Mommy Wants a Timeout

In which I contemplate absurd moments in parenthood, occasionally attempt to refer to myself as a “triathlete” while keeping a straight face, and maybe post some random pictures of stuff I’m knitting

Archive for the month “February, 2012”

I am an ATHLETE!!! (Just don’t ask me to climb a flight of stairs.)

Ouch…That’s about all I have to say right now.

Ha, ha…Just kidding. This is my blog, and my race report, so I definitely have a few things to say. But now that I am a half-marathon finisher survivor, the biggest thing on my mind is, “Wow. I hurt a lot more the day after than I thought I would.”

If you read my earlier angst-filled post, you already heard me whine about my injured foot, and knew that it was no sure thing I would run Sunday. But dammit, I paid the entry fee, and if there’s one thing I hate, it’s the idea of paying for a race and then denying myself the pain and suffering of participating.

So before the crack of dawn Sunday morning, I strapped on my motion-control shoes, ate a bowl of oatmeal, and headed to downtown Portland for the Heartbreaker Half. It was a brisk 34 degrees outside, but luckily I had many blocks to walk from where I had to park the car to get myself warmed up. And I managed to time things just about right…Enough time to get through the porta-potty line and line up for my race without too many extra minutes to freeze and/or freak myself out.

Not that it mattered…A combination of nerves and the Gatorade I slurped down as I left my car gave me a horribly queasy stomach for the first 5 or 6 miles of the race. But I kept my breakfast down, and kept telling myself the nausea would pass eventually, and on the bright side, my foot didn’t hurt yet! But although they were flat and unchallenging, those first miles were the worst part of the race for me.

Just before mile 6, the course started climbing up hill, eventually getting pretty steep. I learned later that the course climbs about 500 feet betweeen miles 6 and 10. (Glad I didn’t know that ahead of time!) Ironically, this was when I started relaxing a little and chatting with the other runners. Misery loves company, right? Something about running hard and still only achieving an 11:30 mile just makes you comfortable striking up a conversation/complaint with a stranger. Plus, as I’ve mentioned before, I know I’m not fast, so I might as well be a cheerleader for others!

After this grueling uphill section, we ended up running on a bike path bordering a beautiful wooded park…Still pretty hilly, but with enough twists and turns you couldn’t really see what was coming next. All the better, in my opinion. My legs were getting pretty tired, but I’d only felt a few twinges in my foot, (Seriously, my Brooks shoes are like a walking cast!) so I was beginning to feel like I might actually be able to finish this thing. And the nausea was gone by now, so I was able to eat an energy chew every couple miles, which kept me from burning out altogether. Interestingly, throughout this section of the race, I traded leads several times with a racewalker who was maintaining a pace that was so steady I could have set my watch by it. Yep, I’m not even ashamed to say it… I was averaging about the same speed as a walker. But hey, what normal person walks at and 11-min. mile? She really was amazing, and I told her so.

Eventually we left the park and began to head downhill, back to the city center and the finish line. With around 3 miles to go, I was now pretty sure I would be able to finish, and man, I couldn’t finish soon enough. I picked up the pace, finally said “see ya” for good to my race-walking buddy, and did my best to ignore my rubbery legs and twinging ankle.

In the last couple miles, I mentioned to another runner that this was my first half-marathon…She congratulated me, then pulled ahead…But just as we passed the 12-mile mark, she turned, jogged back towards me, and said, “Sometimes the last mile is the hardest.” “You want to keep me company?” I asked, and we ran the last mile together, sharing her stories about running all over the world, and mine about being a beginner triathlete. The last mile flew by, (at least in part because I ran it about 2 minutes faster than my average for the previous 12!) and pretty soon we were coming up on the finish. Sharon, my new friend, told me she was going to back off so I could have the finish to myself, and I made it across the line in 2:23:39…21 seconds faster than my projected time.

Finishing was awesome, the strawberry shortcake they served was awesome, I’m told that they announced my name when I crossed the finish line, which would have been awesome if I’d been paying attention…The only part that wasn’t so awesome was not seeing my husband and son cheering for me at the finish. Apparently DH got mixed up and ended up along the 10K course finish, which came in from the other direction. Poor guy had been waiting there for half an hour with camera at the ready. If he hadn’t heard my name over the loudspeaker, he might never have realized his mistake! So no finish line photos, but that’s just fine.

As for the recovery, my muscles were so sore the next day that walking down stairs was nearly impossible. Tensing my quadriceps sent waves of pain throughout me. And I was reduced to waddling around the house in the posture of a geriatric duck. Oh, and my foot hurts too. Time for a few days off from running, I guess. And maybe a trip to the podiatrist.

So I can check it off my list: half-marathon, complete. Building an endurance base to help me through an Olympic distance triathlon: complete. Plans for another half-marathon? Not anytime soon, that’s for sure!


Angst, Angst, and More Angst

My foot hurts. Really hurts…Not in the “I’ve been spending a little too much time on my feet” kind of way, but more like “Oh, this is how Julie Dibens must have felt when she dropped out of the run leg at Ironman Kona.” It aches all along the outside, a little bit on top in front of my ankle, and when I flex it (as when walking.)

This is a problem. You see, I have now completed three months of half marathon training, and my race is scheduled for Sunday. 10 and 12 mile long training runs? Check. 6 mile tempo runs? Nailed them! Everything should be in order to complete my first 13.1 in a few short days, and then BOOM! I put on my cute but poorly-fitted and completely unsupportive (but did I mention, very cute?) black boots after my 9-miler on Sunday, then strolled around the grocery store. All of a sudden, the mild, nagging ache that’s been barely noticeable for 6 weeks flared up into a pain so bad I was limping my way back out to the parking lot. Oh, vanity, you will be the death of me.

Three days and multiple icings later, (“You’re not going to make me eat those frozen peas later, are you?” asks the husband), the foot feels a tiny bit better, but still moans and groans if I walk around barefoot for too long. On the plus side, it seems to do okay if I’m laced into very supportive footwear. (My vanity is really suffering right now.) On the minus side…Well, 13.1 miles seemed like a really long distance when my body felt pretty good overall. Now that I’m injured, I really don’t know what to think.

So what do I do? Do I give it a shot on Sunday, and bail if it hurts too much? Do I skip it altogether, and forfeit my entry fee? So disappointing to even think about that, after all the work I’ve put in…I was really, REALLY hoping to check this off my list before triathlon season starts. As of now, my plan is 3 days of total rest (well, I’m going to swim, but I don’t think that counts), then an easy run on Thursday to test it out. If the foot holds up inside my super-stability running shoe, then I think I’ll cross my fingers and go for it. If it hurts too much…Well, I’ll cross that bridge when I get there, I guess.

In the meantime, the adorable black boots are in time-out indefinitely. As are the ballet flats and anything with high heels…And this is almost as sad to me as the thought of missing out on my race. (Okay, not really, but I do love my shoes.) Stay tuned to find out whether I run the half or not, and whether I end up back on speaking terms with my boots. Also, feel free to chime in with any injury-recovery advice!

Be nice to your feet...Or they will rebel and make you miserable.

Photo credit:

The Most Exhausting Race of All

Lately I’ve been pondering something. How is it that I can swim a mile without stopping, or run 10 miles at a time, but an hour spent interacting with my 4-year-old child can leave me totally exhausted? Something about the endless Toy Story 3 reenactments (Why do I always have to be Mrs. Potato Head, anyway?), monster hunts, and pretend-camping in a tent in the living room are leaving me a little burned out these days.

If you don’t have kids, you’re probably thinking, how hard is it to play a little make-believe? Fosters creative thinking, right? Well, my creative thinking is about tapped out now. (Explains why it’s been so long since my last blog post…) For example, I’ve been informed no less than 40 times this past week that “a monster’s coming!” and of course, “we have to stop him!” This means it’s time for me to propose a solution, which promptly gets shot down by my son:
“Make your scariest face!”
“No, that won’t work,”
“Well, chase him away!”
“He keeps coming back.”
“Suck him up with a giant vacuum!”
“Didn’t work.”
“Well, you could try reasoning with him.”
“No, he still wants to eat me.”
“Okay, then you think of an idea now.”

The scariest monster of all terrifies his mother...

After a few hours of this and other types of pretend play, I am utterly worn out, and hoping desperately for it to be bedtime for my son.

I don’t think you can train for the challenges of being a parent without actually being one, but it would be kind of fun to see a competition among non-parents assigned to preschool-age kids. The triathlon version might look something like this:

1st leg: 2 hours of fully interactive, pretend play (Simultaneously checking Facebook, reading a magazine, or knitting a sweater are rule violations which will disqualify you.) Bonus points for dress-up, silly voices, or pretending to be something truly ridiculous (like Mrs. Potato Head.)
T1: Get your preschooler to take a potty break when he really needs to, and really doesn’t want to.
2nd leg: Get the aforementioned preschooler to eat a healthy dinner (vegetables, anyone?) Bonus points if he doesn’t whine “but I don’t like (fill in the blank.) Points deducted if you disguise all the veggies in ranch sauce, cheese, or ketchup.
T2: Quickly clean up after dinner while maintaining your role in the first leg’s pretend-play.
3rd leg: Bedtime!!! Into PJs, teeth brushed, potty (“But I don’t have to go!!!”), storytime. Bonus points if the whole thing doesn’t disintegrate into a screaming tantrum. (But no deductions if it does…That’s just reality, folks.) Tuck the kiddo into bed, then collapse in exhaustion at the finish line…er, couch.

There would be no winners in this race…No finishers medals, either. But with the daily training I put in, I’m sure I could give a few Ironmen a run for their money if I could persuade them to compete with me! It would probably be the only time we’d share the same field.

Excuse me, now. Mrs. Potato Head is needed over by the campfire to help scare away a team of ferocious child-eating monsters. Wish me luck!

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