Thursday, December 25, 2014

Christmas 2014

Hello all! Just here documenting Christmas with the little ones.  Won't it be fun to look back in 2034 and see what my kids were into.  Will there be internet then?  I really need to turn this blog into a book... I digress.  

So Ella's loot.  A big pink unicorn that stayed at the top of her list for MONTHS.  There was no getting out of that one.  Santa made an impromptu purchase with the gymnastic mat and it was one of Ella's favorite gifts.  

Jack's loot.  That's a scooter in that big bag.  He HAD TO HAVE IT and barely looked at it.  Granted he'll probably be very excited about it when he can go outside, but as of Christmas morning he was more excited bout his Lego watch.

Why do I not have an up close of Nicholas' loot?  Slacker.  Thee's not a whole lot showing anyway.  Except that bungee chair, which Jack said was a trampoline.  You can imagine how that went down.

Guess what I did Christmas eve?  Are you guessing? I said guess damn it.  Ok fine.  I left my camera at my sister's house.  That means all iPhone on Christmas morning and that also means all blurry action pics.  *sigh*  First world problems.

This flat bill fitted Captain America Under Armour hat (that was a mouthful) was a find at Dick's on a whim and it was one of his favorite items.  I believe he said he was going to wear it everyday forever.    Forever started today.  We'll see if he wears it tomorrow.

Ella spied her gifts and sat right down and announced "I'm digging in."  It's such a mad rush in the beginning to soak everything in.  You want to tell them to take their time and let mom and dad absorb every moment.  Alas, it does not go that way.

At least Jack acts excited about clothes.  Not sure he really is.  He looks happy.  IDK.

Ella is coveting her Vera Bradley iPad case.  Got that on Zulily for like $12.  Score.

The Penguins third jersey was Nicholas' number one item on his list.  He looks less thrilled than Jack over his plain old Under Armour t-shirt.  Difference in personalities.

So happy about his first piece of North Pittsburgh gear (his hockey team).  It was supposed to be personalized with Tirch on the back. Don't ask!

Oh well, he and Nicholas both got Mars (their school) sweatshirts and they are personalized on the back.

Ella wrote a Santa list and she put on the list clothes.  Easy enough.  Well one day she came into me and said, "Hey mom, you know I have clothes on my Christmas list?  Well by clothes I mean ABERCROMBIE clothes."  Well then!

Lego movie game.

Feety jammies that aren't one piece.  Genius.

 Stitched Malkin jersey-- an unexpected find and really good deal.

This one was personalized and it will be a hand-me-down so Jack will eventually have a personalized one.  Ha!

There's the Lego watch.  Santa doesn't make the digital one he wanted, but he's actually telling time now (and every minute on the minute all day today).  "Mom, it's 3:02.  Mom now it's 3:03.  Hey mom it's 3:04."  You get the idea.

 Not Abercrombie.  Ha!

 Let's Go Pens!

I had these caricatures mades for the boys.  The left is Jack and the right is Nicholas.  I had a similar one done for Jack for his birthday (as Captain America) and it was amazing.  So I was a little disappointed with this one, then I realized it's a caricature from ONE picture sent to a guy that lives in India and cost me $10.  It's fine.

NPDA sweats (her dance studio).  SO excited over these.

Well, a box.  Just what he wanted.  Luckily there is a blue tooth speaker in there.

Your eyes are not deceiving you, that is goalie equipment, but never fear he's still a center.  This is for the outdoor ice rink we put up!  

Oh look Taylor Swift came to Christmas.  Oh wait that's Ella in in Tay Swift glasses.  Also came with tickets, which she was disappointed weren't front row.  One day she'll understand what I went through just to get floor seats.  I stood over George's shoulder and yelled and directed and yelled some more.  It almost ended in divorce.  I kid.  Kinda.  Ha! Nonetheless, there are Taylor tickets and one VERY happy little girl.  I probably could have gotten away with omitting the pink unicorn.  Damn it!

Oh what's this big bag?  I see handle bars.  Oh it's the scooter.  Move on.

Hillbilly boots.....

.... for everyone.   Actually George has these boots and the mini versions are so cute.  I don't even care if they're camo.  Great for walking the dog in snow, wet, mud.

So much time shopping, planning, wrapping and preparing and it was over in 22 minutes (from the time they woke us up until the last present was opened).  That's 22 minutes I'll cherish for a lifetime.

Merry Christmas from the very spoiled Tirch children.  I know I've made light of things in this post, but the truth is I try to make my kids aware of their good fortune.  I may have spoiled kids, but they are NOT brats.

Thanks for making it to the end of this post.  Sometimes I just have to document for me.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Santa on the Fire Truck 2014

I just want to document this night so I can remember because so many times have come and gone and I wish I had blogged about them to help me remember the moment.  

Tonight Santa came on the fire truck.  

We have 2 believers and 1 non believer.  I'll let you figure that one out.

Nicholas is such a good sport at playing along.  I just love him for that.  He could say, "I'm not doing that."  Instead, he is such a good boy and acts excited.

Jack asked for a "lego digital watch"  Um they don't make a digital Jack.  Santa is going to have to write a note.  Ella asked for Taylor Swift tickets.  She's gonna score!  Nicholas asked for the Penguins third jersey.  Can't tell you the outcome of that one as he's a creeper of my blog.

It was a fun night indeed.  So thankful to have these special nights with my three little munchkins.  They'll be gone before I know it, but I'll have this to remember.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Christmas Wish List for Runners (If I Had all the Money in the World)

When Christmas comes around I go crazy thinking of all the things I NEED to put on my Christmas list.  The things on my list tend to be a little pricey since they're not items I would probably buy for myself.  So don't think I'm Oprah with all her favorite things like a $100 candle, but I do love these items and think you other runners would love them too.  By the way, no one has paid me to say I want or like these things.  Although that would have been awesome, if I get any of these items they will be because I paid for them.  Ha!  

I instantly fell in love with these Dona Jo leggings when I saw them.  I was running the EQT 10 miler when I saw a girl in a pair and I immediately wanted them.  I also wanted her skinny backside, but that's a story for another day.  If you're local you can get Dona Jo at Mojo Running. $69 
I NEED the Lululemon Vinyasa Scarf.  Ok I admit it's not a running item per se, but it's definitely something you could throw on after a run or workout to help with the chill after running.  I mean how cute is it?  I could totally see me wearing this ALL the time.  

Lululemon $48 

Ok so there I was at Dick's minding my own business when I happened to walk through to the women's department to get to the men's section (swear) and this vest jumped out at me.  I've been kind of looking for a running vest.  I want to add warmth without adding bulk and the moment I saw this vest, I knew it HAD to be mine.  THEN I looked at the price.  Holy @#$%.  Never mind that though, this vest is awesome and WE need to have the Nike Aeroloft 800 Women's Running Vest.  Notice I need not want! $180 

Last year I was browsing through the Athleta catalog and I found these Toasty Buns Shorts.  They showed them on a skier.  I thought they were adorable, but with the $69 price tag, I couldn't justify them.  Then one day I was running and my butt cheeks were really cold and I thought back to the Toasty Buns shorts.  Still at $69, I figured I didn't NEED them.  THEN I was writing this post and went to the Athleta site to find the shorts to put on the list and they're ON SALE people!  Christmas came early for me.  I WILL have toasty buns. $29.99 

Things just jump off the rack at me.  I can't help it.  I see something and I immediately like it.  Often time I can just buy it, but these Nike Flash Running Tights were another item that gave me complete sticker shock.  Seriously though, these are some hot looking tights and who doesn't want to be reflective at 365 degrees.  I mean can we really put a price on safety?  I think not! $150 
Finally, this Fierce Forward Run Bracelet .  I was actually already gifted this bracelet from my friend Kim.  I love it so much.  I love the color and I love that it sticks out.  It's something there to remind me that I run and to live life fiercely.  Who doesn't want to be fierce?  There are tons of different styles and other charms, including "badass" and "believe".  Definitely a cute gift for any of your runner friends.  And this one does NOT break the bank.  Finally! $25 
So there you have it folks.  I promise I won't be mad if the people of Nike read this and send me those tights and the vest.  Hint hint.  Well them or Santa.  I believe!  

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Drumstick Dash Race Recap 2014

I always spend Thanksgiving with my dad.  It's just what I've done since I was little (my parents are divorced).  I'm so happy that we've managed to keep up the tradition for many years now.  Last year my brother talked us all into doing the Drumstick Dash and several of us participated.  I guess this year it was a little too much to ask out of everyone because it was just my dad and me.  

After driving all the way to Indy from Pittsburgh, I'll admit I wasn't too keen about waking up early to go run in the freezing cold.  Nonetheless, I set my alarm and got ready to go.  I never regret doing it, it's just hard to get mentally into the game when it's 25 degrees outside.  

My dad and I got to the race in PLENTY of time.  We hung out in the McDonalds, which was very close to the start line.  About 7 minutes before the race, we left and headed to the start line. 

This is a pretty big race (about 15,000) and it was very crowded at the start but there were signs up with the anticipated minute per mile.  The first one I saw was 15:30 minute miles. We walked up to the 10:00 mile and lined up there.  

My dad kept asking me what we were going to do and I kept saying I didn't know.  I didn't really want to go all out racing.  I wanted to have fun, but I did want to do better than I did last year.  

Last year's result: 

Official Distance:  4.6 miles
Official Total:  45:56 
Official Average:  9:52 

We started off and it was apparent about 3000 people hadn't lined up in their correct "corral."  It was absolutely ridiculous how crowded it was and the number of people that started off walking (of course 3 abreast right in the middle of the road).  We spent sooooooo much time weaving in and out of people and it was so frustrating.  

I wasn't wearing a Garmin.  I was just using Map my Run on my phone so I didn't know my "right now" pace,  I only knew my splits as we hit each mile mark.  Once we hit the first mile mark, I was kind of upset.  

Mile 1:  9:48 

We spent so much time weaving and slowing and it was so incredibly frustrating.  I mentioned to my dad that I was glad I wasn't really racing because I would be super pissed if I was.  Mile two didn't seem to improve at all, in fact it got worse.   

Mile 2:  9:51 

Just when I was about to give up on this race and phone it in, things started to open up a bit.  I started to really run and I felt really good.  I just decided to run and have fun and I wasn't really worried about things at this point.  I figured we'd just do worse than we did last year.  Oh well.  

Mile 3:  9:41 

Then mile 4 happened and I kept telling my dad he picked up the pace and he said he didn't, but I knew I was working harder than I had been.  I figured, what the heck I felt GREAT and I could pick it up for the last 1.5 miles.  Then with about .5 miles to go my dad told me to really pick it up.  I told him I didn't want to (lazy much?) and we joked around.  He really picked it up and I was definitely not feeling it, but I kicked it in too.  

I held back to about 2 to 3 steps behind him so he didn't know I was there.  I didn't want him to really sprint.  About 300 yards before the finish, I came up right beside him.  He was really surprised I was there.  He didn't think I had anything left to give since I told him I didn't want to pick it up.  

He said, "let's just finish together" and so we did. 

Mile 4: 9:18 
Last .6:  8:44

Official Total:  44:07 or 9:29 pace 

I was really happy with that performance because this felt like such an easy effort for me.  It was a fun race that made me happy.  I love running when it feels that way.  Unfortunately my dad already set our goal for next year.  9:15 drumstick dash here we come!  

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Countdown to Christmas Fitness Challenge: Plank a Day

Hello all.  I'm here to tell you something exciting I'll be doing over at my Facebook page and on Instagram.

As we head into the holidays, we all kind of just say eff it.  I don't want to do that.  I want to keep my good energy and mojo going through the holidays and not wait until January 1st.  Why wait until then when you can start now?

So, I'm hosting the Countdown to Christmas Fitness Challenge and we'll be doing a "plank a day."

Here are the details.  I'll be reminding you via Instagram and Facebook to do your plank a day.  It doesn't matter if you go for 10 seconds or 10 minutes, the idea is to go as long as YOU can and to continue to improve daily.

The last time we did plank a day I started off at 2 minutes and 1 second.

At the end of the challenge, I was able to hold a plank for 3 minutes 37 seconds.

While we are definitely looking to improve, this contest is more about participation.  So I'm not rewarding how long you can go, but how many days you participate in the challenge.  Let's face it, for most of us this is less than a 5 minute commitment a day.  There's no reason NOT to do it.

So how do you enter the contest?  Well each comment on my daily Facebook or Instagram reminder is considered one entry.  Just comment you did it or maybe your time for the day.  Commenting your time will help to inspire others to get their plank done and maybe spark a little friendly competition.

If you post a picture on your Facebook feed or via Instagram, you will receive 2 entries.  YOU MUST USE THE HASHTAG #MSBRPlankaDay (stands for Mom Swim Bike run Plank a Day).  There is no way for me to track your photo unless you use the hashtag, so please be sure to use it.

That's it!  Easy Peasy.

To summarize:
Like my Facebook page and follow me on Instagram (momswimbikerun) (you must be a follower and/or like me on Facebook to win)
Do your longest plank a day
Look for my daily Facebook or Instagram reminder
Comment on my post via either site = 1 entry
Post a picture on Facebook or Instagram using #MSBRPlankaDay = 2 entries MUST USE THE HASHTAG IN ORDER FOR THE ENTRY TO COUNT

So what is the entry for?  There's a big gift up for grabs folks.  Each entry puts you in for a drawing on Christmas day for a $50 gift card to Lululemon.  The contest starts November 24th and entries will be received until 11:59 EST on 12/24/2014.  I will announce the winner via Facebook and Instagram and on the blog.  You will have 48 hours to claim your prize or it will be forfeited.

Good luck and let's do this Countdown to Christmas Fitness Challenge: Plank a Day (totally should have made you hashtag that!)! Good luck and strong abs!

Sunday, November 16, 2014

I'm a Runner XXXVIII Ragnar Editon

I first heard about Ragnar, how else, but reading about it in the blog world.  I was definitely inspired to run by the recaps I read.

I tried to form a team from the runners I knew and could only come up with 6.  Then Kris from CrossFit asked one of my team members (Diana) if she could come up with 6 people to run on Kris' team.  Um yes,  yes she could.  And so the hashtags were born.

I've just run the one Ragnar that I did this last September, but it will NOT be my last.  I would love to run all of them at some point, but that will mean they have to stick around for a LONG, LONG time.  Also, I'm not sure if you ever "wear out."

I got to choose my leg of the Ragnar and I was so intimidated by the whole experience, I chose one of the easier legs.  I'm not sad I did, but part of me wished I had chosen a more challenging leg.  I mean, what doesn't kill you makes you stronger.  Right?

Running a Ragnar makes you have a whole new appreciation for things.  Like showers, and pillows and even real food.  Trail mix and sweetish fish only get you so far.

I wore the same sports bra for all 3 legs of my race and never changed out of it.  That wasn't the plan, but I never had the energy to try to take it off and put on a new one.  I apologize to my van mates, but they might have been more offended seeing my pancakes boobs.

Our van was so huge.  I drive an extended edition Expedition which is pretty darn big, but it was like a whole other ball game driving that van.  I just backed up and prayed when I had to go in reverse.  Ha!

You can manage to get some sleep during a Ragnar but I'd say the average sleep in the 36 hours was 1 to 2 hours.  Some people slept 15 minutes while others slept maybe 4 hours.

I run every week and try to run long on the weekends.  I didn't do anything special to train specifically for the Ragnar.  I just did my normal thing.  It wasn't the running that was hard for this race (of course remember I chose the easy leg) it was the sleep deprivation that was hard.  Perhaps thats where I should have done my training.

I run about 15 to 20 miles a week typically.  It's not that much, but it's about what keeps me happy.  Two short runs during the week and one long run on the weekend.  It works.

During Ragnar, I suspect there is some suspicious activity going on in some of the vans.   We saw a van with marijuana leaves all over it and their team name was "The Moving Joints."  At first I was like, "no it can't be" but apparently they're some pot smoking runners.  Who knew?

I wasn't particularly impressed by the team names and van decorations this year.  I had heard all kinds of hype, but most vans we encountered weren't particularly special.  I imagine a lot of vans are kind of inside jokes.  I mean who really understood The Hashtags besides us.

In the last leg of the race as we waited for Erica to come in, I couldn't help but feel pretty freaking bad ass.  I mean seriously 2 vans, 12 runners, 200 miles in 2 days (less than).  One word:  EPIC!

Sunday, November 9, 2014

EQT Pittsburgh 10 Miler Race Recap

This morning was the EQT Pittsburgh 10 miler.  This race hasn't been around too long (2, 3 years??), so I've never done it, but it's a good one and one I WILL do again.  The suspects today were:  Kim, myself, Tanya, Emily and Charlene.  In case you're wondering Tracey was away in New York visiting family for a wedding.  She was missed.  

Kim, Susan, Tanya, Emily and Charlene
Tanya and Emily decided last night that they would run this 10 mile race.  Neither of them had really trained.  They're both CrossFit athletes, but had not been doing any sort of long distance running.  I like to think I kind of talked Emily into doing it and I'm glad she decided to give it a go.

We arrived at the race in good spirits and in plenty of time.  I was really impressed with how easily everything went (despite a road closure snafu and then a wrong turn).  We pulled up and parked less than 100 yards from the start line.  We got our porta potty on and we didn't even have to wait.  

It wound up being a beautiful fall day and not at all like predicted.  It was about 40 degrees and no rain.  We weren't even freezing at first.  Well maybe that's because I had the car like a sauna on the way down.  Hey ladies, you could have told me you were hot!  ha! 

Anyway, the start line was a fun time and we were all set to race!

I had planned a LONG time ago to run with Kim.  We wanted to do a fall half together, but we were never able to get our schedules together with a good race, so we decided we would do the 10 miler and run together.  I have been very excited about this for awhile.  Charlene and Tanya decided to run together and Emily was going balls to the wall all by her lonesome.  

I asked Kim what her plan was and she said that she had just run her half (her FIRST by the way) at an 11:10 pace and she hoped to be able to do that.  I secretly hoped she'd do better (because I knew she could).  

We started off and of course the crowd was running fast.  I kept telling Kim we needed to slow down, but then we never seemed to back off our pace and just kept chugging along.  Before we knew it, we were at mile 2 and Kim was like, "Mile 2?  Mile 2 already?"  I guessed that mean things were going well.  Chug along.  

Mile 1: 10:13
Mile 2:  10:18

I felt amazing the whole time and was REALLY enjoying running with Kim.  I felt just so happy the entire time.  I didn't want to push Kim, I just wanted her to have fun.  I did believe that she has a LOT MORE in her than she gives herself credit for so I feel like I just GENTLY kept her moving.

By mile 4 we were into the city and covering ALL the bridges.  You cross 4 bridges during this race and they're kind of deceiving.  Bridges are hills people. They just are.  Nevertheless, Kim was holding her pace nicely and I started to get excited.

Mile 3: 10:28
Mile 4: 10:52
Mile 5: 10:30
Mil3 6: 10:36

We did get passed by the 10:30 pacer right after the 5 mile mark, but I wasn't concerned.  I can't believe I had forgotten my Garmin.  I was using map my run and she (the map my run talking lady) kept saying our overall pace and I was happy with what I was hearing.

By mile 7 Kim wasn't happy.  She had been running a quick pace and she was starting to tire.  The thing I saw in Kim this time was that even though her body was tiring physically, she was mentally in the game.  She even smiled at me a few times.  

Again, I kept focusing on not pushing Kim too much.  I really didn't want her to hate me during this race.  I really wanted to focus on having fun and letting the race come naturally.  Don't get me wrong, I kept just ahead of Kim in hopes that she would chase me and I hope it worked.

At mile 8 we saw this sign.  Kim's husband's name is Larry so I told her we had to get to the end ASAP because Larry was waiting.  FYI Charlene's husband's name is Larry too.  So we're not really sure which one we were heading towards.

Mile 7: 10:57
Mile 8:  11:09

I kept trying to talk to Kim and make sure she was doing ok.  It just felt good to glance back and see Kim smiling.  At about mile 8 my stupid map my run told me our overall pace was 11:11.  I was so mad because we had been doing so well and I hadn't seen the 11:00 pacer pass us.  I was a little disappointed.  I really wanted Kim to have a better overall pace than she had in mid October at her first half (which by the way was entirely flat).

After mile 9 however, map my run decided to tell me something different and we WERE on pace to do good things. I told Kim once we had a mile to go we were kicking it it.  She gave me the death glare.

Mile 9:  10:43

That last mile we could hear music and we were cruising along.  I picked up my pace on purpose in hopes of pushing Kim a little bit, but I didn't mention it.  Finally with about .4 (or so) miles left we could SEE the finish line.  That's when I told Kim she HAD to pick it up and give it all she had.  She rose to the occasion and we soared across the finish line feeling amazing.

Mile 10:  10:13

Map my run:  10.26 mile 1:48:16 or 10:33 pace
Official: 10.0 miles 1:48:17 or 10:50 pace

I was so proud of Kim.  She gave it her all and never gave up on herself.  I think she might actually be believing in herself and that makes me HAPPY, HAPPY, HAPPY!

All these ladies did amazing today.  Tanya set a HUGE PR averaging 9:30 miles for 1:35:02 and Emily crushed it finishing in 1:25.  Charlene thinks she didn't do as well as she could, but she had some bathroom issues.  I feel badly that she wasn't happy with her time because I think you did GREAT Charlene.  You don't give yourself enough credit girl.  Many people are sitting back and admiring you!

I can't say enough how much I enjoyed this race.  I'm coming back Pittsburgh 10 miler and I can't wait!