Mt. Si Relay Recap

Warning: I need an editor. This might take you a while…

I’m sort of in love with one-day relays. Really, if you’re a mom, these are perfect. Especially if they are close to home like the Mt. Si Relay was for me and my team: Zoe (Run, Zoe, Run), Lindsay (Lindsay on the Go), Lauren (Marathon Lar) and Nicole (Ricole Runs).

SATURDAY

Before we could run the relay, though, we thought we should meet up the day before to purchase silly accessories and other items to keep us busy on Sunday. We congregated at Starbucks. T Junior took pictures, then we decorated my minivan.

 

Zoe's little Goober came to the meet up, too!

 

My little dude. Not sure what this face was about, though.
Lauren pimps my ride.

Next up: the dollar store.

To get to the dollar store, we had to walk by a row of ambulances in the parking lot. There was some sort of emergency worker conference at Starbucks that day, I guess. They were all sitting outside of the coffee shop in their uniforms and sunglasses, and completely within view of their vehicles. Zoe suggested we all lay down in front of one and take a picture to describe what we’ll feel like on Sunday evening. My gut said, “Don’t do it. You are 34 years old.” But we did it anyway. Even better, I had T Junior, my 3-year-old son (almost 4) take the picture. Except it took him forever because he was concerned about getting us all in the shot. Well, T Junior, maybe if your finger wasn’t over half the lens.

So not weird that we did this.

Lauren had the idea to use a tiara to pass as our baton since the race didn’t have slap bracelets or anything. But we almost left the dollar store without one. We were sad, but then — TA DA! — I found one at the last second. We also got bubble wands, hula hoops, pinwheels, water (duh), and squirt guns. Things we did not purchase at the dollar store: sunscreen.

Afterward, a few of us made our way to Target for things we’d only trust from a full-price retail establishment. Like sunscreen. And girls’ size Champion running shirts. I’m sorry, but I couldn’t resist a shirt that says: I’VE GOT SOME WINNING TO DO.

Duh.

It’s a girls’ XL. Yeah, it’s “fitted,” but I’m totally going to lose weight. And it was only $5.

Anyway, I started to get hangry and had to bolt before an embarrassing mommy meltdown. And I needed to get home because I’d  promised Mr. T and his friend that I’d watch all our kids for the day since I was planning on being gone all day Sunday. When I got home, I only had time to change into shorts — still didn’t eat. It was sunny, though, and shorts were a priority.

At our friends’ house, I didn’t want to eat all their food, so I just had a PB&J and called it good. But I didn’t eat anything else all day except some delicious chips I found in their pantry. Not the best pre-relay race fueling plan, though. Also, I was on my feet a lot checking on the whereabouts of children, which is NOT what I had pictured when I said I’d watch the kids.

What did I picture, you ask?

I’m a mom, though; I should really know better. Anyway…

That night, my stomach turned on me. Darn delicious (and oily) chips.

SUNDAY MORNING

My alarm clock went off at 4:30 and I jumped right up (and turned off my alarm for a 9-minute snooze sesh, then got up for real the second time it went off). I actually showered (you’re welcome, teammates). I don’t usually do that before a race, but I knew we’d all be in my van and ew.

Zoe arrived and we left for Snoqualmie, which is about 30 minutes from my house. It was sort of gloomy — overcast and foggy — when we got to the elementary school where the start line was. As soon as we parked I hopped out to find the restroom because either the chips were coming back to haunt me or the coffee was hittin’ me hard and fast. TMI? IDC.

The rest of our gang (that’s right, we’re a gang…that wears sparkly skirts), arrived and we stood around shivering and taking pictures, and getting Lindsay all situated to run since she was our first runner.

Nicole, Lauren, Zoe, Lindsay, me

It wasn’t long before the 50Kers and the 50-milers were off, then it was time for the relay to begin.

Lindsay was off and running and it was only about 6:35 a.m. The rest of us hopped back in the car and headed for the first runner exchange. There was a car in front of us that was asking directions (maybe they forgot their handbook?) when we approached. They pulled over to let us pass so they could follow us I guess. I totally had an Amazing Race moment, and we decided to throw them off by stopping at Snoqualmie Falls. The were totally confused.

But the joke was on us because it was so foggy and misty that you could not even see the ginormous waterfall that is there. I know it exists!

At the runner exchange, we parked and just chatted in the car. It was really foggy up over Mt. Si, but there was a bright orange light peeking out from the top. It was beautiful, and we all oooo’ed and aaaa’ed over it until I said, “What is that?” and everyone started laughing and making fun of me.

But it looked so small and shiny that it didn’t look like the sun! It looked like a reflection! I swear!

As Zoe got ready to run, Nicole broke out the bubbles. It’s never too early for bubbles.

But it IS too early to look this cute. Seriously.

And then it was time for the tiara hand off, and Zoe was off and running Leg 2.

We gathered Lindsay and let her stretch, then we drove to the next runner exchange where we’d be for two legs. More in-van chatting and silliness happened while Lauren got ready to run.

We were walking to the exchange when we spotted Zoe and had to jog ahead. Zoe passed the tiara to Lauren and she was off on Leg 3, an out-and-back route.

We now had two endorphinned runners and so weird stuff started happening. Like, for example, when Zoe’s “spare” condom she keeps for her single friends fell out of her bag. It was getting sunnier out, too.

Nicole brought these for me to play with. I think Tyra would say this is fierce. You can't see it, but I'm totally smizing.

Nicole got ready to run, and we walked back to the exchange chute in time for Lauren to hand off to her. Then it was back to the first runner exchange point. I got ready to run, and warmed up with a little friendly hula hoop competition and lots of laughing.

I feel like that vehicle behind us makes it look like we are at a fancy relay.

 

It's GO time!

Nicole rocked Leg 4, then passed the tiara to me and I was off on Leg 5. I’d forgotten to “study” my route, though, and was panicking about it by less than a quarter-mile in as I ran through a swampy area and by some houses and then slipped through the car-blocking gate thing onto the trail. (I’d actually written down my routes, but decided not to bring the sticky notes with me since everyone said there were lots of volunteers and signage.) The guy that had left right in front of me was long gone. I glanced back and saw that I’d left the girl that’d passed off right behind me in the dust. Good, but Gee, I really hope I’m going the right way. It felt like it was headed in the wrong direction. And I was going up a pretty good hill.

But then there was a switchback and all of a sudden it felt right. Finally, at about 1.25 miles, I got to the top of that hill and there were volunteers with signs. Whew!

After that hill, there was…more hill. Actually, it wasn’t bad. It was a gradual incline on an old logging road. It was exactly what I run at home on the Lake Wilderness Trail: hard-packed dirt mixed with some partially buried rocks, sticks and lots of gravel. My home trail is a gradual downhill on the out and a gradual uphill on the back, so I am totally used to gradual uphills. I loved that it was so similar for some reason and I smiled like an idiot during the first half when I was pretty much alone.

It was sunny, but still cool, and the trail smelled like cedar. I have not been wearing music on all of my runs lately. Sometimes I just don’t feel like it, and I did not wear music during the relay. I loved not having music on this leg. It was gorgeous. I ran through dense forest, park-like settings, across bridges over deep ravines…and past a gun club.

That morning, we’d had a good laugh about the gun club warning that was in the handbook under Leg 5. It said, “don’t be alarmed if you hear gunfire,” or something like that. Um, pretty sure I’m gonna be alarmed.

I DID hear gun shots. It was alarming, but at least it wasn’t surprising.

The book also warned Leg 5 runners they may see horses on the trail. In order to not spook them, runners should give them a friendly greeting, say, “Hello.”

See? Nicole even practiced her friendly greeting.

Top of the morning, to ya, horses.

Sadly, I saw no horses. Lots of horse poop, though.

Anyway, I’d only passed a couple of people…until about Mile 4. Then I started to catch up with some women, and passing them. Roadkill #6 was tough, though. I trailed her for a couple miles until I finally caught up with her. Then, she started weaving all over the trail. I had to squeeze around her. She turned and exclaimed, “Oh! I thought you were someone else! I was like, ‘What?!’ Don’t want her to pass me!” We had a good laugh, and then I left her behind.

I was really feeling so good. My left ankle was a little tight, but it didn’t hurt too bad. At about 5.5 miles, I saw the dude that had left me in the dust at the beginning of the leg! I would never catch him, but I had him in my sights until the finish. At almost exactly 5.75 miles, I passed under a bridge and on the other side, volunteers directed me up these ginormous steps leading up to the road. I could not run them — they were too tall. Ouch! I was out of breath at the top. But, then OMG, steepest downhill I’ve been on in a while! And on the shoulder of a road. A sandy shoulder! I was a fraid I was going to bite it on the hairpin turn.

Caaaannnn'ttt stoppp!

Down, down, down to the finish where Lindsay was waiting for me. But the tiara got stuck in my hair. I almost goofed up the hand off!

Leg 5 – 6.4 miles – 54:56 – 8:35 avg pace

SUNDAY AFTERNOON

Lindsay was off on Leg 6 with Nicole (who needed to pick up some extra miles for her long run), and we made our way to the next runner exchange point. The sun was out. It was warm. We cranked up some tunes and got out the bubbles. We were just taking our sweet time.

Bubble wars!

See, Nicole had sort of been keeping track of the math…and when she was running, we were all a little lost. So that’s why Zoe almost missed the handoff of the tiara from Lindsay. Oops! Teammate fail.

Lindsay is DONE. Um, Nicole, you still have another leg.

Zoe set off on her ALL uphill 7-miler in the blazing, hot (70 is blazing in Seattle) sun, and we made our way to the next runner exchange, which was at bottom of a popular hiking trail to Rattlesnake Ridge. Read: There was nowhere to park.

Finally, we just made our own parking spot. Then we hung out, cheered for ultra runners, and Nicole and I found one of the grossest permanent Honey Buckets EVER. EVER.

It's GO time!

Zoe arrived, handed off the tiara to Lauren, and then practically passed out. It’d been so hot, and there was so much gravel — her feet were on fire. She and Lindsay went to put their feet in the lake nearby while Nicole and I waited for Lauren, who was running another out-and-back. Soon, it was Nicole’s turn to run back down what Zoe had run up. And we drove back to the exchange we’d been at before. I was just hanging out when I realized I should probably put my shoes on.

Unfortunately, I was not feeling too well at this point. My stomach started revolting at the exchange prior, and continued at this exchange. I don’t know what to blame it on: chips or the heat. Heat wreaks havoc on my tummy.

As Nicole ran in, there was a guy right behind her. “Go, go, go!” I yelled. “There’s a dude right behind you!” She laughed, came in and handed me the tiara. The dude slapped hands with his woman teammate and she BLEW by me. Like seriously. She was a blur. My legs tried to keep up with her, however, even though I told them not to. So this is why my first mile of Leg 10 was an 8:13 even though it was so hot I brought a handheld with water to just dump on myself the entire time.

See that girl to right in the pink? Yeah, she's about to OBLITERATE me.

 I was done after the first mile. Luckily, this is the shortest, easiest leg of the relay at 3.4 miles. And it’s flat. And actually, I’d run this part of the trail before once pushing T Junior in the BOB.

That day, super windy. This day, super hot.

The trail goes straight through some greenbelt areas where I saw some naturalists doing  maintenance work, but I actually thought they were searching for a dead body. Why am I so morbid when I run? So I ran and dumped water on myself and ran and dumped water, etc. all the way over a bridge until… that was the end of the trail. The bridge went down some steps to a street. There were no volunteers. No signs. Do I go right or left?

I stopped for a good 20 seconds trying to figure what to do. I thought I’d seen a runner go left. But was he with the race or just a dude out for a run? (Because there were plenty of non-racers using the trail on Saturday.) I decided the odds were that he was probably with the race and I went left. By now, the ultra runner I’d passed was catching up with me, and as I ran down the road, I glanced back and saw her going left. I sighed with relief, but then thought she might just be following me and what if I am leading her the wrong way?!

Obviously, the sun affects more than just my stomach. Oh man. I was so hot, though. Did I mention that already? I thought about walking…on a 3.4-miler. Seriously. I slowed and took one step and realized an ultra runner was in front of me…running. Aw, crap. I can’t walk when he’s still running. I sped up, and eventually passed him. “Good job!” I said to him. He replied, “You too!” And I thought, Me too? Um, I’m running 3.4 miles and you’re at the end of an ultra. But thanks.

Finally, I was on the street that led to the elementary school where we’d started at 6:30 that morning. I was so relieved. I tried to run faster. I doubt I did.

Shade!

The last little bit had some shade, and wow, that made a huge difference. I felt instantly better. Plust my teammates were cheering. And then I ran through the roped off chute and over a parking lot line where a dude was standing with a stop watch and a clipboard. Done. But I forgot to stop my watch right away. Argh! I hate it when I do that.

In the finish chute!

Leg 10 – 3.4 miles – 29:20 – 8:37 avg pace

I love wearing tiaras!

We ran the 59-mile relay in 8 hours 30 minutes and 14 seconds! (8:38 avg pace – we came in somewhere in the middle of the pack in Open Women’s, there were some impressive runners out there!)

I have to say, the end of this relay was pretty uneventful. Well run, but uneventful. But it’s a small event. BY THE WAY, for being a small event (with the exception of that one missing sign/volunteer on my last leg) things were pretty well organized. Lots of volunteers and signage. Some of the volunteers were not so helpful, but that’s not the race’s fault.

Anyway, we were so depleted from the sun, we were like, “Yay. Now let’s go get some beer.” But first! First we made a pair of ultra runners take our picture in front of Mt. Si. No, they didn’t mind. And we took their picture for them, too. They were even sports and took a jumping picture of us. I suggested they jump too, but they just laughed. Wonder why?


I’m pretty excited about 1-day relays! So I’m pumped that I’ll be running the 50-mile Rainier to Ruston Relay on June 2 with Mel, Zoe and Tiffany!

Local peeps: Ever run Rainier to Ruston? It’s not too late to register a team (and it’s relatively cheap)! Ever spooked a horse on a trail? Ever run past a gun club? Do you also love wearing tiaras? Can you guess the word count on this post? I know I left lots of things out, too. I’m sure I’ll have to have another post…plus there are TON more pictures…

Read my teammates recaps:

Nicole

Lauren – Part I and Part II

Lindsay

Zoe (When Zoe gets hers done, it’ll be HERE)

Seattle RnR Half Training: Week 3 Recap

Did last week actually happen? I can’t even remember. Thank goodness for DailyMile!

After Week 2, I revised my plan, to un-incorporate the intense speedwork that I feel has led to a scary amount of soreness/tightness in my left shin and calf. I went back to something closer to what Mel made me for by sub-2 half, simply adjusting the times. It would be nice if I could actually get CLOSE to the plan…

 

MONDAY

Planned: Bike + easy 4-mile run

Completed: 9.78 miles on the bike in

OMG. This was the day of the Great Helmet Meltdown! Closely, but not entirely, related to this Monday’s Great Jumpy House Meltdown…but I’ll save that for next week’s recap.

 

TUESDAY

Planned: 5 miles easy

Completed: 4.3 miles at a 9:10 AP

Running 5 miles on my lunch hour is tough, but doable if I run it fast. This was not a good run. I didn’t bring music and my left knee made a snapping noise with each step, and my left calf and shin felt tight. And I kept focusing on it, and it was just not good.

 

WEDNESDAY

Planned: 3- mile progression run

Completed: Rest

After Tuesday, I knew I should not run. I moped about it a little that night, stuffing my face with sugar and cinnamon graham crackers dipped in milk. I did, however, use the tennis ball on my feet and calves. And I foam-rolled my calves.

 

THURSDAY

Planned: Cross-training/strength

Completed: 3.14 miles at an 8:49 pace

I knew I wouldn’t be doing my long run on Friday because I had the Mt. Si Relay on Sunday, so I ran on my lunch hour. This run felt great, and I was convinced the tennis ball (from the night before) was a little, felt miracle!

 

FRIDAY

Planned: 9 miles at an 8:53 pace

Completed: 2.6-mile jog/walk on the treadmill

I wanted to ride my bike after T Junior went to bed, but it’s still not quite light long enough, and I missed my window. I was feeling like I needed to exercise, but knew it would not be smart to run two days in a row. I decided I would do a jog/walk on the treadmill in front of the TV. Mr. T kept me company and we chose to watch the Mariners lose to Chicago. I walked at an incline during the innings, and ran (with no incline) during the commercials. This is one of my favorite workouts: walk during a show, run during commercials – burns calories and keeps me entertained AND I can still hear the television.

 

SATURDAY

Planned: Rest + strength

Completed: Rest

The day started off meeting with my Mt. Si Relay team. We had coffee, went over the handbook and decorated my van. (Recap of this day and the relay coming tomorrow!) After that, I had volunteered to watch my husband’s BFF’s kids as his wife was out of town for the weekend, and Mr. T would have T Junior all day on Sunday. Let them go to Fry’s and Home Depot and eat crappy food or whatever guys like to do. I had quite the adventure watching three boys all under the age of 8, and am quite certain I should probably just stick to one child! LOL! I was wiped out at the end of the day, didn’t eat correctly, and didn’t get T Junior into bed until almost 9 p.m.! That meant I still had to pack for the Mt. Si Relay…I was up till 11-something and had to wake at 4:30. Ugh!

 

SUNDAY

Planned: Mt. Si Relay – Legs 5 and 10

Completed: Mt. Si Relay – Legs 5 and 10 (barely)

Recap to come tomorrow! I loved the one-day relay!

 

NUUN HOOD TO COAST RELAY 2012

Well, I am sad to say that I didn’t make the team this year — especially since I was lucky enough to go last year and I know what I’m missing! But I am beyond excited that 3/5 of the Mt. Si Relay team DID! Nicole, Lindsay and Zoe will all represent at Hood to Coast this year. Maybe that means Lauren and me, and all the others who didn’t get in, will be in next year! Of course, I am beyond excited that my running buddy Zoe gets to experience HTC because I cannot wait to compare notes with her! Maybe it’s a little weird, but I am actually very interested in “experiencing” Hood to Coast from the outside this year. Congratulations to all who made the 2012 team! Thanks to everyone who posted on Nuun’s FB page, watched my ridiculous video, and said nice things to me before and after the announcement yesterday. I love how running bloggers are so supportive of one another – thank you!

Have you ever done a relay? How about a one-day relay? Love that it is less of a time commitment — easier logistics, too! If you live in Washington state, what relays do I HAVE to do? Also, I’m looking to do more trail running. WA runners: Got trail suggestions/advice?!

Relay Tomorrow!

Mt. Si

Mt. Si Relay team Bloggers Do It Online member Zoe and I went to the outlets near Mt. Si yesterday to get me a pair of compression shorts, and this was the view of Mt. Si. Looks cold! But it’s supposed to warm into the 70’s tomorrow…and we’re not running to the top of the mountain. I don’t think.

This morning, the team will meet up for coffee, to paint up the relay-mobile and to get food, water, etc., and then I will be hanging out with T Junior and our friend’s two boys for the day so Mr. T and his BFF (whose wife is out of town this weekend) can have some non-kiddo time for a bit. Hopefully, they will return at a decent hour since I need to get to bed! Gotta be at the start line by 6 a.m.! Luckily, it’s only about 30 minutes (or less at that time in the morning) from my house. Also…luckily…I got a great night’s sleep last night. Loving the melatonin!

Good luck to everyone racing this weekend!

Mt. Si Relay Details

If you didn’t meet my teammates yet, go HERE to learn a little bit about Nicole, Lauren, Lindsay and Zoe.

On Saturday morning, we are meeting (some of us for the first time) for coffee and to finalize our “costumes.” There may be Team Sparkle skirts, crazy socks, wings and tiaras involved. My teammates don’t know about the tiaras yet, but I think they will like this idea.

On Sunday morning, we start to run! Here’s how the legs will go:

Leg 1: Mostly downhill on road and trail for 8.3 miles – Lindsay

Leg 2: Mostly uphill on road and trail for 6.2 miles – Zoe

Leg 3: Flat on trails for 5.7 miles – Lauren

Leg 4: Mostly downhill on road and trail for 6.2 miles – Nicole

Leg 5: Mostly uphill on road and trail for 6.5 miles – me

Leg 6: Flat on trail and road for 4.4 miles – Lindsay

Leg 7: All uphill (hahaha!) on trail for 7.1 miles – Zoe

Leg 8: Flat on trail for 4.1 miles – Lauren

Leg 9: All downhill on trail for 7.1 miles – Nicole

Leg 10: A little downhill, but basically flat on trail for 3.4 miles – me

I’d intended on running legs 4 and 9, but with my stupid left calf/shin giving me feedback, I asked Nicole if she wouldn’t mind trading with me so I could reduce my miles a little. Plus, she need more miles since she’s training for Seattle RNR Full! There will also be ultra-runners on the trail, although I think their route may be different, so I’m not sure I’ll see any of them.

Here’s what NOAA says the weather is going to be:

I hope they are right! Weather.com says something different. Either way, it’ll likely be warmer, and so I need some compression shorts to go under my Team Sparkle skirt. I looked at Dick’s Sporting Goods, and there weren’t a lot of options. I liked the way the UnderArmour ones felt, but since I have thighs that touch, they made a loud swishy sound as I fake-ran in the dressing room. That would drive me nuts — sort of like running in cordouroy.

I do NOT want this to happen to me:

So today, I may actually head up to the outlets near Mt. Si and see if I can’t find a good deal on some non-swishy compression shorts. Any recommendations?

Can you tell I’m excited? I heart trail running, but am still new at it. I wish I could run trails for EVERY run. I do have the one across the street, but it’s not that long and it’s “groomed.” And it freaks me out a little bit because some sketchy characters use it to “commute” on foot, to hide after they break in to a house, etc. That’s not what it’s for! It’s for being out in nature, you A-holes! Why don’t you NOT do something illegal, get your license revoked and drive like the rest of us. Oh, and get a job and stop stealing!

Anyway.

Do you run trails? Any last-minute advice? What source do you use for weather forecasts? What is the deal with bad guys that ruin trails for the rest of us? 

Meet the Mt. Si Relay Team!

Wednesday night, instead of working out, I decided to eat cinnamon and sugar graham crackers dipped in milk. And blog. So, really. I did it for you.

On Sunday, me and four other crazy blogger-runners will pile into my minivan (I was going to call it the relay-mobile, but that sounds dumb — any good ideas for a relay nickname for my minivan: it is navy blue, really dirty, and has stickers on the back that say, “I love my boxer,” “13.1,” “26.2,” and one is the Nuun logo), and begin running at 6:30 a.m. around a mountain not too far from where I live. Well, that’ll be the day in a nutshell. I’m sure there will be many inside jokes that won’t be funny to share, and running stories to tell after it is all run and done!

Mount Si is very close to my favorite outlet stores. Maybe I can take a detour during the relay? You know how I like to multi-task.

Here are the four awesome ladies I will have the pleasure of stinking up a van with ALL day Sunday as a part of team Bloggers Do It Online:

Nicole AKA Ricole Runs (Sometimes)

@RicoleRuns

She gets to go first because this whole Mt. Si Relay team was her idea (so we all know who to blame if the whole ordeal goes South on Sunday, right?). Nicole is funny, injury-prone and training for the Seattle Rock ‘N’ Roll FULL (ack, flashbacks to last year, ack!). Does this sound like a running single’s ad to anyone else? I have not met Nicole in “real” life yet, but I think we’ll be able to get along even though she’s a Husky. I may have to wear Cougar gear…

Lindsay AKA Lindsay on the Go

Lindsay completely amazes me. She is a distance runner, and a duathlete, who also happens to have Type 1 diabetes. I had the opportunity of meeting her in person as a part of the meet-up to run for Sherry back in February. She’s fun, funny and inspiring, and I’m excited to get to know her better. What better way than locked in a minivan, right?

Lauren AKA Marathon Lar

Superstoked to meet Lauren in person! Another FUNNY person; how did I get so lucky to be on this team?! Lauren is also an experienced “relayer” as she pointed out in her Nuun Hood to Coast Relay application, so we’ve got that going for us…which is nice (name the film of the movie quote I’m referencing — hint: the first part is about achieving total consciousness on his deathbed!). Lauren’s also training for the Seattle RNR Half, like me…and basically everyone.

Zoe AKA Run, Zoe, Run

@RunZoeRun

Zoe is subbing in for poor Tiffany who has been suffering from the world’s worst cold for weeks! Zoe and I are regular running buddies, even though I haven’t seen her in what feels like AGES. I once tried to make her kiss a slug on an 18-miler. Zoe and I also ran our first marathon together last year. Zoe, if you can’t tell, is my running security blanket, so having her on a relay I’ve never done before makes me feel, probably, way too relaxed about Sunday. She’s also training for the Seattle RNR Half.

The plan for this relay is to dress crazy and be silly. I CANNOT WAIT. Oh, and it is supposed to be sunny and 70! (Well, not at 6:30 a.m., but you know, later…when we are STILL running.) And we’ve all submitted applications to be on the Nuun Hood to Coast Relay team in 2012, which we’ll find out the results of two days after the Mt. Si Relay. This should be a good distraction.

Have you ever done a relay before so close to home? Is that why I’m not nervous AT ALL? Should we paint up my minivan windows with quirky running quotes? What should I nickname the minivan? Or is that just dumb?

The Day I Threw a Mommy Tantrum (Well, One of the Days)

When I do something, I go all out. And this includes when I throw screaming tantrums…in front of my preschooler…in public.

Obviously, I felt like an idiot afterward. Here’s my story:

Sunday night, me and Mr. T were exhausted after a dog-show weekend, but I made a special trip to the store to get a new tube for my bike. I gave up on the old tube as it had this lame valve I could never figure out and couldn’t use with Mr. T’s fancy air compressor thing, and it just kept going flat, and for 8 bucks I was ready to be done with it. Again, my run-on skills amaze! While there, I remembered that my son, almost 4, had outgrown his old bike helmet over the long godforsaken Seattle winter months when we were trapped indoors.

We’d already been to the store once that night, but I didn’t know what size tube I needed, and I hadn’t remembered that my kid’s giant melon didn’t fit in his old helmet. He’d liked the Batman one, though, so on my second trip, I grabbed the 5+ size for him. Plus, my tire tube. Plus, a rearview mirror for when I take him along and need to see what he’s doing behind me in the bike trailer. I didn’t know if he’d want to go on a bike ride with me on Monday or not, but I wanted to be ready.

Good thing I got it, since he was extremely enthusiastic about going in the bike trailer when I asked (mostly because he could watch a movie on the portable DVD player, but us moms take what we can get, okay?). I was feeling like a GOOD MOM taking him with me instead of dropping him off at day care so I could get in a workout.

So, anyway, do you know how long it takes one mother and one child to get ready to go on a bike ride?

FOREVER in mom-time. Which is basically about 1 to 1-1/2 hours in real-time. The task of getting the child dressed can alone knock you off course enough to decide to forgo the bike ride completely. But I marched on. Determined. I will exercise today. Nothing, not even a stalling preschooler will stop me.

Then there’s the matter of getting yourself ready, which you do in spurts because you have 10 minutes between when you put your kid’s clothes on and when he will finish getting his Velcro-strap shoes on. Yes, “I CAN DO IT MYSELF,” is a common theme at my house right now. I wish the “I CAN DO IT MYSELF SUPER FAST” theme was popular, but alas, it is not.

Anyway, then I had to get a snack and water ready for him, grab something for me to drink and eat post-ride since breakfast, which seemed like it just happened, was hours before. Then there was the decision about what movie to take. Luckily, we’d purchased The Muppets on Store Trip #1 on Sunday, and that would suffice because Go, Diego, Go got left in the motorhome. I do NOT know how that happened. Weird.

Oh yeah, then I had to load up the bike trailer and the bike in the back of the minivan while convincing a now-crying child that No, I’m not leaving. I’m just putting stuff in the car. Finally, I could load my child. Then I had to make several trips back into the house and/or garage to gather/check last-minute things: like a blanket for him, my water I inadvertently left inside, check to make sure the front door was locked, etc.

The trail where we ride the bike with the bike trailer is about a 20-minute drive. To be fair, most things are 20-30 minutes from where I lived. It’s not that big of a deal. There are closer places to park on the Cedar River Trail, but there’s the downhill/uphill situation to contend with, and I’d rather be going downhill on the second half of my ride. Especially when I am pulling a 30-pound kid in a 40 to 50-pound bike trailer. Yeah.

Despite the number of hours it took to get ready, T Junior and I were both in a silly mood, joking around and being goofy in the car.

We got to the parking lot along the trail. I let T Junior out so he could run around the deserted basketball court, which was dotted with puddles. I begged him not too splash in them since I knew there would be much complaining about wet socks, etc., if he did. He was a good boy and just ran around and got some of that preschooler energy out while I got out the bike and the trailer, and hooked them up. Then I got my headphones ready (I wear a single bud sometimes and since I’d planned on riding for about an hour, I knew I’d need some tunes), sunglasses, T Junior’s snacks, qued up his movie, ate a piece of my Clif  Bar because I was starving, then called T Junior to come get in the trailer. Only 11:30! Making good time!

I put T Junior in the trailer then turned around to the minivan to get his helmet…except it wasn’t in the front seat. Don’t panic, maybe it’s in the back seat. It wasn’t in the back seat! Don’t panic, maybe it’s in the way back. It wasn’t in the way back!

My brain raced. I remember picking it up. I had the thing in my hand. Where is it? I tore through the car with no luck. Then I just started yelling. WHERE IS IT? WHERE IS THE BIKE HELMET?

There was one other person in the parking lot getting ready for a bike ride. I did not care if he could hear me yelling or not. T Junior asked me what was wrong. I CAN’T FIND YOUR BIKE HELMET, THAT’S WHAT’S WRONG. NOW WE CAN”T GO FOR A BIKE RIDE. WHERE IS IT? I HAD IT IN MY HAND. I REMEMBER!

I sat down on the back bumper of the minivan with my face in my hands, wanting to cry, but too mad at myself to get any tears to come out.

“Don’t cry, Mommy.”

You think that little plea would’ve melted my heart, but instead I stood up, tore through the minivan one more time, then yelled about it some more. To my credit, I at least, told poor T Junior I was not mad at him and I was only mad at myself. It was not his fault. But I’m sure he sustained some  emotional damage from this experience. Someday, he’ll get a D on a book report and then he’ll tell me it was all because of the day I left his bike helmet at home and yelled about it.

With my heart angry-beating, I put T Junior back in his carseat, unhooked the bike trailer and bike, and put them back in the minivan. Then I drove 20 minutes home to get the damn helmet. Determined. I will exercise today. Nothing, not even a missing helmet will stop me.

What finally calmed me down was during that drive. It was when T Junior asked to go to day care instead of on the bike ride. “Do you want to go there instead because Mommy is yelling?” I asked, already knowing the answer. I felt awful. Still do. Makes me want to cry writing it here. I promised him I wouldn’t yell anymore, and then reminded him that I was yelling at myself because I made a mistake and I was mad at me. After I promised that, he said he still wanted to go on a bike ride, which made me feel slightly less like pond scum. So that’s a plus.

Back at home, I retrieved the helmet (which was sitting on the kitchen counter!), and made T Junior a just-requested peanut butter and honey sandwich since it was now almost noon (which he never ate, by the way). Then, back to the park. Setting things up for the ride was much quicker the second time around.

After this happened, I was reminded why I like running so much better. Less equipment to forget!

The bike ride was actually uneventful — I only had to stop 3 times to see what T Junior wanted. That’s pretty good for what ended up being over 9 miles and about 55 minutes long. I took him to the park to play afterward. He deserved to be rewarded for not throwing any tantrums.

I, on the other hand, should’ve been put in time out.

Have you ever thrown a mommy tantrum? Please say you have and make me feel better. What’s your story? If you don’t have kids, have you ever thrown a wife or girlfriend tantrum? (These are way worse in my experience as they are usually uncensored and include unlimited swear words. Just ask Mr. T.)

Jabra Wireless SPORT Bluetooth Stereo Headset Review

A few months ago, Jabra sent me a pair of their wireless SPORT Bluetooth Stereo headphones to review*. They arrived quickly and I was so excited to get them. They also came packaged nicely. It felt like Jabra cared about me — it was like Christmas again!

But before I had a chance to set them up, Mr. T did. No gadget is safe around my husband. I swear. He says the set-up was easy and straightforward. But that’s coming from a computer engineer. Luckily, I had the opportunity to sync my headphones with my phone all by myself one day (I have a Windows Phone). It took some instruction-reading, but I got it after a couple of tries.

What I had a more difficult time with was the earpieces. They are over-the-ear hanger style, and Jabra provides you with three different sized ear bud gels for a perfect fit. Except I have teeny ears, I think. It wasn’t the inner-ear bud gels I was having a problem with, but the hanger part itself was too big, too thick, for the space between the tops of my ears and my head. Mr. T says I have tiny ears. I wonder if, in the future, they could make the hangers in men’s and women’s sizes.

I ran with the Jabra SPORT headphones twice, but each time I had issues with them falling off. To be fair, they didn’t want to stay on my unusually small ears when I was standing still. When they were on (the first time, I wore my phone in my iFitness belt around my waist on the noisy Cedar River Trail, and the second time, my phone sat in the dashboard of my treadmill), however, I was very surprised at how good the sound quality was! With no wire connecting them to my phone! (There is nothing I despise more than having that earbud wire snaked down the back of my shirt while running…and it starts to slide over and across my shoulder…argh!)

I may not be able to use these fancy headphones, but Mr. T can! My husband even bought some special Jabra EarGels to go with the headset. The headphones stay perfectly on Mr. T when he walks, and he even synced them with the laptop to watch a movie in bed while I slept!

Here’s what Jabra’s website says about the Jabra Sport Wireless Headphones with Bluetooth.

  • Play music and take calls, skip tracks and adjust volume from headset
  • Secure and comfortable fit during workouts
  • US Military Grade rain, dust and shock protection
  • Powerful bass sound and built-in FM Radio
  • Offers up to 4.5 hours of talk time and up to 3 hours music time
  • Works with Apple, Android, Blackberry and standard phones or music devices
  • For optimal performance outdoors, place mobile device in right armband

Here’s their cool ad:

They have a ton of special features, including the free Edmondo Sports Tracker app that can be used for running, cycling, walking and other distance sports, according to the website. Mr. T downloaded for me, but I never got the opportunity to use it since the headphones wouldn’t stay on while I ran. Also, nobody ever calls me so I didn’t get to try the answer/end call feature.

The downside to this particular style of headphones for me (and this is all hanger style sets, not just Jabra), is that I typically only leave one earbud in when I’m running outside for safety reasons.

The Bluetooth capabilites on these headphones are fantastic — and it seems like the uses for these are endless, from cycling to walking to video games and movies. I think for the right person (ahem, Mr. T), these are worth the $99.99 retail price. (They are significantly less at Amazon.com.)

*I received the Jabra Wireless SPORT Bluetooth Stereo Headset from Jabra for free, but these opinions are entirely my own.

Do you run with music? I recently stopped obsessing about having music with me while running and learned to enjoy going music-less more often than not. What music device do you use? Ever had any luck with the hanger-style headset?