Our Lovely Chaos

Thursday, June 16, 2011

The Activity Streak Continues: Days 157 - 167

Greetings from post-running streak bliss! I have to say that having the ability to mix things up now that I'm not ONLY running has been wonderful both mentally and physically too. My legs were so sore after some spinning workouts this week because spinning does more for my hamstrings than running does. I also started a TRX bootcamp that has left me so very sore. It lasts for five more weeks, and I'm excited to build some muscle in that time. My new goal of activity every day this year continues - we're up to Day 167 already!

So what have we been doing otherwise?

Lazy days at the pool. BELIEVE ME, taking four to the pool should count as a workout itself. 

Many outdoor picnics - so much easier for cleanup. 

Family bike night fun.

Having fun with our new fledgling reader, who loves spelling words.

And sadly, our first traumatic injury - no broken bones or stitches yet, but the little guy bumped into the slide and knocked his tooth completely out. The good news? He was totally calm and not in pain. The bad news? He'll be toothless until the adult tooth grows in a few years from now. And I may or may not be traumatized from the crazy amount of blood. 

I'm officially registered for my next triathlon, Outdoor Divas in mid-August. The swim is slightly longer, which I think will be good for me, although I need to get into the open water again. The bike is also much flatter on this course, so I'm hoping for a new PR. Mostly I'm excited to race again!

Miles and workouts since last post: 

2 miles
Spinning bike
Spinning bike
2 miles
2 miles
Spinning bike
Elliptical and swim
2.13 miles
TRX bootcamp
2 miles (hills)
TRX bootcamp

Total miles: 10.13

Year to Date Miles: 247.36 miles

Sunday, June 5, 2011

The New Chapter: Days 138 - 156

It has been a shamefully long time since I updated my adventures here. What can I say? Race training takes time, and we are fully embracing "summer schedule" by staying up late and having too much fun. For example: 

Oldest running her first race. It was a one mile family fun run, and I'm proud to say that she fell at the start and skinned her knees, but kept going because she "wanted to win." Like mother, like daughter.

Picnics at the park. 

Oh yes...oldest twin learned to climb the stairs. We are still looking for a good gate solution.

Outdoor playtime at the water table.

Big girls sharing food. (Doesn't it look like a mirror?)

The children's museum.

Finally bike training. FINALLY good weather to do it - this will prove a downfall later, but more on that to come. Still, the helmet looks cute. 

Keeping four entertained at the park - let the big kids swing the babies.

So in the midst of all that fun, RACE TRAINING. The big race was today, and what can I tell you? First...I was so nervous. I could not stop thinking about the possible downfalls - a partner in the swim who was way too fast for me. Flat tires. Being forced to walk on the run.

And somehow, I still got out the door to start the race.

The swim - honestly awesome. I let other swimmers who claimed to be fast start ahead of me in the lane. Got the sense that I wasn't even swimming on the first lap because I was so close to the swimmer ahead of me - ended up tapping her foot to pass, and then the next swimmer, and circled around to pass our slowest swimmer before I finished. The swim time? Close to 13 minutes.

The bike - I was very undertrained here. Spring has been slow to come, and a spinning bike is just not the same. Right out of the pool, the course climbed two monster hills, then a fun downhill and straight section, then a slow climb back to the pool to make two more laps. I did WAY BETTER on the bike than I anticipated. Hoped to finish under an hour (12.5 miles - sounds slower than it feels) and finished under 50 minutes. My cheer crew had planned to see me on the bike loop and missed me completely because I finished faster than expected.

The run - aah the run. It was hot and hilly, and I honestly had trouble turning my legs over at the start. I was climbing these hills and thinking I was totally out of my league, and took several walking breaks. Then we crossed a mile, and started a lovely downhill. I knew I was picking up time, so I just kept plodding along and letting gravity help me. My watch (which I later learned was overestimating the distance) told me I had a mile left, and I felt pretty decent. Then waaaaaaay up ahead of me, I saw the 2 mile marker. Knowing that my watch was off, I had an extra third of a mile at least, and that I wasn't running as quickly as I thought totally messed with my focus. It was very sunny (hot) at this part, and I took more walking breaks. I finally ran to the finish, hugged my four little people, one wonderful supportive husband and the sweetest friends who came to cheer for me, and celebrated victory.

The aftermath - I was bummed that my run was much slower than I expected. I'm not fast, in the 11-minute/mile range usually, but this 5K time was slow for me. In the end, I think my awesome bike performance just left my legs tired. I decided not to be bummed, and to focus instead on the fact that I finished. I - a mom of four who had twins barely a year ago - did a 525m swim, 12.4 mile bike and 3.1 mile run. That's pretty amazing! I also beat my time goal (race finish in under two hours total) and learned a lot to carry forward into my next race. 

The actual finish. 

Four babies later, and still a rockstar!

So that's what I did today. But you might find what I did the day BEFORE my race to be even more interesting.


The day before my race, Day 155...I did not run.

That is to say...I let my streak die.


Basically, I started this project as a means to develop a fitness habit again, and I did that. I have lost nearly 30 pounds, and am roughly 20 pounds from my goal weight. I want my exercise plan to work for me, and to get me there. I need more than 12 to 15 minutes of activity a day to keep me moving toward my goal; however, the stress on my body of running daily was catching up in a bad way. I have done several shorter runs recently to help an aggravating shin splint. I have skipped bike rides (that might have helped my legs be stronger after that leg of the race) because I need to run that mile. I have done shorter runs that might have left me undertrained for the running leg because my legs were too tired from the constant pounding to add more mileage. 

So I decided to start a new chapter after this race. I'm not exactly sure how it will look - debating between another triathlon this summer and an all-women 50-mile bike ride. Thinking of joining the master's swimming group here. Thinking of trail runs and bike rides. Thinking of yoga and the TRX bootcamp I joined that is starting in another week.

But what you will see here is running. And being active. And making that work within the demands of many young children. You'll see fitness and new adventures, and without a doubt - that goal weight by my birthday in January. I'm not running a mile a day anymore, but I AM running miles on many days and looking to do something active EVERY SINGLE DAY. 

I hope you are not disappointed. I am not in the least. Actually, I feel grateful for the journey and anxious to see what the next chapter holds. And I ran 154 days in a row - not too shabby, right? 

Miles added since last post: 

2.25 miles
2 miles
2.25 miles
1.6 miles
1.25 miles
1.25 miles
1.25 miles
1.5 miles
3.2 miles (kids in tow)
2 miles
1 mile
2 miles
2.15 miles
2.2 miles
1 mile
Bike (15 minutes), 1 mile, 1 mile (family fun run)
2.1 miles
13.3 mile bike...NO RUN
Triathlon race! (Including a 3.1 mile run)

For a total of: 34.1 miles

Year to date miles: 237.23 miles

Tomorrow, I plan to get up and run again. Streak or no streak, work is still ahead of me!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

More Miles in the Books: Day 131 - 137

Another week of running in the books! I am slowly, very slowly, catching up toward the daily average needed to log 600 miles for the year. I remember reading about running streaks when we started this, and even the official streak organization (runeveryday.com) mentions that running streaks can be hard on your body. I didn't really understand why - it's only a mile, right? But after doing this for several months, I can feel twinges in my shins. I'm glad I made the decision to train for a 10K instead of a half marathon for this fall, because my weekly mileage isn't amazing but just pounding every. single. day. can take a toll. 

So what have we been up to? My twins are getting so big! They have dropped to two bottles a day and are eating so much food that we may soon be doing our regular grocery shopping at Costco. Recently I moved them to the table with the big kids, and they love eating together.

We also had our first overnight together since having our oldest 4.5 years ago. Tim's mom and sister were so gracious to fly into town and stay with the kids since we had a wedding to attend. I believe the kids exhausted them, which is probably not surprising...but they had a great time anyway, and we were so happy to see them. (We also enjoyed the wedding, open bar and taking cheesy self portraits like this one.)

So with less than three weeks until my triathlon, how are we doing? 

Swim - killing it. I had to contact the race organizers to join a different swim group because I have cut so much time off from where I started. I swam double the race distance last night with almost a negative split even. 

Bike - totally undertrained. I know I can go and ride 12 miles tomorrow, but sometimes riding makes the back of my knees feel tight (but not always, which is frustrating - harder to fix)...and that really hurts when transitioning to run. But I'm hoping a real bike will go better than a spinning bike, and the weather has just been awful for training outdoors. Can't do much about that.

Run - getting faster all the time, but worried about a) any knee pain following the bike and b) being too "treadmill" trained since the VAST majority of my runs happen in the basement. 

Regardless, I think I will finish and learn a lot and be ready to rock another triathlon later this summer.

Miles since last update: 

1 mile
2 miles
2.25 miles
1 mile
1 mile
3.25 miles (plus evening swim training!)
2.25 miles

For a total of: 12.75 miles

Miles year to date: 203.13 miles

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Doing What Feels Good (Day 123 - 130)

Hello again! Long time, no see. Finally I can't blame my lack of posting on sickness or allergy appointments or potty training or any other chaos. I have been MIA because we've been having all sorts of fun in the sun. Spring has arrived - hooray!

That means sunhats and splashing in water for the little girls: 

Prepping our raised bed gardens for planting in the next week or two: 

Water play for the big kids too: 

And of course, many many picnics. Loved by kids, and loved by moms. (No sweeping crumbs in the kitchen!)

I love this time of year. I have energy, the kids love being outdoors and time just seems more relaxed. We had a wonderful mother's day weekend too, where I felt even more loved and appreciated than I do on regular days. So lucky to have this crew of little people and a husband who loves me and helps with the workload so we can both accomplish our goals - running and otherwise. 

So what about the running? Right...future running first:

I have been thinking about which races I want to do this summer. I was trying to get excited about a fall half marathon, but I'm just not motivated for the time needed to do distance training. I decided to start running again and to do this running streak because I want to reach my goal weight by my 30th birthday in January, and to regain my fitness. I'm making progress there! I have the rest of my life to add distance, so why not do what feels good for now? So I'm going to do two sprint triathlons and focus on a late summer 10K. I like that distance - long enough to have done something, but short enough that you can work on speed too. I might even find a trail 10K just to try something new. But regardless, letting go of feeling like I "needed" to be training for something longer has taken a lot of the pressure away. 

So now I'm four weeks away from my triathlon now (gulp) and feeling great about the swim, very undertrained on the bike and good about the run but not sure how the run will go after the bike...but regardless, just finishing will be awesome. 

Miles since my last update: 

2.15 miles
3.2 miles
1.25 miles
1.25 miles
2 miles (speed intervals)
1 mile
2 miles (speed intervals)
2.07 miles (outside - hello sunshine)

Total since last update: 14.92 miles

Total miles this year: 190.38 (will break into the 200s next week - awesome!)

Monday, May 2, 2011

Always Busy (Day 117 - Day 122)

Even more busy times since my last update. That can't be too surprising, right? We're under 5 weeks until my triathlon now (gulp again) but thankfully, training is going well. I have started cutting back on running (still keeping the daily mile streak going) to add for more biking and swimming. So far I'm biking on the spinning bike here at home, since the weather has been pretty terrible. But spring is on the way according to the forecast! I hope to bike outside later this week. Today I actually hit all three: biked and ran this morning, and meeting my swimming buddy for a pool workout tonight.

What else did we do last week? Unfortunately the sore throat/cold I had really took me out and the cough is still hanging around. I had more moments like this than usual. We aren't big TV people, especially for the kids, but they all love their Signing Time DVDs. I was so grateful for a few minutes of quiet:

We did rally with one day of nice weather though. Managed a trip to the playground and library, and came home to play outside. Amazing how the kids can entertain themselves with simple things - these paintbrushes and water were a huge hit.

The girls had mac and cheese for the first time. They were so happy that it counts as a weekly milestone.

Between illness, a long doctor visit for the little guy and less-than-amazing weather, last week didn't make for the best workouts and was sort of exhausting in general. The good news is that this week is already off to a better start, so I'm hoping for smooth sailing for the next few days at least.

I did calculate my miles needed to reach a goal of 600 this year, and I'm slipping ever so slightly. (Need to average 1.74 a day until the end of the year now.) Hoping to add some mileage especially when this first triathlon is over in a few weeks. I don't want to be running twice a day in December to make up those miles...

Miles since my last update:

1 mile
1.5 miles (hills)
2 miles (speed)
brick (bike, 1 mile)
2 miles (speed)
brick (bike, 1 mile)

For a total of: 8.5 miles

Total miles this year: 175.46 miles

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Some Days Are Awesome and Some...Well...(Days 112 - 116)

I thought about writing this post last night, and I was going to share about the AWESOME swim training I had just completed. Instead I waited until today and woke up feeling terrible - body aches, headache and a terrible sore throat, completely out of nowhere. I'm feeling less impressed with my swimming and more like laying down on the floor to sleep. Unfortunately with children here and one to be picked up from preschool soon, that isn't the best option.

Since I last posted, we did have Easter. What a wonderful and joyous holiday! It was also a first Easter for my twins despite them being more than a year old because Easter came so late this year. That was interesting.

Big kids showing off their treasures. Oh yes, I am totally a mean mom who gives them cups and toothbrushes and art supplies in their baskets:

Before the egg hunt - ready set, go!

Action shots:

Definitely NOT excited.

Poor little girls, watching from the window and just itching to go after their own eggs. Next year, they will be tearing up the egg hunt for sure.

I have had a couple of good runs recently, but I can't remember much about them because I feel so sick now. Swimming last night WAS wonderful though. I met my friend C, who is a serious athlete - she's training for a half ironman this summer. While working full time and with two young children. I have some amazing friends, seriously. I wasn't sure whether to hope not to drown or not to embarrass myself.

My race distance is 525m or 21 lengths in the pool. I did that distance more than a minute faster than last time! And then I added an extra 5 lengths for fun, still finishing the 650m in under 17 minutes. No speed records there, but my technique is getting better and watching C actually helped a lot - she's really good with keeping her upper body stable and her head in position, and I'm trying my best to mirror that when I swim. And she's super encouraging and motivated me to actually get to the pool, so that made last night double awesome.

Now with less than six weeks until my triathlon (gulp), I'm really trying to balance running with biking/swimming. I'm going to be doing more bike rides followed by a 1 mile run to keep the streak alive but also to work on the bike portion of the race. (I haven't actually ridden a bike outside since before getting pregnant with my girls. Oh yes. That's an issue.) I'm also planning to swim 2x/week until the race, so it's going to be busy!

Miles added since my last post:

2 miles
2 miles
1 mile
2.1 miles
1 mile (slow, sad but done thank goodness)

For a total of: 8.1 miles

Year to date miles: 166.96 miles

Thursday, April 21, 2011

My Fastest Year (Days 110 and 111)

If you asked a runner - a real runner, a competitive runner - about the fastest year in his life, I'm willing to bet that at least some would respond with races won and gains made in running; that is, being fast. Not me. When I am old and gray, if you ask about my fastest year, I won't remember race PRs or speed intervals that made my heart pound.

I will remember this year.

Exactly a year ago today, I held newborn twins in my arms for the first time, and started the greatest adventure of my life.

It was an eventful year in other ways too:

  • My husband graduated from law school.

  • We moved across the country from Chicago to Colorado, in a three-day road trip with seven-week-old twins and our "big" kids too.

  • My husband also studied for and passed the bar exam, and started a new job.

  • Our eldest started preschool.

  • My (lovely, amazing) sister got married, and the oldest and I traveled to be part of the celebration.

  • We hosted visitors multiple times - our dear friend Michelle, Grandma (several times, and Grandpa once too, and soon Grandma again with Aunt Faye), along with Aunt Katie and her lovely husband for Christmas. 

  • We had injuries (a sprained ankle, a sprained back) and illness (stomach flu, possible whooping cough in the girls that caused our first ER visit) and plenty of garden-variety colds through the winter season.

  • The little guy potty trained.

And somewhere through all of that, we started running...and haven't stopped yet.

In a year, I have gone from this:


To this:

And the girls have gone from this:

To this:

They eat, they crawl and wow do they keep me busy - but I wouldn't have it any other way. I celebrated this very fast year with some very fast speed intervals this morning, and can't wait to see what milestones we reach in the next year. Happy birthday to my sweet and wonderful twins!

Miles added since my last post:

1.51 miles (hills!)
2 miles (speed drills!)

For a total of: 3.51 miles

Year to date miles: 158.86 miles