Thursday, October 3, 2013

The Time Has Come

     I am just days away from my race, but I am many dollars away from my goal!  Please, please, help me to reach the $1300 goal for the students of Variety Child Learning Center.  This school has truly changed the course of my sons life!

How You Can Help!
It is very easy to help me reach this goal!  There are three ways to donate:

     1.   Donate online In section 4 write in "Variety of Miles"
     2.   Please make Checks out to Variety Child Learning Center and write "Variety of Miles" in the memo field.  Checks can be mailed to:
Variety Child Learning Center
Attn: Development
47 Humphrey Drive
Syosset, NY  11791
     3.    Give checks made out to Variety Child Learning Center to me when you see me. ( But please let me know you have one for me!!)

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

9 + 1 =

10!!  That's right... 10!  That's how many miles were on the training schedule... TEN!!  I know that I am planning in just 3 short weeks to complete 13 miles, but the concept of 10 miles just feels monumental. 

I am blessed to have access to a beautiful bike path.  There are points along the way where I feel transported out of Long Island and to a world with no traffic!  There are wild flowers and swamps, thickets of trees and lakes.  There is one spot along the path that someone has turned a little bluff into a beautiful garden sanctuary.  Running this path has changed my run. I actually enjoy it more. 

Last week I deviated from my running schedule.  On Saturday I conquered the 9 miles, but there was a lot of walking and a lot of wishing the miles away. I was happy when I was done and I was happy with my overall time.  Then on Sunday was the Zombie Race. During the zombie experience I had an epic gravity failure that had me imitating superman down the side of a muddy hill. Thankfully I wasn't seriously injured besides the bruised ego. At the end of the day I was proudly sporting scrapes and scratches and the promise of some grotesque bruises, but I felt good.  A little ice on my bum knee, a cold beer and I'll be on my way... Or so I thought. 

By Tuesday morning I could put no weight on my right foot. My middle toe was very red and angry and swollen. My toe nail was black and crack 3/4ths of the way down. I couldn't help but gaze upon the toe with pride while I painfully attempted a shoe and sock.  The voice of reason stopped me and when office hours rolled around I was on the phone with the podiatrist. 

With most of the nail removed and a promise of quick pain relief to come I hobbled home.  Instead on Wednesday I was greater by continued pain an it was too late to cancel my appointment with Frank the trainer.. Bring on a boxing session with no shoes on!!!

Friday was the first day I could get a sock and shoe on my foot. This made me terrified of Saturday's run.  I had to just have faith that my 5 days off would be to a benefit. 

I was blessed to have incredible weather on Saturday, 68 and partly sunny. This weather makes it easy to settle into a run.  My three favorite boys dropped me at the trail head and I started off strong with an easy pace.  The boys meet between the 1 and 2 mile mark to wave an watch mommy go by.  I know that between mile 2 and 3 are two of the 5 uphill climbs on the route and they flew by with little notice. Continuing strong past the three mile mark I pushed off fueling as I was still in good shape. Miles 4, 5, and 6 passed almost as easily and when I hit the biggest hill of the whole route, I pushed to the top and kept going.  This was the first time that I hadn't needed a walk at the top of this very steep overpass.  I was beginning to start to struggle and keep myself from walking and between miles 7 and 8 my hip started to complain.  I was able to pull back the pace a little until and get comfortable again.  I knew as I got towards the end that I would have to do some doubling back to get the 10th mile in.  At 9.1 I was surprised by my boys running towards me!  I love when they find me on the trail because it gives me such a boost!  Ben was so excited to run with me that he made it half a mile!  

The last half mile was the hardest steps of the entire route.  My tank was empty and my motivation was sapped...  but... I finished it!  All 10 miles!  And my reward..... and ice bath!
     I think more important that the running this week was the decision that I have made to turn this run into a fundraiser.  I will be running to benefit the children of Variety Child Learning Center.  Please check out the info!

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Small Victories

     Ben doesn't love food.  He could go long stretches without eating.  He just doesn't think about eating as an important part of life.  When he does eat, it is in very limited quantities and from a very small group of foods.  He was a sweet tooth and is a crab monster.  We have spent a lot of energy and therapy time working on requesting food, staying at the table, eating foods that he doesn't love.  But still eating is a challenge.
     Ben as eats in cycles.  He will eat pudding every day for three weeks.  Then it becomes equivalent to liver and haggis.  Another food takes its place.  But Ben will never give us a clue what the next food of choice is!  Eating is just a frustrating topic in this household!  But maybe the path is changing.....

     This morning, while I was making my breakfast (a toasted peanut butter banana sandwich - ritual the morning of a long run), Ben was watching me intently...  "Can I have?"  I don't think I registered what he was saying at first..  "Mommy, can I have?"  He was clearly pointing at the bread in my hand.  Ben wanted bread??  "NO! Sandwich!"  I can with almost 100% certainty credit this word and this desire to a game he plays on the iPad.  He has to feed the animal the foods that appear over their heads.  If you give them the wrong foods, they make silly faces and sounds.  He LOVES this game.  When he plays it, I get to hear my favorite belly laughs.
    Grabbing the jelly from the fridge, I have a shadow as I go to the counter..  Time to break out a kitchen gadget!  I have been waiting for the moment, when I get to make my little boy a sandwich.  (I know if seems silly, but when your child doesn't eat like a typical child, these moments become huge in your mind.)  I grabbed my Pampered Chef Cut and Seal and got to the important task of fulfilling this request.  Trying not to get my hopes up that it wasn't a fluke request, I of course put too much jelly in the center.
     Sandwich finished, on the plate it goes and I turn to see Ben still standing next to me with the biggest Cheshire Cat grin.  His little hand reaches up - presumably to take the plate to the table... and the sandwich is GONE!  Before I can blink, he is curled into the corner of the  couch nibbling away like a squirrel!  Normally he would be told to sit at his table, but I was too excited that he was actually eating what he asked for!  He was eating a sandwich, just like any other 3 year old boy on a Saturday morning.. sitting on the couch in his under-roos, watching cartoons... Life felt normal!

Friday, September 13, 2013

30 Days and Second Chances

With less the 30 days to go until race day, my nerves are starting to get to me and not without reason....  The last 30 days have seen 2 races, a lot of triumph and a little set back...

     Lets rewind a bit.  I got sidelined by sickness for almost a week and a half!  I was devastated when I was forced to deviate from the training plan.  I had promised myself that I wouldn't break from the schedule and here I was sitting out for a week and a half.  I worried about about losing fitness.  I worried that I wasnt building my mileage.  I was just all around worried.

     I was also had a race coming up...  the Discover Hicksville 5mile Race.  I knew that my focus had to be on getting healthy so that I wouldn't miss this race.  I was able to get 3 miles in a couple of days before hand and away we go!  The course was advertised as a "Flat" course.  I was excited for an easy race.

     They offered a free fun run, so the boys got to join in the fun! As soon as they said "GO!", Ben was GONE!!!  He ran the whole 1/4 mile by himself.  He made all the turns on the course and even waved to some of the people that were cheering!  The best part....  he got to the finish and STOPPED!  We had never told him what a
race was, but he instinctively knew what to do. He finished in less than 3mins and 40secs.  Alex didn't love the process as much.. he was more upset about the numbers pinned to his shirt and just couldn't get in to the running part of the race.  Both boys earned medals for their attempt.  For the next two weeks Ben kept asking, "We go race?"  I think I might have a natural runner on my hands.

     My race on the other hand, was not as easy.  The "flat course" was filled with little inclines and declines and there were lots of twists and turns.  It was hard to judge distance and pace.  It was also HOT!  It was a relatively small collection of runners and they were all FAST... I... am SLOW.  I really just didnt want to be last.  I started towards the middle of the pack so I wouldnt be in the way of the contenders, but not at the back because I didnt want to start last!  The end of the course was twisty with a hidden finish.  It was hard to judge from a distance what your finish time would be since you couldnt see the clock until the last 100 meters.  I was stoked when I rounded the corner and I was trudging towards a PR!  My previous best was 1:13:48.  I dug down and found more energy than I thought I had left and sprinted... pushing as much as I could to get to the finish as the seconds ticked away....   1:11:09!!!

      I was thrilled.. my legs were jelly.. and it was done!  However, sprinting and staring at the clock with a race photographer that isn't sitting at a good angle, makes for a not so pretty race picture...  But hey.. it was a PR!
      Back on track after the 5mile race it was time to shift my focus to getting ready for the longer distances.  It was on to 8miles, and 9miles!  Saturday long runs have become a family event with the boys dropping me off at the beginning of a local bike path and picking me up at the end, usually with dinner in hand!   I was able to push through 8miles and had a surprisingly wonderful 9mile run.  I felt in control.  I did walk a bunch, and I am ok with it.  I know that I will be walking during the 1/2 marathon, so I might as well prepare myself!

     This past weekend, I had my 2nd race.... the Zombie Race.. 3.12 miles of insane trails, 13 muddy and tough obstacles, and ZOMBIES waiting for you around every turn!  The whole experience was epic!  I was able to complete all but one obstacle (the old school rope climb).  One of the hills was so steep that there was a rope tied to a tree to give assistance.. there were walls, and mud pits, slides, and fire..  it was a great test of strength, endurance, and courage...  My unofficial goal was to finish in less time than I had the Spartan race (1:48) and we finished in 1:18!

     Now that I have wrestled with the Zombies, it is time to go back to the mundane..  next up... tomorrow: 10miles and next weekend, the NYC 10k!

     I think more important that the running this week was the decision that I have made to turn this run into a fundraiser.  I will be running to benefit the children of Variety Child Learning Center.  Please check out the info!

Friday, August 2, 2013

No Crying in Baseball

     Thankfully Ben doesn't play baseball.  He does however, play t-ball and as far as I know, there are no rules against crying in t-ball!

     Over the last 6 weeks Ben has been participating in a local t-ball program for children with Autism.  Team Heroes has been such a blessing to our family and we are so lucky to have been directed to them.

     At the beginning of the program, every aspect of the program was a challenge; warm up exercises, throwing, catching.  The only thing Ben really seemed to enjoy was the running!  (And usually he was running away from me!)  Most days left me feeling frustrated and exhausted as I just wanted Ben to learn something to show some sort of improvement.  Week after week the green fields and t-ball bats became synonymous with crying and meltdowns. I became very good at unfolding Ben's clenched fists and hand over hand throwing wiffle balls and tennis balls.  The biggest challenge was the bases.  Beautiful white bases in a luscious field of green!  What child wouldn't want to run right up to them and jump on them?  My child!  There was something about the base being different than the grass that unsettled Ben.  He would not step on the bases.  Even if he saw all of the other children, coaches, and parents standing on them, he just couldn't break the spell that the grass had over him.  Ben would begrudgingly (slowly) go from base to base with much coaxing from me.  (Please read that as: Mom dragging child from base to base.)  Ben would stand next to the base.  He would stand on either side of the base.  He would walk around the base.  He would not step ON the base! 

     Fast forward through multiple weeks of the same frustrating experiences, wondering if I would ever see him pick up these skills.  (Warning: here come the tears)

     This past weekend when we got to the field, he was so excited to run down the hill and not miss his warm ups.  And then he surprised us all!  Ben picked up the ball and threw it, multiple times, without assistance! He got it!  His aim wasn't great, but he was trying.  I was so surprised!  After a water break it was time to go to hitting and running the bases.  Ben wouldn't let me help him bat, so I stepped away, preparing myself to watch him take multiple wild swings. 
I couldn't believe my eyes when the bat and the ball connected!  To my amazing disbelief, he dropped the bat and took off... towards first base!!!  I thought that I was going to need the smelling salts when he stopped at first base without prompting and I noticed that he not only stopped AT first base but.. ON first base!
     Base after base, he ran and stopped.  He watched the other children at bat, waiting for when it was time to move.  He didn't need for me to drag him along, in fact he didn't even want me standing near him.
     My Ben had figured it out, after 6 weeks of struggle.  He knew what he was supposed to do and did it perfectly.  He had learned and didn't need me anymore and in that moment I was so thankful for my sunglasses, but I think the tear spatters on my shirt gave me away!

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Rising At Dawn

Week 3

     Its 5 o'clock in the morning... my shoes are laced, my music is on, and I am headed out the door to cover the miles dictated to me by the paper that hangs on my kitchen cabinet.  My biggest problem with running in the last year has been consistency.  This is why I have not been able to improve my running ability.  But now, because of that silly piece of paper, I feel like I am being pushed out the door every morning!  And every morning, I am thankful to see the sun rise in the peace and quiet.

     I think more important that the running this week was the decision that I have made to turn this run into a fundraiser.  I will be running to benefit the children of Variety Child Learning Center.  Please check out the info!

Monday  7/22/13
3.00 miles     44:10 mins     14.43 average pace
      TERRIBLE! I had to fight for every step. I did my usual 3mile loop because I felt like I needed a change, so my big hill was in the beginning. Side stitches started almost immediately and my pace was abysmal. I wasn't able to settle into a comfortable gait until well into mile 2. The temp was in the mid 70s (yay!). But the humidity was at 85% (boo). A couple times it started to drizzle and I was so thankful. This does not give me much hope of getting through 4 miles tomorrow.
Tuesday 7/23/13
4.40 miles     1:00:00      13:38 average pace
       I am actually floored!! I took more than three minutes off of my previous 4 mile time and this was on a treadmill where I am always slower. I ran the whole thing with no walk breaks! I feel like I floored it but I still had some gas left in the tank! This was great! What makes this even more shocking is that I have been taking Zicam for the last 24 hours to stave off the ick that has a hold of our family!!
Wednesday  7/24/13
30 mins Cross Training
     I just didn't have it in me today.  I still went and did my boxing.  I didn't enjoy it, and I didn't have very much power in my swing. I was just pretty much going through the motions and I got very very frustrated when I couldn't get my pivot down.
Thursday  7/25/13
3.00 miles     41:40 mins     13:55 average pace
     Today was dramatically different than Monday's 3 mile run. New route, new music, new confidence. A wonderful 67* with 97% humidity but a 16mph headwind. There were ZERO walking breaks. This was by far my best pace and a better 3 mile time by at least 2mins. I really needed this run!!
Saturday 7/27/13
6.00 miles     1:23:31     13:55 average pace 
      I am really happy with how this went! I am surprised that 6miles was easier than 5miles. I can't believe that i ran negative splits almost the entire way! Floored at the pace that I maintained and I only took one walk break to eat some Shot Blocks. Overall I felt great! The more surprising part is more than 50% was with no music!!! My headphones died at mile two!

The Goods - As I am preparing for the big day, I will be trying out gear and nutritional goodies to see what gear works for me.  Gear and nutrition are both a very personal choice and there are oodles of options.  I hope that I can shed light on a small percentage of them!!

     This week's goodies: Yankz! - This weeks "goodie" is again courtesy of the RunningNerds and the "Virtual Half Marathon & Treadmill Challenge 5K".  
     These awesome custom laces we part of the swag pack that the participants in this race received.  I was thrilled that they were black with orange and green lettering so they matched my shoes.  
     The concept behind these laces: Set them and forget them!!  Once you lace up your shoes and get the fit perfect, you are done!!  Your shoes will slip on, stay snug, but also adjust and stretch to accommodate your foot as it swells during a long run.  I love that I don't have to worry about my laces becoming untied.  I also feel like my shoes fit even better now!!
     The "Sure Lace System" is available in 26 colors and they can do customization. The price for these specialty are a reasonable $7.50-$8.00 a pair and they offer options for those that would like to continue to use their traditional laces..

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Crossing It Off

Week 2

     Hanging on my kitchen cabinet at eye level is my training plan.  It is a visual reminder not only to me, but to the Husband of what the commitment is that I have made.  He has been given full permission to harass me about not getting in training runs, to remind me of what my goals are, and to kick me out of bed when the alarm goes off.  I am pretty sure that the most satisfying part about going for a run... is crossing that day off of the training plan!  As someone once told me, it is like the count down to Christmas!

     I think more important that the running this week was the decision that I have made to turn this run into a fundraiser.  I will be running to benefit the children of Variety Child Learning Center.  Please check out the info!

Monday  7/15/13
3.00 miles     43:17 mins     14.25 average pace
      The temperature for this run was great but the humidity was killer!!  The high humidity has a habit of making my lungs heavy.  I hope that just means that my lungs are getting strong too!

Tuesday 7/16/13
3.00 miles     44:30 mins     14:50 average pace
      Tuesday is always slower than Monday, but today my feet were just heavy.  I know that I have to start working out what my nutrition is going to be while on my long runs, so I tried an electrolyte drink during the run (not going to say who, but it is a popular brand) and it tasted like salty alka-seltzer... I think that I will pass....On to the next product to try... I have one on deck for Saturday's long run.
Wednesday  7/17/13
30 mins Cross Training
     Got my weekly butt kicking!  Boxing, and sparring, and kicking oh my!!  Let me just tell you.. I DON'T float like a butterfly!!

Thursday  7/18/13
3.00 miles     44:57 mins     14:29 average pace
     I am not really thrilled with the pace but I walked significantly less than previously. I know that I will start seeing improvement over time, but I had really hoped the there would be less struggle by now.  I can only hope this means progress is being made, albeit, slow progress.

Saturday 7/20/13
5.00 miles     1:13:29     14:41 average pace 
      I really feared this run. 5miles seems like way more than 4!! I had set a goal time for myself of 1:15:00, thinking that was reasonable considering my previous times.  It was super humid again even at 5am so I was very surprised when my final push got me to the finish at 1:13:30.  I tackled the run a .25mile at a time and I will happily take the time!

The Goods - As I am preparing for the big day, I will be trying out gear and nutritional goodies to see what gear works for me.  Gear and nutrition are both a very personal choice and there are oodles of options.  I hope that I can shed light on a small percentage of them!!

     This week's goodies: Generation UCan - I was the lucky winner of a pack of these great sports energy drinks from RunningNerds in the "Virtual Half Marathon & Treadmill Challenge 5K".  
     During my Saturday long run I decided to give two of their drinks a go.  Before heading out, I mixed up the Cran-Raz Sports Drink Mix.  I was really happy with how simply it mixed with the water and how smooth the texture was.  There were no strange flavors breaking through.  
     I always love to end my long runs with an ice cold protein shake, so bring on the Vanilla Protein Enhanced Drink Mix.  One aspect that I love the most is that it can be mixed with water!  One of my goals along this journey is to be dropping some pounds.  I appreciate the 16 oz size with out the calorie hit of 16 oz. of milk!  Again, I was very pleased with the taste and the texture.  
     The biggest thing lacking was that "protein taste" that comes along with a lot of protein laced beverages.  To top it all off, this company has been built of a great foundation and vision.  Check them out and let them know that MommyInPieces sent you!