Sunday, September 28, 2008

My First Race (Sorry Dad, Watermelon Run doesn't count!)

I do not enjoy competition. I like to win, but I don't like in any way to have a lot of people look at me or fuss about me because I won, so I don't gravitate towards competitive things. Kind of like the opposite of my sweet hubby. (I can't believe I just called Tom that. I would never call him "my sweet hubby" to his face. It's just a computer thing. Sort of like calling him a DH. It's maybe slightly better but also slightly less well-known, and if you have to explain the whole "Dear Husband" meaning for your shortcut, it's soon not worth it. But DH is still better than sweet hubby. The main thing I call him is Tom.) So, Tom is pretty competitive. Since he's not really competitive with me I can say he's the good kind, the kind that gets him up at 6:00 am just to try to beat another person at racquetball. And now that he's started running he's very much trying to improve as quickly as possible in speed and distance, and is very aware of how fast others run--others he talks to who run, Olympians, etc., not actual other runners around the lake. I have been running off and on since a teen and I never even sat down to figure out what a good speed was in a 5k. I've just run for the fun of it, and often for the exercise of it. Which brings me to why at 36, though I've been running all this time, I have just now completed my first* race.

I don't like pain, and the pain of pushing yourself to your absolute limit just to see how fast you are has never appealed to me. But somewhere in the beginning of this year with starting up running as a geezer I started reading up on running to avoid injuries, mostly, and along the way I got interested in things like form, pacing, heart rate numbers, etc. Also, having a treadmill really put the numbers into running. Suddenly I wasn't just running a preplanned, in my head route, I was looking at hundredth miles tick past, speed, incline, pace, time elapsed,etc., and it became natural to try to improve in terms of numbers. Now when I say "try to improve" I don't mean I've ever really gotten serious, and I'm still doing well to run 3x/week, I haven't come close to starting an actual training regimen with hills or speed work. But I like the idea which is new for me.

And to my race. I had just posted about the perimeter trail run on Monday and was getting mentally ready to start trail running more when Tom came home from racquetball on Tues. morning and told me that Vecna, the company where his racquetball buddy works, was hosting a 5K run that Saturday, and that he thought I should run it. I decided to try to do a not-quite-my-best at the lake that day to see what my race pace should be. I ended up running it in just under 27 minutes which was encouraging to me because I always just run a 10 minute mile for around an hour. I thought I'd take off a day then run again easier on Thurs. and then do the race Sat. morning. That was not taking into account the fact that I didn't really warm up or cool down after my practice race and my legs were KILLING me the rest of the week. Really beating me up, with every step! So I didn't run at all anymore. And I left Saturday to decide itself by way of how rainy it would be. Ended up just incredibly super duper humid. Too bad I was too self-conscious to wear the ultra-light running shorts Tom had bought me and I went with my thick cotton yoga capris. It was the first time I've run where I could feel the weight of them.

At the race was Vecna's owner and founder Debbie who did Joyschool with me and Thomas. I hate her. She was wearing her 4th baby who was just 2 months old and looking like a total model girl. She's really nice, but I sure hated her when I realized she was not wearing a number to do the 2.4 mile walk, but that she was going to run. She's awesome. I'm sad they had to move to Boston to start up another Vecna site. Anyway, the run was all official with clips for our shoes to track our time. I started out running by Dana Bearman and her daughter Emma, Debbie Theobold and Allison Watson, but knew I didn't want to just be chatting like I had been in the Watermelon Run with Dad this summer. So I soon just went a little bit ahead of them to not be listening to Debbie chat with her sister (yes, SHE could chat, I had no breath for it, see why I have to hate her!) and figuring that they'd just pass me later. Surprisingly they didn't, I don't think any of them were taking it very seriously. As for me, I was going for my best under the sore-legs, haven't-trained circumstances. My favorite part of the run was seeing my sweet family surprise me at the half-way point at Lake Artemesia. That gave me a little boost. I enjoyed the run, and my only regret was that I didn't stay focused very well, there were many times that I realized I was not even thinking about my running, but was off in la-la land and probably not running as fast as I should, and then I hadn't realized that they were moving the starting rug (that clocks your time in the shoe clip) up closer, because that whole area was around many curves so I couldn't visually see the right time to put in the final kick. So I ended up cranking it up way too late and I missed my practice time by 20 minutes. So it took me 27:21 which is a pace of 8:49. I have to be happy. It was better than I'd've guessed a week earlier, if you'd asked, yet gives me plenty of chances to get PR's in pretty much every 5K I run for the next couple years! For the record I was 59th out of 102 and 2nd female in the 30-39 age group. When I talked to my mom after she'd talked to Tom she said "congratulations on winning!" and I told her how it really was she said "Leave it to Tom to figure out how you're a winner!" (I guess he'd said I was first in my age group or something, which is true if you mean women 35-39!!)

Monday, September 22, 2008

Greenbelt Park Perimeter Trail or 5.3 miles of Pleasure

Ever since my run in California where I got semi-lost in the canyons near our apt in La Jolla I have wanted to try running trails again. Of course you always hear that asphalt is the worst thing to run on (besides sidewalks, but who runs on sidewalks? Where there is sidewalk, there is road) but I've been happy to get off my treadmill and run around the asphalted every .2 miles marked 1.35 mile track around Lake Artemesia. And I do love that run, it's beautiful. It just requires going around 5 times to get in an hour of run time. So I finally searched this morning for running trails in College Park area and was so happy to see that Greenbelt Park has a trail that goes around it's entire perimeter, not just the little 1 mile trails we usually do as a family. I was unsure how much time it would take to run 5.3 miles of true trail stuff, but it was just under an hour like my lake runs, so that's good news. I didn't see anyone on the trail the whole way around but I felt very safe. I almost ran into a deer, or at least it felt like it, since the deer only moved about 10 feet away when I came running up, and then it just kept staring at me. It was beautiful. The trail was so fun to run, and now I know why in Chi Running it says that trail running is the best for working on your form, especially to learn how to pick up your feet instead of pushing off with them. I've been running the Middle School track last week during Joyschool and my calves were getting tight, and staying tight after running. They feel better now after my trail run than they did before I started. Amazing. Something so kid-like in bobbing around over roots and rocks and stuff. Much more fun to run. At least for now, it's something new, and I like it. So if you want a fun run leave your kids with me and go take an hour at the perimeter trail, you'll love it!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Lily Turns Five!

What a beautiful peacemaker is my Lillian Regina Severina Draper! She has been my cheerleader for 5 years now, and I'm not sure I'd be here today if it weren't for her. Even before she could talk very much she could see Mommy crying when things got hard with her little baby sister (for example one of those days when all 4 kids from Baby Beth to 6 year old Tyra all had the flu and ear infections at the same time and Mom might have just sat down for a minute with the baby crying in her arms and started to cry herself,) and Lily not yet 2 would come up and give me loves and smiles to cheer me up. And when Thomas started Kindergarten and I would bike around with them in the trailer behind me and the going up Pontiac would get tough Lily would say "Keep going Momma! You can do it!" Then there was the encouragement when Lily was potty training and anytime she would see me in the bathroom she'd be really proud of me doing my business "Good job Mommy! I hear your peepee!"

Lately Lily's encouragement comes in ways she can find to help Momma. She is constantly asking "Are you so glad I made my bed and Beth's bed this morning so you don't have to?" or "Doesn't it make you so happy that I stirred the dinner together so well for you?" etc., and I must say, it's the sweetest little voice in that positive tone that does indeed make me so happy. She has been a natural optimist from the start. I never tire of hearing her talking to herself, Beth, or even me "It's okay, it doesn't have to be perfect." or "We just try our best, so it's okay." And tons of other such comments. She's better than my cd's I bought a few years ago to help me with my own internal speaking that is not exactly optimistic!

And now Lily is 5. I am so glad that she missed the cutoff date for Kindergarten and that I get to have her with Beth and me for one more year. So for her (last minute, I'm afraid) birthday party she invited Anya from down the street, Harper from primary, Camille a family friend, and Josh and Kamari from Joyschool. We just played "Dance and Freeze" a game Lily loves to play, made sugar cookies, played with the parachute, played "I had a little doggie", and hit the Dora piƱata. I had a lot of fun decorating my first 3 layer cake and was super happy with how it turned out, considering I used real butter instead of shortening in the frosting and the bottom layer completely fell apart as I was positioning it on the foil. Anne asked for the frosting recipe and it was 1 lb powd. sugar, 1/2 cup barely soft butter, 1 tsp vanilla, just under 1/3 c milk (take some out at this point for roses as they need the stiffest consistency) then add the rest of the 1/3 c milk to make it best for spreading and writing and borders. You may need up to 1 1/2 tbsp more milk.

Monday, September 15, 2008

♪It's All Happening At the Zoo♫

What a perfect day for the zoo. When we invited Dorey and Lily to Lily's birthday party Joy said they couldn't make it, but suggested we do our long-awaited, oft-spoken of trip to the National Zoo on Friday to at least let them get together. Starting out, Joy has been my friend since Jr. High Chorus. We both wore the most hideous homemade black-and-white gingham jumpers as we gave concerts back then. We stayed in touch when I moved from Utah to California by way of countless "notes" sent as letters with lots of song lyrics written in the margins. When I went to BYU we hung out all freshman year when she and our other friend (third of the Larryetta, Curlyetta, and Moetta trio) moved into Heritage Halls with me. We did a lot of stupid but fun things until her missionary became a returned missionary and came home and whisked her away from us. We forgive him, though we missed her. From there we stayed in touch sporadically, with a few visits during said RM's training in DC, to us visiting them in California. But then I got an Christmas card that said that not only had Joy had their 3rd child within days of my having my 4th child, but that she was now living 45 minutes away in VA. Well, after getting that card I was quite sure we'd be seeing each other quite often. Instead we've seen each other quite regularly, as in once each year ☺ But I've got to say, it is so fun to have my girls love her girls just as much as I've loved Joy. They are very sweet and amazingly enough, all 4 girls seem able to get along quite well. Within minutes of saying goodbye at the end of our time together at the zoo my Lily said "I miss Dorey and Lily, I wish they lived by us." Here are a bunch of pictures of our trip, from the metro trip on (riding the metro is a good 25% of the fun.)
Oh, and all the animal pictures are for our animal booklet, it's actually the first time I've take animal pictures as opposed to kid pictures which may or may not include animals at the zoo.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Things you wish you could type besides ":)"

I don't know how I didn't ever know that there is a whole amazing world under my number keys. I was trying to write a comment on my sister's blog and really wished I could put in musical notes to make it obvious that the quote was from a song, you know, like this ♪ or ♫. The smarty-pants sent me to this link
I'm still amazed that it's that easy! Now to find out how well it actually shows up in different programs. Thanks Lis!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Do you like bedtime?

I have never liked bedtime. The sweet ritual of bath, story, prayers, and a goodnight kiss is sooo not the whole story. First of all yelling at kids to "Listen to the scriptures!" as the wiggle and poke each other can get us off to a bad start. Add to that the fact that I NEVER seem to get bedtime started in advance enough to get 4 baths in, so there's guilt that the poor filthy kids have to settle with a quick wipe down of the stickiest parts, mostly hands and faces. Then there's how we have to make sure we get the right toothpaste on the right brushes. Often there's the putting away all the dress-up clothes and accessories so I can walk injury-free in the middle of the night when someone needs me. Then pajamas, but wait, first Beth needs cream for her itchy skin. Then we determine if there's even time for a story. Finally after everyone is tucked in there is the final hugs which require constant reminders of my threat to not give a hug the next night if I get stuck in a neck-hold (? what do I mean?) while hugging them (they love to hold me so tight I can't get back up from leaning over, trying to get the longest hug they can.)

Beth said "I can't see anything. And that's going to make me have nightbears. The bear will be grabbing at me, and roaring at me, and wiggling at me! And I'll be so scared!" Well, it's really fun now that TnT are old enough to get the cute stuff that Beth and Lily say. Tyra just loved that "nightbears" comment of Beth's, she couldn't stop giggling!

So after the lights are out, and I'm sitting by the crib or Lily's bed I do a few yoga spine-lengthening stretches (okay, I try to de-slump for a minute.) I feel relaxed. Then, because there hasn't been any noise or movement for a little while I quietly get up to leave. That's when "I'm hungry" "I want to sleep with Sharky" "I need to go to the bathroom" and especially "I'm really, really, thirsty" seems to crop up. I just love that. Then after I do finally get done with LnE I still have TnT who have been reading during this time, mostly. Now if there is a more likely time for Tyra to get upset about something Thomas does or says it is right at bedtime. And it there is a moment that Thomas is going to mention that he doesn't want to grow up and that he's scared or worried of anything (we won't list the things, as they are a little more personal in nature than "nightbears") it is at this time. Though I like the individual moments with any one of the kids, they are usually interrupting each other (for example Thomas may be read to talk about Heavenly Father while Tyra is howling about her outrage over something he said earlier, and Beth is up for the 3rd time to go to the bathroom and needs a wipe cuz it's #2. Then no one's getting quality time, and no one's really getting much closer to sleep! I still have visions of no cribs or bunk beds or children sleeping on the floor. No just 4 twin beds in 3 or 4 bedrooms. And I go from sitting at the foot of one bed to the next as I hear the joys and sorrows of each child's day, help them settle into sleep and prepare them for the next morning. But when Tom is gone (or when he's home but on the phone or doing his dissertation anyway,) it's just not the way things usually go.
You know, I just love bedtime, don't you?

p.s. I was starting this when Tom was gone, things are looking up a bit now that we're in our school-days routine. And really there is something so sweet about those snuggle kids. I sure do love them!

Monday, September 08, 2008

Joyschool, or "Why Do I Need Someone?"

Hurrah! Our Joyschool is officially running, as today was day one of week two and everyone is still on board to do it, and the kids are still happy. Last year I really wanted to do Joyschool with Lily, but could not find enough people to do it (one other mom wanted to do it IF we could find at least one other mom to do it with us, which we couldn't, so we didn't.) I kept thinking that I should just go ahead and do it with Lily anyway, since I had all the curriculum from when I did it with Thomas 4 years earlier. But I didn't. I really LOVE Joyschool, and I knew Lily would LOVE it, but I didn't. And if that surprises you, then you have obviously never been around me or even heard of me before reading this post. I just couldn't make myself pull a lesson together for my darling girl.

So last spring I VOWED that I was doing Joyschool this fall, no matter what, and I talked to and emailed all the mom's in my ward and the surrounding wards looking for anyone who'd like to join. Not one person wanted to do it who lived close enough or had kids the right age. So I was planning on doing it solo with LnE when I came home from California. Then I got an email from someone I didn't know from the ward who shares our building. She wanted to do it with me. We started some plans, then she decided on doing just Monday together (it's supposed to be a 2x/wk program) Either way I was excited because I knew that even just having a "reckoning" on Mondays would help keep me on track and doing the lessons more than having no one but my sweet too-forgiving daughters to be accountable to. At the last minute another mom who'd wanted to do it but was worried she lived too far away decided to do it with us. And now after a LOT of back-and-forth about how and when everything would work we are all up and running. I taught the first 2 weeks, and the kids seemed to really enjoy the lessons and activities and songs and playing together. And I feel like the mom I always meant to be :) I'm just not sure why I always need someone else to get me to that point. But I'm glad I have someone.

Side note about the cookies. Lily said she thought Beth's "gingerbread"man looked like an alien with alien eyes. I quickly said that Beth had done a great job and it looked nice. To stop Lily from protesting and continuing, possibly hurting Beth's feelings I quickly shushed her by whispering in her ear that her's looked so perfect. She smiled big and became very magnanimous toward Beth saying "You made a perfect alien Beth! It's a really perfect alien with eyes like that." Luckily Beth was happy with that and said "Yes! Mine is a Alien!"
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