Monday, August 19, 2013

The little things I don't want to forget

Being asked to sing the alphabet song over and over again with the order "ABC encore!". Barely getting to the last word of "c'est a toi de le chanter" before Thing 2 order "encore, ABC encore!". it is the first and undoubtedly only time in my life that my singing will be encored.

Hearing her sing the ABC song: "A, B C, D eee eee eee. eee. eee. eee. eee. L M N eee eee".

Having my shoes brought to me by Thing 2 when it becomes apparent that we will be leaving the house imminently. Any random, adult-sized pair of shoes will do and are forcibly thrust upon my feet by her tiny, inevitably sticky, grasping paws.

Hearing her have long conversations with herself that seem to involve the asking and answering of questions:
"Do gu hag a leef looo ha?" she will ask with an unmistakable question mark inflection at the end. This is followed by a long pause during which time she is presumably trying to think of the answer. Then without fail, a few seconds later after she figures it out she will answer herself: "No, no, no, no" accompanied by vigorous head shaking.

The frustrating cycle of: sippy cup deliberately being hurled (her), wailing and groaning (her), sippy cup retrieval (me), sippy cup hurling (repeat ad infinitum). One memorable day as I grew visibly frustrated with the situation Thing 1 finally weighed in on the matter with her opinion: "Mais tu sais maman, je t'avais dit qu'on avait pas besoin de ce bébé." [See mom, I told you we didn't need this baby.]

The certainty with which Thing 2 will name all the cars driving by on the road: "ca!", "ca!", "ca!".

Her first attempt at peeing in the potty - announcing pee pee! Taking off her diaper, toddling over to the potty and peeing gracefully right on the floor right next to it.

The way Thing 2 says "wow" in perfect imitation of me when I admire one of Thing 1's drawing... a long, drawn out, some what exaggerated "Wooooow!", esepcially when Thing 2 WOWs her OWN drawing. 

The care with which she will change her dolly's diaper, put her dolly to bed and push her dolly around in the stroller.

Her tousled head and giant smile in the morning. 

Her spoken vocabulary at 17 months:

-ballon (applies to all ball shaped objects including round fruits)
-ca (perhaps she says car with a Boston accent from listening to too much car talk on NPR)
-nounou (Thing 1's word for the pacifier)
-joooos (juice)
-dis (this)
-pees (please)
-uh oh (used often in a context approrpiate manner)
-en haut
-en bas
-de l'eau

Thing 2`s assertion that Thing 1 is a boy and her determination to trade her in for an older sister or brother.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Race Report: Tentatively Moving in the Right Direction

Progress tonight. 18:43 5 km. 3:39, 3:48, 3:49, 3:49, 3:38. My best race in a good long while. Never mind that I ran 18:09 at this race last year. Never mind that 18:43 used to be a slow(ish) split through 10 km. Never mind that I got beat by a women in a running skirt. I am just going to focus on the fact that it is a tentative step in the right direction. And I am going to keep talking those steps. And I am going to stop thinking and just execute the plan (towards that end I now have me a training plan made by a coach other than me so I really don't have to think at all, except about Monika's plan, and that's ok because I don't have to run it :) ). And, most important, I am just going to enjoy my 18.43.

The real story of the evening was Thing 1 who ran a whopping 5 MINUTE PB in the 1 km... you have to love being 4 - 1 km race, 5 minute PB - 7:11. Talk about being on the steep part of the improvement curve! I would have to run an ultra to PB by 5 minutes at this point. And can I say, without any bias or hidden agenda, that she just looked heart breakingly beautiful doing it. She was enthralled with the whole experience, moving with an amazingly smooth stride that she did not inherit from me and she just had the time of her life. Perhaps the best part was that she had absolutely no interest in beating the other children, she just ran seemingly for the sheer joy of running. I won't push her into running but as long as she continues to ask if she can run a race... how can I say no to the occasional 1 km?

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Race Report: Still a lot of work to do

Disappointing best captures my race this morning. It was a 20 km, so I was hoping that I could jog a 1:25 which would be 1:30 half marathon pace. I went out at 4:12 pace which I thought was totally conservative. Not so. My splits tell the story:

4:22 (big climb)
4:17 (21:06 5 km)
4:21 (changed goal to running every km under 4:20)
4:25 (changed goal to running everykm under 4:30)
4:03 (big descent)
4:21 (42:40 10 km, 21:34 from 5-10 km)
4:33 (changed goal to running every km under 5 minutes)
4:36 (asked my friend Mark who was spectating next to his truck for a lift, he assumed I was kidding)
4:27 (1:04:58 15 km, 22:18 from 10 km - 15 km)
5:00 (took a one minute walking break)
5:21 (took a 45 second walking break and got passed by the second place woman after leading for 17 km... there was nothing to be done about it unfortuately)
4:09 (big descent and noticed another woman less than 10 m behind me who was presumably buoyed by the walking breaks she would have witnessed)
4:54 (big climb, noticed that despite the very slow km the woman did not get any closer, asked my friend Jack who was spectating to borrow his bike)
3:57 (fastest km at the end of the slowest 5 km, but really did not want to get passed in the last km AGAIN after leading for so long. total time 1:28:21, 23:23 from 15 km - 20 km ouch).

So yeah, discouraging. My distress was all muscular. I was laughing and talking with people, making jokes all along i.e. I could breathe just fine but the large muscles in my legs and butt just rebelled. I absolutely could not turn-over. I tried different tactics, the walking breaks, taking smaller steps, getting up on my toes... I just could not get any performance out of my legs after about 14 km. So it's tough mentally to realize that a sub-1:30 half marathon is not necessarily a guarantee. But what can you do?

Make a mental list of all the typed of people I hate getting beat by to pass the time which is exactly what I did between 14 and 17 km. I fear I may offend some readers for which I apologize but if it helps you can put "people who make petty lists" onto your list of people TO beat at your next race. Here goes:

1. People listening to music. Snobby of me, I know...

2. Women wearing skirts (made even more pathetic by the fact that I am regularly beaten by skirts)

3. People with compression socks that end at their ankles, seems so gimicky (totally hypocritical since I own and ran in compression socks today). Why is a compression sock ok but not a compression leg warmer? You'll have to ask the petty part of my brain because I really don't know offhand.

4. People my age (ish) who I used to beat easily. (just a tough pill to swallow somehow)

5. People who I do not like.

6. People pushing baby jogers. Unless it is Mo Farah going by with his twins, I am not ready to accept being beaten in a race by someone pushing a jogger (Yes, I do know that there are countless men and women far slower than Mo Farah who could beat me while pushing a double baby jogger but they don't happen to show up at my local races - at least not with their double jogger.)

7. People.

So there you have it - me at my grumpiest and most petty.

On the other hand, here are some folk I honestly enjoy being beat by:

1. Women much older than I (hope for the future)

2. People who I like.

3. Heavier athletes. I love all evidence  against the thinking thin = fast.

4. People who I know have been training much harder than I (unless they fall into any of the categories in the first list)

So yeah, much more work to do before I have a guaranteed sub 1:30.

The second part of the day i.e. The Big Poopa's fourth birthday party went as well as the race went badly. Huge success. Only minor meltdowns. Enough food. Kids loved the place we held the party. Kids got along. Parents seemed to have a great time despite the lack of alcohol. That was my only regret about the birthday we planned, we could not serve proper adult refreshments (the trade off for not having to clean our home before and after 10 children tore through it). Am I a total degenrerate or is alcohol (for the parents only) not a key component of a successful birthday party no matter what time of day it is held?

Saturday, August 3, 2013

The Plan

In October of 2014, I will reach the age people seem to love to hate, I will turn 480 months old. While there is, as far as I know, no sequel to "What to expect in the first year" that extends to my age to tell me what milestones to expect, I am guessing: increased wisdom, beginnings of hot flashes (me genetic heritage), feeling even more comfortable in my skin, increasing irritation with "today's youth" (hopefully not including the ones I birthed but probably), decreased muscle mass and metabolism, decreased fast twitch muscle, better eyesight, further degradation to my poor beleaguered achilles tendons among many other positives and negatives.

I am determined to make 480 months a cause for celebration and something to look forward to rather than an angst-filled occasion. Actually, my hope is for it to be much like any other birthday with one exception. I would like to run the NYC marathon in November 2014 to put a stamp of "I'm ok with it" on the year. So... working backwards, I need to run a sub-1:30 marathon by the end January 2014 to have a guaranteed entry. I have picked a flat, mid-October half marathon as my target race. I am hoping to run much faster than 1:30....ideally sub-1:25 but with my still unexplained marked decrease in velocity this year, I will take a sub-1:30.

Tomorrow I am challenging myself over a hilly 20 km race to see how far away I am now from being able to run sub-1:30. Hopefully the answer is that I could run a 1:30 half tomorrow (were the race 1.1 km longer); I am cautiously optimistic. Then... to complete the challenge, in the afternoon is the Big Poopa's fourth birthday party - a double header if you will - am: 20 km race, pm: entertaining 11 children and their parents. The biggest question is - which one will take more energy & endurance??

Friday, August 2, 2013

Four years ago

Four years ago yesterday, on August 1st, just past midnight, keeping us in suspense until the end as to whether she would be a July or August baby, born the traditional way or Macbeth style... The Big Poopa a.k.a. Thing 1 a.k.a. La Cocotte joined our family. I vividly remember many things about that day the middle of that night. Perhaps my favorite memory was the very clinical sounds of the c-section suddenly coming to a halt and to sound of my beloved ob-gyn saying "Well, hello there." followed by the first amazing cry of our eldest child. Here is what has transpired in four years:

Day 1

~ Day 365
~Day 365 * 2
~Day 365 * 3
~Day 365 * 4

Happy Birthday Big Poopa!