Thursday, July 31, 2008

The Hills are alive

with the sound of my heart beating out of my chest...HA!

Dad and I did hill repeats this morning and I really started to realize why he recommended me look at hills as a friend and not an enemy to be conquered.  I think by the time I felt like I reasonably conquered going up and down hills, I probably would have given up.  Keeping the mindset of a hill being a friend (albeit a friend that wears me out) definitely kept today from being as much of a mental exercise as it could have been.  NOW don't get me wrong, I had to reign in my mind a few times, but it really wasn't all that bad.  Dad and I did an hour run with the hill repeats sandwiched in the middle.  HA and at the end of the run I saw a tiny little hill and imagined myself collapsing with exhaustion.  Somehow, that thought made me giggle like crazy at myself...I must have been really tired to have gotten so amused at the thought of me dramatically collapsing to the ground.

The good news is that my heart rate hit its red zone as we were increasing our speed at the very top of the hill (just as it started to flatten), which was much better than it getting in the red halfway up.  By the time we got to the bottom, my heart rate was back to normal (normal meaning its target rate while I am doing an easy run).  In all honesty, I was completely shocked by my heart's ability to recover so quickly.    Maybe I shouldn't that impressed, but I was :-)

OKAY so now to more interesting things...
Layla is starting to talk like crazy!  Well..let me back up...we think she's speaking Chinese because we can't understand a word she's saying, but she's definitely trying to talk in sentences.  She will talk and talk and talk and then look at Neil or me and nod her head.  I've started nodding in agreement which normally works unless she's trying to ask me for something.  And her independence is starting to take off like crazy.  She is now an accomplished playground climber and slider and no longer wants mommy's suggestions (ie-hold on to the rail, sit down...yada yada yada).  So I've learned to walk a very fine line between letting her figure out things on her own and protecting her from falling.  So I've learned it on the playground...the first of many areas where I'll have to walk that line..YIKES okay so that's kind of a scary thought.

And with that's Layla and daddy enjoying Popsicles..the perfect treat for her sore throat and a hot day.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Going the distance and I added 2 miles to our long run today!  I was really nervous and anxious going into the run today...I just wasn't feeling it.  I think I was in some weird funk or something?  Thursday's run was not great--I was super tired and dehydrated (too much coffee in the am and not enough water during the day) so the run on Thursday just didn't feel good to me.  So I have to apologize to Tasha...I was not a good running buddy on Thursday.  Friday was my day off and I was already dreading today. was great....REALLY great.  
I learned the following today
(1) Gu is an amazing gift from God.  I tried the lemon lime today and it wasn't SO bad.  
(2) My mom is most often late (even when she's dropping off a sports drink to her very thirsty hubby and daughter).  Dad and I ran circles for at LEAST 5 minutes waiting for mom to make the drop off.  But really, what is .5 miles when you are already running as much as we were...HA!
(3) I've fallen in love with my legs.  Yep..I just said that!  I traditionally have had a yuck-o relationship with my legs...I was never a fan and mostly noticed their flaws (including the wonderful ACL surgery scar down the front of my left one).  Today my legs felt so strong and I was really humbled by God today--knowing that he took such great care in making these legs. I criticized them for way too long.  These wonderful legs carried me a long way today and I have really come to love and appreciate them.
(4) Taking showers post run with a 1 1/2 year old doesn't really qualify as a shower.  Little Layla must have missed me like crazy today.  She followed me into the bathroom as I turned the shower on.  She started taking off her little shoes and then moved on to her bloomers and THEN her diaper.  Clearly, she was going to take a shower as well.  So we climbed in the shower together and she just wrapped her little arms around my yucky smelly body.  That's love, folks.  We rinsed off a bit and that was the extent of it.  What a great way to come home.  I am so glad I'm a mommy and get these little moments in my day!

We finished the run strong.  I honestly could have kept going.  I experienced the most amazing runner's high today.  For the last 8-9 miles, I felt like I was running on air.  My breathing was easy and controlled and my body felt strong.  Considering how I felt pre-run, I am shocked that I'm actually REALLY looking forward to hitting the pavement tomorrow.  More importantly, dad was super proud of me today and surprised at how well I did--that felt great.

Whew WHOO...t minus 30 minutes until ICE CREAM time :-)

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Very Efficient Foot?

I have been searching relentlessly for the past couple of weeks for new running shoes.  I thought there would be lots of commentary out there on shoes, but I really didn't find much by way of "google".  People just don't talk a lot about what running shoes they wear and why.  Are they trying to protect some super secret shoe knowledge?  Whatever!  Why are some people so stinking protective over stuff like that...really?  A shoe can't make up for a lack of training and talent.  Okay--climbing off my soapbox now.  So I have made a mental note to make sure I give a very thorough review of the new shoe that I choose--for anyone who may care?

SO...I decided to go to a specialty running store to talk to someone about shoes.  I showed up without planning on having someone inspect my foot.  Sorry shoe guy..I was running barefoot  through the wet yard with Layla this morning and didn't wash my feet afterwards...gross!  Oh well.  But I found out that I do have a "very efficient foot".  Which means that the shape of my foot and my stride serve their purpose very well.  He drew some lines on my foot and had me sit, stand and walk.  Layla found the whole show very interesting.  She's really into pens right now and she's learning not to write on herself or on furniture--only on paper--so imagine her pure delight when some strange man started writing on mommy's foot.  I think I actually heard a giggle out of her, so I know she was amused.  We'll see if she remembers all of that this afternoon when she requests her pens and paper.

The shoe guy recommended two shoes for my "very efficient foot".  I'm just going to say that over and over, btw.  God blessed me with a very efficient foot--I'm pretty stinking grateful for that.  Just think, I would have never been able to really thank God specifically for my foot if I hadn't started running.  As a side note...for those of you who have asked me why I'm running like I am, here is part of the reason.  Running makes me feel reminds me daily how fearfully and wonderfully made I am--especially my "very efficient foot".  

Despite the shoe guy's very pricey recommendations, I am opting for a shoe that is known for its performance--and definitely not its aesthetics.  I'm looking forward to trying it out and letting you all know what I think--for anyone who cares.  Here's a hot pic of my new shoe.  And the girlie girl in me (which is a pretty small part of me) thought the red in the shoe would go nicely with the new red and white polka dot running skirt I've picked out.  HA!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Bring on the Rain

WELL...I woke up at 5:30 this morning and got a very quick three miles in.  My intention was to do three miles this morning and five this evening.  As I slid into my running shoes this evening...I was greeted by a rather strong gust of wind.  So I hurried down my front steps and hit the asphalt.  By the end of my first mile, it started to rain a little.  By the end of my second mile it was POURING.  It was either raining so hard or I was running so fast (HA) that the rain was going straight into my eyes...YIKES!  

I thanked God that at least it was just thunder or lightening.  Um yeah...boy does God have a nice sense of humor.  Seconds after my "thank you"...I heard a boom.  Enter stage left...THUNDER AND LIGHTENING.  I kept running and thanked God that it was just a little snow??  

So I finished out my five miles...dragging at least 20 pounds of wet shoes and clothes with me.  Why on earth I decided to wear cotton today still escapes me.  Good times!  I actually love running in the rain...just a light rain, not so much a heavy rain.  I found that the heavy rain really tested my mental toughness--so that's a good thing, right?

All in all...I got my 8:30 mile (I guess I was just SO ready to get back home to my hubby--who greeted me with a warm towel--SO SWEET--my shower and eventually my cup of ice cream)! at least now I know how it'll feel to try and run 8:30 in order to qualify for Boston in December--sort of...8:30 for 5 miles vs. 26.2 miles??

Monday, July 21, 2008

My bean at the lake

First...I should say that Layla's little nickname since bringing her home from the hospital has been "bean" if I refer to "my bean" or Layla Bean...that's where it comes from...she really doesn't have "bean" anywhere in her legal name :-)  Thank goodness, right?

So I think I have written before about Layla's flair for is the latest Layla original.  She acutally picked out the sunglasses because when mommy "lets the sunshine in" her room in the mornings, it hurts her eyes--she's so smart!   Then she noticed her little bloomers on the floor with the dress I picked out for her--who knew bloomers could double as a hat?  AND the fairy shoes are from last year's Halloween costume--you should have seen her face when she discovered them in her shoe closet!  So imagine Neil's surprise when this little face woke him up yesterday morning.

As promised, here are some pictures from our trip to the lake.  Layla really had a good time...and it was so funny to see her be so insistant that she take a ride on the tube...I mean, everyone else did it.  She also really found her life vest interesting.  I was surprised to see that she never tugged at it or got frustrated at it.  She did, however, get a little frustrated when the boat stopped OR slowed down...HA!

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Gu...chocolate milk...and tomato sandwiches--mmm mm good and I did the same run this week that we did last.  Apparently from about 12-18 miles stand the hardest runs.  Up to 12 was easy..and dad promises that after 18 is the we are working up to 18 at a rate that seems SO SLOW to me.  I sure am glad I have my dad training me or I'd be out there working myself to injury!  Next week we'll run 15 or so miles so I'm looking forward to that...really!

I am really starting to see progress and its crazy to see that in only one week's time.  Like I said earlier, dad and I ran the exact same course today that we did last Saturday and I felt great.  My legs felt strong and my form NEVER suffered--in fact, I don't recall ever feeling tired.  I think I could have kept going, which is the way you should end a long run (as opposed to feeling like you lungs or legs or heart are ready to die).  So today was great...including--YES--the hill!  I started looking at the hill like an enemy today--ready to conquer it, but dad advised I look at the hill like I'm visiting an old friend...hilarous..but it worked.  I actually got kind of amped up about seeing the hill on the horizon.

Okay--so what was different about today than last week
(1) the weather was not so hot--it was actually kind of cloudy, which was nice
(2) I was better prepared physically--I was well rested--no 8 mile run prior to my long run
(3) I was mentally prepared--loving my good friend, Hill :-)
(4) Gu..GU GU was yuck-o...warm and thick and sugary sweet...but it worked wonders
(5) Recovered post run with a nice cold glass of chocolate milk (WHOLE milk..chocolate milk).

SO today was a day I thought I'd never see--especially if you would have asked me about it three months ago!  I ran with my dad for just over two hours, I drank 110 calories of unenjoyable CARBS ( I know!) and I drank whole chocolate milk.  Crazy...good crazy, but still...crazy!

Tomorrow morning I'll wake up to greet my recovery run.  I really look forward to those runs because I can take good inventory of my body--how I feel, how to work on my form...all that good stuff.

OKAY--so totally off topic...
Layla had her first tomato sandwich today...what a southern lady!  She loved it...and still asked for more tomato...her aunt Chi will be so proud :-)  AND we had our first lake trip yesterday.  Layla LOVED it...she even rode around on a tube with Papa (going very VERY very slow).  She has NO fear--mommy on the other hand..has lots of fear.  I'll post some pictures from the lake in the next couple of days, but for's Layla and her tomato sandwich.  I love her...OH MY GOODNESS I love her to pieces!  Seeing the picture makes me want to go wake her up from her little nap and kiss all over her.  

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Almost success and first dates

What a great day we've had so far.  Layla and I started off with an "almost success" this morning...depending on how you look at the situation.  Some may think its a complete failure..but I, on the other hand, think we are making some real progress :-)  Layla ALMOST made her potty this morning.  She actually pooped beside the potty on the floor (sans diaper--YIKES) and she probably would have made it onto the potty if mommy had been paying close attention to her and not the stuffed animals scattered all over the floor--oops.  She then proceeded to step into the poop and then slip. DOUBLE YIKES.  After all was said and done, we had it I just put us both in the tub--nothing some Johnson & Johnson can't talk off our skin, right?  And the clothes went under some severe Spray and  Wash treatment...while the carpet got some super duper stain fighting carpet cleaner treatment and finally the bath tub was scrubbed with some Comet...good times.  I think Layla found the whole incident quite funny as I encouraged her to try to get even closer next time..HA!

After we were all clean, Layla and I decided it would be best to dry off while walking uptown to visit some pigs.  We took 4 of the pigs some water and stopped at the market to get fresh tomatoes and blueberries (which were half gone by the time we got back home--I think mommy spit is sufficient enough to clean blueberries--right??).  

We arrived back home in time to greet Beth and Levi :-)  Beth is one of my best friends in the world and Levi is her way too adorable little boy.  Today was Layla and Levi's first real play date.  I was really impressed with how gentle she was with him.  And he never stopped smiling...I don't think I've ever seen such a happy little boy!  

Of course, Beth and I had to get our mommy cameras out and take a couple of pictures that will probably one day embarrass both of them SO much :-)

Saturday, July 12, 2008

First Saturday

As promised, here are my "notes" from today's run with dad.

We started this morning at around 7:00 and I began telling dad about my runs during the week.  I confessed my 8 mile run on Thursday and noticed he really didn't say much (not that I expected a congratulations or a scolding..but I didn't even think he heard me...NO RESPONSE at all).  I told him about my run with Natasha and how we had around a 9 minute mile for just over 4 miles, to which he responded "be careful--you still have a long way ahead of you and running is a slow build".  I think he also said something about there being a very VERY thin line between being super prepared in October and December and hurting myself, too.  So I listened to him...but didn't really dissect what he told me.  I was feeling great, so the previous week couldn't have been too much, right?  WRONG!  

At about mile 6, dad indicated that we would take a different route than normal today, which sounded fine to me...I love new scenery.  Mile 9 greeted me with a long, steady...LOONNNGGG hill--it had to have been a half mile hill.  By the time we reached the top of the hill, I thought I was dying...really--I thought my lungs were caving in--which showed me that distance running really is mental at a certain point!  I contemplated stopping but then remembered that if I stopped, the 9 previous miles would have been worthless (in my opinion)...I don't give up that easy.  By mile 11 I was tired but still felt good...but I realized by the end of our run that I never recovered from the hill at mile 9.  It knocked me on my back.

When dad and I got back to the car, he--in his very gentle way--told me "like I said, you have a lot of stuff ahead of you with running...its a long road...don't be in such a hurry".  And I thought...HA..thanks proved your point.  I probably wouldn't have gotten what he told me had he not ran me in the ground at mile 9.  He told me on the way home that every run during the week should be in preparation for a long run--it shouldn't take away from it--at least not yet.  When I'm ready to start hills...we'll start hills...when I'm ready to do speed work...we'll start speed work...but I have to trust him to know what's best.  Agghhh would think I already learned that lesson but I guess some of us are a little hard-headed :-)

Does this remind anyone else of life?  How sometimes we try to just bulldoze through things...we're in a hurry to see results...we want to hurry and get to point "B"...and in doing so, we arrive at a problem...a "hill" very unprepared and tired.  Interesting, no?  Certainly something to think about.

Friday, July 11, 2008

rest and recovery

YAY for my day off of hitting the pavement.  I feel like I worked really hard this legs finally feel like they've worked hard this week as well.  I added one "medium" 8 mile run to my schedule this week, which I completed last night.  HA and there was an Alive After 5 festival going on downtown so you can bet my pace was a little faster than normal (had to impress all the people who don't even know me...probably didn't even notice me...and if they did, could care less).  I didn't check with my trainer (sorry dad) about adding the 8 mile run during the week, but I felt ready to do it??

Dad and I are running 12-14 miles on Saturday--knowing my dad it will be closer to the 14 end of things--and are going to start picking up some hill training next week.  YIKES!  I really want to REALLY REALLY want to qualify for Boston at the Charlotte marathon in December--but we'll see.  All I have to say is THANK GOD for the Kenyans, who are anatomically predispositioned to win WIN every Boston marathon in record time, because otherwise I'd be busting my rear thinking I could win the stinkin marathon -maybe not this year but give me a few (yeah...that's a little tiny glimpse into how my mind works--no impossibilities here folks).  At any rate, I think I am going to add a Saturday blog that documents what I learn from dad--about running and life--because I always ALWAYS take home some nice bits-o-info.  FUN!

Okay and I couldn't resist this...two more pictures--the first one, my dad took at the beach and the second one, I took of Layla (did I already mentioned how she LOVES pigs?) and her new friend Prissy the Pig.  I still can't believe how big Layla has gotten--

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

How did this happen??

My baby isn't a little baby anymore--to my complete surprise :-)

Is it just me or does a baby "speed grow" while away on vacation?  It seems like since we've returned from the beach, Layla has really grown up.  For example, two days ago, Layla and I were in the living room starting an "art project" (it really was just a pen and some white envelops to scribble on while mommy looked up a recipe online) that I thought would be easily transferable to the kitchen and her high chair.  Little did I know that she would become attached to the decorative (somewhat large) chair that she was sitting in.  Long story short, I carried the chair into the kitchen, thinking "this is definitely NOT going to work...she'll be climbing out of it in no time and then I'll have to police her with the ink pen".  To my complete surprise, she sat in her chair drawing for 15-20 minutes straight with little to no interaction with me.  I cooked an entire meal while she scribbled!  She was completely content and so proud of her work.  I'm seriously getting this little art project framed.

THEN yesterday, Layla and I spent some much needed :-) time at the park together.  I normally stick to her like glue because I have a weird fear of her falling off the playground equipment.  Yesterday...she marched (really--she marched) right over to the steps and quickly climbed up them--she's always required help on the first step because its pretty big and she's pretty little--but not not not yesterday!  So I'm thinking in my head that she'll need help going down the slide--don't want my little baby bumping her head....but, I stayed on the ground while she went down the slide (with my hand still behind her--just in case).  Surprise...she didn't really need me....I was so proud of her--proud of her but still hanging on to what baby there is left in her (according to my mom, I'll always be doing that--HA!).

SO my independent, adventurous little "bean" is starting to sprout and I couldn't be happier to go through all these little milestones with her.  I guess for her to be independent means I'm doing my job--this "not needing" me for things is like getting a good performance review at work, right? :-)

Sunday, July 6, 2008

the beach

WELL...we are just now getting in from at week at the beach with the fam!  It was so so so much fun to experience vacation with Layla--not just the beach, but time with family.  Layla was amazing.  She laughed more than I've ever heard her laugh, she rolled around in the sand, and she had NO fear--I mean NO fear--of the ocean.  I love her adventurous little spirit!  

The car trip was surprisingly easy.  We stopped with my parents at an ice cream/fruit stand that my dad (and now Neil and Layla) loves...and then we stopped for lunch.  Layla slept for about an hour in the car...but was perfectly content while awake.  As soon as we unloaded the car, we all went to get a quick look at the ocean....Layla went she was just overcome with emotion.  She literally squealed with delight when she saw the waves.  It must have been amazing to see the ocean for the first time.  Neil and I could hardly keep our hands on her.  She insisted on running into the ocean all by herself--even after falling face first into the salt water!

And, thanks to my family, she is really into hugging and kissing everyone (she even attempted to hug a group of bikers--complete with tattoos , long hair and leather--while we were out one afternoon).  My aunt finally tried  to explain that we only really hug and kiss people that we know--I'm sure Layla really understood that :-)  She has also started "fussing".  She has this tone in her voice and kind of says "nnaaannnaaannnaaa" over and over, stomps her feet and even sometimes shakes her little head.  Layla's nana (my mom) found it quite comical.  Even a random lady at the beach laughed at her while she fussed about getting more sunscreen applied to her arms and shoulders.  I guess it is pretty funny, although I hide the fact that its funny from Layla otherwise I risk encouraging her-- it definitely beats the tantrums though.

Layla and her older cousin, Bradyn, really got the chance to bond and I was so happy to see them play so well together.  He helped her with her sand buckets and shovels and she helped him plow down his sand castles.  And Layla had a few days of being super attached to my mom and my aunt...I guess because (a) she loves them and (b) they make such a big deal out of her and who doesn't love that kind of attention.

This week at the beach really made me feel so blessed to have such an amazing family--my hubby, my sweet little Layla, my mom, dad, brother sister-in-law, nephew, aunts, uncles and cousins.  

AND and I did run every--EVERY--morning at 5:45am.  We ended up logging about 35 miles for the week.  YAY!

Layla and Neil visiting with the octopus at the Aquarium.  She was hilarious and so much like her daddy.  She hardly enjoyed a single fish tank because she was so anxious to see what was next.  She did, however, enjoy the octopus for a brief moment...

Day one at the beach and she couldn't                    Layla had a strange fascination with the sand--
get enough!  This was one of the rare                        we called it exfoliating...but she rubbed it 
moments that she let someone hold                      everywhere.  Our skin has never been so soft :-)
her hands in the water.

This was on the way down to the beach at the ice cream/fruit stand.  Layla's very FIRST ice cream cone!