Friday, December 16, 2011

I draw the line at the elf

Excuse me I meant to say the f-ing elf on the shelf. It's cute - it's quirky and that little thing makes me want to punch somebody in the nose.

We celebrate two winter holidays in our house Hannukah and Christmas plus we have 2 winter birthdays and those cannot be ignored because even though both birthday folks are full-grown adults they suffered childhood holiday birthday trauma as children. :-) That's another post in itself - dealing with disfunctional adult onset childhood holiday birthday trauma in a family member (daochbt for short). It's busy at our house in December.

But oh how my kids want one. In fact the Hannukah elf has just made an appearance at school and my son who is dealing with the rejection that we don't have said elf on the shelf has made a plea that if he can't have the Christmas elf can we have the Hanukkah elf?

Uh ... nope.

There are lot of mom's out there that can juggle all the holidays, the presents, the wrapping, the shows, the projects and still make the elf happen. And if you're elfing ... make sure you take daily photos of what the elf is up to because otherwise ... well that would be incomplete elfing.  Sadly for my kids ... That ain't me McGee. I accidentally missed my son's class Christmas lunch Wednesday ... oops ... I do feel bad about that. And I had about 50 reminders to try to remember to bring hot chocolate to my daughter's class this morning. And I'm behind on my holiday wrapping ... not to mention I need to clean out my closet and I skipped my swim workout yesterday and have not worked out yet today.

The last thing I need to try to do is keep up with the elf.

breathing deeply -

oh boy -

Did I mention my kids are both smart? Also my daughter is 8. She may have figured out some of this Santa business. They know I'm not into the elf ... so this morning they decided to ask Santa for the elf. Boy am I in trouble now.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Things I'm thinking about today

  1. I think inflatable holiday yard decorations are silly. My kids disagree. They really like them. Luckily for me I outvote them on matters of the home.
  2. Spinning is hard. Whatever muscles those are that you can pop up and down in spin class ... I was maybe built without those muscles because I have a super hard time with that.
  3. I am considering making a green smoothie but they freak me out a little bit because they are green. And what makes them green is spinach or lettuce  or kale and I don't think that the taste of spinach goes with the taste of strawberry actually. So I haven't done anything except think about them.
  4. I have a lot of bok Choy in my fridge ... The only thing I know how to make with bok Choy is stir guess what's for dinner?
  5. I read to a small group of second graders today during lunch. Some brought their own some got from the cafeteria. I was pleasantly surprised at the basically pretty healthy choices that the kids made for lunches.
  6. I personally am ready for holiday vacation all this driving back and forth to school is making me tired. A nap would be good.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Last Race of the Year - Miami Beach Rock-n-Roll half marathon

So that's it - the last race of the year. Started the year with the goal of 12 races during the year. I think I've done 11 races.

That's a lot of races. Different goal for this year for sure. But this post is not about those races this is my review of the Miami Beach Latin Rock-n-Roll half marathon.

Rock-n-Roll Latin 1/2 Marathon 12/11/2001 time 2:04:36
Start Line.

The goal for this race was to break 2 hours and I just missed it. The 2 hour half marathon mark taunts me still. But 2:04:36 is the time I'm happy with that. It was a very hot day (78 at the finish) and I didn't do a drop of speedwork between the New York Marathon and today so I was - what is the word, oh yes, unprepared.

It was nice to have a local race. Packet pickup was easy. I slept in my own house the night before. I knew plenty of people on the course and at the start and finish. My family stayed home for the morning chilling out while I did my thing. It was all good.

The course
This is apparently the same course as Miami 13.1 which is a race I've never done. It has 3 bridges which is considered a hilly course for Miami. I thought it was nice. We started and finished on Miami Beach which is nice. I am not a great hill climber but with all the hill work I did preparing for New York I've become a pretty good hill descender. I passed a lot of people on the downhills. 

The bridges are a challenge but it's still got to be one of the flattest courses in the country. And it was pretty straight just one big square up left turn, over the causeway, left turn toward downtown, left turn back to the beach, fake out before the finish right turn past Joe's Stonecrab and then left and back to the finish. The finish was in sand so not so much sprinting at the end because ... well I don't know how to sprint in the sand.

Me on a bridge. I think I look pretty good here. And the view doesn't suck. Benefits of being in the tropics.

The weather
It was hot hot hot. Or muy calor as we would say here in Miami. It was overcast for most of the race but hot and humid. I'm guessing the dewpoint was like a million.

So, it would have been nicer if it was cooler. They were passing out salt before the race aggressively. And they did have people with hoses out on the course. I loved each and every one of them because it felt really great. 
Spraying the hot runners going by. This was great!

Around mile 10 going up the 395 bridge it rained on me and there was a strong wind so that was unpleasant. While the rain cooled me off shortly after that it was sooooo steamy when the sun came out. Luckily that was near to the end of the course for me. And at the finish they had ice cold towels and fans blowing cool water over finishers. I did see one person collapse from overheating at the finish and I think my friend Meli had heat exhaustion on the course but she finished without needing medical help.
Even me the non-sweating runner was drenched by mile 3.
Pelted by windy rain going back towards Miami Beach on 395.

The plan
Okay I'll be honest I didn't have much of a plan. Roughly speaking it was to run 9 minute miles start to finish. There was one problem with that plan which was that I'm not a good self-pacer at 9 minutes so I was relying heavily on my trusty Garmin. I tried to find friends around me that would be doing 9 minutes but that wasn't overly successful past the first 400 feet :-) This is a whole minute faster per mile than my New York pace and whenever I stopped watching the watch my body did settle into closer to a 10 minute mile.

At mile 3 the plan (what there was of it) fell apart when I had to make a potty stop. I briefly entertained the idea of really pushing the pace to hit the 2 hour mark but I was having this calculation in my head going up a hill huffing and puffing so reality was clear that it wasn't happening. I wasn't too bummed because I knew I wasn't fully prepared so I just kept on trucking. Then I saw a rainbow ... that was awesome.
rainbow going over the first bridge

I was using the "instant" pace on my garmin and trying to keep it under 9:00. I learned that I do slow down a lot going uphill. I also learned that I slow down when I take pictures along the way (which I hate to admit). So, it was helpful to have that tool this morning for the run. And if I'm going for a super fast race maybe I'll put the camera away. Although it does help me have fun in the run - I enjoy it and it takes my mind off the running some but when I'm pushing the pace through the race that actually keeps me quite busy by itself. 
I had two favorite signs. My favorite I was past before I could take a picture it said "run like snot" But this was my next favorite because she was at the end of the last of the bridges. Ha! It's true though they do make you stronger because they're hills.
I've never had a nutrition category in a race review but this time I do. There was obvious concern from the race directors to make sure that participants were ready for the heat and the race. There was a separate brochure and also I've already mentioned the guy walking through the corals offering salt. I've never taken any salt supplement so I skipped it.

One of the peices of advice going around now is to keep the caffeine below 200g on race day. This combined with not doing a crazy sprint at the end is supposed to help prevent a finish line heart attack. And I'll admit I'd like to avoid a finish line heart attack. So, that's okay advice but I had to do some research to figure out what it meant to me personally because my GU packets do not actually list how much caffeine they have in them. I do avoid taking to many gu's with caffeine already before I had this tip because they irritate my stomach. So on Friday I looked up on the guenergy website and their regular gu's have 20 mg of caffeine. A cup of coffee has 100 mg caffeine.

I had brought 3 Gu's for the race. One plain with caffeine and 2 lemon lime sublime with no caffeine. Estimated caffeine intake 120g over 4 hours. But then at mile 8-9? where the race was giving out GU I was out of energy so I picked it up. It was a Roctane. I've never taken one of those. But after an internal dialog of approximately 15 seconds during which I was unsuccessfully trying to add up my caffeine intake I went ahead and slurped up the Roctane that they gave out because I was out of gas and unable to do basic math. I have learned that anytime I'm unable to do basic math I should have some calories. That stuff does have a pick up effect.  But it's too much caffeine for me.

I looked it up this morning and Roctane has 35g of caffeine so I was up to 155g estimated for the day. 

I have no doubt that I gave this my all because I actually took my last GU at mile 11 because I needed it. Shortly after that the 2:00 hour pacer came by and just like New York I said - hey there's my guy and I ran with him from mile 10-12 when I slowed down much to my sadness but it was that oh so tired slowdown where you try to will your body to go faster and the reply you get is ... nope this is it :-) Also at mile 12 I had the whole weak leg feeling so I feel good about this PR time. While I wish it was 1:59 I'll just save that joyous experience for the next race.

me with my medal. What a bright blue sky, eh? Also when will I learn to pick up my arm more and how do I live in Miami and stay so pasty white?

In closing:
I like Rock-n-Roll races. I think they do a good job. 2 of my 4 marathons were Rock-n-Roll. They do a good job at the start holding the corals to keep the course clear.

This was also a smaller race with I think 4-5000 runners so it wasn't crowded. I'm sure that the number will grow because it's a great destination point for a half-marathon. They only had water every other mile which was okay but if it's going to be 80 they should have it every mile. I'm sure they'll change that for next year because they are good like that.

runners including tri guy and hammerhead Mike Estevez dressed as Carmen Miranda. That had to be a hassle.
The bands were good. One was shut down because the residents nearby complained. That was a bummer for the runners but it was before 8 am so I get that it would suck to have a band blasting if you were trying to sleep it. The medal is also cool and the shirt is a girl fit. I would do this race again. Hopefully 4 minutes faster :-)

my friends Carol and Max. Max left his glasses at a water stop (who takes their glasses off at a water station, Max that's who) and had to run an extra mile back to get them. Carol carried that elf hat for 12 miles to wear it the last mile. But she did have both a right and left shoe on. Inside joke that last one.

As a last note the charity that benefits from this race is St. Jude's children's hospital and I think that's a great cause. While I hope to never need their services I hope that they get a giant check from this event because they do good work.

And now for my next trick - Sleep.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Miami Beach Rock -n- Roll half marathon preview

I'm watching the NBC coverage of the Ironman World championship and prepping for tomorrows race.

As a note there is too much slow motion in this broadcast.

I feel really unprepared for the race tomorrow. But that might be mental.

It will be my first race since the New York Marathon and there was just so much ramp up for that and this is just much calmer.

But also to be honest I haven't done any speed work since New York. I went out to do a tempo run this week and I was reminded that I don't have a mental 9 minute pace. 10 minute check, 8 minute yes but I can't easily nail the 9 minute pace.

My plan was to run 3 half's between now and February with the goal of a 2 hour finish. But my daughter has gymnastics meets that conflict with the second and third races. So while tomorrow was supposed to be a warm up - its maybe my only chance.

So my plan is to find others running a 9 minute pace and stick with them. We'll see how I do :-)

Here's a picture of My son playing yard darts in the st. Jude tent at the expo on the beach - super cool.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Race Report - Turkey Trot 2011

Alternative title - most expensive 5k race with no travel :-)

This has become a family tradition. Well that is if 2 years can make a tradition. We did this race last year with my brother and his family and while my husband was not too excited about getting up early Thanksgiving day when he realized the kids remembered the race from last year and wanted to do it he was game. In my husbands defense when he learns the kids are excited about something he is a team player.

So, my kids are 8 and 5. So we don't actually have a stroller anymore. Also, all our friends who still have strollers either need them or they are so beaten up they weren't wanting to loan them to me. And I didn't want to push because I'm pretty sure we exceeded any jogger stroller weight recommendations. Breaking a friend's stroller is not good for a friendship.

So, we rented. It wasn't the cheapest thing we've ever done but they delivered and we had a great morning so this worked for us.

My daughter getting ready. Jean shorts and knee socks - it works for her. Also the trot shirt needed to be knotted for extra cute effect :-)
There is the rental stroller. Yellow really isn't my color. Notice the completely trusting look on my fact that my husband can actually use the camera? :-)
This Turkey Trot is in Tropical Park. That's my daughter in the jean shorts and knee socks. My daughter ran the whole 5k. I was very impressed.
Jack was very serious about his kids race. He was a veteran and he knew the routine. The 5-6 year olds are just like adults every time the organizer moved back they inched forward. It was funny to me. They ran 200 yds.
I didn't see Dylan start because my husband and I split up to take the kids to their starts. Good thing there are only 2 of them ;-) The 8 year olds ran 600 yds. Dylan finished all red faced and exhausted just like mom. 

In other notable news from this event. It seemed larger to me than last year but I'm not sure that's correct. It was pretty crowded back in the walker / stroller section but I heard that up front running the 10k start it was plenty clear.

My husband is claiming this as a win for him. About 1/3 of the way in Jack settled into the stroller for the ride. So Marc pulled ahead and he finished ahead of the rest of the family. It's the first time he's ever beaten me in a race so he's pretty thrilled.

After the 5k but before the kids race - Jack found his way to the bounce house. He had a great time. We also got some yogurts, water and bananas. Even with a big crowd this was a well organized race and while the lines were long for food there seemed to be plenty. It's a good race. We'll be back again next year.

As a final comment. I'm not sure Jack's related to me. In all the races I've ever done I've never, ever had a good race finish photo. I order them sometimes but I'm always red faced and generally exhausted looking. The same is true for my husband, and my daughter. But look at this:
Isn't that the cutest finisher photo you've ever seen :-)

Everyone says my daughter looks like me - this finisher photo is no exception:
now that's a Stone finisher photo, red face, looks like she wants to puke. That's my girl!

As a final final comment. That's like a p.p.s. in a letter. As my kids get bigger our cleaning lady has a harder time telling our clothes apart. In her defense Dylan is almost my height and the shirts can be confusing. Also, I have more tech shirts than anybody else in the house. Even still I think it's pretty funny that she put all 4 yellow Turkey Trot shirts in my closet right next to each other. Funny.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Oh Calendar Oh Calender why do you hate me so

One of the challenges of motherhood - dare I say the biggest for me is the change from this being my life to do with what I want to it being the life of my little munchkins to boss me around with their schedules.

When they were newborns this was the eating and sleeping schedule. Now it's other stuff. It turns out that almost every race I want to do in the next few months directly conflicts with my daughters gymnastics meets. I am seriously feeling selfish because I'm a little bummed.

Actually I only know about 2 the third is Florida 70.3 in Orlando which is allegedly May 20 but they were supposed to make an announcement today about the race and the announcement was ... more news next week. I know, those race directors are some funny guys ... not. So for all I know that race will now be in June. 

I did just spend my 4.8 mile run reminding myself that my mommyhood job comes first. I know it does and I'll be excited about her gym meets when I get there - really I will. But at the moment I'm bummed.

Now, that's enough of the pity party. Off to daily duties - shipping my brother's holiday package. Oh wait does he read this blog well would you look at that? Then picking up my littlest man who really wants me to get the elf on the shelf for him but he's gonna have to deal with that himself because I've got enough holiday nonsense going on already with 3 holidays and all the stuff that goes with them.