“Kids, I’m on the Treadmill…The Dog’s in Charge!”

Every Mother and Father, with small children, and a treadmill in the house, will  appreciate my last week of training.

When people first think about buying a treadmill I’m sure they have high hopes! The treadmill, of course, will be a great time saver because no longer will they have to trudge back and forth to the gym. The convenience of exercise equipment, in the privacy of their own home, will be enough motivation for them to hop on and get in a few miles each day. AND the best thing about treadmills, you can multi-task! Who wouldn’t want to be able to run their miles with their children playing quietly in the same room.  This is the ideal picture. I don’t leave the house, I save time, my kids are content and I run!

I wish! This last week of training reminded me of when my kids were little and I couldn’t get out the door and enjoy the beautiful running weather. However, I did have a treadmill, and for this I was very thankful!!

Although with little ones in the house, crawling around, I couldn’t take any chances of them getting near the treadmill. So, before I ran I had to set-up shop. I’d put one in the exersaucer, pour some cheerios around the tray, put some other cheerios in a container, (getting them out of the container would be a challenge for Tommy and hopefully would keep him busy for a few minutes longer.)  I’d put the other one in the swing, wind it up, give her a binky, give her a bottle, and hope she’d be content. I’d then instruct the older one to hand out more cheerios and wind the swing again if the little ones get crabby.  Finally, I would jump on the treadmill and hope for the best. Sometimes this worked, sometimes it didn’t. A lot of recovery days turned into tempo runs, as I was trying to get the mileage in and soothing babies and toddlers at the same time.

This week, I was watching my 3 year old niece. And it just so happened that my 2:10 minute run fell on the same day.

My morning went like this; I got my two boys, who are now 13 and 11 at school by 7:30, and my 7 year old daughter to school by 8:00. I home-school my 9 year old, Leah, and Emma, my niece was to be at our house by 7:40. I just didn’t have the motivation to get up at 4-4:30am and get my long run in before I got everyone off to school.

My only choice for my run was the treadmill.  I bribed Leah, telling her I’d pay her five bucks if she “babysat” Emma in the basement. “Color pictures with her, play barbies, watch a movie, whatever it takes, just keep her busy and content and I’ll be done in no time!”

So, my run started and this time it was great. The girls never got into an argument, they never needed or wanted anything. They just played quietly and contently as a got my 19 miles done.

The only thing that was disturbing was Leah asking me ever so often “Mom, how many more minutes now?” When she asked at 53 minutes to go, I had to regain my mental strength and tell myself I could keep going and it would be over soon enough.

Thankfully, now that my boys are older they understand, that the treadmill can get boring, so they set me up with good company. Yoda and Obi-Wan, who else would I want staring at me while I run. Every once in a while I look Obi-Wan in the eye and ask him what he’s staring at. And I really wish I could take the light-saber from his hand and swing it at him a couple of times. All in fun of course.  And then there’s Yoda who I’m always wanting to give him a high-five. He’s holding his left hand up and out and I know this is just what he wants.

This run is going so well, better than I expected. The girls are wonderful! Leah deserves 10 dollars not 5! She’s a great babysitter! I’m almost tempted to think that maybe gone are the days of winding swings, throwing binky’s at the baby in the exersaucer, yelling at the kids to stop fighting,  (it takes so much more energy to yell, in the midst of intervals on the treadmill.  It really does leave you breathless!), and begging the kids to stop crying  so I can just have 3 and half more minutes to get that last half mile in! It makes me laugh to think of all the energy it takes to get my runs done on the treadmill…and REALLY I wouldn’t change it for the world!

Oh, and if all else fails, leave the dog in charge!

Disclaimer: This is only a joke! So don’t be offended. No children or animals were hurt while I was running on the treadmill or typing this blog.

Track Day!

I woke up pretty tired today and it was really easy to want to procrastinate doing my morning run. However, knowing that today consists of a double run I knew I couldn’t wait too long to get my first run done and out of the way.

It was another gorgeous morning to run and the weather was perfect for getting on the track. I love track days! It’s a nice switch from the many miles I do on the prairie path and the roads. Iit’s always nice to be able to stretch my legs and run at a fast pace.

This mornings workout consisted of 90 minutes with 8 x 800s on the track. I can definitely tell that the last couple years I have been running mostly in marathon mode and my body still finds speed workouts a bit shocking. However, I must say the 800s this morning, felt better than the 800s I did last week, so, I feel that I am making progress and soon track workouts will feel more natural!

I finished homeschooling Leah, for the day, and my other kids are home from school. They have a couple of friends over, (aka my adopted/donated children) so our house is pretty busy at the moment. But, soon I will escape to the roads and once again regain my sanity with a 50 minute easy run!

My run…my play time.

Saucony Hurricane Launch Rep

A perfect morning for a nice, easy recovery run! I’m trying to be really disciplined on my recovery days and run at an 8 minute pace or even slower. This is hard for me as I find it much more comfortable to slip into a 7:30-7:45 pace. However, today my legs felt pretty trashed and I felt just fine right around the 8 minute pace.

Yesterday’s 5k was really small and my only goal was to go there and get a good workout not race. I figured if I could run a comfortable 6:30 pace I’d get exactly what I needed out of the run. It’s nice to go to a small race and run it as a workout and still be able to win it. ( :  I did a quick cool down, received my award, and rushed home in order to get everyone to church on time!

I was given the opportunity this year to represent Saucony as a Saucony Hurricane Launch Rep, so the rest of my day I will be visiting Dick’s Sporting Goods Stores in Lombard, Oswego, Yorkville, and Geneva to see how Saucony is doing! (I’m still homeschooling Leah and on days when I do store visits she comes with me and does her work in the car. One nice aspect of homeschooling!)

Then it’s back home to get the other kids from school, do homework, eat dinner, and get them to all their extra-curricular activities. Oh, yes, and my second workout of the day is a 90 minute P90X yoga dvd. Anyway, I don’t have any more time to waste on the computer this morning so I better get going. First stop, Starbucks…I need caffeine.

I Had a Bad Day and the Clock Don’t Lie…

Thanks Daniel Powter for the inspiration.

I don’t particularly care for your song or having bad days!! If I didn’t write a post saying I was running the Shamrock Shuffle, I very well may have stepped off the course this morning and walked away with a DNF.  However, I hate quitting and the feeling it leaves in my stomach, so I figured I’d rather set a new PR in running my slowest 8k ever than finish with a big, fat DNF.

Within the first quarter mile I learned that I was definitely not recovered from the 20k trail race I ran last Saturday. By the time I was ½ a mile into the race, I knew that I was going to have to back off and settle for a good effort tempo run instead of racing. It’s hard to swallow my pride and let runners pass me that I could normally beat, but today I had to do just that.

Thankfully, my Dick Pond/Fast Track teammates (sponsored by Saucony), Shannon Ring, Meg Sullivan, and Columba Montes , ran very well. Congrats, especially to Meg, who Pr’d today!! We are all awaiting team results and are hoping we placed in the top 5! This year’s field was really, really competitive!

Things I learned today…One; while it’s a good idea to get a good night’s sleep before a race, it might not be a good idea to take a sleeping pill the night before a race.  Maybe there are some better ideas for Insomnia?  I’ve dealt with it for as long as I can remember. Two; I need to change my training and start adding speed work. I’m excited to be working with a new coach, Carla Hastert, who will be giving me a new training schedule this week. Three; I need to start strength training again, and four; I need to suck it up and run fast. Oh, and number five;  training tip of the day…to the guy at the race with the backpack containing smokes, give that up and I’ll bet you will run faster! ( ;

Marlboros and Running

 So how did everyone else do?

Rock N Roll Chicago Half Marathon 2011

Last year, in the midst of running high mileage, while training to qualify for the olympic marathon trials, I ran the Rock N Roll Chicago Half Marathon. The race was August 14, 2011 and we were very lucky to get a beautiful morning with ideal race conditions.

Earlier in the week, I had debated about going to Wisconsin and doing a much smaller half marathon. I wanted to run a descent half, but I also didn’t want to feel the pressure to “perform,” which sometimes happens at bigger races. The reason being was I had put in two weeks of 100 plus miles and the week leading up to the Rock N Roll Half, I was already over 80 miles.

I was feeling pretty trashed and figured I wouldn’t be able to run as well as I knew I could under different circumstances. However, after talking to one of my training partners, I was convinced that on August 14th, I would just “suck it up,” ignore the pressure, put on my game face, get in the zone, and run.

I drove to the race by myself and I didn’t have any expectations. I warmed up a couple of miles, did some strides, and took my place on the starting line. I figured that once I started the race I would know, within the first few miles, if I was capable of racing or if this was going to end up being a good, effort training run.

I started off feeling great and thought I’m just going to keep running this pace until I’m forced to back off. I didn’t look at my watch. I didn’t pay attention to my splits. I just ran. I was in the zone. In fact, so in the zone, I was almost worried the effortless pace was going to come back and bite me.

Races like this don’t come around too often. There’s nothing more exhilarting then feeling like you could keep going forever. There’s nothing better than running hard, yet feeling like you aren’t putting forth any effort whatsoever. And, there’s nothing like watching the miles fly by wondering how your body just keeps going.

On August 14th, 2011, this is just what happened. I will admit around mile 10, my quads started to ache with the pain of 100 mile weeks creeping up on me, and the head wind going into the last two miles wasn’t as comfortable as the first 11. But, I knew at that point I could still over-power my body with my mind and finish strong. I was surprised when the finish clock came into view and I realized I was going to run a sub 1:20!

It was a great feeling to come to a race with tired legs and without any expectations, and end up running a 1:19:51, a new half-marathon PR. Not, only that, but during the race I ran a faster 10k and 10 mile time than I had ever done before! The 3rd place finish, in a race that big, and a nice cash prize made it even better. ( :

In 2012, I hope to run better than a 1:19:51 and set a new 1/2 marathon PR.