Sunday, January 25, 2015

On A Snowy Curb

Snowy run at Flying J
The dreaded debate on junk miles. Yesterday I sat there and contemplated and contemplated, I looked at my shoes, the treadmill, the hill outside my house. Sure I could go get 4.5 miles to say I hit 50 this week, but are those 4.5 miles actually going to help me prepare for my next race? Are they actually going to be of any quality? The answer was no. 4 miles in January was not going to make or break my season. And so I settled for a few less miles than I had planned for the week. But I got in some quality speedwork, a family run pushing the B.O.B., and loads of snowy slog miles almost a foot of snow at times. Those extra hard miles have to count for something right? 

This week I also began to answer the question what next. So I registered for Run Rabbit Run 100 in September. Dan is really focused on the Never Summer 100k and decided he wasn't sure he really wanted to commit to a 100 miler after that. So that left RRR for me. I'm still trying to psyche myself up for Cow Creek...that might take the next 8 months to prepare for, but otherwise I'm excited to go back to Steamboat. Its a great town for the race, easy to manage with James and Fish Creek Falls is worth the cow manure. I still have to figure out my race schedule leading up to that and tweak my training a bit. I was starting to make a big push now for Leadville, but I can probably back off and ramp up again since the race it quite a ways off. But small steps I have a goal race for the year and that's the most important part. 
Family run at Bear Creek

I've been busy getting things updated for the World Down Syndrome Day Virtual Run/Walk as well. That little pet project of mine actually takes more time than I thought it would. I'm determined to make it bigger and better than last year. Hoping for 500 participants which would more than double last years numbers. I've got to get cracking though as we're getting close to race day!

Who needs preschool? I'm going to be a musician!
The highlight of this week was also getting up at 3:00 am on Tuesday morning to go register James for preschool. Seriously it was crazy! Apparently the first 10 people in line had gotten there at 9:00 pm the night before and camped out! There was even a cop there to watch out for crazy mom fights I guess. What we would do without Ipads and Kindles I have no idea. I sat on that curb freezing for a good 3.5 hours reading a book. I mean what else are you going to do in the cold, dark early hours of the morning? I'm usually only up at this time to run...certainly not stand in line for well just about anything. Except for preschool I guess. 

Preschool has been the bane of my existence lately. Public preschool is the only way James will still get therapy once he turns 3...well aside from private therapy. But then I learn that therapy is based on access not necessarily need. So because James can access the classroom and playground he won't qualify for PT. Because he's somewhat independent fora 2.5 year old he won't get much OT and will get limited speech. So that made me wonder if it was even worth it. Mind you public preschools don't seem to be geared towards working parents. Our home preschool's full day program ends at am I supposed to do that? It's 20 min from my office. And half day is 9:15-11:15. I flat out refused to look at the school with the special ed program. My thinking was if he's not registered there they can't put him in the special ed room. We'll see how that plan works. I will fight tooth and nail on this one if I have to. I understand for some kids the special ed room is where they need to be. But I have been fighting for 2.5 years to keep James with his peers because he progresses so much more when he sees other kids doing things. Maybe at some point in the future he will need the special ed room, but for preschool I want him in an integrated classroom. 

This all led us to waiting in line at 3:00 am. The preschool near my office has a full day program that goes until 5:00 which is why it's so popular. I'm not sure James is really ready for that, but since the school is basically next door to his daycare and my office I can shuttle him between daycare and preschool relatively easily. Plus I really like that while this school does not have a special ed classroom they do have a special ed team onsite. And they have several kids who are non-verbal so they felt comfortable handling James' communication needs. For now this is the plan...if he gets in. We should find out in early Feb, but by my calculations I think we got into the half day program. Fingers crossed. If not private preschool and private therapy it will be. Sometimes I just have to find that balance between what works for our family and what James needs. I would never take something James needs away from him, but if I can find another way to make it work so I don't go crazy than that's the compromise we need to find and work out. 
And somehow found time to make a homemade
gluten free deep dish pizza

Now comes the next preschool battle...the dreaded IEP (individualized education plan). I'm prepared to fight and anyone who really knows me knows you do not want to fight me. I will fight for James to be in an integrated room with everything I have. I know that's what he needs right now. It'll be easier to move him to special ed later than it will be to get him out of special ed if it's not working or what he needs. 

Week January 19 - 25

Miles Running: 45.5
Hours Hiking and Running: 8

Monday: 3.5 miles; literally running errands

Tuesday: 5 miles; hill sprints at Flying J

Wednesday: 6 miles; neighborhood laps in the blizzard around 9" of fresh snow

Thursday: 8.5 miles; at Apex with Sandra, front trails somewhat packed down, but Grubestake was pretty bad definitely could have used microspikes

Friday: OFF

Saturday: 11.0; laps around Flying J during naptime

Sunday: am: 4 miles at FJ; late am: 7.5 miles with the boys at Bear Creek so warm it was wonderful!

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Now What...

In case no one believes that someon
didn't actually get in!
I should know by now that as soon as you have a plan and your training is going well something will derail that. I don't know why I assumed I would be getting in to Leadville, but I did. I've read a few other people saying they assumed the same thing...except they got in. So far I think I've seen one other runner who didn't get in. But while everyone else got congratulatory letters welcoming to dig deep this summer I was left with an empty race schedule. I never expected to get in to Hardrock so it wasn't a let down when my name wasn't picked. But to be one of two people to not get into Leadville was just downright disappointing. It's going to take a few weeks to regroup and figure out what my new schedule will be. I keep reminding myself that not getting into a certain 100 ranks pretty low on the scale of things to feel bad about so I need to pull up my big girl pants and move on to another race. What that will be who knows, but I'm sure it will be an adventure!

I think I also felt bad about Leadville because I had put in another really solid week of training, especially for January. My speedwork felt easier which said to me that it was paying off. I got in some good vertical for January. Getting vertical in January means a lot more time on feet for less miles so it's not always super easy. 

Elk Meadows
Dan and I had an awesome run at Elk Meadows on Friday. There were some slow sections for sure, but it was really good to get out for a longer run on some mountain-ish trails. We went up Bergen Peak and for the most part the trail was really runnable. There was a section along the top that was really crusted over and hadn't been packed down and a few icy spots, but overall it was in great condition. 

And warm temps over the weekend meant I was dreaming of spring. A very dangerous situation since it is still only mid-January. We have a lot of winter left, but it was amazing to get out in shorts and a t-shirt several times this week. 

James' swim lessons went even better this week! It has taken him awhile to get used to the new setting and new people, but this week the real James was starting to peak through. He absolutely loved jumping into the pool and climbing back out and pushing off the wall. He's getting kicking down too! It's pretty fun to watch him enjoy it so much. Lately every day James seems to be showing more and more progression with communication. This week he nailed all done as in verbally. He rarely even needs you to cue him to use the words rather than the signs now. Of course he sometimes gets so excited he can say it that he forgets he doesn't actually mean all done! But hey it's progress. And everyday on the way home as soon as we turn onto our road I see him sign Dada in the rearview mirror. Its definitely a blast to watch his development lately.

Week January 12 - 18

Miles Running: 50.8
Hours Hiking and Running: 8.75

Monday: Off

Tuesday: AM: 4 miles fast on the treadmill; PM: hill sprints at Apex 30s/1min/2min/2min/1min/30s

Wednesday: 7.1 miles easy on Green Mountain bike path

Thursday: 9.5 miles at Apex with Allisa

Friday: 14 miles at Bergen Peak at Elk Meadows with Dan

Saturday: 7.5 miles super icy FJ run

Sunday: 6 miles pushing James at Bear Creek, almost too windy to take him but he had a great time
Elk Meadows

Loving the warm towels from the sauna

Learning guitar

Football Sunday!

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Training Time

sunny run at FJ
The first full week of training for the year and I was determined to stick to my training plan. Of course I have no idea just how well this training plan will work, but its something I put down on paper for myself and that's more than I usually do. Usually my training plan consists of a long run thrown in somewhere, telling myself I should do speed work on Tuesday or Thursday (only because those are the days we always did speed work in college) and then run 6-10 miles every other day. So a calendar with handwritten pre-planned runs is a big step. The real test was if I could follow it. 

Overall I did really well. I did my speed work which included a two-a-day with a 4:00 am fast run! Running at 4:00 isn't necessarily hard, you actually don't even realize what you're doing until its over. The hard part is getting your body to move that fast that early in the morning. The only run I really missed was my long run went from 15 to 12. I was planning to do the run on Friday, but dang work got in the way and I just had too much that needed to get done. 

This week was also week 2 of James' swim lessons. Dan was able to come this week and the wet suit I ordered for James came just in time. He still was shivering by the end and ready to be done, but at least he didn't turn blue! Hands down his favorite part is jumping in. The kid will pull himself out of the water onto the pool edge like a pro as soon as he realizes what time it is. He's also really getting the hang of kicking! He went under water a couple times and I managed to not freak out which I considered a huge success...for both of us!

We also started with a new private therapist since our amazing therapist left the Sie Center a couple weeks ago. Well lets just say the new therapist did not live up to my standards. Maybe my expectations are too high, but James was curled in the corner of the room crying at one point. I know she had to do her evaluation so it wasn't a normal therapy, but she just didn't click with James. She hardly interacted with him even when trying to play a game to see if he could do it. She also mentioned she's never worked with anyone who was non-verbal. Well that's not what I was told when I made the appointment so I was not real happy about that. I realized when we left that James needs people who 'get' him. Not everyone will. I get that. Needless to say she is no longer our speech therapist. Another victory for me in not screwing around and giving her a thousand chances because I don't want to fire her. We'll try again with a new therapist from Children's in a couple weeks.

Week January 5 - 11

Miles Running: 48.0
Hours Hiking and Running: 7.5

Monday: 6 miles easy; Met Dan downtown for a lunch run.

Tuesday: AM 3 miles fast on treadmill before work; PM 4 miles of 8x30 sec hill sprints on the hogback! Wahoo actually did my speed work for the day!

Wednesday: OFF

Thursday: 8 miles tempo; went to North Table thinking it might be a bit dry, but I was sorely mistaken. Turned out not to be so much of a tempo run due to all the mud, had a really hard time keeping traction anywhere.

Friday: 8 miles moderate; neighborhood laps

Saturday: 7.5 miles moderate; Flying J laps, felt good and beautiful day, trail super runnable.

Sunday: 12.0 miles moderate; neighborhood laps, thought I would beat the storm but started snowing 1/4 mile into the run so mostly got to run through another white out, exhausted but legs feeling great. 

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Retrospect 2014

Super James rockin' his heart cath
Okay seriously where did this year go? It's already January again! I swear we tried to really appreciate the little things, but this year seemed to fly by. Overall it's been a great but crazy year. I look back to where we were a year ago. I was just starting to take James to private speech. He was barely babbling, had no signs and absolutely hated books. He now has a couple words, tells us stories non-stop, over 60 signs and even has a few favorite books. We still mostly stick to short board books, but at Christmas he insisted on reading Polar Express every night which was huge for him! By far the longest book that's ever held his attention. He started not only walking but running! And really has become a little boy! A terrorizing little boy, but none-the-less a cute one! 

James' year started off with a bang, or well a heart cath. But he rebounded quickly. His eye surgery was a huge success which means I think we can delay having tear ducts created for a few more years, yay! He hit the 20 lb mark which is also huge! We still have a ways to go and no end in sight for his oxygen dependence. I'm so used to living with a trail laid before me. It may be rocky and hilly but there's always been a path. As James gets older it seems more like we're having to forge our own path...blaze a trail. It can be frustrating and some days I just want there to be a plan, but I guess sometimes you just have to trust things will work out and that whatever path you make is yours and there aren't always trail signs and answers.

In terms of running it was an up and down year. I had a great race at Quad Rock and then got excited, over raced and wasn't performing as well as I wanted to be. It's a struggle to balance the excitement and energy of racing with being able to run quality races. Looking back last year I tried to cram too many races into too short a period of time. This coming year I plan to spread my races out a bit more and probably cut back on how many I do. I've always been of the mindset that a few good races is better than a ton of mediocre races. It's personal preference and I know a lot of people that would rather just race all the time even if it's not always a PR. That just doesn't seem to work for me. So time to scale back and focus on quality over quantity.

But really I can't complain too much about my season. I won money at 2 races which is 2 more races than I've ever won money at before. I held my own at a 100, which even though I wasn't in the elite field, was a mental victory for me. I got my BQ again (without training) and I got on the Pearl Izumi Champion Team. All in all I'd say I stepped it up and have been doing some of the best running I have in a long time, maybe ever. I feel really good going into the 2015 season. I'm ready to take on the new challenges and see what I can bring to the table. 

Chicago Marathon - finishing our
321 mile challenge
This past year putting family first and still getting in our training was a big focus. We got James geared up in his BOB and logged some serious miles in that thing. Almost every Sunday when the weather is good we go for family runs. Dan and I both said the moment we can't both train and have a quality family life we stop 100s. It's just not worth it to us. But I feel like we did a really good job working to find that balance this year. We are by no means high mileage ultrarunners. But that's okay, because we make each mile count and I don't think overall it's really hurt either of us. I mean really we aren't elite runners looking to make a career of this. We just want to be able to finish races and have fun in the process. 

My other plan for running this year is to focus on quality runs and to train more specifically. I know I need to get away from my comfortable moderate pace, moderate distance runs. I need to do more workouts such as hill workouts, tempo runs, intervals, fartleks. This is really hard for me to do so we'll see how long it lasts. Okay so this is a direct quote from last year and I failed miserably at it. I think taking a bit of a break at the end of the year really rejuvenated me for training, but again we'll see if I can actually make it stick this year. So far I'm 1:1 for getting my speed/hill workouts in. 

2014 Goals:
  • Sub-28:00 at Run Rabbit Run 100
  • Quad Rock 50 sub-11:00
  • Win a race, Dan said I have enough 2nd and 3rds so its time for a W
  • Gashouse-Baldy Loop sub-2:40
  • Leadville Marathon sub-4:30, okay this is VERY ambitious, but I will get it someday 4:45 is probably a more attainable goal for this year
  • Run as many 14ers as possible
  • Run the Four Pass Loop
  • 2000 miles for the year
  • Train more specifically
  • Continue to be an advocate for James and Down syndrome research
  • To help grow Research Down Syndrome
  • To give James all the opportunities I can and never be what holds him back
  • To Run Hard, Live Hard, and Love Hard

2015 Goals:

  • Leadville 100 - Big Buckle (sub-25:00)
  • Win a race, Dan said I have enough 2nd and 3rds so its time for a W
  • Quad Rock sub-10:00
  • Gashouse-Baldy Loop sub-2:40
  • Leadville Marathon sub-4:30, okay this is VERY ambitious, but I will get it someday 4:45 is probably a more attainable goal for this year
  • Run as many 14ers as possible
  • Run the Four Pass Loop
  • 2000 miles for the year
  • add speedwork to training
  • Continue to be an advocate for James and Down syndrome research
  • 500 entrants for World Down Syndrome Day Virtual Run/Walk
  • To Run Hard, Live Hard, and Love Hard 
  • Cheyenne Mountain 50k

    first baseball game

    Leadville Marathon

    Leadville Marathon

    North Fork 50

    LT 100

    RRR 100 

    Adam's Camp 
    Team B.O.B.

The world is big and I want to have a good look at it before it gets dark. -John Muir

Only those who risk going too far can possibly find out how far they can go. -T.S. Elliot 

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Training Time

I was super excited to really start my training this year. I think taking a couple months of low mileage has really paid off both mentally and physically. I feel like I'm running strong and really excited to start training again. It's basically exactly where I need to be this time of year! 

It was another tough week of getting in runs though. Cold weather meant no stroller runs and New Years meant lots of family time at home. So we painted...a lot! James loves painting and it kills a solid 30 min of time, plus I feel like I've done a good activity with James. But man by Monday I was really ready to get back to work and back on schedule. I know James really needs his schedule, but I'm beginning to realize he might not be the only one. 

I mostly did laps in the neighborhood and treadmill runs this week. Nothing fancy or super fun, but I got the miles and training in. It's just really tough when we can't just all go to Bear Creek for a run together. Now it's get runs in while James naps, which means one gets the treadmill and baby monitor and the other gets laps in the neighborhood. Not to mention all the fun stuff we put off all summer and had been trying to get done while James napped. Thankfully we've really knocked down that list over the past few months. I think the biggest improvement in my training this week was I actually changed up my runs. They weren't all my favorite moderate speed, moderate distance runs that I rely so heavily on. I didn't get in my long run, but I did have easy runs and fast runs, pushed it on some. I'm hoping I can carry this through my training this year. I know it will help my training in the long run.

Friday I also got some great news and found out I was accepted onto the Pearl Izumi Champion Team! I've been training and racing in their shoes for several years now and am excited to be a part of the team! Maybe that was the extra motivation to get my training in gear as well!
Week December 29 - January 4

Monday: Off
Tuesday: 6 miles; treadmill
Wednesday: 6 miles; neighborhood laps before the storm hit
Thursday: 8 miles; fast treadmill run
Friday: 13 miles; laps in the neighborhood then met Dan at Bear Creek
Saturday: 6 miles; snowy laps in neighborhood
Sunday: 6 miles; laps in neighborhood

Miles Running: 45.0
Hours Hiking and Running:7.0

Friday, January 2, 2015

Merry Christmas!

Christmas Eve family run
Well no week like Christmas to decide that you need to really get back at training right? I decided with a week of almost no daycare and holiday craziness I wouldn't plan a day off that way if something came up I wouldn't have already had say Monday off. Not to mention with almost no daycare I was probably going to need daily runs to take a break from the monster!

Monday started off the way every Christmas week should...with a blizzard. I saw a break in the storm and knowing I had to kill another hour before I picked up James I decided to sneak out of work to get some miles. No sooner had I left the office than the storm picked up full force. I had set up for the bike path so at least I wasn't heading straight up Green, but it was still a rough run. I managed a slow 4 miles before I had nothing left and had to get back. On a positive I got in my run on the downside I was now soaking wet for the what would be 3 hour drive home. Note to the winter always, always keep snacks in the car! 
Christmas Eve present opening

Tuesday I met Sandra for a good run at Bear Creek. We managed to keep a pretty good pace despite the snow and ice patches. Since Wednesday was somewhat warmer-ish and Christmas Eve we had to get in a family run. So back to Bear Creek. James actually stayed pretty warm with the weather shield over the BOB so we were able to get in a somewhat decent run. Christmas brought with it another storm and a cold. I still got outside for a few miles, but the cold definitely cut that run a bit short. The rest of the weekend was just about scraping together miles between the snow and the horrible cold I had. A lot of people ask me when its okay to run with a cold. My rule of thumb is if its not in your chest you're good to run. I actually felt better running so I kept running. I just had to really cut the pace back. My heart rate was skyrocketing and it was tough breathing if I tried to go too fast. It was a lot of treadmill and laps in the neighborhood, but I got it done!
heading to Christmas Eve mass

James well...let's just say Christmas may not be his favorite holiday. Christmas Eve he got made opening presents because he'd open one great gift and start playing with it and then would get mad that it was time to open another. Needless to say it took about a week to get through all the gifts and that was with a lot of help from Dan and I. We also tried to get creative with activities. There was a lot of painting and coloring, playing in the new playroom, we made cookies, and we even played in the snow. I'm not sure who was more ready for daycare to re-open James or us. Overall it was a fun week home with the boy, but I was certainly glad for a break when the week came to an end. I think I also need to pinterest more toddler activity ideas to keep us busy through this winter which is promising to be a doozy!

Week December 22 - 28

Miles Running: 50.0
Hours Hiking and Running: 7.0 
I thought I could get away without screws one day...

Getting ready to play outside

Playing with our new toys!

Making cookies