Thursday, April 30, 2015

First Family Race

This past Saturday, the whole family (except for Mischa) ran the Loop the Lakes 5k in Vernon Hills. It was the first race of the year for Hubby and me and the first race ever for the Things, and I have to say I'm pleased with how well it all went!

It was a small race, run by the Vernon Hills Park District, so there was no packet pick up ahead of time.
Runners in training?
Instead, they set up at the park before the race, and it was such a small event that we didn't have any problem getting there, finding parking, and getting our packets. We let the Things run around for a bit before the race, which they certainly appreciated, and just spent some time wandering around together.

I was pleasantly surprised to find out that the park shelter had REAL, working bathrooms, with flushing toilets and running water. I know this would have been a huge problem at a bigger race, but I never saw a line running out the door, so I think the capacity must have been okay for the size of the field. It also seemed like a lot of locals ran the race, so I'm guessing they had their own facilities close by... Either way, no complaints here!

The weather day-of wasn't nearly as nice as we were hoping for: it was chilly (in the low 40's), and threatening to rain the whole time. Plus, there was a significant amount of wind. Add that to the hills on the course, and it was a challenging race. Challenging, but rewarding!

Hubby was nice enough to let me run the race as fast as I wanted, while he pushed the Things in their stroller. I knew for a fact that I wasn't strong enough to push the stroller the whole distance, and I was secretly hoping that I might PR, or maybe even place, so I was really glad he let me do that.

I started out close to the front, and picked my pace and just settled in. I've been almost enjoying the hills (such as they are) in our area, so I wasn't concerned about the hills in this race. In fact, I picked off most of the people I passed on the uphills! It was a good feeling. The course took us on a one-and-a-half-ish loop of the lakes in the park, so we got a chance to see where we'd be finishing, and had a good way to gauge how much we had left.

I felt really strong for most of the race, and didn't get passed by many people. As I was getting close to the end, a volunteer said "You might be the third woman!" I was really excited by that, and pushed a little harder. I actually passed a guy close to the end, but could hear him trying to catch me once the finish line came into view. Hearing him stomping up behind me gave me a faster kick than usual, and I flew across the finish in a new PR (26:19)! Take that, #17!

I even got a trophy!
Since I was pretty sure I'd placed in my age group, we waited around for the awards ceremony. Sure enough, I was awarded third in my age group, and fifth woman overall! Not too shabby!
However, the next day, I found out that I'd actually placed second in my age group, due to an error in tabulation on race day. Wahoo!!! I'll be trading in my shiny third place trophy for and even shinier second place one this weekend!

I will admit, I'm still working through some race anxiety. The pre-race stuff didn't go as smoothly as I would have liked, but I can tell I'm making progress. I'm working really hard to get back to my love of racing, and this race was a huge step in the right direction. I'm taking things slowly, but I know I'll get there. I'm really looking forward to even more family races as the Things grow up.

I almost forgot to mention: Hubby was a complete rock star pushing the stroller! He was the first stroller to finish, came in under 30 minutes, and ninth in his age group! I came in 25th overall, and he came in at 48th. I'd say both of us finishing in the top 50 makes this race a big win! We're looking forward to running it again next spring!

Friday, April 24, 2015


I'm not fearless. Far from it. Between worrying about the babies, and dealing with my own anxieties, there are times when I just feel like one big ball of neuroses.

Recently, I became an Ambassador for Skirt Sports; a company that makes workout gear for women. Sure, they make cute workout clothes, but they also want to motivate women to get moving and reach their goals, and create a supportive community to help them get there. I've worn Skirt Sports to many races:
Like this one...

And this one...
I love having clothes to run in that fit me, keep me comfortable, and still make me feel cute!

As an Ambassador, I get to participate in races and events that Skirt Sports puts on, and I my first one was last weekend! Since they're based in Colorado, I might not get to run many of their actual races, but they've thought of that! They have a series of Virtual Races, so you can participate, no matter where you are!

On April 25th, I ran the 261 Fearless Virtual Race. This race is special, because it celebrates Kathrine Switzer, the first woman to run the Boston Marathon. She ran wearing bib #261, and went through a lot to make it to the finish line. In the process, she opened a lot of doors for women in the running world.

Given how insecure I've been feeling about myself (and especially my racing) recently, I knew this was a race I had to run. Sure, I would only be competing against myself, but I'm my own worst enemy right now. Who else should I be racing? Even though I was running solo, I still treated the run like a race, and I pushed myself. It felt great to get out there, and work hard, and know that I was working to make myself a better runner, a better mother, and a stronger person in
general. My progress is slow, but I'm getting there.

The 261 Fearless race was a good reminder to myself that fearlessness means a lot of things. It means running races, even though they make me anxious. It means working on myself, so that the scary things lose their power. It means remembering to treat every day as an adventure, and trying to get the most out of it. That one can be hard to manage, with all of the daily little things that come with having two small hurricanes living in my house. But, they're also the most exciting adventure I can think of, and I'm trying to be better about finding the fun in the little times with them.

In 1967, Kathrine Switzer ran the Boston Marathon. She put her fears aside that day, and look what she accomplished! Today, I'm working little by little to put my own fears aside. I'm learning to be brave every day, in the little ways I can. I'm not fearless yet, but that's okay.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Silly Times with Nana and Grandad

My parents (Nana and Grandad) came to visit this weekend, and we got up to all kinds of shenanigans while they were here!

Thing 1 discovered a passion for coffee, while Thing 2 showed us her...unique fashion sense...
They both got drunk on pancakes...

And, of course, there were lots of snuggles!

In between all of that, there was lots of play time outside, we learned new games and had some adventures! There were lots of smiles and giggles all around on this visit. It was over too soon, but we sure had a lot of fun!

I even got in a 4 mile run, to take advantage of the great weather! Hoping this trend continues, and I can start to build up my mileage again... Hubby and I would love to get in some family runs this year!

Friday, April 3, 2015

My Barfiest Time of Year

We're all very glad to see the tail end of March! Apparently, March in our family means stomach bug season. This is the second year in a row that we've all caught the pukes (or the poops) in March, and it's no fun at all! By now, the bug has made the rounds through everyone in the house (except the dog), and Hubby and I are exhausted from more than one night of interrupted sleep.

After Hubby and I were both declared nuclear on Tuesday, the in-laws (also known as Sasha and Papa) stepped in yesterday, whisking the Things away to stay at their house while mommy and daddy recuperated. Hubby and I would have enjoyed our time alone in our home, if we weren't so sick that we couldn't do anything but lay in bed and groan pathetically. Fortunately, that night really helped us get back on our feet, and our heads out of the toilet, so we were all back together again the next day.

Now the house has been decontaminated, and we're fervently hoping that's the only round of the bug we have to suffer though. It may have been a super effective way to lose weight for the wedding we're attending this weekend, but it's certainly not the method I would have chosen!

Sadly, that means most other activities were put on hold for several days, so I'm still not at 100 miles for the year. Not to worry, though! I know I'll get out lots as the weather continues to get better!

Also, no cute pictures this week, because what's cute about violent vomiting?