Saturday, July 31, 2010

Keep On Rollin'....

I added this to my playlist this week. It wasn't easy choosing the video of the week - you almost got my love of Gwen Stefani - and even though this song came up early in the run this morning, the sentiment is too good to pass on. You don't like something? Get rid of it. Something in your life is broken? Fix it. You are the only one who knows what YOU need, and ultimately, YOU are responsible for your own happiness.

That, and this is one hell of a great song.

Keep on rollin' (or runnin'), everybody. Stay cool, drink ya watah, it's hot out there.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

If It's Thursday...

It must be pizza!
Yep, Thursday nights are pizza nights here. Organic 9-grain crust, all-natural pizza sauce, organic mozzarella (thank you, Whole Foods, for being my second home), and whatever toppings we're in the mood for. Lately we've been on a chicken/ground turkey, black olive, portobello mushroom, and onion run. Yum. I'm about to throw the crust in the oven for a bit to crisp, but I felt like sitting here in the quiet that only a house with a sleeping child and a husband upstairs reading Phillies news on the computer can afford. So here I sit. Ahhh.

I'm excited right now. A dear friend's birthday is today, and unfortunately we've both been so busy for the past couple of months we've hardly been in touch. I got to talk to her this morning for a while, and it started the day off perfectly. Not only is she doing well, but we've decided to run the St. Petersburg Women's Half Marathon together in November. I can't wait to spend some time with her. It's a friendship I've missed. To make things even better, a couple of girlfriends from my former gym are going to run with us! How much fun is it going to be to go to the expo with girlfriends - to focus on friendships and running for that weekend? All just a quick drive over the bridge, and all the hubs and boy will need to do is stand on the side of the road and cheer us on. Win-win, in my opinion. I've missed my friends dearly. That's one of the toughest parts of motherhood. The life you had pre-baby tends to fall to the wayside.

Speaking of happy, and of motherhood, I'm also jazzed to be having lunch tomorrow with a girlfriend I don't see often enough. She's expecting her first child, a daughter, and the last time I saw her she had not even told her family. She'll be the beneficiary of two ginormous boxes of maternity clothes! Pay it forward, right? I'm so happy for this couple. They have waited so long for this, and will be wonderful parents.

Training is going well. Today's speed/tempo workout showed me that my hard work is paying off. For those of you who don't run, or who aren't training for something in particular, speed and tempo work is a good way to increase your endurance and pace for a race. I do mine the way many people do: 5 minute walking warmup followed by an easy (conversational pace) mile, followed by alternating quarter-miles of just-about-as-fast-as-I-can-hold-without-dying and slightly above easy pace for 2 miles, then tempo - which is the pace I'd ideally like to maintain for most of the half-marathon - for a half-mile or so, and ending with either more slow and easy or just straight to walking. I like this workout day, which alternates between Monday and Thursday, because it's mentally engaging. It's treadmill, but it's in no way mindless. My interval speed is picking up, as is my tempo. I like this a lot.

Oh.....and I bought a silly visor today. No more hothead hathead for this girl. I'd have just ditched it for sunglasses, but I have a bit of sun paranoia so I need to shade my face. Don't bother mentioning that I live in Florida and have sun paranoia. I get it, LOL. (insert winky smiley here)

And somehow it all comes back around to the pizza. Which, just for my own edification, isn't going to cook itself. I love that I can cook and eat pizza now.

Happy Friday eve, whatever you're eating.....

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Weekly Playlist

White trash edition.
I ran like a champion to this today, despite the ridiculousness.
Give it a try.....get in the pit and try to love someone!

It's Good to be Humble....

This morning I loaded up and took off for my long run. Another 6 miles to conquer in the heat. Today my route took me off the beaten sidewalk over a couple of bridges into a part of town where I don't normally run. It was marvelous. I struggled up the bridges (because we have no hills, I run up small bridges) just for the unbridled joy of going fast-fast down them. There was a brief respite from the sun and headwind, and I realized at one point that I was - for me, anyway - flying. "Now," I thought, "now I can call myself a runner."

All that changed once I came back over the final bridge and hit the home stretch. I'd had the foresight to stop at both water fountains on the sidewalk side on the way out, and was smart enough to hit them both on the way back. Having removed my hat and soaked it in the water once again (only to carry it, stupid thing, I only wear it now because my cute-girl sunglasses are ridiculous for running), I began to tick off my landmarks to carry me the rest of the way. I had another thought coming.

"Right about now, I should see it up ahead," I told myself. Um, no. Maybe just a little farther? Have I miscalculated? Once I get to the trashcan, surely I'll see the first neutral-ground water fountain. The trashcan came and went, and there was no water fountain in sight, only a sad orange cone where a water fountain should be, and was. Maybe a little more, to the next trashcan? Negative, soldier. Another cone, and still no water fountain. By this point, I'm miserable and thoroughly in need of water. Walk breaks begin to ensue. I've begun to realize that there are no more water fountains on the neutral ground, that the city has removed them all, and I am in tears because I. Am. Thirsty. More thirsty than I think I've ever been. I can't go anymore. I have bonked.

Somehow I made it back to the car, sans water. I was humbled by a 6-mile run this morning. Fortunately there is a convenience store about a half-mile from the parking lot...I think I drank that bottle of Gatorade faster than I've ever ingested anything. Needless to say, we hit the running store this afternoon for a water belt for me to use next week. 22 ounces of cold goodness, thankyouverymuch, because next weekend it's SEVEN miles. I will not be humbled like that again.

On another note, our weekend started off with a thud. Le Snoog somehow contracted his first tummy bug, and I was on vomit patrol all day yesterday. It's amazing how dirty and nasty you feel by the end of the day when you take care of someone who can't keep down 2 teaspoons of water at a time. The worst part of it was seeing him afraid of what was happening - having your stomach contents forcefully ejected is disturbing under the best of circumstances. On the upside, for the past two days I've had the joy of holding Hurricane Toddler in the recliner as he napped. I don't get to hold him the way I used to when he was an ittybitty, and I treasure the moments when he melds his warm little body with mine and dozes off. I've never had anyone love me the way this child does, and it's awe-inspiring. So what if I had to fold my stinky, wet, nasty, sore, dehydrated body into a very uncomfortable position to accommodate him? It was worth the pain getting up - every step.

For both of us, I guess, that which did not kill us made us stronger.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

I'd Like to Introduce You....

to Owen.

Owen is a cute-as-a-button toddler, just shy of his second birthday. His Mommy and I met in an online pregnancy forum; our boys were born just a few weeks apart, and as a bonus, we are both Louisiana families. He's got all the bustling energy a happy little dude should have, and then some.

Here's the thing, though: you'd never know it from his bright eyes and big smile (and off-the-charts height!), but Owen was born with congenital heart disease. He has a constellation of heart defects known as Shone's Complex.

At 19 days old, Owen had closed-heart surgery to repair aortic coarctation. The surgeons successfully performed an end-to-end anastomosis (in regular English, they cut the narrow section of his aorta out, and sewed the remaining two sections back together). He has defects in both his mitral and bicuspid valves. Every six months, Owen undergoes testing to check the efficiency of those valves, and when the gradient reaches a certain level,a procedure is done - balloon valvuloplasty, if you like medicalese - to reopen the valve. At three months, Owen needed that procedure. Despite the fact that his mitral valve is "funky looking" (according to his surgeon), it's getting the job done for now, which is a blessing.

Unfortunately, Owen will be undergoing open-heart surgeries in the future. He will inevitably require more valvuloplasties, and when they have caused enough leakage in the valve, they will have to repair it. Once the repairs no longer hold, the valve will need to be replaced. The hope is that Owen won't need these replacements until he is at least 12. If he should need one before then, the procedure is much more complicated and will ultimately disease another of his heart valves. The Ross procedure would replace his aortic valve with his pulmonary valve, and replace his pulmonary valve with a replacement tissue valve. So as you can imagine, while Owen is doing beautifully for the time being, he and his family know that there is likely to be a bumpy road ahead.

Why do I think it's so important for you to meet Owen?

Owen is a patient of Children's Hospital of New Orleans. The proceeds from the New Orleans Jazz Half Marathon benefit Children's, and I am proud to be running for Owen. My participation and any fundraising I am able to do along with it helps assure that Children's will be able to continue to provide quality care for Owen and others in need. Soon, I should have details as to how YOU can help, even if you never lace up a shoe or run a single step.

I'm running in the hope that Owen will always be able to run.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Motivation at Mile Three

Props to my sweet friend Keri G., who reminded me why I NEED this song on my playlist. Put it on yours, too.

High-Five for Air Conditioning

It's Florida.
It's July.
It's HOT. Stickily, muggily, oppressively HOT. Even at 7 in the morning, which is when you better have your shoes laced up and your iPod at the ready if you're planning to do any running. Never mind that this morning I had 6 miles of running on the agenda. I'm almost halfway to 13.1....amazing.

At any rate, it's been a long, air-conditioning-dependent week. Here are some things I've learned:

1. If you are going to get stuck in a rainstorm with a toddler, open play at Gymboree is the best possible place to do so. Don't expect them to continue playing, though, because what you're actually going to get is an entire roomful of toddlers with their sticky hands and faces pressed up against the window watching the rain. Oh well.

2. When you are a toddler, "up" means "down", and "down" means something you aren't telling your parents. Keeping them in the dark allows you to scream indignantly when you are put down, even though you clearly articulated "DOWN NOW" more than once. This is great fun for YOU. Not so much for them.

3. There is such a thing as a good $11 bottle of Pinot Noir. Seriously. It's called Block No. 45, and it's from San Martin, CA. Look for the 2008 vintage. I'd post a pic, but for some reason I'm having trouble getting pics to come up. If you like pinot noir, you need to give this one a shot. We got it at Whole Foods (no surprise, since I've started to feel like i LIVE at Whole Foods), I'm sure you can look it up and find it somewhere.

4. Eating after you run is a good thing.

5. Caipirinhas in the afternoon are also a good thing.

We're taking the boy to a birthday party tomorrow afternoon. The birthday season is upon us, and will carry us through December. I realized today that August is just around the corner, and with August comes the beginning of my favorite time of year. There may not be a discernible change of season in Florida, but there is a notable shift in attitude. Football is upon us, the good apples are in the grocery store, Halloween costumes are ordered, and there's not much I like more than fall.

Except winter.
But I'll settle for not having autumn weather, since the absence of winter is more depressing than I care to think about.

Carry on.....

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Playlist Highlights

Nevermind the cheesy Miami Vice scenes here, unless you like that sort of thing (not that there's anything wrong with that!)...this is probably one of the most motivational songs on my iPod, so I love when it shuffles into the long run's playlist. I was lucky enough to get it yesterday morning. As ridiculous as it may sound, fresh off a soundtrack and several LSU Tigers football championship highlight videos later, this cover has always been a "recovery song" for me. Hearing it now transports me forward to an October morning in New Orleans, when I'll take that last step across the finish line and know that I can accomplish something that has nothing to do with being thin.

"I was there and I saw what you did,
I saw it with my own two eyes...
so you can wipe off that grin, I know where you've been -
it's all been a pack of lies.

I can feel it coming in the air tonight, oh Lord
And I've been waiting for this moment for all my life..."

I'm waiting. I can almost taste it.


1. I have so many pictures here that need to be hung up. Why are they not hung up yet?

2. I need to go to the running store and try on some new shoes and socks. I'm tired of the lining in the heel of my precious Mizuno Wave Riders splitting and exacerbating my frustrating blister issues. I love those shoes, but man. They cost too much money for me to have to plaster the heel lining with big bandaids or moleskin.

3. I also need new running socks. Maybe. Why do I keep getting blisters?

4. Why does my child turn into a Crabby Patty after naps? Why does he always go into his tent to poop? The huzbin now refers to the tent as "the outhouse".

5. Bathroom attendants are silly. At 37 years old, getting my own paper towel is something I can do, even with one $12 vodka tonic (!!) and one glass of pinot noir on board.


Saturday, July 3, 2010

You Should Run To This

Seriously, you should. You should probably run to the majority of their music. Have you not seen the show? You should do that too....AFTER you run, of course.

Good Morning, Sunshine

Well, not really. When I hit the pavement this morning it was a few blessed degrees cooler and sprinkly, with a nice breeze (please read that as "damned headwind on the 'out' stretch of a long run"). I managed to break my miles-per-run plateau on Thursday, so today my challenge was to run without letting my mind interfere, and to allow a couple of small walking breaks if I needed them. Task A was more challenging than task B. Over the past week I've done some reading up on strategies to use to counteract the little negative voice. Oddly enough, they were helpful. I have to say this, though...3 hours post-run I still couldn't figure out why I was having trouble keeping my face off the kitchen island.

No coffee.

I can only assume it's a rookie mistake.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Simple Pleasures

I like to watch my son. Unless I insist, he doesn't do anything he doesn't want to be doing with his whole almost-20-month-old self at any given time. When he wants to read, he brings me a book. When he wants to run, he runs. When he wants to stop doing whatever it is that no longer holds his interest, he simply stops and moves on. He lives in the moment. It's a skill we lose somewhere along the way, and that's a shame.

Lately, I find myself trying to make note of the simple pleasures in my life - the moments I realize time has passed without my notice because I've been totally engrossed in something, the unadorned joy of freeing myself from external distractions. The list is growing, and I'm taking great pleasure in that. Just a few from the week:

Sharing a (yes, organic, thankyouverymuch) vanilla milkshake with the boy at lunchtime.
Focusing on the music coming through my headphones and the memories associated with it and then noticing how much distance I've covered on the treadmill.
Listening to my boys breathing, early in the morning, wrapped in blankets in the dark just before first light.
Feeling like the bike I'm riding and I are one and the same as I push myself up a hill in spin class.

I've noted so many, yet I wonder how many I've missed. Such a shame that I spent so many years denying myself the simplest of pleasures and the joy of so many sweet memories. Sometimes I grieve for all those unacknowledged moments, which hurts a lot, but it doesn't do me any good to stay in that headspace for too long. Continuing to mourn all the moments I missed would only keep me from participating in the moments I'm given now, here, today. The best I can offer myself is forgiveness for not knowing any better, and permission to leave it behind me and live the life I've been blessed with. This toddler-chasing, laundry-folding, running, laughing-with-my-husband life.