Friday, December 6, 2013

1/2 Marathon ramblings

Sometimes in the blog world, an absence means the blogger is pregnant. Sorry Mom, that is not the case with this one. 

I haven't been overly inspired to write nor do I have much interesting to talk about besides my running. I can't imagine anything more anti-climatic than a race report for a race that happened over a month ago. But, I wanted to do it some justice, so here it goes. 

As you know, I ran the Monster Dash 1/2 on 10/26. At the beginning of 2013, I set my sights on a fall 1/2 to build back up to running as much as I did in 2011. 

A perfect storm sort of happened with training. One, work was still busy, but not the insane busy I had experienced in June and July. Two, my job (when not swamped) is encouraging about fitness and using your lunch hour to workout. Three, the weather was pretty decent. Besides a few hot days in August, most long runs on weekends were in perfect weather. September was pretty awesome here weather wise, not to mention it's light out until at least 8:00 until October. And last but certainly not least, I have a more than supportive husband who took on the lions share of kid duty on Saturday mornings to allow me those long runs. 

I was able to stick to the Hal Higdon 1/2 plan to a T. Nothing extra, but I think I only missed one workout in the 12 week plan. So here is what most weeks looked like:

Week 7 of 12
Sunday: 3.25 miles
Monday: 4.5 miles
Tuesday: 6x400, 3.25 total miles
Wednesday: off
Thursday: 10k race
Friday: 3 easy miles
Saturday: 10 miles long

Weekday running happened over lunch or in the evening. If it was in the evening, it was with the double jogging stroller for easy runs or after the kids' bedtime on the treadmill or outside. 

A few weeks before the race, I noticed that most of my runs were getting faster. Even the easy pace runs were dropping. My last long run before the race was the biggest difference. It made me start to wonder if I had a shot at a real PR, not just a post baby new PR. I didn't want to get my hopes up, but was really encouraged to see how far my fitness had come. Looking back at my planner from December last year, I was running 3 miles at a time and I recall being thrilled to do some of those miles just under 9 minute mile pace. For contrast, my last long run, I averaged ~8:20 for 10 miles. 

I still went into race day with the mentality to just have fun and enjoy the experience. I had no pressure on myself for once. It was fun having my brother and his friend to hang out with before the race and for some reason, even though they are extremely competitive, they were pretty relaxed and it helped me do the same. 

I knew I had to start out slow, and thankfully I did that for once. I always start out wayyy to fast and then have nothing left at the end. My first couple miles were around 8:20 and I decided to just keep that pace to see what happened. Around mile 8, I noticed my miles were getting a little faster, one by one. I gradually picked it up towards the end. The last 4 miles were a lot more challenging on the course, so I had to work for them. At mile 10, I did the math and realized that a true PR could happen. 

In the end, I missed it by 7 seconds. My A goal for this race was 1:50:00 and I came in around 1:48:50. The difference was that this time, I had fun the whole race and never felt like I wanted it to be over. Well, maybe the last mile, but still. I couldn't believe how much easier my effort felt this time compared to 2 years ago when in theory, I was in much better shape. 

Here we are at the finish:





Overall, I was happy to have a great training cycle under my belt and a great race, but most importantly that I know I can do this running thing as a working mom of two. 

Moving ahead, I know the next 3 months are going to be pretty laxidaisal for running mostly because well, it's winter in Minnesota. I would love to say I have a spring 1/2 in mind, but I am not sure doing more than one a year will be feasible. I can say that I will be doing a few 5k's (ahem, one on New Years Day...any joiners?), 10k's and hopefully the Monster Dash 1/2 again in the fall. 

And just for funsies, here's some pictures of my 19(!) month olds:







Tuesday, October 1, 2013

A new month



Time for an update! I've started this post about 5 times now, so here it goes...

After about a month had passed after my last post, it felt weird to say anything for the sake of saying something, so I didn't. I don't have a real good reason for it except I guess I am lazy and sort of lost interest for a while. I still read a lot of blogs and while I am not always commenting, I am still reading over lunch and occasionally when running on the treadmill. So thank you all for your entertainment. 

Toddlers:

Welp, they are full fledged toddlers now. Baby girl doesn't even look baby-like anymore. Fortunately, baby boy still has a healthy amount of baby fat that makes him extra pinch-able. 

They are 17 months old now and have officially graduated to the toddler room when they started back at daycare at the end of August. They didn't exactly take to the change very well. Turns out their father did a pretty stellar job at keeping them happy. I'm still waiting for them to get back to sleeping soundly at night (they are waking a lot and/or waking up crying way too early), being less fussy and tired, and actually enjoying their time at daycare with their friends. 

Baby boy took a while to start walking. As any mom will do, I started worrying something more was wrong. We went through some physical therapy and corrective helmet wearing about a year ago, so I was nervous that we would have to enter that world again. He's still not quite as steady and speedy as his sister, but it seems like a lot longer than 6 weeks since he started.

They are both understanding more words and starting to say more. The most fun words are the ones that they just say without us prompting them. Gotta watch the swears now. 

Among their favorite activities are swinging at the park, washing their hands (seriously...and I am proud as those that know me in real life would expect), taking baths, dancing to most music, reading books, pointing at and watching various animals like dogs and squirrels in the yard, trying to get up onto the couch which is a big no-no, and recently constantly carrying around their loveys. 


fun at the park this summer with dad



the mister

little lady


Running:

Since we last spoke, I ran the Fill Their Plates 10k in June. I had ran this race back in 2011 in what was probably my best running shape of the past few years. Needless to say, I missed that time by a couple minutes, coming in at 51:1X. 

Next, I did a 5k with some co-workers in July. It was part of the Lifetime Esprit de She races. It wasn't my best showing coming in at 24:2X, but it was fun to get out and hang out with some ladies from work. A few ran their first 5k's and everyone was thrilled with their times, so it was fun to see their satisfaction in the accomplishment.  

Back on September 19th I ran the Esprit de She 10k in Maple Grove. I went solo to this one, but it never fails that I see someone I know. I ran into my cousin's wife and her friend who were doing the 5k. I enjoyed this race for the mostly flat course, but sicne these races are geared toward women, I was sort of a loner at the end. Don't worry, I still drank my free glass of wine. By myself. 

And finally, I am running the Monster Dash 1/2 on 10/26. I am in week 9 of my training schedule and so far I've run every planned training run. When I've used this same plan in the past, I ended up doing more mid week mileage, i.e. a 5 miler instead of just an easy 3, but this time I am sticking to the plan mostly because I don't have the time to just go run an extra 2-3 miles "just because." But, I am feeling stronger already. Now if I could get some decent sleep. Recently my brother decided to do a 1/2 marathon as his first race so he will be joining me. I am so excited to have a buddy, but only at the start and finish. He will most definitely be running faster than me. 

Other things:

Mr. BKL and I had our first weekend away since the kids were born. We went to a quiet B&B near Hayward, WI. It was great, but about the time I finally stopped thinking about the kids constantly, was about the time we were packing up to head back. We played some golf and drank some beers, so all in all a success. Hayward has a fun little brew pub called Angry Minnow. If you find yourself there, I recommend it. Good beer and good food. 

We also all partook in my brother's wedding at the end of August. It was a beautiful day, but also exhausting. Since we were all in the wedding, we needed to bring in reinforcements to help with the very important flower girl and ring bear. Chasing around toddlers in 4" heels and full up-do felt straight out of reality TV or cheesy sitcom fodder. I am so happy for my baby bro and my "new" sister. 

ring bear and flower girl extraordinaire

all dressed up


My family-work-life balance is still constantly a challenge. Fitting in 1/2 marathon training hasn't been easy. I end up doing a lot of running over my lunch hour or in the evening after the kids go to bed. In the past this wasn't so much of challenge, but now I know I need to keep to my training and missing or skipping a run just because I am tired or feeling lazy is not an option. I have had to bring work home on numerous occasions over the past couple months as well. It's not all that bad, but then things like cooking and laundry fall by the wayside and the must-do's over the weekend get in the way of fun stuff like seeing friends and general relaxing. I don't know if I will ever feel "balanced" again. Maybe in 17 years....


Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Keepin' on

I realize it's been over a month since my last post.  A lot has happened, but at the same time, things are pretty status quo. 

The babies toddlers

Right on her 1st birthday, baby girl took her first steps. Now, she is practically a runner. Sometimes she looks like the Prancercise lady, but she is pretty sturdy these days. I just can't get enough of that posture she takes when walking. Arms in the air, belly and chest stuck out, and toddling steps. The name toddler is really perfect for this age as it's exactly what they do. 

Baby boy is pretty chill on learning to walk. Talking though, is his thing. He says "yayyyyyy!" alarmingly adult like. He also has very long in depth conversations with you. Of course not real words, but he's very deliberate in his story telling. It truly is as if he's speaking another language that I just happen to not understand. 

He's in the throes of cutting what seems like ALL the molars right now, so he's a drool machine and rather irritable. But, he still has a big smile and a laugh like no other despite it all. 

Next week starts our first week of daddy daycare for the remainder of the summer. As challenging as I think it was for the daddy last summer, I have a strong suspicion this summer will be much more challenging with two mobile toddlers. But then, some things will get easier like getting outside to play and go for walks. 

swinging fun at the park

out for a walk


Workouts

Still managing to barely classify myself as a runner. On a good week, I can hit 20 miles per week, including a longer run of 6-8 miles. Week day running is still mostly happening over lunch and while I am getting faster, I can usually only fit in no more than 3.5 miles with the expectation of also having to shower and eat lunch in that hour. Then there are the bad weeks, when life happens like sick babies, work deadlines, and weekend plans. This is life right now, and I know the 30-40 miles per week type weeks will happen again. Someday. 

I am running a 10k this weekend and once again have zero expectations having about the same amount of training going in as my last one over a month ago. But, I do feel slightly faster somehow. Who knows. 

Other things

We have a busy summer in front of us (who doesn't?) including my brother getting married in August, and all that goes with it, which we are so excited for. 

I continue to be ever so busy at my new-ish job. I enjoy the work so much better and don't mind being busy except that other things suffer - like running and general life maintenance things, oh and actually seeing Mr. BKL. It bothers me that I can't do it all and constantly having that running around with my head cut off feeling, but I guess this is just life being a working mom of twins. The constant quest to "have it all" continues!

Friday, May 10, 2013

Get In Gear 10k recap

So I ran the Get in Gear 10k on April 27th. I realize that's almost two weeks ago now, but everyone loves a race recap!

The Get in Gear is big race locally that has been going on for 36 years. It's a loop course that is mostly along the Mississippi River in Minneapolis and St. Paul. 

Going in, I felt totally unprepared for this race and was bummed, because when I signed up I wanted to be really ready. Well, April was a crazy month with being out of town, the babies' first birthday, and them both being sick what seems like most of the month. I ran 7 miles two weeks before this, and that was the longest I ran besides 3-4 milers and speed work which were mostly on the treadmill. 

Anyway, the weather FINALLY turned here, and Saturday morning was gorgeous. I was extremely excited to be putting on shorts and a t-shirt for once. The first mile was crowded, so I was doing the usual bob and weave. I think this is where I added my extra .10 of distance. The start was my only gripe. The 10k and 1/2 all start at the same time in the same start corral. Would have been nice to send out one of the two 10 minutes apart. But I am clearly not a race director. 

The first two miles felt awesome, so I just went with it and pretty much kept my pace the whole way. I had no goal going in because I didn't want to set myself up for disappointment. I almost felt like I could have pushed a little more, but hindsight is 20/20 and all. My mile splits were all pretty even, so that's always a win. 

I finished right around 52:00 and was 31st out of 350ish in my age group. My 10k PR is 48:42 (at this race, which I am doing again this year), so I have a lot of work to get back to that.  I still think the 10k is a favorite distance of mine.  It was a really fun race and the course was relatively flat, so I think I will be back next year. I've heard the weather is usually bad for it, but as long as the roads aren't covered in ice, I think it will still be a good one. 

I know a race recap should be filled with photos, but I went to this one alone so I only have the one photo I took of the finish line flag. There's just something about those over sized finish line flags.



In addition to the Fill Their Plates 10k, I am also signed up for the Esprit de She 5k on July 25th. I signed up with a few co-workers, so I am looking forward to having fun with it. After that? I am undecided until September. I might just run for running's sake and build up to that fall 10k and then 1/2 marathon I have planned. 

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

The Twins Turn One

In light of the Boston tragedy, I wanted to say that I have been thinking about and praying for everyone that was affected. I have a lot of internet friends who were there, and while they are all okay, I know they are still dealing with the brevity of being there. I personally was not affected in any way except being a runner myself. I didn't feel right posting anything without mentioning this, because the posts to come will be happy things. I like to think finding the good in the world is what people need. So, if you find babies who are turning one to be a good thing, you have come to the right place. 



In mom's of multiples circles, reaching the 1st birthday is a big milestone. Most people will tell you the hardest part is over. I guess only time will tell whether I can agree to that. As a fun trip down memory lane, here is my birth story.

 
I feel rather emotional, in a good way, about reaching one year. When I look back on the year, I have a hard time recalling to memory what each day really looked like. If you asked me what I did on say, June 17th of 2009, I could probably give you a good guess based on my calendar and job at the time.If you asked me what I was doing June 17th of 2012, I can't even picture it. Except to say that I was probably going through my routine of feeding, pumping, putting babies to sleep, over and over again. People told me the first 3 months would be a blur, and for the most part, they are. I have plenty of photos and videos, and of course memories, but recalling just how tiny they were now is so hard. 
A few weeks old. Baby boy on the left, baby girl on the right.

The biggest smile you'll see. (baby boy)



Feisty and full of personality, this one. (baby girl)

Of course, most things are easier now, but then other things get harder. I like that they are mobile for the most part, but it's exhausting trying to contain two crawlers going in two different directions. They are also learning how to get our attention and testing boundaries. And, it amazes me at how different the two really are already. 

I think this winter ( I hope) will go down as one of my most difficult. I was alone for the majority of evenings and every part of my being was challenged. I hope that I learned something from it all. Right now all I can really think of is that I don't think I could ever be a stay at home mom. Or a single parent. Not that I was an actual single parent, but parts of what I did were probably similar. 

We had an amazing party for our duo because of our family and friends. There was cake smashing, wrapping paper ripping, and lots of attention getting. We went with a Mickey and Minnie Mouse theme. Their names also start with M, so it was really full circle.





My little mister was really hamming it up for all of his admirers.


Little lady wasn't quite as receptive, but she still had fun and got to eat frosting. 
 



She must have been tired from taking her first steps the day before. (!)

We would have never made it this far without all of the support from everyone in our lives, including you. It truly does take a village.


Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Being realistic

So thank you for those who responded to my last post. I feel like a bad blogger for not acknowledging your support until now. 

I know it's lame, but I just have been too busy to formulate anything worth typing out. I often come up with the best blog post ideas when I am out running, but then never remember to sit down and put pen to paper so to speak. Or I guess remember isn't the right word. More like never find time. 

On the forefront of blog related topics is my decision (or not) to run a 1/2 or long-ish race in May. I was optimistic in March when I was consistently getting in 3-4 week day runs, a decent long run, and a lifting session each week. My 7k race was rather lackluster given the weather, but it felt good and was encouraging. 

Fast forward to April, and things have escalated quickly. Work has picked up and I am bringing stuff home in the evenings once again. I am missing some of my lunch time running again because of work. I am not complaining though. This job is much more enjoyable and doesn't feel nearly as much like work as when I was putting in this much time at my previous job.  

Oh and those babies I have? Are turning ONE in two weeks. Yeah. There's that. We are planning a little family shindig, and as easy as one can make a party, it's still work and coordination. That same weekend we are also getting some professional photos done for the duo, so finding outfits, shoes, etc. has been some extra effort. 

With all of the above, I haven't been getting in the quality running I thought I would. It's okay. There are much more important things right now and spending time with my soon to be one year-olds is tops. 

After some careful thought, I've decided to scrap the idea of a 10+ mile race in May. I have a 10k coming up on 4/27 and depending on how it goes with my current level of fitness, will either look for a few more 10k's or 5k's for the summer. I want to keep up my 3-4 week day runs and one long run a week with the idea that getting into 1/2 marathon shape would only take a few extra weeks of careful training. 

So that's where I am at with running. I hope to share some fun photos and stories from the next few weeks and of course a 10k race recap.