Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Looking Back.....

Ever have a moment, hear a song, smell a smell....and in a second you are taken back to a time, a place, a memory??

It happens. I try not to let it. Not because the memories are bad, but because they are so good.

As far as family and home go, I had the best growing up. I loved my life growing up in the country. I loved having horses, pigs, cats, dogs, deer, bugs, gardens, barbed wire fences to crawl under. I loved the smell in the old shed where we kept the barrel of oats and the saddles and bridles. I loved playing for hours out in the woods with my sister, and secretly loved pulling tansy and gathering firewood with my dad. Or was it the Snickers and "pop" I was rewarded with that I loved? Doesn't' really matter. It was perfect. We were together, happy.....and it was perfect.

Years go by, lives took different courses. While I treasure every second of my childhood, it is hard to let myself think about how 'perfect' things once were. Sure, my kids hear stories all the time about my life growing up. But they hear about these at home. The truth of the matter is that the tears are only a few blinks away, and it's not something I can talk about in public.

So, Saturday morning we were working in a territory that Brian checked out last week. I knew it was going to be difficult for me. We drove out to the Castle Rock Staging Area to park, and began the walk back up the road to the ranches. The smells and sounds hit me, each bringing wave after wave of memories. Watching Emma and how excited she was to be near the horses, priceless. She had rehearsed her presentation and was using an article on Arabians.....she just happened to be the one that got the Arabian ranch. She was taken back to the stalls and introduced to many horses. At another ranch she got to go to the stalls and pet them. The smell of leather and horse manure was in the air all morning long, and I loved it. Sophie and I were having more of a "Castle Rock" (being the name of the town I grew up in in WA, as well as one of our favorite parks here in CA in our territory) morning. The 3 doors we did find home were the scary, "get off my property", "so sad you make your kids do this", door slamming in your 7 year olds face type of doors. More memories.

After walking of the territory and coming to a trail head, Brian headed back to get the car. We had about 20 minutes to kill.....with the copious amounts of horse poo around, I could not suppress a story about the kids grandfather and the joys that can come from poo flinging...just not at cars.

After taking a few pictures of Bubba on this gate and seeing my dad in each one.....

And after taking pictures of this fence and telling the brother waiting with us about a specific section of fence that my sister and I would always crawl under, 9 times out of 10 not low enough to the ground, and not fast enough when a mama cow is chasing you....
I was having a hard time blinking fast enough to keep the tears back.

We headed home later in the day......and it was time to plant the rhubarb. I had been having a hard time finding any locally, and mentioned it to a friend. She had access to some in Sacramento, and brought me a hardy root, as well as some stalks she cut. I planted it in the far corner of the garden. I spent the rest of the afternoon making my first (of many to come) rhubarb pies. I haven't had one since I was a kid. We always had a large bush down in the corner of the field and mom made the best pies! I had no idea how she made them or what recipe she used or if I was doing it right, but when I took my first bite, it tasted just like it did when I was little. There is nothing like a rhubarb pie! It was a first for the kids and they all liked it!While my kids are growing up in a much different environment than I, I hope they look back on their childhood with as fond of memories as I look back on mine.

Friday, April 22, 2011


San Fran Marathon 2010

We are officially in week 2 of training! 14.5 weeks to go until we again take to the starting line of the San Fran Marathon!! I can't believe time has gone by so quickly! I remember so vividly the details of that day, the pain, fatigue, and of course, the picture that summed it all up.......
San Fran - trying to keep my eyes open

Well, let's not repeat that face this year! While I feel like we were well prepared and well trained and had put in the miles needed to complete and possibly PR, even before the leg cramp at 4 am, I know I did not feel as strong going into San Fran as I did the Long Beach or Napa Marathons. In fact, Long Beach was by far our strongest and most well run marathon. We did indeed Run the whole distance, even running through aid stations, and stayed on our planned pace the entire run. I was at a comfortable race weight, meaning..and this is just my personal measure of "comfortable"...I can run long distances and not feel pain in my hips, lower back, collar bones (where sports bra hits), ect. I think most of us have that 5-10 lb fluctuation, especially this time of year coming out of winter. Long Beach is in October...after doing long runs all summer in 80-90 degree weather, I went into it at my lowest and most comfortable running weight. Long Beach Marathon

While I was lean, I definitely had more muscle mass in my quads, hamstrings, and calves. How??....and what is the point of this rambling???
The goal this time around in training for San Fran is to replicate our training pattern used for Long Beach. San Fran was more mileage oriented. We put in just over 400 training miles for San Fran. More than enough to get the job done. Most of those miles, however, were done on the Iron Horse and Ygnacio Valley Loop trails....flat. Long Beach training was done entirely at the Lafayette Reservoir, excluding long runs. We logged 372 training miles for Long Beach. With most of those miles being "Reservoir"miles, it was more than enough to get the job done, and feel strong while doing it. If you are not from around here, or not familiar with the Lafayette Res, well, it is anything but flat. Here is the elevation profile. There are 2 short, flat sections that I can think of, but other than that, you are going up, or down. It is an amazing leg workout!! Especially considering I was pushing a double jogger full of Emma. Here is a peek at our Long Beach training log....All the 5 and 8 milers you see are Res miles. We kept our long runs on the Iron Horse and flat. Consistency, dedication, focus, keeping our nutrition on point....we were on top of our game for Long Beach. Let's face it, it was our first marathon, and we were a bit terrified. We were determined to do everything possible to ensure we could complete this thing that was a "marathon". We feared it, respected it, and because we weren't really sure of what "it" was, we wanted to give ourselves every possible advantage. We were going to run every mile of our training miles, never missed a single run, payed attention to everything that went into our mouths, ratios of fat/protein/carbs, set out our water bottles in the morning and made sure they were all drank before we went to bed, never, really...never missed a strength training workout-4 a name it, we did it. And it payed off.
Since then I think we are WAY more relaxed about the distance. We've done it. We know what it feels like. We know our bodies know how to respond and what to do and how bad it will hurt. I think going into Fresno's Two Cities Marathon, we had a 'Been there, done that" attitude. Granted, we also knew we were pushing the limit of what we should have attempted our first year of real running. I would not recommend doing 4 fulls a year for new runners, or full complete training cycles a year the way we train. I think my burnt out attitude showed going into the Surf City Half.Surf City Half Marathon

I was content with the lack of training we had done. I had no desire to attempt a PR. I walked when I wanted, stopped and chatted, took pictures....if you know me at all you probably knew something was up. The truth of the matter is that I don't really enjoy running a race if I don't feel strong. If I go into a race knowing I am not at the top of my game, it bugs me. I am not just physically weaker, it takes a huge mental toll. I think that showed through with each marathon last year. The more run down and beat up my body got as the year progressed, the less I enjoyed it, and the harder it was to stay mentally focused.
I miss going into a race and knowing I am the strongest I have been. Knowing I chose the hardest route possible for training runs. Knowing I was on top of my nutrition from day one of training. Knowing I have done the time in my workouts, and chose the heavy weights because it hurts more and I liked it. I miss standing at the start and knowing I am in the best shape possible. Period.
So, here we are. Starting a full 16 weeks out from game day. The first 4 weeks are more about establishing our "routine" and less about following the miles they have on the schedule. Our run pattern is short/medium/short/long, with mid week runs at 5 and 8 milers. Long run will be 10 this weekend. We are far enough out that we will hold for 2 weeks at each long run, so we will do 10's for two weeks, then 12's for 2 weeks, ect. We will be at the reservoir as much as possible for our 5 and 8's. That is 2 and 3 laps around. It is more difficult now that Em is too big for the jogger because it means she runs a lap w/us, and then Brian and I will have to alternate following laps, one stay at the park w/kids and one run, then switch....but it is doable.
I am so looking forward to attacking this training cycle. I am not content to go into San Fran with a "just want to finish" outlook. I want to finish strong, run strong, start strong....I don't want any race photos where I look like I am on deaths door. I may not be able to control whether or not I get a random leg cramp during the night before, but I can control every run and workout and thing that I eat between now and then. It's totally up to me to get it done and do all I can to be standing at that starting line feeling 100% confident. It may sound like an "All or Nothing" outlook, and it is. I have always known that is how I function, all or nothing. That is how I got to 276 lbs...doing nothing. And...that is how I lost 120 it my all. I have always been all or nothing, and have found over the past 2 years that when it comes to running and training, it has to be "all" or I am not content. So here's to diving into the next 14.5 weeks, 100% "All"!!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Disney Announces New Race!!

Additional info can be found HERE

Monday, April 18, 2011

Monday, April 11, 2011

Weekend Wrap-Up

Time is flying by this month!
April is always an exciting and fast paced month for us.
Both of my girls age another year in April, and although it's only 1 year, they seem to get 5 years older every April.
There's always a flurry of excitement and buzz among our friends over the "special activity" that takes place every April.
The last few days of this week will involve doing mani's and pedi's and a spa night (at home) with my girls. Outfits have been planned, and I'm sure a battle will ensue about 5 o'clock Sunday over letting me do up-do's for our special night. In the end they will let me because I promise them a Schooner Sundae at Claim Jumpers every year after our special night.

April has also taken on another "special activity" is the month we begin training for San Fran marathon. We are starting this week, 16 weeks out from the big day. We normally start 12 weeks out, but could use the extra weeks this go round. Our schedule will be printed, tweaked, and posted on the fridge tonight...more about that later.

As for the weekend, it flew by. Saturday was a "long day" for us, but very fun and the kids are holding up so well. We had a bit of a contest going seeing who would run out of the invitations we have been handing out first. I think I won, despite Sophie's attempt to get rid of a few faster by leaving her bag out where Kona could get it. Because Saturday ended up being a longer day than planned, we were able to get most of the rest of the garden in on Sunday. OSH was having a sale on veggies, so we got the rest of what we wanted to plant, as well as some pavers to put in over by the fire pit. Sunday was also date night for Emma and papa. They went to Build-a-Bear and the book store and had dinner at Fresh Choice. Sophie, Bubba and I headed out on foot and bike for a short run over to the shopping center by home. We hit Ross for some Kona toys, then they wanted to go to the Dollar store. Two kids, $20 and 2 huge bags later and they thought they had scored big time! Then they wanted to go to the Yogurt Shack, so we did. Then we ran home. Even though it was Em's special night w/papa, I try to do something special for the other 2, too.
Once we were all home, we got the plants in the ground, sunk the pavers, and lit up the fire ring for our first family roast. Brian resorted to charcoal and lighter fluid w/wood on top. Whatever works!
As for running, we did a short 3.5 mile loop from home on Friday, and I did 2 miles round trip from the shopping center....that's it. Thus the 16 week training schedule over the 12 week. We need the extra time to get back into a regular schedule and routine.
As for now...out the door to meet the hubby for our lunch break 5 miler!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Proud of My Sophie

Sophie, our newest Un.Bap. Publisher!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

The Best Life

In every way that sums up what our focus is on this month. I know this is a fitness oriented blog, and it always will be. I don't' talk much about our "life" outside of our running, diet, and adventures.....but there is a lot of "other life" going on amidst all the fun things I blog about here.
But for this month, our lives will be very busy on weekends, and not with racing.
Brian and I both had more than a few moments this weekend of walking down the street with our kids, in the sun, having that calm, peaceful feeling of knowing we have a pretty amazing family, and a pretty amazing life, and we were having about as perfect a weekend as we could possibly have!
Besides putting in long days in the special activity we are doing, we also managed to put in the beginnings of a huge garden! I also got some plants in the ground along the back of the house, which really brightened things up back there. We also put in a fire ring on the far side of the house for camp fires. Yesterday I dove into what was the last major area that needed overhauled. The side of the house. (see pic on left for a before) It had been taken over by some sort of weed/plant that looks like a wild geranium of some sort??? ( I should mention we have only lived in this house for a few months, so I am still not sure what is growing where) After about 6 hours of weeding, it looked wonderful and clean! We attempted to have a fire last night, but due to some green wood I put in from the trees I trimmed, it was mostly smoke and not fire....but we are looking forward to spending many evenings out around the fire in the future!
As far as running/working out goes...I started off the week great! Did a 5 miler on Monday and again w/Angela on Tuesday. I then spent 3 hours in a squatting position (I have since learned to sit down on the ground) weeding the garden bed. I have never had such sore hamstrings!! Not even post marathon. I knew they were getting a workout as they were quivering towards the end, but I wanted to get it all the way weeded, so I kept going. I tried to run again on Thursday w/Brian, but barely got 1/4th of a mile and I knew I couldn't push through. Friday and Saturday went by, still sore. I had Brian roll them out with a rolling pin (we don't' have a foam roller) which usually helps, but it didn't. By Sunday evening though, I was running no matter what, and we got an 8 miler in. It was a great way to wrap up an even greater weekend!
In a week and a half we will be printing out our next marathon training schedule!! I am so excited to get back into our training routine! I have seriously missed the structure and discipline it brings. I can't believe we are starting training for San Fran already as it seems like yesterday that we ran that marathon. I remember the details so vividly it's hard to fathom we are already starting training again, a year later. I have not had a single leg cramp of any kind since the morning of that marathon....hopefully it will feel like a totally different race this year!
Our plan of attack as far as training will be totally different than last go round, but I will post more on that when the time comes!
Myles and me on our 8 miler Sunday evening. He insists on wearing one of my foil race blankets everywhere he goes these days : )
More pictures from the weekend here.

Friday, April 1, 2011

One Last Muddy Pic

We really did have fun! Looking back through the pictures, my mouth was open hootin and hollaring the majority of the time! This pic is when we thought we were crossing the finish line but really we were crossing an automated photo station, not the finish. It made a good picture, though! Good times : )