Thursday, August 29, 2013

Morrison Harescramble and What I Miss at Races

I don't know if I can catch up with every hare scramble we've had this year. It's mostly due to the fact that I'm way behind and that we've gone to every race this year. It's a lot. 

This race was in Morrison, IL. We went the afternoon before and stayed in Le Claire, IA because driving four hours to arrive at a race by 8 am is too early. We chose Le Claire because my sister said I should stop at the American Picker's place, Antique Archaeology. This place is tiny but it is stuffed with great things, some of which you can buy and some of which you can't. I rummaged through a bin full of pull down maps but didn't find anything. I ended up only buying a t-shirt for my sis.

We meandered along with edge of the Mississippi River before grabbing some pizza at Happy Joe's. The Happy Joe's in Ames closed a few years ago and we miss it. Bill misses their taco pizza. The kids miss the games. I miss ski-ball. This Happy Joe's had a fortune teller, which Audrey tried out and we don't think her fortune will come true, mostly due to the misspelled words. Luke spent his quarters and got enough tickets for a handful of cheap toys and Ben tried his hand at a real Pac-Man game. There was no ski-ball. Le Claire is a small town and you might pass it by but don't if you have the chance. 

After a dip in the hotel pool, some shut eye, a carb-loaded continental breakfast, and a thirty minute drive (yippee!), we were reading for racing.

Luke's start was a little rough. First off, the starter did an awful job signalling that was going to start and Luke wasn't prepared. Second, a bike with training wheels almost took out Luke. It was not a pretty start. Luke kept his ride together until another racer didn't pass very cleanly and clipped Luke's bike and he went down enough to lose several spots. He ended up placing pretty low and was dejected. He said it wasn't worth coming to the race.

 Training wheels on little dirtbikes are cute. Little tiny faces, with chubby cheeks smooshed into helmets are cute. Actually having those bikes on the race course is not cute. It's kind of dangerous actually. We don't recommend it. (And I'm not just saying that because of Luke's bad start.)

Ben's race was up next and he was all game. He was out to seal the deal for year 'round points. He had an excellent start. If there was a holeshot prize, he would have been in the money!

Mom can't stand the tension. I had to go stand away from the scoring area for the entire race. 

 While everyone else was near here...

 I was clear back here, across the field, yelling and cheering. I don't think Ben heard me but I felt better.

In the end Ben placed second (but first for points for our Iowa club, which is what he needed. WooHoo!). 

Even though Luke placed low, he got one for participating and let me tell you, that turned his frown right upside down! He was so happy! He showed it to his new friends he made the night before at the hotel swimming pool (who came to watch him race- some 16 year old boys are so nice) and all the people who parked on either side of us. 

Time for Bill's race. Oh no, his kick start thing slipped! (I don't know everything yet.) It was okay. It was a very, very dusty race. If you weren't out front, it was better to be a little back to keep clear of the big cloud of dust. 

And here's where I tell you what I miss most on race days.

Running water. 

To be exact, pressurized running water. As in from a hose, a spigot, a faucet. 

We always have the blue portable thrones available and that is nice; I don't miss flushing for a day. But after a day of racing, we are grimy, sweaty, dusty, gritty and more and I miss modern plumbing. Also, my hands never feel clean no matter how many hand wipes I use.

Sometimes there is water but it's nothing I would actually get clean in. It is fun, however, to watch others in the water.

Next time, I might bring an inner tube and just float. Or is that even a good idea in a creek next to a very obvious cattle grazing field? 

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Running, Singing and General Festing

This past weekend was our town's celebration, PrairieFest. The whole town comes out to run races, enjoy the parade, jump on inflatables, pick a winner in the frog jumping contest, watch various acts going on the at the amphitheater. And in the case of this past weekend, sweat. A town that sweat's together... No?

No matter the temperature, a bunch of us toed the starting line at 7:30 am Saturday morning and hit the streets for either a 5K or 10K. I ran the 10K and my best time ever but my mind (and another part of my body) did give out at the end, so I had a little break down afterwards. A sweet friend pep talked me afterwards and I really appreciated her words. During the race, Bill cheered me on throughout and when I rounded the corner near my house, my three kids were parked in the driveway eating their cinnamon crunch bagels. (I didn't make cinnamon rolls this year and Ben was NOT happy about that!) When I got home, the boys asked me how I did and I told them I had a good race but I didn't place. They were kind of shocked. They aren't used to that. They didn't know what to say. :)

I showered up, grabbed some food and we headed to the parade where Audrey marched with the band and Ben waved from the soccer club's float. Luke stood on the side and snagged as much candy as humanly possible for a 7 year old. We were at the end of the parade route so that is a lot of candy!

Later in the afternoon we braved the heat one more time for the talent show. Audrey and her friend, Teddie, put together a five song set for it. They sang wonderfully. 

I included two of the five songs here. You can watch all of them on my YouTube channel. (It's so weird to say I have a YouTube channel.)

It's very informal and obviously the little kids love to sit up real close, which I love. I think outdoor concerts, for the most part, should be fun. Also, it was ninety billion degrees so no more stuffiness was needed.

The boys came along and they were sort of okay with it, especially when they got giant snow cones. 

We're looking forward to what the girls might do with their singing and to next year's PrairieFest. Maybe you can join us.

Friday, August 23, 2013

First Lake Superior Vacation Trail Run

In yesterday's feature...

Ok, yesterday was something else. I had a ton of traffic to this little blog. I made some new Twitter and IG friends (watch for my #seenonmyrun). I didn't run because it was a rest day. I did errands all over town while dodging seriously nut-so returning-to-college drivers. I was PMS'ing. I was mad and then sobbing all in one phone conversation with Bill. I took a little nap at 9:00 am. I talked to a friend about some of her "crazy cream" to help with the aforementioned craziness. I hydrated. And I marveled at how unbelievable it was to be highlighted. All day. It made my day. You made my day!! 

Now onto my/our run of the Superior Hiking Trail. 

Bill and I planned on running while in Minnesota and had packed for it. Except I packed for Iowa weather instead of cooler Minnesota weather. It had been cool morning temps the whole time we were there and my only long sleeve was a cotton Living History Farms Race shirt and no pants or capris. No matter. We woke up at 5:30 am and I threw on our clothes- tank top and shorts with said shirt over top and my favorite (read: only) long compression socks on, which I never wear on a run, only after but I wanted a little extra warmth.

Sunrise special
We hit the trail with the sun just barely up, but not over the mountain line. The first ascent isn't all that hard but with a good steady pace we got warmed up. I shed the cotton shirt and draped it over a trail sign. I figured if anyone else was up on the trail at that time of day, they could have it but since it's an extra small I figured my chances were slim of it being gone when we returned. 
Bill blazing a trail
 It was a little hard to tell when you summited the peak. We kept guessing because there was some downhill parts but then it climbed back up. Finally we reached an outlook point and knew we were at the top.
Outlook from Mystery Mountain
 We also knew because our next section was downhill, as in no more uphill. Running downhill is trickier than you might think, especially on trail. You need to focus on keep your knees still driving forward and foot striking properly all the while braking to control your speed and placing your feet among the rocks and branches and uneven ground.  
See my socks?
 In too quick of a time, Bill and I reached a little footbridge at the bottom of Mystery Mountain and we needed to turn back. Bill was trying to figure out exactly where we were via his phone but here's what we really learned: stopping equals mosquitos. No more stopping for me. I sucked down a Gu while speed walking and then moved to a run. My goal was to get back to that outlook without having to stop. I would keep moving my legs in a running manner no matter how slow. Move the arms, open the hips, lift the knees, stay tall. It wasn't a speed run just a get-to-the-top run. 
These sections were not too tricky

Thankful the canopy shade
 Then we were there! I did it! I know Bill did it too! But his muscles are bigger and he can and always has outrun me and while I know he still had to work at it, I knew he could do it. I was hoping I could. 
 Then things really started to fly. It was only a couple miles back to the trail head and mostly down hill. The climbing work was done. It didn't loom in front of me and so I let go which was good. Learning how to navigate those rocks and running off camber (when you run side to side with the hill) at a faster pace is work.
We saw one runner that morning (and he didn't take my shirt) and a couple of runners the day before when were playing on the alpine slide. They were geared up with hydration packs and I'm guessing they were training for the Fall Superior Hiking Trail races. 
I also happened to see Bill biff it big time. His body sprawled out before he came to a sliding halt. Thankfully he was not hurt as where he landed it was not rocky at all. I'm telling you, if you wipe out on that trail, it won't be pretty. (It was a little funny, though.)
We went south 
 I'm not much for watch shots but this time I wanted to remember this run. We ran approximately 4.68 miles. It took us one hour and twelve minutes, including all our stops. The last number was my last average pace, which wasn't true for the entire run. I didn't care about the numbers. 

 Once in the car I reflected on the run. I did it! And like I said yesterday, I got a little misty-eyed. It made me realize that I really could do the Spring 25K run and that's something I dreamed of but was mostly still scared of. Not so much anymore!

"What about the kids?", you ask. We prepped them with our plan the night before. When we left, we locked the door. When we returned, they were still asleep! I braved myself to go knee deep into Lake Superior, which keeps itself at a cool 54 degrees about this time of year. Ice bath, indeed. 

We are definitely looking forward to another vacation on the North Shore and also some more trail running. 

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Another Mother Runner Featured Runner

Friends and readers, I'm pretty excited to share with you that today I am the featured runner on Another Mother Runner!!! You'll have to head on over to read it all. I think there are some things you still don't know about me and my running.

I'm really humbled to be asked to be a featured mother runner. It was a secret "Oh, I wish I could be awesome like those mothers and someday be chosen." And while I don't think I'm awesome like those women, here I am. (Ok, ok. I'm clap my hands real fast, slightly skipping excited.)

It was, probably of no surprise to you, hard for me to answer those questions in one hundred words or less. I felt like some answers were more vague than I wanted them to be. I guess that's why it's really just a feature of a runner, not a full blown biography.

And that's why you're here, too. So hello! Thanks for visiting and reading my blog. I'm really glad you did.

For my new mother runner friends, I'd love it if you said hello and told me about yourself. Also, of all my other social media accounts, my Twitter account is where I do most of my run chatting. It's along the lines of "how many layers does 25 degrees, feels like 2 degrees call for?" or other run stuff but occasionally there will be something about parenting or other life thing. On here it's more of a this is my life in which I happen to run. 

What else do you want to know? If you look over at the labels cloud on the right of my page, you'll see the label "run". You can discover that me crying during a race or run is NBD or why I have an affinity for pumpkin pie but only in other towns.

Earlier this week I posted on Facebook/Twitter that I was going to go for my longest run ever- 13 miles. I got lots of virtual cheering, which really did help me. I also got some questions to why 13 miles. My races this fall are mostly 10 mile races. The 25k I hoped to do filled up faster than I anticipated and the registration is closed. I decided to use the Train Like A Mother Half-Marathon Own It training plan. It definitely gets me over the 10 mile mark many times and will hone my speed. It also creeps up to 15 miles for the longest run which happens to be a 25k so it will break that mental barrier for the future. Even now, with that 15 miler still weeks away, I'm thinking "That's just 2 more miles. No big deal." (Except for the hydration/nutrition thing- that's a big deal.) I did a little extra at the end of my 13 and made it 13.1 so now I have run a half marathon distance. Nope I don't have a t-shirt or medal or any finish line photos. Ok by me. I think one has to make their own goals. Mine are just on the wonky side- 15k's, 10 miles, 25k's, maybe someday a 50k- but they're mine. (I'm akin to the K's.) Oh, also I switched my long run to Tuesday because I'm running the 10k Huxley's PrairieFest race this Saturday and I wanted to get both in. 

Do you want to see more of that gorgeousness that is the Superior Hiking Trail?  Me, too!
Tomorrow I'll write more about my most favorite recent run. But for now, here's another peek.

Who feels like running?

I feel like I should clarify that neither me nor my family follow the Paleo diet. I've alluded to it a couple of times now and linked to a few Paleo recipes we've had (shh, don't tell the kids), but we aren't. We are very much for lots of whole foods. Less processed is the direction I'm headed but if you wave a bag of BBQ chips in my face, it's kryptonite to me. I make a mean scone and my sugar/snickerdoodle cookies have been featured at more than one gathering. Also, I like meat. Oh wait, that is Paleo!!

I'm also behind on race recaps and I will try to jam those in here sometime soon before the fall races start up. 

Monday, August 19, 2013

Brave Back to School

Ben- 5th, Luke- 2nd, Audrey- 10th grade

This morning I woke up and told Bill "I can't believe school is starting today." For me there was no build-up of anxiety. It was just like any other day: wake up, eat breakfast, get dressed then go to school. Even missing was Audrey's wardrobe/hair drama because student council was required to wear their BSC shirts. (Audrey's not wearing her's yet for some reason that I don't care to figure out why because she'll resolve it herself.) While I'm glad that there isn't the aforementioned drama, I'm just a little sad that there isn't a cute outfit.

I snapped the standard back to school picture in which they all participated in willingly and then turned to Bill and pretended to cry which suddenly turned into real tears. I don't know why. All summer long, I've felt as though I've fought to adjust to having them home and now here, ten minutes from them starting school, I'm putting away the toaster and I kind of don't want it to happen. It's moments like these that remind me I am a mother.

This morning I knew of four other mothers who were sending a child off to school for the first time. They couldn't help but cry. It's not just starting school. It's new beginnings in life: starting school, first sleepover, first solo driving, first trip somewhere, graduation, starting college, getting married... I have come to terms that I will be a crying mess at every single one of those events. 

As I was praying with a couple of other moms, God brought to mind this truth: He cares for my children way more than I do. I said it allowed and let it sink in. Because this is so true, I am called to do one thing: trust.

Brave trust.

It's a new phrase of mine. 

Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. Hebrews 4:16 
Brave trust that approaches the throne. Brave trust that touches grace and laps at mercy. Brave trust that it is He who brings about all things for His purposes and perfects us for His glory. 

May you step in brave trust today.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Non-Camping Cousins Craft Day

We have had a full summer. Just enough busy. Sitting at the computer has been last on my list. But over the next weeks, I am going to attempt to catch up on all the summer blogging. Cross your fingers that this actually happens. (Also, it could be totally random as to the order.)

The last time I posted, my oldest two were at Kid's Camp that our church holds every year. Need an awesome camp for your kids? Join ours. I had almost a whole evening to myself to think, breathe, put more than two thoughts together. That's why I blogged. 
Anyway... there was a pile of cousins who did not go to camp because they are too young still or in Cora's case, a year too old to be a camper and a year too young to be a counselor. Also, their mama's were helping with apartment turnover time and needed kid care. So I pulled on my aunt hat and had them over for...

Non-Camping Cousins Craft Day

First, we asked Unco Bilw if he could pwease help me wearn how to wide a two-weelwer. 
 And sometimes we let Uncle Bill have a break while consulting about the speed of a two-leg powered tractor.
 Then we dipped glass rims in melted almond bark and coated them with sprinkles. 
 Craft time! Painting wasn't quite as messy as it might have been. Cora helped the girls keep it neat.
While the other kids' canvases dried, Cora taped, painted, and punched out butterflies for her own canvas. She called it abstract art. I called it open ended art. It didn't matter. She used magazine pages for her butterflies...
 While Ariana and Chiara first painted paper with water colors and then punched out butterflies.

In the above picture do you see the box Hullabaloo? We've had that game forever and they play it almost every time they come over. If you've got a set of 8 and under in your house, you should think about getting this. (Sorry, never mind. I just looked it up to link it for you and since they don't make it anymore it costs about $80 on Amazon.)

 Snack time was cookies and milk with the rim-dipped, sprinkled glasses.
 Valor wasn't in on the crafting. His style was more napping and then pulling on Uncle Bill's hand to go "ow" and see "da". He loves Lucy and Lucy loves Valor. The problem is obvious- size. Lucy's tail alone can knock Valor down, so he always needs some assistance (i.e. Uncle Bill)
 Park time.
Sadly, I don't have final pictures of the kids' crafts. The girls' butterfly canvases were super fun. The boys painted theirs, then taped a pattern on the dried canvas and then painted in the blank spots. Those also turned out pretty great. 

Butterfly canvas inspiration here.
Taped canvas inspiration here.
My canvas Pinterest board here.
Milk and cookies inspiration here.