Let the Kids Run

Forecast of rain threatened today’s big event for my kindergartener.  Yet the sun peeked through the stormy clouds and delayed the downpour indicating a go for this morning’s Ultra Fun Run – a jog-a-thon fundraiser program held annually at the school.  The kindergarten class started practicing for this day back in September where they all lined up at 8am and run/walk as many laps they could for 5 to 10 minutes.  I loved watching their tiny feet scurry, right-left right-left, breathing in the morning air and awakening their minds before the start of a busy school day.  The run was originally scheduled in mid-October but was postponed due to rain.  Some of the kids, including my daughter were so disappointed when they discovered it had to be rescheduled.  Much anticipation has built up to this day and I was relieved to see the sun shining!

Stage is set

Part of the “Fun” incorporated into this run is being doused by different colors.  However, my daughter did not perceive the color as fun and wanted nothing to do with it.  I reminded her to speak out regarding her aversion to the colors but all it did was build up her anxiety – she was “worried she is going to forget to say NO to the colors”.  As it turned out, all she needed to do was cross her arms and I reminded her every lap to do it.

Warm up stretches

Standing in the grassy field, the kids waited patiently for the indication to start.  They had 30 minutes to run as many laps (the most time Eyva has ever ran!)  The emcee directed them to start walking first, then gradually speed up to a jog/run.  I was standing by Eyva’s class when they started but as they moved further away to run the lap, it became more difficult for me to spot her as there were at least 100 participants from kindergarten to 2nd grade .  This time my anxiety grew since Eyva is the smallest girl in class and I was afraid she will get trampled by the bigger kids.  However, each lap she ran past me unscathed and focused to do more.  Her motivation dwindled a little after several laps but I provided an incentive by giving her an M&M (halloween candy stash).  Sugar = energy right!?…

As I watched these young children run, I noticed their playfulness and carefree attitude.  Many enjoyed being covered in color and ran as quickly as they could to be doused with more.  Some held hands with their friends, walked, and cherished a fun moment together.  And a few were completely focused to run as many laps as time allowed.

Being a mother runner, I was delighted to see the kids have the opportunity to experience a Fun Run.  We all know the importance of exposing children to physical activity especially as they age and most of their day is spent inside a classroom.  Through this experience, hopefully they as well as their parents will be inspired and motivated to incorporate a bit of active play in their everyday lives.

Finished and not a spot of color!

Traveling with kids

Time to pack for my weekend race frenzy!  This is the second time I am heading out of town for a race.  First time bringing my family to involve them in my marathon experience.  Of all the aspects of travel, packing is my least favorite thing to do and I usually start 2-3 days beforehand to make sure I don’t forget anything.  With the kids in tow, it’s more of a challenge as I brainstorm what to bring on the plane to keep them entertained for the 5+hr flight.   It’s been 6 months since our last plane ride.  Now my youngest is 2 and constantly testing her independence.  I’m not sure how she’s going to react being strapped in a car seat for several hours.  Hope they keep that seatbelt light off so she can freely move around.

Airplane travel (and long road trips) is when I lift my restriction regarding screen time (2hrs or less daily) so I need to have the IPad, Kindle and Leappad charged and ready with their game/shows/movies, hopefully enough to occupy their time.  Unfortunately, I know my kids will prefer something else to do besides having their eyes glued on a screen, so I also need to have paper and markers (5 yr old loves to draw), puzzles (2 yr old’s current obsession), books and cannot forget their snacks!  I’m sure more will be added to this list.

I am excited for my family to witness me running in a race.  Our hotel is conveniently located blocks away from the race course so they can see me a couple of times along the National Mall route prior to mile 18 and right after mile 19.  Seeing them will be the boost I need to power me through the final miles.

Disclaimer:  I copied this part of the map from an article written by Philip Runco “An Ipod Runner’s Guide to the Marine Corps Marathon”.  Interesting read for MCM newbies like me.


The Taper Blues

10 days until race day and I’m going through a funk.  Last week is what I would consider a non-running week as I struggled to complete an easy 7- mile run, followed by an emerging series of aches and pains (ankle/hamstring/IT band).  I’ve heard of “phantom pains” surfacing during this period which could be the case since I didn’t have as many issues the past several weeks of training.  Yet even with the knowledge, I can’t help but feel a bit discouraged.  Thursday, I only managed 3 miles – I could have pushed for more but common sense pointed to rest and recovery.  Then unexpectedly when I felt ready to run on Saturday, I went through another hurdle of being sick from something I ate the night before. A severe stomachache and eventual vomiting caused the worst body aches the following day.  I managed to sleep most of the day (thanks to my husband who watched the girls!) and felt better in the afternoon.  

Sunday, I was sitting next to my 2 year old happy and content playing in the sand.  It’s been a week since she had the unfortunate event of fracturing her left humerus.  What’s amazing to me is her sheer resilience, absolutely unfazed by this bandage wrapped around her arm to minimize its movement.  Rather, she focused on her strengths so she could continue to enjoy her daily activities.  This particular observation uplifted me.  Instead of brooding over one bad week, I should be celebrating my achievements up to this point and BELIEVE my goals are within reach. 


Sick Day

Me:  I’m not feeling very well today so I think it would be best if I take the day off.

My boss(es):  If you take the day off, who would feed us, dress us, play with us….basically take care of everything we need and want!?…

Me:  Guess you’re saying that’s a “No”?

This was a conversation I had in my head on Friday morning when I woke up with a sore throat, a terrible cough and an aching body.  I wanted to stay under the covers but my human alarm clock was wailing too loudly for me to simply ignore.  No preschool for my 4yr old either so I had both girls to entertain but lacked the strength or motivation. My solution was to allow them to watch TV for as long as it pleased them but after only a few shows, they were itching to get out of the house. I binged on hot tea with honey to soothe my aching throat while hoping its caffeine content was strong enough to energize me through a few hours of activity at the Children’s Museum.

The girls are content and happy to be out of the house!

Relief finally arrived when my hubby came home early and I crawled back under the sheets for a couple of hours. Finally the weekend was here.

I try to avoid OTC medications if at all possible which started when I was pregnant and then when I was nursing. So I’ve resorted to a few natural remedies to attempt to treat my cough and chest congestion.

-Honey (mixed with tea) – it’s a well known cough suppressant recommended by the pediatrician to give to my 4yr old when she had a terrible coughing fit.

-Turmeric (mixed with tea) – due to it’s anti-inflammatory properties; it’s a popular spice to use not just in the treatment of coughs but many other ailments.

-And my favorite ginger in hot tea.  Reminded me of a drink in the Philippines called “Salabat”.  Another herb known for its many therapeutic benefits.

Sunday rolled in and I was starting to feel better.  I suggested to my husband to take the kids to the Y while I stay home to do some chores I’ve put off for some time.  He wanted to take them to Solana beach instead.  I could have said “Yes what a great idea” and would have had several hours to get work done around the house and maybe even time to nap, but the thought of hanging out with my family on the beach seemed to me a more desirable choice.  So off we went and had a wonderful time strolling on the beach despite the overcast windy weather.  Even Eyva pointed out, “This was a fun adventure!”  Being on this excursion with my family was by far the best natural remedy of all.  It may not have cleared my chest congestion, but it definitely warmed my soul.


9 weeks later…

Training plan derailed.  Here I am with only 9 weeks to go building my mileage cautiously so I can stay healthy and make it to the start line.  It has been a challenge maintaining my mileage with the number of hurdles I encountered the past 9 weeks:

1) foot pain/tight hamstring which forced me to take a week off (week 3 of training)

2) travel to SC due to an unexpected circumstance involving my brother (Still was in recovery but squeezed in several miles to relieve stress – week 4)

3) scheduled vacation to Disneyworld (I had every intention to run but never found the time and energy.  We visited all 4 theme parks in a week which ended to be a very exhausting experience – week 5)

Weeks 6-10, I finally started to consistently increase mileage without experiencing any setbacks. I decided to participate in an 8 mi race and a half marathon as part of my long training runs on the weekends (weeks 7 and 9). It helped me with pacing as well as to assess my goal finish time for the marathon. If I remain injury-free, I have confidence with a 3:55 finish approx an 8:58/mi pace. I know I shouldn’t even worry about time and need to just enjoy the NY marathon experience but having a goal helps me stay focused especially while I’m training and I have a ‘million’ other things on my plate.

So 9 weeks of training left… 6 weeks to build up to two 20-milers and taper the final 3. I never had the chance to do any tempo runs but I continue to train with SDTC on Tuesdays for hills and intervals. The rest of the week will consist of easy running, cross training and rest. Crossing my fingers for staying pain-free!

On a good note, my 4 yr old ran her first race a few weeks ago. I asked her if she wanted to run one after I finished running my race and she was very excited to do it. It was a 1K, a bit further distance for her to actually run so she did a sprint at the start, then wanted to be carried – told her she won’t get a medal for being carried so she walked, then jogged, and finally sprinted to the finish line when she saw a crowd of people cheering for her. Seeing her face lit up when she heard the cheers and applause of the crowd as she crossed the finish line was definitely priceless. I was one proud mama:)

Running towards the finish line
One proud mama

Better days ahead

Foot pain and tight hamstrings. Sick fussy baby and never ending demands from my 3-yr old. Sleepless nights. Restless days. Tears and more tears. This was my emotional roller coaster week.

To top it off, while I was running additional miles after my interval workout with the track club, the discomfort in my right foot got worse to the point where I had to stop and walk. It didn’t bother me during the 800 intervals but I must have pushed myself too hard since my split times were faster than any of my previous ones.  So I took two days off, ran 4 easy miles on Friday wishing my foot would stop bothering me, yet it still did.  Saturday was a scheduled 11-mile long run but I made a smart decision to skip and hit the elliptical and bike instead.  I plan to stay off my feet, stretch, foam roll, ice, cross-train and pray I can resume my training next week. Only at week 2 of training and already hurt.  Aaaarrggghhh!!!!  However, I can’t be completely discouraged since  it is only week 2 so I still have enough time to prepare for NY and be ready for it.

On a positive note, baby Iz is no longer sick and smiling again. Eyva managed to make her laugh and hearing them giggle together sent me back to my happy place.  My day is looking better already!…

24/7 Parenting duties (Week 1 marathon training)

What I assumed to be a challenging week turned out to be relatively manageable, yet quite exhausting!  This past week was my first time alone with the girls while my husband was overseas for a conference.  We have been fortunate enough to have him home for awhile now.  So when he broke the news to me, I was less than thrilled to hear it.  Daytime was less of a concern to me since I stay at home with the kids we had our routines and activities established.  However, I dreaded the thought of juggling two young kids through dinner, bath and bed…and also having to take the dog for a stroll!  Amazingly, everything worked out.  I went to bed very tired each night and wondered how military families (with mom or dad on deployment) or single parents handle it.  My baby did treat me to a full 5 to 6 hours of sleep two nights in a row which helped to jump start my energy for the following days.  Again somehow, things just worked themselves out and very thankful for it.

Late afternoon stroll
Late afternoon stroll to the playground

Our 70lb dog who loves to stop and pull was well-behaved which made it easier for me to maneuver the stroller while Eyva walked next to it.

Without my husband to watch the kids, what did I accomplish for my first week of training?  Fortunately, Eyva was still in school this past week (her final week) so I got some miles in during that time.

M: Cross-train Bike/Row/Strength Train

T:  6mi around Balboa Park.  I had a dental apptment so Izzy was already in childcare.  Conveniently enough, my dentist is located across from Balboa Park.  As soon as my cleaning was finished, I took off for my run.

W: Interval workout on the treadmill (3x1200m, 400m RI with a 1mi warmup and cooldown)

R: Off

F: Stroller run 3.5mi

S: Hubby finally home 🙂 I opted to run alone 1omi around Coronado instead of heading north for a trail run.  (Yes, I found a running group mostly members of the San Diego Track Club who are training for Chicago and some NY).   I felt some tightness/discomfort on my right foot lateral side and hamstring during the run, but felt great otherwise.

Total mi: 24.5mi

Overcast day at Coronado Beach. Perfect morning for a run – breezy and cool.