's way uglier than I generally think of myself.  I should never be photographed.  Yikes.

Weight: 168.8 (yeah, I've been waaaaaay off the wagon of late)

Under bust: 33in

Waist: 33in (that's a little was 31 not too long ago.  In my defense, I'm retaining a tidal wave of water this week).

Hips: 42in (That's what you call childbearing hips, y'all.  Hey, they let me pop out twins faster than you can brew a pot of coffee.)

Lthigh: 24in  Rthigh: 25in (Really?  A whole inch difference?)

Calves: 16in (Both of them)

Upper arms: 11.5in (Both of them)

Wow.  Serious room for improvement there.

Tomorrow starts the experiment!  Here's a preview of what I'm going to be eating for breakfast this week!  Courtesy of PaleOMG, a savory breakfast casserole of eggs, sausage, and shredded sweet potato.


And my very own beef jerky from my very own food dehydrator.  Gotta use up the 350lbs of cow in my freezer...
Mmmmmeat cookies

Our fridge is also loaded with fresh fruits and veggies, and I'm going to make myself some un-hummus from roasted cauliflower and tahini for dipping stuff in.

Side note:  Did you know that if you buy the Mexican coconut milk, it is way cheaper than the Asian coconut milk?  At least at my grocery store.  I feel as though that's a teeny bit racist.  Good for my pocketbook, though.  Also?  You can buy almond flour (which is basically just pulverized almonds before they become almond butter) at Fleet Farm for like $2.  Same bag in the health food aisle? $5.99.  Can you say rip-off?

The experiment will be in full swing tomorrow, as I'll be eating my breakfast casserole, having a banana and heading out for 22 miles bright and early.  I bought a couple of cans of coconut water and will be trialing that as a recovery drink post run.

It begins.  Crossfit at 6:15am Monday.  I'll be bringing the kids, since that's before daycare opens.  An early morning to be sure, but apparantly there's a number of people who bring their spawn, and they have a kids room tricked out with toys and a TV for any DVDs you want to bring.  I'm relieved, because I thought I was going to miss my first day!

Speaking of the kids, here's a couple of shots of my boys' new haircuts
Charlie's mohawk
Pat's buzzcut

Wheeee!!!  I figured out pictures in posts!

Get ready, world!

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

The Great Momsperiment

So I've rewound my training and had a hot, semi-crappy 11-of-16-miler on Sunday (I was supposed to start at 5am, but the thunder and lightening kept me home until 8:30).  It was steamy.  Also a hint of gastric emergency around the 6 mile mark.

Today I went out for 5.  I got 4.  What can I say?  I felt shitty.

Tomorrow I'll be heading out at dawn to pound out 10 miles before a 7:30am meeting.  Thursday I'm out for 5 (or not, I don't know) and then Friday I have to get 22 miles.  Before I work at noon.  Daycare doesn't open until 6:30. 

Cutting it close?  I think so.

Anyway, to the experiment.  I am going to start CrossFit on Monday.  Just on-ramping, as they say, for 30 days which boils down to 3 CrossFit workouts a week on top of my marathon training (which will thankfully be on the downslope after it weird that Ragnar is technically part of my taper now?).  I went and took in a free CrossFit workout a couple of weeks ago and it was all of an ass-kicking.  It. Was. Awesome.

Here's the thing about CrossFit.  It's weightlifting (among other stuff).  I haven't ever seriously worked on weightlifting.  Ever.  Never ever.  I know I should (blah blah bone health), but I never have.  I've done lots of body resistance stuff, but not really much with weight.  Grant (the owner-type at the GB CrossFit) swears my mile splits will drop like stones with these workouts.  I actually believe him.  Along with the weightlifting goes the Paleo diet.  For 30 days, I must commit to the Paleo way of eating (as part of on-ramp).  Grant swears that the results I see will  be astounding.

So what does this mean for the next 30 days?

No grains.  No dairy.  No sugar.  No alcohol.

Holy fuckballs.

Now, I've read up on this style of eating, particularly as it pertains to athletes during endurance training, so never fear on the marathon front.  I've got a plan.  But this is going to be HARD.  I eat shredded wheat or oatmeal daily.  I rely on dairy for a lot of my protein intake, so giving it up is going to suck hardcore.  I didn't even mention the bad part- I heart beer. I love beer so much.  Not having beer in the summertime (well, June anyway) is going to suuuuuuuuuck.

Here is my major issue:  I am a terrible self-saboteur.  I'll do the workouts, I'm not like that.  It's the food thing.  I will go along for days and days, feeling great, doing well, and then BAM!  I eat a whole bag of Oreos.  I am full of fail like that.  I typically regret it immediately, in the form of bellyaches and self-loathing, but I always forget that in the OMG OREOS!!!!!! moment. 

So.  Thursday I'm going to post a before picture (if I can figure out how) and all my friggin' measurements.  At the end of the 30 days, I will post an after (and all my friggin' measurements) and we'll see how they compare.  I'm going to check in here and post how I'm feeling and what I'm noticing.  Hopefully that will keep me from caving in to stupid temptations (I mean really, Oreos are not special.  They're not even technically food-"creme" filling my ass).

Who knows.  Maybe I'll feel like a freaking superhero at the end of the month.  It's worth a shot.

Goals for June:
2.  MARATHON!!!!!!!
3. PALEO!!!!!!

Personal fitness goals for the summer:
1.  I want to do a pull-up.  Unassisted.  Seriously.  It's my fitness Everest.
2.  I want to consistently run 9 min miles.  This would be my fitness K2.

Bring on the transformation.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

The Glass is Half Full

So as any of you living within 150 miles of here have heard, the Cellcom Green Bay marathon course was closed at 9:35am due to heat.

It was nearly 90, but the heat wasn't what did it.  Every ambulance in Brown County was busy hauling fallen runners to area hospitals.  That's like 100 ambulances, people.  The city just couldn't support that kind of burden.  The funny thing was every runner I saw go down was a "real runner" type.  Slim, tan, looking like perfect gazelles as they received oxygen and IV fluids.  Clearly the fatties in the crowd (myself included) were more in tune with their personal limits today.

Here's the sad part, for me:  I got turned back at the division point.  I was more than 12 miles in, and I was hot, but I felt good.  I never feel good in that kind of heat, but I hit my stride around mile 10, I found a run/walk ratio that worked for me, and I felt good.  I was so excited to be at the division point, I just knew that once I made the turn onto the full marathon course that I was home free.  I knew that my finish time would likely be closer to 6 hours than 5, but I didn't care-I was running a marathon. Me!  The uncoordinated fat girl!  A marathon.

When the race official shouted "All runners turn here!  There is no full marathon!"  I shouted "Are you fucking serious?!?"  I was so pissed off that I walked almost half a mile, grousing with my fellow non-marathoners.  As a result, I didn't get an official finish time because I crossed at 2:42 and they closed the finish at 2:35.  So I got a full marathon shirt I can't wear, a full marathon medal I can't display, and a crappy, unofficial finish time.  Sadness abounds.

I am not upset with the race officials for closing the course.  I completely understand.  I still feel cheated.  I trained for so long...since January.  I knew it was going to be hot, and I prepared.  Hearing that I wasn't going to be given a choice was like getting punched.  Still, I know that I didn't give up, and the outcome wasn't up to me this time.

I feel bad for those runners that made it as far as mile 16 or 18 or 20, even the finish who were denied the satisfaction of an official time.  It's heartbreaking. 

First thing I did when I got home?  Ate pie.  Started looking for a do-over race.  And I found one.  June 24th, the inaugural running of the Holy Family Memorial Maritime Marathon.  The course isn't USATF certified this year (some construction stuff), but I could give a rat's arse about that.  The bonus here?  Flat course, along the lake Michigan shoreline, where cool breezes and lower temperatures rule.  Average temp in June?  66 degrees. 

After today, I can handle anything. 

I am not looking forward to rewinding the last 4 weeks of training, but dammit I WANT MY MARATHON.

A huge thanks to all the spectators who got out their hoses and sprinklers to wet down the weary, and to all the volunteers who manned the (many, many) water stops, and most importantly to all the EMS workers who were there to pick up the pieces.  I'm glad none of the pieces were mine.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Running from my Demons

I've been having a minor meltdown these last couple of weeks. 

Tapering is harder than it seems.  I'm supposed to be using these weeks to rest my body and get prepared to run farther than I've ever run in my life (something I've been doing a lot of lately).  Instead I feel antsy, stressed out, and kind of creaky.

My joints make noise.  They don't make noise when I'm running longer distances.  Right now my knees, ankles, and feet are snap-crackle-popping whenever I walk up or down stairs.  It's weird. 

I've also been stress eating.  Cookies?  Are not carb loading.  I'm eating out of boredom and a constant fidgety feeling.  I have to be careful tomorrow and Saturday...nothing goofy to eat or my guts will teach me a lesson on Sunday.  I'm stressed about a lot of things, but mostly about the weather.  It's supposed to be hot.  Not "hot" as I usually define it (OMG, it's like 55 degrees!  It's so hot!), but truly, honestly, dangerously hot.  I do not do well in hot weather, so that is freaking me out pretty substantially.

One thing I've learned over the last 5 months is this:  I am my own worst enemy.  I try to give off the vibe that I am a confident person.  It's not a total lie, there are several aspects of my life in which I feel very confident.  The rest of  the time?  I'm kind of a mess.  Hypercritical, self-loathing, defeatist.  All those awesome things you want to be before a marathon. 

If I can't stay out of my own head on Sunday, I won't finish.  It's that simple.  To that end, I've decided to play a little game with myself to pass the miles and pass the time.  I am going to write down 26 things on little slips of paper, one for each full mile.  As I pass the mile marker I will release that thing, either by freeing it into the wind, tearing it to shreds and tossing it away, or grinding it under my shoe.  This will be part dedication and part catharsis.  Here are a few examples:

I am so slow.
I am too fat.
It is too hot.
I am too tired.
I am too lazy.

I will dedicate a mile to my Dad, to be sure, and to my sister.  Maybe one for each of my kids and one for my husband who is jealous I got to do a full before him.  Mostly I want to pull the negative self-talk out of my head and smash it on the ground. 

The last 0.2 will be dedicated to me, for persevering through training in the freezing cold and driving wind, for facing my greatest racing fear and coming out on top.  I want to wear that finisher's shirt and know I earned it.  I want that medal around my neck.

I am ready.

Bring the marathon.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Mommy Hates Mothers Day

**Disclaimer:  I am fully aware that my life on the whole is a pretty damn good one.  I have been lucky enough to marry a man who is my true partner and have three healthy children.  I am gainfully employed and have a comfortable home.  I would describe myself as blessed if I believed in such things.  What I've written here is how I feel.  Right now.  Today.  Please don't flame me for it.

I hate Mothers Day.  There.  I said it.

Culturally, we are set up to expect gifts, adulation, and above all rest on Mothers Day.  There are cards everywhere, endless emails from floral distributors, brunch specials at every restaurant with a chaffing dish and a buffet length table.

It is a lie. 

Mothers Day is the same as every other damn day.  I may be a little embittered, as pretty much every Mothers Day that has passed since I started crapping out kids has been spent alone with said spawn.  It's not my husband's fault his work day has fallen on this particular holiday every year since time out of mind, but it's hard to be at all enthusiastic about a "holiday" that is going to entail the same thing as every other Sunday of my life.  Get the kids up.  Feed them.  Clean things.  Do dishes.  Do laundry.  Clean some more things.  Kiss boo-boos.  Break up fights.  Kiss the boo-boos from the fights.  Clench my jaw to keep from slapping the face off my daughter when she whines about something completely insignificant again.  Clean some more things (usually the same things I have already cleaned twice).  Wipe the poop off a few asses. Watch the clock, and tick off the things that still need to be done.  Dinner, bath, the bedtime scream and cry. 

I'm supposed to feel all warm and fuzzy and fucking motherly on Mothers Day, but I don't.  It's probably the lowest point of the year for me.  I start off thinking that maybe this year it will be a nice day.  Minimal fighting, perhaps, or minimal hours spent being squashed under a pile of wriggling children. 

Then I open the door to my bedroom, and all that's shot to hell before I get the kids downstairs.  By the end of the day I want to curl up into a ball and cry.  I'm in that place right now, and I still have baths to give and bedtime stories to read.  I don't even have any damn beer to take the edge off.

Every Mothers Day I mourn the loss of my former life.  Please don't mistake my meaning, I love my children and I don't wish them gone, but I can't help but remember what life was like before them.  I hear women say "I just can't imagine my life without my kids!" and I think they are either lying, simple, or far better people than me.  I can imagine my life without my kids.  I remember life without kids. 

Being a single professional was the bomb.  I made great money, I drove a new car and I didn't know or care if it had latch.  I didn't even know what "latch" was.  I owned a cute little house that was as clean as I wanted it to be.  I could be as social or anti-social as my mood dictated.  If I wanted physical contact I went out and found it, but if I wanted to be alone? I bloody well was.  I could go out anywhere, at any time, and do anything I wanted to do.  I ate whatever I wanted whenever I wanted and no one followed me around whining for some of it.  I experienced silence every day.  Every. Day.

I do love my children.  Fotunately for them, they have redeeming qualities.  Lily made a couple of funny cards for me at school and daycare, Pat spent the whole day wishing me "Happy Birthday", and Charlie pedaled a two wheel bike around the patio (with training wheels) squealing "I did it, Mommy, I did it!". 

Still, at this moment, I would gladly get in my car and drive until I ran out of gas.  I could get about 400 miles from here...

In other news:  7 days to the marathon. 

In related news:  I will be waiting on a sitter so I can leave to run the marathon, and will be finishing alone.  Then I will go home alone to take care of the children alone.  I thought this race was going to be different, but it will be the same as all the others.  I'll finish, collect my medal and my t-shirt, then get in my car and go home so I can go back to being someone's mom.  By suppertime it will be like the marathon never happened.  Only next Sunday?  I'll have beer.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Respect the Distance

Yesterday I ran the Door County half marathon.  This was my third year participating in this event, second time running the half (there's also a 5K).  It's a "little" race, with about 1500 participants as I recall.

I love this race.  It is run entirely within Peninsula State Park, which is as spectacular a location as you could hope for.  If you've never been to Peninsula, you should go.  There's a public golf course, lots of camping, biking, hiking,'s a great place.  What's cool about the race is that they close the park for several hours while it's being run.  This means absolutely no traffic on the course.  Just you, your fellow runners, and the scenery.  No nasty gas fumes to ruin such a pristine place.

The organizers of this race heavily suggest using their shuttle service into the park rather than driving in and parking on your own.  I've never used the shuttle, but it seems like more and more people do every year, and it's very orderly.  Parking is kind of funny around the race grounds, it's plentiful, but weird because you're parking in campsites!  Prettiest parking of any race I've ever done, and the parking volunteers are actually friendly which is kind of rare.

The runner's concourse is right by the water, and packet pick up is very organized.  There are vendors selling GU and shoes, a couple of local restaurants (one "green", one traditional) doing concessions, and lots of friendly volunteers keeping everything clean and tidy.  This is a "green" race, so they break out trash by type.  Compost, recyclable paper, cans, plastic, etc.  There's a volunteer at every trash station to help you figure out what category your trash is!  They even do running shoe recycling, which I love, because I never know what to do with my old shoes once they're toast.  They recycle the shoes into turf for running surfaces, which I think is nifty.  After the race there was a boatload of food (oranges, bananas, bagels, cookies (!), chocolate milk, etc) and they had several lines going so you didn't have to wait around long to get it.  There's no alcohol in the park, so the afterparty is in a different location, but you get a card for a free beer :)  I have never been able to stay for the afterparty, but I understand there's live music every year.

The shirt was a tech shirt this year, which kind of bummed me out.  So many races have changed over to tech shirts, and honestly?  I don't need another tech shirt.  If I'm running, then people know I run.  I want a "running" shirt to wear when I'm not running!  That said, it's a really nice shirt.  Nice material, pretty design, good fit (unisex). Not as awesome as the Whistlestop shirts...but WAY, WAY better than my cruddy Dousman duathlon and Seroogy's 15K shirts. (Am I the only one that deeply misses cotton T-shirts?)

The medal was big this year.  I didn't feel like I deserved it, however. 

A half marathon is a long ass run.  Since I've been marathon training, I've developed a tendency to think of distances less than 15 miles as being "short".  I didn't run a step this week after my 22 miler (bad weather, blah, blah, blah), and I kind of forgot about this race until last week.  Usually I have butterflies the night before a race, but this time?  Nada.  I was feeling really overconfident.  Last year I posted a 2:20 or somesuch and I wasn't even trying.  I thought for sure I'd kill this race.  It was going to be nothing.  A beautiful jaunt around a beautiful place, sliding into home around 2:15. 

Guess what.  I ran 2:28:18, and I had to fight to get that. 

First?  It was pouring when I left home, and continued to rain as I picked up my packet.  It wasn't cold, but it was wet.  I decided to wear my rain jacket/wind breaker.  It rained as we waited at the start, and after the gun went off.  I went out too fast, running sub-10 for the first 2 miles.  Then?  The coulds parted and the sun came out, then temp warming quickly to near 60 degrees.

Now, that made the route glisten and sparkle and be extra beauteous...but it also made me wet and HOT.  I wore an older pair of shoes that are not as water permeable since I figured I'd end up with wet feet and I don't want my marathon shoes to get soaked before M-day.  They are also heavier and less squishy.  I was hating my jacket by mile 4, and taking it off and tying it around my waist just made it flap wetly against my legs.  The route is hilly, which I knew, but again thought I'd have no problem with since I run hills pretty regularly.  However, I don't run them wet in 60 degree weather.  So by the time I hit mile 5, I was taking a walk break and cursing my decision to wear capris and a jacket instead of a skirt and a tank. 

There was a point that I seriously considered just walking it in.  Then my pride kicked in and shouted "YOU WILL NOT POST A TIME OVER 2:30!  YOU ARE NOT SICK OR INJURED, YOU ARE JUST PISSY!  RUN, YOU PANSY ASS!"

I crossed the finish at 2:30 flat on the big clock, but forgot to stop my watch (d'oh).  The official race results were posted damn near intantaneously (you go, race officials!) so I knew my time to be 2:28:18.  Sub-2:30, thank the gods. 

I will absolutely run this race again, but next time I will have a healthy dose of nerves beforehand.  I will also try to do it with someone else.  Not neccessarily run together, but just know there's a friend on the course and that there will be someone to have lunch and a beer with at the end.  Last year I did it with my friend Joanne, and it was tons of fun.  This year was a little lonely. 

I can't stress enough how gorgeous this run is.  You are running on roads you might never see or know exist.  There's a little graveyard in the park, which I had forgotten...I don't think I could find it again, but I'm going to try...the stones looked pretty old.  There is one section around the 10 mile mark, I think, that takes my breath away.  And yes, there are plenty of uphills, but that means plenty of downhills!

Maybe I can convince a few of my Panty Raider peeps to spend a weekend in Door County next year.  What do you think, ladies?  Rent a cabin, race, hit the afterparty, then Shipwreck for microbrews and/or one of the many wineries?  Maybe the Death's Door distillery?  Their whisky would take the varnish off a door...

Two weeks until the marathon.  I will be chanting something in my head during all my runs until then:

Respect the Distance.