Monthly Archives: April 2013

A mother version of Interval Training

Text from Amy on Saturday:  Let’s hit Orting trail tomorrow and take kids with bikes.  Will pick you and Zoey up at 10 a.m.  We can do 8 miles.

Going for a run with the kiddos and their bikes?  Score!  Last summer this would have been a disaster with Zoey (the incident at Bradley Lake, where she caused a two-bike pileup after panicking in the path of another rider, is still fresh in my mind).  This year it feels manageable AND enjoyable.  But…eight miles?  That sounded optimistic.  (Read: crazy.)

We were on our way to the trail by 10:15 this morning, loaded down with kids and bikes and helmets and water bottles.  Gray clouds overhead were threatening rain but holding out for the time being.  We expertly avoided Spring Fair traffic, scored a front row parking spot at the trail head, and were off like a herd of turtles in no time.

The turtle pace turned out to be a major downfall.  The kids were having a GREAT time. Logan, the oldest child and quite the responsible one, rode ahead and circled back to check on the girls periodically.  But Zoey and Allison, although they were laughing and swerving and trying to catch Logan, just kept STOPPING.  Zoey racked up the most false starts, so let’s all start praying that by the end of this summer she can hop on her bike and go regardless of the precise position of her foot pedals.  Amy and I would work up to a good pace and settle in just in time to stop and help someone avoid oncoming bike traffic or adjust foot pedals or retrieve a water bottle.  

We made it 2.25 miles down the trail before Zoey and Allison started fading.  And, as Amy pointed out, unless we wanted to carry bikes back, we’d better turn around when the girls started to poop out.  It had only taken about 20 minutes to realize that our dream of an eight mile run today just wasn’t going to happen.

So what’s a mother runner to do?

Intervals.  That’s what.  Neither Amy nor I are much for speed work, but I think we were both eager to break a big sweat this morning.  And the stop-go-stop-come-on-Zoey-let’s-go! rhythm so far just wasn’t cutting it.  Bring on the sprints.

We were hardly scientific about it, but it was just what we needed. I know my running bible, Train Like a Mother, lays out specific amounts of time to sprint and how fast you should feel like you’re going, but of course neither Amy nor I have ever studied those training plans in depth.  So our speed sessions were more like ‘okay, let’s start at that patch of dirt and sprint to where the girls are’.  And I’ll be damned if those girls didn’t move like wildfire on the 2.25 miles back to the car, giving us a forever-moving end point for our lung-burning, heart-bursting sprints.  

But wow.  Interval training definitely puts a jolt in to what would have been an otherwise lackluster low-mileage run.  Instead of arriving back at the car feeling disappointed in not getting the long run I craved, I felt like I had gotten more bang for my four-mile buck.  

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Now I’m ready

Well, if I was waiting for motivation to jump start my spring time running, this week has really done it for me.  

That’s right.  A stubborn roll of belly pudge (my ‘winter chub’) didn’t motivate me.  Longer days and more sunlight didn’t do it, either.  An entire week to myself last week as Zoey spent Spring Break with my mom definitely helped…but the happenings in Boston this week have truly inspired me to tie on my running shoes, get outside, and RUN.  

We all wonder what could possibly cause someone to create such devastation and destruction at the site of America’s biggest, most prestigious race.  We are all feeling sad and bewildered.  But what I love about my running community is that we are also feeling PISSED.  We are not about to be undone by some whackadoo with a religious or political point to prove.  People train their entire careers to qualify and make it to Boston.  And we will be damned if someone is going to rain on our parade.  

So get out there, runners.  Dig out your short sleeved running shirts and your running skirts.  (Okay.  It may be a little early for the skirts…but definitely find your capris.)  Find your running buddy or plug in your iPod and go.  

It’s time to run!

My 2.5 mile escape

Thursday.  I should have been at work, but had called in sick to take care of my daughter, who was on day #2 of a fever, cough, and, as of 5 a.m. Thursday morning, vomiting.  Two days at home, and I was already feeling claustrophobic.  I spent several hours following the puke parade throughout the house, alternately rubbing a tiny back and bleaching the hell out of non-porous surfaces.  But the moment I was sure she could hold down a few bites of applesauce?  I called in my grandma.  I really did need to go to the store…7-Up and saltine crackers weren’t going to magically purchase themselves and appear on my door step.  But what I really needed was to MOVE.

I promised both my daughter and my grandma I would be back in one hour.  This gave me exactly 30 minutes on the trail near my house.  Not much for time, but beggars can’t be choosers.  And it turns out it didn’t even matter.  Some days, it doesn’t matter if I do two miles or ten, because it’s all about the mental release that comes from getting outside, plugging in to my newly formed playlist, and taking off.  Clearly, 2.5 miles in 30 minutes is not setting any breakneck speed records, but as I rounded the last loop in to the parking lot to finish up, I felt like I had just completed a long-prepared-for race.  I was ready now to head back to the puke parade.

My mellow feeling stayed with me as I pulled in to the Safeway parking lot.  Good thing, too, because as I got out of the car, I happened to glance down to see a misfired snot rocket now congealed on my pant leg.  As I hastily swiped at the spot with a tissue, I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror and let me tell you, it wasn’t pretty.  My short hair, unshowered as of yet, rose up in a funnel, making me look like Arsenio Hall.  I was a hot mess.  And I was going out in public.  Oh well.

As I zipped up and down the aisles of the store, grabbing supplies for my sick kid (saltines) and myself (iced americano), I passed an older man who chuckled as I passed by.  I shrugged this off, I had seen myself in the mirror!  But as I nearly left the aisle, he called after me “I love your shirt!”.  I looked down.  My short sleeved gray running top proclaimed to the world that I am a Badass Mother Runner. 

Oh yes.  I felt badass alright.  Snot on my pants, no shower, running the aisles of Safeway faster than I had run the outside trail 15 minutes before…good thing those mellow feel-good endorphins were still pumping through my body.

Sayonara, Winter! (We won’t miss you.)

Very early this year, when I flipped through the 2013 calendar and discovered Easter slated for late March, my first thought was ‘Great, another rainy egg hunt’.  So imagine my surprise last weekend when gray, gloomy skies gave way to sunshine and…wait, what is that? heat?…late Friday afternoon, and didn’t disappear until, well, today.  Nearly a full week of unanticipated sunshine!  A spring teaser!

Saturday afternoon was my first outside run of the season.  Not technically, of course, because while my running habits have been a little lame as of late, I HAVE been outside.  It’s just that Saturday was the first run that FELT like spring.  Zoey and I moved to a new house a few weeks ago, right near a great playground and running trail.  I hit the trail late in the afternoon, while Zoey played nearby with her friend.  

The weather was perfect.  Warm, but not too warm.  The trail was alternately sunny and shady, but the smell is what really told me spring is on it’s way.  You know the smell, right?  It’s hard to describe but it’s something like freshly mown grass mixed with sunshine and pavement and blooming trees and…I don’t know.  It’s a smell that says adios, indoor track at the Y, outside running is back in business.