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!

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Patience Is..

"Mommy, how many dinosaurs?"
     " One."
"Mommy, how many horse?"
     " Six"
"Very good.  How many butterfly?
"That's right mommy!  How many owl?"
"Mommy, how many elephant?"
"No.  Try again.  How many elephant?"
"Very good mommy.  How many horse?"

     The poster has ten animals on it and eventually we get through all ten.  How long it takes is up to me and how my memory is faring.  As soon as one round is finished, the arm on the record resets and we are right back to, "Mommy, how many dinosaurs?"

     It seems like a great conversation.  Here is Ben, communicating and having a true back and forth interaction.  But alas, here is where Autism rears its ugly head!  Welcome to the world of Echolalia.  Not familiar with this word?  We weren't either until we had been ushered into this new world.  "Echolalia, sometimes referred to as "scripting", is the repetition of words, phrases, intonation, or sounds of the speech of others, sometimes taken from movies, but also sometimes taken from other sources such as favorite books or something someone else has said." (Source:

     Ben has the amazing ability to make this rote speech sound natural, organic, and spontaneous.  The only difference, is that we have been through this exact sequence of questions and answers 23 times this evening and 1.3 million times before it.  The intonation never changes.  The combinations of praise and rebuff never differ from the script.  The only thing that does change is my ability to remember which numbers belong with which animals.  As with most kids, this kind of interaction always occurs when your hands are in a soapy sink of dishes.  

     Patience is... responding the the 1,300,001st question, even though the answer hasn't changed since the previous 1,300,000 times.  Patience is... answering over and over to feel some semblance of a normal conversation with your three year old.  Plus.. how can you say no to that face!


 I am currently in training for my FIRST half marathon and I making this run into a fundraiser.  I will be running to benefit the children of Variety Child Learning Center.  Please check out the info!

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Living In Lycra

Week 1

     It feels like every aspect of my life has become surrounded by lycra; pants, socks, sports bras, shirts, shoes and shoelaces..  Its ridiculous..  I could almost say that they are a sponsor or mine!!  This past week was my first "Official" training week.  This means running 4 days a week and a day of cross training.  Never before have I so looked forward to Friday and Sunday (rest days).

     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 (really Sunday didn't know I was really starting) 7/7/13
3.19 miles     50:00 mins     15:40 average pace
     Sadly this run was on the "Dreadmill".  With weather on the iffy side I hit the gym and worked on consistent pacing.  While the overall average pace was nothing to sing about, I am happy that I was able to stay at a level pace for the majority of the time.

Tuesday 7/9/13
3.00 miles     44:14 mins     14:44 average pace
     Second official 1/2 marathon training run! Was sluggish because of the humidity. But something wonderful happened... I was really fading and a car pulled up along side me, all the windows down. I steeled myself for a mocking. Instead there were a bunch of young kids yelling and clapping and a mom giving the thumbs up and yelling, "keep it up!! You will have the best experiences running! Your doing great just keep going!!" As she pulled away, the back of her minivan was plastered with stickers, "Tri", "Ultra", "I'm a Diva", "I'm only 1/2 crazy!" Just the push I needed, the burst of energy and encouragement.... Thank you! I don't know you... But you are a friend. 

Wednesday  7/10/13
30 mins Cross Training
     I LOVE my Wednesday's.  Every Wednesday for a year I have met with Frank.  Frank kicks my butt, religiously, every Wednesday morning before the birds are up.  This butt-kicking took the form of boxing.  I love going rounds with the heavy bag, but also sparring with Frank.  Wednesday's are not just the physical workout but, the conversation has become a great sounding board not only for health and nutrition, but life in general. 

Thursday  7/11/13
3.01 miles     46:27 mins     15:27 average pace
     This morning I had a serious case of "I don't wanna!" But I did... And Mother Nature taught me a lesson.... She rained on me for a mile +. Pace was slow, but under the pace I need to maintain for the race. 

Saturday 7/13/13
4.01 miles     58:19 mins     14:34 average pace 
     Today's theme... RAIN! I really didn't want to run in the rain, especially not 4 miles.  After some input from other runners.  I donned a hat, wrapped my phone with plastic wrap and hit the pavement.  I was surprised that I saw 3 other runners (all women) out there being badass with me in the rain.  I felt good the whole way and bested my previous 4m time by 3 mins!!! 

Friday, July 12, 2013

Shaming of the Mom

Being a new mom is one of the most incredible and incredibly scary things a woman can go through.  It is an instant admission to one of the world's oldest and most amazing clubs!  It is remarkable that for eons, women have been having the same experience around the world.

There is a cost however, to joining the club... I like to think of it as, "The Shaming of the Mom".  New moms are constantly doubting themselves, worried that they are not measuring up to astronomical standards..  It doesn't help that in the age of Pinterest and Instagram, it is even easier to dig your way to the China of doubt.

It is so simple to compare our private nite mare to the picture perfect world of everyone else's "best foot forward".  You know exactly what I talking about... You sit down on the couch to take “a moment” as a naked Dear Child runs by with a cape of toilet paper, the cat over his shoulder, screaming about what a terrible person you are.  Dear Child then climbs the pantry shelves, knocks over the open bag of flour (because you haven’t had the time to put it in one of those pretty canisters with the custom chalkboard pant label) and grabs a highly processed, packaged, and sugared snack (the kind that those Pinterest Mom’s would NEVER feed their children).  In exacerbation, you pick up your device of choice (smart phone, tablet, etc) and click through the social media Portal of Doom (Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook, etc.).  Picture after picture… art projects, home baked goodies, gourmet dinners, spotless living rooms.

It’s a never ending parade of carefully edited, picture perfect moments.  We don’t see the individual pictures but a cacophony of virtual perfectness.  We begin to feel that is the norm and everyone else do it, meeting and in some cases surpassing the standard of “perfect”.  We look at our personal words and the tidal wave of shame comes crashing down.  


There is no magical measuring stick to “mom-ness”.  Every mother has their moments, when the stars align, Every mom is different and special and wonderful and perfect.  Every mom has her good days and her bad days. Put the binoculars down and stop the comparison.
the children behave and we have all of the parts to do a project that has been taunting from the virtual to do list.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Running Away

One foot in front of the other is all it takes to take the power away from the problems in life.

A year ago I took my very first steps in my very first road race. I was scared out of my wits!

Lets rewind to October of 2003. I was working in a retail job while finishing up grad school.  Imagine me on top of a ladder and then suddenly not!!  That unplanned leap lead to 2 knee surgeries and multiple years of rehab. The pounds packed on and I turned very quickly to sloth like ways.

Fast forward to October for 2011, two kids later, heavier then ever, I was diagnosed with two herniated discs after a trip to the ER. I was given two options: lose weight or have surgery.  At that point in my life I had already had four surgeries too many and really wanted to stay away from having any more.

In my opting to lose weight, I some how got it in my head that running would be a good way to do this. Mind you, I am not graceful and am made up of equal parts clumsy and non-coordination. What made me think that running was going to be a good idea?!

I started slowly, working through a beginning runners program. Worked on my intervals and more importantly bought all the cool running gear!  Why run, if not for all the snazzy stuff that goes with it.

I am by no means a natural runner!!  Every step is a battle with my subconscious self, the one that stands behind me in the mirror yelling obscenities, the voice the knows me better than I know myself.  As I pound the pavement ( and yes I pound.... Because I am still a big girl) the voice gets quieter.  I can put miles between myself and the negative Nellie that sits on my shoulder.  A morning that starts out poorly can have its course shifted dramatically only lacing up the running soles.

I had never before bought into all that running nonsense. "You can run away from your fears and your problems". "A good day is any day that starts with a run."  Really???   I had always thought that you would only catch me running if I was running away from something scary or towards something yummy!!, I took a different type of step.. I counted my pennies, and I pushed the button.  I officially registered for the Long Island Divas Half Marathon in October.

Yes... You read that right.. A half marathon. To this point my longest distance has been 3.5 miles.  I will need to be able to run 10 more miles on top of that!!!

So stay tuned.. As I train and prepare.  I am sure that along this journey, I will be learning a lot about my self as I put one foot in front of the other ( over and over and over again!)