Split Timing at Mile 5

Turning My Kids Into Future Race Directors

Yesterday was my first day “off” in a whole week! My first rest day! I did 9 workouts in 7 days and then didn’t do SHIT yesterday and it felt great! What did NOT feel great was the incredible amount of binging I did as I was just so damn tired and when I’m tired all I can think to do is eat. So, you know, Yay! for consistent workouts! But Boo! for eating my weight in french fries!

Our town has a big race every Memorial Day. It’s the Cotton Row 10K. There’s a 5K and a 1-mile fun run too, but the big event is the 10K as it’s been running for 30+ years and it involves this fantastic hill that is so steep the road has actually been graded (grated?) to provide better traction for cars. It’s basically 3 miles uphill, and then 3 miles downhill. I was trying to do it in sub-56 minutes for several years (bake in the day they only gave out participation items if you did it under 56 minutes) and finally met that goal last year so this year I decided to finally give back to the event and volunteer. Nikki and I worked packet pickup (which we do for a lot of races, she loves packet pickup) on Sunday and then we all sat at the 5-mile mark yesterday calling out split times for runners. It was pretty great and it always makes me feel good to get my kids out volunteering at races because I want them to understand how many people it takes to get these races going. If you’ve ever run a local event but haven’t volunteered, try to find a way to do that, it will be eye-opening.

Packet Pickup on Sunday

Packet Pickup on Sunday

Split Timing at Mile 5

Split Timing at Mile 5

Split Timing at Mile 5

Split Timing at Mile 5

We have two ways to be “in the loop” for volunteer opportunities in our community. One is our Huntsville Track Club. It’s very cheap and I’m a member and some of the opportunities come from emails with them. BUT – most of the requests for volunteers pop up in a Facebook Group a local person started years ago: We Run Huntsville. It’s a “closed” group, but he lets anyone who is a real human join. It’s actually a pretty great resource all around for group runs and advice seeking, but that’s where I see people post requests and online signups for volunteer opportunities. I tell the kids that I like to volunteer more times per year than races I actually participate in so that, in some way, I’m balancing things out on the side of me giving back more than I take.

Nikki LOVES to volunteer. She just loves feeling like a grown-up and being a part of a big group trying to accomplish something. She actually cried a few weeks ago because Wes and I were going to volunteer at a race and she couldn’t help because she had a soccer game. I can’t tell if Wes actually likes it or not, he usually just plays on his DS but at least he shows up and knows there are people involved with these events that do it just because they want to help. We’ll see if he becomes more involved as he gets older.

I don’t do a lot of volunteering at the kid’s school. I tried this year but failed miserably and have probably been put on “banned” lists at this school for the rest of my life. BUT! I do a lot of volunteering at our local running/triathlon events so I’m hoping – in the big picture – that helps things balance out.

Do you have any events through school/work/church at which your kids can help out? Do you find that maybe one of your kids like it more than others? I never really got E out doing that kind of stuff but I’m really hoping Wes eventually enjoys it like Nikki does. I don’t want that kind of thing to feel like an obligation, but I do want him to give back since he participates in local events too!

Team Stubborn Asshole.

I have a point of discussion I’d like to start up. It seems in most households, there’s some sort of give/take/balance that is not how one person wants it. Maybe the division of domestic chores is to heavy on one person. Maybe someone wants more sex. Maybe someone wants a break from the kids. Maybe someone wants more personal time to pursue hobbies. There’s usually some sort of balance of something that one person needs and the other person doesn’t offer without nagging or pushing. I’m talking about issues that come up time and time again.

At what point in time do you decide, “I’ve made my feelings aware and the balance is not changing so now I’m just going to work on being okay with the way things are so I don’t become angry and bitter?”

Because I’ve done a really good job with that with some of our balance issues in our house. (And there are things he’s settled into accepting about me, too.) I’ve decided I can’t control Donnie’s schedule or priorities or decisions. But I can control my feelings about them. Years ago, when he first started triathlon training and I hadn’t started anything like that, I was angry and bitter with him every time he went on a run/ride/swim. But then I said, “Screw that. I’m doing my own thing.” And I started boot camp and it helped me let go of the bitterness towards him because I got mine own time. I’ve been doing the same in regard to balance of domestic chores. I hated being bitter he wasn’t helping enough so I started just being okay with it and it took away a lot of the general resentment I felt.

So part of me is like: I HAVE FOUND THE SECRET TO A PERFECT LIFETIME PARTNERSHIP! It’s learning to be okay with the things that you can’t change.

But the other part of me is like: UM. Is that fair?

Because, let’s be honest. There are plenty of things I haven’t really budged on either and he’s become okay with it. So, are we just the perfect example of how to be happy forever? Or are we just figuring out how to justify being stubborn assholes?

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Birthday Boy.

Wes is 7 today. SEVEN. My youngest child is SEVEN and I’m about to be FOURTY. FORTY? I have no idea. There are no red lines telling me either is wrong and I’m too lazy to look it up.)

Where were we?

OH YEAH. This guy.

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He’s seven today. Due to the chaos in our lives he’s kinda getting the shaft for his birthday. I only thought about two gifts and the rest are impulse, last-minute buys. But the good thing? Seven year olds don’t care.

We did buy him a LeBron James (Lebron? Again. Too lazy.) jersey because he’s a HUGE fan of the Cavs player because he’s totally obsessed with basketball.

Yes. My kid. Obsessed with basketball.

That would be the biggest change over the last year – his obsession with basketball. We always knew he loved it but he started playing this winter and then he started playing the video games and he got a game for Christmas and it’s just his BIGGEST love right now and it cracks me up because it just reminds me every day about my short stint as a basketball player in middle school where the only time I scored, it was for the other team.

SERIOUSLY.

So, he’s seven. He’s going to have a shirt that says “JAMES” on the back even though that’s not his name. And we’re going to eat at a Superhero Themed restaurant tonight for dinner. It’s going to be a good day, even if I have half-assed it.

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The Power of the Vague Plan

WELL, DAMN. I went through all of the trouble of writing this Tuesday night and it turns out the scheduler was set to the wrong date so it didn’t publish this morning like I intended. That’s okay because that allowed me to add a few sentences about today.

This has been a good week. I’ve stuck to a good workout plan and a good eating plan. And it seems that the secret to me is: Make Vague Plans

Soccer season finally ended so our schedules are a little more flexible this week. This meant I could possibly squeeze some workouts in, and if I’m going to be squeezing workouts in, I might as well make an attempt at reigning in my stress eating, right?

So I made some plans. Some vague plans.

First I needed to know Donnie’s workout schedule because this is his training season so he gets first dibs on training times. That means that if he has the morning off, or if he’s on the bike trainer (the device that basically turns your road bike into a stationary bike) then I can go run. If he’s running or on the bike on the road, I have to either plan a workout at night, or something in the house in the morning. The trick is – I’m supposed to be triathlon training right now. So, in theory, I am supposed to run 3 days, swim 3 days, and bike 3 days. If you do the math you see that means there are some double-days so I really have to be smart with how I plan.

The problem with me is that – like with any really restrictive diet (like Paleo or Gluten-Free, not Vegan because that’s more of a spiritual thing) – if I have a restrictive schedule/plan – I’m going to break it. Just because. It’s the same part of me that, if I break my diet once – I binge the rest of the day. If my schedule says “15 miles on the bike” and I only have time for 10, I’ll just skip the workout. If I’m supposed to do a run for 5 miles at a tempo pace but only feel like running a moderate pace, I’ll skip the workout all together.

IMG_7701So, I’ve been making vague plans. For example: Monday was Donnie’s off day so I knew I’d go for a run. I didn’t plan exactly when or how far or at what speed because I knew I needed to do house work in the morning. I left that part a little flexible but just knew that I needed at least 4 miles so I couldn’t start any later than 5:20.

And I stuck with that plan.

I wanted more miles on Tuesday but had the same basic guidelines and ended up getting out a little early so I got in 5 miles.

When I saw that Tuesday night was free on our schedule, I thought I’d try for a swim. Again…I kept it vague. Pool closes at 9pm, try to go swimming before then. We took our time with dinner, I did some errands, and we headed out about 6:45pm. I took Nikki with me as she needs some lap time too. I had no specific distance planned or workout planned, just “get a good swim” so, I stuck with the plan.

I knew Donnie had to run this morning so last night I got his bike off of his trainer and put mine on so it would be ready in the morning. I knew I wanted to ride it while watching one of my Tuesday night shows. So I did! I didn’t have a specific time or workout planned, just to say on the bike during the show. When commercials aired, I sped up until it was over. When Flash ran? I pushed harder. I just basically pushed when I felt like it but sat back and relaxed when I needed a break.

I’ve also been applying the same idea to my eating. I have a vague meal plan but know I’ll need snacks throughout the day and basically just go for it based on my options when I’m hungry. When I let Sweetie out after work yesterday I heated up some leftover brussel sprouts for a snack. On Tuesday I grabbed a Larabar. I’m just keeping the plan vague enough to allow some flexibility, like the periodic piece of candy from the bowl at the office.

I need a plan. Without one I don’t workout and I eat like crap. But I can’t keep a rigid plan of a certain number of calories and specific workouts because if I can’t do the EXACT thing I’m supposed to do, I just throw it all out the window.

So, the key this week (and all 3 days) has been to find the magic spot of enough of a plan to keep me in line, but not too much of a plan that I’ll toss in the garbage if I can’t do it exactly.

So far. So good.

Tonight’s vague plan is speedwork. I might do hills. I might do the track. I might do it with the kids, I might do it without. Maybe before dinner. Maybe after. We’ll see.

Less Waste Lunches

We made it!

The school year ends here on Friday which means I survived a whole year of lunches with our “less waste” system. We have these little storage containers we use to try to encourage us NOT to buy tons of prepackaged stuff, or use sandwich bags, so that we could maybe reduce our waste associated with lunches at least a little bit.

AND IT WORKED!

It wasn’t/isn’t perfect. We never found a water bottle/container that really – HONESTLY – didn’t leak. I have an idea of one that will work – they make them in “adult sized” and they work – but never found a “kid’s sized” one. I’m going to look again before next year. SO! We settled on small gatorade bottles which the kids were bringing home to throw in the recycle bin.

Other things we never did well with:

Granola bars
Cheeses sticks
Yogurt Squeezes

Sometimes we didn’t do granola bars, but we would often do something similar. The kids just LIKE that kind of thing and it’s hard to find it in bulk like I can their chips/crackers. I tried putting yogurt in small containers from big/bulk containers but they only do that in one flavor which the kids don’t like.

SO! The challenge for NEXT year will be to

1) Find a good granola ball recipe I can do on the weekends and give the kids in their lunches
2) Test out different blocks of cheese to see what the kids lick so I can just cut it up for their lunches
3) Continue to look into other flavors of yogurt in bulk
4) Try to find a kid’s size of the drink containers I think might actually be leak proof

Par of the problem is we’re not members at anything like Costco or Sams so our “bulk” options are limited. That’s something else I might do for next year. Go ahead and get a membership there. Or maybe talk to family about trying theirs out for awhile. It’s not close or convenient to me and the last time we tried it we bought stuff we wouldn’t normally buy – just to buy SOMETHING. So I think I’d probably rather test it out for awhile first.

Either way – I know for sure we spared at least 3 sandwich pages or packages per kid per lunch every day. They only got hot lunch about 20 days total between the two of them this year, so that’s a lot of waste we prevented with our lunches. I think back to years prior and am almost embarrassed by how much garbage we created every day. And truthfully – packing lunches didn’t take too much longer. If you really time yourself, it’s still only a few extra minutes every day and once I got a good system it didn’t seem to be a big deal. Also key was finding the right containers. I want to buy another set for next year and maybe even some more ice packs.

I’m proud of us! It probably didn’t make a big dent on our carbon footprint as a family, but it’s a step in the right direction at least! And if you count all of the steps we’ve made in the right direction over the last 7 years? Then there has DEFINITELY been a change in our footprint.

Less Waste Lunches

This photo was taken at the beginning of the year. The lunch boxes look MUCH more tattered now. That’s another thing. Our lunch boxes never make it more than a year. We keep them still because I use them for keeping stuff cold for after a run, but they are BEAT UP.