Wednesday, March 30, 2011

A really good run...

It was cold, dreary and wet here in Texas yesterday morning.  I dreaded the thought of pulling out my warmer running clothes and meeting up at the track in Valley Ranch that evening, so I opted to do some interval training on the treadmill at lunch instead.  That way I could get in my workout earlier in the day and stay inside, warm and dry in the evening (which led to baking cookies).

At the gym, I climbed on the treadmill and warmed up with a half mile run at 6.3 mph then stopped to do some stretches.  Once my head phones were on, I sped up to my normal pace of 6.7 mph (about a 9 minute mile) and finished the rest of the first mile.  Then I started 8 x 400 intervals with a 100 meter recovery, increasing my speed each time.  With each interval, I increased my speed from 6.7 all the way up to 7.4 mph with my recovery speed between 4.0 - 4.2 mph.   

After the fourth interval, I realized that I was enjoying the faster speed and around that time I hit that "runner's high".  I love that feeling!  My legs felt great, I was not gasping for air, and I had the energy to keep running faster... I also have the Black Eyed Peas to thank because their songs always get me pumped up, even towards the end of my runs. 

The last two intervals at 7.3 and 7.4 mph were the fastest I have ever trained and HARD to maintain, but I told myself that I could manage that speed for 1/4 mile.  I enjoyed the change of pace from running intervals and before I knew it, I was on the last half mile of my cool down.  I stepped off the treadmill with a big smile of my face and a huge sense of accomplishment from a really good run

What makes you have a really good run, is it music?  Running Mantras?  Personal goals?  Let me know what keeps you running.


I was craving some cookies yesterday, but wanted to keep it a little healthy so I tried out a new recipe from Tina over at Carrots N Cake (one of the Healthy Lifestyle blogs that I follow).  Oatmeal, almond butter, and chocolate chips - how could I go wrong with that combination!  My daughter, Sophia, usually helps me in the kitchen because she loves to bake but tonight she was not interested because she was playing Wii tennis and bowling with her daddy.  The good news was I could make these cookies much faster without her "help" and with a one bowl recipe, the cleanup was super easy. 

The original recipe makes 6 cookies and calls for 1/4 cup of almond butter.  However, I have four hungry cookie eaters in my house so I decided to double the recipe.  When I gathered all the ingredients, I realized that I was almost out of almond butter!  After adding that to the grocery list, I mixed up the oats, brown sugar, baking powder, and egg whites with a combination of Justin's Honey Almond Butter, Justin's Natural Chocolate Peanut Butter, and Jiff Creamy Natural Peanut Butter. 

The mixture was a little loose and messy (I will add a little less egg whites next time) but it made about 14 cookies.  I baked them at 350 for about 14 minutes (it is hard to tell if they are turning brown so I had to do the touch test in the center) and let them cool for a few minutes before I had to taste them myself. 

The taste reminded me a little bit of no-bake cookies that I ate as a child, because of the oatmeal, peanut butter and chocolate mixture.  These were not as rich but the chocolate chips gave them that sweetness I was looking for without all the butter, flour and white sugar.  They got a huge thumbs up from my husband who said I could make these for him ANYTIME.  He is usually not a big fan of my "lightened" recipes for sweets so that was a huge compliment. 

Note, these cookies are best when they are eaten the day they are made.  I stored them in a tupperware container overnight, but noticed they were a little soft this morning and I prefer them with a little more crunch. 

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Rock and Roll in Dallas

Today is the Dallas Rock and Roll Half Marathon, and I am not running the race.  I am so bummed.  Last October, I was checking out local races scheduled for the spring on the RunOn website and I saw this race listed in March.  The Rock and Roll part sounded like a lot of fun, with bands playing along the course and a headliner concert at the end.  However, with just a few 5K distances under my belt, the half marathon distance seemed out of reach for me.  When I noticed that this race had a relay option, where one participant runs 6 miles and the second participant runs 7.1 miles, I approached Trey with the idea that we could run it together. 

I made sure he knew that there would be music, LIVE BANDS playing along the course!  Wouldn't that be fun? 

"But I would have to run six miles," he replied, "that does not sound like fun at all". 

I mentioned the headliner concert at the end (unknown at the time, but it turned out the be Brett Michaels).

"I can go to a concert in Dallas anytime," he said, "and I don't have to run six miles to get there."

Okay, so I would not be running the relay either. 

A half marathon really seemed out of my reach at that time, so I decided to train for a 10K instead and picked the Cowtown in Fort Worth which I completed at the end of February.  The idea of a half marathon still lingered in the back of my mind but with no training partner and no experience in training for long distance races, I was not sure if it would ever happen.  That is how I ended up signing up with Team in Training and now my first half marathon is just five weeks away! 

On Friday afternoon, I went to the Health and Fitness Expo for the Dallas Rock and Roll at the convention center in downtown Dallas.  As soon as I entered the doors to the Expo, I felt the pre-race rush of excitement and really wished that I was registered to run this morning's race.  Even with the difficult week that I had just experienced, I wanted to RUN.  While standing there in the middle of the convention floor, surrounded by sponsors, exhibitors, and race participants - I texted Trey and told him that I was running this race next year. Even if he decides that he is not interested in running the relay (because running is one of my hobbies, not his), I will run the half marathon on my own. 

I spent about an hour walking through the Expo and came home with some fun new purchases.  I was fitted for a sports bra at the Moving Comfort exhibit, bought a second pair of running shoes and dry wick socks at Sun and Ski, bought some electrolyte tablets that make a sugar free recovery drink, and bought some GU for my ten mile training run on Saturday.  I also tried several sports drinks (Honey Milk, Cliff, Nuun), energy bars and chomps (Snickers, PowerCrunch, Cliff, PowerBar, GU).  I left with a renewed excitement for running and with new gear to prepare me for my race. 

By the way, I completed my TEN mile training run on Satruday morning around Grapevine Lake, my longest run to date.  It was long, hot and sweaty but I made it.  Just five more weeks to go!

Friday, March 25, 2011

Tears in my milkshake… the end to a bad run.

For the past few months, my Monday runs have become a real challenge. Because I work full time and still have two kiddos to take care of after work, I try to fit in most of my workouts at lunchtime. Mondays should be an easy two mile run, but I always struggle with this workout. After long runs on Saturday mornings, two miles should be easy. Maybe going into the run thinking “It will be a short, easy two miles” is why I dread it so much. So this Monday, after a long camping weekend that wore us all out I decided to be kind to myself and just do a brisk two mile walk followed by some stretching. The walk was fine but the stretching felt good.

Tuesday nights I usually meet my TNT teammates and coaches at a local high school track and run intervals, but this week I volunteered to get my run in right after work so I could get home to watch the kids so my husband could go on some work appointments. After a quick snack of some cheese and crackers, I strapped on my Garmin and headed out the door to a park nearby that has a four mile loop. One side has a packed dirt/gravel track and the other side has a paved running/bike path around the lake. The sun was shining, there was a light breeze, and lots of kids were on the soccer fields practicing as I started my warm-up.

Less than half a mile into my run, I knew it was going to be a struggle.

“It’s just the gravel track that feels different”, I told myself. “Just keep running and you will find your rhythm”.

After my mile warm-up, I stopped to stretch before following the paved trail to the other side of the park. My goal was to run another three miles at about a 9:30 pace so that I could finish and get back home in about 30 minutes. I started off, wishing my IPod was not at home on the kitchen counter with a dead battery, but trying to enjoy the beautiful day. Before I reached another mile, I had to stop and walk.

I was out of gas…

My legs were fine, my lungs were fine, but I did not have enough energy to keep going.

In order to shorten my run (which had pretty much become a walk at this point), I took the shortcut across the park instead of around the lake. I made two more attempts to run again, but was back to walking in about a minute each time. I looked down at my Garmin and saw a total distance of 2.26 miles. I resolved to just walk the rest of the way back to the car, and kept my pace at 13:30. By the time I made it back to my car at the park, I had covered a total distance of 3.1 miles (yay, at least I got in a 5K).

Once I got in the car, I called Trey to let him know I would be home soon. He was busy with our crazy kids but he could hear something off in my voice when he asked how my run went. When I hung up the phone, I started to go through the reason why I had such a crappy run. One of the best things I have learned in the past two months is to listen to my body. Just because “FOUR MILE RUN” is written on my calendar, my body may not be up to it that day. Looking back over the past few days, I realized that my Sunday rest day was not so restful and I also knew that I had missed my afternoon ‘pick me up’ snack before I left work that day. My body said NO to running that day.

I made up my mind that my body needed REST and NOURISHMENT for the rest of the day. I drove straight to MOOYAH, ordered a hamburger and ate my first bite of red meat in three months. Once I got home and broke down into tears again about my failed run, my husband went one step further and brought me a magic potion in the form of… a MILKSHAKE. Oh, it is so my yummier to drown my tears in a milkshake.

Because my weekly mileage is adding up, I also realized it is time to add in some more calories in my diet too. Our friend and personal trainer had recommended adding some red meat back into our diet so I am considering that as well. My very wise husband also told me that I have already accomplished so much that I need to be proud of each step, and remember that the goal is to cross the finish line on May 1st. He asked, “Who says you have to run the entire time? Take walk breaks if you need them.”

This is the first time I have ever trained for a long distance race, so I am going to have some bumps in the road along the way. Good thing week was just training and not the actual race day. Lessons learned this week: I carb load and get lots of rest in the days leading up to the race. And I will make sure my IPod is charged for my next training run too!

Do you struggle with bad runs?  Is it a mental or physical struggle?  What do you do to overcome?

Monday, March 21, 2011

Ants don't eat pink plastic princess crowns... and other things I learned on my camping trip.

It all started the middle of last week, which coincidentally was Spring Break week for most of Dallas/Fort Worth schools.  Sophia's preschool was closed, so we had planned for her to spend all five days with her daddy.  However, Trey still had a business to run and because of the warm weather his work was getting busier by the day.  So in an effort to help out, I happily "volunteered" to take a vacation day on Friday and spend it with my daughter.  I checked the weekend weather forecast and saw highs of 80's with lows around 60 for Friday and Saturday so in an effort to take advantage of the beautiful weather and get outside with the kids, I came up with the idea that we should all go camping! 

Trey said GREAT - as long as I would be the one to plan the trip and make the campsite reservations.  Since planning is one of my specialties, I jumped at the chance to make lists: supplies we would need, food we would eat, and activities we could play!  By Thursday afternoon, we had a tent site reserved at a State Park less than an hour away. 

Friday morning I was able to sleep past 6:00 AM (a miracle) and made breakfast for the kids before dropping Tallen off at daycare.  Sophia and I had plans for the day which included going shopping for camping supplies in the morning then working in the garden in the afternoon.  This will be the second year that we will plant a vegetable garden so we needed to prepare the soil in preparation for planting.  Sophia was so excited to help me that she had her gardening gloves on (oh yes, she has her own gloves with Dora the Explorer on them) before I had a chance to put away all of the groceries.  She worked beside me with her own spade and rake but would run away from every bug and worm she found in the dirt, proving once again that she very much my daughter.  In my defense, I only run from spiders and lizards now but Trey still has the appointed title of "insect exterminator" in our house.

After our hard work, Sophia and I cooled off by running through the sprinklers in the backyard then dried off while sitting in the sun, sharing a snack of apples and yogurt dip.  It suddenly hit me that Sophia is old enough now to actually enjoy doing the same activities as me... running, gardening, shopping, cooking, baking.  It is not about me trying to occupy or entertain her anymore, while I run errands or do chores around the house.

Playing with Opa

Our plan was to leave for camping on Saturday morning once I got back from my training run but even with my lists and preparation the night before, it took us almost 1 1/2 hours to get loaded up and ready to go.  During that time, Sophia ran screaming from the car because she saw a bug and Tallen fell while running in the driveway and scraped up his knee to the point that it was bleeding.  Not a great way to start a camping trip.  After stopping by the grandparent's house (who were following us to the campsite and spending the day with us), we were FINALLY on our way. 

Tallen testing his limits by the water

We quickly learned that we need our campsite to be as close to the parking lot as possible - or we need our kids to grow muscles and help us unload the supplies.  It wasn't long though, before we were eating a picnic lunch followed by a walk down to the lake.  Sophia practiced casting on her pink princess fishing rod and Tallen tested his limits by walking as close to the water's edge as possible before actually giving me a heart attack.  It was around this time that I realized that both Tallen and I needed to apply some sunscreen and find some relief from the sun because our pale, fair skin was turning bright pink.  We cooled off in the car while taking a drive around the rest of the park, then headed back to start cooking dinner on the grill.  After eating our hot dogs and roasting marshmallows over the fire, we settled down for a quiet night in the tent... HAHA.  My kids are anything but quiet and that does not change just because we have tent neighbors nearby!  The rest of our trip can be summed up with the following list:

Roasting marshmallows

Things I learned while Camping with my Kids:

1) Packing the car, unpacking the car at the park, repacking the car to go home and unpacking the car at the house are the most stressful parts of the entire trip. 

2)  Sophia is deathly afraid of bugs, especially ants and spiders and ran away crying until one of us (meaning Trey) would find the offensive insect and remove (or preferably kill) it.  This scenario repeated itself at least 3 times every hour. 

3)  Tallen managed to trip and fall over every rock, branch or twig in the vicinity.  He fell approximately 30 times during the trip and face planted in the dirt at least twice.

4)  Ants do not eat pink plastic princess crowns, I promise.  I spent ten minutes convincing Sophia that NO, the ants did not want to eat the pink princess crown on the end of her fishing rod.

5)  A small child + flashlight in her hands = Total hearing loss.  Seriously, once I put a flashlight in Sophia's hands after dark she did not hear/listen to a word I said.  "Stop pointing the flashlight at the other campsite, Shine it on the dishes so I can finish washing them, Stop putting your feet in the water while I am washing dishes, Stop shining that flashlight in your brother's eyes, Stop shining that flashlight in my eyes, Turn off that flashnight NOW!"

6) "Don't touch that" is my new mantra.  We told the kids "Don't touch that" when they got close to the hot grill, prickly bushes, the camping stove, the floor of the restroom, the propane lantern, or the old ashes in the fire ring.

7) Telling the kids it is time for bed and putting them in the tent did NOT mean that they got tired and fell asleep right away. Or get quiet. Or get along. It did guarantee that we had an audience of two peering out at us from the tent while they whined to get out - when all I wanted to do was sit down and drink a beer with my husband. 

8) Giving up and crawling into the tent to try to get them to fall asleep only put me in the middle of the action - Tallen hopping around the tent pretending to be a frog (yelling RIBBIT), while Sophia groaned that she could not read her books in the dark and she REALLY needed the flashlight back (see #5 above). 

9) Camping with my kids under the "Supermoon" meant there was no need for a night light.

10) Snuggling with my kids in the middle of the night was the sweetest, most memorable experience ever.  Watching thier sweet little faces as they slept allowed me to fall in love with both of them again and I realized that camping with my family is FUN.  Until I woke up at 3 AM with a rock poking me in the hip, Sophia's arm poking me in the eye and Tallen laying lengthwise across my pillow so I had no where to put my head. 

Morning at our campsite

My boys in the morning

Bonus:  The ride home after our camping trip guaranteed that both kids got their afternoon naps and I finally got to have a conversation with Trey with peace and quiet in the background.  What did we talk about?  How much we are looking forward to going on another camping trip soon. 

Thursday, March 17, 2011

We are Produce Co-op newbies

 I can't believe that I haven't written about this yet, but we joined a produce co-op at the beginning of the January.  Every two weeks we drive to a farm-stand location (ours is at our church, every other Saturday) to pick up a bin of fresh, organic, local (as much as possible) and seasonal produce.  It has been a great way to try to new fruits and veggies that I might never buy at the grocery store.  In fact, I can honestly say that I would have never picked kale, red swiss chard, turnips, or mustard greens but now we have tried all of these. 

The first week I was embarrassed that I could not even recognize a few items in my bin.  Not to worry, because I was able to call the Urban Acres store in Oak Cliff and they described the mysterious vegetables in my bin.  Apparently I was not familiar with collard greens or beets.  In addition to choosing a variety of fruits and veggies, Urban Acres sends out emails with suggested recipes for the produce they select.  For those time that you get a bunch of dandelion greens in your share and have no clue how to eat or prepare them (I guess I was not the only one who was clueless here). 

One of my favorite parts of joining the co-op is the excitement of opening the bin and seeing what is inside.  I usually open the bin and peek inside before Trey even gets it in the car.  Once we get home, I take out all the fruits and veggie and arrange them on the kitchen table.  Then I point to each one and ask Sophia if she can name them.  She also gets excited to taste new items, although she was not too crazy about the taste of raw mushrooms.  I tried to tell her they taste much better once they are cooked but she wanted to taste it right away.  Sweet potatoes, carrots, oranges, apples, pears, tomatoes, and squash have been her favorites so far and she even liked the kale chips I made a few weeks ago. 

Now if you will excuse me, I just found a recipe for Chocolate Beet Muffins that I need to go try.  Anything to give me an excuse to bake... Sophia and I will be in the kitchen in our matching aprons if you need us!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Post Workout Banana Smoothie

 Last night after I got home from running 4 miles of intervals, I wanted something cold, refreshing and tasty.  I decided on a banana smoothie and this version turned out to be a lot like a Green Monster but without the spinach.  Maybe I will have a green monster in celebration of St. Patrick's day tomorrow.

In the mix for my Banana Smoothie:

1/2 cup of Almond Milk (unsweetened)
1/3 - 1/2 cup of Greek yogurt (I used the rest of my vanilla Chobani)
1/2 frozen sliced banana
1 scoop of whey protein powder (vanilla)
1-2 Tbs of nut butter (I like the PB2 chocolate peanut butter flavor)
1 Tbs ground flax seed
1 sprinkle of chia seeds
6-8 ice cubes (add more if the shake is too thin)

I put all the ingredients in the blender (or a Vitamix if you have one) and blended until smooth.  Of course the minute I turned the blender off, I heard Sophia yelling "Mommy" from her bedroom.  She wanted to know what I was making (because she recognized the sound of the blender and banana smoothies are her FAVORITE).  Since it was past her bedtime and I didn't want to give her a smoothie after she had already brushed her teeth (or maybe I just didn't want to share), I told her I was making a protein shake.  She said "okay" and went back to bed.  I promise I will make her a banana smoothie today, I will just have to double the recipe so we can share!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Week 5 Update - A few days late

(Sorry this is being posted a few days late...)

I just finished week 5 of my training - only 7 weeks to go until the Heels and Hills half marathon!

Early morning view of the boat docks on Lake Grapevine

Saturday morning was officially my longest run to date... 7 miles!   I can't say that for too long because the next three weekends I am adding on to that distance to go from 7 miles to 9, 10 and 11 miles.  It was a slow, easy run with lots of water stops and a stretch break when I felt my calves getting tight.  In an effort to be a little better prepared on Saturday, I wore my race belt that held my camera and GU energy gel.  I ate about half of the packet of GU after about 4 1/2 miles and washed it down with some water.  Having my camera on my run allowed me to take a few pictures of the lake and parks along our training route.

Starting out on my 7 mile run

Oak Grove Soccer Complex

New playground at the soccer complex.  Looks like a great place to bring my kids!

A few weeks ago I bought a race belt at the Cowtown Expo.  I tried on the spibelt and the iFitness belt when I was working the Team In Training booth that Friday night before the race, then went back early Saturday morning to make my purchase.  I was set on buying a spibelt because I had heard such great things about it from other runners - but their booth was CLOSED so I ended up with the iFitness.  I actually really liked the way the iFitness belt fit, so I decided to test it out during the race.  It had room for my car keys, phone/camera, GU, and chap stick plus it had toggles for my bib number so I did not have to pin it to my shirt.  I wore it low on my hips and it stayed put most of the time.

Now I need to add some hydration gear, so I am looking for some options that I can add to my race belt.    I also need to upgrade my socks for these long runs so I have a feeling that I need to make a trip to RunOn or Luke's Locker very soon!

Week 5 mileage: (Still recovering from last weekend's illness) Monday - 2.6 miles, Wednesday - 3.1 miles, Saturday 7.1 miles

Date Night is normally a Failure...

Trey and I have the most dependable, reliable babysitters that LOVE our children so much, that they beg us to go out on weekly dates just so they can watch Tallen and Sophia.  They even allow the kids to spend the night so we don't have to rush home from a date to pick them up AND (in theory) it gives us a chance to sleep in the next morning.  Who are these magical, mythical people who offer to babysit for us on a weekly basis?  Their names are Opa and Gran otherwise known as... the Grandparents. 

Even though we have almost weekly date night opportunities, Trey and I get a big "F" when it comes to actually planning our date nights.  Dinner and a movie are the "go to" options but I get bored with eating at the same restaurants near our house and I hate wasting money to sit in a dark theather when I could be having a real conversation with my husband.  A real conversation where two people are able to participate without a small child interrupting every 5 seconds to get our attention.  True story - I tried to tell Trey about my day for almost two hours last night but was sidetracked by making dinner, opening tubes of yogurt, giving kids their baths, putting diaper cream on freshly washed bottom, brushing teeth and reading bedtime stories to Sophia.

For the past few months, Trey and I usually end up staring at each other in the kitchen at 6 PM on a Friday night when I am so hungry/tired that I am impatient and grumpy, trying to decide where to go for our date.  So I am trying to make more of an effort to plan fun, interesting date nights IN ADVANCE that still fit our budget and diet.  Which is about as successful as asking Sophia to clean her room and asking Tallen to pee-pee on the potty - impossible!

This week we switched it up and moved date night to Saturday instead of Friday night.  I picked a winery in Grapevine where we could go to a wine tasting, then we were hoping to find somewhere to eat dinner.  The first wine tasting room was closed when we arrived at 6:15 PM even though I had called IN ADVANCE and they told me they were open until 9:30 PM.  FAIL #1.  I soon found out that I had called a different winery that was open late, which is where we ended up about 10 minutes later.  We tasted four wines each and shared most of our glasses.  Suprisingly, we both picked the same wine as our favorite so we bought a bottle to bring home.

Next on the agenda was dinner, however we had not decided on a restaurant in advance.  FAIL #2.  Driving around on a Saturday night at 7:30 PM is not a great way to pick a restaurant in Grapevine or Southlake, especially when you don't have a reservation!!!  Finally we ended up at a mexican restaurant that used to be one of our favorites.  Although the service was quick, we both agreed that the food did not taste great.  FAIL #3.  As we were driving towards our house and trying to decide if we wanted to go to a late movie, I suggested we go out for dessert to make up for the not so great food at dinner.  After dessert and coffee, we vetoed the late movie in favor of going home and watching a movie on the couch instead.  All that wine, food and dessert had made me sleepy and I didn't think I could stay awake in the movie theater. 

Going home was probably the best decision of the night.  After changing out of my date night dress & heels, we snuggled up on the couch and I stayed awake for an entire movie!!!  Finally a successful end to date night!

Do you plan in advance for date night?  What is your usual date night routine -  Dinner and a movie, museum or a concert?

Friday, March 11, 2011

A Day in the Life... (aka the GOOD and the BAD)

Excuse me if my blog feels like it has a little bit of a personality disorder lately. Is this a mommy blog or is it a running/fitness blog? I am trying to decide if I want to keep blogging about my kids and family or (because of some creepy searches I found that target pictures of little kids) switch away from the family blogging and focus on healthy food and fitness choices. So until I start another blog or figure this out, you may get a little of both for a while.

Yesterday was one of those scrambled messy days mixed with some GOOD things and some BAD. The BAD part started out very early, when I went into Tallen’s room to get him ready for daycare. When I pulled his PJ shirt over his head, he grabbed both of his ears and cried out in pain. Then he looked at me and shouted “No, Mama” because I had hurt him (BAD). I looked a little closer at his ears and noticed that fluid had drained from both of them during the night but was dry now. After taking Tallen's temperature (no fever), I finished getting him dressed and went to talk to Trey about who could take him to the doctor. Trey’s morning was busy but I had some wiggle room in mine so at 8:00 AM (the minute the doctor office opened), I called and got an apt for 8:30 AM. The nurse took one look at us when we walked in the door and noticed the green fluid oozing out of both ears (BAD) and said “I think I can guess why you are here today”. When we left the office about 30 minutes later, we had a diagnosis of one ear infection (not too BAD) and two prescriptions for antibiotics and ear drops.

After spending $175 on prescriptions (BAD), I started driving Tallen to daycare so I could go to work. While I was in the car, Trey called to tell me that Sophia had asked (actually begged) for me to come to her preschool later that morning because they were having a petting zoo visit for “Rodeo Day”. (Finally, we are getting to the GOOD part of the day). After checking on a few things at work from my computer at home, I drove the three blocks to preschool.

Sophia's first pony ride!
Sophia and I held hands as we walked into the petting corral – goats, baby pigs, chickens, bunnies, baby chicks, guinea pigs, two donkeys and a llama were all waiting to be fed and brushed. Sophia kept going back to get more food and loved sitting down to hold the soft, fluffy bunnies. Finally it was her turn to ride the pony and her eyes were shining with excitement as she climbed up into the saddle (GOOD, GOOD, GOOD!) After a second and third trip to the petting corral to feed those hungry goats, she took a second pony ride before it was time for her class to go inside for lunch. Saying goodbye to mommy was a little hard for Sophia, and she asked more than once to go home with me instead of staying at school (BAD).

I made it to work for the second half of the day, then headed home to make dinner before leaving again for book club that evening. Because the Texas weather was so nice, we decided to eat dinner on the patio. Sophia set the table with paper plates, napkins, forks and cups while Trey cooked chicken sausages on the grill. I made green beans and slaw, then brought out some oranges for dessert and we all relaxed in the sunshine while we ate dinner. Besides Trey dropping his wine glass on the patio and watching it shatter, Tallen refusing to eat anything but cheerios and Sophia spilling her cup of water all over her plate, it was a GOOD family dinner.

I left around 6:30 for book club and Trey stayed home to put the kids to bed.  Dessert, coffee and discussion about the book lingered a little late so when I finally made it back home at 10:00 PM, the house was quiet (GOOD). I soaked in the silence for a few minutes then headed upstairs to bed.

Monday, March 7, 2011

A few bumps in the road

Throughout many of our journeys in life, we often hit some bumps along the road. At the end of January I decided to sign up for a half marathon, and I was in the middle of good training program. Once I started meeting with my team, I got some great coaching advice and have increased my speed and distance training. I was very pleased with the results of my first 10K and things were just rolling along… then last week I hit a few bumps. 

When I woke up this morning, I realized that I have not been running in almost a week. My last training run was Tuesday night on the track in Valley Ranch. I took it slow and easy that night because I felt like I was still recovering from the race the weekend before. On Wednesday I went to the gym at lunch to do some cross training but I was still running on empty. I blamed it on a lack of sleep (from staying up until midnight on Sunday to watch the Oscars on DVR and from Sophia’s night terrors that woke me up on Tuesday night). No workout on Thursday in an effort to rest and by Friday morning it was apparent that I was coming down with something… a stomach virus. I left work early and headed straight for my bed.

By Saturday evening I was finally able to sit up, eat dinner, and stay awake for more than 2 hours at a time. Lack of food and dehydration had taken its toll and I was glad that I had an extra day at home to recover before heading back to work on Monday. Basically I missed all the fun stuff that happens on the weekend that I looked forward to all week: date night with my husband on Friday, training with my team on Saturday, brunch with the girls afterwards, and shopping with the kids for spring clothes. We did make it to church on Sunday and I went to the grocery store that afternoon. After being confined to my bed or the couch for two days, it felt great to just get out of the house.

I will be starting out this week slow and easy, but I will be building up to 7 miles this Saturday.

Week 4: Monday – 2 miles, Tuesday - 3.6 miles, Thursday – no running, Saturday – no running

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Sundays are the Best for Rest...

When I finally went to bed on Saturday night, I felt like I had been up for three days. Somehow, I managed to do all the following in one day: ran a 10K race, took a shower and a nap, updated my blog, relaxed in the hammock, made turkey spaghetti for dinner, met a friend downtown at the museum, and went to watch UFC fights at a sports bar with my husband. Cramming all of that in one day could only mean one thing… REST DAY ON SUNDAY!

On Saturday afternoon, we took the kids to their grandparents house so they could play and spend the night - which meant that I was able to sleep until 8:30 AM on Sunday morning! (Excuse me while I do a little happy dance). After an exhausting day on Saturday, sleeping late was just what my body needed. Well, the extra sleep and some Pioneer Woman cinnamon rolls!  I made a few extra pans of these during the Christmas holiday and put them in the freezer. Then, like most people, I cleaned up my diet after the holidays so those cinnamon rolls have been sitting on the freezer shelf for two months just begging to be eaten. Is it bad that I was happy that the kids were not home so I didn’t have to share?

After church we had nap time/quiet time for the kids (I got another nap in too - two days in a row!), then we all headed outside to enjoy the warm sunshine.  Sophia and I cleaned out the dead leaves and plants from the flower beds, the garden, and the planters on the patio.  Then we had a blast drawing pictures on the driveway with sidewalk chalk.  I drew her a huge beach scene and we pretended to swim, surf, and lay in the sun.  It is hard to believe that about three weeks ago we were playing in the snow and now I am already thinking about the beach!

A slow, easy Sunday.  Just what I needed for my rest day. 

Week 3 mileage: Monday - 4 miles, Tuesday - 3 miles, Thursday - WALKED 2 miles (because of my hamstring), Saturday - 6.2 miles!