It's a girl!

Erin was born this morning, at 8:01 am. Mother and daughter are fine, her big brother loves his little sister, and everyone is exhausted.

You can see a pic here.


Updating again

I'm really out of the habit of posting daily updates anymore. I could blame World of Warcraft, global warming, carpal tunnel syndrome, intermittent power outages, global thermonuclear war, or possibly even a nice game of chess. The reality is that I just haven't gotten around to it. I have been updating my workouts on Breaking the Tape, so there is a semi-daily update, but nothing that is notable or entertaining content.

My last couple runs (both 5 miles) have been pretty frustrating. They're harder than they should be, slower than they should be, and frankly more painful than they should be. So, I am trying to dial back the intensity a bit, and maintain the mileage. It's going to be a while before I get up to my weekly goal of about 40-45 miles, and my hope for a 50 mile week probably won't be realized before summer.

And that's okay. Because in a couple of days, no later than Monday, we add another member to this household. And while it's been difficult to run at times due to the munchkin, his sister is going to make it that much more difficult. I'll just have to be flexible, and try to keep the number of workouts fairly constant, because everything else is going to have to be changable.


Too fast, too furious

Okay, the first part (too fast) certainly applies to last night's run. I debated doing a longer run, like 4 or 5 miles, but decided to do a quick run (speedwise, not distance). The original plan was to do 2 miles at a 6:14 pace (or thereabouts), just to see if I could do it. The short answer is: no.

After a half-mile, I had to tone it down and dial it back. I recovered fairly quickly at the slower pace, and kept picking things up. I decided to change the plan from doing 2 miles to seeing what I could do in 15 minutes.

See, the indoor triathlon is coming up, and while I am not participating, I would like to see roughly how I would fare against some of the other people. So, since the running portion is 15 minutes on a treadmill, with no incline, I decided to do that. The results (2.15 miles) were okay, though I figure that a slower start would actually give me a better result. So, next week, I'll try that. Tonight will be a 4 or 5 mile run, depending on how I feel and how much time I have.

I am thinking that I might want to get a set of Yaktrax (or something similar), at least for next winter. Right now, it's in the mid-20's and snowing lightly. I'd love to be out in this, but can't, since I am not pushing a jogging stroller (and munchkin) over unplowed streets, and by the time I go running tonight, it's going to be slick enough that I don't want to chance it with my normal outdoor running shoes.


Streak ended

I took Friday off. I thought about it, and decided that going from two weeks or so of inactivity to a long running streak was probably a bad idea. I did, however, go for an 8 mile run Saturday night, though I kept the speed and incline low. After all, long slow runs are supposed to be slow, right?

I just wish it had been easier. A month or six weeks ago, it would have been a pace that I could have sustained for at least 15 miles, and last night, though I made it through 8, another 8 would have been pretty doubtful. In time, it will come back.


More changes

Changed the background, the header, and a couple of other things. I know some of the text isn't terribly visible at the moment, but I haven't fixed it yet. (Specifically, light grey links on a medium gray .gif background are a bad fit, as are a couple other template default colors.)

Hey, I'm on a streak

Technically, anyway. Day 6 of a running streak is no great thing; I have heard of streaks of thousands of days, several that are even decades long, where runners have run at least 3 miles every day, without fail. By comparison, hitting day 6 is the merest of blips on the radar screen. Still, it shows that I am back in training, and reforming the lapsed habits that, hopefully, will make me Boston-bound at some point in my life.

Although I said yesterday that most of my workout today would be on a spin bike, I only biked for 10 minutes. I probably would have done more, but (1) I had already run (see below); (2) I wanted to start weight training again; and (3) the munchkin and I had to go grocery shopping before lunchtime. So, it could have been longer, and I am sure the triathlete (judging from his copy of last years results) biking next to me was wondering why I stopped after only 10 minutes. (10 minutes, in which I am proud to add, I essentially matched his cadence.)

It was my run which took most of the time today. Only 4 miles, and completely on the flat, but I finished it in 28:30. I started fairly slow (easier effort than the last few days, especially since it was flat), and after the first mile, really poured on some steam. I'm hoping to replicate that same feat, in another month, but at 2.5 degrees of incline. In the meantime, I'm going to enjoy feeling all zippy and stuff.

The munchkin did wake up at 4 am this morning, but I was able to shuttle him back into his own bed and get him back down without much hassle. He rewarded me by sleeping in until 6:30, which was fine by me.


Tomorrow is going to be an easy day.

That's what I kept telling myself on tonight's run, anyway. I kept it "easy" only relative to the past couple of days. Still at 2.5 degrees of incline, but I kept the pace down at a steady 7.2 mph. The problem, however, is that according to this chart, that means that it is the same effort as (roughly) 8.0 mph on the flat, or 7.7 mph outside. No wonder my knees and quads are a little sore. The fact that I went for 5 miles, instead of 3 or 4, probably did not help. So tomorrow, I am running with no incline, if I run at all. Most of my workout will be on a spin bike or something.

The munchkin has been getting up earlier and earlier. Right now, he's getting up before 6, and, to be honest, neither of us are at are best in the morning. Correction - I am at my best in the morning. 2 am, 3 am, 4 am - these are all fine hours to be awake, provided, that is, that you are still awake from the day previous, not rising anew to greet the dawn.


Got my run in today

Ouch. Ouch. Ouch.

Actually, it's not that bad. As I said before, I want to do more of my runs, probably even most of my runs, at a 2.0 or 2.5 degree incline. I ran a lot of hills prior to my first marathon, I ran a constant incline on the treadmill in preparation for Chicago, and I think that it really helps me when I get onto the actual course. After all, I am aiming for an incline that is actually higher than what is needed to simulate wind resistance, so on race day, the pace I set seems easier, even if it is slightly faster than my training paces.

So, tonight was 4 miles, in about 31:30, which is slower than I would have liked, but still acceptable. And, I also was out in the frigid temps earlier today, snowblowing our drive, plus a neighbors, and then doing a quick shovel of a third. After all, I was already out there, I had the snowblower going, and I might as well get some use out of it, right? (The one I shovelled had mostly blown clear, so I just cleared off as much snow as I could - but the snowblower would have been overkill, frankly. And too close to their cars.)

WHat a bunch of stuck-up $^O*&$^O*$&^! (A rant on MOPs)

So, on Friday, I was at the way, and when I dropped the munchkin off in the childwatch center, I saw a sign, advertising for a new (I assumed) group forming in the area: Mothers of Preschoolers (or, MOPs). Now, a lot of "mothers" groups are, de facto "mothers-only" groups; that is, they will accept, albeit with great reluctance, that man can be (1) decent and loving parents; (2) fully involved with their children's lives; and (3) that the rare creature known as the stay-at-home-dad (SAHD) does in fact, exist. But the overall atmosphere of most "moms groups" is such that few men return after a few sessions. (I am basing this on personal observations and experiences, as well as anecdotal evidence from some SAHD mailing lists.)

But MOPs is de jure women-only. I found this out when looking over their site, in the forums section, since I didn't see it anywhere else. But that's not what has me really steamed - it was this thread. In a nutshell, apparently there was (gasp!) a man(!!!!!) on the public forum. You would have thought that they were going to have an attack of the vapors.

"Gasp, Mildred! A man!" (swoons)
"Lock the door, Imogene, and bar the it! We must protect our virtue, lest this man, who has been seeking advice on parenting (which we know no men ever, ever do), he must be a letch, and mean all manner of ill upon our person!"
"Help me, sisters, for our hallowed ground has been profaned. Never again shall I feel safe, such was the nature of this violation."

Several of the women did try to point out that SAHDs have an even harder time than most SAHMs. After all, they said, the SAHDs break so many more of societal conventions, and most "parenting" groups or sites are, in reality, really only meant for mothers; and SAHDs are generally made to feel less than welcome. But in the end, their voice of reason and open-mindedness were drowned out by the ones who wanted the forum locked and barred against those who do not bear that second, all-important, X chromosome.

The belt goes round, and round, and round

Short post - I went for another short run last night, adding another 3 miles to my YTD total. The speed was slower than I would have liked, but I had increased the incline to 2 degrees. I am hoping, by the end of March, to do most of my training runs at eithe 2.0 or 2.5 degrees, and at a higher rate of speed than I am doing now. It's tougher than I remembered, but although my legs are were a bit sore this morning, I will probably do another 4 miles or so tonight at the same incline.

In the meantime, my boast about the past two years (in which I proclaimed that the main reason we haven't had snow was because I own a 24" wide snowblower) has been proven to be quite false. We are still under a winter weather advisory, and I believe that we had blizzard warnings yesterday. It was worse to the north and west of us, but we still have a good amount of snow, strong winds, freezing temperatures, and other assorted winter nastiness.

I kind of wish I had better cold-weather gear, especially the Yaktrax. Might be fun to run laps around the neighborhood - I'd never be more than .25 miles from home, and only a couple dozen yards from a house. Plus, it's all a big loop, so stopping when it was too much would be pretty easy. Instead, I'll choose the wiser, but much less invigorating, treadmill workout.


First run in a while

I'm still not in the habit of making daily posts, and probably won't be for a while. I had planned on running earlier this week, once I got back from my dad's, but I came down with some sort of intestinal nastiness, and didn't get a run in until today. So, it was my first run, or even moderate exercise, in about two weeks, and I only did 3 miles on the dreadmill, 10 minutes on a spin bike, and some weights. I can feel some significant performance degradation, which isn't helping my mood much.

I had been planning on entering the Shamrock Shuffle, but still don't know if the scheduling will work out. I'll have to make a decision this weekened, however, since registration will surely close soon, and the race is only 8 weeks out.