Thursday, January 30, 2014

Sisterhood of the World Bloggers Award

Just when I'm having an off day and can't think of anything to write about (meaning that I've slept in the last 3 days and only ran a measly 3 miles), I get a nice surprise.  Sue at This Mama Runs for Cupcakes, one of my very favorite runner moms, nominated me for a Sisterhood of the World Bloggers Award!

What is this?  Basically it's a nice way to recognize other bloggers that you follow and enjoy.  It meant a lot coming from Sue, as her blog is one of the first I ever started following when I began running.  I mean... cupcakes, hello???  Clearly we are sisters.  Someday she'll come around and like swimming and biking too....

There are a few rules:

1.  Post the logo on your blog.
2.  Thank the person who nominated you.  (Sue you rock thank you thank you!!)
3.  Answer the questions.  (see below)
4.  Choose 10 or so other ladies who blog as YOUR nominees.  (Sorry Sheriff - it says ladies.  I'll sneak in a reference to your awesome blog anyway.)
5.  Post the links to the nominees and notify them on your blog.

Without further ado... here's my Q&A.  Though really, these questions are pretty tame.  You can ask me more in the comments.  I'll probably answer just about anything.

What is your favorite color?

Blue.  No, AHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  Ok fine.  It's green.  For growing things.  Or maybe blue like the ocean.  But the ocean is also grey, so... any color the ocean can be.  Those sunsets where the water looks pink are nice too.  Ok next question.

Favorite animal? 

Duh.  Whoever hasn't noticed my fascination and tendency to take way too many pictures of my cats just hasn't been paying attention.  Heck in writing this post I had about ten pictures to choose from on my phone that I've taken in the last few days.  Ok fine since you asked here's some more.....

My to favorite speedbumps
If we are talking non-specific animal, as in a type, I am quite fond of toothed cetaceans.  (That means whales with teeth and dolphins in geek speak).  Not in the Flipper-hugging, moonstone chanting way, but appreciation of these complex, intelligent and very social animals who have taken a very weird backward road of evolution.  I actually did my first Master's on dolphin skeletal anatomy, and spent a summer out in British Columbia volunteering on a research study of killer whale vocalizations.  Very interesting stuff.

Favorite non-alcoholic drink

Nuun, if consumed at any point 24 hours before or after working out.  Which is pretty much always.  After over a year my stomach is still waiting for me to knock it off with this whole exercise bit (see - even my internal organs have stubbornness issues), and keeping my blood sugar and electrolytes happy makes it happier.

Facebook or Twitter?  

Facebook.  After building my cake business, largely through our page, I feel like I know all its eccentricities (even though they change every month).  Twitter is a black box.  Someone please teach me.  

See how I sneaked a link to my bakery facebook page in there?  Toldja I was good....

Favorite pattern

Really?  This is a question?  Does the inside of my eyelids count?  Or are we trying to get into how obsessive I am by analyzing how geometric my favorite pattern is?  I'm sure there's a Zimbio quiz for this... I'll get back to you.

Favorite number?

This question makes me laugh today.  You see, I am usually pretty good with numbers.  Remembering them, that is.  Until very recently I could still recite the SKU# of all the Black North Face Denali jackets from my post-grad school days working at Eastern Mountain Sports.  (Yes folks, studying dolphins does NOT get you a real job).  I can will always still remember that the code for bananas at the grocery store is #4011.  

But today, I am exhausted.  My daughter is sick with a cough.  Not life-threatening, but enough that no one in this house has gotten sleep in three days.  This morning I went to Walgreens to get her more medicine and apple juice, I got to the register, swiped my debit card, and..... nothing.  Whatever cluster of brain cells that used to hold my pin number, the number I use every single day, has apparently died of sleep deprivation.  Because I cannot remember to save my life.  So that would be my favorite number.  If I could remember it....

Favorite flower

Forget-me-nots.  These tiny blue and purple flowers grow wild in Oregon, where I was born.  My parents and grandparents used to take me to feed the ducks in the many rhododendron gardens in and around Portland.  These gardens are indescribably beautiful.  Rhodies grow four six ten feet tall, but from my two-foot tall, three-year old vantage point, I saw the forget-me-nots much more.  I always associate them with those cherished early childhood days, and with my grandparents who have since passed away.

What is your passion?

Oh man.  Now this is a question.  One that I struggle with.  There are two sides to the coin that is me - on one hand, I have a lot of hobbies, interests, and issues I feel strongly about.  Fitness, creativity, music, art, and the outdoors.  Wildlife and conserving our natural heritage.  Nutrition, specifically how it relates to mental health and obesity in our population.  Reducing the stigma around mental illnesses and empowering more people to seek help for these debilitating conditions.  On the other hand, all this means that I've never settled on one all-consuming thing that brings meaning to me.  I tend to bounce through phases in life - never spending more than a year or two on any one thing.  Sometimes I feel like this is great because it brings variety into my life.  Sometimes I envy that single-minded passion in others.  I don't think I'm likely to change though, so for now I'm happy fighting whatever battle is foremost in my mind - even if that battle is on multiple fronts.

Now that you know more about me, here are some of the blogs that I follow regularly, and why I like them:

  • Cara @ Cara's Cravings.  This girl can cook.  Oh my goodness.  A guru on all things clean eating, including recipes for her (and my) wicked sweet tooth, I have yet to try anything of hers that isn't divine.
  • Jessie @ No Cigarettes No Bologna.  She writes more honestly about marriage and parenthood than any other blog I've ever read.  Makes me cry with nearly every post.
  • Cynthia @ You Signed Up for What?  The name alone got me.  She is funny... she is a music geek too... and she also has the nasty habit of signing up for triathlons and other exercises in group stupidity.
  • Meredith @ Swim Bike Mom.  The Queen of all beginner triathlete woman, this girl is seriously inspirational, wickedly funny, and has more jobs that I do.  Which I always respect.  Now go read her blog (or her book) to find out why me calling her "The Queen" is funny.
  • Karen @ Trading In My Heels.  Karen is the type of runner I hope to be someday.  Fast, confident, always looking well put together.  Although there was an incident with her bike and a squirrel that was very disturbing....
  • Courtney @ The Trigirl Chronicles.  Courtney is from near where I grew up (bonus), but also has great tenacity.  Her workouts inspire me to get my sometimes lazy self out the door and into the cold (or similar excuse).

Go check out these girls if you haven't already!  

Monday, January 27, 2014

Deep Satisfaction

For many, the moments of deep satisfaction - where we know down to our toes that "we did good" are few.  The hectic pace of life doesn't let appreciate them properly.  Our inner "guilt" voices don't allow us to soak them up without judgment.  But on the rare occasions that these moments do come our way, grab and hold in your heart for as long as you can.

Blowing out Olaf's campfire
This weekend my beautiful daughter turned six years old.  She is funny, smart, sweet, opinionated, and my biggest fan and #1 cheerleader.  She knows just what she wants, and makes her thoughts known when she doesn't get it (usually pretty politely, but with no ambiguity).  Just the revelation that that night in the hospital when I fought for hours to bring her into this world was six years ago is amazing.  I have a six year old.  Crazy.  The tiny little bundle has become an articulate not-so-tiny blur of constant energy and chatter.  "I love her" is inadequate.  There aren't the right words.

This is the first year that we haven't thrown a big party for her.  We took her, her brother, and her bestie to a trampoline park for an hour of open bouncing, then to her favorite burrito joint for lunch.  Grandpa & Grandma came over for lunch the next day.  I took her swimming.  No lavish presents.  No fuss.  A small cake, with gluten-free cupcakes and cake pops for me and her brother (Frozen, of course).  I had a lot of fun making Olaf the Snowman.  A very relaxed, low stress birthday.  She loved it.  As I tucked her into bed, she told me, "Mommy this really was the best birthday ever".

Deep satisfaction in making my girl so happy.  Also in being her mom.  I am not perfect, but I'm a pretty good mom.  There's no way my girl would be turning out so well if I wasn't.  Jedi and I are doing this Mom & Dad thing pretty well.  That feels good.

Jedi in midair!  The aerial skills...


In the midst of the birthday celebrations, I had this pesky long run to deal with.  My foot felt good - I was equal parts chomping at the bit to get running again after a few days off, and terrified of taking on nine miles.  Come Sunday morning I had 3 options:

a) Run all 9 miles inside on the treadmill in the morning before my parents came for lunch
b) Run 5 miles inside in the morning, then another 4 in the evening (in case my foot was having trouble).  Twice in one day.  Oof.
c) throw all caution to the wind and run outside, despite the cold and snowfall.

I agonized a bit a lot, and chose option 3.  It was nine degrees out.  Not counting the wind chill.  But it was also absolutely beautiful out - clear blue skies and a coat of crystal white over the landscape.  If I was gonna suffer for nearly 2 hours, I was not going to do it staring at the unfinished wall of my basement.

I ran a route that I'd mapped out on MapMyRide, and that was one of my bike routes.  Let me say that again - I ran a route that I used to train on my bike.  The footing was a little tough - mostly slush and loosely packed snow.  My pace wasn't awesome.  I stopped to take pictures, to drink, to fiddle with my phone.  To put on and take off my gloves and scarf at least five times.  The wind was brutal.  The hills became brutal.  I ran into the next town and back...

Town line
The worst moment came when I realized that my carefully planned route was EIGHT miles, not nine.  Just when I wanted to quit more than anything, I had to run past my own house, beckoning with its warmth, and to the end of the road and back to get the last mile in.  I feel this deserves extra perseverance points.

9 miles, 1:46:01
In the end, I did good.  I was a bit nervous to report my time to my coach, but his response made me laugh out loud:

"With this workout completed you could have pretty much said anything other than " I was attacked by wolves or eaten by a bear" and I would have been deliriously happy. This is uncharted territory and completing this distance period, regardless or pace or snapping some pics, is epic especially with an injury scare earlier. Again we are simply working on endurance and getting your body used to distances like these. Not trying to lock in paces or score PRs. I know you just took a rest day but you get another tomorrow as reward. I forbid cardio. But yoga/stretching/smacking the kids around is cool. Congrats!"

Did I mention I love my Sheriff?  Deep satisfaction in pushing through this workout.  In doing something hard.  In not taking the easy way out (not that I think there's really any way to run nine miles).

Today I am tired, I am sore.  I am really, really, really sore.  But I feel peaceful and proud.  Loved and valuable.  I'm going to hold onto the feeling.

Go ahead and brag.  Tell me what you've done that you feel deeply satisfied by?

Friday, January 24, 2014

Look Ma! No Hands!

I hit a bump this week.  Bumps happen in all aspects of life.  This particular bump was the recurrence of the foot injury that had me laid up for weeks last fall.  It messed up what had been feeling like a pretty calm (for me) groove I've had going since starting my Clean Eating program and working with my new tri coach.  Like many funks I get myself into, this one ended with me talking to my mom.  Who basically told me that I was spinning up way too fast and was over-scheduled, doing too much, and dragging the entire family with me. (She said it much nicer than that though).

"But what can I stop?" I wailed in response.  It's not like I can stop working.  The kids lessons are paid for.  I promised to teach them piano and swim - that's important.  I can't stop the cake business cold turkey because I've made commitments and frankly we need the money to cover  barely dent pesky things like the credit card bills from Christmas.  I'm sure as heck not going to stop training for triathlon, because on tough days having already put in a good solid workout is the only thing that makes me feel human.  Often a tired, sore human, but a sane one that isn't likely to scream at her kids or kick the cat.  Just kidding.  I would never kick my cats.

Mom didn't have an answer for me.  I didn't have an answer either.  I gave up trying to finish my work early enough to take the kids swimming that day, wrote an apologetic note to my coach, told me husband I had zero clue what to make for dinner and decided to just hang out and do some yoga after the kids went to bed.

The kids have been on me a lot lately.  Constantly (and literally) wrapped around my legs, demanding to be taken to the bounce park, to the movies, to the spa (yes, we've gone a little overboard lately).  But mostly what I hear is "Mommy I just need more time with you!"  Which is incredibly guy wrenching for me, and also patently ridiculous as I am lucky enough to spend more time with my children that most working parents.  I go to their ice skating lessons, their dance classes.  I work remotely.  I take days off just to spend with them.  All of which still adds up to, in their little minds, not enough.  It kills me.

So last night instead of rushing around like a crazy family, I set up the trampoline in the playroom and let them take turns bouncing their minds out to my workout mixes, and making those rainbow loom bracelets that every child under twelve seems to go for like meth addicts looking for their next fix.  In the midst of a particularly high bounce, my daughter yelled out, "Mommy!  This is the most perfect evening I could ever have with you!!!!"  Huh.  That easy.  She just really does want time with me.

(Notice in this video that she never, ever stops talking.  This is how we know she has never met her anaerobic threshold while exercising.  She has also talked nonstop through both 5ks and the kid triathlon she's done.  Unreal this kid.)

After the kids went to bed, I read a review of Rachel May Stafford's new book, "Hands Free Mama".  And purchased the book immediately.  And read the first two chapters.  Stafford's story rang very true to me - a busy working mom who was always on top of everything, who was constantly asked "how do you do it all?" and yet still felt stressed and disconnected.  In her own words, her solution is:

"If technology is the new addiction, then multi-tasking is the new marching order.  We check our email while cooking dinner, send a text while bathing the kids, and spend more time looking into electronic screens than into the eyes of our loved ones.  With our never-ending to-do lists and jam-packed schedules, it's no wonder we're distracted."

 Stafford simplified her life, and has inspired many more to do so, by implementing small but significant changes to minimize distractions.  Put away the phone.  Turn off email for a portion of each day.  Be truly present for your family, and for yourself.  She also takes a hard look at what she considers meaningful... and what is an unnecessary distraction.  Powerful stuff.

In her first chapter, she says that honesty hurts.  It hurts me to admit that I could do much better in this area.  I live with my cell phone - it's practically an appendage.  I spend way too much time on Facebook.  As much as the habit of constantly watching phones drives me crazy in others (the other night I talked to the Jedi for a good two minutes about something I felt was really hard and meaningful, only to have him eventually look up and say "What?  I thought you were talking to the cat...."), I do it too.  Two night ago I was texting with my coach while putting my son to bed.  My son had to actually ask me to stop texting because the phone buzzing was keeping him awake.  Shameful.  So so shameful.

My New Pledge - to be a Hands Free Mama

  • When I get home from work / shut down from work, I will put my phone away in my bedroom and not use it again until after the kids go to bed.
  • I will not check anything on my phone until after my first cup of coffee in the morning (which occurs after working out and/or showering)
  • I will only look at Facebook twice per day - once around lunchtime, once after kids go to bed.  Limited to a few minutes only.  (I've already failed this one today.  More shame).
  • Non-work emails will be returned only after the kids are in bed.
  • Even if he is watching football or Dr. Who, I will make and effort to sit with and talk to my husband in the evenings.

Things That Are Meaningful to Me

  • Health of my family.  A big part of this is nutrition, so the clean eating and switching my son to gluten-free will continue
  • Being creative.  Whether it be crocheting hats for the kids, sewing quilts, painting, or decorating cakes, I need the act of creation in my life
  • Being a role model for my children.  I want them to look at me and see a hard-working, kind, healthy person who has her life and priorities in balance
  • My personal health.  This includes triathlon training, what I put in my body, but also my mental and emotional health.  An ongoing project.
  • Inspiring others.  Egotistical?  Maybe.  But I love writing, and if even one person gets something out of this blog and some of the other places I write then I'm going to keep it up.
  • Having meaningful friendships & relationships.  Involving actually seeing people in person, calling them, and being there for them when it is important.
So my friends, if I am a little harder to get a hold of in the future, I apologize.  Please call me instead, or wait until after bedtime.  I'd love to see you and hear your voice.  If anyone sees me posting anything on Facebook other than lunchtime or evenings, please call me on it.  If something is actually burning down or you need to talk to me right now, I will of course answer.  But otherwise, I ask your support in my new project.

I can't give up any of the big things in my crazy chaotic life, but I can try to take control of all the little moments in between.  

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Missed Signs

I'm a big fan of planning.  This is no secret.  I sometime feel like I spend more time planning my life than living it (I realize this isn't good).  Especially when all of my plans end up like this:

Of course the key to making any plan successful is to not blindly follow it, but to listen for feedback and adjust along the way.  I did not do this last fall.  I ignored pain in my foot and carried on with my scheduled races and rides, and ended up putting myself in a boot for weeks, having thousands of dollars of medical testing done, missed weeks of work - all for something that could have ultimately been prevented had I just rested and slowed down.  I missed the signs.

Coming off this injury and back into training, I started working with Sheriff in the hopes of avoiding this situation again.  Having an expert coach to help me sort out the fine line between pushing for progress, and pushing to injury.  In yesterday's notes to me for my speed/hill run, my coach wrote:

"Don't blow anything out. You are still recovering believe it or not from Sunday [long run] and a run like this which ignores warning signs can get you injured. Back off if things feel weird or drop to 30min"

I did drop it back to 30 minutes.  I felt fine, albeit a little tired.  His words turned out to be prophetic though, because as the day went on a familiar pain in my foot set in and grew worse, so that by evening I was limping.  I was also fighting back panic.  Last night Sheriff would reiterate his earlier notes to me (as though I didn't listen).  Which I did.  I suppose not hard enough.  Sometimes those signs are easy to miss.  Even with friends like Spark calling me a loon for skiing on a rest day.  (Spark says that if we could average my drive to over-train and her tendency toward laziness we'd make the perfect triathlete.  Will work on that....)

So now I'm icing and eating ibuprofen like candy - keeping my foot up with the cat on my lap.  I'm trying to keep the flashback of those weeks I spent on crutches at bay.  I'm hoping that all the work I've done to get ready for the 10 miler and my first half marathon in March isn't in vain - that I can still race those races.  I don't even need to go fast - that I can just be there and finish on my own sneakers.  It's easy to feel calm when things are going well - right now I'm not really very calm.  But committed to taking things day by day.


Another area of my life where I feel I've missed the signs is my cake business.  I get asked a lot "How is it going?"  Truthfully, in some respects it is very good.  I stopped taking custom orders when I got hurt last year, after a grueling and precarious session stacking a 3 tiered wedding cake while on crutches.  No thank you.  

So now it's a New Year and business is again steady.  Our phone rings at least once a day.  Cake decorating used to be something that I loved to do - the artistry, the challenge.... The problem now is that most of what I do is paperwork and customer correspondence.  I don't get to see people's reactions when they see their cakes, because I'm always at work.  Most customers are nice, but some can be very draining.  On a body and spirit that is already drained and tired a lot of the time.  Jedi and I have discussed what to do many times over recent months, and come to the decision that we will be shutting down the business once our youngest is in full-time school.  That's 18 months away.  

A recent order - roses and hydrangea cupcake bouquet

In the meantime, I'm taking on some projects for family and friends in February and March - just because I think they will be fun.  An outer space birthday.  My niece's Woodland Fairies birthday party.  Legoss son's 5th birthday Karate cake.  I will actually go to these events, and I will see the children smile at their cakes.  I will not fuss with money or pricing - or any red tape. It's my hope to rekindle my love of cake decorating this way.  We continue to take orders from paying customers as well, so per usual time will be of the essence.  But it needs to be done - otherwise something that I love will stay something that I currently dread.  And I'm not willing for that to be the outcome of Owl and the PussyCat Cakes.

It is so easy to make a plan and then push and push with it until you wake up one day in pain.  I created a very successful business that is currently taxing to me instead of fun.  I committed to races and training plans and have still not learned to fully listen to my body.  Let's not even touch on the career issue.  Or parenting.  This is just all the more reason be present and focus on every moment of every day - so you don't miss signs and end up somewhere you don't want to be.

Please cross all fingers and toes that I recover and hit the road again soon.  I'll keep you all posted.

What's the worst injury you've lived through (athletic or otherwise)?  
What did you learn from it?

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Traditions and Recovery

My love affair with the outdoors started early.  When I was four years old, my parents moved to a 4 acre property in rural upstate New York.  I spent my time from sun up to sun down out in the woods - wandering, biking, hiking, creek jumping, breaking my arm (yes really) and generally learning to love nature. The peace that I feel when alone and out of doors is more complete than any other in my life.  It's not a coincidence that, when the time came to choose where our children would grow up, the Jedi and I built a house on 5 acres of land in rural central Massachusetts.

Every winter my parents would take my brother and I to a nearby state park to cross-country ski.  As adults, my brother and I still enjoy this great winter sport.  This weekend was special in that I was able to introduce my kids to skiing - Mommy style.  They took to it like ducks to water.  Now all four of us can enjoy the nearby rail trail and zoom endless loops around our yard and woods on our skis.  Definitely a fulfillment of a small dream come true.

A family tradition passed down

Triathlon-wise, all this skiing definitely added up and into my training schedule.  I have officially committed to and registered for the Old Fashioned 10 Miler in February, and the New Bedford Half Marathon in March.  Which means that my long runs are getting longer.  Hella longer.  This Sunday it snowed about 6 inches.  Great for skiing, bad for running.  Luckily, a coworker came over on Friday to deliver my new (to me) treadmill.  Yes, I now have a full-on "pain cave" in my basement.  Very handy for squeezing in workouts when Mother Nature isn't cooperating (like tonight, when we're getting another 8 inches...).

Anyway, Friday I met Hummingbird at the gym for a strength set (that girl is tough) and what should had been a one-hour 1850 meter swim set.  It got a cut a little short as I showed her some of the drills I've been learning in my Total Immersion class.  Okay fine, and as we stopped multiple times to ogle the college guys (high school?  Please no...) swim team that was practicing in the pool at the same time.  I know - dirty old women.  Snigger.  I atoned for poor behavior somewhat with an hour trainer session that night that left my legs feeling pretty ripped up.  Saturday was TI class, which I am enjoying and benefiting from so much that I really need to make a separate post about it.  Stay tuned on that one.  

And then Sunday rolled around, and Gypsy's and my carefully mapped out meet-up run was snowed in.  So 8 miles in 1:24:47 on the treadmill for me.  Way to break that sucker in.  I listened to a podcast from Another Mother Runner, and then mixed up the rest of the time alternating flats for one song, higher speed for one song, and hills for one song.  I won't say it wasn't painful, but it did break it up nicely.  I also had brought down my IPad for emergency boredom - the cover of which sports the mantra from The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, "Don't Panic".  Appropriate for my longest run ever.  Plus I was running for Meg's Miles, so I had plenty to focus on and be grateful for as I went.  

I'll be leaving Meg's badge up on the 'mill for some time.
More skiing and snowman building on Monday has left me pretty drained.  My legs are the opposite of peppy.  This morning's hill/speed workout demonstrated that.  And yes, my coach combines hills and speedwork.  Run up hill fast.  Awesome.  I guess you get more bang for your buck...

Foam rolling and stretching is important
I truly do have faith that I can finish 13.1.  I do. I'm still on board with my clean eating challenge, and will be keeping gluten free and refined sugar free for the foreseeable future.  I'm still struggling to recover from these long runs - they seem to lead to me sleeping more and wanting to eat everything in the house.  Trying to be good about rest, stretching, foam rolling (as my son nicely demonstrates).

If I could just get one more nap....

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Spaghetti-Os Night - Perfect Imperfection

Like nearly every other mother I know, this is my favorite word.  If we work, we feel guilty for leaving our kids at home.  If we stay home, we feel guilty for not using our degrees and earning potential.  If we grab an extra handful of M&Ms it can cause shame spirals for hours afterwards.  Marriage.  Career.  Children.  Fitness.  Oh my goodness where to begin?  Because at the end of the day, the reality is that you can only be addressing one aspect of your life at any given moment, meaning that you are neglecting everything else.

This has been a tough guilt week for me.  To start out, I am sick.  I took a sick day on Monday.  Which in my industry means that I worked from home in a cold-medicine fog for about 6 hours and got nothing done before giving up and falling asleep in my chair.  Discussing this with Legos (who also works) - neither of us remember the last time we took an actual sick day.  Like, where we just rested instead of continuing to work for most of the day.  Meanwhile, I was physically home, which to my children meant that I should be playing with them.  By the grace of God (or meal planning) I did manage to shove dinner in the crock pot that morning, so the family was fed.  And it was a rest day.  So nothing lost there.  In that same later conversation with Legos, I said that the best part of having so many roles in your life (mother, athlete, employee, wife, daughter) is that when you are sick, you get to disappoint multiple people at the same time.  

The work week did not improve upon my return to the office.  Mistakes were made, mistakes were uncovered, and the usual crucifixion for them ensued.  Not the first or last time I've made errors at work, but it never feels good.  Meanwhile my cold has persisted, causing me to blow off a workout with Hummingbird and rearranging my Training Peaks schedule so many times that I'm pretty sure Sheriff has just given up at this point.

Side note: I'm still getting used to having another person in my life to report to about how I'm doing on a daily basis.  Some days Sheriff knows more than my husband does.  Coaching is weird - very happy that I love my coach so much and that he seems to not want to block my communications yet.

There's a lot of ways I could react.  In reality, I think I've gone through all of them.  Guilt, anger, zen-like moments of meditation, swearing, deep breaths.. the gauntlet.  But I'm settling on this one:

I am ONE PERSON.  No more, and no less.  

I cannot be everywhere.  I cannot please everyone.  I will make mistakes.  I will disappoint my kids - they will get over it.  I cannot do everything.  When I am sick, I might miss a workout or two during the week.  That's ok.   It is up to me to choose how I will react when life gets messy.  In reality, at least 90% of the pressure I feel, I put on myself.  The kids don't really care what's for dinner.  Sheriff tells me to rest.  In a month the current work snafu will be fixed and will blow over.  The cat will forgive me for not giving her enough lap time.  It's all okay.... 

GF waffles - oh so yummy
I was reminded that others think I'm okay as I am by small kindnesses this week.  One friend texted me a photo of my daughter's dance recital outfit that I'd missed seeing, because I work during when she has class.  Hummingbird and Sheriff did not mind my gym shuffles.  I had a good vent session with Gypsy on the phone coming home the other day.  Jedi went to the store for me and got gluten-free waffle mix, and then stayed up late making them.  Those things matter a lot.

So tonight, after work we took the kids to the gym to swim.  Jedi took the kids in the water first so that I could get in my tempo run for the week, and then we all swam together.  It was really nice.  We came home to a late dinner of Spaghetti-Os.  The non-organic, HFCS filled, mystery-meat meatballs alphabet kind.  The kids loved them.  (Clean Eating police - I had brown rice and quinoa pasta with Cara's meatballs and sauce, so shush).  On Tuesday I made it to my son's skating lesson, but then missed their bedtime for my speed run for the week.  They got over it, and were even proud of mommy for running so fast!  I was pretty proud too, as I PRed my 5k time during that workout by a good margin.  

Last weekend, mother runner Meg Cross Menzies was killed by a drunk driver on her morning run.  She leaves behind a husband and three small children.  While I did not know her personally, this story tears at my heart.  I can only imagine the pain that family must be going through.  I don't want to waste the time I have to feeling guilty.  I will be dedicating my long run this week to Meg's Miles.  Meg's Miles asks us to:  

Take in the fresh air, be aware of your surroundings, keep your headphones on low, feel the heaviness in your lungs, the soreness in your legs, and be grateful for it -- for all of it.  The sweat, the pain, the wind, the cold... everything.  Be grateful for that moment. 

Tonight as I was putting my son to bed, he told me, "Mommy I think you're perfect".  I think we all are too, kiddo.  Perfectly imperfect.

This is all you really need to do for your kids.
Hold them.  And rest.  When you need to.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Quick Clean Eats Update

In my haste to toss up last night's post about our weekend's accomplishments before Downton Abby came on, I completely forgot to update everyone on this Clean Eating project of mine.  So I'm checking now at Day 16 of 30 in the project, which was to eliminate gluten, dairy, refined sugar, and alcohol from my diet.

My freezer - half frozen cupcakes and cake balls for pops,
half veggies, lean meats, fish, etc.  Mixed messages??

When last I checked in, I was having major nutrition-related training problems.  Not eating enough calories to support my increasing training volume.  After a few days of tracking my nutrition, I corrected by eating more, and by adding back in cheese and plain Greek yogurt into my mix. Actually, that's not true.  I retroactively tracked 2 days worth of food, made a decision, told myself I'd continue tracking to be sure, and then only logged breakfast the next day.  You see, I dearly hate tracking my food.  I track everything else down to the nanosecond, but for me entering everything I eat into my phone sends me back two years to when losing weight was my main goal.  When the scale got to predict what kind of mood I was going to be in that day.  I'm just not in that place anymore.  Losing weight is not a goal for me.  Being healthy, happy, calm, and training well is my goal.  But I seem to forget that when I've counting calories (or macro nutrients) and go to the bad place where I can make myself feel physically ill deciding if I really need/want a snack because it might not fit in my calorie budget on my phone.  So - I am non-compliant in the food tracking category.  And I plan to stay that way.

Sore throat popsicles - coconut milk, banana,
cocoa powder and honey

So anyway, I do feel much better now.  I've added my trusty PocketFuel back in as my main source of pre- and post-workout fuel, even though it has sugar in it.  Der - sugar is fuel.  It's ok to have for workouts!  I have a little cheese now and then, and I don't feel badly about it.  Dessert can be fruit yogurt and granola with a little honey.  Yummy.

Over the weekend Jedi and I went out to a movie while my saintly parents watched the kids.  Jedi bought pizza at the Whole Foods next door to the theatre. I had a  few bites. I won't call it a slip-up, because it was intentional.  It was that or divorce, as Jedi knew how badly I'd been craving pizza.  I mean, we just came from the freezer isle pricing out GF dough, for crissakes.  Jedi is unfailing patient and supportive of whatever wacky ideas I get in my head to try to myself, but he will not change.  Period.  He wants pizza - he gets pizza.  He will not run with me.  Ever.  Nor will he swim with the kids just because I pushed for a family membership at the Y.  Clear boundaries - it's how it is.  I also got myself a small bag of dark chocolate covered raisins for the show.  I enjoyed my treats.

Me to Legos - don't eat bread and butter
I enjoyed the headache I got later while at my parent's for dinner a lot less, however.  I'm not sure if the wheat and the sugar were to blame, or the three hours of dragon roaring and fighting scenes (yes we saw  The Hobbit, and yes it was awesome) immediately followed by my incredibly loud and excited children.  I'm guessing some combination of both.  But certainly, the sugar and wheat didn't help.

Cravings-wise, I'm doing ok.  I miss things that are crunchy the most.  Much of this diet has the same consistency.  Legos and I have a near nightly ritual of texting each other to talk ourselves out of whatever evening craving we are threatening to devour.  Thanks to a steady supply of treat recipes from Cara's Cravings, my sweet tooth is in check.  I'm down to one cup of coffee, which makes afternoons tough.  Especially afternoons following early morning workouts.  But I'm finding listening to my coach's spin playlists on Spotify is as good as coffee.

Legos to me - don't eat the ice cream!!

Overall, my jury is still out.  My main goals were to see if this diet would positively affect my mood, my migraines, and my stomach issues.  My stomach is the same or worse.  This could also be attributed to my much higher running volume over the last 2 weeks than I've had previously.  I'd like to try my little guy on a GF diet, as celiac runs in the Jedi's side of the family.  My son is quite small for his age and currently is on medication for reflux - I do think it would be worth it to try to eliminate gluten and take him off his meds.  See how he does.

I will say that I feel much calmer and more joyful since Christmas.  I am less reactive to the Monday morning annoying emails from work.  I'm having more quiet moments of fun with my kids without my mind being distracted by worries.  Again, this could be due to a lessening of stress post-holidays, my increased training volume... but knowing myself I think it's that my blood sugar is much more level.

My plans going forward are to keep gluten free past the 30 day mark (though I might have to designate all pizza gluten-free to do it), and keep refined sugar to a minimum.  I'm looking forward to adding back in a glass of wine now and then.  I don't think dairy is something I'll eliminate long term.  But so far I've learned a lot of great recipes, and am willing to call this a partial success.  If it manages to help my son, so much the better.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

A Weekend of Firsts

It's been a big weekend for the Cupcake Triathlete family.  Friday I met my kiddos at the pool, determined to get my girl child over her fear of the water.  The little guy took lessons this fall and is a fish.  My daughter, however, has a tendency to work herself up over things, to the point of near-paralyzing fear.  In this category currently are riding without training wheels (even though she's done it), riding with training wheels, downhill skiing, and getting her face wet.  After a pep talk from my mom and some wise advice from my Boss Scarecrow, I came determined to get her over that last one.  No matter what it took.  No kid of mine is gonna let their fear hold them back.

Turns out it took $2.00 cash and "accidentally" not catching her all the way when she jumped into my arms from the side and letting her duck under.  Which she then realized wasn't that bad.  A few additional financial promises later she was jumping in repeatedly on her own and putting her face in the water for upwards of nine mississippis.  On the way home she told me that, "I have an image in my mind.  When it zooms in, it's the swimmer I want to be!"  Oh my goodness.  Get this kid a job writing inspirational posters STAT. Of course, once I related this beautiful story to the Jedi, he arched an eyebrow and told me that yeah, she said the same thing about an image of him serving her ice cream for breakfast.  So.  But it's good to have dreams!!

I did considerably less well and gracefully at my Total Immersion swim class the next morning.  We are working on head position and breathing.  I cannot relax.  Cannot let me head go enough to get the pattern - instead I continue to arch up like a turtle after a bug.  Head goes us, butt goes down, all momentum gone.   Throughout most of the class I planned on having my Training Peaks comment to my coach be, "F*k this s*t I'm getting a snorkel".  Very mature.  My TI coach is a saint who patiently talked me out of a temper tantrum and I did stay an extra 30 minutes to work on the drills.  I did not swear in my notes to Sheriff.  But that's about as much credit as I can claim for that workout.  Plus I have a wicked cold and sore throat, and chlorine water up my nose is about as welcome as lemon juice on an open cut.  I'll get it... someday.

Both kiddos had another first - their first piano lesson.  I was a die hard band geek in school and still play French horn off an on in my adulthood, so am very very psyched to get them started.  They are just as excited as I am.  Must make sure I raise musically talented (or at least literate) little cupcake triathletes.  What the point of having kids if not to make them in your own image?  Kidding....

This was MY big accomplishment for the weekend.  I know the writing is small, so let me just summarize for you - seven point two two miles baby!!!  Sheriff put 6.5 on my schedule, so I planned an outdoor route since the temperature rose above freezing and it wasn't raining today (amazing).  I listened to Another Mother Runner's new podcast, which I always enjoy.  Even when they are interviewing Monica Culpepper from Survivors and talking about what it is like to bite into a cow eyeball.  Hurl on side of road, thanks.  I actually second-guessed myself on the distance I'd planned and added an out-and-back along a pretty section of road in Rutland State Park.  That addition put me past seven miles.  Wow!  My longest run yet in my life, and at a decent pace no less!  Pretty psyched about this.

In reward, Sheriff gave me tomorrow as a rest day, which means I get to stay up late to watch Downton Abbey.  Yes, 10 pm is late.  Plus, I get to run 8 miles this coming week!  Yeehaw!!  The first half of the reward sounds more restful.... ah well.  Bring it on.

Heading out for the long run.
Girl says "Are you sure you can run that far Mommy?"
Guess who was proud of me when I got back...

How do you pass the time on long runs?  What podcasts/shows do you like?

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Clean Eat BONK

BONK - a technical term in endurance racing for the feeling when you've expended all the glucose in your blood and your body can't pull glycogen fast enough, resulting in sudden weakness, fatigue, dizziness, nausea, and falling off whatever piece of training equipment you happen to be on at the time.  To be avoided.

Checking in at Day 10 of my Clean Eating Challenge.  In terms of compliance, I have been quite a good girl.  I even made it through hosting a New Years Brunch drinking seltzer mimosas and crust-less quiche.  A few choice recipes for sweet snacks from my new favorite food blog Cara's Cravings has tamed the sweet tooth. (seriously - you need to go read her blog right now.  Her chocolate mint patties will change your life). I've mastered the art of the gluten-free dinner....

Lemon chicken, tricolor quinoa and veggies veggies veggies

The dairy free lunchbox...

Tuna salad in egg and flax seed wrap with granola, apples and peanut butter

I've even started reading Wheat Belly by William Davis, MD - a truly eye-opening book about the metabolic and physiological impact of modern-day hybridized wheat on the body.  For example, did you know that wheat, in any form - even whole wheat), has a glycemic index significantly higher than that of table sugar?  In other words, eating two slices of bread spikes your blood sugar higher and faster than a candy bar.  That the result of these repeated blood sugar spikes and drops is the deposition of visceral fat, which in turn functions as an endocrine gland, flooding your system with estrogen and other hormones?  That there is a protein in wheat that actually physically damages the lining of your small intestine, allowing materials to pass into your blood stream that have no business being there?  It really is amazing how widespread wheat consumption is, considering the effects on your body.

So based on everything I've read, and everything I'm doing in terms of learning new recipes and planning, preparing, stocking and stuffing I should be feeling great, right?  Turns out.... NO.  Wrong.  Not at all.  Not one little bit.

Which is pretty frustrating.  This morning I tried a smoothie with sweet potato and peanut butter for my preworkout grab.  Halfway through my strength class I almost had to run out to worship the porcelain throne.  My run afterwards was pretty terrible. I was dizzy the whole time and walked the end.  I very nearly became part of this video:

I have been consistently tired, spacey, stupid, and generally loopy since I started this plan.  Plus my stomach problems (both sides) are worse than ever.  What's a girl got to do???

Turns out a girl's got to EAT.  At the urging of the Clean in 2014 group, I went back and tracked my calorie intake over the last few days.  Guess what?  Not even close to enough.  Not with my training load increasing in prep for my longer running races, upping my distances in the pool, and all my other shenanigans.

So I'm adding back in cheese and plain unsweetened yogurt.  Plus milk in my coffee at the office because they don't stock almond milk.  No, I haven't given up coffee yet, but I am down to one cup a day.  A battle in itself.  I'm going to actually track my calories for a while (a practice I hate because it makes me even more obsessive than usual) and try to choke down more calories.  I mean, there are only so many eggs and avocados I can stomach.  Good Lord.  But I am not giving up.  At the same time, I would be very stupid to keep at what I've been doing.  I truly believe that eliminating gluten will have benefits eventually.  Hopefully soon.  Part of training, and life, is constantly re-evaluating what you are doing.  So I'm re-evaluating.

What's your favorite go-to preworkout snack?  Bonus points for it being grab-able in 2 minutes or less and being able to consume while driving.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Fitting It In

New Year's is a great time.  A fresh start, clean slate... and that magical time of year where it is impossible to get a free treadmill or elliptical at the gym because five times the normal numbers of people are flocking in, determined to make this year the year that they get in shape.  While this is no small challenge to most people, it can be absolutely daunting to mothers.  Moms are the Keeper of the Schedules, the Doers of Laundry, the Chauffeurs, the Buyer of Toilet Paper, and the Readers of Stories. In most households they keep the world turning, keep everyone fed, happy, and clean... often to their own detriment.  So how does a mom with a house, a job, a business, and a marriage to take care of fit in fitness on top of that?  I'm no expert, but here are my thoughts.

  • Know YOURSELF, know WHY, then set a goal.  It's easy to make grand proclamations about your upcoming fitness while hoisting your third glass of champagne on New Year's Eve.  But if you are a rabid chocoholic, giving up all sugar cold turkey for a year might not be the right goal.  Nor would running a marathon if you've never ran a step in your life and have knee problems.  Similarly, resolving to lose 20 pounds because there's a contest at the office with $100 cash prize will probably not get you truly there (unless you really need that $100).  Your fitness goal should be deeply personal - something meaningful.  You need to have a reason why you've set this particular goal - not an amorphous "I want to look better" or "just want to try this", but rather something that makes you imagine yourself better in some way you really care about.  Lose weight because your parent(s) have diabetes.  Be a role model for your kids.  Complete a triathlon because crossing that finish line is something that redefines you in your own eyes.  There's no such thing as a "too big" or "too small" goal.  In fact having more than one goal is good - a short term and a long term goal will help you stay motivated and looking towards the future.  There is however, such a thing as a too-fast goal.  Zero to marathon in 2 months will only get you injured.  Losing 50 lbs in that same time will only make you frustrated when it doesn't happen.  Be realistic, and make it something that resonates with you.

  • Get organized.  All the dreams in the world will not get you onto the treadmill.  You need to become an organizational ninja.  You're busy!!  You want to be busier?  Where are you going to find an extra 5-10 hours a week to work out?  Look at your schedule - see what you can cut.  Yes, even if that means tevo-ing Downton Abbey and watching it later.  Plan out the week's worth of meals and grocery shop ONCE.  Ditto to laundry - make sure everyone in the house has 7 pairs of undies.  Pack lunches, backpacks, gym bags, and briefcases the night before.  You will never make it to the gym the next morning if you are looking for Susie's homework and packing snacks in the morning.   Politely say no when asked to bring a cupcakes to your kid's next Girl Scout meeting.  Graciously decline when asked to serve of the board of the PTO (when you're already on 3 other boards).  Wait, this is for my family!!  you scream.  Guess what?  So is getting in shape.  Cutting corners and saying "no" might violate your innate principles of mommy-hood, but trust me.  It is freeing.  

  • No excuses.  Life happens.  Things interfere.  But that never means that "I don't have time" is a valid excuse.  You will prioritize what you feel are the most important aspects of your life.  Period.  If taking care of a sick relative is more important than making it to barre class, then say that (it should be!).  If an extra hour of sleep is more important than spin class, then say that.  No matter what life throws at you, you are still captain of your life ship.  You are in charge.  OWN THAT POWER.  When I skip workouts, I don't give my coach excuses.  I tell him what was more important on that day (most recently, it was playing hot wheel cars with my kids).  There will be things that preempt your plans.  That is normal, and ok.  Excuses are not ok.  Take control.  Be a force that happens to your life, not the other way around.

  • Get out of bed.  This one is tough.  In my experience, the most successful mommy athletes are those that get their workouts over with first thing in the morning.  Even if it means setting the alarm for an hour previously reserved for catching flights out of Logan.  You are much more likely to not skip a workout if it's the first thing that you check off your to-do list.  Before the Job and the House and Being Mommy can steal your time away.  Use whatever strategies, however brutal, to make this happen.  Put your alarm across the room so you have to get out of bed to turn it off.  Have a mantra  "Don't Think Just Go" once you hear it.  Make sure everything is packed the night before (see above - I'm repeating this for emphasis). Prep the coffee pot.  Sleep in your gym clothes.  Yes, do all of these on a regular basis.  Go to bed early (don't worry - this one will come easily as you start collapsing on the couch in exhaustion at 8:30 or falling asleep in your kids' beds).  If you truly are one of those rare people who can stick to a training program of afternoon or *yawn* evening workouts, more power to you.  Please teach the rest of us.

  • Invest in yourself.  I'm talking time and money.  You will feel guilty for taking time away from your other responsibilities.  Banish this.  Do not let a single negative thought into your head while pursuing your goal.  Having a strong role model and a healthy parent late into their lives is a tremendous gift for your children, one that out-values a few hours of playtime here and there or having spaghetti for dinner twice in a row.  Similarly, you will spend money on yourself.  If at all possible, join a gym with childcare.  There is nothing better than these kind folks that will watch your kids for you while you sneak in a few miles or some laps.  Many of these gyms have kid gyms, pools, programs for the children, hot tubs, saunas, and other amenities that make it an great place for the whole family to hang out.  Yes, they are expensive.  But so are soccer leagues, swim lessons, and dance classes.  Most moms I know think far less about investing money in those activities than they would a gym membership.  I would argue that they are equally valuable for the kids, and way more valuable for mom.  Buy good running shoes - MRIs cost more.  Trust me on this one.  Understand that physical fitness is an investment for yourself and your family, and accept that it comes with both financial and time cost.  All worth it.

  • It's all mental.  No, not that kind of mental.  Well, sort of.... You will have more interruptions, jumps, and setbacks on your path to fitness than a seven mile run with a toddler in a jogging stroller.  You absolutely cannot subscribe to the "day is blown" mentality.  If your workout gets skipped for some reason, find another time in the day to do something else.  Walk the stairs at the office on your lunch break.  Park at the end of the parking lot and walk around the mall.  Be the weird mom doing laps around the field at soccer practice.   If you eat a donut for breakfast, enjoy it, move on, and have a salad for dinner.  What happens... happens.  Thou shalt not beat thyself up over it.  But thou absolutely shall find another way to make something good happen.  Every day.  A huge part of fitness is mental - that means being flexible, being creative, and being nice to yourself.  You cannot become thinner by mentally cursing your body in the mirror.  Your mind is what will let you be an unstoppable force on a mission to your goal - despite missing your morning yoga because your kiddo was up all night, how you look (or think you look) in spandex, or having only raisins and frosting left in your refrigerator for dinner.

We all know the statistics.  1 in 3 American adults are overweight.  Another third are obese.  Diabetes is at an all-time high, even in children.  There is no greater gift that you can give yourself and your family than being healthy and active.  Not because you want to look like a Kardashian or because a new diet is trendy - because teaching your children proper nutrition and to truly enjoy physical activity could quite literally save their lives.  The entire rest of their lives.  And yours.

Best wishes for your New Year's Resolutions.  Now make sure you're not on my treadmill tomorrow!!!

Thursday, January 2, 2014

New Year's Thingy - Let It Go

We just celebrated New Year's Eve at my house tonight.  Yes, it's January 2nd.  I'm a little behind.  But really, it's kind of an arbitrary holiday anyway.  On the actual evening of December 31st we stayed in and went to bed early because I had a race the next day, and last night I had a horrible migraine that forced me into a dark room by 7 pm.  So... Happy New Year from the Cupcake Triathlete gang!

Yes those are cups on their heads.
Cheaper and more fun to make than party hats.

I have only one real New Years Resolution this year, and Disney was nice enough to make a movie with a great theme song to signify it.  Bonus, a great song for a cold weather running, which I seem to be doing a lot of lately.  If you have not yet seen Frozen, you really should.  Go to your local mall and kidnap a random child if you don't have one of your own to justify your presence in this movie.  Don't worry - their parents won't be mad - they will thank you.


Let it go, let it GOOOO, turn away and slam the door!  Let it go, let it go-ooooo, the cold never bothered me anyway!!!

Specifically, letting things go in my professional life.  Now most people, including me, don't usually blog about their work, because it's unprofessional as well as being esoteric boring crap that no one wants to read about.  No difference here.  BUT for whatever reason, I have this running list in my head of all arguments, disagreements, slights, and personal conflicts I've had in my professional career, who was involved, etc. that I have not put down yet.  I remember and rehash things endlessly.  Not so much in real life, just career life.  My company went through several rounds of layoffs, one of which I was cut in, and I still take it personally.  This is doing me absolutely no good.  Constantly worrying if today is the day I'll be fired and looking for nuance in a coworker's straightforward request to grab coffee when they said something hurtful to me two years ago is doing me NO GOOD.  Especially if I ever want to move up and along, I need to be ok with the fact that not everyone is going to like me.  When I told my Boss Scarecrow about my resolution this morning he took the obvious jab that most people aren't gonna like me.  Har har.  That's ok.  Disagreeing with people is ok.  I am actually pretty smart and good at my job, and part of that is disagreeing with people. This is gonna be a huge challenge for me, as shedding 15+ years of meticulously up-kept emotional baggage will take a lot of effort.  A big enough challenge that I felt I had to write about it here, since triathlon is my model for doing so.  I don't obsess and hold onto bad workouts, so why hold on to bad conversations?

Enough about work...

Back to triathlete stuff.  Back to "the cold never bothered me anyway".  New Years Day dawned for me with a horrific migraine.  Why can't I have a hangover like a normal person?  I attribute the migraine to detoxing on my clean eating diet - it was bound to happen between Days 3 and 5.  Too bad I had a race then.  But after some coffee (no I haven't quit caffeine yet despite my daughter's daily admonishments to do so), breakfast, and encouragement from Sheriff and friends, I did make it to the starting line.

It was cold

It was cold, and bright bright bright sunny.  It always is on migraine days.  But I found my friends, bumped into some teammates from CMMS, waited around in the nice warm gym for the start, and just hoped I'd finish under 12 minute miles and without throwing up.
Clean eating race breakfast.  Hard cooked egg,
steel cut oatmeal with walnuts and raspberries

What happened next I still have not figured out.  I ran the race with a 49:47 finish - under 10:00 per mile.  I NEVER run that fast, and certainly not for that long on a course of rolling hills.  Moreover, I didn't leave my breakfast in a snowbank to do it.  In fact, I had none of the tummy troubles that usually plague me when I run.  Afterwards I talked to Sheriff about what happened, and he said that these kind of jumps in performance are going to happen in the first couple of years of training.  Hmm.  I guess that makes sense, but I'm also wondering if clean eating helped my normally messed up GI tract from slowing me down.  Or if my migraine medicine somehow numbed the pain in my legs.  Or if someone sprinkled magic fairy dust on my sneakers. Disney music is magic.....  Time will tell I guess.

Me and my kickass tri friend Jess that I met at a swim
clinic last summer, at the starting line

So what is next?  Lots of not freaking out at work, since January is our toughest month.  Since we're in the middle of a snowstorm and the Jedi cancelled our plow service, I'm guessing some shoveling.  Several friends are doing a ten mile race in 6 weeks - I asked Sheriff if I could join and he said sure.

Ten miles.  That's like, twice as far....  Get ready....

How did you celebrate New Year's?  With a hangover, a run, or both?