Wednesday, March 28, 2012

The Highlight Reel

Running down the street, dusk.  Street lights on.  Feet on the pavement, hand on the iPod, breath in and out.  Colder;  more realistically March, actually.  30 short minutes is all I get today, but it is 30 minutes I wouldn't trade for the world.  Thirty minutes to run it out, to remind me who I am, to come home better.  Better everything.

My shadows follow me with every street light.  They start behind me, inch up in front of me, and then swishswishswish of the ponytail they pull ahead of me, reminding me of where I'm going.  Where I'm heading.


Faster.  Stronger.

It's funny, because one of my good friends that I haven't had the chance to talk to said that "from facebook and your blog, things look like they are going really well, right?"

I have an admission to make.  It's really not an admission, but stating the obvious, I guess.

This is my highlight reel. 

This is the place I usually focus on the good.  And there is a lot of good, so don't get me wrong here.  But if I am giving you the impression I have my schtuff together, all the time, every day, well...then this is false advertising, friends.

Let's get a little real here for a moment.  The truth is that I fall.  Often.  I get so overwhelmed and tired sometimes that I snap.  At Matt.  At my kids.  At my dog. Occasionally, I frantically email Coach Emily at 12:47am overwhelmed begging for mercy from my already low-volume week. Sometimes I cry when I'm making dinner or doing laundry or grading essays or packing lunches because I just feel like there is simply not enough of me to go around.  Ever.

And the funny thing?  I know I am doing this well.  I'm doing, quite simply, the best you can do with a two and four year old and a full time job involving lots and lots of work coming home and an amazing husband who thankfully is in the same business as me and gets it.  We're muddling through this together.  And I know that those of you with teenagers and/or more than 2 kids are probably rolling your eyes at me right now, but let's just say that I finally get it.  I get how difficult this is.  And it's a constant tightrope I walk between balancing everything and still being me.  I've been recently nominated for two really huge honors at work, and it's seriously an honor even to be mentioned.  When I come home from a run on Saturday, Emmy says, "Mommy, sit!  Mommy, sit!" and, of course, I do.  I am number one in their books, and that's a good thing.

I'm learning.  It's been 4 1/2 years, almost, but I'm still learning. 

So to those out there who think this is effortless, this is easy for me, that you don't know how I pull this off, my answer is:  it's not, holy crap IT'S NOT, and BARELY.  Barely.  I'm constantly working on being "good enough," because I know my version of good enough is still pretty darn good.

I think this is why aging up gets tougher.  When I was in my twenties I wondered how the age groups got tougher as you got older.  Aren't you supposed to slow down and stuff?

No, no noooooooooo, 28 year old self.  You're cute.  You get serious, is what you do.

You realize that every run is a connection to your self.   Every early morning swim buys you more "Mommy, sit!" moments.  And yeah, conventional wisdom says you shouldn't work through lunch, but you do it anyway, because it gets you some more of those "Mommy, sit!" moments, too.

I'm running better than I have in my entire life, and that is not an exaggeration.  And as I'm approaching a new age group pretty soon, I think I understand.

I spent most of the first part of my thirties pregnant and nursing.  I'm about to join the F35-39 here, soon, and like them, I plan on spending the second half of my thirties kicking a lot of ass.

And I'll continue to use this as it always has been for me:  a place to put down what I think about when I'm swimbikerunning, my goals and dreams, my highlights, and occasionally my falls, too.

There's certainly a reason my knees are all skinned up.

It may not be pretty all the time, but I'll never stop chasing that shadow.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

The TST Playlist, 10/100

Last night I was out WAAAAAAAY past my bedtime on a "school night," rocking out with my buddies to some Arctic Monkeys and Black Keys.  In honor, I have to choose this song, and don't you worry...I will SO have these sweet dance moves perfected in time for Chattanooga.  My buddy EH already has 'em DOWN (as she demonstrated last night)!

Me with the superfun ESpeed

Monday, March 19, 2012

Hello, New Friend(s)

I opened up the brown box to find them...all shiny and new.

No miles.  That "new shoe" smell.

I took them out for a run and, as usual with a new pair of runners, realized just how many miles were in my old shoes.  It's time for them to retire.  Perhaps somewhere warm.  Which, normally, I'd say maybe Florida or Arizona, but considering I heard Flagstaff had 19 inches of snow, perhaps little old CLE with our 75 degree March days lately will suffice.

44 minutes and 5.16 miles later, sweaty, panting, smiling...I formally introduce myself.

Hi, shoes.  I'm TST.  It's nice to meet you.  I wonder where you're going to take me for the next 300-400 miles?

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Bring Out the GIMP

(I think the gimp's sleeping)

(Well, I guess you'll just have to go wake him up now, won't you?)

Sorry.  I couldn't resist that.

It is very hard to type right now.  Because remember, back two years ago, when I almost chopped off my right pinky finger?  Yeah, now I have MATCHING GIMP PINKIES.

Seriously.  Who does this?

This guy!  With an avocado slicer and a misguided attempt to make guacamole from an under-ripe avocado!

This is very unfortunate, because I have many many good things to say.  So I will have to leave you now with a HUGE FRICKEN CONGRATULATIONS to my amazing coach, Emily Cocks, for her 4th place finish today at Rev3 Costa Rica!  She's kind of a big deal, people.  You best check yourselves.

Congrats, Coach Em!  You inspire me big time.

Back (hopefully) in a day or two when I don't have to type like I'm a five year old!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

My nose thinks it's May

So I guess that buying Bean an 18-24 month snowsuit was a complete FAIL as we did not use it ONCE.  ONCE!  And we actually had a snowblower this year, too!  Seriously--Bug got to go sledding one measly time this year.  He absolutely freaking LOVED it, though.  But now we're replacing our normally craptastic March weather with burgers on the grill, walks in the wagon, my nose running like a nasty faucet, and stuff like this:

Cuz she's a RIDAH.
I even got to do my very first outdoor brick of the season in a short-sleeved jersey and shorts on Sunday!  It was hella windy but so so so sooooooo good to get out on the QR CD0.1.  I freaking love this bike.

I also had another decent run despite the crazy wind.  Snapped this on my way home about 3 miles down the street from where I live:

See it?  That's Cleveland, and also a pretty calm lake for this time of year.  Which really
 makes me want SUMMER NOW.

Swimming has been a bit touch and go lately, since I'm officially in the INSANE part of the school year as we are closing in on the AP Exam.  May 11th is my D-Day, people.  Or, as I like to call it, "The Day I Get My Life Back."  Although, I'm making the best of the little free time I do have now and soaking up the sun and the smiles from my little Bug and Bean.

Running has been sick lately.  I'm not sure what has gotten into me, but my long runs are consistently sub-9 and my nice and easy pace is hovering in the mid-8s.  Today I did 10X1 minute hard and 1 minute easy in the middle of a 40 minute run.  Maybe it was that I knew there were my burgers cooking on the grill at home, or maybe it was the 70 degrees and sun on March 13.  Regardless, I killed that run.  Per Coach Emily, I did 3 at half-marathon pace, 4 at 10K pace, and 3 at 5K pace.   Happy to say that all three of the 5K pushes were either right at or UNDER 7!  One day, I will reach the elusive 6:59/mile for a day...

So what's my half marathon pace you may ask?  Well, if you've been reading here for a while you know I like to aim high.  With life being supercrazyinsane lately, I was completely ready to be more conservative and try to break my current PR of 1:47.06.  That's an 8:10/mile pace I set back in 2009.  Really, I was, I swear.  Totally ready to go for an 8:09 and call it done.

But then I started running well.  Really well.  My mileage is not the greatest, but I am doing a decent amount of cross training.  What to do, what to do....oh, come on now, you know how this ends, right?


I decided to suck it up, cupcake, and HTFU.  So I will be lining up with the 3:25 marathon pace group, which will have me aiming for approximately a 1:42.30.  Bring it.

Go hard or go home, suckas.

Tuesday, March 06, 2012

The TST Playlist, 9/100

When you are really tired?

You just aren't feeling it?

Legs are heavy?  Can't seem to put it together?

Think of your best race ever, and then, this.

Whoa, it's my road, it's my road, it's my road...

Sunday, March 04, 2012

The New Table

So Ana's out with an ACL that's torn.  Which ROTS.  And, she's moving away from my backyard soon, which also rots, although it's still *kind of* down the road from me.  About 4 miles and change down the road and in another town, but still close.

Last week I thought I'd test out running by myself and head in the direction of her new place to see if I could make it close so I could say she was still officially "on my running route."

I don't know WHAT got into me, but I was FLYING last Saturday.  I mean, freaking FLYING.  I swear I didn't try to go too fast--but after a little bit I will admit that I was hoping to keep the pace where it was.  I ended up running 9.63 miles with an average pace of 8:28/mile.  It was pretty awesome, and I'm pretty sure I passed her new street although I am not exactly sure which house is hers.

So, see?  Still on my running route.  Sort of.

Anyway, I've been forced to branch out a bit and try to find another group to run with here, because running alone is just not fun all the time.  Sometimes, yes.  Every single run? No.  So I tentatively reached out to a few girls that I know run sort of near me.  Anne, one of the crew, emailed me back and said that of course they'd love to have me, that they meet just down the road from me, and that they are now running 8-10 miles at about a 9:00/mile pace.  Which, I dare say, is PERFECT.  So this weekend was a little nuts and I couldn't make it, but I'm hoping to make it next Saturday.

I feel a little bit like a new kid sitting at a different lunch table.  I hope they like me and are okay with my bizarre sense of humor, massive amounts of snot from allergies, and nerd-like tendencies.

In other news, Thursday was completely nuts at school as we had a bomb threat called in and had to evacuate and walk to a school almost a half a mile away.  Luckily, it was all a hoax and the kid that did it was caught and admitted to--wait for it--MAKING THE CALL FROM THE BATHROOM.  Not the smartest thing to do, for sure.  Tensions were definitely high with what happened in Chardon last Monday and it was a little nerve-wracking even though we got the all-clear by noon.  The fact that we have to think about these things is sad and frustrating and annoying and a bit scary, but this is our world now, so I guess I'd better deal with it.

I'm definitely looking forward to some good running weather this week and hopefully hitting the pool a bit, too--Bug's swim lessons have gone INFINITELY better since the humongous meltdown of a few week's past and he has been a little pool rockstar lately.  So proud of him.  :)

Happy weekend and happy training!