The long holiday weekend (and Firecracker 5K results)

There is truly nothing better than a long weekend without any crazy plans, and that is exactly what our 4th of July weekend was like! The big focus for us was lots of relaxed family time, especially since military life will strike again soon!

We started off the long weekend with Potomac River Running’s Firecracker 5K and kids’ fun run in Reston followed by a delicious brunch with our friends. This was SO much fun and was my second sub-8 min/mile 5K race. Splits were 8:04 min/mile, 7:24 min/mile (!!!), and 7:44 min/mile and I was mere seconds from a PR, but this was just the confidence/motivation-boosting race that I needed after an “eh” spring race season. Oh – and we even had a Duggar sighting!

I love these action shots from the kids’ fun run! Audrey is running like the wind! It was only a moment later that Caroline ended up face first in the pavement, but she rebounded quickly ;)

14579966132_9eb30464f1_o Firecracker

After the race and brunch, we had a neighborhood parade to participate in! It didn’t take long before Audrey realized we did it all wrong – we shouldn’t have walked IN the parade because no one throws candy to the parade participants! Despite this, it was a fun time…well, at least until our nap-deprived children were tired of being in the sun and started throwing some fits…

We spent the rest of the day hanging out, grilling, and having mini-fireworks displays with the girls. They are so easy to please at this age – love it! Actually, that is basically how we spent the rest of the weekend, too, and it was glorious! The weather was wonderful so we spent about 80% of our time outside. It’s too bad summer won’t stay like this.

Marathon training went well this past week with no missed runs – hooray! My long run was a beautiful trail run that I actually enjoyed. It was nice to go out and not care about pace but instead try to enjoy it.

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Week 2 training & the hiccups (or kidney stones) that accompanied it

I knew going into last week’s training that it was probably not going to be my best training week in terms of hitting all the miles required, but I had no idea it would turn out the way it did! Last week was busy for me in terms of class & assignments, and since that is my top priority right now and it’s sooooo early in the training cycle, I was okay with it. I missed my Sunday 9-miler because I was on a home visit – I always feel blah about missing a long run, but it is what it is! I intended to do a second 5-miler this week as well but didn’t get to it. Oh well. Here’s what the week looked like:

Sun: no run

Mon: 3.1 at 8:48 min/mile – I was NOT feeling well that morning!

Tues: no run

Wed: 5 miles at 8:40 min/mile

Thurs: 3.1 miles at 8:20 min/mile

Fri: no run

Sat: 7.1 at 8:37 min/mile

The 7-miler was my scheduled long run this week (it was a low-mileage Kurtis week), and while it was scheduled for Sunday, I wanted to get it in on Saturday because Audrey & Caroline had their own races to run Sunday morning – Potomac River Running’s Mighty Mile Kids’ Race! They were both really excited for it, especially Audrey. Good thing I got that mileage in early since Sunday morning took an unexpected and unpleasant turn.

I woke up around 4:30am on Sunday with abdominal and pain on my right side. I thought I had pulled a muscle or something and tried to switch positions and go back to sleep. That did not work out very well – I could not find relief no matter what position I tried! I suffered alone for a while, but then I started getting nauseous and throwing up. I felt like maaaaybe I should wake Brian up, but I didn’t want to get him up so early! We are going through a bad sleeping spurt w/ the girls, and he is always up at the crack of dawn (or before). I didn’t want to be the cause of the early wakeup this time when we go to bed every night hoping that the next morning is the morning the girls sleep in! I couldn’t stand it anymore, though, so I woke up and told him what was going on. He said that I looked so pathetic that he couldn’t find it in his heart to be mad at me…ah, love. :) We sat on the couch for a little while with me in fetal position before I decided I was going to try and get some sleep. I went back to bed and still couldn’t get any relief, and then I threw up again – all over the sheets. I called Brian in and he sat next to me for a while. Eventually it got bad enough that we decided to get the girls up and go to the ER, so the girls came along with their crazy bedhead and footie pajamas.

Long story short – after lots of time in the hospital, more throwing up, an IV, a urinalysis w/ elevated red blood cell count, bloodwork, and a CT scan, the diagnosis was a kidney stone. I actually passed it in the waiting room, and it wasn’t very long after that I felt way better. B told me he could tell when I was feeling better because I actually talked audibly instead of whispering and mumbling ;) On our way out of the hospital, we spotted the Ft Belvoir Fisher House! I don’t really pay attention that much when leaving the hospital because usually I am driving chatty children home from doctor appointments, so this was maybe the second time I noticed it. I remember when they were building both FH and the hospital and that area was just a huge pile of dirt. So cool to see it up and running – and it is beautiful!

So, yeah. That was our “relaxing” Sunday morning! I have had two natural births (I call Audrey’s birth a “supernatural” birth), so I am not a wimp when it comes to pain – and that is what made B realize it was serious because I don’t cry wolf with things. If I complain, I am probably already way past being in normal pain and on my way towards excruciating pain, ha ha. And for the record, I prefer childbirth to kidney stones. At least with labor you can move around and ease the pain, contractions come in waves and aren’t constant, AND you get a sweet baby after.

The girls were angels during that whole 4 hours in the hospital, but Audrey was really sad to miss her race. I am doing a 4th of July 5K, so she gets to come run the fun run to make up for it!

Here’s to a better training week this week – it can’t get worse, right? I will leave you with pics of my sweet baby Bear (her older sister was pouting in the other room):

 

 

 

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Filed under birth, Fisher House, Fitness, Marathon, Marine Corps Marathon, natural childbirth, New York City Marathon, NYCM, Race, Racing, Run, Running, Team Fisher House

Here we go again

Marathon training season has started once again! It honestly doesn’t feel like it’s been a year since I started last year’s training cycle. I can’t decide how I feel about starting up again. On one hand, I was really itching to start a new training cycle because I wasn’t really thrilled with spring, but on the other hand, there goes my life for the next 4-5 months. What have I gotten myself into (again)?! The idea of not getting to sleep in until the end of October makes me want to cry! But let’s be honest – these days, “sleeping in” isn’t really sleeping in anyway.

I started off thinking that I wanted to try Hanson’s Marathon Method, and I even bought the book to read. It was really interesting and appealing, but in the end, I don’t have the time to dedicate to the higher weekly mileage. I kept thinking I could make it work, but the reality is that I probably can’t, especially with two nights of class in the fall. Someday I do want to try this method (if I keep running marathons…) but for now, it is too ambitious.

I came across Doug Kurtis’ marathon training plan in Runner’s World and was intrigued. He splits some of his long runs into two segments, one run earlier in the day and the other run at least three hours later. This doesn’t happen with all of the weekend long runs in this plan, and I thought it sounded like an interesting strategy. I also like that his intermediate plan included some speedwork, whereas Higdon’s (the one I followed last year) doesn’t. I penciled it into the planner next to the Higdon Intermediate mileage, and they are both similar enough that it made me feel like the Kurtis plan would prepare me for MCM and NYCM, but different enough that hopefully my interest stays piqued. The Kurtis plan has 6 days of running per week while Higdon has 5 and one day for cross-training (which, honestly, I used as an extra rest day last year). I also like their similarities because I feel like I can hybridize my plan by fusing them when I need to (if that makes sense). If I miss some mileage in the Kurtis plan during the week, maybe I can make up for it using the little bit of extra Higdon training mileage on the weekends. Flexibility is so important to me because marathon training is, oh, only about 5% of my life – mothering, working, military spousing (aka: Brian will be traveling at some points), & grad school take up the rest of it.

Kurtis’ plan is 20 weeks, so it already started. I hopped in at week 2, which was last week. I hit all my runs that week, hooray!!

S: 8 miles (8:45 min/mile pace)

M: 3 miles (8:39 min/mile)

T: 5 miles pace (8:18 min/mile – I used it to do 9×400 intervals at 5k pace w/ 1 mile warm-up, 1 mile cool-down, 1 min or so between intervals)

W: 5 miles (8:45 min/mile)

T: 3 miles (8:16 min/mile)

F: rest

Sat: 4 miles (8:34 min/mile)

I’ve already missed my long run for this week (9 miles) because I was out all afternoon on Sunday doing a home visit for class, but since it is so early in training and it’s a mileage I hit pretty regularly, I am not worried in the slightest!

And, just like last year, I am fundraising this year for Fisher House. If you remember, I was a Top 25 fundraiser last year thanks to all of your support!

Bring it on, MCM & NYCM! I will be ready for you (I think)!

 

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Body image at age 4.5

This past weekend, we had a heartbreaking sneak peak of what our future with daughters is going to look like.

On Friday after we got home, Audrey went to her room. After being in there for a while, Brian went back to see what was up. He found her sulking and stomping around, and after some prompting, she finally told him why she was upset. She said, “I look like a boy in everything, and I am just not pretty enough!” He came out and told me, and of course I promptly ran back there to comfort her more. I found her crying silently on her bed.

After hearing this whole thing, our hearts shattered into a million pieces. It is way, way too early for societal influences to be rearing their ugly heads! We try to build the girls up as much as possible at home (“you are smart, you are funny, you are sweet, and yes, you are so pretty!”) so it makes me sad that she is doubting these things already. If this is what is happening now, what is kindergarten (and beyond!) going to look like? I have been trying to live in denial about what she will be exposed to in kindergarten, but I thought I had at least until then before this surfaced.

I hate blaming society as a whole right off that bat, and usually try to look inwardly at what’s going on in our home before I conclude that our girls’ actions/feelings are due to an outside influence. However, since the beginning, one of the things we aimed to do as parents of girls was never to compliment them only on being pretty – we wanted the focus to be on more than looks because they are more than their looks. That isn’t to say that we don’t tell them how adorable and beautiful they are (because THEY ARE) but we never try to make that the primary compliment. I don’t think these feelings of hers originated from inside our house (and would be devastated if I found out they did!)

How do you even deal with these things at such a young age? Limit the princess-culture exposure? Comfort them/talk to them in the moment and then hope it’s a random occurrence that doesn’t happen again anytime soon? Try to go back a little later and have a meaningful conversation about it? Nothing seems sufficient enough. My first instinct with everything is to talk it to death, but I know I need to put that aside and not harp on it so that she doesn’t get a complex. Overreaction is never the right solution, and I know this, but wow. It is so hard NOT to overreact in this situation!

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Filed under Early Education, Family

Marine Corps Historic Half recap {5/18/14}

This was my 7th half marathon! After the end of May, I’ll have 8 under my belt. So crazy!

Marine Corps Historic Half was held in Fredericksburg, so Brian and I left Saturday morning to hit the expo and check into our hotel and then just enjoyed relaxing the rest of the day. Because this race is so hilly (definitely the hilliest I have run yet!), it was slated to be a fun race for me and Danny, and I think it delivered…well, at least until the end when a parking nightmare occurred!

This course was hard to pace and strategize for because even though it starts off as a net downhill, there are lots of hills along that net downhill (until the middle where it flattens a little). Then, it culminates at mile 10.5 with Hospital Hill and mile 11.5 with the I-95 bridge. Check out this elevation map! For me, it’s hard to really go all out when I don’t know the course well, and that was definitely in the back of my mind during this race.

elevation

 

We thought we’d have to hold back more at the beginning so that we could reserve some energy for the end, but that ended up not being a challenge since the beginning had some hills and slower people that helped pace us a little bit. We also decided not to focus on pace too much except to make sure we didn’t go out too fast. Since this wasn’t a goal race for either of us, we had that flexibility.

 


It was a beautiful day – slightly breezy and sunny. This is Fredericksburg’s version of the Boston Marathon, I think – in fact, the detour signs named it “Marathon Sunday,” even though there wasn’t an actual marathon distance race. So many people were out on the course to cheer, and since the course winds through some residential areas, you had people sitting in lawn chairs in PJs and drinking coffee while watching you run by. We ran through Central Park, through some neighborhoods, through Old Town (is that what it’s called?) Fredericksburg, along the Rappahanock River, and past Mary Washington Hospital (Hospital Hill at mile 10.5) before winding our way back to Central Park for the finish. It went pretty seamlessly until mile 9 when we were almost hit by some sort of pole at the mile marker. It fell down after we were literally one step past it – it was so close that other runners came up to say it was definitely our lucky day to have avoided that! Ironically, we were talking before the race about how it was nice to know that barring any sort of emergency, we’d finish no later than 2:05, even if we were just running easily; however, being hit by that pole would probably have counted as an emergency!

photo 1 (7)

Our final time was 2:03, and here are splits according to RunKeeper – you can definitely see where the hills are (where we took it easy!)

Mile 1 – 9:07

Mile 2 – 8:52

Mile 3 – 8:56

Mile 4 – 8:51

Mile 5 – 8:54

Mile 6 – 9:01

Mile 7 – 9:21

Mile 8 – 8:38

Mile 9 – 9:09

Mile 10 – 9:15

Mile 11 – 10:36

Mile 12 – 10:18

Mile 13 – 8:45

This was a good race and I’m looking forward to tackling Hospital Hill more aggressively next year now that I know what it’s all about! Next up is VA Wine Country Half Marathon on May 31! This one will be all sorts of fun: hills, gravel, heat…WINE. :)

 

 

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Filed under Fitness, Marathon, Marine Corps Marathon, Race, Races, Racing, Run, Running

A weekend of spoiling

I am ending this weekend feeling very, very loved!

It started with flowers on Friday for Military Spouse Appreciation Day – I think this is the first year Brian has remembered this day… :) The flowers are beautiful but if you look closely, it looks like there is cabbage or something in the middle which made me laugh. B said it was called something like the Western Mountain Mix, so it is a good reminder of our time together at Malmstrom AFB in Montana ;).

photo 1-2

 

I also got my favorite types of gifts – the homemade preschool Mother’s Day gifts! Audrey made me a votive candle holder and Caroline made me a sweet little trinket box.

photo 2-3

On Saturday, something unusual happened: Brian and I each took one girl for the morning, so we got one-on-one time with them. Brian was volunteering at a rocket egg drop competition and since he & Audrey are space lovers/nerds ( :) ), she went with him. Caroline and I spent the morning running errands, shopping at Target, making a Starbucks trip, and running around the playground.

 

This morning I started my day off with a 10.5 mile run (so hard, hilly, hot – ick! Good prep for Historic Half, hopefully), and then I came home to get ready for brunch with my ladies (and Brian) in Georgetown. After brunch, we walked around a little bit and visited Lululemon and Georgetown Cupcake, two of my favorite places. Lululemon was giving moms mini-Reisling bottles and dark chocolate. It’s like they knew I was coming – those are my two favorite things ever!

One thing that I have been working on since the New Year has been consuming less sugar. I guess it’s working because for the first time ever, I took a bite of my cupcake and couldn’t finish it. It was too sweet for me!

After we got home and napped, we whipped out the sprinkler! We had to practically drag them back inside – they loved it. I’m sure it will be out constantly from this point on.

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It was a wonderful Mother’s Day weekend, and my sweet little things were so loving and affectionate. I could not ask for more – they are the best gifts!

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Filed under Celebrations, Family, Fitness, Georgetown, Home, Kids, Lilly Pulitzer, military, Military Life, Montana, Ristorante Piccolo, Run, Running, Washington DC, Wine

Nike Women’s Half Marathon recap {4/27/14}

This race last year was my PR half marathon race at 1:54 (official clock time = 1:55). That put a little bit of pressure on me to run another PR this time around but for many reasons, that didn’t happen. I have mixed feelings on not making it, but it really wasn’t my day, and when it all comes down to it, I am not as well prepared as I was last year. I’ve also been opting more to run pressure-free races because that is far more enjoyable. Then again, when I cross the finish line in a slower time than I’ve seen before, I am not always happy about it, so it’s a balance I am still working on.

Anyway, I LOVE this race. I think this may be my favorite DC race, and it’s only 2 years old! I had a wonderful experience at last year’s inaugural Nike Women’s 1/2 DC, and this year’s logistics and experience were even better. One thing that I didn’t like about last year’s race was that packet pick-up was in Georgetown only, and that is really inconvenient for a lot of people. Nike listened, though, and offered early packet pickup for locals at a few area running stores. This was so much better! Another complaint that I heard from people last year was that the course was so crowded. I didn’t really feel that as much because I was in the second pace corral (and not many were in the first) so we were towards the front, but the people behind were pretty bottle-necked. Nike fixed that, too, by using a wave start this year. They also cleaned up the finisher/celebration area and organized it better, and we got lots more goodies (awesome NWM water bottles that were pre-filled with water, huge bottles of chocolate milk, a goodie bag from Whole Foods, etc)…AND the necklace was a huge improvement over last year’s. I might actually wear mine this time around! AND Shalane Flanagan & Joan Benoit Samuelson opened the race AND ran it – this was less than a week after Boston. Bad ass.

The course itself was really fun and picturesque. The finish line photos with the Capitol in the background underscore that for sure.  I was so happy they revamped the course so that we weren’t hanging around so close to the finish line for 2-3 miles this year, unlike last year – that was torture! Instead, we did that part at the beginning of the race this year. Running through the tunnel at mile 1.5-2 was so fun and LOUD, especially with the drum band there. There was also a lit-up We Run DC sign there, and we got to run through the tunnel twice. The energy was crazy! I wish I had taken a picture, but I am not one of those people who can do that while running. The bands on the course were awesome (including Mason’s Green Machine right before Hains Point!), and little C LOVED the drum band at the finish line – spontaneous toddler dance party? Check!

There were two areas with HUGE TV screens that played personalized messages to you as you crossed a certain point. One was at the halfway mark and the other was at the 20K. It was so cool to see your name up there! There were Shot Blok stations, Luna bar stations, and even a Whole Foods chocolate stop at mile 11…I’m not sure who can eat chocolate at mile 11 of a half marathon when it isn’t next to a water station, but based on the wrappers on the ground, some people did! Nike really rolled out the red carpet for all of the runners. The spectators were awesome, too! There were even some on Hains Point which is so unusual.

I swiped some pictures from the Run Nike Women FB page because they did such a great job capturing some of the fun aspects of the race:

My race was not so pretty, but I tried to enjoy the atmosphere. I thought I had had enough bathroom trips prior to the start of the race (is 2 not enough?!) but ended up veering off at mile 3 to make another quick stop. At this point, I felt like my goal of PRing was gone, but I knew I would end up stopping at some point along the course, and since I was in Wave 1 and towards the front of the pack, I decided to stop when there were no lines. I was also fighting a sinus infection during the race (started w/ a sore throat that Friday night…), and breathing was tough (though definitely not as tough as running w/ bronchitis!) I started getting chills at mile 7 or 8, and ended up taking a walki break because it freaked me out. I didn’t know if it was from dehydration or being sick, but why play with fire? I texted Brian at that point (first time ever texting someone mid-race) to say I was really struggling and not feeling well, but he told me that I needed to get my butt to the finish because I had two sweet cheerleaders on their way! I made it a goal to run until water stops and then take as long of a walk break as needed. I should say I had an awful race, but once I accepted that a PR was not happening and decided instead to enjoy the race, I had a much better time. Final Garmin time was 2:04 and change. Maybe someday this season I will hit my sub-2 1/2 marathon again…if not, whatever! There is always next fall during marathon training! I have two more chances this spring, but they will be challenging halves!

 

Sorry if this post is disjointed – it feels like it is to me, but I am still in my sinus infection-induced haze, so who knows! Long story short – I love this race, and can’t wait for next year’s!

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Filed under Fitness, George Mason University, Marathon, Race, Races, Racing, Run, Running, Washington DC