Our Lovely Chaos

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

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Being Brave (Days 105 to 109)

Sometimes I'm not very brave.

It took me 100 days of running in a row to put this blog out for the world to see. I just kept thinking "something might happen" or "what if I quit" and then I would have a public record of my failure.

But running every single day means being brave! It means finding ways to squeeze in the workouts and being okay with every run not being amazing, but still lacing up your shoes because you made a commitment.

I'm working on being more brave.

I had this great idea that I was going to lose the last of my twin pregnancy weight, and celebrate that and turning 30 in January with a new short haircut. Something fun and sassy to celebrate hitting that milestone. Then I was thinking about it, and realized that I often cut my runs short in the morning because I need time to dry and straighten my hair or at least to cool down before getting in the shower. (Unfortunately "wash and go" hair is a myth for me.) It took a few days to get my nerve together, but I went for it and am sporting a pixie cut now. 

Evidence of my bravery: 

I have found that short hair is a) fun for running and b) easier to wash and style than I imagined. People also seem to universally like my new haircut, and I'm proud that I actually did it. 

Since I last posted, we also went to an Easter egg hunt for the kids with my local twin club. Very fun, and the girls love swinging at the park. 

When not swinging, they also like eating. I got a big thumbs up for my homemade marinara with asparagus and pasta.

Just two more days until the girls turn one! I can't believe how far I have come in terms of fitness in the past year. Days 105 to 109 are in the books now, and those runs were good ones too. I'm into these fast and dirty speed workouts recently, and the good news is that I'm getting faster!

Miles added since last post:

1.59 miles (with kids in tow too!)
2 miles
2 miles
2 miles
2 miles

For a total of: 9.59 miles

Miles to date: 155.35 miles

On track to make my 600 miles goal for the year, and five more days in the streak done!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Running as Therapy

People sometimes ask me why I like running. The fitness benefits are obvious, but those endorphins are better for mental health than all the wine and chocolate I could possibly eat. In case you're wondering why I crave those endorphins so much, I thought I would share the adventures of this week. So far. It's only Thursday after all...

Here's one: potty training this little guy. The good news is that he has the hang of it now, but it has been a long almost two weeks of reminders, laundry, practicing and general work. He's awfully cute in his tighty-whities though.

No real drama with these two, but almost one-year-old twins? The workload goes without saying.

Teamwork - one throwing food to the other. 

And happy to report no peanut allergies, but wow that peanut butter took forever to clean up.

And these two. Best of buddies 90% of the time, but a fight at the sand table this week led to sand throwing (by the little guy) and the 4yo ended up with sand in her eyes, a scratch on her cornea, and headed to an emergency eye doctor visit for irrigation/cleaning. That was super fun. The good news is that he didn't mean to hurt her, and has definitely learned a lesson, but I didn't see my Tuesday taking a turn like that. You never know what chaos is around the corner!

So potty training, twins (enough said), one scratched cornea, two preschool days, and the usual adventures of four young children (laundry, diapers, naptime coordination - the key to survival). How could I not want to run?

I should mention that my wonderful husband has been running more and more during his lunch hour at work, meaning that I can run in the mornings and - even better - run slightly longer. I decided to make a goal of 600 miles for the year, meaning I need to average just over 1.7 miles for the rest of the year. Longer runs (even slightly longer) now are a big help in keeping me from doing a half marathon every day in December...

So what have I done since I last posted?

2 miles
1 mile
2.13 miles

For a total of: 5.13 miles

And a year to date total of: 145.76 miles

Three more days in the books!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Day 101: The Intro to Blogging

Once upon a time, I ran with a double jogging stroller.

People looked at me like I was crazy, pushing two very bundled babies along the Lakeshore Path in Chicago. But I was determined to be fit, so we bundled up and hit the streets. Fast forward roughly two years later, and that crazy bundle has doubled in size with the addition of these sweet girls.

Twin pregnancies do a number to your body. Trust me - I have been there. So when the girls were finally a few months old and getting into a routine, I knew I needed something to motivate me to get my body and endurance back. And with too many to push in a jogging stroller now, I needed something good.

Enter: the New Year's Resolution.

Except that this one - to maintain a streak of a "mile or more" each day in 2011 - has stuck. I'm starting this blog to celebrate Day 101. Every single day since January 1st this year, I have run at least a mile. My total mileage is actually 140.63 miles. Even now, writing that, I think of people who run 10+ miles for a fun Saturday morning and how I used to be that person (or close at least) and am not anymore. My pace is still slow compared to many, and my average for the year is just over 10 miles a week - how special is that, really?

But...I'm running through the chaos - lovely and often organized, but still chaos - of four young children. And despite that stress, despite the work involved in caring for them, and despite the unexpected moments that happen with young children, I have run 101 days straight. And in the past 101 days, I have lost more than 10 pounds. My mile pace has decreased by minutes/mile, and my endurance has come up by leaps and bounds. I recently started meeting with a trainer and scored in the highest category of cardiovascular fitness on my initial assessment. This running works!

My wonderful husband has done this project with me, step-by-step along the way. He's faster and fitter and has done amazing, but I think he would agree that neither of us would still be running without the support of each other. When I run in the early morning, he feeds the twins. While I'm reading, feeding and diapering children at home, he's running on his lunch break. We ran through the stomach flu, through a serious back injury (me) and through a (likely) whooping cough infection in our twins that led to our first ER visit as parents and nearly put the girls in the hospital.

But still. We ran.

And here I plan to chronicle how I continue to do just that for the rest of this year and beyond. What do I hope to gain from writing? Inspiration and motivation to lace up my shoes and keep the streak going. I run to stay sane and healthy for four little people who count on me every single day. And I can't wait to hear about why you run, so please - introduce yourselves. :)

The workout today: 2.15 miles of hills and sprints. Day 101 is off to a great start.