Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Good bye 2013

Wow, what a year!  I started the year with a 6 month old baby and ended the year with a year and a half old toddler.
I went from going to at least 2 if not three shows a month to just one if I was lucky:(  No nationals or regionals or any traveling really.  No goals, successes here and there but our first QQ and some really nice runs and time with my agility friends.

I started running.  I have been a runner for years but this was my year for some serious goals.  I started working out hardcore in January and then started my four day a week running schedule in May.  I ran numerous 5 Ks, three 10 Ks and one half marathon.  I logged over 600 miles in just 8 months and made  some new running friends including my new BRF robin.  
We traveled to Tennessee with an almost one year old to spend a whole week celebrating.  We made it one piece going and coming even though I came back sick.  It was so good to see family and for andrew to get to see so much of his Tennessee clan.  

And this happened.  14 years since I last saw him and he walked out of my life, my brother walked back in.  God I love him.  Maybe I should write a blog about him.  Think the movie the Blind Side and you will know our story.

Lots of change happened with my job as well.  We went from just doing research on grants to a full fledged service center for a company called Bionano Genomics.  I have had lots of ups and downs with my job but I feel like we are heading in the right direction and will be able to remain open with a full line of clients.  

What does 2014 bring?  I am sure more changes.  We will hit the terrible twos although I am pretty sure we are already there.  Probably even more cutting back on showing.  I am still making peace with that.  More racing and more fun runs.  More PRs and a heck of alot more half marathons (hello heartland series).  Will write about goals in another post, but here is to another great year full of change and fun, dogs and running!
From the Red Aussie Crew, have an awesome New year!

Saturday, December 28, 2013

What do you do?

I get alot of questions about what i do and how I got to do what I do.  I do lots of tours through my lab and love telling the students that come through my story.  It's kind of a weird journey so here goes.

When I was in high school, I loved history.  I had the best high school history teacher ever and she really turned me on to that subject.  Plus, I had a photographic memory so I could memorize dates and facts fairly easy.  I wasn't as fond of writing about it, but i loved teaching others about something I was so passionate about.  My senior year, I decided to do academic decathalon because my high school teacher was the coach and because it was basically memorize lots and lots of facts and regurgitate them at competitions.  We had a class much like a practice for a sport at the end of the day and i LOVED it.  Until i got to the math part of the decathalon. I have never been good with numbers and absolutely hated the math portion.  It kicked my butt in a super bad way.  It really turned me off to think I couldn't be successful just because of one subject.  Also, about this time, I had something else going on in my life as well that was pulling me in a totally different direction. I had gotten a horse after years and years of wanting and begging and pleading. I had saved up my money and bought him and I was boarding him south of town.  I went out every day to see him and ride him and love on him and I was head over heels about him.  I was also big into FFA my senior year, competing in prepared public speaking and horse judging.  I was starting to uncover another love of mine, agriculture.  My senior year in the summer, I  worked out on the experiment station in Jackson for a horticulture scientist which uncovered another love of mine, research.  I knew I wanted to go to a local college and I was deciding between Union U, the local baptist college and UT martin.  UTM was about an hour away and I wasn't sure I wanted to be that far away from my mom ( i was big time mommy's girl), but it had an animal science program so I could actually study horses and agriculture!  Union U was in town but I would have to live at home and I needed to get out and be on my own, plus my love of history was waning.

I headed out to UTM to major in animal science. I wasn't quite sure what I wanted to do with the degree.  I didn't really want to go to vet school but i wanted to study agriculture and animals.  I worked full time at the school's rodeo facility that had a 52 stall barn and bulls, steers, calves and bucking horses as well as boarding horses.  They also had an on farm house that i could live in and get out of the dorms which was a huge bonus for me.  Dorm life was too loud and hectic and I think I went a whole semester with no sleep. I got my degree done in 3 years thanks to having a full time job that kept me in town during the summer too.  I had met a wonderful professor who was doing lots of research in the swine industry and got involved with helping with several of his projects.  This re awoke the love I had for research.  I had been looking at grad schools throughout my stay in martin and was narrowing it down between repro science which was my favorite class and food science/food safety which was a very hot research area and very well funded.  I chose food science/food safety and narrowed it down to two schools, KSU and UK.  In the end, the town of manhattan won me over with it's rural-ness that was very similar to martin.  I had really grown to love martin and would have stayed if I could have found a job but in a little town, jobs are hard to come by and UTM didn't have a master's program.   So off I went to manhattan KS, the little apple to start a new chapter in my life.

To say that living in manhattan and getting my master's degree in food safety was easy was an understatement.  For purposes I don't want to get into in this blog, it was the hardest 5 years of my life.  I had the worse and best experiences of my life and it almost cost me my life, but we aren't going to get into that today.  At the same time, I learned so much and really loved the research we did.  My masters focused on pre-harvest food safety and I LOVED this area.  Working with animals and microbiology really took both of my favorite areas and married them together.  In a nutshell, I was trying to find a diet using dried distiller's grains to reduce acid resistant bacteria.  We looked at general coliforms and e. coli and not specific pathogens but the work I did helped to open the door for more pathogen specific work and started KSU into being one of the leaders in pre-harvest food safety.  My project was more than just cattle work and lab work.  I also did meat studies including a professional taste panel, a retail color study, a study of the CLA and LA in the ribeyes and also ruminant nutrition studies to look at the effect of the diets we used on finishing the cattle.
Loved living in Colorado

Fast forward to the end of my grad career, I took a job in industry traveling for a small start up company  in Golden CO that had a novel instrumentation for pathogen detection.  While i got to travel all over the US and the world and see some pretty cool stuff, I didn't enjoy traveling 5 days a week and my dogs and boyfriend (now hubby) were still in manhattan.  I decided that i would give it a year and if I still wasn't happy, I would go back to KS.  Well, I knew that even before the year was up that I wasn't cut out for this job.  I started applying for jobs back in KS and KSU.  Because of my experiences during my grad career, I was limited to jobs not in my field if I moved back home.  I remember applying to my current lab position as I had been applying to any and all lab positions.  I remember my boss asking why I wanted to take a pay cut and come back to manhattan.  I had a pic of my dogs and tony and she understood.  She didn't mind that my degrees and experience were elsewhere.  She wanted someone to train and i was a blank slate.
in newmarket England at the National Horse Museum

Now my current job.  I am a developmental biologist who practices some genetics, some molecular biology and is an expert in RNAi interference.  I work with a genetic model organism, Tribolium castaneum or the red flour beetle.  Unfortunately, we ran out of funding about the time i was due to have andrew.  We let go of a tech, stop taking grad students and paired down our undergrads.  The opportunity to be a service center for a genome sequencing company that had a novel genome sequencer arose and we took it.  So I had a baby, got back from maternity leave and had to learn a whole new job.  There have been many ups and downs but I can say now that I am also an expert in retrieval of high molecular weight DNA.  What is that?  Well, old sequencers use small pieces of DNA, on the base pair level (bp).  We extract DNA that is in the mega base (mb) range and read pieces that are 200 to 500 kilo base pairs (kb), so the biggest pieces you can keep intact.  It is an art form that is incredible hard and there are no kits available to help so everything must be done by hand the old fashion way.  We have had many failures but are starting to have successes and I am glad to be a part of it.  I won't lie, it has been hard on my scientific soul to have so many failures but I remember all the great scientist before me that had many years of failures before they had great success.

So the moral of the story is, don't think you have to be defined by what you want to do even as early as high school.  Back home now you have to pick a track and stick to it or go to a magnet school for what you want to do.  I hate this!!! I hated science as a kid and now i love it.  I would have hated to have not had the opportunity to dabble in all the areas I dabbled in as early as high school.  I have taken mainly ag and food science courses yet my job is in genetics and molecular biology.  I am a true testament to being well rounded and diversified.  I hope that kids these days get the same experience and dont' feel the pressures to grow up to be a certain predetermined job.

Friday, December 27, 2013

A mommy day

I am currently in the middle of a mommy day and I am LOVING it.  I forgot how nice it was to be alone.  I took the day off from work.  We had one thing to do and that was it and the kiddo that lives in manhattan took care of it so I could save myself a trip in.  I am big on getting the christmas stuff and tree down the day after.  I probably won't be able to do that once andrew is more into christmas but for now, it had to go and he won't know the difference.  I was ready to clean in that corner as I could see big dog hair bunnies laughing at me,  because they knew I couldn't get to them.  Plus I wanted to move andrew's new race track out of the middle of the floor and over to that area.  I also packed up some of his toys today since he has new ones.  I so want to donate or sell all of his baby stuff but i SO don't want to curse myself. I have known way to many people who have gotten rid of everything and then gotten pregnant immediately there after.  I think I am quite content with one thank you.  He can have lots of friends at daycare, preschool or school to make up for the lack of siblings or he can adopt one of the dogs as his sibling:)  I have also had a nice morning of re organizing christmas things, getting rid of cardboard to the recycling and grooming dogs.  Sometimes when I get behind on things, like grooming dogs, I feel so out of control and it almost makes me feel panicky.  I am so type A, everything has it's place and everything must be done on a schedule.
dog/runner selfie.  Never works as good as I hope it to work.

I also went for a run outside!!!!  My last three runs had been inside and I was dying a slow death. I also was having big issues with my neck and shoulders being super tight since I have this irrational fear of falling on the treadmill.  I needed to do a tempo run this week and I wanted to do it outside.  I missed running on christmas day thanks to me procrastinating and then going on a date with my hubby and then I missed going the next day because I had andrew and no daycare.  We are currently in this weird state of snow thawing and then the water re-freezing on the roads.  I think this is going to be the case for a while.  I almost fell twice yesterday just walking to and from my car on campus.  I knew that I would have issues running in town because my road still hasn't been bladed down all the way so several parts are still snow packed and slushy/icy thanks to the thawing and refreezing.  I used my in town time as my warm up  and took my time and then used my out of town on the highway as my tempo.  Worked great except my new watch was doing some pretty weird things.

My new garmin 220.  Pretty excited about this new gadget

Okay so I had wanted a new garmin as soon as I saw the new ones come out.  First of all IT'S PURPLE, and I love all things purple.  Second of all, it is suppose to have lots of bells and whistles and I felt like I was ready for an upgrade (mom, get ready, you are getting my old one since you are the only one that reads my blogs).  I thought I had everything set but I was in for some surprises.  I thought i had my height and weight set but I was looking at the highlighted section as being white not blue and the highlighted section was blue.  SO i had chose my height to be in cm and it was set at 60 cm and my weight was set in kg and it was off as well.  It must have been thinking I was running super fast for a miniature fat person (when i switched it over it said 990 lbs) because it put me at a 6:14 mile.  Then i figured out that it was also set in Km and everything was screwy.  It had my lap at .6 of a mile instead of a mile which is what I was use to.  I just had to stop on the side of the road, reset everything and then start over.   I am pretty sure that I ran way more than 3 miles but I did get my tempo in of 30 minutes with a few minutes at a 9:10 pace, I think, so mission accomplished.  I learned that the best thing is to get on main roads as any road in town is a mess right now.  I meant to go down town to see how the sidewalks were but cut through instead.  Will long run tomorrow and hoping the trails are not a muddy icky mess.  I would rather go to the trail to do 8 than do it around here.  What little gravel i was on today was pretty soggy and muddy but this a limestone trail so hoping it is better.  So far this holiday month, I have not missed any runs so I hope i can keep it up!  

Okay back to my mom day while andrew is at daycare.  I think I hear the upstairs and laundry calling my name.  I love organizing and cleaning!  

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Catch up and CHRISTMAS!

Doing a bit of catch up.  Family has been here so we have been busy visiting and cooking and cleaning.  We had a winter storm dump about 7 or so inches of snow on us saturday.  Luckily the fam got here friday night late before all of the ice and snow hit.  It was bad enough that I didn't go to work monday at all.  I even did 5 miles on the treadmill.  I was suppose to do a long run on sunday with my BRF but as I was out doing my 5 on saturday, I just had this feeling that this storm was going to get nasty.  I ended up doing 6, stopped by the house and pottied and fueled quickly and headed back out for another 4.  Took stella for the first 6 and deuce for the second 4.  Deuce is a ton slower than stella and tends to spook at things so he keeps me on my toes but we got it done.  No pics as my phone has been shutting down when I want to get it out and take pics when I run.  And I shattered the screen yet again.  Not sure I will be taking it on my runs for fear of it really screwing up.  This time, i really did a good job on it.  Think chunks of glass coming out.  Fixing it will just have to wait.  It is still functional at least.  I did see the coolest thing though.  Thousands of snow geese landing in a field where we were running. Looked like a goose tornado.  It was amazing and I was praying the whole time they didn't poop on stella and I.

A treadmill selfie.  This was a horrible pace but I am terrified of falling on the treadmill.  Not sure why.  I have the key attached to me so if I fall, it stops instantly but still am scared.  This was my five mile run.  Netflix saved my life and covered the display.   I did do a 10 minute pace run last night and while I was pretty scared the whole time and probably super tense, I did it.  I found the best way to not want to punch my eyes out is to watch a movie on netflix.  The problem is I think everyone and their brother was on netflix last night so I couldn't finish the breakfast club.  It made the run feel like torture.  

Had my first puking migraine in a long time.  Won't go into details but I think it was related to a)being stuck in the house for three days and b)running on the treadmill and being super tight in my neck/shoulder area.  I hope and pray it is a mild winter and I am not stuck on the treadmill all winter.  That was no fun and I missed out on a whole night with the fam because I was stuck upstairs praying to the porcelain gods.  

Had to work christmas eve but that was okay.  Both of my wonderful student workers were in town so they helped with the work we had to do and we had a nice long lunch.  I am really blessed to have such great kiddos in my lab.  Since christmas is in the middle of the week, we really don't get time off per se.  I took monday off because of the snow and might get friday off because of our sample flow.  We also have new years in the middle of next week so going to be a wonky week next week too.   We had christmas dinner on christmas eve which was a nice change of pace.  That way we could just enjoy christmas day and not have to worry about cooking and hurrying to feed everyone.   Andrew fell asleep super early so we em, helped santa get everything set up early.

Andrew still doesn't know exactly what is going on with the whole christmas thing, although he sort of has figured out what presents were.  I hadn't wrapped anything or set anything out early to avoid any problems with trying to explain to a one year old why he had to wait, but his daycare gave him his wrapped present early.  Which meant he had a wrapped present to freak out about from friday till today.  Plus when the fam got here, all the wrapped presents they brought from all sides of the fam were under the tree.  He started pointing to them and started asking if he could unwrap them on a hourly basis.  Yet today, when he could finally unwrap them, he pretty much didn't want anything to do with them LOL! The year before, he was terrified when we unwrapped presents and would cry every time we would unwrap something.

Santa brought him a rocking horse that whinnies and makes other noises and a race track that has cars that you shake and they go.  He was scared of the horse for quite a while but finally warmed up to it and rode it albeit briefly.  The race track is pretty kid safe and pretty neat.  I have to admit, I played with it quite a bit this afternoon.
 I call this one, toddler melt down.  He woke up super early and then was a bit overwhelmed with the present opening.  He was stuck in the middle of the track and got a little pissed.

This was the mickey mouse chair that his granddaddy gordon got him.  It was a big hit.  He still can't figure out how to back up and sit down in it so we have seen some pretty spectacular mounts and dismounts.
The slinky was a big hit from santa.  Too bad our steps are too steep for it to work.  Will have to take it to the park and see how it works on slides and such.  
AND we found a train very similar to the one he loves so much at the discovery center.  The only issue is that the coupling is made differently so the trains don't stay together and that makes him a little mad.  Andrew got tons of cars, hot wheels and trains.  He will have enough presents to last him a while.  We have put some up so that we can bring things out like they are new and have divided toys between things that will live downstairs versus upstairs.  
And yes, the thomas obsession has begun:)

Thursday, December 19, 2013

random thursday thoughts by me

I have been filling out entry forms left and right and they are all piled on my desk.  Yep, haven't sent any in and I just got a march show notification.  Sigh.  When I totaled up all i wanted to do and what I could do financially and still get all the things I wanted to for my family for christmas,  it just didn't add up.  I was not willing to sacrifice andrew's first christmas that he would really enjoy for the sake of me getting to go to a show.  I am starting to face these dilemmas alot here lately and each time, I end up choosing more what is best for my family versus what is best for me and my wishes and desires.  I for years was able to stuff down the "we can't afford this" thought process.  We always manage to pay off our debt, no matter how naughty I can be with the credit card.  I have always entered shows with cash, I have never done online entries unless it was a national event that I was worried about my entry being received, and I have always tried to have a roommate or camp for lodging.  I have even slept in my van to cut hotel costs because I couldn't find a roomie.  Heck I even slept outside in Nebraska in November for agility.   Yes, I do get suckered in to buying stuff at shows (thank you four paws embroidery for 99% of my wardrobe) but I try to keep it in check.  Now I feel like I have a whole new set of responsibilities that demand that I not be so frivolous, that I not spend so much money on the sport I love.  It's tough, first I battled not wanting to be away from my baby and I now I am battling this sense of weird new financial thriftiness.  It's odd to feel this way.  Even about my fav venue in the whole world USDAA.  I am kind of sad right now.  Sad that it is too easy to make these decisions.  If I ever get off of work, I will go for a run to clear my head.

I feel so whiny about all of this but I have been in this sport since 2000 and have put a lot of time effort and money into this sport.  It is really a hard decision to take a break or walk away.  I LOVE this sport.  I have made some of the best friends doing this sport.  I finally feel like deuce is the dog  that  i can do lots of awesome things with and meet a lot of awesome goals with.  I am not going to lie, this is the very reason I had put off having kids.  I knew that I would become very passionate about being a mom and wouldn't you know it, here I am getting all up in this mom thing.  Part of being a mom is loosing one's self for the good of the child.  I feel this part of me slipping away and I am fighting it big time.  Everyone who knows me knows that I am a super passionate person. If it is dogs or the breed I love or the sport or rescue and now my kiddo, I put 110% into everything I do.  So saying good bye to something I am so passionate about stings.

Not sure I am ready to say goodbye.  Maybe just a break?  Hopefully a mild winter and teaching again to get the business account filled back up.   Just not ready yet.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

First santa visit

His christmas sweater we found at the thrift store.  I LOVE a good bargain!

I feel like andrew deserves a post so here it is.  We had our first visit to santa this year.  Last year, he was only 6 months old and the flu was going around like wildfire.  We choose to forgo santa pictures and maybe spare all of us illness.  This year we had picked the santa that comes to the union hall to be our goal santa.  He was very nice, super friendly and there were no high pressure lines.  The kids got cookies and a toy and got to play around santa as long as they wanted to.  We felt like it was a win win situation.  We could gradually introduce our son to the jolly old man with little to no pressure.

This probably should have been our first clue that this wasn't going to work.  When we walked in, my social child turned into a hiding shy child immediately.  What the heck, we socialized him like crazy when he was a puppy, er I mean baby.  

He eventually did warm up and did watch another little girl sit on santa's lap.  We thought maybe he was ready to go up and meet St. Nick.  

St.  Nick had a super cool pocket watch.  At first this interested andrew and we thought, wow, this is going to work!

He seemed surprised as daddy let go and put him in Santa's lap.  That quickly changed......

To full on crying and screaming.  Well, in his defense, I never did socialize him with santas so maybe the fault is mine.  

Afterwards we played the "look at that" game.  Yes, I played a game usually for dogs with my toddler.  I was hoping to minimize the damage I had done on my child by putting him on a stranger's lap and walking away.  He got to play for quite a while on the dance floor with other kids in front of santa but he never got the courage up to revisit him.  Santa was super nice and gave andrew a couple of board books.  Andrew had a couple of the cookies that they had and some juice.  He also got to chase/dance with several of the cutest little girls ever.  We will have a ladies man on our hands in the very near future I do believe.  

After santa we had lunch at our most favorite place ever in Topeka, Juli's coffee shop.  Andrew was more about the cheetos than the grilled cheese but at least he ate some thing.  We both had bowls of chili, mine the white and tony the red bean.  They were both amazingly good as always.  We headed out to join the craziness that is the christmas shopping crowd.  I am proud to say in one trip, we got all of the presents from us to andrew and all of the stocking stuffers and we donated a foot ball to the toys for tot's program.  I am sure this will be the very last year we will actually have fun shopping for christmas.  I am sure next year he will have things he wants and then we will be stuck with all of the other crazed parents looking for those things.  This year we just got to choose what we thought he might want.  He is getting a train set, a race track for cars that  you shake and then go, and several fun things in his stocking like a little water bottle with his name on it.  No candy in the stocking this year but I am sure grammy will be sending candy for our stockings that we will share.  
Before the night ended, I got the bright idea to try and set up a christmas card setting so we could get some cute pics.  The dogs were very cooperative, the toddler not so much so.  Need to work on his shaping skills and his stay:)  

Merry Christmas To All!  Hope if you had a santa experience this year that it was low on the trauma scale for you and yours.  

Saturday, December 14, 2013

My year in running blog

A common thread that has been going on with running bloggers is your year in running.  I could also do a year in agility.  Maybe I will in the next post.  This one is going to be all running:)  There are questions I have to answer so here they are!

Best Race Experience: Most of the races I did this year were fairly small.  Mostly 5 Ks or 10 Ks and a trail run and a half.  I would have to say my best experience was my first half, the Rock and Roll St. Louis run.  It was big, but it was well organized, the expo was fun, and the race itself had nice scenery and some nice hills that were forgiving.

Best Run: Okay so i would have to say it is a tie between the best tempo run ever this last training cycle and my first 12 mile run right before my half.  That 12 mile run gave me the confidence that i could do a half and that I could do it way faster than I had previously thought. I did help that it was sleeting the last 7 or so miles, which helped me run a ton faster:)  The tempo run was the first time a tempo run felt effortless.  I smiled for days after both.

Best new piece of gear:  Oh boy, all of my gear is new because I have never run in the winter so it is a tie between several pieces.  My brooks headband is amazing for keeping my ears warm and it is so light weight and cute.  I also love my mizuno breath thermal tights and shirts.  I have run in feels like-14 degree weather with wind gusts around 30 mph and been completely toasty.  My last fav is my jacket that i got at the expo.  It is the perfect top layer.  Very light so doesn't add too much but breaks the wind very nicely.  I also LOVE my running leash.  It fits around my waist and it helps me maintain form and I can yolk the dogs together and run with both of them.  Stella can move side to side and I don't have to do anything or un tangle anything and I don't get any of the bruising I use to get when I tied the leash around my waist.

Modeling all four, headband, tights, leash and jacket.  Best part is that it is all matchy matchy and no, i didn't plan that:)

Best Running Advice:  Got so much good advice this year.  Hard to pick just one piece.  I think the best was from one of my friends who is an ultra runner.  He said that yes, have a good training plan but if you can't run all runs that week, don't sweat it.  Just have fun and it will come.  He also told me to take care of my body and get lots of massage work done.  To treat my body like I am an athlete because even though, I can't run a 5 minute mile, i am still out there running and pushing my body.  The third best advice was to get a running partner.  I have tried to train in the past and while i did have some small successes, I have been 100 x more successful this time and I give a ton of credit to my BRF for pushing me and helping me achieve my goals, while she slaid some pretty monster goals too.  

Most inspiration runner:  For me, my running partner.  She is 50, she is fabulous and she pushes me to be faster and better.  I so hope I can be that fit when I am her age.  She also did one of the most punishing races this year, conquer the Konza.  It was 15 miles of hills, rocks, streams and more hills.  Enough said.    I also LOVE NYC marathon mom.  I follow her blog religiously, celebrate her triumphs and cry with her when she has failure.  It was so exciting to follow her through her ironman training and her ironman.   Really makes me want to do an Ironman some day or at least try tris and do several LOL!

If you could sum up your year in a few words, what would they be?  Learning curve mastered!  Plans are key and so are good running coaches and running partners.  Okay that isn't a few but that is the least I can muster:)

I would like to add a section on goals because I am SO about goal setting.  I have done this my whole life and continue to use it in all sports I participate in, including agility, even if my goal is no goals LOL.  My goals this spring/summer of 2014 or the next 6 months at least are to run as many halfs as I can.  I have four planned.  I am still zeroing in on a goal for this fall.  I do want to do every race I did last year to see where I am at training wise.  I have already repeated one of the races I did last year and cut 7 or so minutes off of my time.  To be fair, I had not trained much and had just had andrew when I did this race the first time, BUT i even won 2nd place in my age division.  I would like to get involved in the local tri club to see if I can work on my swimming and bike riding.  I really enjoyed biking when I was injured so I would like to also improve my biking.  I have a fear of going fast, weird I know, but I have this issue with wiping out while going fast so going to have to work on that mentally and physically.  I also am trying to wrap my mind around a possible fall marathon.  I never thought I would say that but I am saying that, putting it out there so it is written.  So many people I know are running marathons this spring and they are inspiring me to run one.  The training will be not much tougher than what I do now but it will have to be a mental issue, trying to get over the thought of running for 4 or more hours.  I never thought I would run for 2 or more hours so it can be done.  Wish me luck!  Here is to a great running new year and no injuries!!!!!

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Snow run

Had my first snow run.  I have to say, i rather enjoyed it.  It was much warmer and no wind.  There was probably half an inch on the ground and ice underneath that.  The only problem I incurred was the fact that they had bladed the road and it was down to the layer of ice beneath.  Anytime I hit this, I slipped, so needless to say, my pace was super slow.  As long as I could stay in the plowed snow banks (which weren't very deep), I could keep my footing and keep a decent pace.  I only had four on the books and it worked out well.  Stella was fine till about mile 3.5 and at that time, she started getting ice balls on the bottom of her feet.   Guess I am going to have to dig out Harley's boots that we bought for him when we lived in colorado.  I am looking forward to more snow runs.  I need to invest in some yaktrax or screws for my shoes.  My only concern is that i run mainly on pavement and gravel so not sure how those would do on slicker surfaces.  I can see where they would be beneficial on runs on trails where they can dig in.  I actually skyped my mom while I was running so she could see the snow LOL.  Got to love technology!  Then after hanging up with her, my phone shut completely down.  It had plenty of battery but I guess it got too cold?  I was having a good time listening to rocking holidays pandora:(  Didn't get as many snowy pictures as I had wanted to either.  Boo.  This is just a taste of things to come.  We are suppose to get more snow this week!  I will take the snow over stupid ice.  You just can't do anything with ice.

I also did a pace run this week on campus.  Won't do that again.  Too many stoplights, cars and slow people blocking the sidewalk.  Plus I forget how hilly our campus is.  Yeesh.  Even though the pace set was slow compared to what I normally run, I was really blowing hard at the end.  I did eat a very high fat, greasy lunch so that probably didn't help at all.  My job is stressing me out yet again but that is another post.  It is a good stress, a we have tons of clients wanting stuff done, so there is a line out the door problem.  The good news is, this week, we have been doing more instrument running and less time intensive sample prep which is allowing me to do things like run on campus and blog and such.   Nice to have a little downtime.  But we are having lots of software/computer issues which is out of my territory of knowledge.  Oh well, being busy is a good curse and I will take it!

Saturday, December 7, 2013

long run freezing my butt off weather style

I thought my last long run was a cold one but wow, was I wrong.  8 miles in feels like -14.  I feel like my gear is top notch, but my brain is still having issues with going out for runs in the cold.  During the day it isn't so bad but at night, my mind just won't let me.  Two nights this week I needed to run when I got off.  I had to work late and when I finally made it home, I just couldn't convince myself that I needed to go.  One night I just ran on the treadmill.  It was 30 minutes at a 10:15 pace with a 5-10 minute warm up and cool down.  I opted for the shortest warm up and cool down and almost poked my eyes out several times running on that thing.  I had the music going and the tv on in front of me and still couldn't stop staring the display.  What do you mean it has only been 2 minutes?  It's been an eternity!!!!!  Plus hubs had to coral the kiddo who wanted to join me and he was screaming bloody murder most of the time I was running.  Basically forty minutes of pure torture.  I really, really admire all the blogging ladies that love and embrace treadmill running.  I think I will have to force myself outside no matter what, unless it is icy.  
I think it works best when I just get up and go versus having all day to think about how cold it is outside.  That is what I did this morning.  Got up two hours before I needed to go out, fueled and had some coffee and then headed out.  Luckily, we didn't have wind.  Unluckily, the temp was -14.  Luckily it was up to 0 by the time we got done.  I really love my mizuno breath thermals.  I was not cold at all other than my face.  I double gloved this time, tech gloves on bottom, cotton on top.  I had my breath thermal shirt on with my brooks running  jacket on top.  Brooks headband, low pony and my mizuno tights.  This time I did wrap a scarf around my neck just in case I needed to pull something up over my face.  I did try several times to cover at least my lips and nose with the scarf but it never would stay in place.  It was funny, I decided to go to linear trail so I would have some sort of wind barrier.  There really wasn't much wind but my normal 6 mile route has NO barriers at all so I think it creates wind even when there is none.  Well, parked and started running and about 2 miles in, there was a huge road closed sign.  Huh?  They can close the trail?  Well, they did so, at least the portion that goes under the very busy road, so I had to think quickly.  I knew another way to get to another part of the trail but it meant running across a very busy four laned road.  We did so  thanks to a working cross walk signal, but by the time we got to the end of the trail before it headed back into town we weren't at 4 miles yet.  I didn't want to have to go back on the sidewalk to get to the next section of trail so I headed back.  I figured I could finish my run by running past the parking lot and down the trail a little bit the other way.  When I got back to the car, i was only at 7.3 so I had to run back down the trail for a while and then circle the parking lot.  I think my watch gets confused when I turn back suddenly so I feel like I probably did more than 8 but oh well.  I am sure the people in the business where I parked my van had a good laugh at me running circles around my van.  I just can't stop till the garmin says we are done.  

Tonight is going to be my first mommy's night out with some mommies I really would like to get to know.  I have a four mile run planned for tomorrow but it is like an 80 percent chance of snow so may get my first snow run in!!!!!

Monday, December 2, 2013

A 5 K to see where I am at or something like that

Why do I always want to start out my blogs with the word So?  So, LOL, i wanted to do a race to see where I was in my training.  I have noticed that my times have been getting progressively faster so wanted to see how that transitioned to a race.  I run on hills and flat but more flat than hills and I havent started back to hill work yet.  My hope was that I could find a 5 K that was more like where I trained and run my heart out.Well that sort of happened but sort of not.  I chose the winter runderland race in manhattan.  It had two options, an option where you ate doughnuts and ran (i think 4, 2 at mile 1 and 2 at mile 2) or just flat out ran.  I chose the non-eating option because frankly i think i would blow chunks if I ate doughnuts and ran the hills I ran.  The race was small, 98 runners in the regular run and 65 in the doughnut challenge.  That is probably a good thing because the beginning of the race used a trail that became very narrow in places.  Luckily this is a trail that we use for the group runs so I knew where the narrow spots were.  I also decided that even though I could run with my dog, that because I wanted to PR and because i wanted to let the other runners have plenty of space, i would leave her home which made her very unhappy.  She sulked for hours after I got home.  She thinks that if I have running clothes on that she needs to go.  I felt guilty for leaving her but wanted to be respectful of people's space.  This is my support crew giving me a kiss before I headed for the start line.  They had an awesome playground at the park where the race was and he thoroughly enjoyed it.

Once again, I wasn't nervous.  I felt very prepared, even though I had run 7 miles at a very fast pace for a long run  thanks to my BRF a day before and then had stupidly had two beers the night before.  It was an afternoon race anyway and I felt good by then.  I made sure to drink lots of liquids prior to the race.  The race started out very fast.  I was about mid pack and boy those people were serious about those doughnuts!  I have never started that fast. I kept seeing 7s on my watch and started really freaking out.  When I start out, for about a quarter of a mile, my body fights me and I struggle to get my breathing under control.  Well, add being really out of breath because i am running crazy and fighting my body and you pretty much get panic mode.  I finally just let all the crazies pass me and picked out a person to hang with.  I quickly decided she was too slow so picked another person.  Never could catch up with her but I kept close to her the whole race.  She finished maybe 7 seconds a head of me.  I just couldn't catch her no matter how hard I tried.  She was a beast!  So mile one ended at 9 minutes.  I was super happy but turning up a huge hill. My BRF did this race last year and had warned me of the hills but wow, those hills from  mile 1-2 were tough. My watch hit 10 even and I glad to keep that pace.  I am super out of shape with hills because i haven't done hills since before my half.  I so need to get back to hill work.  These hills kept going up and up and up.  No down hill till about the end of mile 2.  I knew we headed back to trail for the end of mile 2 and 3 so I was just hoping i could keep it together till then.  Mile 2 to 3 was nice.  I was trying to hold back till the end to let it go.  I was seeing 8s come up on my watch.  I didn't want to kick it in too soon though and loose.  There was a lady I had been battling and she was trying to pass me.  I finally just said screw it and let go.  Thank goodness because she was in my age group:)  I ended up finishing 0.69 seconds ahead of her.  I think i wore her out LOL.  I think she probably thinks I am crazy but I didn't want to be passed at the end.  I may or may not have almost puked at the finish line.  Snot was the enemy, just like the last time I ran a faster 5K.  It wasn't even cold so I guess speed makes me snotty?  8:34 for my final mile!  

I had signed up for the FB alert that I had finished.  My BRF had already seen that I had finished and imediately commented.  I clicked on the link and low and behold, I had won 3rd place for my age division!!!!!! I was SO excited.  Now I thought i had a PR but my 5 K this summer was quicker by 0.06 seconds.  If only i hadn't slowed down on those dang hills!  I tried and for the record I never walked and I walked in the 5 K that I had a faster time.  So there is that!
I hope I get to do this more often!  It was an awesome feeling!
I will cherish this medal:)
Glad one of my FB friends was helping with the race so I could get some cool pics!

I was 16th female out of 67 and 3rd out of 16 in my age group.  While I think the hills killed me, I am so excited where I am at and I think I can do better.  What this weekend taught me more than anything is that I can push it beyond my comfort zone and I can survive.  I won't fall over and I do have kick (sorry lady in purple, I really liked your shirt).  If i can get at least 2 miles in the 9s and one faster mile, man, I think i could be in the high 26s.  I have so much more work to do but i feel like I am on the right track.  I am so very excited for the future!

Friday, November 29, 2013

So much to be thankful for

Time for the I am thankful post.  Was going to post something on FB but I have so much to be thankful for so I'd better just do it here.  Right now I am thankful for a sleeping toddler so I can blog:)

I am super thankful for four healthy dogs.  Yes, two of them are seniors and two are silly and young but they are all very healthy and happy and I am very thankful for that.  Not a day goes by that I don't log into FB to see someone loosing a dog or finding out about cancer in a dog and my heart goes out to them.  I almost lost miller this year so I totally get where they are coming from and my heart goes out to all of them.

I am thankful for my healthy, happy, super active baby. Some times I don't get to do what I want when I want to or my activities are made harder by his presence but again, I read too many stories of kiddos that are battling genetic or terminal illness and I thank the Lord that I was spared these issues thus far and hope to be spared them for ever and ever.  I love watching him grow up and discover the world around him.  He is the climbing phase and trying to give me a heart attack on a daily basis but I am thankful that he has also learned how to fall carefully, how to sit down and scootch or lay on his stomach to go down something, and how to leave certain things alone no matter what.  He still pushes his limits and we have just installed yet another baby gate but I am thankful he has the mobility and motor skills to get around and get into trouble.

I am also thankful that I have had an injury free cycle of training and as I embark on the next cycle of training, I hope to continue to be injury free.  Once again, I read lots of blogs and am FB friends with lots of runners and it is so tough reading when some one is injured.  I treat myself like a true athlete, even if I am not really a true athlete, and get lots of massages and stretch and foam roll.  As i try something truly epic (for me that is) of four half marathons in 3 months, I hope to continue to be thankful for no injuries.

I am also thankful for my job even if it is lately very stressful.  I think we will be able to remain open, even if it is only another year.  We have lots of clients but we are having lots of issues with sample prep and well, the buck stops at me.  We have tried lots of protocols and lots of ideas and we are closer but still not where we need to be.  I am thankful to have so many awesome scientist helping me get this straight and I am blessed to be trusted with coming up with such a big protocol that takes some a whole PhD to get straight.

I am also thankful for my hubby and for him to have his job mostly this year.  These last few months have been hard with him working so much but I will take that versus us not having two incomes.  He has for years put up with my dog habit and my science habit and now he puts up with my running habit and even is running more and more so he can say he has an addiction too!  He has endured many mornings of taking care of an infant so I can go work out or run and he still lets me watch the one tv show I LOVE (AHS) and takes care of andrew that night.  He still grits his teeth when the dogs have accidents or he has to wrestle hair bunnies the size of our child, but he does so and loves me still.
Working on a toy car at the discovery center
I am also very thankful for my mom who has become the best grammy ever.  I think the dogs taught her how to be a great grammy anyway so the transition to a tiny human was easy.  She just drove 9 hours out to KS to deliver a van that her and my stepdad bought for me because it was a steal of a deal and they couldn't pass up on it.  I am 36 and I have yet to buy my own vehicle because they keep giving me vehicles.  Yep, the vehicles are old but they get me to where i need to go and I am thankful that they love me enough to keep giving me vehicles so that I continue to commute and travel.  

Last but not least, I am thankful for my friends, agility, running, FB, college, high school, work, whatever you are.  You have listened to me, gave me advice, helped me with my kiddos, trained with me, watched my endless post about training, celebrated my accomplishments both agility and running and helped me with mommy issues as I navigate this new lot in life.  I probably would have lost my mind if it weren't for you.  You are too many to name so I won't even try, but thank you.

And with that, I will end my thank yous. Lots to be thankful about!  Now bring on the holidays, winter running and another year that hopefully will be full of awesomeness!