Thursday, March 23, 2017

Champions and Heroes

Heroes don't look like they used to...they look like you do -The Alternate Routes

Its World Down Syndrome Day again...and every year I can't help but think a bit about this journey we're on. This year has been tough. But tough in a different way. Yes, James still has delays and medical stuff, but in some ways that stuff seems like the "easy" stuff. This year has brought a new set of challenges. Just as I'm sure each year does for any kid. But this has been the year of being left out and wondering where James and I really fit in. Where you wonder if the choices you're making are really the right ones. But yet there's no guide to let you know if it is the right choice. If it is what's best. Trust your gut everyone tells you...but sometimes its not that simple. Sometimes your gut is so twisted you have no idea what its telling you.

Every time I see birthday invites hanging from the mailboxes at school I cringe on the inside. I'm not an idiot...yes I see the little envelopes and I don't need to be able to see inside to know what they are. And not once has one hung from James' mailbox. He hasn't realized yet that he's not invited. But I do and honestly that hurts worse than any news any doctor has ever delivered. That stuff I can take. And even though James doesn't realize he's not invited to play dates or birthday parties he is realizing he's being left out. I watch him stand outside a group of friends waiting to be asked to play. He runs to the teachers not his friends when he gets to school. And most mornings he doesn't want to be dropped off in his classroom. He wants to go to the other preschool room where the older kids are. He knows these kids are his friends and "get" him, even if he can't say that.

But the best part about right now is that he can say a lot! A lot more than I ever imagined he would be able to at 4. We've held conversations, albeit slow and guided, but back and forth conversations. I love getting to peak into his little world! But along with that comes comments from other parents about how they can't see pictures of your kiddo or hear about how your child talks because it makes them feel bad about where their child is at. And I know this is an age where a lot of kids still can't talk so its touchy. But now your kid isn't included with his typical peers and you're made to feel like he's "not disabled enough" for support groups or disability programs. The comparison game rages no matter if your child is typically developing or not...there are always comparisons...its sucks...but that's not going to change.

Needless to say its been a challenging year. But challenges are what I live for. They're what I willingly take on every time I click that damn "register" button for another race. And so to the challenges of raising a child with special needs...I say bring it on! Some days are 50 milers and some are 100s, some bruise you and try to break you, some bring out ear to ear grins that make your cheeks hurt from smiling and leave you in stiches from laughing. Challenges are what make us stronger, they're what teach our kids to stand up for themselves, to push their limits, to be be champions. So here's to a year full of unicorns and rainbows that have brushed off the dirt and embraced their scars!

celebrating Pi Day

We seriously got a sunset that amazing!

Staunton - a little piece of heaven

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Lets Get This Party Started

Date run to finish up a long run
Geesh I feel like I totally fell off the face of the world...its been a busy spring. Lots of traveling, work, toddlers...crazy toddlers...did I mention toddler boys? I've been keeping consistent with running and training, but then the first week in March hit and I spent a couple days taking a snowboard coaching clinic at Breck and then a long weekend in the frozen tundra. We did get some AMAZING snow in Breck and I had a blast getting back on the snow! I really hope to be able to spend more time in the winters riding in the near future. Its just tough with the boys right now. The frozen tundra was frozen...and windy...and I had zero desire to attempt a road run in that. So I took it as a last hurrah before I officially started training.

I started training off pretty well. A solid week of running, hiking and pilates...but then I realized I had exactly zero races on my schedule and staying motivated to train without having something specific to train for was probably going to be tough. So on a whim I signed up for North Fork 50. Its not really an exciting race, but the RD rocks and puts on a great race! Plus it was my first 50 and it'll be fun to see how much faster I can run now! Now I have to get it in my head to be prepared for a fast 50.

James also started a climbing class...five years ago I never thought I'd be saying that, but this kid continues to push the boundaries of other's limits and expectations for him. It wasn't a perfect class and there were a lot of tears (its was pretty busy and loud so he was kinda overwhelmed) and he didn't get nearly as high as the other kids, but he gave it his all, he climbed as best he could and overall had fun! So that's a success in my book! Rob continues to be cranky and whiny but I guess that's what 1 year olds do right? He just wants to do everything James does or be outside. Also probably not the worst things in the world.

I also managed to finish the kitchen cabinets so one project down! The rest will have to wait until next winter, but hey that was a big one and I'm glad its finally off my plate! Plus the kitchen looks amazingly better!
Don't kids always do something like this after being terrors for the previous few hours?
so thankful for warm weather and parks!

Friday, February 10, 2017

Surf City Marathon 2017 Race Report

By the time Saturday rolled around I was exhausted! Vacationing with two toddlers is hardly a vacation in the sense that there's anything even remotely close to relaxing. Really I was debating if it was too late to drop to the half. But of course actually doing that would have involved me looking up how to do it, submitting it and doing whatever else was involved and these children certainly weren't letting that happen. So the full it was going to be. Unless somehow I slept through my alarm...but the race didn't start unti 6:30 so it was unlikely that a small child or my internal alarm clock would let me sleep past that.

In true ultrarunner fashion I came running into the start line at 6:20 and then mad dashed it to drop off my gear bag and pee one last time before making it into the corral just as the national anthem began. It was a perfect 50F so I was shocked looking around at all the tights, sweatshirts, beanies and gloves. I guess not everyone else has been running in sub-freezing temps the last few months.  The course was basically exactly what I remember...a run around the bluffs, hill at mile 8 then up and down PCH and up and down the boardwalk. At least this year we were into the wind heading north which meant the wind was somewhat at our backs for the last couple miles.
The good, the bad and the ugly of the race. The good is that my last couple miles I was able to push faster than I did last year. It was probably the strongest miles 23-26 that I've ever ran. The bad: I started off waaayyy too fast. I solidly held a 7:30 pace for about 15 miles with a couple 7:15s thrown in for good measure. It gave me the confidence to know that if I trained for basically anything more than 2 weeks and actually tapered (I went into the race with 30 miles for the week and only one day off in the previous 8) that I can definitely run a sub-7:30 pace for a marathon.

The ugly: I remembered why I stepped away from road running in the first place. I am a competitive person. I don't deny that, but in trail and ultra races my competitiveness is focused much more inward. And even though in road racing I'm not gunning for a certain place it just somehow brings out an uglier side of my competitiveness. I was running with this woman for several miles around the bluffs who kept trying to pass me and obviously really didn't want to let me get ahead. I knew there was no way she could hold onto the pace for the rest of the race but I couldn't let her go. And honestly I don't have this in trail races. Sure there are some people I want to beat, but it comes more from a sense of pushing myself. Like someone is known as a 'fast' runner and I want to beat them to see if I can keep up with their caliber of running. I ended up finishing several miles ahead of this woman as she fell back like predicted. And as much as I knew this was a training race, I had barely trained, not done any of the speed work or tempo running I needed to PR I was still disappointed finishing less than 2 min back from last year. I still want to break 3 hr and I know I can if I train, but I think it might be awhile before I'm back to road racing. Not because I'm above road running, there's plenty more of that in my future, but I just don't like the competitiveness it brings out in me.

Monday, January 30, 2017

Girls Run Fast

Last week I got in the miles but my biggest fear this week was if my legs would remember how to run fast at all. I don't typically run fast and haven't even tried to run fast in months. So the goal for this week was to run as much as possible and throw in some speed work to boot.

Tuesday was supposed to be a speed workout but as I watched the freezing rain cover the ground in a thick layer of ice my motivation began to wain. With roads and sidewalks completely out of the picture I took to Green for hill sprints. Done. More elevation than I probably needed but at least I pushed the pace. Then some fast miles at Matt-Winters and Green. By Friday my ass had been thoroughly kicked...literally! I've also been doing Pilates and goodness my ass hurts. Add to that the 70 miles I've run in the last 7 days which is more than I typically run in the offseason. So when Dan said half marathon at race pace I grumbled. And then promptly knocked out a half at 7:19 pace. We'll see if I can hold that for twice as long but at least I know there is still some muscle memory there and I'm pretty stoked about that.

Just like last year I think it's good for me to remember how to run fast in the offseason. That way my legs know what to do on the flat sections in races. So it's looking like Surf City is a go. I can guarantee it won't be pretty and I'll be running a hell of a lot more with my heart than my legs and it's gonna really hurt afterwards. But in that good you worked hard and are ready to really hit the training kind of way.

one of those rare elusive smiles...brought on by eating lemon slices

finally got a family run

James started dance class

Monday, January 23, 2017

Campers and Road Running

This week I finally was able to get back to training, slow training but none-the-less it still counts as running. Tuesday I managed 2.47 miles on the bike path before I got distracted by a trail and since even on the bike path there was no way I could do speed work yet I headed straight up the hill. This marathon is certainly going to be an interesting one...

Then Wednesday was beautiful and I had to go find another trail....

Then James got strep and I was stuck on the treadmill. Fridays long run was 1 mile...that is almost exactly like a long run to some people. I was slightly panicked about how I would manage to run Surf City and realized that if I didn't find a way to make a long run happen this weekend the race wasn't going to happen. Saturday was just a busy day so a long run would mean starting at 2:30 am...I hit the TM at 4:30 am...still impressive for a Saturday but still a couple hours short. Sunday it wasn't pretty, it wasn't exciting and it was certainly not fast and flat, but 20 miles and 2900' of vert later I was done. Now if only all that vert can somehow translate to speed on flat surfaces I should be fine. I just really don't know if my legs will remember how to run fast.
never too sick to bake cupcakes

The goal for this fast...speed work...repeats...anything to wake up these legs!

I also got distracted by Dan picking up our new toy this week...ah race season is going to rock in this beast! The boys are absolutely in love! As we pulled up the driveway on Wednesday James' eye got huge and he just started screaming 'campa, campa, campa'! So if you're looking for us at all this summer we'll hopefully be spending damn near every weekend out exploring or racing in our camper! So excited about it! We're totally going to be those parents who are crushed when their kids no longer want to go camping with them. Of course we'll have to see how the first trip goes...I may be singing a different tune after that.

gotta love antibiotics...full recovery by Sunday for a hike with Daddy while I long ran away

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

A is for... had better pay off at some point
Influenza A....sometimes it feels like just as you get back to training well you get knocked right back down. Yes, I missed my flu shot this year...amidst a flurry of 30 other doctor and therapy appointments it's not always easy to remember the ones for yourself. So I missed it...probably the last time I'll do that. I went down hard. Contrary to popular belief it's not a stomach bug not the kind that you can at least walk away saying well I lost 5 lbs. Nope it's all respiratory so a runners worst dream. The positive is that the flu shots do work and the boys stayed safe of this nastiness! 
This is what happens when a runner can't run

After 4 days I was able to start hiking on the treadmill but anything faster than that and I was bent over in a fit of coughs. So my long run became 2 hours of hiking at a 15% incline. That hill at Surf City had better watch out because that's about the only part I'm trained for. I still have a couple more weeks to train so hopefully all is not lost. But Surf City will not definitely just be a training run at this point. A training run for what I'm still not certain. At some point I will post 2017 goals but it's hard to really develop my goals until I have a race schedule.

Well I'm ready to see what next week brings. Hell maybe a week of resting the legs will have been good for me and I'll miraculously be consistently running sub-7s and somehow pullout a PR!
Go Pack Go!

Friday, January 6, 2017

Back At It

finding beauty in the mundane...
Green Mountain
Runs lately just seem to be getting better and better. My times have been crazy faster than what I was running this time last year, although I was still only 6 months post baby so it may be hard to gauge. Regardless I'm feeling great, running is almost effortless and even if my mileage is lower than I'd like  I'm getting the runs in and still having family time. That may be partly due to the magic of the instant pot. Yep that has officially rocked my world! I know I appreciate the small things in life more, but seriously it's almost as good as a magic coffee table.
Trail time before Christmas Break

I had a great run at Lair of the Bear in somewhat snow packed conditions that was 18 minutes faster than I ran it this time last year. I felt great, no niggles, no stiffness, just effortless running. I definitely need to get in some long training runs if I'm going to get my ass in gear for Surf City. I still haven't totally decided if I'll run it or not, but if there is going to be any chance I'll have to start training. Of course with the lack of snow this year it's been really hard to think about any sort of road training. Last year the trails were such a mess that it was easy to take a break for a month to focus on the roads. Who knows maybe I'll just wing it! That's worked for me in the past. 

Ending Christmas Break on a high note with lots of
wagon walks

I haven't really planned my 2017 schedule yet, but Somehow Dan convinced me to register for Surf City this week. I swore last year I would train more tha 4 weeks for this race, but between struggling to get back to training and a lack of early snow to force me to the roads I now have 4 weeks to remind my legs how to run fast for a long time. I'm excited to push myself and run fast. Time to get the mileage up and start adding in some workouts. The stress of December is over so now it's time to move on and start rebuilding...and rebuilding fast! 

Christmas Even in Colorado!

Wagon Walks!!!