Share the Sunrise

Most mornings before the kids wake, before the chaos and wildness of another adventurous day ensues, I sneak out of my bed, pull on spandex materials of various shapes and lace up my shoes. I run off into the woods, chasing the sunrise, dreaming of the day ahead. I need this peaceful start. It gets me through.

Today, though, when little pitter pattering feet ran down our hardwood hallway and found their way into my bed at 5:30am, with Daddy snoring at my side, I knew that it would be hard to sneak away.

“Isaac, do you want to go see the sunrise?” I whispered as I pulled back his curly blonde locks to sweetly kiss his ears.

“Yes, let me go get dressed!” he emphatically whispered back. Little feet went dashing down the stairs. MInutes later, we were off under the moonlit skies.

He silently sat in our yellow stroller as we crested the top of dirt Mulholland. The tiniest bit of majestic orange glitter peeked out from behind the mountains. Another five minutes down the quiet dirt road and we reached the top. I leaned over to see the innocent smile spread across his face in pure joy.

“Happy Sunrise, Mama!”

How time changes things, I thought.

We grow, mature, learn what is really important in this life, what makes us happy, what we need to get through. Just a few years ago and I would have fought hard for my morning alone time, protecting and savoring those 25 minutes of solitude. Not today, though. Finally I am learning that these days go too quickly. Soon he’ll be off to school, with friends, much too large for the stroller, sleeping until noon and have no interest in sharing the sunrise with his Mama.

Today, I was happy to share the sunrise.

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Summer Running

Writing time has been sparse this summer, but I am learning to accept that. Motherhood has taught me to go with the flow and ride the waves. I figure you have a choice to either fight the tide or jump right in and have some fun. All three kids are home full time with me this summer. Alan is working just as much as ever and some exciting things are in the works for our new company, Light Insoles. He has made great strides in the past two weeks and things are really looking up! Starting our own business at the start of the year has been quite an adventure and things are just beginning to really work and get us excited! I’ll write more on that when it is appropriate. : )

One of my favorite views: whatever I am looking out at from behind the triple stroller.

In the meantime, some quick summer running updates. Four weeks ago, I ran the Mountains2Beach Marathon in Ojai, had an absolutely incredible experience and pushed myself to a new 13 min PR to finish in 3:12. It was a life changing experience and mentally placed me into this higher-caliber of runner than I ever imagined.

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Then, I took 1 day off. Yes, 1 whole day. Seriously. That was it. 24 hours then something like 13 miles the following day and 6 the next and doubles and high mileage nearly every day for the next week. My body was tired, exhausted but I just kept on riding in the fast lane, taking my space on cloud 9 and having some fun. All you readers know by now just how much I love to run. I LOVE it, I’m obsessed with it at times — though I do know it’s a healthy obsession as I’ve been addicted unhealthily in this love affair with running in the past and did it for the wrong reasons. But now, I just absolutely thrive off the endorphins, need the calm and peace it provides me and rely on it to get through these crazy fast-paced days with three littles and a high-energy, needy pup. So.. for a number of reasons, I just kept on running.

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Then I raced a local Trail Half-Marathon, thought I’d breeze right through it having run a speedy marathon (speedy for me, that is, I know speed is all relative). I crashed, my heart rate just would not elevate, my mojo was lacking and by mile 3 I felt absolutely certain that I needed to take a break from running. As teammates passed me, I completely lacked all drive and desire to keep pace with them. My body simply stopped responding. I still managed to finish 5th female overall, just 90 seconds slower than my time in the same race last year, when I was in good shape, but I knew that I just did not have it anymore. I am not really sure why I thought I could stay at peak racing shape post-marathon, but sometimes your mind attempts to play silly tricks on you.

That night, I read a new and very interesting article on Over Training Syndrome (OTS – article here: http://www.outsideonline.com/1986361/running-empty) and wrote myself up an “Un-Training Plan.” Since I’m very goal-oriented at good at following training plans and to-do lists of sorts, I knew that was my best chance at actually resting. So I prescribed 5 days of complete rest for myself, zero mileage, no cross-training. So many aspects of the article hit home with me and I related scarily to too many of the symptoms. Having fallen victim to OTS during my senior year of high school, I knew the feeling well and the outcome. In fact, I can now look back and say it took me 1-2 full years, that is 24-48 months to recover from OTS in the past.

This time around, I had to be smarter. I want to run another fast marathon, perhaps faster even, in Boston next April. I want to continue to train hard and run a sub 3:10 marathon. In order to do that, I knew that I had to rest a bit and allow my body to restore it’s glycogen levels, repair all the small muscle tears it had incurred during the past six months of intense training, reaching 50-60 miles week after week.

I rested. I put in the hard work, as every runner knows that resting is absolutely the most challenging type of training. Now, two weeks later, I’m finally feeling a bit more like myself and ready to run. With the kids still home, I know that much of my summer running will be triple stroller running. I am ready. I am hungry and excited for the adventurous days ahead. My team, the New Basin Blues, will be participating in a local cross country series at College of the Canyons, which hosts 6K races every Thursday night in July and August. I’m ready to dust off the cobwebs and get my legs moving fast again. In fact, after all the high mileage of marathon training, I’m really looking forward to the change in pace — literally, as I hit the track and ramp up with 400m intervals. My kids absolutely love the track, so we’ll have some summer fun there with Mama in the fast lane and kids running around on the infield.

Summer Running Set-Up. Oh, how I love this triple stroller!

How is your summer looking? Are you able to log miles with your kids — if you have them — or with vacations and other summer plans? I’d love to hear how you make it work and continue to squeeze it all in! Happy Running!

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Feels Like Summer

Dribble, dribble, pass. Shoot and nothin’ but net! Kids hollering, dirty black soles of pale white feet, half-full water buckets, messy gardening tools splayed about, mud pies and their proud bakers, long morning hikes. Staying up past bedtime, hide and seek in the cul-de-sac and happy, happy kids. All of these things have been daily occurrences in our otherwise quiet neighborhood. Kids’ voices echo through the canyon a bit louder this time of year and we all know there is only one reason: Summertime is here!

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Little girl jumping for joy!

Sunday afternoon, we ventured out for a little walk, just to break up the fights that ensue when three siblings have been together for 10+ waking hours. “We’ll be back in about 30 minutes!” I shouted to Alan through his closed home-office door. Two hours later, and he finally ventured down the street to find us in front of our dear neighbor’s house. Six girls and one boy were sprinting from hillside to hillside, rustling in bushes with shouts of “Ready or not, here I come!” Mamas and Daddy’s and adopted Grandma’s and Grandpa’s sipped on cold beer and we all gathered together around overflowing bowls of popcorn. I could not help but smile, thinking, This is the summer of my past and present all at once.

And so we stayed out past bedtime, and marveled at the pride in our 5 year old’s eyes as she played in the streets and did her darn best to keep up with the 8 and 9 year old neighborhood girls. This is their summer. With Kindergarten ending tomorrow and the culmination of our first “real school year” as a family, we can feel the spirit and lightness of summer more than ever before.

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I love it how kids just love to run, all day, everyday.

And you never know what the future will bring, so we will carpe diem our way into the next school year and beyond.

This summer is without a real plan on the horizon or a proper family vacation to mention, and I could not be happier. Life is grand these days with my babies of 2, 4 and 5 and there is just too much fun to be had.

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Naked lunch of the patio. This is summertime.

This is our Summer 2015 To-Do List (because no matter how hard I try to deny it, I love myself a good To-Do List!):

  • long lazy breakfasts with multiple cups of tea, with a good dose of solo early morning runs mixed in;
  • daily hikes with 3 kids + 1 dog and all the neighborhood kids we can gather up along the way;
  • afternoon stroller runs to lull the littlest to sleep;
  • logging up way more triple stroller miles than anyone probably should;
  • weekly Thursday night XC races in the valley;
  • mornings turned into afternoons turned into dinner time at the beach;
  • sandy drives home and warm showers to rinse down pounds of sand post-beach trip;
  • exploring new museums and LA hot spots for kids;
  • downtown grand park visits and water fountain splash pads;
  • picking out the freshest, most exotic finds at local farmer’s markets and then devouring it all before we make it back home;
  • hiking new single trails with the kids and learning about our local ecosystems together;
  • geo-caching for the first time with friends;
  • cooking seasonal dinner with the kids in an overcrowded and messy but happy kitchen;
  • spontaneous road trips and visiting of family and friends;
  • backyard play with baby pools and mudpies;
  • painting and creating whenever we feel like it;
  • games of kick-the-can and hide-and-seek and other childhood favorites down the cul-de-sac;
  • library trips and cultivating my soon-to-be-1st grader’s love of reading;
  • concerts in the park, summer sounds at Hollywood Bowl and live music at The Getty;
  • magical playdates and reading circles at Descanso Gardens;
  • watching the kids and soaking in their “summer spirit”
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Homemade Veggie Burgers and Parsnip fries with all the fixins’, because this too is summer. (recipe to come!)

What is on your Summer T0-Do List? I’d love to hear and get ideas to add to ours! Happy Summer! Can you feel it in the air?

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Group Running with a Stroller

Hi Readers! My absolutely favorite part about writing this blog has been meeting (sometimes in person, sometimes online) fellow runners, running mamas and inspiring people around this great, small world. The more I grow, the more I realize how small and interconnected we truly are. Just yesterday I discovered that my current coach was high school track rivals in the 800m with my current team captain of the New Basin Blues. (More to come on my new team and how much I am loving it, soon.. trying to stay focused.) This was some 15-20 years ago and now both accomplished runners and gracious human beings are helping me to achieve my very best in the sport.

Okay, stay focused. Through these running connections I have had the fortunate opportunity to write for other running sites and befriend fellow running Mamas. One of these fellow running Mamas lives in D.C. and blows me away with her career accomplishments all while balancing running, running a website (www.runstrollerrun.com) and raising two little kids.

Turkey Trot

Without further ado, I’d like to present my latest post for Run Stroller Run: Tips for Group Running with a Stroller! Check it out and leave a comment! We love comments. : )

http://runstrollerrun.com/group-running-with-a-stroller/

 

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How Motherhood Has Made Me a Better Runner

Hi Readers! I’m excited to announce that I will be a contributing writer for Running with Kids. This site was started by Lauren Jones, mother extraordinaire, runner, entrepreneur, strong woman and so much more. It’s a great resource for active parents and one I am so excited to be a part of. Check out her site, read my article, and get out there with your kids! Lauren runs pushing two kids in the snow in the mountains in Colorado. She is just one of the many strong mothers out there who inspires me. Find your inspiration and love your life!

Here is my first post for Running with Kids: http://www.runningwithkids.com/blog/motherhood-has-made-me-a-better-runner/

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Celebrating a victory post-race at the Verdugo 10K.
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Crazy Conflicted Mind of a Mother

Being a mother is a great many things. At any given moment, I am thinking of four other beings before myself. My head is filled with this constant guilt and worry, even though I am not an anxious person and I tell myself rationally that guilt and worry are wasted energy. If there is nothing you can do about it, then why worry, right? 

Motherhood is this crazy conflicted state of consciousness. There are always a million things to be doing, that need attention, need love, need handling and protecting, and yet.. there is just one who can do it all. There is just one mother for every child — even if there are two, there is still that need for “one” that individuality that each child needs from that one person at any given time (or every given time!).

Our Friday morning was hectic, insane yet typical. Kids all waking and climbing in bed atop my sleepy, over-tired and achy body at 6am. Thirty minutes lazed away because I ran a bit too hard again last night and my right leg begged me to stay still a moment longer, and then another moment longer. Then the “Oh, shoot, it’s nearly 7am and we all have to eat breakfast and I forgot to make school lunches and someone has a poopy diaper and another needs her hair washed because suddenly “messy hair” is not acceptable to her any longer, and the dog needs food and the cat puked and daddy is busy working his butt off starting our new business and everyone needs mommy.” Every kid just needs their mommy.

Then one is off, at school safe and sound and happy and there are just two. There are just two now to feed and clean and prep for preschool drop-off of child #2 and we still have 30 minutes and this should be no big deal. Except child #2 refuses to choose a dress. She wants a dress, doesn’t want Mama to pick her dress, can’t get her dress down herself and is jumping atop the overloaded top box inside her closet to reach a dress and pulls down about 10 in one swoop, hangers and all, but none of those are the “right dress.” Still not accepting help, but knowing she needs help and fighting that fact, she sits screaming for 10 minutes for no clear reason except that she is four years old.

I step away, turning my attention to dressing little brother. I look down and see blood covering both feet. Apparently he cut his foot somewhere in these last 10 minutes of dress-fighting with big sister and has been dripping deep brown-red fluid all across the carpet. Grabbing a band-aid, I stick it on and cover his goose-bump flesh with a pair of gray sweats. I turn to help big sister with her “dress-debacle,” which hasn’t progressed, turn back to see the bandaid removed, pants removed and a 2 year old boy hacking like a seal from his current and latest bout of croup, lying on the ground screaming about the bloody foot and his resistance to bandaids.

Glancing at the clock, it is now 8:40am. I had hoped to be out the door by this time. Neither kid is dressed. “Alan, can you please come help me?” I shout through his closed home office door. “I have a phone call in an hour and have a lot of work to get done before that. What do you need?” he asks in reply.

All I can do is laugh. “I need to get the heck out of here,” I reply. Ten minutes later and we are miraculously out the door with two clothed children. Hair unbrushed and flying every which way, as usual, but naked butts covered and bloody feet hidden under clean white socks and brown scuffed up tennis shoes. At least we are out the door.

Another 30 minutes later and we are back in the door. Nothing that absolutely has to be done this morning. Yes, lots that should be done, could be done, but all Mama really needs is a run. Little brother is eager and on board as long as he can bring along a bag full of tools, dog is ready to go and before I know it we are loaded into the single Bob and on our way to bliss.

Only 10 minutes pass and I find myself feeling… guilty. I am happy, so happy, content but still there is this guilt. Alan is working away at the computer and here I am, out running in the mountains, loving this life and admiring majestic views of the valley and beyond. Then I remind myself that just one hour earlier I was in the barracks, sleeves rolled up battling two kids to simply put their pants on, laughing because the only other option was crying. “No room for guilt, just keep on running,” I tell myself, “The kids will give you enough challenge in just a few hours.”

This is the crazed conflicted mind of a mother. A deep sigh and remembrance that all in one breath, child-rearing is the best of times and worst of times. I kissed my littlest on the cheek, turn and ran home.

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My Running Journey

As part of the Saucony Another Mother Runner Contest, I was asked to write an essay in 400 words or less on my running journey. I would like to share it here with you. Here goes!

What is your running journey? Where has it brought you? What has it brought you?

 

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My journey has brought me here.

My journey began in the summer of ‘99. After running with my sister’s cross-country team, I was hooked. There was one problem: My H.S. had no running program. So, I started it. Another problem: Everyone thought it was crazy to want to run. For four years, I was the sole member of the team.

My dad was my coach and while supportive, he had no knowledge of the sport. I read every running article and book I could squeeze in between studies. Together with local coaches, I ran all the way to the State Championship. From there, I was recruited to run at D-III running powerhouse Claremont McKenna College.

For the first time in my life, I had teammates and coaches. Each morning our coach would drive us to a beautiful trail and let us wild. It was pure bliss, until injuries began to creep in. After three years of heartbreak, I finally hung up my shoes and joined the cycling team. I needed some outlet and competitive cycling helped, but the passion was lacking.

For many years, while injuries healed and life moved on, I felt lost. Then in 2009, I gave birth to my first daughter. I loved being a mother and caring for this needy little being every second, but I lost my identity. Just as in the summer of ‘99, I laced up my shoes and re-discovered myself on empty streets and quiet trails.

Running has held many different meanings for me over the years, but now as a full-time mother to three little ones, the meaning is all encompassing. Running is my meditation, my release, my endorphin boost and my therapy. I don’t just like to run, I like to run fast, competing and pushing myself to new limits.

Now, I push more than myself. Two years ago, when I had my 3rd child and invested in a triple stroller, I was not sure whether I could push it up our hill. Now, I cover 40-50 miles each week with my three kids (and dog!). Running is such an important part of my life and I love that we can do it together.

I share my experiences running and racing with kids on my blog, www.LARunningMama.com. Through my writing, I hope to inspire women, mamas, runners and individuals to push themselves to be the very best at running and pursue their passions to the fullest.

 

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My favorite people, my favorite place.
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Another Mother Runner in Saucony

After countless revisions, editing, chopping, pasting and agonizing over every single word, I finally clicked that scary “SEND” button.

Another Mother Running and Saucony have teamed up for an awesome contest and opportunity for one very lucky Mama to be a sponsored Saucony Runner for a year.

My blood has been rushing a little quicker this past week as I have been working on my essays, application and photo for the contest. I am crossing my fingers, sending out good thoughts and no matter the outcome, feeling inspired and elated at the partnership by such awesome brands to team up and support women and mother runners. Go Saucony!

For more info on the contest, click here: http://anothermotherrunner.com/2015/01/20/another-mother-runner-in-saucony/?utm_source=Mother+Runners+Daily&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=8d4fd848ec-RSS_EMAIL_CAMPAIGN&utm_term=0_3932c69c84-8d4fd848ec-63507797

A few photos my husband took of us for submission to the contest. : )

 

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No Run is a Bad Run…

No run is a bad run,” or so they say.

What are your feelings on this statement?

Yes, I realize the irony of posting this only hours after my previous essay on learning to appreciate the little things and being grateful for every run.

You know what, some days you just aren’t feeling it. Some days your kids aren’t feeling it, your dog goes wild, chases wild horses and leaves you sucking up dust. Today was one of those runs.

Awful picture, but aptly depicts our time up on the trail today.

Littlest one was sound asleep in his bed, Daddy working in the garage and I thought, “Oh, hey, this is the perfect time to go for a nice, slow recovery run with Cesia and Clover.” That is how the run started, but then unforeseen events transpired.

We were running smoothly and not a soul was in sight, so I decided to let Clover off the leash. Within seconds, three wild horses came rushing over a hill, Clover got excited and took off, leading me on a wild goose chase. I screamed my lungs out, slapped my hip and cursed in my head, all while pushing Cesia, whom was also freaking out and crying that “Clover is lost! Clover is lost!”

What fun! After this continued for another 15 minutes, Mama chasing dog chasing horses, the animals finally stopped to graze on fresh grass. I snuck in, stepped on her leash and attached her so firmly to that stroller that I had trouble unknotting the leash once we returned home.

Clover was banished to the yard and Cesia asked me to “Please take me for a street run now so I can fall asleep.” If girl asks for a nap, Mama will move mountains to make it happen. My quads were burning, calves crying out to stop but I just kept running and running, glancing down every few seconds praying she was asleep. Most days are quick. Today it took another 30 minutes until she finally let go and entered dreamland. As soon as those eyes were locked shut, I turned around that Bob and headed for home, dreaming myself of a backyard lunch and some quiet time to write while two littles slept.

Definitely not the peaceful, recovery run I was desiring, but so it goes. As much as you plan and prepare in running and life, you just never know what circumstances will present.

At last, she is out.
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New Post over at RunStrollerRun!

Happy Monday, All! We had a fun-filled day celebrating “Dr. Mr. Martin King Junior’s Birthday,” as my 5-year old says. Big sister learned lots of fun facts about this amazing man in Kindergarten the last two weeks and proudly shares her knowledge with little brother and sister.

In other news, check out my newest post published today over at RunStrollerRun: http://runstrollerrun.com/three-tips-make-2015-best-year-running/

Three Tips to Make 2015 Your Best Year Running! 

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