Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Carbo Loading by Dinky-T

Tonight, for dessert, the kids had angel food cake topped with red and golden raspberries picked from our yard and homemade whipped cream.

While the kids were eating their dessert at the breakfast bar, I had my back to them, cooking tortillas for their lunches. (Lately they have been making tortilla pizzas with turkey pepperoni.)

Dinky-T asked, "Mom, can I have a tortilla?"

"I don't know, can you?"

"Mom, may I have a tortilla?"


Dinky-T grabbed a tortilla and went back to the counter with the other kids. I continued to cook tortillas until I heard, "Now that's what I call carbohydrates!"

Hmmm...I am thinking that an angel-food-raspberry-whipped-cream-burrito is not exactly ideal carb-loading...

Excuses, Excuses...Wait, Have I Used That Before?

Since the plane crash, I have been a little leery about running.

Okay, not really, but I have been very busy with a project and getting my new company fully up and running (yay).

Okay, I have been busy with the project, but honestly, I have skipped some runs. I was a cruddy running partner and cancelled a run with H3 just to take the kids to a movie. And to eat buttered popcorn. Sprinkled with M&M's.
There, it's out. Whew. Don't you feel better now? I do.

I did manage to run with Pacemaker and the new TNT gang last Saturday. I did 7.09 miles, 10:39 average. I am getting to my speed goal, slowly but surely. Emphasis on slowly...wait, I am starting to see a connection here...NAH.

After the run (and a much needed shower), the kids and I headed to Seward to help Nana & Bumpa winterize the boat.
Big-C was more thrilled than he looks.
Tinkerbell was under the weather with a nasty cold. Gia's daughter Cari-boo came along for the ride because (1) we invited her and (2) her sister got-to-go-to-the-fair-and-life's-not-fair-wait-that's-too-funny-to-be-whiny-so-can't-she-come-with-us-we-are-going-to-stay-in-the-hotel-and-swim-in-the-pool.

I am glad Gia puts up with my whining.

Winterizing the boat was pretty labor intensive. The first day we worked in the cabins, cleaning and removing everything that might freeze. The second day was to be spent on the "mechanical" aspects of winterizing. The second day brought a gripping realization that I have not been doing enough upper body workouts.


The engine and pump compartments are way too small for a man of my dad's size to fit into. It is also worth mentioning that my father had a heart transplant 4 years ago this weekend, and I hate to see him crawling around and contorting his body trying to squeeze into spaces filled with in I went. Unfortunately, there were two problems with my plan to play plumber/mechanic; I have no idea what I am doing and I apparently do not have enough forearm strength to do some of the work.
The solution to problem number one: take a photo of the part, pass the camera to dad, follow instructions. Check. The solution to problem number two: brace my body against anything and use my body weight to add force. Nine ugly bruises and one sarcastic "are you having a baby in there?" comment from my mother (my grunts of effort) later, the boat was winterized.
Before we left Seward, we had to stop and have lunch at the smoke shack. Ohhhh yummy. I chose the healthiest option available, smoked cod, and WOW who new healthy could taste so good. Thank you, Smoke Shack.

So healthy I could almost run. Tee Hee.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Well That Doesn't Happen Everyday

So I have a confession....I may have caused this:

It's a plane crash.

I didn't mean to crash an airplane.

Let me 'splain.

On Tuesday, Unagi (the doggy) and I left the house for a dreaded tempo run. When I told Unagi our plan, she was clearly not thrilled. I thought we would follow a new route I experimented with last week. I have been hesitant to run on the trail system by myself, and I don't care to run along busy roads, so I found a route through the neighborhood that passes through a section of the airport.

So Unagi and I started with a 20 minute warm up which took us to the North side of Lake Hood. We then started the tempo portion of the run. Our goal was 20 minutes at the maximum sustainable pace. Oy.

Twelve minutes into the torture, while gasping for breath and sweating profusely, I heard sirens. My first thought was that a good samaritan had called the emergency vehicles to assist me, as I looked (and sounded) like someone about to have a heart attack.

As we followed the road that winds through the airport, we were passed by police cars, fire trucks, an ambulance and airport emergency response trucks. My relief that they weren't coming for me was tempered by the fact that they were coming at all.

At the fifteen minute mark, as I turned East to head home, I was met by an airport-emergency-response-man. He informed me that the road was closed due to a plane crash.

I immediately felt VERY bad as I realized that my gasping for breath must have created a dramatic and unexpected cross wind, causing the plane to crash immediately after take-off.

I'm sorry.

I felt so bad, I didn't even tell the airport-emergency-response-man that I was in a bit of a pinch now. You see, I had no hydration or fuel with me, and the detour to get home added another 1.5 miles to my route. Ouch.

I opted to slow back to a normal pace, tough it out until the last half mile, then walk the cool down.

I'm sorry Mr. Pilot. Promise not to breathe so hard next time.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Belated Race Report

Okay my dear friends, supportive family, fellow bloggers, and occasional random stranger, time to suck it up as readers, because this post is a race report.

It is not clever. It is not witty. It is dry and meaningless to everyone but me. However, I ran 13.1 miles (painful), so I figure the least you can do is read my recap (slightly less painful).

{Pretty please.}

Unless, of course, you had to listen to my verbal recap already, in which case you may jump for joy now, skip to the end, and leave the comment, "Way to Go!"

If you have had to sit through my verbal recap more than once, OR, if you showed up at the finish line and were the recipient of a very sweaty hug, you may close your browser now. I won't be mad. Promise. Promise-serious. Promise-serious-Evan-pinky-swear.

The race was a mini TNT reunion and my plan was to run with H3.

My goal was to finish the race under 2:30. For my non-running friends: Amazing, huh?

For my running friends: Remember, this is chubby-bubby-turning-athlete-in-the-frigid-north. Last August, pathetically ran a 5k in 47 minutes. Passed by walkers. Thought I was going to die. Sucking air more dramatically than a fish out of water. I realize you are laughing too hard to do the math, so let me help you. That is a 15:16 mile. Yes, I know I could have walked faster.

Anyhoodle. I thought my goal of 2:30 was realistic, my training runs have been averaging under 11:00 minute miles and my last 10k was 1:06 (again, just under 11:00 average).

The race course for the Skinny Raven Half was a very different experience than the Mayor's Marathon. The Skinny Half course begins as an out-and-back along the Coastal Trail from downtown Anchorage to Lyn Ary park. On the return, the course heads East towards the mountains, taking runners to Tikishla park for a keyhole turn-around.
So Holly-Hell-Hills and I set off when the race started, feeling great and taking it easy. Felt great at the turn-around at Lyn Ary. I was excited because the out-and-back course allowed me to see my son clipping at a solid pace. This was his first 1/2 marathon and I couldn't help but be a little worried.

Then we headed East to Tikishla.


If only I had remembered that from Westchester to Tikishla is a slow climb. So slow it is hard to see that the trail is climbing. But I didn't remember, so four miles later I felt ready to cry. I was very confused and extremely dismayed that I felt so wiped by mile 7 (maybe 8). We were on the backside of the keyhole turnaround, and I had to do something. I told H3 I needed to regroup and she offered to stick it out with me.

Regroup Plan: walk the water station, hit the porta-potty, refill the hand held water bottle, GU 5 minutes early, remove undershirt, gradually resume running pace.

Ohhhh did that feel better. As we started back towards the finish line, it dawned on me that the struggle had been the uphill, because we were flying (okay, 9:30) and it felt great.

At mile 10, H3 started to struggle with a recent injury. We decided to stick it out together, so we started run/walk cycles to ease her back.

Mile 12 we moved to mostly walking.

In the end, we finished 2:39, and I am okay with the time. It was great to stay with a friend, enjoy the company, and finish together.

H-Bomb was there at the finish and presented me with my finisher's medal

He enjoyed a fabulous race, finishing 1:51. Not bad for a 14-year-old's first race.
This put him 5th in his age group (14-19) and 107 in the men's overall. I am so proud.

In the end, the race was a good lesson, my time was okay, my son had a great race, and (drum roll please).....another toenail down.

Made ya look.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

When I'm Not Running...

I have been trying to stay busy while Nick is gone by taking on a few projects around the house.

This project started innocently. A few cans of leftover paint from various projects around the house.

A few creative children with a playhouse painting plan.
Painting Plan: paint 3 walls solid colors, 1 wall for murals, then "splatter" the solid walls.
Did someone say splatter?

What is proper etiquette with regard to the laundry of children you invited over and participated in a full-on paint fight with? Tide? Replacement clothing? What if said children were provided paint smocks, however, said paint smocks failed?
Hosing them off seemed like the best option. Notice the clean child in the foreground. She opted out once the paint started flinging.
Smart girl. The others should have followed.
Hmmm, Tinkerbell looks like she has war paint on....rumor has it she actually started the paint fight. But that's just a rumor.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

I'm Not That Kind of Girl

Dear Nick, Nickie-Poo-Poo, Nickles & Pickles, Hon, Man-O-My-Dreams,

I miss you so much my heart aches and I can't quite catch my breath and I feel kind of mopey and discombobulated.

I am just not normally that kind of girl.

Really. I don't believe in letting boys do this to me.

But I miss you. And I don't really want to tell you how much until after you get home because I don't want you to worry or be sad because I am so thrilled that you are chasing your dream right now.

I must be really out of sorts because I don't even feel like blogging or facebooking or tweeting or anything. I don't even want to type LOL.

And I feel like a schmuck for being such a sap because Debbie's husband is deployed and she isn't whining randomly on the Internet.

So I promise to stop whining. Promise-Serious. I want you to know that I am really proud of you. I believe in you!



P.S. I think the cure for feeling like I can't quite catch my breath is to run a half marathon next Sunday. Then I definitely won't be able to catch my breath.

Monday, July 27, 2009

During Intermission, We Have a Guest Blogger...

One day a girl named Ella went to buy a blue purse. She also bought a medium dress. When she got dressed she was pretty. She had a date. She loved him. She kissed him. She almost fainted. She thought she was love sick. She danced until midnight. She lived happily ever after.

By Dinky-T who is sooooo cute I want to kieest her.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Chain of Events (or) KARMA (or) Mother Nature's Revenge, Part 1

Where to begin this tale of woe that leads us from cheery, sugary penguins to sweating, swearing and pain....

I think we should follow the chain of events that allowed KARMA to bite us in the tuchis.

The wheels of motion were set in place with the making of the penguin cupcakes for Tinkerbell's birthday. As you may recall, the creation of those cupcakes kept me up until the wee small hours on Friday night. Nick was also up late, putting the final touches on the interior of our playhouse so it would be ready for our backyard barbecue on Saturday night. While both activities (and maybe our inner over-achievers) caused us to oversleep on Saturday morning, I was quick to blame those sweet little penguins for our failure to show up at 8:00 am to run with our training group. It was easier than self reflection on five hours of sleep.

{I believe this would be the point at which Mother Nature nudged KARMA and said something along the lines of, "Can you believe her? Always pointing the finger of blame elsewhere. First her friends and family, now innocent members of the animal kingdom. We need to teach her a lesson!" KARMA, too humble to point out that sugary penguin cupcakes are not exactly part of mother nature's kingdom, responded, "Okay."}

The rest of our Saturday was so jam-packed that we were unable to make up our run. Tinkerbell's birthday filled our afternoon. Nick did manage to squeeze in a workout since Tink's party was at the Alaska Rock Gym.

My workout at the rock gym was centered around straining to look up (can you blame me??) and taking care of these spawn:

After the birthday party, we had to skedaddle home to get ready for Nick's going away barbecue. He is leaving next weekend for the Alaska law enforcement training academy. Since he will be gone for close to four months, we decided to throw a little shindig to wish him well.

The barbecue was a blast - somewhere between fifty and sixty friends and family members showed up.

I am pretty sure everyone had a good time....

Doesn't everyone love goggles?

{My mother said, "Oh, I think I should get Nick these cool motorcycle goggles for Christmas." I replied, "No." "Why not?" my mother innocently enquired. "Because he will wear them."}

Anyhoodle, you might be guessing already that we didn't run on Sunday either.

Darn those goggles.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

The Penguins Made Me Do It

We didn't run Saturday morning. We told our running group we would be there at 8:00 AM, chipper and ready to run.

We lied.

The penguins made me do it.
Sure, they look sooooo cute and innocent now. They weren't so cute at 1:00 AM. Have you ever tried to pipe penguin eyeballs at one o'clock in the morning?
It's not really the penguins fault we didn't run. I blame Tinkerbell, our middle daughter. The penguin cupcakes were for her birthday party. She opened the cookbook , pointed to a picture of these little cuties, widened her big blue eyes, and said, "Will you make these for my birthday? Please? You can make ANYTHING."
Maybe I should blame my niece. She brought the cookbook to our house.
I am such a sucker for the one-two punch of "please" combined with a compliment.

This little guy looks like I felt at 8:15 AM when Pacemaker called to see why we weren't at the Lagoon.

I was so tired, I couldn't figure out how to answer the phone.

The penguins made me do it.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Ohhh Summertime

I am still running, but between the camping, hiking, fishing, and biking with four of our kids and the two nieces, one nephew, and one father-in-law-in-law (it's complicated) visiting, it is a little crazy around here.

This summer has been incredible, and we are ferociously attacking all that it has to offer.

That's Dinky-T. She is my mini-me. That is her summer attack pose.

Here are a few invaluable lessons from this summer:

  1. Don't hike Mt. Marathon with 10 kids, 3 adults and 1 dog if one of the adults has a fear of heights.
  2. Bananas on a boat are NOT okay.
  3. Five-year-olds are impervious to bloody foot blisters if they are having fun.
  4. Mothers of five-year-olds who develop bloody foot blisters while hiking 8.5 miles and climbing over 3500 feet into an ice field tend to be VERY unhappy with you, even if you are enriching their child.
  5. Not everyone gets "fish fever", therefore not everyone thinks it is okay to keep fishing at 11:00 PM when home is a two hour boat ride and three hour car ride away (not to mention an hours worth of fish cleaning yet to do), and you have to work the next day.
  6. It is hard to run at 85 degrees when your body is conditioned to run at 20 degrees.
  7. Toenails really are for sissies.
  8. Nobody uses Kleenex like the Pacemaker.
  9. If your recently-graduated-from-high-school-moving-to-Seattle-for-college-soon daughter chooses to say goodbye to you by bringing the entire family to the restaurant where she sings on Tuesday nights and then proceeds to belt out the lullaby you have sung to her since she was an infant, it will reduce the entire restaurant, including you, to tears.
  10. Life is good. Really really good.

Friday, June 26, 2009

I Love My Life

It's Friday and the-gang-minus-one-plus-two are heading to Quartz Creek to camp for the weekend. This trip marks the inaugural voyage of the '66 Clark Cortez motorhome we recently purchased (on a whim). Teg is staying in town and working and barbecuing (minus-one) and we have my niece and nephew from California with us (plus-two).

This is the man who happily bought the '66 Clark Cortez with me.

It's older than we are. And the interior is the color of his shirt. Nick and I are a perfect match. I don't know anyone else who loves orange and green as much as I do.

That's our shed/playhouse. Told you we love green. The paint color prompted my dad to say, "I just don't get you."

Personally, I think my mother is to blame since my baby crib and dresser were avocado green with orange flowers.

Anyhoodle, we are off to camp in our retro motorhome with the Pacemaker, SuperCool and kids. They are part of the added bonus of training for our first marathon; we have made some great new friends. I am planning to run up at the campground, we have a 50 minute run scheduled for tomorrow. We'll see how that goes...

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Operation Chubby Bubby Phase 2

With less than eight weeks to go until the Humpy's Half Marathon, I put together a potential training schedule.

Ouch. I am sweating just thinking about it.

The schedule might be aggressive (I would love your comments on this), but I have three goals for this segment of my training:

1. Improve my speed. I would like to finish under 2:30. Don't laugh. To all my non-runner friends, trust me, this is slow. Speed walkers will (and have) beat me.

2. Lose 10 more pounds. To my runner friends and coaches, yes, I know, training is not time to lose weight, but this is a journey from chubby-bubby to athlete, remember?

3. To not run into another dead baby T-Rex.
At least, that's what I thought it was in the dark. In Hawaii. Delirious from a 10 mile run in the heat and humidity. In the dark. Did I mention it was dark?

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

The Longest Three Miles

How is it that three miles can feel SO hard, so long, so UPHILL, so are-you-kidding-me-with-this-huffing-and-puffing, and so darn sweaty when the first 15 miles of a marathon seemed so easy?

We ran 29 minutes last night, 2.9 miles. My feet had swollen two sizes by the time we were done. And somehow, I managed to sweat away every last bit of hydration I have taken in since the marathon.

H-Bomb ran with us. He actually ran ahead of us, behind us, around us, up hills next to us, further than us, and still managed to beat us to the end. It's good to be 14.

He just told me he wants to do a marathon with me next year. He wants to qualify for Boston. It almost brought a tear to my eye, but I had no body fluid left.

I think he can qualify for Boston if he sticks to his training. Even if he wants to qualify just for the trip.

I love my son.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Damage Assessment

The good news is that we feel much better than we anticipated after our first marathon.

The bad news is that further inspection of my Fred-Flintstone-Feet revealed another grey toenail this morning.

No, it is not a fungus. It is the result of my freakishly-fat-feet pounding into the toe of my running shoes for 26 miles.

My left foot took the beating on the tank trails:

It doesn't look too bad, but that second toenail is just floating on a blister right now.

My right foot looks pretty good:

The purple toenail is from a training run.

My feet are nothing compared to the Pacemaker's foot. She has a purple blister the size of a small lime.


Pedicure, anyone?

Sunday, June 21, 2009


We did it. We actually did it. We ran 26.2 miles. I promise to tell you all about it right after I soak my feet in ice, examine my blisters, ponder the toenail that is peeling off, exchange back rubs with Nick, recover from marathon brain and cuss the tank trails one more time.

In the are a few highlights thanks to our friends along the trail:

Our friends Dena and Bill met us at mile 17.8 and refilled our water bottles:

It was an amazingly joyous feeling to see friends nearly 18 miles into our run, especially after the dreaded eight miles of tank trails.

At mile 21, we came around a corner to find another friend (and amazing photographer), Teresa.

Our friend Gia and her two girls were just around the corner at mile 21.2 with encouraging words.

We had a gaggle of good friends and family at the finish line, and the sight of all of their familiar faces meant more than I can express right now.

Thank you to all of our friends and family for your support, your donations, and your feigned interest in our nine millionth discussion of running, training, and marathons.

Thursday, June 18, 2009


I have no idea who you are, but thank you for the $1000.00 donation to LLS for the marathon.


For once (just once) in my life, I am speechless.

Keeping it Light

The big race is just three days away and I am more than a little nervous. Right now I am seriously questioning the wisdom of having shared our plans with everyone we know. On the up side, it is very motivating to know that several hundred people know what we are doing this coming Saturday. If we had kept this a secret, it might be tempting to just sleep in and forget the whole thing.

The kids helped keep things light with Tortilla-Tuesday.

From Kids

Obviously, the apples did not fall far from the trees.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Bad, Bad Girl

Ohhh I owe you a couple posts. Will write soon. Promise. Promise-Serious. Promise-Serious-Evan-Pinky-Swear.

Here are the highlights:

May 23 we did our longest run yet! I made it 17.5 miles, Nick did 19. He ran further than I did because he was the knight in shining armour and doubled back to warn our fellow teammates of the mother bear and two cubs on Campbell Airstrip Road.

On May 31 I ran 11.2 miles (we are now tapering down to rest our bodies for the race)BY MYSELF at a 9:50 pace. This is amazing because: I normally run very slow when I am alone AND because last November I ran a measly 5k with a pace over 14:30. (Actual athletes may insert laughter here).

Anyhoodle, details soon:) Every sweaty one of them.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Last Night's Ride

So last night my honey agreed to a cross-training-aren't-we-green-carbon-friendly-are-you-freakin-kidding-me-with-this-headwind ride to our friends house. They live at 16000 feet. Really. Okay 6000 feet. Promise. Okay, maybe not. Honestly, I have no idea because the elevation tool on mapmyride wasn't working. It's still a great tool for mapping your ride or run, especially if you travel. Anyhoodle, I'm not sure how far UP THE MOUNTAIN they live, but it is "hillside".

Monday, May 18, 2009

The History of Pacemaker

When we first met Pacemaker, Nick and I nicknamed her "San Diego", because she is from {surprise} San Diego and because we lacked originality due to exhaustion from those early, strenuous training runs.

When she was just San Diego to us, I thought San Diego and I ran about the same pace. We seemed like a good match in both temperament and speed. San Diego saved me when Nick was out with his achilles injury. She ran with me and we talked for the entire two hour run. Having a running partner makes all the difference - I am amazed by how fast the time passes if there is good conversation and laughter. Plus, there is the added bonus that she drops the f-bomb with conviction as much as I do (sorry, mom).

San Diego's name evolved to Pacemaker when I saw her true inner runner. Her inner runner is really fast. My first real glimpse of this was during a Torture Tuesday. Torture Tuesdays are when we do our tempo runs. Our entire group sets off together and runs a very slow warm up together for 15-20 minutes. We then move into the tempo portion, and run at our maximum effort for 20 minutes. This is followed by a 15-20 minute cool down.

My goals during during Torture Tuesdays:

1. Don't stop.
2. Don't vomit.
3. Don't pass out.

I have succeeded thus far.

When the team changes to tempo pace, here is what happens: Nick and Prison Guard take the lead, unless Nick is on the injured list. Coach Perky has no problem keeping up or catching up to the boys if she spends time in the back of the pack with us.

Pacemaker is next. Wow. She is fast. The first time she pulled away from me and I foolishly attempted to keep up, I changed her name to Pacemaker, because she sets a pace I would like to achieve. Pacemaker is also fitting as I may need a pacemaker if I keep trying to catch that woman.

DTM is next, he amazes me on the shorter runs - I just can't keep up with him. Finally, there is H3, also known as Holly-Hell-Hills for her love and ferocity when it comes to hill workouts. H3 is a hockey player and runs beautifully, as if she is gliding on ice. H3 and I run the same tempo pace for around 17 minutes. Unlike H3, I do not run beautifully. There is a lot of huffing and puffing and arm swinging and sweating when I run. It's not pretty.

The last three minutes of the tempo portion, H3 invariably pulls away from me with a burst of speed and stamina that I lack. Or, it could be that my sweating, flailing, huffing and puffing body gives her the motivation to run away, far, far away.

You may be getting the picture by now. I'm the slowest non-walker. But I'm still running, and loving every minute of it.

Saturday Surprises

Coffee. Hot, steaming, strong black coffee.

Eggs. Fluffy, scrambled eggs.

Fruit Salad. Not the cool-whip-coconut-canned-fruit-cocktail kind, but the fresh mango and banana kind. Mmmmmm.

Sausage. Hot, tasty, good old fashioned pork sausage.

Bacon. No need to say more. Okay, I will. Bacon.

Sorry, I was overcome by the thought of glorious pig fat.

Monkey Bread. Cinnamon, sugar, pull apart goodness. I might be in love. This was my first monkey bread experience. Buddha have mercy on my soul, I nearly proposed to the maker. Then I remembered he is married to my friend and I love Nick. Instead, I had seconds.

Oh yeah, there was juice, too.

So this was the glorious breakfast prepared by SuperCool for our ENTIRE team while we were out running 10-11 miles on the hilly gravel tank trails. SuperCool is the husband of Pacemaker. He has a funky-intelligent-urbanite-groovy-NPR-wry-sense-of-humor-hip kind of vibe. We like SuperCool. He and Pacemaker are absolutely adorable together. Ohhhhh and their children. Beautiful babies.

Anyhoodle. On to the point.

Our starting location changed this last Saturday from Bartlett High School to the tank trails. During the Mayor's Marathon, we will run a portion of the race on the tank trail. You can read a blurb about the trail here. Or, better yet, you can check out the elevation (miles 7-15) here. Honestly, I was a wee bit nervous about this portion of the race, and Saturday's run did me a world of good.

When we arrived at our designated meeting spot, our first surprise was a very fun "GO TEAM!" sign hung on Pacemaker and SuperCool's garage door. Turns out that they live at the end of the street we were to park on to access the tank trails.

The second surprise came two-thirds of the way through our run: the discovery of some bear paw prints on the southern portion of the trail which led to an immediate turn around and re-routing of our run to the north. Surprise may not be entirely true, as we were all very aware of the likelihood of running into a bear on the trail after last summer. Two members of our team wore bear bells and several carried bear spray. {The joys of training in Alaska}

Our final surprise was the wonderful breakfast (menu above) that Pacemaker and SuperCool hosted at the end of the run.

The training process has been a fabulous journey so far. When we started, I really didn't perceive any motivators beyond raising money for a good cause while losing some weight. Now, I find that the camaraderie and new found friends are huge motivators. I am so amazed that everyone on our team is so great. We are all feeding from each other's strengths and stories to do something better for incredible is that?

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Sweet Sixteen

Sixteen glorious miles. Never thought I would call a sixteen mile run glorious. Ever.

It was unbelievable.

I am starting to think I may actually be able to complete the marathon. You probably didn't realize that up until the sixteen mile run, I had some doubts.

I'm really starting to enjoy this running stuff. Anyone wanna meet me next Saturday?

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Sweaty Beast

Sooo....on my journey from chubby-bubby to athlete I have learned a little something. So has everyone who runs with me.

I sweat.


I'm not talking a little feminine perspiration. I'm talking DRENCHED. I think Under Armour, REI and Nike should hire me to test the wicking capability of their clothes.

I sweat so much you can smell the sodium. No joke. After we are done running, I have streaks of white salt down my face.

When we did the Heart Run with our team a few weeks ago, San Diego and Perky joked that I could serve as the team's salt lick for sodium replenishment.

I sweat so much I have to take additional salt in while I exercise or my blood pressure drops too low from the electrolyte imbalance.

I sweat so much that our head coach, Drill Sergeant, felt the need to tell me, "You sweat. A lot." This was hurtful because (1) it was in front of the group, (2) her normally adorable face was squinched up as if she was looking at a smelly pile of dog poo, and (3) it is true.

Last week, as I was ending my Nirvana run back at the house, Nick and the kids pulled up on their bicycles. Big C looked at me, very confused and asked, "Did you just take a shower?"

It was sweat.

I am a sweaty super freak.

Friday, May 1, 2009


I just realized that I haven't written anything for two weeks now, and that maybe, just maybe, this blogging stuff is harder than running. At least I don't sweat as much while writing. At least not on the outside.

I want you to know that I have still been running, just not writing.

Our training schedule consists of five runs a week plus cross training, and, in an ideal world, some strength training and ab workouts. Real life, the spawn, the dog, the two-fish-thank-you-Jen, jobs, school, the lawn, the badly-needs-a-remodel-house, my parents, our friends, and the fact that all those mouths in our house expect to be fed before 10PM often get in the way.

Anyhoodle, our ideal training schedule looks like this:

Mondays - Rest, Abs, Strength
Tuesdays - Tempo Run (currently 50 minutes)
Wednesdays - Run (currently 40 minutes), Abs, Strength
Thursdays - Run (currently 50 minutes), Abs, Strength
Fridays - Total Rest
Saturdays - Long Run (this weekend is 140 minutes or so, maybe 13.5 miles)
Sundays - Run (30 minutes), Abs, Strength

I will tell you right now we almost always skip that darn Sunday run. Mostly because I can barely walk on Sundays. Now that it is nicer weather, I promise to be better - or at least ride the bike on Sundays.

Last night, after work Nick and I set off for our 50 minute run. We didn't have a babysitter, so the three youngest spawn rode their bikes with us. The plan was to run a loop through the neighborhood for 15-20 minutes, deposit the kids at the elementary school playground, and run the last 30 minutes while the kids played. We brought our dog Unagi, too. She has been missing out on our runs because dogs aren't allowed to run with our team.

Have I mentioned that the first mile always SUCKS? {Sorry Mom} The first mile my legs felt tight and heavy. I was out of breath almost immediately. My calves were burning. I was hot and sweaty after 1/3 of a mile. Ohhhhhhh and then those evil thoughts crept in..."If we turn around, no one has to know", "I could tell Nick I have an injury", "I'm not fat, I'm voluptuous", "Starvation would be easier than this", and my recent favorite, "Who said there was anything wrong with WALKING a marathon?"

And then Unagi decided to help motivate me. She pooped in the middle of the sidewalk. I have found that when you are a chubby-bubby-turning-athlete-training-for-a-marathon you must look for motivation in all things. Yesterday it was dog poop. Promise serious. Motivational dog poop. Coming to a running store near you.

The motivation in the sidewalk pooping was that we got to stop running long enough for her to finish her business and for Nick to pick it up. {You didn't think I picked it up, did you? One-hundred pound dogs poop a LOT. I'm not sure I could manage that load, even with the strength training.} For some strange reason, my legs and breath decided to cooperate after we started running again. Unfortunately, Nick wasn't feeling the motivation from the dog poop. It may have even been de-motivational dog poop for him. By the time we got to the school, Nick told me to go on without him, he was done for the day. We had only run 18 minutes and had 32 minutes of running left.

I am a wimp. I don't like to run alone. Running with Nick and/or our training team helps to motivate me. I was really tempted to stop running and just walk the rest of the time with Nick and then something truly bizarre happened. I found my inner athlete. I knew she was hiding under that cellulite!

I decided that finishing the run was a test of my commitment. I changed the mode on my watch from distance to pace (so I wouldn't slow down without a faster runner) and decided to run an out and back course rather than winding through the neighborhood. I set the goal to keep my pace around a 10:16 minute mile, with an allowance for hills. I ran west on Northern Lights, into the sun. The "out" leg of my run was mostly uphill, although the incline is so gradual that I had never noticed when riding in my car. I was tempted to move off of the road and onto the Coastal Trail, but honestly, I was too scared to run alone on the trail. I spent some time thinking about my fear, trying to decide if I was being a ninny or being safe. I couldn't decide...what do you think?

I would love to tell you that those 32 minutes were glorious, that you should all go out and immediately buy running shoes and start training today to reach athletic Nirvana, but I would be lying. Webster's second definition of Nirvana (after the first definition of the final beatitude that transcends suffering) is, "a place or state of oblivion to care, pain, or external reality."

Hmmphhhh. Oblivion to care? I don't think so....I ran along the road, watching out for cars, looking for moose, minding my footfall on the loose gravel, watching for frost heaves, keeping an eye on the scary looking man on a POS bicycle, and wondering exactly who was in the trees when I smelled cigarettes and saw no cars or bikes nearby. Oblivion to pain? No....I was all too aware of the cycle: shoulders (drop arms, shake loose), lungs (focus on breath), lower back (stand tall), knees (watch frost heaves), shins (watch footfall), and back to shoulders. Oblivion to external reality? How do you transcend sweating so profusely that the dust from the road is causing a mudslide down your face?

But I did it. And I loved every minute of it.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Worst Run of the Season


Wednesday night was not fun. At all. Wednesday night, in fact, was the kind of night that makes me wonder why in the heck we are training for a marathon....and who is to blame for our madness???

Nick and I met up with the Team in Training running group for a 40 minute run on the Coastal Trail. Perky was the coach last night. She is hard not to like; she is energetic and bubbly and nice and runs REALLY REALLY fast. Mentor was also there. He is one of the people to be named later in my Finger Pointing series because of a very inspirational speech we heard him give detailing his transformation from one of us (beer drinking, smoking, everyday guy) to one of them (athlete, runner, marathoner, Boston marathoner). He also runs REALLY REALLY fast.

The two team members that showed up for the run (besides Nick and I) were DTM and Prison Guard. Prison Guard is not actually a prison guard. He is a first time 26.2 marathoner but has run Mt. Marathon a couple times. I fantasize about running Mt. Marathon, scrabbling up the mountain on all four as fast as I can, descending in a cloud of dust and rock, running bloody and scraped to the finish line. I know, it is a weird fantasy. I can't help it.

DTM is one of my favorites. DanTheMan if you must know. DTM is like me, he is a chubby-bubby and he sweats. DTM also doesn't stop. He runs and runs and runs - it is quite inspirational. Did I mention I like DTM?

Anyhoodle. We started running and I immediately regretted my shoe choice. Nick and I had both optimistically worn our summer shoes after the previous day's run. On Tuesday, we had worn our studded winter shoes on roads that were in fact, bone dry. So now, on Wednesday, we made the opposite error. We both wore lightweight, unstudded shoes on soft snowy trail.

Alaska has three seasons: a nine month winter, a two month summer and one month of breakup. Breakup is the long, ugly, depressing period after winter and before summer that we are in right now. The 70+ inches of snow that fell over the course of the winter have morphed into layers of hard-pack, dirt, and ice. As the layers start to melt, they expose a winter's worth of our sins: litter and an extraordinary amount of dog poop. The gravel we relied upon for chemical-free traction on the ice all winter leaves the town dusty and many of our cars with spider cracks on our windshields. During this time period, the ground is still frozen enough under the blanket of old snow and ice that not all of the run-off is absorbed, and so our sewer drains back up quickly, creating lakes of ice water on the roads and along the trails. Ohhhhhh and how lovely it smells. Mmmmmm, melted dog poop and trash. Yum.

Nick and I were running through this wet, mucky, gravely snow in our lightweight, breathable summer shoes. Almost immediately, Perky, Prison Guard and Mentor pulled away and took the lead. My inner competitive self attempted to keep up, but honestly, I just couldn't do it. Running in that wet, sloggy, gravely snow mixed with puddles felt like a bad dream, the one where you run and run as hard and fast as you can, but you just don't get anywhere. With each step, my feet were slipping, my ankles were twisting, my feet were getting wet up to the ankles and, really, I wanted to cry. But that would have made me a wuss. And lord knows I couldn't let the boys see me cry. So I sucked it up and started saying the alphabet over and over in my head in an attempt to distract myself.

DTM started to pull away from Nick and I, leaving us in last place. Yes, I know it is not a race, but last place is last place, period. Dan-the-Man had left us in the dust and we were now officially the back of the pack for our first time in the season.

Then Nick started walking. His achilles was flaring up from the stress of the terrain. Normally I would have walked with him, but Nick told me to keep going, to try to catch up with the others. I realized that Nick was going to keep trying to run unless I agreed to leave him behind, so I set off in a futile attempt to get closer to the other runners. The coastal trail is a hilly, winding trail and fairly quickly I lost sight of both Nick behind me and DTM in front of me. I have the least amount of motivation when I run alone and I was summoning every fiber of my being to just keep running.

Mind you, this whole time my agony was compounded because the coastal trail was busy, and other, better, faster runners were passing me like they were running on dry pavement. One especially jovial, must-be-an-alien-or-a-superhero-in-disguise runner felt the need to shout to me, "Great pace! Keep up the good work!" I was so exhausted and out of breath that I couldn't even muster a "thanks", instead, I mumbled, "tthhhkkyyy". Huh?

Then I saw the most delightful sight. I saw a vision that lifted my soul and gave me the energy to to keep going, a vision so fantastic that the theme to Rocky started playing in my brain.

It was DTM running towards me. We had reached the time for turn-around.

I am weak minded. I am Pavlov's dog. As soon as we turned around, my legs found strength, my lungs expanded, and suddenly I was able to pick up pace because my body knows this is the second half of the run, and the faster I run, the sooner it will be over. Even DTM noticed my increase in pace! When we reached Nick, he started to jog with us and within a few minutes, Perky, Prison Guard and Mentor caught up with us, too.

And then we caught up with Mama Moose. And her calf. On the trail. We were stuck on the South side of the trail with three walkers and the moose would not take her eyes off of us. We tried waiving our arms, clapping, moving as a group, but she would have none of it. She kept taking steps towards us, posturing and bluffing. Finally, we climbed down off the trail and passed her in the lower section of the woods, using the trees to keep her from having a clear charging path. We trudged through the piles of snow with our wet shoes, laughing and chatting and agreeing that only Alaskan runners understand our trail hazards. My body started to cool and I shivered from my sweat and thought:

Oh how I love Alaska.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Finger Pointing, Part III

This morning we woke up later than we had planned but decided to run anyway. We didn't head out the door until after 6:30, so we were cutting our timing close.

Our morning activity list included: 4.91 mile run, 1 hopefully-not-serious calf injury (Nick), breakfast for 5, showers for 2, lunches for 4, hairstyling for 3 including 1 set of french braids for school pictures, 6 reminders to brush teeth (2x per kid), 1 trip downstairs to ensure our eldest was awake, 1 dog to feed, 2 fish to feed, 3 sets of boots to find, 2 Thursday folders to take to school, 1 tie to tie (Big C wanted to wear a tie for school pictures), 1 changing of outfits after Dinky T discovered her dress was WAY too small, 1 realization that the snow was enough to need shoveling, 1 pot of coffee made, 2 glasses of nuun, 1 phone call from a distressed boss, 1 hurried kiss, 2 cars to drive 3 kids to 2 different schools, 1 trip back into the house for 1 forgotten lunch box, popping the trunk latch 5 times to add/remove items for school, 1 reconfiguration of kids in cars, and 17 reminders to "hurry".

I'm tired.

And I don't think it was the run. Our morning schedule does beg a few questions: Where do things like boots and Thursday folders go overnight? Why don't we have an "Alice"? Why do we run for 50 minutes in the morning? Why do I love my life so much?

Time for more finger pointing.

Guilty Party #4: Nick (Yes, honey, I am blaming you.)

The essential problem with Nick is that he is perfect for me. I am not sure I have ever met anyone as crazy as I am. I feel like making lists today, so here are the top 10 reasons why Nick is to blame for my running addiction.

1. He agreed to do body for life with me.
2. He tells me frequently that he loves me exactly as I am but will help with any goal I have to be healthy. This prevents me from resenting him because he is not supportive enough, "but I like chubby bubbies", or too supportive, "put down that donut fatso".
3. He is very handsome.
4. He likes to have bragging rights as much as I do, so the marathon is appealing.
5. He makes an excellent workout partner. He makes positive comments, talks the perfect amount of time, and tolerates my crankiness.
6. He taught me how to use free weights.
7. He is willing to wake me up in the morning, which is a REALLY unpleasant task. Trust me.
8. He is in better shape than I am and he runs faster than me. I am competitive so I push myself to improve my performance because secretly I want to beat him.
9. He carries the water.
10. He will run at -20.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Minus 20

During January, we had an exceptionally cold spell. It was negative 20 with additional wind chill. Here we are pre-run:

and post:

It wasn't so bad, other than our eyes freezing. I would love to hear how others get around this. We tried goggles, but they froze. Nick does not show as much post run frost because he melted while taking my picture. Runners in Fairbanks run at do they do it?