Running Update and Goals

Since my last post, I have continued to be sporadic with my running schedule, hitting it hard for several days in a row and then just sitting around for the next several days.

Over Memorial Day weekend I ran every day, starting on Friday with a planned 4 miler that turned into a 5 miler.  It was such a beautiful day and I was really jammin' out to my music, so I didn't want to stop at 4.  I am terrible about updating my music on my iPod (affectionately named Shuffalufagus), but that morning I had added nearly 2 hours worth of fresh songs to my playlist.  I usually listen to a lot of rap and R & B on runs, which I still like, but I am so behind the times on what is popular that I have been listening to the same Kanye, DJ Khalid, and Birdman songs for years and I needed some new stuff.  I loaded up with more alternative, indie, and alt-country and a few newer rap/R & B songs, and that has gone a long way to keep things more interesting.

On Saturday, I wasn't super motivated to get out and run because it was pretty humid, so I went out for a 4 mile out and back, just to get something done.  I sweated buckets, but was glad to have gotten some mileage.

Sunday, I decided to get out before the heat and humidity really set in, so I headed out around mid-morning and explored a new neighborhood for a 6 miler.  My subdivision is very close to about 5 or 6 different housing developments of varying ages and price points, and I haven't explored them all yet.  I had hoped to make quick work of my 6 miler by getting lost in the new scenery, but it was hot enough that I couldn't really break the 12 minute mile pace that day.  It was a good run, but not the most enjoyable I have ever had.

Monday, I went back to the neighborhood I had begun to explore the day before and completed another slow run totaling 5 miles.

After a week of not doing much of anything, I knocked out 20 miles in 4 days.  I decided to take a break from running on Tuesday and ended up doing a Zumba workout after work, but I spent the next 4 days doing nothing.  So it goes.

I hope to do better at being consistent this week, but I won't be too hard on myself if not.  I feel like I have focused on getting back into the habit of running enough in the past month or so, that I will eventually find a groove that is right for me.  I look back at my old training logs and I can't believe that in the year after Eva was born, I regularly ran 20-25 miles a week and often ran 7-8 miles on my long run.  I can't imagine that being my normal schedule now-  I am just so tired.  Haha! But I am 5 years older, I have a job with a lot more responsibility, and a 2nd child to care for, so it makes sense that I would struggle trying to maintain that sort of schedule nowadays. I will not give up though!  Goals!

A Really Awesome Week and A Not-So-Awesome Week

I have been working on getting my weekly running mileage back up in to the 20-30 mile range, with no success for a while.  Even though I would plan to run about 5 days each week, usually I would only end up getting out there for about 3 days and rarely for more than 5 miles on any given run.

Until last week, that is.  For reasons I can't quite pinpoint, I was super motivated all week to get out and get some miles done.  I even got on the treadmill for an interval workout one rainy afternoon, which added 3.5 miles to my total for the week.  After all was said and done, I ticked off 22.5 miles last week, and I was so proud of myself for doing it.  It really wasn't that hard, and I remembered how I used to do this every week without batting an eye.

Then this week happened!  I really thought I had it figured out and I would be back in the groove to the extent that I could at least duplicate my mileage from last week.  But alas, I haven't run AT ALL. Insert frowny face here.  It has been a rough week for everyone and I just haven't had the time on some days and absolutely zero motivation on others.  I hope to get my mojo back this weekend, so we'll see.

I am trying not to be too hard on myself.  It takes a while to develop a habit, and one week of 20 + mileage is inadequate for instilling a habit.

In other news, Eva graduated from preschool and I finally finished watching the 7th season of the Real Housewives of Atlanta.  So the week wasn't a complete bust!

EDIT: I did make it out for a 5 miler on Sunday, so the week was not completely lost.  The delay in posting was because I wanted to get a picture of Eva's preschool graduation for the blog, but I can't find what Kyle took at the ceremony on the cloud.  

Here a few pictures of the kids before Eva's preschool graduation program.

Littlest Runner

I have a new runner in the household, and she's got energy!

Eva has shown interest in running with me, so last Thursday, I told her that she could run with me a little bit after I finished up with my normal post-work run.  Usually, when I plan to go out for a run after work, Kyle picks up the kids from school and I just go straight home, lace up, and head out.

Since I get off around 5pm on most days, that gives me plenty of time to get a 3 or 4 miler in by the time Kyle and the kiddos arrive at home.  Then I am able to hang out with Eva and Jonah for a bit while Kyle gets supper going.  I told Eva that I would go out and run 3 miles and then meet her back at the house to venture out on a one miler.  She was game and happily donned her "running" clothes and shoes once she got home.

Jonah wanted very badly to go for a run with us, but I kind of wanted this to be a girls outing, and aside from pushing him the jogging stroller, he wouldn't be able to make it very far on his little 2 year old legs.

We headed out and I estimated a short one mile loop into the neighborhood behind our subdivision, by the elementary school Eva will be going to in the fall, and around by our neighborhood pool. Starting out, Eva had a pretty quick pace.  I was already tired from working all day and doing 3 miles before she joined me, so I was dragging a bit and figuring that she'd need a walk break soon, since she obviously went out too fast in the beginning.

I was wrong about that.  She maintained a pretty even pace and didn't need to stop until we hit a steep uphill, which was actually at about the 1.1 mile mark (as I didn't measure an exact mile).  She did want to walk the uphill, but picked back up running the .15 miles back around to our driveway.  The mile we did run was about 12:30, which is slower than my normal pace, but faster than I would have expected her to be able to maintain for a whole mile.  I am super-impressed.

Now, she keeps asking me when she is going to get to run with me again and can we go 5 miles next time.  I told her we could do a mile together a few more times and then see about going a mile and half after that.  Kyle suggested we look at signing her up for a kids fun run, which I am not opposed to doing, but for right now, I would just like to let her have the chance to just run, for fun, and spend some quality time with me.  If, after a while, she's still really into it, then we can see about letting her race.

Yesterday was Mother's Day and I had planned on getting a 4 miler in before going to brunch, but my sis called to chat for a while and I decided to skip the run so that we could eat at a decent time.  It was a rainy, stormy afternoon, which made for great napping and the kids played in the rain a little bit before supper.  All in all, it was a nice day!

Gettin' It Done

Eva is now 5 years old.  I can't believe it myself, but she will be going into kindergarten this fall.

Last summer, she kept asking about doing some sort of activity.  We put her in T-Ball when she was 3, but she didn't really catch on or show much interest in it, so I didn't think she'd want to do that again.  She said she wanted to do cheer leading or dance, so we found a ballet school right in our town (which has a huge amount of gymnastics, martial arts, and dance academies for a city our size, I must say) and enrolled her in a Creative Movement class once a week last September.

She really, really enjoys it and her teacher has recommended she move up to pre-ballet this September.  Her class is comprised of about 7 girls, ages 4 to 6.  They are learning the general ballet terms and proper positioning of hands and feet.  Eva really pays attention and follows all of the teacher's instruction, even when some of the other students are goofing off or having trouble maintaining attention.  It doesn't matter to me if she does dance or something else, or nothing right now for that matter, but she has asked to continue ballet over the summer and into the fall, so I guess that is what we'll do for now.

The class is every Tuesday night at 5:45pm, so I usually get Eva from school and take her to dance while Kyle will get Jonah from daycare and take him home.  The class is a 40 minute class and parents are not allowed in the studio during practice, so I usually bring a book or surf the web on my phone in the waiting room.

This week, however, I didn't want to waste my time sitting in the waiting room.  I have been in a really good groove of running most days over the past few weeks, and I knew I would miss my opportunity to get a run in due to ballet last night, unless I planned ahead.

I checked the weather for the day and saw that it was set to be a gorgeous, mild and warm afternoon with no chance of rain.  I packed up my running gear in my gym bag and threw it in my trunk when I was home for lunch yesterday.  I knew I would only have 40 minutes to get my run done and get back to the dance studio, so I got onto the Running Ahead web site to map out an easy 3 mile route in the area around the ballet studio, that I should be able to knock out in about 30-35 minutes.  After work, I quickly changed into my running clothes at work and went to pick up Eva from daycare.

Once Eva went in to start her class, I ventured out on my run.  I picked up the pace a little more than what was comfortable for an easy run, because I really wanted to make sure I got back before her class let out.  I took my Garmin 610 to keep track of my pace, mileage, and time and got back to the studio with about 3 minutes to spare.

It felt good to take control of my day and get that run taken care of, when normally I would have just used Eva's ballet class as an excuse not to get in any sort of run or workout for the day.  I hope to make this a habit that will help push my weekly mileage back up into the 20s on a regular basis.

It is so great to have a passion for running again.  Ever since I began running regularly in 2008, I feel like I am just not quite myself if I am not maintaining a steady schedule of running, even when I am mentally just burned out on it.  I always do some sort of cardio workouts, but nothing is quite like running when it comes to feeling strong, accomplished, and managing stress.  Eva has even taken interest in it, and asks to run with me sometimes.  She can usually only go about half a mile at most, but that's pretty good for a preschooler, if you ask me.  Maybe she'll grow up to be my running partner in a few years?

Happy Birthday Eva LuCille!

I know every parent says it when their children mark another year with a birthday, but I just can’t believe Eva is already 2 years old!

She has quite a personality too!  She knows what she wants and is always trying to assert her independence, especially at home.  Just last night, we had to sit through 2 time outs, some time alone in her bed, and one long crying jag just to get her hands washed before she ate her snack.  I suspect she didn’t get much of a nap at school, which I think entitles me to a discount for tuition, considering Halloween is THE WORST DAY to have your toddler miss a nap. 
Eva got dressed up in her garden gnome costume and went to 3 houses to trick or treat: 2 of my co-workers and our neighbors.  I didn’t think she would be into going to strangers’ home for trick or treating and she got so many treats at those 3 places that it wasn’t even necessary to hit up anywhere else. She had a great time and loves to put her treats into her pumpkin and carry them around.  We are going to have to start making sure she brushes her teeth twice every day now.  I didn’t think Eva had much of a sweet tooth, but she loves Skittles.  Of course, it shouldn’t be a surprise that kids love candy!
To celebrate her birthday tonight, she will get her gifts from me and Kyle, which include some new books and a tricycle!  Then we are going out to Chick-Fil-A for dinner. Tomorrow, I am off from work so Eva and I are going to meet up with our friend Joy and her son Mason for some playtime at a local indoor recreational facility. 
With all the excitement, attention, gifts and treats she has been receiving for about a week now, she is going to come to expect the week of her birthday and Halloween to be like this every year!  Well, as long as it doesn’t spill into my Birthday Jamboree Extravaganza Week, I guess that would be fine.

Is blogging still a thing?

Hellooo out there?  Is anyone still around?

It has been years *gasp* since I blogged and I can't remember the last time I even read someone else's blog, actually.  So many of the blogs I used to follow have gone away and some have spread into Facebook, so I follow them over there.  Youtube is also a huge thing, so I do follow a lot of vloggers over there-- mostly fitness and beauty.  But reading a good ole blog?  Not so much.

If you are there, you may be wondering what inspired me to blog again.  Well, I love going back to reading my old posts from years ago.  It is a diary of my life at a time when I was running frequently, working in a place I really enjoyed, and had just had my first child.  I look back on that time fondly, and I really like to relive it through reading my old blogs on occasion.

Thing is, I can only reread 47 blog posts so often before I start wishing that I had done a better job of maintaining my posts.  There are whole blocks of time that I neglected to write about, and I would really have liked to have some written documentation of them.  But alas, I can't go back in time and have a do over.  I can, however, do a favor to my future self and pick back up, and that's what I intend on doing.

Let me provide a recap of my life over the past few years.  A few months after my last post in the fall of 2012, I got a promotion and started working at a different location.  That location required a 45-60 minute commute in each direction daily, and there were all kinds of challenges with scheduling and staffing that I, as a new manager, was totally unprepared for.  About 7 months into my tenure in the new position, I became pregnant with my son, who is now 2 years old.

That pregnancy was harder on me than my first for several reasons.  The morning sickness and fatigue were worse than with my first child, so for the entire first half of my pregnancy, I felt horrible pretty much all of the time.  The second half of the pregnancy provided some relief from morning sickness, but the fatigue remained, and I had lots of issues with swelling.

Combine these physical discomforts with mounds of stress I was feeling due to my long commute and the issues I was learning to manage as a part of my new job responsibilities, and you would be right to think that I wasn't at my happiest point professionally at that time.  On maternity leave, I had pretty much decided that I would go back to work long enough to offset my FMLA/paid leave and the insurance premiums that were taken care of while I was off with my newborn, and then I would be putting in my notice and becoming a stay-at-home mom for a while.

I really enjoyed my maternity leave and had balanced our household budget so that it wouldn't be financially necessary for me to continue working.  I learned a long time ago that there is rarely a good reason to stay in a job that makes you miserable, so I had no intention of doing so.

It was not necessary for me to resign, however.  Another manager position became available in the town where I live just a week before I was slated to return from maternity leave.  It would be a lateral move, but one that would be put me a mere 10 minutes away from my home and allow me to work more closely with my previous boss as her colleague, which is something I had missed when I left to pursue my promotion a year and a half previously.

I was selected for the position and within 2 weeks of returning from maternity leave, I was working in my new location and finding so much more happiness being close to home, working with people that I was familiar with from years spent in the branch nearby before my promotion.  I realized that much of my stress and unhappiness was due to being originally placed in a branch that was just not a good fit for me and my personality or leadership style.   I have been in my current location for almost 2 years now, and I am so relieved to find happiness and contentment here.

As soon as I realized that I had found a good fit professionally, my husband and I decided it was time to find a new home that would be a better fit for our larger family.  We had lived in our 1970's era raised ranch home for 11 years and with 2 children and 2 dogs, we felt like it was time to look for a more modern home with more living and storage space - a 2 story house!  We stayed in the same town, of course, because we truly love the community where we live.

So that's the news - I changed jobs, houses, and had another child in the years since I last updated this blog.  I feel like I am again in a good place, and though I have taken many a hiatus from running for various reasons, I happen to be back in action in recent weeks, averaging 17 miles a week.  I have not run any races since November of 2014, but I am considering some this summer and fall.

It is funny to look back at my old posts about trying to find time to run with a baby.  Now, I have 2 kiddos to contend with, and I have not invested in a double jogging stroller!

So welcome  I look forward to documenting more running, more family memories, and more professional milestones.  And if I pick up some readers again, well that is just icing on the cake.
Here are some pictures to get you up to speed.

At the Royals Game - May 2014

Halloween 2015
At the Royals World Series Rally - November 2015

Christmas 2015

Easter 2016
At the Zoo - April 2016