Munchkin Mile - Too Hot To Handle...

A just got back yesterday, and of course one of the first things she wanted to do was... run! We headed out early for two reasons. One was because we wanted to get to the water park by the time it opened at 10:00 and two because the forecast was for HOT temperatures.

We headed out early (well, sorta early, 8:00), and it was already HOT. Well, 75 degrees, which feels hot to me. A hasn't run in a few months, and I figured she needed to get at least a few runs in since we are running the 5k at Disneyland in few weeks. She struggled a bit, but as I said, it was hot and I don't blame her. Even I felt tired. Pictures from our morning:






My Birthday.

Today I turned 31.
Where do those years go?
I woke up to breakfast in bed (made by the kids) and some very special treats from my family.
My husband knows that I am very particular about how I wrap my presents, and so he got my Birthday gifts professionally wrapped at John Lewis.
I love you David.
This may seem like a really insignificant thing, but to me it showed how much he cares.




 


Happy Birthday to me xx

One More Run

So it's the last day of July that I plan on running and even though I plan on starting August fresh with the RLRF program, I noticed I was not on par with my goal of 100 miles a month. Meaning... long run. Well, at least it is an opportunity to try out the Zoots on a longer run.


Even though I haven't started RLRF, I decided to "steal" one of the long runs from the marathon program. Adopting a super slow pace that I figured I could manage.

Only. I didn't run as far as I planned (only 11 miles) and the pace that should have been CAKE (5.3 mph or 11:19 min/mile) was ridiculously hard. I took some sport beans at the halfway mark but never felt good. This sucked. I was hot, and working way too hard for such a slow pace. When I finally finished (2 hours and 10 minutes later), I was so sweaty that I literally could wring out not just my hair, but my running skirt too. That was a first.

Good news? The Zoots seem like they will work just fine. So yay, billions of pairs of shoes later I seem to have some that will work!

So over these horrible and hard training runs.

The Icing Sugar Incident !!!

Well. It was bound to happen at some point.

You would have thought we would have learned something after The Paint Incident.

This is the result of leaving 20 month old Twins for literally 60 seconds (to go pee) with a 3Kg bag of icing sugar in their vicinity.


 Oh Dear!!






And so the clean up begins.
Kids, who'd have 'em?




3rd Grade RAD Ballet Exam

We've just wrapped up that time of year when the full focus is on Ballet!

Ducky has had to deal with some changes in her ballet classes, the biggest being class size. She has gone from having a class of 5 to a class of 20! This means each student gets less individual attention from the teacher, has added distraction from the extra 15 classmates, and needs to concentrate harder as a result.

Ducky's new ballet school only allows parents to view classes once a year (compared to once a term back in Canberra) so I tried to unobtrusively get as many photos and little movies as I could. They spent most of the class practicing their Character dance, but you can be forgiven for thinking it's some kind of rustic tap dance due to the amount of stomping they have to do. Right at the end of the class they did some work on their classical ballet study. This montage was created back in June at the open class, but I have since added some photos taken on the day of Ducky's 3rd Grade Exam.
Another change is that this ballet school gives out CDs of the ballet exercises, studies and dances for each grade and expects the students to work at home. Ducky has always liked to practise at home, so she quite enjoyed this particular difference between her old and new ballet school.

The exams were held a month earlier than normal this year, so in addition to the usual winter school holidays classes the students were asked to have some private lessons. At $100 per hour, there was no way we could afford this so I managed to ask around and find some of Ducky's classmates to share a private lesson. Ducky ended up sharing a half hour private class with one other student, and she loved it. She wants to have regular private lessons now. (get a job, Ducky!)Just like the past two years, I cringed every time I saw Ducky turn a cartwheel or trip over a skipping rope in the weeks leading up to the exam. Thankfully she managed to keep her arms and legs unbroken and ankles un-sprained, and she woke up very excited on the morning of her exam. This was where another difference between former and current ballet schools became apparent. Parents were not welcome to stay. I was expected to simply drop her off and come back later to collect my little ballerina.

I don't think so.

Other mums obviously felt the same way and decided to hang around in the carpark too. I managed to get a spot where I could spy on the girls as they were waiting to go in for their exam. The teacher and assistant did their hair and pinned on bun decorations and distinctive markers (Ducky had gold beads in her hair and a gold brooch on her leotard, so the examiner would know she was No.1 on the list of candidates.)

Ducky smiled over her shoulder at me just before she went in to the studio, and she was still smiling when she came out again. She said she'd enjoyed her exam and wanted to do another one tomorrow! Now we are waiting to find out her result.

Ducky is really happy to be now learning 4th Grade Ballet work, and will soon start preparing for the end of year concert.

We are so proud of our little Ballerina. Ducky still has her eyes firmly fixed on her ultimate goal - pointe shoes - and now she is one step closer.

For the first time...


I made knox blox here in my new house in Utah.  Yay.  I guess that really solidify’s our move; I’ve made my mainstay snack.  Not only that, but there was a women’s church activity last night and I took my knox blox as one of the desserts.  I had peach/banana flavor and raspberry/huckleberry flavor.  They were enjoyed.  My first social function and it wasn’t too bad.  I was mostly by myself smiling at everyone but I did meet a lady who has done a triathlon and who goes running 3x a week.  Bingo!  Possible running partner.  She also goes about 3 miles which is about what I’m at so that might work out good.  I am a little bummed that I can’t find any group that plays basketball.  I am really gonna miss that!!
Yesterday I went running again in the morning.  This time I took some Advil before running and said several prayers that my knee would last a little longer.  I was able to run for 35 minutes!!  My knee was strained but not too bad.  Although, my leg muscles are very sore today, I’m glad I went again. 
My daughter and I went for a bike ride last night again.  I showed her the cool trails that we had discovered the night before.  I think I got her hooked because she kept wanting to go over a series of small dirt hills all rolled together.  Wickedly fun.  She said “Wow, mom, we’re so dangerous!”  It was so fun and the evening air was cool and great smelling!  We rode clear to the foot of one of the mountains and looked back for a great view of the homes in the valley.  
Food wise, I haven’t been keeping strict tract of myself but I have been generally working on eating lots of fruits and veggies.  For snacks I am loving cashews, fresh pineapple, red peppers, celery, bananas and beef jerky.  I am excited to be making some great overall changes to my family’s eating habits.  There is still lots of room for improvement.  We make lots of salads.  I hope to have a garden next year.  


And next on the horizon is getting 1 or 2 kittens!!!  Then in a month or two, we want to get 1 or 2 miniature dachshunds!  How cool is that gonna be!!  We have waited YEARS to get pets.  And who knows... maybe we'll eventually get chickens and goats and who knows what else?
I hope you are having a great on-plan day, making healthy choices and being kind to yourself and those around you.  You are worth it!  Life is good!

Data and the pace calculator

A little Pikes rehearsal this AM - approximately 3 miles from the start to the top of the W's.  Running waterless from my place, I simply tried to put in an effort equal to the first half hour of the Ascent.  (I note this because some folks run this "tempo" all-out, much faster than they will run it on race day)  Splits:

to Ruxton - 3:08
to Hydro - 10:03
to Barr Trail - 16:40
to "bigass rock" - 27:40
to top of W's - 33:23

The good ol' pace calculator suggests that today was not how I want to run on Pikes weekend.  A 10:03 Hydro split done properly is good for a 2:39:30, whereas a 33:23 W's split is pace befitting of a 2:46:00.  Furthermore, the 23:20 between Hydro and W's is what a well-paced 2:49 would run.


At this point, half of you already have figured out what this means, and the other half could care less.  There is a large contingent of 'naked' runners - those who believe that the Garmin is the devil.  They have no need for watches or data; they just run.  They go by feel.  They believe there is no need for all this high-tech gadgetry, that it just means you're taking yourself too seriously or missing the whole point of running.

To the Garmin-haters:  point taken, but let's agree to disagree.  I'll dedicate a whole post to ya'll soon.  Till then, brush up on your graph-reading skillz.


In the meantime, I took this away from today.  I was kind of disheartened by my slowdown on the W's.  I most definitely didn't feel like my effort was spiked to Ruxton or anything, but I definitely don't want to push the W's as hard as I did today.  If my effort was greater than what I'd like to feel on raceday and my time was slower, I can come up with a few possible reasons.

  1. Possibly I'm just not in the shape I have been in previously.  Doubtful, as my previous race results suggest otherwise.
  2. I could've been running on legs that were more fatigued than I expected.  Possible - I ran Elk Park 48 hours ago and yesterdays easy run felt like death on a stick.  Would that be consistent with a 2:39 pace to Hydro and 2:49 beyond?  Possibly, as the fatigue may be less pronounced on flatter terrain.
  3. The calculator could be flawed.  I hate to say it, but I find that doubtful.  The Ruxton split is always in question, but I trust the Hydro and W splits.  As one who has not had recent success above timberline, I most definitely am trying to respect the clock down low.

I will get a couple more opportunities to run this same drill in the upcoming weeks.  Optimally, a 2:40 pace will be easy next time out.  If not, I have no problem adjusting my goal to a pace that does feel manageable for the full 13 miles.

Three Things Thursday

Ch ch ch chaaaaanges

1. Did you notice my blog has had a makeover??

2. I got accepted to and subsequently registered for fall classes! After a few years (ok, 11), I am going back to college! My goal is to get a second BA, this time in Criminal Justice. To ease myself in, I am only taking 3 classes (9 credits).

3. As for running, I'm in a funk. I think I finally found shoes that will work, and next week I plan on starting the RLRF program. Hopefully something different will improve my running. I can hope, right?

Spring Blossom Dessert Table

Hello.
All of you in the UK know that it is currently School summer holidays.
Here in my house it is hectic. As you can imagine trying to entertain Six kids of different ages can be some what trying at times.
We have had a few days out and due to the rainy weather a few days in.
As I have been super busy with the kids I am falling behind on my blogging.
So today I am showing off a party I created a few months back for a lovely little girl Called Lily.
The party was for her First Holy Communion.
The theme was Spring Blossom and the Colours Chocolate and Pink.
I was very happy with the outcome and the little girl adored it.































Hope you liked it x

I never knew...

That I loved nature SOO much!!  There is something about bringing my eating into harmony with how God would want me to eat and being able to enjoy all of His creations.  When I was heavy, I don’t remember loving the outdoors or smelling that fresh air or noticing the intricate beauty of trees and mountains!  I feel like I can’t get enough of it now!
To rewind back a bit... these last few days have been hard.  Brent has gone back to work and I don’t know a single soul here.  There is so much to do and I find myself sleeping in way late & my kids do too.  I’ve layed in bed early in the mornings thinking to myself that I should go run.  I haven’t run since well before my move and I have been eating extra calories.  I need to get more active!  But I find reasons to lay in bed and rest or think and procrastinate my mornings away.  BUT today, I got up and went running!  Yay me!  I ran for 20 minutes until my knee started hurting.  I will need to build it up again so I’ll take it easy and not push it.  It was a nice run and I enjoy seeing my thin shadow on the pavement.  It still surprises me that it’s my shadow!  Brent and I are thinking about running another 5K in August here in Utah.  That would be our first 5k running together if we do!


Then tonight, my girls had a church activity so me and the boys had a delicious dinner of salad and tai peanut chicken.  There was a loud thundering and lightening storm around dinner time with a major downpour of rain.  After that was all done, we went for a bike ride.  WOW!  Pictures just can’t do justice to the beauty here.  We live in our own valley with surrounding majestic mountain ranges and amazing sunsets.  There are gravel and dirt trails all over along with paved trails.  There are fields of wheat and bushes of mint and all kinds of yummy smells.  

 We had so much fun exploring for several miles around our house and naming the dirt roads our own names so we can refer to them later.  I could explore those trails for hours on end and never get bored!


Today was a good day.  
Next, I hope to get my kids signed up for school and pray that they will find good friends - kindred spirit friends.  And I may slip a few prayers in there that I will find some too!  
Life is good!

Zoot!!

WE MAY HAVE A WINNER!!!


I love the folks at Road Runner. If you are a member of their VIP program, you have NINETY days to try shoes out and if you don't like them, you can exchange that. Now, I'm not one to take advantage of a lenient return/exchange policy, but I've been struggling to find shoes I really like, and this program ROCKS.
So when I discovered I still had a pair of unworn Newtons that were outside the normal warranty (purchased end of February), I took them to Road Runner and the sweet folks there still let me exchange. Now, the Pumas are NOT out of the running, but since I had only run a few miles in them, I felt like I still needed to try something else. I had also tried on the above Zoot Ultra TT 4.0s, but the high heel freaked me out:


Pros:
  • As usual... PRETTY!!
  • Light!!
  • Comfy!
Cons:
  • The high creepy heel. It's actually flexible/soft so it's not necessarily a con, just... weird.
  • The non-tie laces. Unsure if this is a con. The shoes never felt super tight, and I like that I didn't have to think about adjusting them. On a longer run if my feet swell this could be an issue.
So... I had high hopes for these shoes. I was originally going to start the RLRF program, but I had some stomach issues that made me pull way back on my pace. I did still put in 6.75 miles in them, and no feelings of blisters and no numbness in the feet. However, I did have some minor ankle pain (which I've had on and off for months), and my quad felt tight (again, on and off problem since last year). So where I leave this... no running for a few days, I feel like I need to try an outdoor long run at some point this weekend before I really dig deep into the RLRF program.

Best ones so far!

Thailand

We're in Bangkok, Thailand. Me, Neil and Baby Nile. We came here for Neil's birthday! (There's also that training I have ...) Good timing.

We've been here since Sunday after traveling all day Saturday and crossing five time zones. Thai Airways is amazing. The hospitality and food on that flight were just a small preview to what we've experienced here in Bangkok -- everyone is wonderfully friendly and helpful and the food is incredible. We are staying in a five-star hotel that has blown my mind with the level of detail in service and quality (and quantity/frequency!) of food provided. I've never been on a cruise, but this must be what it feels like! I am sitting here in my hotel-provided robe and slippers before I'm going to get ready and go down to the breakfast buffet.

When I say breakfast buffet, that doesn't even begin to describe the offerings down there. The widest variety of foods, many made to order, are available. I will have to take pictures because words fail here. Then I'll head to training, where we are also plied with "refreshments" at 10:00 and 2:00 p.m., which have included all manner of fancy wedding-style appetizers and two attendants making coffee and tea. Then a provided, extensive buffet lunch. I feel so spoiled! And all of this is even before we leave the hotel.

I have yet to try the amazing street food that smells so good as I've walked by. We've been to a couple great restaurants already. In the evening after training we've headed out a bit, but there is still so much to see. It's safe to say that I would love to live here. So much to do, and so much green space as well -- parks and lakes. And did I mention the food? :)

We have a day and a half left to see what we can before we head to Singapore for the weekend to visit Brooke and Stuart and fam, so if not before, I'll check in from there!

Puma Faas 300s

Um... possibly?? Today was not a scheduled run day, but I usually have 20-25 minutes after Turbo Kick Box for some sort of additional cardio. Turbo Kick Box pretty much kicked my ass today. I have never EVER in my entire life taken my shirt off at the gym. Which is saying something since I have pretty much lived in one since April, 2004.


Blech. I have nasty stomach after giving birth and love handles I can't seem to get rid of. I don't know HOW people have the nerve to do this on a regular basis.

Anyway, I returned the Brooks Green Silence and tried on another jillion pairs of shoes. I was shocked with the ones I ended up with. They didn't even look like running shoes.


Pros:

  • Pretty!! I mean, anything with pink can't be all bad...
  • Wide toe box. At least I'm pretty sure they are. I only ran 2 miles, but didn't have to stop and adjust laces at all.
  • Not as "flat" feeling as the Green Silences.
  • CHEAP... With my discount they were less than $40!
Cons:
  • Not "flat" but not super comfortable either.
  • Wide toe box, but might be overall too wide? I didn't wear them long enough to really judge this, I'll have to try 4+ miles.
  • This is LAST years model... if I keep these, the next years model might suck, but I suppose I could cross that bridge when I come to it.
Questions from last review:
  • Yes, I've tried Newtons. Those were the ones I was trying to get away from because I went through 6-7 pairs last year and at $150+ a pair they cost too much.
  • Pearl Izumis... I went through two pairs of these back in 2009. I liked them, but the ones I wore were (shockingly) discontinued. After I pulled my quad, I switched to a New Balance. The running store I keep exchanging shoes from doesn't carry Pearl in store (only online) so for now they are out.
Where does this leave me? I had another pair of shoes I was trying, Zoots, that I didn't pick because they were about $120 a pair. I think I'll go back and pick those up and try a few long runs between those and the Pumas. I gotta get into something soon, these shenanigans have already been going on a week!