Thursday, June 17, 2010

on the track

Last night was my second time ever training on a track.  Let's just say I am in love.  Running around the track is FUN.  I signed up for an Interval Training Program with our local running club, the Reston Runners.  The program meets every Wednesday night this summer from 6:30 - 8:00 at our local public high school.  Last week we did a warm up of about 2 miles on the trail and then, after stretching a little, we hit the track for a timed mile.  It was pretty basic and just got me excited to be on the track and to meet lots of enthusiastic runners of all experience levels.  These people are my kind of people.

This week we started with interval training.  We did our 20 minute trail run warm-up to get started.  If you're not familiar with Reston let me just tell you we have AMAZING trails here and to run on them is a gift.  Especially on a dewy evening in the summer...the colors are so vibrant and the silence is soothing.  Happiness.

Anyway after our trail run we hit the track for some half mile repeats.  I'm not exactly sure what to call these, but they were cool.  We teamed up in groups of three based on our pace from last week's timed mile.  I was the first runner in my group so I ran once around the track (400 meters, or a quarter mile) and when I came back around another runner from my team joined me for my second lap to make it a half mile total for me.  After my second lap I hopped off the track and the third member of our team hopped on with the second runner.  While they ran that lap I rested/hydrated and then when they came back around I hopped on again for my next half mile repeat (#2 hopped off, so then I was running with #3) and we kept doing this rotation for a long while...I stopped after 6 half mile repeats.  The workout totaled 5 miles but I also did 5 on the treadmill yesterday morning so my mileage for the day totaled 10 miles.  It was a GREAT day and I felt so good and so happy.

There is something about being on that track...something that makes me feel like a "real" runner.  I didn't run track or cross country in high school and never really was intrigued by it at all, actually.  I played soccer, on a few different teams and all year round.  It was my sport and I loved it.  Running was just something I did to stay in shape and perform better in soccer and honestly I didn't "get" people who ran "just to run."  I started running a little in college (and I mean very little and very sporadically) and then after college I realized my love for running when I decided to train for my first marathon.  That was about 11 years ago and since then I have trained for and run 6 marathons plus lots of other races but never have I ever speed-trained or run on a track until this past week.  It amazes me that I never tried this before and I'm so excited to spend more time on the track and to grow as a runner.  I'm learning so much from my coach...so much that I look forward to applying to my own running and to sharing with others.  There does not seem to be an end to all there is to learn from this wonderful sport called running!

Friday, June 11, 2010

5 and loving it

My baby girl turned 5 on Monday!  I can't believe it.  The past week has been a whirlwind of celebration in our house.  Last Saturday the festivities began when my mom drove me and Abby to New York City for the day.  The drive was easy and quick and it was a beautiful day.  Once we were in the city we headed straight for the American Girl store, which was truly the purpose of our visit.  My mom wanted to get Abby her first American Girl doll.  Abby could not believe her eyes!  It was incredible to see the look in my little girl's eyes.  She was astonished (her word!) and could not believe how big and beautiful the store (and everything in it) was.  To be honest, I couldn't either!  It was amazing.  Abby chose the perfect doll, although I don't know how she could go wrong with any of the choices.  Her very favorite was "Felicity" who is from pre-colonial Williamsburg in 1774.  Felicity is an adventurous and independent girl, just like Abby.  The doll came with a very pretty outfit, a great book and some lovely accessories and my mom also got Abby a movie about Felicity (which I think we have watched 1-2 times a day in the last week).  After the AG store we walked around Rockefeller center a bit so Abby could see a little of NYC before we hit the road to head home.  Abby carried Felicity on her shoulders and was simply astounded at the sights of the city.  I will cherish the memories of that day for all of my life and I'm so very thankful to my mother for such a wonderful gift.  The doll is special, but the memories of that day are priceless.

Monday, June 7th, was her actual birthday.  If you know me you know that I LOVE birthdays, especially my children's birthdays, and I get very excited about celebrating them.  One of the traditions we started for our kids' birthdays is the night before their b'day when they are sleeping we sneak into their rooms and fill them with about 20 huge helium-filled balloons in every color of the rainbow.  When they wake in the morning to find balloons filling their room, they are SO EXCITED.  We also hang streamers from their door in their favorite colors (Abby of course gets pink and purple) which they think is hilarious.  So Abby started her morning with TONS of excitement!  Then we headed downstairs for breakfast which was her favorite - banana chocolate chip muffins made by me - with of course a candle in her muffin!  She got the traditional bright red "You Are Special Today" plate (which my mom used in our house when we were growing up - for birthdays, graduations, etc).  Birthday banners, streamers, flower leis, party hats and a giant red glittery "5" (which I made out of cardboard) hanging above her seat all made the morning really fun.  Also, since Abby's favorite flowers are red roses, we decorated the table with a vase filled with them for her.  As we sat down to have breakfast, before a single present was spied, she cupped her little hands around her mouth and turned to me and whispered "Mama, this is the best birthday ever!"  With that my heart melted and I felt so happy...for me there is really nothing better than knowing your child's heart is full and she is so happy.  I am so thankful!

The rest of the day was joyous and fun (including a very special visit from Robert's mom - who drove up from VA Beach to spend a few hours with the birthday girl!) and we topped it off with a wonderfully PINK strawberry birthday cake shared with our amazing family members outside on our deck.  It was awesome!!

So now it is Friday and we have a birthday party planned for Sunday afternoon with all of Abby's school friends.  I have to say as wonderful as the week has been...I am wiped out and just can't wait for the party to be over with!  I'm sure it will be fun - we are planning a "gardening party" complete with actual gardening (Robert made a new bed for the kids to plant in!), decorating pots and even cupcakes that look like dirt (with crushed Oreos with chocolate icing and gummy worms on top).  Abby cannot wait and her brother is pretty excited too!  I'm so glad that my kids' birthdays are several months apart (Will turns 4 on October 27) because I will need to recharge my batteries before getting ready for another celebration!!

Here's to a happy (and sunny!) weekend ahead.  Goodness knows I will need my long run on Sunday morning to get ready for the party that afternoon!!!

Thursday, June 3, 2010


The day started off great.  Lots of energy, lots of sunshine.  It wasn't until I was making breakfast for the kids (about 2 hours after waking) that everything changed.  My daughter started complaining of a tummy ache and then ... turns out she was getting ready to throw up.  Bummer.

So now it is almost noon and we are all hanging out at home.  No run for me today.  Can't put a sick kid in a stroller on a hot day.  Can't take 'em to the gym.  I feel like my plans for this day have been completely derailed and I am feeling selfishly sad.  I really just want to get out and get moving, even just for a few miles.  I'm trying not to get carried away with negative thoughts about what the next few days may bring.  Just need to be focused on the now and take care of my baby girl...but also pray that her brother doesn't catch it and that my husband and I stay in the clear!

I will do my best to make this a good day.  For me, for my sick child, and for my energy-filled three year old boy who is going to be spending the day indoors.  Wish me luck!!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

why i read the blogs i read

I don't really read very many blogs but I am fiercely dedicated to the three that I do read and I thought it would be fun to share them here and explain what I love about them.  Hopefully you will check them out too and will get something out of them the way I do.

  • Mile Posts by Dorothy Beal: Dorothy is an amazing person in every way AND she is an incredible runner.  She writes about life and running and everything in between with great thought, care and eloquence.  Her running journey is so inspiring.  I had the great gift of meeting Dorothy one day in Reston right after I moved here.  I was going through a really tough time at the time.  I took the kids down to feed the ducks at South Lakes (in my double BOB) and Dorothy was down there with her two kids and the same running stroller.  We started talking and she was so enthusiastic and open with me...by the time I got home that afternoon she had already emailed me and found me on Facebook.  We were instant friends and the first thing that we held in common besides motherhood was our passion for running.  That was almost two years ago.  I credit Dorothy (and her blog) with reigniting my "running fire."  She showed me that I could be a runner again!  That motherhood would actually make me a stronger runner, not hold me back.  In the two years since I met Dorothy I have trained for and run 2 marathons and PR'd in that and every other distance.  Dorothy and her blog are filled with passion, information and inspiration that fuel my spirit and my belief in myself as a person and as a runner.  SO needless to say I read her blog every day!
  • Coffee and Wine Please by Claire Wood:  I'll start by saying I have never met Claire, but I hope to have the chance to one day.  She is best buddies with Dorothy.  Dorothy had a couple links to Claire's blog in her writings and through those I clicked over and read a bit.  I found myself checking back a lot and basically "stalking" Claire's blog for a while until FINALLY I came out of my hiding and became a dedicated follower.  The reasons are many.  First, this girl can write!  She is good.  Second, she is hilarious.  There have been several times when I crack up out loud while reading.  Third, while she can be so incredibly funny, she is equally insightful and raw at times and her words have touched me very deeply.  The blog is about everything and about nothing and I love it.  My only issue is that I wish she would write more.  I would seriously read this girl's book if she would write one (hint, hint).  
  • Racing with Babes by Tonia Blanchet: This running momma of three is plain awesome.  She is on a mission to show everyone IT CAN BE DONE and I love that about her.  I met Tonia in my RRCA running coach class.  We didn't get to talk much at all during the weekend but when I got home I checked out her blog and was so excited when I found it.  She inspires so many women in her community as well as through the online running blog world.  Tonia is serious about her training and becoming a stronger, faster runner but she really believes hard work should be accompanied by lots of fun, friendship, love and laughter (oh and fashion - she is always running in colorful skirts and funky socks)!  I love that about her.  This chick has three kids under the age of 5 and she fits it all in.  She rocks.
So that is my little summary of the blogs I read and why I read them.  I am truly grateful to each of these women for their words, information and stories.  They inspire me and I hope you will find inspiration from them also!!

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