How to Dress Up Your Skinny Cow

Line your bowl with half of a banana, sliced into four spears.

Place Skinny Cow on top.

Get your PB ready! Spread it on top of Skinny Cow or place four spoonfuls around the perimeter of the cow.

Top with vanilla whipped cream.

Drizzle with chocolate syrup and add a dash or two (or three or four or five) of sprinkles.

Enjoy while you read blogs and watch America’s Next Top Model! (Other trashy TV is acceptable.)

5 Tips for Running On Your Lunch Hour

I only get 60 minutes for lunch. So when I choose to run during that time, I have to make every second count. I’ve been doing this for a couple years now off and on, and I’ve learned a few things…mostly the hard way.

1. BRING MULTIPLE RUNNING OUTFITS.

Long pants and shorts. Short-sleeves and long. Rain jacket. Hat and headband. Sunglasses. I learned my lesson on Thursday. The weather report called for rain, so I packed my long tights, a long-sleeve shirt, my hat and my rain jacket. When 11:30 rolled around, it was sunny and warm! I lucked out because I’d thrown a tank in my bag, so I wore that under my rain jacket.

Except I got hot pretty quickly, and had to remove the jacket and tie it around my waist. Unfortunately, my running tights are low-rise and my tank was barely long enough to cover my tummy. I felt all over the place with the jacket swinging around and feeling the breeze on my post-baby belly. Not good. Wish I’d had a pair of capris in my bag, too. You live, you learn. So learn from me. Two sets of clothes. Especially during volatile seasons like spring or fall.

2. WEAR LAYERS. 

Not on your run. For your work-wear. You will be hot when you get back in the office and not want to put your clothes back on. However, most offices don’t appreciate workers walking around in their undies, so put your first layer on after your run, and as you gradually cool off throughout the day, you can add the top layers of clothing back in.

3. PACK CLEANING SUPPLIES.

Okay, so you are not going to be as fresh as a spring meadow after your run, but you don’t have to stink. My trick is baby wipes. These are easy because we buy the ginormous box of them at Costco and I can just grab a pack and toss it in my bag. These are perfect for wiping away all your…ahem…sweaty areas.

(If you’re a woman who is particular about your makeup, you might want to bring face-washing supplies and your makeup bag. I recommend getting a separate set you can just leave in your workout bag. I sort of don’t care because I sit at a computer all day and don’t meet with people much, so I don’t reapply my makeup. And I wear mineral makeup, so it doesn’t clog my pores or melt off or anything.)

4. DO AS SUPERMAN DOES.

To save time, wear your running clothes in the morning under your work clothes. I’ve worn capris under jeans, I wear my running socks, and I sport my sports bra. Nobody’s the wiser. It shaves a couple minutes off my changing time so I have more minutes for running! Just don’t forget to pack undies and socks to change into afterward!

5. GIVE YOUR GARMIN A HEAD START.

This one is courtesy Mel (Tall Mom): If you can, put your Garmin on the windowsill to search for satellites while you change into your running clothes. Then you won’t be standing out in front of your office waiting, waiting, waiting…

Optional, but highly recommended: Find someone you can run with at lunch. It’s too easy to get sucked into checking your Facebook status and blogging.

Your turn! I’m sure there are lots great tips out there. What do you do?

When Was the Last Time You Rode a Real Bike?

The sun was shining on Friday and I felt like being outside. When the sun comes out in Seattle, you gotta take advantage. But I couldn’t go running because I ran Wednesday and Thursday. I wanted to ride my bike.

I have a mountain bike. It’s been hanging in the garage for more than three years, which I realized when I did the math on my son’s age, plus pregnancy before that and…yikes.

Anyway, if I wanted to ride the bike, then I needed a bike trailer to tow my child with. I wanted one last year, but we had a gym membership, so I rode the bike inside. I did a quick search on Craigslist and found two for sale in my own town! A couple hours later, I had a bike trailer.

Digging into his snacks and
we haven’t even left yet!

It took some effort to get my bicycle off the wall of the garage, and I had to be brave and figure out how to use Mr. T’s air compressor to fill up the tires, but I did it! And then I took the axle off and attached the necessary parts for the trailer. After I was done connecting it, we were ready to ride! Well, once I got T Junior some things to do, a snack, his music, etc. Then we were off!

The sun was warm. I had to take off my pink raincoat and stash it in the back pocket of the bike trailer (so handy!), so I rode in my pink You Go Girl! t-shirt and my black capris! The pink trees are blooming — they look like cotton candy and I love them. Their floral scent is light but strong, though, and when they bloom my nose is sort of suspended between sneezing like crazy and not sneezing at all.

I didn’t feel like loading the the bike in the van and going to the paved trail, so T Junior and I roughed it out on the gravel trail by our house. The trail that’s slightly downhill on the way out, which means it’s slightly uphill on the way back. For some reason, I didn’t think that would matter.

The way out was glorious. We were high on a new adventure! And we were going slightly downhill. I’d set my Garmin to “bike” and I was cruising with a 30-pound child in a who-know-how-heavy trailer behind me. Even the first three times I had to stop to see what in the heck he was whining about didn’t bother me. Mostly it was his helmet. (I took it off – we weren’t going alongside a road with cars or anything. What do you do? Do your kids wear helmets in the bike trailer?)

Anyway, I was feeling good and I was thinking we could go for more than a total of 5 miles. We were getting close to the 2.5-mile mark. But then T Junior started whining more. “Mommm-eee. My bottom hurrrrrrrrts.”

I turned around. “Mine, too,” I said. “We’ll go back now.” Poor guy. It was pretty bouncy on the rocky dirt and gravel trail.

On the way back, I was dying. Slightly uphill in loose gravel. I was spinning my wheels and barely moving. And my child kept whining, but I couldn’t hear him over the gravel. Just, “Mommmm-eeeee. Mommmm-eee!”  Argh. “T Junior, be quiet. You can tell me when we get there!”

The smile had left my face. This was freaking hard! I was huffing and puffing, and yelling at my whiner in between. After about a mile of this, I’d had it. I slammed on the breaks to turn around and give him my “Mommy’s serious eyes,” but even though the bike stopped, my body didn’t and I had to sort of jump to the side and then the bike started falling on me and then…

I landed in the gravel on my left glute and elbow and hand, and sort of slide back. Luckily the bike trailer’s hitch has a swivel on it, so the trailer stays put if you fall. I jumped up and looked around. Thank goodness nobody had witnessed me yelling at my child, then falling off my bike.

Serves me right, though. I’m supposed to be working on patience and, obviously, that’s no going too well.

I got on the bike, my left hand stung, but not that bad…just three little scratches. I wondered what my butt cheek looked like, though.

A picture of my hand scratches because
you aren’t getting one of my backside.

My glute muscles were screaming at me anyway, but somehow we made it back to the park, which is where I promised T Junior we would go.

Happy to be at the park!

Once we got there, I apologized to my son for yelling at him, then we headed for the slide. I texted Amanda, who is hard-core training for a tri, because I sort of felt like a badass for accomplishing the whole bike thing and “surviving” a fall!

***

Fast forward to Monday. I was ready to ride again. But this time we went to the paved trail. It looked like rain, so I put the plastic cover down over T Junior. He was better this time, but I still heard, “Mommmmma. Mommmmma.”

I stopped about 2-miles into it. Got off, went back. “Yes?”

“I don’t want to go by the Grinch.”

I was confused, looked around and saw this guy:

Photo from almost exactly one year ago.

I giggled. “Oh, that’s not the Grinch, honey. He won’t hurt you.” Back on the bike for a quarter-mile. Had to wait at a light. OK. Back on bike. “Mommmmma. Mommmmmeeeee.” I ignored it. “Mommmmeeee. Mommmmmeeeee.” Maybe something’s really wrong. Off the bike. Walked back there.

I lifted the plastic flap to the side. “Yes?”

“I want to tell you a story.”

OMG. I didn’t even say anything. Just put the flap down and went back to my bike, rolling my eyes and laughing inside.

The way out had been into the wind, and I was super excited to turn around. Guess what? The way back was into the wind, too. What the hell? I was slow. But I’m not out to win any awards, just a little cross training. But, HELLO, jelly legs! Quads were shaking so bad, I could barely get the kickstand down.

Biking is way hard, runners. Way hard.

When was the last time you rode a bike? How did it go? Do you think it’s more difficult than running?

Lucky 7's

Five miles on the schedule today. One of those was to be a time trial, as per Jeff Galloway’s marathon training plan. I love these little time trials because I get to push myself, and I like that I’ve improved so far with each one.

Mile time trial 1 on 12/12: 8:09 pace
Mile time trial 2 on 2/20: 8:00 pace
Today was the third one (technically, I’m supposed to be on my fourth one but I missed the one in January somehow). I was sort of nervous before this one. I felt like it was going to be impossible to break the 8:00 pace. And we got up early, spent the first half of the day at the dog show and in the car, and I was hungry when I started my run.
Mile 1 is supposed to be slow and easy. I wasn’t sure how it was going to feel since I am still sore from Friday’s bike adventure (recap on that coming tomorrow). The first half mile was sort of uncomfortable — my left glute felt weird because I have a bruise on it. After about a half-mile, though, I felt good, except for my left shoe, which felt too tight and was making my toes numb. My right one was too loose. And I was wearing my old gray capris because I haven’t done laundry. They are too big. I purposely wore my iFitness belt with my phone/music in it to hold my pants up. Average pace: 10:53 
As I got closer to Mile 2, I gave myself a pep talk. I can do this. I’m faster now. Stronger. 
Mile 2 was the time trial. I took off on the same route I used for the first two trials, so I can make sure that I’m measuring them equally against each other. I was seeing sub-8’s and I felt really good for the first half mile. The second half, I had a sharp pain in my right rib and I was breathing HARD! But I just tried to hold on. Just .5 left…just .4…only .3…just .2…just .02! I stopped, leaned over and spit. I was dizzy and my side hurt, but that was quickly going away. Then I started a slow jog for Mile 3.
Because I am too lazy to figure out how to properly use my Garmin, I don’t know how to check my splits on my watch, and had no idea what my time trial pace was. So I just went about the rest of my run.
Mile 3 was recovery. I felt tired and done, but I trotted down U-go Hill (and up), deciding to do my 3-mile loop to finish off my run. Average pace: 10:39
By Mile 4, I felt pretty good, and I started to pick up the pace again. I just enjoyed myself and ran, remembering to keep my feet and hands low. Average pace: 9:56
By Mile 5, I wanted to run more than 5 miles, but I didn’t have the time for it. I was really enjoying myself even though I was running next to a busy road. I was way over in the muddy shoulder and was having to pick my steps carefully…I find this fun. I need to sign up for some trail runs. Average pace: 9:41
I had .3 left to get home and I just cruised on in. Mr. T and T Junior were napping upstairs where my computer was so I couldn’t look up my time right away. I hadn’t eaten lunch yet and it was almost 3, so I made myself some leftover and watched the Kentucky game. Around 3:30, I heard stirring so I went upstairs and plugged in my Garmin.
Mile 2: 7:49!
That is HUGE for me. HUGE. I think I can get faster. No, I KNOW I can! 

A Decision and Stuff

I DECIDED. And you better hold me to it. First, thank you all for the suggestions regarding me wanting to jump the marathon gun and run one sooner than what I had planned. The thing is…I don’t like to wait. I know I’ve shared this with you all before.

However, I think I will stick with the plan and my first full will be Seattle Rock N Roll on June 25. I gotta be smart about this and not get carried away (even though I want to run ALL those races you suggested).

BUT I did get an idea on my run with Mel yesterday (two lunch runs in ONE week!). AFTER the marathon, and IF I don’t injure myself, I will train for a sub-2 half (You Go Girl in September). I asked Mel if she’d be my coach today and she said YES. Am I weird for being excited about speed training?

We chatted about training quite a bit on our run, which was 4.25 miles for me and, I think, turned out to be 7 for her. It’s so awesome having a buddy near work! (I totally dressed for rain, though, and it was sunny! I was having wardrobe issues. I will post on those soon.) We also talked about speed training. Even a bunny hopped out of the berry bushes and sped along side us for a few paces. She knew what we were talkin’ about.

SPEAKING OF SPEED. Dorothy at Mile Posts had a great post (“Speed is a State of Mind”) HERE. Go read it, then come back. She totally hit the nail on the head. Speed is, of course, different for everyone. Paces in the 10’s once were quick for me, then it moved up to the 9’s and now it’s the 8’s.

The other thing about speed is you have to test yourself. See what you are capable of. I never used to do that. But the Jeff Galloway plan I’m using HERE has me running a mile time trial about every 4 weeks — run a mile as fast as I can without puking. Without these, I never would’ve known I could do a mile in the 8’s! Super excited that I have one these this weekend. Looking forward to it!

BY THE WAY. I still plan on doing Fundraising Fridays, but maybe not every week as I think it can get a bit overwhelming. So many good causes to give to, so little money to give. I know. But I may just sneak it in a post like this one:

Please go over to Marlene’s blog, Mission to A(nother) Marathon, and help her raise money HERE for Camp Oochigeas. Marlene’s running to raise funds for the third consecutive year in honor of her good friend’s son, Nolan. Camp Oochigeas is a privately funded, volunteer based organization that provides kids with cancer and kids affected by childhood cancer with a unique opportunity for growth through challenging, fun, enriching and magical experiences.

AND A FAVOR. Okay, this is where I ask you to donate your votes. 2Toms, the company that makes awesome products like ButtShield, is having a contest on Facebook. Go to their wall HERE, scroll down to find my post about my first full marathon and click “Like.”

You might have to go back a page or two, but just look for my little icon (see below) next to “Mom vs. Marathon”! If I win I will share the prize: a year supply of 2Toms products!

ONE MORE THING. So those of you who wanted bumper stickers…

Remember these?

They are coming. The thing is…well, I didn’t think this through very well. The bumper stickers don’t fit in your standard envelope. I’ve been looking everywhere for extra-long envelopes, but am not having much luck. Anyway, as soon as I find a solution, they will be in the mail. Sorry for the delay! I mean, I know you were losing sleep over it and all. 😉

RUN FAST! Good luck with your races and runs this weekend!

Three Things Thursday: Running Buddy Edition

1. 250 Virtual Running Buddies! Thank you so much for sharing this journey with me. This is such a wonderful community of supportive runners…*sniff*…I’m getting emotional.

2. Yesterday, I had a great run with another running blogger buddy: Mell – Tall Mom. We set out at lunch and it was HOT. Well, hot for the Pacific Northwest in mid-March. It was like 60 or something. We were not dressed appropriately. Luckily, our sleeves rolled up. She had 7 miles and I ran 3.33 with her. Can I just say that my running buddies have magical speed powers? I mean, first Zoë and I run Mile 16 at a 9:37 pace, then today I’m running and laughing with Mel when I look at my watch and see a sub-9 pace. Yeah, we slowed down after that. This is why Mile 2 was a 9:04.

3. The thing with running buddies is you confess things to them. I’ve confessed to two of mine now that I want to find a marathon to enter before Seattle Rock ‘N’ Roll (which will be my first full). I just feel ready. I know I’m not done with my training. Yeah, yeah. Details, details. No, I mean…what if I could find one in early May? I just want to run it. Now. Am I nuts?