Wednesday, December 30, 2009

2009 review and 2010 goals

It's been a big year in our house. We had our third (and last) child. We bought a new house, one which we hope to live in for a VERY LONG TIME. J started a new job. I started my own business. We've watched our children grow and flourish. We've watched them frustrate (both us and themselves). Things have been good. We are blessed. And happy.

It's also been a big year on the running front. It started with me all huge and waddling. Running at the end of a pregnancy is a rather awkward thing (but I would highly recommend sticking with it if you can). Once Dilly arrived, I was forced to take a three week hiatus. I did. Then returned to running (and racing) 23 days after Dilly's birth. I ran the Youngblood 5K, which I finished in 27:35 and somehow placed 3rd in my age group. Yes, there were only nine people in my age group, but I still beat six of them!

I used the rest of the spring to build my speed before marathon training began. I ran two 10K, an 8k and two 5Ks between April 1st and May 31st. By the end of May, I had gained back most of the speed I had lost during my pregnancy. I even set a new 5K PR of 25:19. Definitely the highlight of the year.

June 1st started half-marathon training, which led right into marathon training. Over the next 24 weeks, I logged almost 600 miles. In that same time, I PR'd at the Patrick Henry Half in a time of 2:18:18. That same day I suffered severe dehydration and was inches away from heat stroke. Not my best running moment. But at least it taught me to NEVER run another half marathon in the middle of summer in the South. Seems so obvious now ...

After that half, marathon training went well. Until four weeks out. My ankle started acting up. I had to back off on mileage. And then I fell down the stairs and hurt my other foot. It was rough. I did almost no running in the last three weeks of training. But on race day, I was standing at the start line ready to go. Before the race was half over, my ankle gave out. I didn't know at the time but it was severely sprained. I finished, slower than I had hoped, but amazingly I loved every moment of it.

I would have to take the next three weeks off due to that injury. But after a cast and a dose of cortisone, I came back, perhaps stronger than before. Today, I logged my last run of 2009. And while I missed my goal of 1000 miles, I am rather happy with what I did accomplish. And very hopeful for 2010. So here they are, my 2009 totals and 2010 goals:

921.35 miles run
110,562 calories burned
3 PRs set
at least 50 cupcakes eaten

2010 goals:
run 1000 miles
run a 2 hour half marathon
run a sub-25 5K
run a sub 7:10 mile
eat less than 50 cupcakes

What will you do in 2010?

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

sore arms ...

With three kids under age five in the house, things can get pretty messy. I have been trying to get the girls to at least help me clean up their toys. Sometimes it works. Sometimes it doesn't.

Yesterday, Doodle refused to help. I asked her why. And she responded with this doozy, "I can't clean up. My arms will hurt."

Seriously? Lifting up your toys will hurt your arms? Well, we wouldn't want that to happen. Perhaps, things would be better if I just got rid of all those toys. What Doodle? You don't like that idea either?

Monday, December 28, 2009

Christmas weekend rewind ...

It's FINALLY over! I can dismantle the tree. I can take down the lights. And I won't have to hear another Christmas song until next Thanksgiving. All joking aside, our holiday was fantastic. Here is the photographic evidence:

The girls got EVERYTHING they could ever dream of (including American Girl dolls - Thanks Uncle Jeff and Kellis) and I got my Crackberry. My new addiction. I bet if there was a way to effectively combine my addiction of running with that of my new phone, I would do it. I'm never unplugged. How did I ever function before?

Not only did I get a sweet gift, I was a pretty awesome wife too. I hooked J up with his own Garmin Forerunner 305 (now he can stop stealing mine) and a RoadID (safety first people). He loved his gifts and now has no reason to not properly train for his FIRST HALF MARATHON on May 16. So, if you see him, make sure you ask him how his training is going!

Speaking of training, I have a "fun run" half marathon coming up on Jan 17th (or at least that's how we said we are going to run it. But let's be honest, "fun run" is code for race!). Anyway, G and I are going to Bermuda. We were both supposed to be running. But both of us ended up injured after the marathon. I recovered. G, well G is getting there. Looks like she won't be back in time. Honestly, I just want to PR (2:18:17 - would do that), but in the back of my head I would really like to go sub 2:10. I've heard the course is REALLY HILLY. So, we'll see. In the weeks I've been back, I have been working on consistently running faster. Mostly on the treadmill. For a few reasons.

1. I can not run with a triple stroller.
2. I hate running in the cold without a running buddy.
3. I think it's easier to "push my pace" on the treadmill.

Last week, I did 8 miles on the treadmill in 1:09, just above my 10K PR pace. Short runs (3-4 miles) have been just above my 5K PR pace. I got outside yesterday for a 10 miler. I ran the first three alone, then met up with some friends for the next 4.5 and then ran 2.5 miles home. My overall pace was 9:33. And I felt great. Today I am a little sore (obviously from the terrain differences). Anyway, I checked this run against the last 9 miler I did in marathon training. The pace for that run was 10:38. Love it!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Virtual Winter Misery One Miler ...

I partook in my first virtual race today - The Winter Misery One Miler hosted by RunningLaur. I had never heard of this "virtual race" thing before but instantly wanted to be a part of it. I was totally psyched about the distance. I have been itching to do a mile time trial, but have been putting it off. Now I had the perfect reason to try.

So this afternoon, I headed outside (for the first time in ... well too long). The temperature was 34 which contributed to some dicey conditions. The roads are still rather icy from last weekend's storm and I found myself dodging black ice and shortening my stride to keep myself from falling. I ran as hard as I possibly could without wiping out and never looked at my watch. There were moments when I thought I might die. But I didn't. I finished. And rather quickly (for me anyway) ...

McMillian says that based on my 5K time, I should be able to do a mile in 7:18. I think that is pretty dead on given ideal conditions (ice is not ideal). Perhaps another goal for 2010 ...

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Christmas baby ...

In case you were wondering, the Blanchet home is non-denominational. I was raised Catholic (and it's been years since I've been to Church). J's dad was inches away from becoming a Catholic priest, but changed his path and kind of dropped the whole religion thing (for their entire family) all together. When J and I decided to have kids, we decided that we weren't going to raise our children with the beliefs of any specific religion. Since J never had it in his life and I kind of felt like it was forced upon me, we thought that we would give our kids the opportunity to practice any religion they wanted once they were old enough to make an informed decision on their own.

This has both succeeded and failed. We do not currently practice any religion, but to appease our relatives we had (or will soon have) all of our daughters christened (baptized? blessed? whatever you want to call it). The concept of God has never really come up. Dizzle has asked about where you go when you die, but I try to keep the explanation as simple as possible (since she is only four). All in all, we don't really talk about religion to our kids and today this became apparent to me.

Dizzle and Doodle were asked if they would like to be in the Christmas pageant at a friend's church. Knowing that my girls would LOVE to, I jumped at the opportunity. But then I realized that they have NO CONCEPT of who Jesus is. I felt the need to "fill them in" on the back story of the Christmas pageant. I wanted to explain to them that Christmas is really not about Santa, but the birth of Christ. Our conversation went a little something like this.

Me: "So girls, we are going to go to Miss G's house to have dinner and then we are going to go to the Church to have a dress rehearsal."

Dizzle: "What is a Church?"

Me: "It's a place people go to worship."

Dizzle: "Oh. Is it the wedding place?"

Me: "Yes, it's the wedding place. Anyway, this "play" you are going to be in is about how Christmas came to be. You see Christmas is really a celebration of Jesus Christ."

Dizzle: "Who is that?"

Me: "The son of God. Anyway, his birth was so important that Christians everywhere began to celebrate it every year and it became what we know today as Christmas."

Dizzle: "OK. So is he (Jesus) going to be at the Church?"

Me: "No, Dizzle. Jesus was born a very long time ago and he is no longer with us."

Dizzle: "Oh, so is someone going to pretend to be him?"

Me: "Yes, just like you are going to pretend to be an angel and Doodle is going to pretend to be a sheep."

Dizzle: "What did the angels do when the Christmas baby was born?"

Me: "They watched over him."

Dizzle: "And what did the sheep do? Sheep are supposed to be on a farm."

Me (knowing Dizzle thinks Jesus was born in a hospital with sheep walking around): "Well, Jesus was born in a manger. It's kind of like a farm."

Dizzle: "Oh. Well, what kind of shoes do angels wear?"

And that was that ... Do you think they got it?

Tacky Lights Run Pictures

Here are some pictures from last week's Tacky Lights Run. The first one is during the run. Note the lights - people in Richmond are kind of known for going CRAZY with them. I'm in the white shirt with the pink hat. I'm joined by four of my "Run Like A Mother" teammates (we're the hot ones on the left side of the picture.)

This picture (which includes our entire group) was taken post-run while we were enjoying hot chocolate. The perfect ending to an awesome run!

Monday, December 21, 2009

missed goals and giveaway ...

For the last two years, I have tried to hit 1,000 miles. And for the last two years, I have failed. In 2008, I was pregnant with Dilly and that put a damper on my mileage. I ended up about 100 miles short. I thought 2009 would be different.

Dilly was born in January, so I had the remainder of the year to make up the difference. January's mileage was lower than I hoped, but it's hard to run far when you are nine months pregnant. Then, February was even lower since my OB demanded that I take three weeks off. (That was REALLY hard to do). In March, I got back on track and by June, things were in full swing once marathon training began. Things were looking good until the end of October, when my ankle started acting up. I cut my mileage A TON to keep my injury minor so that I would be able to run the marathon. And it worked, but after that race I had to take three weeks off to recover (which included wearing a cast, in case you forgot). Two weeks ago, I started running again. But it was too late. I had fallen too far behind. With 10 days left in the year, I am 105 miles from my goal. And I am pretty sure that by the end of next week, I will only be about 75 miles away. SO CLOSE!! It's super frustrating. If I had not had to take off those six weeks, I would have exceeded 1,000. All I would have needed to do was 12.5 each week. It's kind of depressing.

But that is the last I am going to say about it. Next year, I WILL HIT 1,000. And everyone of my other goals as well ....

OK - So if you made it through my whinefest, you will now be rewarded with the opportunity to enter Mel's awesome giveaway. She's giving away three Gu prize packs. For your chance to win, all you have to do is click HERE

Saturday, December 19, 2009

holy snow ...

It doesn't snow in Richmond. But somehow, it has snowed twice this calendar year. And last night, it snowed huge (10"). And more is expected this afternoon. This is a good and a bad thing. The girls LOVE the snow. I generally like the snow for a day or two, but then I am over it. That's pretty much the end of the good.

Since it NEVER snows here, everyone is ill-equipped. The snow doesn't really get plowed. And if it does, it's poorly. No one has snow clothes. AND NO ONE CAN DRIVE IN IT. It's sad. I used to live where there was lake-effect snow 345 days a year. I can drive in snow. This fact was proven last night when I was driving home during the first two hours of the storm. I was going 45 on a major interstate. The speed limit was 65. I was passing EVERYONE. It only got worse on the local roads. 15 mph was pushing it. I really think the best part of the night was when I stopped for gas. I had about 60 miles to empty so I stopped to fill up. It was a madhouse. Everyone of Wawa's 24 pumps had lines three cars deep. People were filling up gas containers. You would have thought it was the end of the world. All I could do was laugh and think, "Seriously?"

All joking aside, I think my least favorite part of the snow is that it puts a damper on my running plans. I really wanted to get outside and run this weekend. I was even thinking of going on a short run last night while the snow was falling just so I could say I was that hardcore. I didn't. My brain (which was too afraid I might hurt the ankle) won out and I ended up on the treadmill. For eight miles. At an 8:45 average pace. With negative splits. A minute and fifteen seconds faster than I averaged during marathon training. Hmmm ...

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Tacky Lights ...

Last night, a group of friends and I went on our local Road Runners Tacky Light Run. It was six miles of fun with some Christmas lights thrown in (done Richmond style, of course). The course was nice and it was awesome to see the city lit up at night. After the run, the entire group (probably 60+ runners) was served hot chocolate and desserts at Savor. I had a blast. And since it was free with my RRRC membership, the event earned some major bonus points.

But the real excitement of the night came on the drive there. K, rocking her mother-in-law's Neon, picked me up. Then we headed out to get C and R. We were running late. And we didn't really know how to get to the start. K was messing with her iPhone. We were trying to figure out if our teammate was in labor. We missed a turn. Then we almost took the wrong exit. Before we knew it, it was two minutes before the start and we were sitting in an EZPass lane with the gate stuck in the down position. K put it in reverse. Then slowly rolled forward. Creeping. Creeping. And FINALLY, the gate lifted. We were off. Just minutes away ... then we almost missed the exit again. We arrived just after 6 (luckily they got a late start) to find F standing under a street light on a sketchy street waiting for us. We had made it. And almost crashing six times was totally worth it, because I am pretty sure I have found my new favorite holiday tradition!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Christmas in Maryland ...

The Christmas season is officially in full swing here at the Blanchet residence. We traveled on Friday (for the third straight weekend) up to St. Michaels, MD to celebrate Christmas with my mom and sisters. Angie Pants put us up in her fabulous hotel and we filled our weekend with family, festivities and all around holiday joy.

We started Saturday with a Christmas parade, which the girls LOVED. Dizzle yelled out, "Merry Christmas" to EVERY SINGLE PERSON she saw. It was so cute. The parade was followed by a Christmas themed fair for the kids with crafts, activities, games and prizes. It was by far the best value of the weekend. Only $2 and the girls each left with a pair of gloves and magic wands. They were in HEAVEN.

After that, we went to lunch then back to our hotel room to change for dinner. But before we ate, we exchanged gifts. The girls got SO MUCH. More than they really need. So much that I can't really figure out what else anyone could possibly get them. They are in their glory right now, bouncing from one toy to the next. It's great for me. They want nothing to do with me. They are completely occupying themselves. LOVE IT!

We ended the night with dinner and my FAVORITE CUPCAKES. It was an all-around fantastic time.

On Sunday morning, we headed home in so very wet conditions. I had planned to run in MD that morning, but a lack of sleep coupled with cold and rain put a stop to that. Instead, I ended up on the treadmill once we were unpacked. I really wanted to test the ankle with a longer run, so I set out to do six miles. It was a great run. I had no pain and felt like I could have kept going. The best part was that I averaged a 8:39 pace (way fast for me!) It was the perfect ending to a fantastic weekend!

Friday, December 11, 2009

my 100 thing ... updated

A while back I compiled a list of 100 things about me. It was one of my favorite posts. Recently, I updated it for the Stroller Strides blog. If you're interested, you can read it HERE.

overloaded ...

If you haven't figured it out already, I am totally Type-A. I am uber-organized and ALWAYS take on more than I should - mainly because I am often afraid that if I let someone else handle things, it will probably turn out wrong and I will have to do it over again anyway. If I just do it myself, things are just less complicated (but usually more stressful).

This need to be in control has turned into quite the workload. On top of being a full-time stay at home mom to three kids, four and under, I work part-time as a fitness director for Stroller Strides. That job requires me to teach classes, train instructors, handle scheduling, and several other administrative tasks. I love it, but at times it can be a lot. Add to that the fact that I handle the bookkeeping for a friend's business, I started my own small business this year, I serve as the VP of Licensing at Dizzle's preschool and I am the Coordinator of our Luna Moms Club and you can see that I have a pretty full plate. Oh, and did I mention I run? Sometimes for hours on end?

I get asked a lot how I manage everything and honestly I don't know. Sometimes, I can't manage to get a single thing done and some days everything flows together so seamlessly. I live and die by a schedule (and speaking of schedules I need a good half training schedule - hint, hint). I rarely budge on anything. My kids don't know what it is like to be awake after 7 p.m.

Today is one of those days that I can't seem to get anything done. Time is ticking by so slowly, yet I feel like nothing is being accomplished. It's frustrating. And when I am frustrated, you really don't want to talk to me. I get rude and short and start thinking that everyone else in the room is a complete idiot. It's not pretty. Trust me.

Monday, December 7, 2009

i heart cortisone ...

So, after a full three weeks off, one very itchy cast and a good dose of cortisone, I FINALLY tested out the foot (and my new plaid running skirt - too cute!). AND IT WAS FANTASTIC!!

We got back from our trip to New Jersey around 6 p.m. last night and since it was already dark (not to mention WAY COLD). I got dressed and jumped on the treadmill after the girls were in bed. I figured I'd try a mile at an easy pace. But, once I got through the mile and wasn't feeling any pain I decided to go a little longer. So, I kicked up the speed and ran another two. When I was done, I was beyond relieved. I made it. And more importantly, my foot held up. I decided that I would wait until the morning to declare victory, just in case some phantom pain showed up. But, IT DIDN'T!!!

Now, I can focus on the upcoming Bermuda Half Marathon in 41 days (or 10K if G is up for it). And hopefully, by easing back into running and keeping my mileage controlled (under 35 miles a week seems to work for me), I won't have another flare up. Hopefully.

Friday, December 4, 2009

stools ...

In our playroom, we have a table and chair set from IKEA. It's nothing fancy. A blue table with three stools, two pink and one green. (Yes, I realize that it was stupid to get a green one.) Anyway, this morning, I was watching G's youngest and the kids were fighting over who got the pink stools. Doodle lost out. This, of course, turned into a HUGE tantrum. Apparently, having the green stool is the END.OF.THE.WORLD.

Doodle's reaction went a little something like this:


OH.MY.WORD Dizzle! It matches your outfit! I must remedy this situation RIGHT NOW! Here you go Doodle. Here's a new shirt. NOW the GREEN stool matches your outfit. Happy?

Thursday, December 3, 2009

another giveaway ...

Have you checked out Amanda @ 5 miles 2 empty's first giveaway? To enter for a chance to win a sweet Asics visor, all you have to do is click HERE.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

and the verdict is ...

So I went back to the doctor for my foot/ankle yesterday and didn't quite get the news I was hoping for. I have some crazy thing. Severe stenosing tenosynovitis (yes, the report actually said SEVERE). It's the progressive restriction of the sheath surrounding a tendon, causing inflammation. And there was indication of something else, not really sure what she called it, but it's not good. Basically, my doc said that my tendon is being choked. She thinks it might be caused by one of several extra bones I have in my foot.

So, she gave me a shot of cortisone and told me to come back in three weeks. If that doesn't work, then surgery is pretty much my only option. Arrr! Hello? Didn't my foot get the memo that we are racing in Bermuda in January?

But now I have a dilemma. I don't want surgery, but if it is inevitable, I would rather have it now and get it over with. I don't want to wait the three weeks, just to have to take off longer. I am waiting for the doc to call me back so that I can see what she thinks. Maybe she'll tell me I am crazy and the cortisone is going to eliminate the inflammation and I'll be fine. Right?

So, what would you do?