Monday, September 23, 2013

Ramblings on running

I ran in the rain Friday for my "long" run. Sadly I have only gotten up to 11 miles since my last half Ironman 2 months ago, and I'm not sure I ran longer than that in training since February. But it's a half marathon in 5 weeks. You don't really have to run further than that in training, unless of course, you want to run (relatively) fast. I did a few 2 mile tempo intervals during this run on the very very flat river trail, just to see if my goal pace would feel ok. It didn't, so I ran 30 seconds per mile slower than what I had hoped to do in the half marathon, which is around 7 minute pace. I don't want to do a half marathon just to add to my total number. I've assumed a PR was too much to ask (it stands at 1:30:20 I think), but I'd like to run as fast as I did in the perfect weather at Oceanside 70.3 in March (1:33). And while I can fairly easily do 4 x 1 mile repeats -- with a little hill involved -- in sub-7, like Tuesday night's workout, apparently I can't do them consecutively. I'll put most of the blame on the extra 15 pounds of rain I was hauling in my clothes, hair, and shoes. But the mist over the warm river rising up the mountains in the background was beautiful. There were squirrels, deer, and geese out with me on the trails. I've had to remind myself that there aren't dangerous predators in these woods like back in NM, and I try not to jump when I see a deer (in the mountains, "where there are deer, there are cougars").

All that rain brought beautiful weather along behind it, perfect for running. I took Saturday as a complete off day since Jeremy was out in Oklahoma attempting to race on a flat tire. The silver lining to his frustrating day was that he came home early. At least that's my silver lining. So today I went out for an easy 8 miler from home, which starts out down down downhill and ends going up up up. I didn't even take the Garmin, since I tend to get overly obsessed with pace when I have it (and when it works. Speaking of its finickiness, how ridiculous is it that I had it in a ziploc bag for Friday's run?). I ran easily in the cool breeze and then chatted with Jenny on the phone, headphones in, while starting the last long climb. Somehow I still ran under 8 minute pace, which I couldn't do Fri on the flats.This route has around 600 feet of climbing in 8.25 miles while the 11 miler had about 60. And I'm not forgetting any zeros at the end of that. I really don't understand my legs. Or my lungs -- they've lost any adaptation to altitude they had. 

Saturday Hunter and I busied ourselves at Heifer Village. I love this company, so check them out if you're unfamiliar. They're based here, and they brought some farm animals from the Perryville farm. And it turns out, like our book says, billy goats DO chew everything, and may even nibble at your clothes. Hunter loooooved it. And the sheep, hens, and rabbits. 

My favorite sign this week was when he saw a green lizard on the deck and signed "alligator." Pretty good comparison! A mini alligator!

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Visit to Tennessee

Hunter and I spent half a week in Tennessee visiting, hiking, playing, and eating. We met Mom half way on Jeremy's Wednesday off so he could get back home to work on the porch screening/thumbnail ripping. Except that last part was an accident. Ouch. Mom and Dad have a great backyard full of places to explore and plants to water, so we got right to work.

no stopping for things like a change of clothes

mommy, don't just stand there taking pictures, I need more water please! (he now signs sentences)

Hunter made time for a little swinging on the awesome tree swing that can take you 20 feet off the ground if you want it to (Hunter didn't).

We went out to see Damie and meet sweet baby Isla who was all smiles. I need to hold her next time when my toddler isn't occupying my arms so fully!

Nancy played with us at the cool Shelby Farms playground, but I'm terrible at taking pictures when i don't  have my camera in hand, so there's no proof we did :)

Great aunt Ethelyn is working hard on rehab after being sick, and she looks, sounds, and walks great! As a bonus for Hunter, they had birds out at her place which provided us with lots to talk about later. 

Friday afternoon we headed out to Mom and Dad's cabin in the country. Behind the long black fence, over the rolling hills, and through the woods sits the two story log cabin, then the barn and tractor garage, and somewhere among the grass are three horses. Hunter and I saddled up -- he got in the ergo on my back -- and we went hiking out to find those three.

 "smell my stinky feet" is a fun game to play, even with horses apparently

Although he has met them before, he was tickled to get to feed them carrots and a couple persimmons as well as grass, which he tries to feed to almost any animal he encounters. He kept imitating their pffft noise-- does it have an official name?-- and I have since told him many horse tales to help him to sleep at night. The barn cats, Megan's dog, Penny, the geese, and the toads that hopped into the pond have all made it into my stories as well. We spent the night out there and had to go out again first thing the next morning. It was pretty exciting to get to sit on a real big tractor and to drive a real small tractor too. The days went by really fast even while missing Daddy. 

This could easily just turn into a baby blog, but I do still have an interest in all things triathlon. I took a couple days off while out of town, and during that time, we picked up a nasty cold, Hunter and I (mine isn't too bad so far). Jeremy is pretty sure we got the same thing as baby Isla, right after I told Damie how Hunter almost never gets sick. Those really strong germs can still get ya. All of this to say that I keep coming up with more excuses not to run! And I'm not even looking for them. But I'm back at it as of tonight, and it went better than expected. More running to come.

Hunter has started drawing pictures and then signing what they are. I leave you with "Flower," by baby Hunter. Medium: chalk on concrete.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Home Work

The days are getting shorter, which is always sad to me, but this year it means that my toddler is getting ready for bed earlier. Yahoo! We still keep working on the house, inside and out. But pay no attention to the lack of anything at all hanging on the walls. It takes me a while to decide finally on where to make nail holes in those mostly flawless walls. Thank goodness the movers banged up a few so I won't be the first to leave a ding like I did in the hardwood floor (like 1 week after moving in. It's an 18 inch gouge through the finish. Yep). We got the front plantation shutters installed and I love them! We are doing our bedroom next, as much as I hate to take down the fashionable $6 paper black out shades.

Jeremy has his hands full with screening our lower deck. We must've tried to get estimates from 10 people and nobody wanted to do it. Not discouraged from the implied difficulty, handy Jeremy took the task into his own hands. With all the help Hunter is giving, it'll be finished in no time. Actually it may be a relief to Jeremy for Hunter and me to go visit Nana and Granddaddy in Germantown later this week. Maybe he can get us out of the house long enough to also finish building in the "built in" shelves in the playroom too. It is taper week after all.

The screen is quite an undertaking. And are you sure you want this stain?

We are going to try to help fill the grandchild void that was left a few days ago when Megan and family flew over to work for a month in Kenya. Hopefully they will updating their blog regularly, so check it out!

So back here in the States, I've been working on a couple of Hunter projects, including his growth chart ruler (thanks Pinterest) that he stood so proudly next to. 

And this is how tall I will be someday, Dad.

And I want all toddlers who visit to know of our house rules; please be aware. So glad I got it finished before he graduated high school. It was looking iffy for a while, and "Rules for Adolescents" just doesn't have the same ring to it.

The handprint: real, and very permanent.
Of course there are obvious exceptions to most of these rules. DRAW ON WALLS, but not with permanent marker. LIE IN THE GRASS, but not over there by the chiggers. SCREAM AT THE TOP OF YOUR LUNGS, maybe not in the middle of Target when people will think I'm torturing you? EAT PLAYDOUGH, the homemade kind is preferable. MAKE MUDPIES, but leave them outside if possible. RUN BAREFOOT, but not right after they've sprayed ant poison on my yard (ack!!).

Now for that whole pesky running thing. It's going a tiny bit better, although the "long run" isn't happening so much. Jenny and I got in a good 14x400m workout this week. It was supposed to be at 10k pace but I ran a bit faster and was able to keep it up, so I kept on. How frustrating is it to have a 200m jog recovery when you're not on a track and instead using a Garmin? It doesn't go to that many decimal places, so I shortened it to a 0.1mi jog. That way my math challenged running brain wouldn't get too confused. 

Instead of doing too much running, I of course added in a bike ride and a couple of swims. I know I'll miss the bike and outdoor pool in the winter so I feel the need to cross train a lot. Maybe a 2 day break Thursday and Friday will be the remedy for the running blahs. Any other suggestions from the crowd?

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Forgetting to fuel

It's not often that I forget to feed my baby. Except those times he refuses his lunch and I eat it all and then later I wonder why he's getting cranky and realize he hasn't had much to eat all day. But before anyone goes and calls CPS on me, he still nurses a lot and is growing juuuust fine. :)

Evidence of his eating:

 there's nothing in my mouth, why?

 this shirt didn't come polka dotted

not so much eating as sorting food...but the opportunity is there

Apparently, however, I've gotten in the habit of forgetting to feed myself, especially before running. After carefully getting back into it Sunday but still having another discouraging run, I realized I'd forgotten to eat breakfast, and that 2 oz of orange juice used to wash down my antibiotic just wasn't cutting it. I'm not only not eating for 12 or so hours between supper and these morning runs, I'm also keeping Hunter's fuel reserves full. He still nurses a few times at night, but I'm not in there snacking in the bed to replenish myself (although at my old job I heard tales of pockets in bed skirts used to stash cookies for midnight snacking). 

I'm not trying to have tough runs by under fueling, although there is that training method out there. Back in early season training years ago I'd forget that I was not using fat as efficiently as I had at the height of Ironman season a few months before, and going on a 3 hour easy ride requires fuel when you're coming off winter rest.

SO now that I realize my mistake, I've had two entire runs where I was properly fueled and felt much much better. Of course, the first was Labor Day when Jenny and I did 2x2 mi repeats in a hilly golf course neighborhood, but it was overcast. Then today I ran in the crisp cool fall-like 80 degree weather.

In other, non-running news of the Harwoods, Jeremy and I went on our kind-of -first-date since Hunter was born. We did ride our bikes about half an hour when he was 3 weeks old, and then we ran half an hour a month ago in laps around the block where we could peek on him at Jenny's every 4 minutes. But tonight, we left him, drove away in the car, and ate dinner together, just the two of us. He had a ball with Emily, Jackson, Ethan, and Jenny and Tim, and looked at us when we got back like, hey, did you guys go somewhere? I keep reading articles about "putting your marriage first" for the sake of your marriage and the kids, since, you know, the kids are only there temporarily and hopefully your spouse will be there forever. But that's the thing: the kids are only tiny temporarily, in these super formative years where attachment really matters, and if you and your spouse can't keep it together that long, well then, maybe there wasn't much there before. Not that there's something wrong with leaving kids with competent babysitters and family, but we just didn't feel comfortable when we didn't have family around that he really adores. As soon as Jenny comes in the front steps he's like, "Mommy who?" So it's a new chapter for all of us.

And now, this month in baby pictures.

my happy toddler

 and his fascinating daddy

trucks are ideal for hauling the essentials: water, dirt, sidewalk chalk 

 surprise attack on Daddy!

hands down, our FAVorite toy

 a little relaxation time watching some Baby Signing Time videos