Tuesday, July 31, 2012

I'm a Runner XVI

Susan Tirch
Singer (to myself in the car and in shower) 
37 for a wee bit longer, Texas

My father, at 69 years old, can still kick my ass running.  He didn't start running until he was in his 50s.  I think as he got older he needed a hobby and so running became part of his life.  He was an inspiration for me to start running.

Fitness has been such a big part of my life for the last 4 years that it's hard to imagine my life before.  The thing is, I feel as though I'm just reaching the tip of the iceberg and there is so much more to be explored and developed.  I'm excited.

I run three, times a week right now training for the NYC Marathon.  I really like Hal Higdon's Marathon 3 training program.  Running just 3 days a week keeps from getting burned out and allows me to do other cross training which I love.

Until a few years ago I could never have imagined myself running the NYC marathon, or any marathon for that matter.  If you're not part of the running community, I don't think running is even on your radar.  I can honestly say I never gave marathoning ANY thought at all.  As far as I was concerned, it didn't exist.

If I don't listen to my body, I find myself in trouble.  I really do try to listen to my body and know when something requires rest and when I'm just being lazy and tired.  Sometimes it's hard to tell the difference, but I feel the longer I've been doing this I know when something is really wrong.

My hair is at a very annoying stage.  Part of me wants to chop it all off so it can be cute and stylish but the running part of me likes to throw it in a ponytail really quick and go out for a run.  There's nothing worse than hair in your face while exercising.  The problem is, I have become so lazy and rarely style my hair.

When I run I imagine what passers by think.  I have the worst running form (so I'm told) and I wonder if people are snickering under their breath.

I'm the worst at stretching.  I don't know why something so simple proves to be so difficult for me.  I've been having nagging buttock/hamstring/hip pain so I've been trying to foam roll and stretch.  I can already see where it makes a big difference.

I live in one of the fittest cities in America and it shows.  I'm surrounded by so many other fit moms that find a way to make health and fitness a priority.  You can't help by be inspired to be healthy.

I'm a fan of Kara Goucher and Shalane Flanagan and can't wait to watch them hopefully kick booty during the Marathon in the Olympics this year.  I expect them to do well. I hope they don't disappoint.

Running is not a 4 letter word, although sometimes I think it should be.  Ha!

Interested in reading more from this series?  Check them out below:

I'm a Runner 

Monday, July 30, 2012

Pull Pull Kick

Do you recall the title of my blog? No?  Well I will remind you.  It is called Mom, Swim, Bike, Run.  That is to indicate that I mom (as in mother, like a verb), swim, bike and run.  Well as you well know there's a lot of running up in here, but not a whole lot of biking and swimming.  It's not because I don't love biking and swimming.  It's just I have more friends interested in running with me so I tend to run a lot more.  In addition, I'm training for a marathon... you know running.  Today, however, it was time to get my swim on.

Today I couldn't do an early morning workout because George left at the crack of dawn for work.  I also couldn't make any classes at the gym since I had to be home at 8:45 for Ella to be picked up for an art camp/class she is doing and then pick her up at 10:30.

The point is, there was no way to get my normal morning workout in.  Usually when this happens the workout just gets thrown to the wayside for the day.  I was determined today, however, to not let that happen.  I decided to ask George if he'd come to our community pool with the kids after dinner and play for a bit while I swam.  He agreed and I was happy.

I haven't swam since the Gerogetown Supersprint Triathlon and then it was just 200m.  I set out today to do 1000 yards (our pool is 25 yards).  I probably should have done more, but I was happy that I was out there just doing anything at all.

 Here's what my workout looked like:

Warmup Set (200y)
150 easy @ 4:00, 2 x 25 kick @ 0:50

Main Set (500y)
5 x 100 [75 moderate/25 fast] @ 2:30

Warmdown Set (300y)
2 x [50 swim, 50 kick, 50 pull @ 0:15 rest]

This workout was a bit challenging for me.  I'm just not used to swimming at all and my arms and legs were both tired.  They were especially tired when I had to do the fast 25 yards.  I use the term fast VERY loosely.

To put it in perspective, I swim 50 yards quickly in just under 50 seconds.  The US Olympians are swimming twice that distance in the same time (or a tad less).  That is so insane to me.  I can't even wrap my head around swimming that quickly.

Oh well, I'll keep plugging away.  Pull, pull, kick.  Pull, pull, kick.

1000 yards in 26 minutes.  Mom. SWIM. Bike. Run!

Sunday, July 29, 2012

NYC Marathon Training Long Run: 15 Miles

Just an FYI before I begin:  This run happened yesterday, not today.  

It's kind of hard to be marathon training when none of your friends are.  I admit I've been having nightmares about making it into double digit long runs because I have feared being ALONE.  I know that's wimpy and so many of you are probably out there training all alone.  I've just become so spoiled and I love running with my friends.  It might take a little creativity to do as few solo miles as possible, but I pieced together this run very nicely.  

I met Bianca, Chrystal and Shannon at Bianca's house at 6:00 am.  Bianca is recovering from an injury and a subsequent 4 week running hiatus, so she's coming back to running slowly.  Shannon just got back from vacation and a 2 week absence from running, and Chrystal... hmmmm hey Chrystal why didn't you want to run 15 miles with me?  Haha  The point is the girls were only planning on running 6 miles.  

I hate running beginning at Bianca's house and do everything possible to avoid it.  You see if you start at Bianca's you have to run the BIG HILL.  I don't love it!

But if I wanted to have running partners, I had to meet to do the hill.  At least it's at the beginning.  It's probably just a quarter of a mile from Bianca's front door.  Better than meeting it at mile 10 or something.

I knew the hill was going to be slow, but I tried to talk myself out of it being a big deal.  I mean it's just a hill right?  Bianca put on a Katy Perry song and we all rocked out and got our running groove on.  I even thought, "hey this isn't too bad."  Then I realized I was only about 1/4 of the way up it.  At that point I really started to labor and just kept telling myself to put one foot in front of the other.

After the big hill there was one small one, and then it was smooth (flat) sailing.

Mile 1:  11:22 darn hill
Mile2:   10:46

I have to admit going into this run I was really scared.  I had a really bad long run last week, and I was afraid I was going to be met with the same fate this week.  My legs were (and still are) pretty sore.  I just was afraid my body wasn't going to hold up and I would suffer.  I told the girls that I really needed to go slowly and pace myself for 15 miles.  I was shooting for a 10:30 overall pace today.

After getting my breath back from the hill, I actually started to feel pretty good.  I allowed myself at this point to believe things wouldn't be so bad.

Mile 3:  10:43

At the 3 mile mark I had to say goodbye to Bianca, Chrystal and Shannon.

Never fear my friends because Mary had agreed to meet me for the next 10 miles.  It seemed kind of win, win to me.  Mary got to sleep an extra half hour and I got to have friends with me at almost all points of this run.

I told Mary of my goal to run a little slower and hopefully just make it through this run.  She's gracious enough to run my pace and not complain.  Mary and I always have plenty of things to talk about so the next few miles until the turn around just flew by.

Mile 4: 11:03
Mile 5:  10:46--->  Took a Gu
Mile 6:  10:33
Mile 7:  10:20

We turned around at the 7.5 mile mark (4.5 miles for Mary) and started heading back.  I thought to myself that it seemed like I should be more than half way through and fear started to creep its way into my head.  I wasn't feeling too bad as far as pain, but I did feel tired.

I also was in conserve water mode.  I carry a water belt with two 8 ounce bottles, but I was almost out of water at the 9 mile mark.  I drink a lot of water while running.  I'm not sure why I require so much, but I do.  I'm not going to deprive my body of something that it needs so I carry water even though it's kind of annoying.

We were coming up on a Walgreens at the 10 mile mark and Mary agreed to stop there so I could fill up my bottles.  So I drank down all the water I had left and felt a tad better.

Mile 8: 10:16
Mile 9:  10:24

We arrived at the Walgreens at about 7:55.  Guess what?  They don't open until 8:00.  Mary told me we could wait, but 5 minutes of standing around just didn't seem like a good idea to me.  Mary offered me the last gulp of water that she had in her bottle and we carried on.  Luckily Mary had "stashed" a full water bottle at the entrance to our housing development (what would be mile 12).  She was sweet enough to think of me and brought the extra bottle for that purpose.  I was so, so thankful. I just had to make it 2 miles with no water.

Mile 10:  10:25
Mile 11: 10:28 ----> 2nd Gu

I was never so happy to see water in my life.  I drank a huge gulp and it was actually still a little cold.  Mary drank a few sips too and then gave me the rest to fill up my bottles (she's so sweet).  I was supposed to say goodbye to Mary at this point, but she agreed to run another quarter mile with me because it was UPHILL (you know my favorite).

It was so nice of Mary to get me up the hill.  Having her by my side, was the boost I needed to tackle another hill.  Now don't get me wrong, it's nowhere near as steep as the first hill I did, but it's still killer. It's especially killer at mile 12.

Mile 12:   10:34

Once I got to the top,  I had to say goodbye to Mary as she turned back to go home and I headed back to Bianca's for my car.

So here I was 12 miles into my run.  It was just me and my shadow.  The sun was beating down and it was really getting hot.  With just 3 miles to go, I told myself to suck it up and just get it done.

I popped in my earphones and decided to just pound it out as quickly as my legs would let me at this point (which wasn't too fast).  Nevertheless, I did finish and without an incredible amount of pain.  Now don't get me wrong.  My body felt pounded and I was definitely sore, but this run was FAR better than the 12 miles I did last week.

Mile 13: 11:17
Mile 14: 11:16
Mile 15:  11:19 Clearly it was Mary that was keeping me going at a quicker pace.

Total:  2:41:42
Average:  10:46 

As soon as I stopped I knew my body was in trouble.  I came right home and foam rolled for about 15 to 20 minutes.  It hurt, but I kept telling myself it would be worth it.

Because my body has been so out of whack, I decided I should probably ice as well.  So I decided to do an ice bath.  Not my favorite thing to do, but hopefully worth it.

Yes I kept my clothes on.  I know better than to bare ass it.  I also kept on my socks (and eventually wrapped them in a towel) because my feet actually hurt from the cold.

Come on Susan, you can do it.  Just sit down.

Um yeah, that's cold!

Ok I'm in.  Now I realize the water is a little low, but I was really trying to ice my butt and hamstrings so I figure this was good enough.

I sat and chilled (literally) for about 15 minutes and then called it quits.

I was pretty sore (ok a LOT sore) for most of the day, but today I feel so much better.  I'm glad I iced and rolled, because I'm convinced it made a big difference.

I only have 5 more 15 plus mile runs to go in my training.  I can do this!  Right?

Thanks to my friends for running slowly with me. 
 You all mean so much to me and I know I couldn't do it without you!!! 

Friday, July 27, 2012

Olympic Craft Palooza

I said it before, but I'm really excited for the Olympics.  Since today marks the opening of the Olympics, I've been trying to get the kids excited about the opening ceremonies by making crafts.  First we made an Olympic painting which you can read all about here.  I figured we needed a few other things just to make sure there was plenty of excitement.  So, we also made 2012 Olympic Torches and T-shirts (in addition to our already made artwork).

What you'll need to make the torches:

  • 3 Pringles cans (You can use anything cylinder shaped.  Think paper towel tube, toilet paper tube, rolled up paper.  Be creative.) 
  • Gold Spray Paint 
  • Heavy Duty Tape (I used gold Duck Tape but it wasn't necessary)
  • Scissors
  • Tissue Paper in Fire Colors 

When making this torch I googled the picture of the 2012 Olympic Torch so that we could try to closely mimic it.  Ok remember I said MIMIC it, not replicate it.  This is a kids' craft after all.

So first we took 2 Pringles cans and lined them up end to end and taped them together with our Duck Tape.

Next we took the third can and cut the bottom off.

Then we shaped it into a triangle to mimic the triangular top of the torch.

We then attached it to the top of our other two cans with more Duck tape.

Now the fun part began.  We used a fence post and put the torch on top and then spray painted the torch gold.

After the torch was dry we simply added red, orange and yellow tissue paper to the top to look like fire.  We also added the 2012 embellishment and little circles to look like the holes in the torch.

My kids had a blast making these and have been playing with them a lot too.  I know it will be cool for them when they have them during the opening ceremonies and they can pretend they're walking into the Olympic Stadium.  Plus we learned a lot about the torch along the way and it sparked great conversations about the Olympics and athletes in general.

You can probably see by now that we made T-shirts too.

This wasn't at all what I set out to do, but it turned out cute nonetheless.  My original intention was to make a stencil using freezer paper and using bleach to bleach out the stenciled part.  I then imagined this times four (Ella had her friend Isabel over) and decided it was too much work.

So we used the same technique that we used to make our Olympic Art and did it on the T-shirts.  Since I originally intended to bleach the design into the shirts we bought blue shirts.  Clearly if I would have known we'd go this route, I would have bought white T-shirts.  Oh well, I still think they look really cute.  They're just not a vibrant as they would be on white.

The best part about all of this was really getting the kids excited about the games.  I want them to watch and know the athletes and recognize the dedication it takes to be the BEST at something.   Plus, aren't the Olympics just fun.

How cool would it be if we had a future Olympian amongst us.  Ping pong anyone?

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Intro To CrossFit: My First WOD

So today I did something that I have wanted to do for a LONG time.  I took an intro class for CrossFit. I was first introduced to CrossFit two years ago when I was doing Physical Therapy for my shoulder.  You see, they do CrossFit at the Clinic where I did therapy.   So while I'd be sitting there doing my measly shoulder exercises I'd be watching these "beasts" do CrossFit workouts.  

So why haven't I done CrossFit up until now?  First, I had no business doing CrossFit as I was healing from my fractured shoulder and wrist.  I barely had the mobility to lift my arm above my head much less anything else.  Also, I was SUPER intimidated by CrossFit because it seemed so hardcore to me.  

After I stopped going to the clinic I kind of just forgot about CrossFit for awhile.  Then, slowly but surely, CrossFit starting "leaking" into the blog world.  As I've said before, I read A LOT of blogs.  Several of the girls' whose blogs I read, started doing CrossFit.  

It was really fun to read as they began doing CrossFit and keep reading and "watching" their growth and development.  Many of them were at a fitness level similar to what mine is now.  Now they're kicking butt and taking names doing things I could never dream of.  

Not to mention that these girls (just regular girls like you and I) significantly improved their running times.  How exciting is that?  Here's how I see it.  Do CrossFit, get strong, look better AND run faster.  Sign me up.  

I was convinced a LONG time ago that CrossFit would change my fitness level.  I really needed no convincing of that.  I could see that it changed people-- mind and body.   In fact, about a year ago I convinced George that he needed to go do CrossFit.  I knew he would love it.  He went to the intro class and he definitely loved the idea behind it and thought it would be great for him, but you see George is WAY TOO CHEAP to pay for CrossFit.  

So I put the idea of CrossFit in the back of my mind again.  However, with every post I read about CrossFit I'd feel a tiny twinge of jealously.   I so badly wanted to try CrossFit, but I knew it was a heavy financial commitment.  I didn't think it was fair of me to do CrossFit when George wasn't going to do it because of the amount of money it costs to participate, but my desire was getting stronger and stronger every day.  

Then my very good friend Tracey (who lives in Pittsburgh) told me she signed up to do CrossFit.  I was so envious I could barely contain myself.  Tracey is very cautious with her money and seems (to me) to always make sound financial decisions.  She's also one of the best moms I know and always makes good choices for herself and her family (again my opinion).  The point is, Tracey got me thinking that maybe it wasn't so selfish to want something, albeit expensive, for myself.    (Just so everyone understands, I'm not saying that I need anyone else's validation in order to do something, but sometimes it helps to validate my feelings.) 

So I talked to George about our finances and my VERY STRONG DESIRE to do CrossFit and we agreed that I should try it out.  George is one of the most selfless people I know.  Well when it comes to the ones he loves anyway (and hey that's me).  I think George realized that this is something that I REALLY want and, once again, he has been very supportive.  

So the only thing left to do is sign up to officially do CrossFit.  I have to quit my current gym membership and finish out the bootcamp I'm signed up for (it runs for 2 more weeks), but I'm very excited to get started.  

Guess what else?  I mentioned to Bianca that I wanted to try CrossFit and she said she had been thinking about it too.  So we did our first intro class together and I think Bianca is all in too.  Another thing to do with my girl B.  

Here are the details of today's workout.  

500 M Row:  2:16 
40 Air squats 
30 Sit-ups 
20 Pushups (chest to floor) ----> Just to be clear I've been getting so much better at pushups but I was NOT ever doing them chest to floor.  I had to go to my knees after 4 REAL chest to floor pushups.  
10 Pull-ups I can't do one pull-up at all.  I had to do jumping pull ups where you grab the bar and jump up and pull bringing your chin above the bar.  I WILL do an unassisted pull-up some day.  Mark my words.  

Total Time:  6:34 

Yes as you can see Bianca finished 16 seconds before I did.  I just had nothing left in my arms when it came to the pull-ups and I had to stop and rest before knocking out the last 3 or 4.  Those dang pull-ups were SO HARD for me.

There you have it folks.  I've drank (drunk?) the CrossFit koolaid and I can't wait to start and see the changes in my fitness levels.

Have you ever done/do you do CrossFit?  Do you want to try it?  

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

How to Make a Rachel Whiteread Inspired Olympic Poster/Painting

I've started getting all geeked out over the olympics.  I seriously love watching all the athletes and hearing all their stories.  It's so inspiring to see how they got to where they are today.  Olympic athletes are a special group of people that take dedication to a whole new level.  I just can't help by be awed by them.

In honor of the olympics starting on Friday, I thought the kids and I could make some Olympic crafts.  I went on Pinterest and really wasn't crazy about anything that I found so I decided to do an Google search.  I googled Olympic art and came across this poster by Rachel Whiteread.


You know what I thought right?  The kids and I could totally make that.  Also... why can't I ever think of something this simple and awesome?  I loved the look of this and thought even far after the Olympics it would be great playroom art.

Here's what you'll need:

  • Blank Canvas (or whatever you'd like to paint on).  I got mine at Hobby Lobby for $7.99 for both.  
  • Paint in Olympic ring colors (Green, Blue, Red, Yellow and Black) 
  • Paper Plates 
  • Cups or other circle template (cookie cutter or anything with a circle rim) 

Pour a generous portion of each of your paint colors  onto paper plates.

Dip the rim of your cup (or other circle source) into the paint and lightly press onto the canvas and lift immediately up.

Don't worry at all if the paint is dripping or smears a little.  It only adds to the appeal and character of the piece (in my opinion anyway).  As you can see, this was easy enough that my kids could do it all by themselves.  I was there to remind them to try not to put too many of one color side by side.

 I think they did a really great job and the whole thing probably took less than five minutes.

In fact, it was so much fun we decided we couldn't do just one.  So we made a second.

I think they turned out totally cute and like I said, they might be Olympic themed, but they don't HAVE to be.  I think I'll hang them in the playroom after we enjoy them in the living room during the Olympics.

Stay tuned because there may be more Olympic crafts coming up.

What Olympic crafts have you made?  Will you be watching?  

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

On the Lake Again

Saturday we went out on the boat with our friends Tony and Valerie and their son "little" Tony.  We met them through baseball (Tony is Nicholas Coach).  I know y'all are probably sick of hearing about all of our boating adventures, but I'm truly having the best time spending time with our friends out on the lake.

We've now gone to the lake enough times that we've got everything down to a science.  We load everyone up on the boat with all our food and coolers and head out to a little island.

We usually eat on the island and then leave our big coolers and just take snacks and a small cooler out for the rest of the day.  We've found a cove we like and we probably swam and floated for about 2 hours without seeing another soul.

We joked with Val and Tony that we had rented out the entire lake for them.  I swear this is Texas' best kept secret.

It definitely seemed like we were out there all alone.

Val and I floated around on our rafts and sent the kids back to the boat when we needed another beverage.  It was the perfect scenario.  Although, I bet a floating cooler would work out nicely too.

Of course the whole day couldn't be spent just sitting around and being lazy.  We had to let the Gonzalez family try to wake board.  Everyone gave it a try.

And Nicholas gave private instruction.

It wasn't a successful endeavor, but I think everyone had fun trying.

I keep telling everyone not to base their opinion about how hard or easy it might be on Nicholas because he makes it look so easy.  Tony and Val didn't really believe me until they tried.  Now they're believers that "it's not as easy at it looks".

After wake boarding we headed back to our island to pick up the coolers and have a snack.  This time the boys got their hands on our rafts. Not cool.

 Oh well, Val still made the best of it and floated around on her noodle.

By the time it was all said and done, we spent more than 7 hours at the lake.  I really can't think of anything I like to do better.  I love being on the water and in the sun with my family and great friends.