Thursday, March 27, 2014

Spring adventures

I have been wallowing in self pity about my athletic abilities since the half marathon a few weeks ago, so I decided to do something other than run around on pavement trying to get faster. While it's still a little cold for my comfort, I joined in a couple of group rides where we chased each other in intervals up and around the park by the river. It was fun, and I had forgotten how much more wattage I can produce when pacelining and hanging on wheels. I can never keep up the effort on the trainer somehow. I'm sure pinning recipes on Pinterest while doing intervals is helping me a lot.

I also ran out the Ouachita trail a ways last weekend. The trail went around Lake Maumelle, and it is the site of the aptly named Ouachita trail 50mi/50k at the end of April. It was nice to get off the roads, but seeing exactly zero other people on that side of pinnacle mountain made me nervous. I started thinking of the wild boars (I have heard may have existed somewhere within 1000 miles of there). There's always something out there that is going to eat me. My peroneus muscles are still sore 4 days later from all the ankle rolling I did.

And then I swam! That is happening with less and less regularly lately, but maybe once the pool bubble comes off I'll be more motivated. Ah, but then it is thunderstorm season, and I have another excuse.

We have taken H on a few excursions recently to get outside in areas not adjacent to our house. The daffodil field out west gave me ideas for my dream yard someday. My favorite flowers surrounded my favorite people, and we found acorns, ran through the fields, and smelled buttercups for hours.

Then yesterday we went out to Petit Jean mountain to hike to the waterfall with the cousins, who are on spring break. H loved it. He decided he wanted to RUN on the rocky trails. Then after climbing a few boulders, he wanted to climb up to the top of the rocks. Up THERE, Daddy.

 See, this rock climbing is easy. Let go, Daddy.

Jackson across the river

 "Whoa," he said, discovering the top of the mountain.

And as for my own house and yard, it's my first year to own a nice moist plot of soil that flowers will actually grow in. So the planting has begun. With lots of help.

So I just snap it right off like this?

Thursday, March 20, 2014


My baby turned TWO last week! It's true: the minutes can be long but the years go by quickly. We celebrated his birthday, with Jeremy off work, by playing outside with his new trucks and eating "brown cake." 

"A backhoe!" he said upon opening the backhoe. He now also calls one an excavator.

What is this strange ritual with the candles?

 Or... maybe I like this white cake better.

 Being two is exhausting

Saturday we had a party with his grandparents, great aunt, aunt, uncle, and cousins. Fortunately for me, the 150 contacts of Jeremy's that I accidentally sent the evite to didn't show up. That's what you get for hurriedly trying to send something out while using maybe half a brain. 

For his party, I worked the safari theme, since when I asked his favorite animal, he said it was a giraffe. I did more planning than doing, but we had a good time.

He finally gets into the candle thing.

It's my party and I'll take off my pants and stand on the table if I want to.

 Icing on the giraffe legs tastes better

Photo booth!

This week Jeremy kissed Hunter. H said, "Yuck Daddy. Daddy gross. Mommy gross too." Ha! He has already outgrown our slobbery kisses!

 And now for our recreation of a childhood photo:

I thought I had neglected to send the kids home with a party favor, but as it turns out, I sent Ethan home with a sample of our GI bug that he is now sharing with his family. We are so sorry Ethan! That virus just keeps on going and going (despite my sanitizing and resanitizing-- yuck!)

 Annie, who had to miss the party because of her own virus, is probably not sad that she missed throwing up this week. But we missed them!

Hunter's little legs are growing longer, the baby belly is getting slimmer, he is running faster every day. His sweet blonde baby curls and big blue eyes are still a baby's but he knows he is "Mommy's little dude," as he told me. He is such a sweet, smart, funny, creative little person already. I'm lucky to be his mama! 

Monday, March 10, 2014

It's a Germ*

My toddler sleuth managed to find that one germ leftover from Jeremy's GI virus a few weeks ago, and apparently he ate it. So recovery from my half marathon pains consisted of a couple of days of spinning on the trainer, with intermittent (unsuccessful) dodging of a little person's vomit, followed by a few days of my own toilet hugging. The thing about a baby's stomach bug is that they don't know what's about to happen, so they don't warn you to watch out, or even
to carry them away from the bed. Poor sweet baby boy, he was so scared the first time it happened, he ran away from it. But after a couple practice rounds I could get him to laugh about his tummy saying it didn't want all that stuff in it anymore. We took lots of baths and read lots of books and I even let him watch lots of Mickey Mouse (while lying on a very protected couch).

He seemed to get back to 100% pretty quickly, and just in time for his birthday week!

My one year old (for 3 more days!) grows up a little more even during short naps. It's incredible. He doesn't just scribble anymore. He did this all by himself and then said, "Apple. With a stem on it."

We constructed a cardboard box playhouse that we have been decorating. Mostly with eggs of his, but we all chip in a little. Like the egg above the door? "Jenny drew that egg," Hunter told me. 

This one started out as an egg, then he kept adding to it until it was a kitty cat waving with one arm, and holding an egg with the other arm (bottom right corner). He is finishing up the whiskers. 

He can say about a million words now, and in 10 word sentences. Mostly commands. I told him one night if he would get in bed I would tell him a story. He said, "Mom, just say story now." He especially loves his animal stories, though he has combined a few I've told him and talks about how "Ladybug kitty cat fell in pool. Nana got her out with raft!" Well ok. That's how stories are passed down in history. 

And his counting! He counts everything. "Eighteen, nineteen, leven-teen!!" He is possibly adding as well...TBD. And he's too big for his britches. I asked, how old are you going to be on your birthday? He answered, "Four."

I didn't miss running at all this week, I didn't think about swimming, but I did finally have enough energy on Saturday to go outside for a ride in the sun. There is a hill that winds up the river bluff on the north side of the river that I always see other bikes on. It's not much of an incline compared to our NM mtns, or very long, about 250 feet up in a mile, but it's a good steady smooth road that ends at an old military facility/ now VA hospital. Or so I thought it ended. There's a path that goes along beside the campus that I just had to ride along, and found that it curves along the ridge of Big Rock Mountain, which has a shear cliff dropping down to the river. I rode a few miles along it stopping to notice the view of the entire city, the river, and the distant hills. Even panoramic pictures don't do it justice. 

I still don't miss running but with the warm weather and daylight savings this week I may change my mind soon.

*I totally identified with Seinfeld's David Putty on this particular episode.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

LR half marathon

Some people are fair weather fans. Some are fair weather friends. I'm a fair weather racer. Sunday was completely devoid of fair weather.

Saturday was Emily's first 5K!

I was having confidence problems going into the weekend, despite my best efforts. Although I don't put much weight on rankings and such, I'd just found out I was USAT All American for 2013. This sounded suspicious to me given my less than stellar results this past year and since I only everrank that high in my IMFL years. So when I realized they had altogether eliminated the category of Honorable Mention, my usual end of year status, and just called all of us All American this year, I wasn't surprised. But I tried to let it boost my confidence anyway. Then there was something about getting ranked as a silver medalist for Ironman? Seems at least one of my blah 70.3s this year was good enough to get me there, whatever that means. As sad as it sounds I reminded myself of these things, and that I can run this half marathon course well enough to win $500 (when nobody shows up). And even get into the elite corral ("you're elite?"). And surely even if we had terrible weather, I thought I was in better shape than I was for my half marathon in October. And the course Sunday was a good bit flatter. 

Hey both feet are off the ground! Must be very early on. 

I told Damie the day before that if I didn't have a good race, I'd blame the weather, and it's true! It was the weather's fault! And those crazy people who convince me to wear less clothing than I really need. I kept thinking of the year I wore a long sleeved shirt under my Los Locos tank and took it off from underneath the tank while running. I didn't want something like that to happen again, and it was going to be over 50 degrees at the start, so I wore shorts and short sleeves. I had been stalking a local weatherman all week and he told me that the front would come in much faster than  predicted. But I didn't listen. Instead of dropping 4 degrees in 90 minutes, it was more like a 15 degree drop. It rained on and off, it was windy with nobody to draft off of, and I froze up in mile 6. 

It was all going fine, or at least ok, until then, except for having no traction on even the slightest uphills due to the slick roads. After mile marker 5, a guy I had chatted with at the start came up beside me and talked again. It took my mind off things for a bit, but I found myself out of breath afterward and feeling significantly worse. The mile splits took a turn in the wrong direction, and I wish I had too, but my main concern was the sharp pain in my right hip/SI joint (the usual) and the cold numbness creeping up my arms and legs, as well as my blurring vision. Does this not happen to anyone else? Jeremy acted like I was nuts when I told him how my vitreous humor must be freezing up when it's cold because I can't see after a while. Can Raynauds affect your eyeballs?

Surprisingly to me, I kept passing women and a few men along the way. I'd been assigned to corral B but snuck into A before the start, not that anybody cared. I was slowing down dramatically but still keeping the same distance on one small woman ahead of me until mile 11. When I passed her as we turned into a headwind, she tucked in behind me and stayed there for a bit. It was all fine until she started kicking my heels! She said something that I didn't understand but kind of didn't sound like apologizing. But my ears were pretty frozen too. She then dropped back and I never saw her again. I was passed by a speedy woman at mile 12, and tried to keep her in sight, but once she was 10 yards ahead of me I couldn't get a clear view of her anymore and that was that.


The last mile-point-one took freaking forever, and I can now assume that is because it was a 13.35 mile race according to my Garmin and everybody else's that I looked up online. Why can't races come up a little short anymore? I'll pretend it was the full distance if you will. I somehow hit my lap button on the Garmin around 13.11 without having any feeling in my fingers, so I'll go with that time instead of another 1:35! I'm cursed by the 1:35s still, but I suppose it could easily be worse. I crossed the finish line and was told to keep moving by a warm dry man who had not been running, and his light hand on my back just might've caused me to fall forward if I hadn't mumbled something about needing a second to stand ("BACK OFF DUDE!" no, i didn't say that). I went to get my large medal and heard my name being called by a mylar blanket wrapped person standing just a couple yards in front of me. It happened to be my sister, who had been calling my name right in front of me over and over before I could see or hear her. She had been getting frostbite waiting for me after her 10k, with her new friends I thought she was going to introduce me to.

This is one in a series of 4 (4!) photos where I'm looking at my watch. It's such an unbelievably bad time. Or I can't believe it was that long. Or it just took a while for my eyeballs to work. 

The real win of the day was the awesome parking spot we got about a block from the finish line, so after we loaded up on junk food and made a quick warm up stop in the coffee shop in between, we got to the car and sat in the blasting heat for about 10 minutes before I felt stable enough to drive. The numbness masked the awful pain in my, well, everything (whose lats hurt after half marathons?), which keeps reminding me of what a bad decision it was to run. I was actually wishing they had just canceled the whole thing. I almost thought I'd gotten away with another pitiful race going unnoticed, since I was mysteriously missing from the results, just like that Phoenix marathon that I may or may not have run. Turns out they had me listed as a 10K finisher with a spectacular 15:20 per mile pace. It has since been corrected, assuming 13.1 miles, which it was not! So marks the end of my half marathon season. It's on to trail races now.

It's not actually a mug shot.