It’s a Hard Taper

ta·per 1. diminish or reduce 2. the training phase right before a long distance event, such as a marathon, when a runner starts to cut back on his or her mileage.

I ran a grand total of 2 times last week. 10 measly miles. Wait! No…. it was only 9 miles. During the taper you are supposed to cut back on your mileage, but I don’t think it’s supposed to be 60 to 0 (or 45 to 9, as it may have been) in one week… it’s usually a little more gradual than that.

I had thought I was going to run about 28-30 miles last week, but life got in the way. I don’t talk about the specifics of where I work on my site, but in my day job I work (more than*) full-time as a “Director of Web Services” and we are supposed to be launching a new site this week. So last week was filled with tons of calls and meetings to get ready for this week. I worked early in the morning to get tasks done before my daughter woke up and I was testing things on my iPhone and iPad while playing with her in the evenings. Combined with the fact that I was just exhausted all week, I only made it out to run twice during the work week.

Then we had visitors on Saturday morning and I didn’t want to traipse all over them before dawn. Sunday I set my alarm for 4 am to go run before #AwesomeA woke up to see what the Easter Bunny had left behind; but I must have just turned that alarm off and went back to sleep because around 6 my husband poked me and said, “You didn’t go run.”

Ooops…

This week holds more stress. Our new site is supposed to launch on Friday, but when you work with a team of people and several of these people have failed to get things to you by deadlines… you gotta make it work somehow, especially when you’ve basically been told “You have no choice in this launch, it doesn’t matter if you have to work all hours of the day and night to make it happen, it will happen.” And we combine that with the fact that I am essentially a single parent from January until May because my husband works stupid-long hours… it’s a challenge. My heart races just thinking about it.

But on the flipside, I really want the site to launch by the end of this week, so I have the weekend and early days next week for follow-up troubleshooting. Because I definitely don’t want to carry that into Boston with me for the marathon.

AAAAAAAGH!!!

So while I try to pace my brain and wish that all of my meditation attempts had stuck, I’m going to leave you with the joy of a two-year-old experiencing Easter.

“How ’bout eggs?” #AwesomeA

A photo posted by Jill (@jillwillrun) on

*When you telecommute and live in your work, it’s so easy to just do that “one last task” at odd hours. And with our world of convenient technology, it’s sadly gotten to a point that instead of making life easier, it’s making it so I feel more betrothed to the job. You will work the standard 8-5 (or 7-4 as in my case) PLUS you’ll respond to emails/texts/calls around the clock.

JVC Sport Headphones

If you’ve read my site or social media for any amount of time, you’ve probably picked up that I take issue with runners blocking out the world as they run. And if you haven’t picked up on that… I HATE when people have headphones on and cannot hear the world around them. I have run past people and had them get startled as I passed them because they never heard me coming. I have had runners I coached not even hear me come up behind them, run next to them and start talking to them because they were looking straight down and had on headphones to drown out the world. That’s dangerous… don’t do that!

So when I was given the opportunity to check out a new pair of sport headphones from JVC that have features that help runners listen to their tunes but still be aware of the world, I had to jump on that.

jvc-sport.jpg

JVC HA-ETR40 features:

  • A soft, rotating rubber hook that holds them securely in place and
    can be adjusted to get the perfect fit;
  • Waterproof and washable;
  • Two sets of earpieces — conventional that seal out ambient noise (in three sizes) and “open type” (also in three sizes) that allow ambient sounds to be heard so runners can hear the sound of approaching vehicles, etc.;
  • Two-piece cord — Use the short cord if you wear your phone/music player on your arm, and so avoid the hassle of excess cord; use the extension if you carry your phone in your hand or pocket;
  • One-button microphone and remote control

Waterproof and washable are super cool. A remote/microphone is a fantastic feature. Two piece cord so you can have a shorter line when wearing your device on your arm is swell. But I want to focus on the different earpieces…

jvc-sport-buds.jpg

I was curious how well the different earpieces would actually work. So I took all the little parts and pieces into my backyard. There is a fairly big road construction project happening just over the wall from my house (will be sooooooo nice when that is done!) and my backyard is fairly noisy right now. It scares my dog.

I put the conventional buds in place, popped them in my ear and turned on music. Sure enough, I didn’t hear much construction noise. So… they’re great at blocking out ambient noise. Then I switched to the open buds, they have little divots around them. And I was very pleasantly surprised at how much I could hear the offending construction noise.

Hanging out in the backyard = don’t want to hear that construction ambiance

Going on a run = necessary to hear the worldly traffic ambiance

Honestly, I was pretty impressed and I’m glad to have these JVC sport headphones as another headphone option in my arsenal of recommendations. Great sound and safety options!

jvc-sport-wearing.jpg

You can snag a pair for about $35. They come in two color options: red/black and gray/black.

Disclaimer: All reviews are my own opinion, this product was provided free for the purpose of review.

I Pity Da Fool!

  • I feel totally ready for the Boston Marathon. Marathons are easy!
  • I love Linkin Park’s music.
  • I really dislike broccoli.
  • It’s amazing how well rested I feel.
  • I handle stress really well.
  • I want another baby.
  • Skirts are totally my comfort zone.
  • I’m totally glam.
  • I love makeup.
  • I am the go-to-gal for hair advice.
  • I ran today.
  • I have really crappy employees. They never save my bacon!
  • Being a mom is super easy. I was born for this job.
  • Transformers is a totally awesome movie franchise.
  • I think my next big thing will be a figure competition.
  • The Tonight Show sucks. Jimmy Fallon doesn’t rock.
  • Vampires are so cool. I loved when they were everywhere.
  • Swings are so much fun. Wheeee……..
  • I have too much free time.

PS…. I pity ‘da fool that believes this list! Happy April Fools Day!

i-pity-da-fool

Let the Madness Begin

It’s….. time…. to…. TAPER!!!!

Some people get a little case of “Taper Madness” in the weeks leading up to the marathon. Mileage is reduced and people start to get antsy, thinking if they cram in one more hard workout or throw in new classes to fill their time they’ll get to the start line better/stronger/faster… I’ve felt that too. But not this time. (Okay, one day into it… but still, bear with me here!) I’m sooooooo ready to taper. Get the legs feeling fresh? Yes please! Maybe sleep a little more? Hallelujah! Watch more The Walking Dead? WOO HOO, I’m addicted! (I’m also kind of sad that I’m so behind on this show… I totally would have been watching Talking Dead all this time too! But alas, I just started watching it this year.)

Taper Madness is sounding more like Taper Bliss.

Another kind of madness is going on around the country… March Madness. Are you into college basketball? I’m…. not. In fact, I’ve gotten more and more anti-college sports the longer I’ve been married. But I get it, it’s “a thing”. But a kind of tournament I can get behind here is from Skin Authority… they’re showing off some of their products that represent offense/defense. My favorite defense is their Sunscreen Moisturizer. They’re doing a tournament from April 1 to April 6 where a product will represent each team in the Final Four… and multiple people can win one of the products and the grand prize winner will win them all.

SkinAuthority-SunscreenMoisturizer-MedRectangle

Figuring out my schedule this week may lead to madness… I’m already super confused with my daughter’s spring break this week. Spring Break means there is no school. But we could pay more $$$ to send her to “Spring Camp” this week… but I have no clue if she’s supposed to be in uniform or if the extended care hours come into play this week or not. It’s all so confusing! I took her into school when camp started today, not in a uniform, and a bunch of kids were there already; so I assume extended care is still in effect? Which is good because I need my work hours, especially over these next couple weeks!

Oh… and another madness that may get me is 2-year-old madness. Parenting a kid who is 2.5 is an interesting kind of hell/heaven. That kid can break down at a moment’s notice and be screaming, and you can be filled with stress and anxiety about what caused this yet filled with so much love for this little screaming tornado at the same time. Honestly… I don’t understand how people have more kids because as fantastic as she is… every time she has one of these meltdowns I’m like “Sterilization? Sign me up!” But then she calms down, stops crying and says “I no want water in my eyes.” and I’m instantly filled with a warm rosy glow… that still says “Sterilization? Sure… let’s do that but let me play with this kid for a little while.”

Friday Fete

Yesterday I drove to Utah for work, a nearly 200 mile drive each way. My kid woke up exactly 30 minutes before my alarm was set to go off, so I was up at 3:30 trying to calm her down. Then it was pointless going back to sleep, so I just got ready and then I started my drive. And realized when it was too late to turn around if I was still going to make my 8:30 AM meeting… I forgot my wallet. And suddenly I felt so vulnerable. No license, no credit cards… Fortunately my mommy works with me (for a little longer until she retires this summer – Boo for me and everyone at work, Yay for her!) and she was able to help me out. I had meetings, I was a guest lecturer and I drove home still in time to pick #AwesomeA up from school… but we couldn’t go directly to a park. I was in dress clothes and my work shoes had been munching up my Achilles tendon all day. I needed to go home and bandage those up!

Some random thoughts floating through my head as I drove…

I love peanut M&M’s… I mean, I REALLY love them. I lived 34 years of my life thinking “Peanut M&M’s… they’re tasty enough to eat a couple sometimes.” And then for the past 2.5 years my thinking became “Peanut M&M’s are the best thing in the whole world. I NEED them now!” I wonder if having a kid had something to do with my addiction surge? Like the way some mothers use wine to make it through?

peanut-m-m

I recently finished the book All Joy and No Fun: The Paradox of Modern Parenthood. It was well-written, easy to read… but I’m starting to think that maybe I shouldn’t read any books that have anything to do with parenting.

  • One, it made me really nervous about the teen years (and my kid is two! I have a way to go here!)
  • Two, it made me discredit the book when I read the teen year info. What do you mean they can’t think about future ramifications of their actions?! That’s all I thought about when I was a teen!
  • Three, it made my resentment toward my husband increase. It discusses how most men say they split childcare duties 50/50 with their wives but research shows that it’s actually more weighted to women doing the work. (Like 60/40 or something, I don’t recall the exact numbers.) And all I could think was “Who are these men doing 40% of the childcare?!” Because… the vast load of childcare falls to me in my household and I frequently look at it as a 95/5 split! Maybe 90/10 if I’m having a pleasant day!

But it was interesting how modern parenting has changed. Compared to my grandmother’s time, when women didn’t work as much to now… parents actually spend more time one-on-one with their kids. We live in a world where we can’t just say “Go outside to play and don’t come back until it’s dark.” like was possible in the past. So now we stress ourselves out with making sure that we’re super employees and super parents, thus we’re not having any fun despite thinking our children are our greatest joys. (And yeah… #AwesomeA is pretty much the best thing in my life… while also the hardest thing in my life!)

The author did a TED talk, if you’d rather just spare 18 minutes on the subject as opposed to the whole book:

I also read The Girl on the Train. At least in that book I didn’t find myself comparing my domestic life to the ones in the book. But I’ve decided I’m tired of book reviews saying “It’s the next Gone Girl!” No… it’s not. There is only one of those and that’s the way it should be. It was a good book, but I think that led me to think it would be more explosive than it was thus leaving the book to feel a little like a let down. But if I hadn’t been given that pre-conceived expectation, I’m pretty sure I would have enjoyed the book a lot more.

I’m ready to taper. Next week… my taper starts. I don’t think I’ll even have any taper madness. I’m just looking forward to it! I’m going to throw a taper party. No I’m not… I don’t throw parties. But I’m going to be relieved! This tweet made me feel better about my current level of exhaustion:

Balance: Is this a real thing?

what-is-balance

This month Stonyfield wanted those of us on Team Stonyfield to talk about how we balance everything as we train for the Boston Marathon. And I gotta say… some days I feel like the whole idea of having balance in your life is a myth. Like a unicorn.*

There are days where I feel like the wheels are turning and I’ve got it all going smoothly.

  • Get up early and run 8 miles before work. CHECK
  • Shower and eat. CHECK
  • Get the kid dressed with no battles. CHECK
  • Food in the kid. CHECK
  • Productive day of work. CHECK
  • Take the kid to a park and have a lot of fun. CHECK
  • Make dinner that the kid eats cheerfully. CHECK
  • Give the kid a bath and get her in jammies with smiles. CHECK
  • Bed time with hugs and kisses and stories and cuddles. CHECK
  • Make the kid her lunch for the following day. CHECK
  • Husband is home in time to watch The Walking Dead on Netflix with me. CHECK

But then we have days that feel more like this:

  • Get up super early to run, as I’m on my way out the door I hear a wail, “Mommy…. I need you.” Soothe the kid, get her back to sleep and go run half my planned distance.
  • Get home, kid is waking up and crying. Go into her room and she is happy until I tell her she needs to get her uniform on, then we have a meltdown.
  • Kid is finally dressed, take her downstairs to get breakfast and she refuses everything. Instead she just wants to watch videos on the iPad, which isn’t allowed before school.
  • Strap the kid into her carseat so husband can drive her to school, go back inside and realize I am a good 45 minutes late for work, still gross from my run and haven’t eaten. Grab something simple to nosh and sit at my desk. Go take a shower when my co-workers are usually going on break.
  • Every project at work decides to take a left-turn on direction. Months of work is kind of thrown aside like it was nothing. Finish the work day feeling like I want to scream.
  • Pick the kid up from school. Go play at a park, but the park I take her to is the wrong one so she’s not happy.
  • Kid doesn’t eat anything for dinner.
  • Kid won’t read stories. Jammies are all wrong. The blankets are all wrong in her bed. There are no happy faces when the kid goes to sleep, an hour past bedtime.
  • Husband strolls in from work about 10 minutes after the battles have subsided, getting to miss it all.
  • I go to bed annoyed at everything then toss/turn all night long.

So is the simple fact that I get up each day and do it all again and hope for scenario number one “balance”? I guess so…  I just need to keep in mind that when there are the frustrating moments, “it is what it is” and “this too shall pass” and “days are long but years are short.” Are there other cliches that are applicable? Because I certainly don’t ever feel like I’ve got a balance going, I feel like I’m just careening through the days, mostly out of control.

It’s been an adventure training for the Boston Marathon, that’s for sure. I’m thrilled that I get this opportunity (Thank you Stonyfield… every day, Thank you so much!), but I have decided that I am not going to do anymore races that are out of town in the months of January-May as long as my husband is still in public accounting.

*Speaking of unicorns… my daughter started saying yesterday she wanted to “go to the unicorns” and she almost cried this morning when she asked if she could go to the unicorns instead of school. So I promised her a “unicorn adventure” after school… trying to figure that all out while I work. Wish me luck!

Oh… and while searching for unicorn stuff online for this “unicorn adventure” I stumbled upon this picture and it reminded me of when my daughter turned me into a potato and then I laughed! So… the fact that I can still laugh, that’s balance?

unitato

Kid Day

Yesterday, this happened:

Just had to share… she’s learned the joy and excitement of new running shoes a lot younger than I did! :-)

Today I had to take the day off work because my daughter’s school was closed for parent-teacher conferences. (BTW – she’s brilliant and has “mastered” everything at school!) There was no discussion about who would take the day off, there never is. It’s just always assumed that I will. It’s a good thing that the massive work projects are delayed a couple of weeks, not because I’m failing on any of my parts in the project. I always have my tasks done on time!

But school closed = no kid care. So I’m hanging out with #AwesomeA today. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve done some work today, responding to emails all day and assigning tasks/approving things while playing at the park and actually sitting down with my computer while she watched some kids music videos for an hour as “quiet time.” But we’ve been to a couple different parks today, had lunch with a friend of mine where “A” got to have an ice cream cone for the first time. (Jason’s Deli… you rock for having tiny cones!)

The next couple weeks may be my undoing though! Marathon training is peaking, work projects will be peaking, my daughter’s school has a week where there is no school for spring break so she’s enrolled in spring camp for the week, but that’s just 6 hours a day, and my perennially busy spousal work schedule… my head may implode. I actually bought these from Swanson’s Vitamins:

Swanson's Stress Burnout & Exhaustion Relief

I hope they do something to help me, because truthfully… my heart starts to race when I think about everything I have on my plate and I feel my chest start to constrict.

But aside from feeling anxiety about missing out on stuff, I do enjoy having time with my daughter. She wanted to go buy nail polish and paint her nails. We bought this blue nail polish by Sally Hansen that she picked out herself… after I directed her to those Insta-dri ones because it’s impossible to get a 2-year-old to sit still long enough to let nail polish dry.

And aside from the fact that I haven’t been able to figure out how to appease her constant request today for “frogs riding bicycles” – it’s been a pretty chill day. I decided I wasn’t going to do any household chores, so no laundry or grocery shopping. Just hanging out and playing with her (with little spurts of work inserted throughout the day!) and that’s been good.

I’m a Potato!

Being a potato sounds so nice right now… you just lie there, until someone mashes you up. Or roasts you. Or bakes you…. Wait, that is what work is like now. Except you just sit there and voice your opinions until someone mashes or roasts or bakes them. But then they try to form the original idea back into a potato, so it becomes twice-baked? This is one messed up metaphor. Maybe it’s my brain that is a potato now.

Sigh…

Also… why did my kid decide she was turning me into a potato? Of all the things to turn someone into, why a tuber? That cracked me up!

a potato

Mixing in a little Tabata

Long distance running… it can be high intensity, but not the same type of intensity as a sprint. It can be high intensity, but not the same as lifting weights. It can be high intensity, but not the same as mobility drills. High Intensity Interval Training (H.I.I.T.) has been gaining ground and popularity for the past few years.

That’s where Tabata comes in. The basic backstory: Dr. Izumi Tabata and his team ran a study where they divided participants into two groups. The moderate exercise group worked out 5 days a week for an hour. The high intensity group worked out 4 days for 4 minutes, 20 seconds. The moderate group gained cardiovascular fitness, but not much muscle fitness. The high intensity group experienced gains in both areas.
[Source]

So… how do runners use it? Well, building a strength-focused Tabata workout can help build key muscles, muscles that can help our running by keeping us more upright and our glutes firing. Doing exercises like squats, lunges, push-ups for 20 seconds, with a 10 second recovery in between each. Lateral squats are great because as runners, we tend to move so much in a forward direction. It’s great to hit more planes of motion.

Or we can hit the track and do Tabata sprints, 20 seconds sprinting followed up with 10 seconds of rest repeated 8 times. This isn’t a workout for the newbie though, the sudden stopping can be harder on joints and

I’m partnering with HumanX by Harbinger to help spread the #TabataTuesday word and educate people about the amazing benefits of adding some Tabata to your life. They make a wide range of gear (find out how you can win some, just keep reading!) that can help power the burn in your Tabata workouts. (Of course, many Tabata workouts can be done gear-free too!)

humanx-gear.jpg

HumanX is giving away gear every Tuesday during March. Here’s their full post on the details, but to enter you just need to use the hashtag #TabataTuesday on Twitter/Instagram/Facebook and you’ll be entered to win a weekly prize, as well as earn entry toward the #TotalTabata grand prize pack at the end of the month. Each post or tweet is an entry, so you can enter on lots of platforms and enter multiple times.

This week’s giveaway is for Kettlebell Arm Guards from HumanX Gear. Kettlebells are a fun strength training tool, but they can scratch/scrape/bruise your arms. These help protect you, so that the evidence of your workouts isn’t based on how many bruises you have. (Unless you’re like me and you just bruise for seemingly no reason at all!)

humanx-kettlebell-guards.jpg

I’ll make sure to let you know what the next #TabataTuesday giveaway is as well! Follow me on all my social platforms for updates too! Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

Check out this video for some starting ideas:

Friday Fête

Well… I’m off to a race this weekend! The following text was all written when I thought I was going to a race… I actually started on my way to the race. But my kid puked in the car twice within 30 minutes of home and I knew I couldn’t handle at least 2 more hours in the car with that on my own. So… like I said, what follows was all written when I THOUGHT was leaving town to run a race. But once you read the final lines of this post, they feel even more important to me now!


I’m super excited to run the Zion Half Marathon this weekend (it will be good for me to practice pacing myself in a race environment, since marathon pace is not the same as half marathon pace) and experience the event once more. This was the first half marathon I ran postpartum, when #AwesomeA was 6.5 months old. Now she’s 2.5 years-old and life is a whole lot different!

2013 Zion Half Marathon - Alex and Mommy

Throwback pick to the 2013 Zion Half marathon, one of my favorite race related photos EVER! #AwesomeA is almost 7-months-old here.

When I did the race in 2013 I was a stressed out mess because I forgot a part for my pump, so I had to wake my baby up and feed her before I left and then hope she was all good when I finished. She was sooooo hungry when I finished and I felt like a selfish jerk.

This year, at least I don’t have that worry, but I have all new stressors. I’m driving north to my mother’s house in Utah, “A” and I will stay there overnight and then I’ll wake up at some insane hour in the morning to drive an hour to the start line. Then I’ll do the race, catch a shuttle back to my car and drive back north to my mom’s place so I can get my kid and then drive back home. I just stress because I have so much work to do (seriously, this site gets pushed further and further down my priority list because… well, it has to. It’s not my job and it’s not my family!) and I thought I would have to take today away from work to drive to packet pick-up, but they are offering that at the start line race morning. But my mom had plans tomorrow and her husband had surgery yesterday, so I felt like an imposition asking them to watch my rambunctious little girl. I am sure it will be okay and they are excited to see us, I just hate feeling this overwhelmed.

Fortunately I was able to still send my kid to school today and I was able to get a lot of work done this morning (probably because the rest of my co-workers are OFF today for a holiday… so I had gloriously uninterrupted time to be productive). And now I need to go fill my car up with gas, make some sandwiches for the road and double-check that I have everything I need packed up.

Hope you have fun plans for the weekend! And that you aren’t as stressed as me.

Remind me to not do races January-May in the future, okay? And tell my work to not decide to do huge projects during this time period when I’ve signed up for races too, okay?