musings on running, life, and everything in between


Marathon Training, Parenting, and Whether It Gets Better

I am struggling lately to find the time to get everything done, including this blog. I am officially two posts behind, one for the Last Chance Marathon race recap and one for the trip I made to California over a month ago (and running my 20 out there). Anyhow…

I was thinking earlier about the “It gets better campaign…” yesterday. Specifically, the one some mom bloggers created for surviving the toddler years. You can check it out here, although it’s long.

I was thinking about this as my two NON-toddlers (i.e., 4 and 6) were freaking out about not wanting to take baths. There was writhing on the floor, hysterical crying, and wails of tortured agony. Baths, people.

And I started thinking about that video (since a friend of mine is wrestling with sleep deprivation and a 4 month old), and I wondered, “Does it get better?” Humorously enough, another blogger beat me to it. It doesn’t get better, it just changes, ha.

I thought about it some more and I realize it’s akin to the “you’re almost there” comments you’ll hear at a marathon. People mean well, and maybe for them it seems like almost there. But when you’re at mile 22 and you have 4 miles left, more miles than most of them will run that day, it’s not “almost there.” In fact, unless I can see that finish line, I am not almost there so you’d better shut your pie hole and find something else to encourage me with.

As I sent comforting texts to my friend with the newborn, I realized that Scary Mommy (the second link) is right. It doesn’t get better exactly; it just changes. My kids had reflux, latched poorly, had horrible acne, and slept badly. Now they have tantrums, can get out of their own beds and come into mine in the middle of the night instead of crying out, and fight with one another. They demand “cuddles” from me in screeching, decibel-busting voices. They’re potty trained, but I still wipe one of their a$$es and have accidents from the other one.

So it depends on the day whether I think it’s better. Maybe it’s more akin to different training cycles. Each marathon training is still hard, but it’ll be hard or easier in different ways each time. But it’s never easy and it’s not for the delicate soul. And you can suck it if you tell me to “appreciate every moment cuz it goes by so fast.” Some of these moments can’t go by fast enough. But I will cuddle my kids and love them as much as I can each moment because, good or bad, “This too shall pass.”

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Another day, another mile

It is officially late spring/summer around here, which means it’s raining or extremely humid. Bleh. Either way, it saps the energy right out of you! Today’s early morning run was originally started as a 6 miler, which got cut to 5.5 and then walking the last half. I did a 4.5 mile run last night (in training for Ragnar), that I was hoping to hit 5. It was so dark last night and my Garmin doesn’t have a nightlight that I couldn’t see the mileage until I got home. I was at 4.46 and almost cried, forced myself to the end of the block (because God forbid I run a “weird” number) to get to 4.5 and called it a day. Jen K and I discussed how it better not be humid for Ragnar cuz our “speedy” times aren’t going to be so speedy.

Speaking of Ragnar and people who are going to be awesome, I got to run with this lady and her entourage last week. Kelly is not even 3 months post-partum and she is AMAZING. I went out to meet her thinking, “Oh, this will be a nice easy run with the post-partum lady and her baby AND her dog.” NOPE. We were pushing sub 9’s almost the whole way. I wanted to ask her to slow down, but I was embarrassed, cuz you know, I just ran a marathon, and she’s pushing a stroller, and holding on to a dog, and I’m running carefree. Boohoo. Her daughter is cute as a button, though, and totally just slept the whole time. I need to meet up with Kelly another day when she’s awake so I can get my baby fix. Get this, though, sometimes she runs with the DOUBLE stroller and the dog. And here I am complaining about running by myself in the humidity.

BTW, that ended up being a ridiculous 9 mile run because my GPS crapped out on me and I wasn’t sure what time I started running. I was super-tired by the end. I swear, running without a plan makes me crazy. I ended up running a 40+ mileage week last week because I had no plan. As much of a creature of chaos I am, that is exactly why I need a plan. Left to my own devices, I will run entirely too much or not at all. I still need to sit down and decide what I’m using to train for the fall. I think I’m going to do a mashup of my two coached plans and one of Pfitzinger’s Advanced Marathoning plans. I’ll keep you posted, or feel free to chime in with plans you like!

Here’s the splits from Saturday’s long run. You gotta say, we’re consistent if nothing else! And I was happy to see that we picked it up for the last couple miles.


Finally, we’ve been trying to get out and enjoy the weather more since it’s getting warmer. We went to the zoo where Iseul got to try some new forms of transportation. We also finally have an almost fully-functioning (we still need grass over the dirt) backyard so we’ve been eating outside alot. We had an awesome paver patio put in and had our rotted, collapsing back stairs rebuilt. We also called 1800-GOT-JUNK to haul away several large piles of lumber, junk, and landscaping stuff this past weekend. It was awesome.

10359232_10153108201497949_394853080393721021_nAnyhow, it’s already almost halfway through the week! Hooray! Hope you had a great weekend. Happy running!

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Marathon training is like locking yourself into a personalized prison cell

Today was the first 20 miler of the season.

It was hard.

I’m not entirely sure why it was so hard. It was surprisingly hard. While it’s not like I want to run 20 miles every weekend, most of last year’s were surprisingly doable. They didn’t feel like an immense struggle for big chunks of it. Today’s was a different story. The last 8 miles were torturous, and I found myself having to talk myself through it much like I would the last 6 miles of the marathon. I went to a dark, lonely place. My two friends were similarly locked in their own individual prisons as all conversation shut down, though I think at one point I jeered, “You’re almost there” to Jen. We even stopped running as a group but strung out single file. It was grueling. Granted, it was 32 degrees and a 12mph headwind the whole way back. And we had already run the toughest week of training, with almost 40 miles for the week before the long run. Oh, and Jen’s kid had barfed all over his room right before she was ready to leave. Like barf on the ceiling and on furniture. Hm, maybe I’m starting to understand…

There was a hill right before an overpass around mile 18.5. There was alot of cursing. This picture makes it look like nothing. That’s Jen in front of me in our little line of runners. She was very intent on finishing as soon as possible although I kept hollering at her to not push the pace too much.

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I have no words of wisdom on how to talk yourself through those miles. Alot of it is just trying to find a groove to settle into so that you are on auto-pilot and your feet keep shuffling along. This autopilot can be a great thing on a strong run, and it can be a saving grace on a hard run. I like to think of it as perpetual motion or inertia. It’s easier to keep moving if you keep moving, harder if you stop.

When you get into that head space, though, it’s hard to talk yourself through. You have to constantly nudge, encourage, berate yourself to keep moving. You lie to yourself and say you “only” have x miles left, you can do this, etc. I actually was thinking about this line, “We make the road by walking.” I know it in relation to a book by Ira Shor and Paulo Freire (two critical education scholars), but I’m not sure if it originates with them. My baby attempts (Googling for 5 seconds) at finding the origin online brought me to a poem by Antonio Machado, a turn-of-the-century Spanish poet. Whether it begins with him or not, the poem is lovely and appropriate.

Wanderer, your footsteps are
the road, and nothing else;
wanderer, there is no road,
the road is made by walking.
Walking makes the road,
and on glancing behind
one sees the path
that he will never trod again.
Wanderer, there is no road—
Just foam in the sea.

Our reward for this test of mental and physical strength? Strong, hot coffee. Mmmmmm. This is a fairly cute picture, but I have to be honest. I cropped part of it out, because my outer layer had a pouch that made me look pregnant and Michelle (in the middle) had a waist belt that hung in an–uh–“interesting” spot.You can still see my bad tired posture, though. And #nofilter

2015-03-22 09.57.06I will say that I am glad this week is finally over. While the training plan still has another 20 miler, since all the weekly mileage is less from here on out, I consider it taper! Woohoooo!!

So, friends, what do you use to get yourself through those tough miles?

Favorite post-run treat?


Where the tooth fairy (and my training schedule) is a thing of nightmares

The last two days have been rest or easy days. I desperately wanted to get to a yoga class yesterday, but my schedule was a tough one. Too many moving parts that never quite synced up. Mondays are generally hard for everyone, but this week was going to be particularly rough. I have a new class kicking off tonight and meetings almost every day that require me to be on campus. I know, boohoo, you have to actually show up at your job to work? But seriously, I chose to be a professor precisely so I didn’t have to go to the same place everyday at the same time. True story. About 14 years ago, I had this conversation with my husband/then-boyfriend:

Me: I cannot handle this going to work everyday to the same place. At the same time. It’s brutal.

E: You realize that you just described working in general right? Like that is what a JOB is.

Me: No, there is a job out there that I won’t have to do that. I will find it!

I know, reach for those starry-eyed dreams, folks. You too can fulfill them. Ha. Anyhow, this week’s training schedule is brutal too. It makes me tired looking at it–like tired in a “I’m going to softly cry to myself and crawl back in bed. Wake me when it’s over” kind of way. Up for bat today, a 9+ mile run that involves 5x1000s, Thursday’s speed is a 10 mile tempo, and the two “easy” runs this week are 7 and 8 miles. Oh, and then this weekend is the first 20 miler. Wanna cry yet? I do.

Finally, our house has been one discussing teeth alot. My son has lost two teeth already (within a short timeframe) and insists another is loose. All of his teeth came in quickly as a baby, so I guess they’re falling out in succession (I still remember his wails of terror when I told him that all his teeth would fall out as he got older. It IS a bizarre thing). Anyhow, we have not done the tooth fairy in my house. Mostly through laziness than any specific principle. I started wondering what the tooth fairy was even about. It seems one of those bizarre old rituals stemming from way back when. It’s not. It’s only been around in its more familiar incarnation the last 30-40 years and really maybe since the 1920’s in a similar fashion. Before that, there’s discrepancies. Ultimately, the realized that losing teeth is traumatic and sad for child and parent. So people would burn teeth (something about the afterlife), leave teeth for rats or mice (so their children’s teeth would grow in as strong as a rodents), bury them (or dispose of them in some other fashion) to prevent witches from gaining access to them to use in magic against you, or even feed them to animals like dogs or hogs (again so your children’s teeth would grown in strong like theirs). All in all, none of the stories made me particularly interested in pursuing the tooth fairy in our house. More defense for lazy parenting, I know. My son DID swallow his first tooth and then promptly lost his second one somewhere in his room so it’s been easy to ignore.

I didn’t have any great pictures for this post. I thought about putting up some of the “evil tooth fairy” pictures I googled, but I’ll save you those nightmares.

Do you participate in the tooth fairy ritual in your house? Why or why not? And how much do you give?

Any tricks to getting through hard weeks (training or otherwise)?